BAND App

I’m a sucker for a good app. And an app that helps organize? Well, that’s even better! If you’re like me and like to plan get togethers and other social events, you know that people are one of the hardest things to organize. When trying to choose a location, there are always a lot of “I don’t care’s” and “Wherever is fine with me’s”.  And when trying to plan dates… well, that’s just a near impossibility because everyone is so busy all the time. You can wrangle everyone into a group text, OR you can try something a little more… efficient. 
I introduce: BAND

BAND is an app that allows you to keep communication organized with all of your different groups: like study groups, coworkers, family, even your husband/wife… whoever you have to keep organized! Unlike Facebook groups or group texts, BAND allows you to create group to-do lists. Plus, it just looks super cute! You can create different notebooks for each group. Of course, I color-coded mine to match my color-coding system (purple: blog, green: work, blue: school, pink: social). Each color has a few cute designs and, of course, you get to choose a band for each notebook. Beyond adorable!
 
If you get tired of your notebook’s design, you can change it anytime! AND you could even choose personal photos as notebook covers. Within each notebook, there are endless ways to organize your groups! Invite whoever you want! You can add photos, which is perfect for those photos from bachelorette parties (or in my case, family cruises to Mexico) that you may not want to trust to a “private” Facebook album. Aside from photo albums, you can also create calendar events and reminders (like upcoming due dates for school projects).
You can also create group checklists (perfect for party planning or creating grocery lists with roommates). Another really cool feature is the “poll” feature, which allows you to post a multiple choice question to a group. And you know the teacher in me loves that! So, rather than sending out a question as broad as “what night does everyone want to get together?” and receiving a billion different responses about work schedules and people going out of town, you can just provide some possible choices and allow your friends/group members to select the best option for them!
Not only that, but you can also share files through this app! Perfect for working together on a group project at school or for lesson planning with co-teachers! Oh, and another thing I like about this for teaching: It’s a great way to keep parents updated and it’s also a way to share classroom photos with them while maintaining the privacy of your sweet kiddos! Conveniently enough, BAND can also be accessed through your computer desktop for the ultimate ease of sharing documents/files and keeping your calendars in sync!

Oh, and did I mention that this app is FREE? So, there’s basically no reason not to try it 🙂
Check out more here: http://www.band.us 
Have you tried BAND before (it has over 35 million users!)? If so, how do you use it? I’m sure you’ve thought of a bunch of creative uses for it! 

Note Organization Checklist

Keeping up with class notes can literally get a little messy sometimes. I didn’t start rewriting mine until my junior year of college when my Landforms professor mentioned it… but ever since then, my newly-rewritten, color-coded notes have acted as study guides for upcoming quizzes, tests, and exams! 

So, knowing exactly where to find what information is super important! And obviously, it required a system! The way it looks has transformed over the years, but the main idea stays the same!



– KNOW ALL OF YOUR UPCOMING EXAM DATES –
Every semester, there are a certain number of quizzes and exams. They are almost always on the syllabus (I don’t think I’ve ever had a college professor give a “pop quiz”)… so there is pretty much NO reason not to be prepared for them! 

When I rewrite my notes, I try to make them look like a study guide… or an infograph… or something else remotely interesting to look at! Hence, all the different colors, silly doodles, and bullet points! Try to fit as much important info as you can onto one page!
– KEEP ALL OF YOUR NOTES IN THE SAME PLACE –
Then keep all of the notes from every class together and in chronological order! Last year, I tried out a filing system. This year, I’m using a binder. Some years, I just put them in a designated side of my class folder

Different things will work for different people (and different professors’ teaching styles), so don’t be afraid to change it up! Just be sure to be consistent with whatever system you choose to use! Keeping all the notes together is the most imperative part of keeping them organized!
– LABEL EVERY SINGLE PAGE WITH DATE & TOPIC-
Be sure that each page of notes is labeled with a date and topic header. This will help you quickly flip through the top of your papers as you look for particular chapter notes or notes from a specific time frame! 

Since tests are usually organized by a few chapters at a time (Chapters 1-4, or 5-8), it’s helpful that these notes are all back-to-back wherever you choose to keep them. If you’ve been writing page numbers in your notes, you probably know exactly which pages the questions will come from, too! 
– INCLUDE GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS & OUTLINES –
And if you used a graphic organizer to help you rewrite your notes, definitely don’t leave that out! Date and label them just like you would any other page of notes! In my opinion, these are some of the most helpful “study guides” because they are just very visually-easy to read. 

