The #MyWorkflow series asks educators who are active creators on social media to share how they do their work. Today we speak to the most prolific, refreshingly vulnerable, and reflective edu-blogger I know, Aviva Dunsiger. I first connected with Aviva years ago when she was teaching grade 1 and had the memorable and highly coveted Twitter handle to match, @grade1 (I believe she sold it for a few million dollars;). Since then, I’ve always done my best to keep abreast of her amazing thinking and evolution as a pedagogue. To read her tweets and blogposts is to follow an educator that exemplifies lifelong learning and a growth mindset. Aviva is never afraid to share the joyous struggle that is the learning process. The world is a better place for the transparency she models.
How do you pay the bills?
So, I initially read this question and responded with, “always online and through my bank. I do love the ease of online banking: paying anytime, anywhere, with instant notification of payment.” Have I mentioned that I’m quite a literal person?! 🙂
After some clarification from Royan, I’ll now reply with, I’m a JK/SK teacher with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. I also recently started working with The MEHRIT Centre as the Portal Plus Moderator: an online forum for learning and sharing about self-regulation.
This is a good indication of how a person can interpret the same question in many ways.
What regular activity brings you little money but loads of happiness?
There are a few things that I could mention here, but the #1 activity is conversations with my Twitter PLN. Yes, some of these connections have resulted in some money making opportunities, but that’s not why I continue them. I love the questioning, the thinking, and the great discourse. I’ve made so many friends through Twitter, and we maintain this friendship, even though we may see each other infrequently.
What’s your current phone? Which phone do you miss? What will be your next one?
Royan knows that this question will bring me much amusement! My current phone is the Bell Samsung Pay-As-You-Go Flip Phone. No need for texts or data plans … just a good old, call-if-there’s-an-emergency, phone! 🙂 This is actually the first cell phone that I’ve ever had, and so I guess I cannot miss any of my old ones. I probably will just purchase another one when this one dies. Despite my love of technology and being connected, I also like disconnecting when I’m not in a wifi area. This is when I want to either unwind or connect with people face-to-face … and so, I’ll keep my iPad, but likely, stay away from a smartphone. As my Grade 5 and 6 students liked to point out, they all had better phones than me, but when we needed to make some calls for our Math Project, my phone was the only one that worked in the school. Sometimes old is good! 🙂
What’s your current laptop? Which laptop do you miss? What will be your next one?
My current laptop is a Samsung Chromebook. I love its speed and ease of use, although I do miss my MacBook Pro. I spilled not one, but two, coffees on it, and unlike me, the MacBook is not a fan of coffee. 🙂 Due to my clumsiness, I decided to go for a cheaper laptop option, and I must admit that I love it. There’s really nothing that I can’t do on a ChromeBook, or at least between my ChromeBook and iPad. Maybe my next laptop will be a ChromeBook too: it’s certainly economical, reliable, good on battery use, and fast!
What apps and/or methods do you use to stay productive?
My best way of staying productive and organized is email (old school again 🙂 ). I email myself lists of what to do, and when to complete everything, and then I start working through my lists. I keep all messages as unread until I complete everything on the list, and unread messages cause me stress, so this increases my productivity.
Which apps do you check persistently, even if you wish you didn’t?
The two I check most often are Twitter and Instagram. I love the connections, and these two apps are all about connections. I also check my email regularly, but I don’t know if that counts as an app. 🙂
How do you carry your gear?
Nothing too fancy for me! Most of my gear (which actually isn’t much), I carry in my purse and a small computer bag. I also have a big school bag, and sometimes I put my gear in there. It can be fun to mix things up once in awhile! 🙂
What other hardware rarely leave your bag?
Flip phone – check! ChromeBook – check! iPad Mini – check! That’s about it for me. I’m actually curious to see what others list here. I can’t even think about what else there would be.
What piece(s) of analogue technology is a must in your life?
I think that the big one would be my watch. Despite having many devices that tell me the time, I can’t really function without my watch. I do like my flip phone too … I wonder if that counts as analogue technology. 🙂
What drink, snack, or food sits next to you when you’re being creative?
Always coffee! Which explains my MacBook Pro woes, and why I now love my ChromeBook.
When working, do you prefer the cafe, library, couch, office, kitchen table, or other?
I usually use the kitchen table. My three dogs have their “nests” (beds) under there, and they love to sleep and play while I work. It’s good to have some company.
When working, do you need quiet, ambient noise, speakers, or headphones?
I need quiet. Even just the hum of noise in the background makes me have to share my thinking out loud in order to make sense of it (usually speaking to myself). The quieter, the better!
Morning, afternoon, evening, or the witching hour?
I’m an “all of the above” person. I work at different times depending on other plans, school times, a social life, etc. I do enjoy an evening nap, though. Even though I stay up late, it’s not abnormal for me to take about an hour nap sometime in the evening (usually around 8:00), before I finish my work afterwards. I think that the nap refocuses me.
How do you get from idea to shipping that idea?
I’d say thinking time and talking time. When I have an idea in my head, I spend some time thinking about it. Even as I’m working, napping, eating, and socializing, I’m still kind of playing around with that idea. Once I’ve done some thinking, I tend to run the idea by someone … usually my good friend, Jo-Ann. She asks good questions, shares her thoughts, and pushes me to think differently. Then I take all of this thinking and usually blog … I guess you could call that “shipping time.”
What’s one piece of advice you have for people that have difficulty with their workflow?
Jokingly, I’d probably say, find an expert and ask for advice (and by the way, that expert is not me 🙂 ). Seriously, though, Royan has some great workflow tips on his blog, and this Workflow Series is going to allow for more people to share tips. Read what others do. Think about where your problems lie, and see if there’s something that you can take from others and make work for you. There’s not one perfect system, and at times, I think it’s a lot of trial and error. (I’m thinking this counts as more than one piece of advice, but maybe that’s what makes me an “educational troublemaker.” 🙂 )
How can we find and connect with you online?