Less is More

It’s the time of year when educators know exactly how many days are left in the school year. Perhaps even the exact number of hours left before every kid will finally be off campus. This year the countdown to summer feels a lot different, but maybe that is a good thing. After a year of being inundated with resources, recommendations, and a plethora of online items: links, tools, videos, webinars… maybe it’s time to clear out what has become too much.

 I am proposing a new “less is more” mindset. To be clear, I’m not talking about organizing down to only one coat and three shirts. All the work you’ve done to create the perfect Bitmoji classroom needs to be seen and enjoyed! However, the same may not apply to the 50 new bookmarked websites and all the free versions of whatever you have collected over the past year.

It’s not an easy solution to propose. In fact, it technically goes against our very nature! When solving problems, people typically think about adding something to fix the problem instead of taking something away to fix it. Even when subtracting is the better solution! So, what does this mean? Easy, as I said before, less is more- it’s science! 

So how does adding another cool catchphrase like “Less is More” actually help us get to less? Let’s practice by taking a look at that plethora of digital tools you’ve probably collected this year. If you need to give a practice quiz, no matter if it is in-person or online, you probably think about using Kahoot. Or maybe Mentimeter? How about Google forms? No, wait, maybe Flipgrid! In just a few seconds, we can all come up with a handful of tools to pick from, and you may pick one over another for any number of reasons. 

The bigger problem is you can probably have this same conversation about the tools for direct instruction, brainstorming, or communication. So how do we apply a “less is more” approach? Find the multi-tool! There are several online tools that you can use in multiple ways. For instance, one teacher offered that she uses Padlet for brainstorming one day, assessment on another, and then communication on a different day.  Admittedly it is not the very best tool to use for each purpose, but it is an excellent multi-purpose tool. One good tool used in many ways is how you get to less is more. More time, more rest, more space in your virtual filing cabinet!

However, I urge you to keep going. Don’t stop at just digital tools! Apply this thinking to your emails. Setting aside several times a day to stop and go through emails may be more productive than checking them relentlessly throughout the day. Setting a limit to when and for how long you will scroll through your social media may save you time and sanity. By setting times or time limits, you are choosing less but getting so much MORE.

I’ll keep this short so that you can have MORE time to start practicing LESS!