A good combination is to outline the actual textbook chapter and rewrite your class notes using a system that works for you! Between those two documents, you should have all info you need for the exam!
– MOVE “OLD” NOTES AFTER THE EXAM/QUIZ –
Once I finish with a particular section of notes, I either put them in the back of the “notes” section or I paperclip them together to let me know that I’m finished with that information. Don’t throw them away! 

It’s always nice to keep them around just in case you need to revisit something in the future… or if you have a (*DUN DUN DUN*) comprehensive exam at the end of the semester! (aka: how you know your professor really hates his/her life and wants you to be miserable, too).

If that’s the case, better start those flashcards now!

MAKE FREQUENTLY-VISITED INFO EASY TO FIND- 
Finally, don’t be afraid to use some “mixed media” to help you quickly identify useful information in your notes! Post-It’s, Sharpies, Washi tape are all awesome ways to draw attention to information that you’ll need to find quickly again (…and again… and again) throughout the semester! 

At the end of the day, “organization” is a pretty subjective word, so you need to find out what it means to you and implement the best practices for yourself to keep up with the information in your notes!
And even though I joke about comprehensive exams, don’t let them stress you out either! Because so much information is covered on them, nothing really gets too in-depth so I actually think they’re easier than exams that cover more narrow scopes of information. 

If you don’t take away anything else from this post, take away these two things: 
MAKE YOUR NOTES EASY TO READ & KEEP THEM TOGETHER!

Everything else is just the compulsive-freakishness-icing-on-the-cake! 🙂 


How do you keep your notes organized throughout the semester! Do you tear them out of your notebook or just flag the pages? Or if you keep notes on your computer/iPad, how do you save/study them?!

Computer File Organization

Today’s post is about computer file organization. This is one of those topics where a picture is worth a thousand words… so I’ve included a ton of photos to help explain it! The main rule that I follow for organized computer files is to name every document and file it in the correct place the first time you use it! This way, you will always know where to look for it! I also like to name things by their complete, full, name with a date… just in case there are multiple documents for the same project (which there usually are). 
Here is my desktop screen. I keep one folder for each big thing in my life (you know, the ones that produce a lot of Excel & Word documents). For me, they are school, this blog, and school. For you, they may be each individual class… or sorority commitments… or work. Just whatever the 3/4 (5, 6, 7) biggest document-producing things in your life are right now!
This is my “University of Memphis folder”. I got this computer in 2012, so that’s why these files start there. If a file is active, it’s highlighted in green; if it’s “closed” it’s highlighted in gray. This just makes it super easy for me to click through the correct files more quickly!
Within my “2014” folder, there are two smaller folders, one for each semester.
Within the “Fall” semester folder, there are folders for each of my classes. So, right now I’m kind of considering graduation a class because there are so many deadlines to meet and so much paperwork to fill out that it really feels like an additional class!
This is the only class I’m in this semester (which is how I’ve been able to post almost everyday). Within this class, we are really working on one big project for the entirety of the semester! However, we did still have to do some of those crazy online discussion (they are my nemesis. seriously). But now we’re done with discussions, so the folder is gray. My project is still active, plus this professor sends out additional instructions in his e-mails, so I copy them to Word docs and save them in a folder.
I typically give each large assignment/paper/project its own folder. In this class’ case, we have one large (60ish page) paper but we’re writing it about 10 pages at a time. Below are the different sections of the paper that we have worked on so far. The green ones are the ones that are still in progress, whereas the gray ones are the ones that have been approved/finalized. Organizing projects like this enables me to be able to take notes, copy articles, type outlines etc. and to keep them in the folder of the project they’re for. 
For example, this is the “References” folder pictured above. Of course, there are even more folders… I saved any articles that cited strategies in the “Strategies” folder, any articles I’d like to cite in the “Articles” folder, there is an APA checklist (because there is always SOMETHING that’s a space off or not italicized)! Then I also created a couple of Word documents with quotes that I liked or possible references. 
Finally, here is the inside of the “Articles” folder. As you guessed, it contains articles that I’ve downloaded from online. 
Anyway, so that’s it! That is how I’m able to find all of my documents whenever I’m looking for them!
Now if I could just do something about all those 10,000 photos in my computer… 🙂
How do you organize your computer files? Is this too detailed for you or do you think it would help keep things together?