I found out I achieved National Board certification last December. It feels like yesterday. Nothing like hitting the submit button and waiting six months to hear how you did. I have a few organization tidbits I’d like to share with you about preparing for boards prior to the year’s start. I wish I had known this before I began.

  1. Have an idea of what you want to teach and create heavy-duty lesson plans for the year around that subject.
  2. Start collecting everything in the fall. Even if you’re not sure you will use it, collect it and store it in a folder. You never know who will move away or who will arrive. This will give you a solid starting point. Make sure you have a solid filing system. I preferred to scan everything and file it electronically. This way, I didn’t have to worry about losing papers or cluttering my classroom and work space. Clutter clouds my mind.
  3. Film Once. That’s right. I said it. I filmed once for each of my video components and it worked phenomenally. The more videos, I think the more I would have been confused and not known which to choose. I put all my eggs in one basket and therefore only had to worry about cutting down the footage to the right section.
  4. Invite friends and coworkers you trust to come observe to give you pointers about weak areas you might want to address. Take notes. These might be areas you want to address in your paper later about collaboration and/or reflection.
  5. Make sure your computer is ready for all the typing! You will spend many nights at that computer, drumming through and editing, revising and researching. If your computer isn’t up to the task, and you have the financial ability to do so, invest in a new computer. It’s going to become a close friend of yours.
  6. Start reading. Dust off some of those old college texts and find some new ones on your subject area. These are two books I used to help me with Literacy from early- to middle- childhood. With such an age range, I needed some extra pointers for those upper grades. These books were suggested by a coworker who also achieved national board certification in the same area. They did not disappoint. The more you read, the more you will absorb by osmosis. It comes in handy when you are writing and lesson planning.

Yes, I really did buy all the books below. However, if you’re looking for my top 5: I would say Writing Pathways, 50 Literacy Strategies, Power of Our Words, and The Writing Strategies books, and Guided Readers books.

Take a deep breath. If you’ve just started on your journey, know that it is well worth it in the end. The process truly has made me a more reflective practitioner.

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