I have a new PAA — Personal Analog Assistant.

I’ve been thinking about buying a PDA for a while, but the price tag really put me off the idea in a lot of ways. It was ugly, thinking about it for me, especially since so little of that level of tech exists in the schools. So, after thinking about organization stuff, and reading the Thomas Simonicelli (sp?) book on organization for System Administrators put out by O’Reilly, I thought I’d try the PAA described by Tom and also described at , as well.

Mine consists of a couple dozen index cards — some colors, but mostly white, each with a hole punched in the same place, and linked by a loose-leaf binder ring. I also have a blue binder clip at the other end to hold it all together. One page has a make-shift calendar on it; another has my school’s period times, others have an attendance sheet for my spring sport, a list of plants I’ve pointed out to them, and stamps from letterboxes we’ve found. It’s a useful place to jot down demerit and merit points, and I can pull a sheet out to give a kid a pass to the library.

It turns out that there’s a simple wiki-scripted HTML page (which you can find at if you’re at all interested) that creates specific pages on 3×5 cards, so I can also print out things that I find useful, like long-term to-do lists and table-based grade books for each week, in each of my classes. It’s going to be VERY useful.

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  1. I’m glad you had a good time…

    Dear Souci,

    I’m so glad you had a good time. I was worried that it was going to be stressful or un-fun. But the times I saw you, you looked to be having a terrific day. And so you were. It was wonderful to have you here.

  2. Oh yeah. I have a question for you about Trampoline. I read about this guy who went and lived on the Scilly Islands, off the coast of Cornwall, Britain, for several months, in order to understand how folks who live in a low-tech environment still network effectively — for example, only the people who are actually traveling, or who work for the ferry company, ever know what time the ferries are leaving on any given day.

    Have you seen anything about this, and what do you think?

  3. VERY useful!

    I now have my own PAA or Hipster PDA, which is great. I tear out half-cards to make into library passes or computer passes, and use the remaining stubs to keep track of who went to the computer lab — then I can check in with the computer lab monitor and make sure they showed up and did the work they were supposed to do.

    I keep a blacklist of people who can’t go to the computer lab, too. I printed grade-book sheets for each of my classes (for each week until the end of the term) with lines to write the assignment in on the lined part of each card. So I can grade anywhere and track the grades.

    I have a card with the next four months’ dates and days on it, and on the other side is the time-schedule for each class.

    I have a to-do list, a grocery list, a hardware list, a music list, and a movie list.

    There is a card with the phone numbers of all my dormitory kids’ parents. There’s a paper clip attached to that, so phone message slips can go right into the PAA in an appropriate place. There’s a list of plants I’ve seen on my local nature walks, and a list of birds and paw prints I’ve seen lately.

    Oh, yeah. And I hired a cleaning service, so I didn’t have to live in a mess.

  4. Having copies of the poems would be terrific. Especially if you have them as MS-word documents or .pdf files, and I can just e-mail them to the teachers. Two of the school’s copiers seem to be down right now, and it’s awkward to get things copied.

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