Venus "Thought Traps!"

Today I finished Chapter 4 of The Together Teacher, titled Never Forget! Capture Your Thoughts.  As I kept reading the phrase thought catchers (which the author suggests teachers use so that we don't lose those ideas that pop into our heads at unpredictable times during the day, I kept thinking of dream catchers, so I needed to call them something else, and Venus Fly Traps somehow popped into my head. So, in my mind, my thought catchers will be called Venus Thought Traps instead:)

The idea of the thought catcher is that one should have a place to write the ideas that occur during the course of the day; and rather than popping into a colleague's room to share that thought (which I tend to do) or sending off a quick email to share the thought or question, one should organize those thoughts into categories so that several of the thoughts or questions can be addressed at the same time.  For example, if you work closely with a few different people - let's call them Ralph, George, and Sandy - when a thought for Ralph comes to mind, you should jot that thought in the "Ralph" category on your paper. If a question for Sandy comes up, jot it in the Sandy column. Assuming none of these thoughts/questions are urgent, save them until you are meeting with those individuals, or save them and send an email that includes several of the items. Organizing thoughts in this way may help you to save time and will help you to remember those things that you need to share with others (both professionally and personally). I know that I have often sent a quick email or text, with the exact words - "So that I don't forget to tell you later...."  If I can get myself into the habit of using a Venus Thought Trap, I will capture those thoughts on paper, not have to worry so much about forgetting (which I seem to do more frequently these days...), send fewer messages and interrupt fewer people.

My "Venus Thought Trap" - click to download
On my catcher, I included a "team" column, because I meet with my team every day and I should be able to save my thoughts until the meeting. I included lesson ideas since I often have thoughts about what to change and I don't write them down.

Of course, in order to capture randomly occurring thoughts on paper, you need to have your thought catcher with you at all times; the author suggests that your thought catcher go everywhere with you (I think I'll try keeping mine on a clipboard that I can carry with me).

Have you tried something like a thought catcher? What works for you?


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