Living in a digital world, it can be difficult for teachers to focus on content but also teach our students how to effectively use technology in order to stay organized. I've had the pleasure of visiting the Special Education department at our Neuqua this week, and in our conversations, I've learned that staying organized is a task that they are trying to tackle this year with their students. Here are three instructional practices our teachers are utilizing in order to help our students stay organized:
1. Give students time to organize their Google Drives
Now that most classes utilize tools like Google Classroom, the students' Google Drives are full of artifacts of learning. The problem....there is way too much there, and it is not organized. Ms. Gretchen Parejko and Ms. Cat Bishir, who co-teach American History, gave their students time to create folders and drag items from previous years and classes into designated folders. It is amazing to see how many untitled documents and random files students have in their Drives. They need to be taught how to properly organize and given time to do so while we can provide assistance. Giving up 10 minutes can be difficult in an instructional setting, but it will make your students' lives easier in the long run and help them be more efficient.
2. If students need copies of notes or study guides, store them in a Google Drive view folder and share with students
Many of our students require copies of notes and/or study guides for their classes. Digital tools can make this process easier and more efficient for our teachers. Teachers can create a View folder for their class and drop any notes and/or study guides into this folder for students, parents, and other teachers to utilize. For our support teachers, especially in a study skills classroom, this provides more opportunities for them to support our students. In order to do this, the teacher would have to create a new folder in his/her Drive, change the share settings to anyone with the link can view, and then share the link to the folder in Google Classroom, on his/her website, or in class. After creating a folder, anything a teacher drops in this folder will be accessible for the students. Even better...since the link is a live link, the teacher does not have to re-share it after adding new resources. Click here to learn how to do this.
3. Use Digital Resources to Teach Reflection and Advocating Skills
Our teachers are always utilizing formative assessments in order to check for understanding. In Ms. Erica Pavlik and Ms. Kelly Asa's Consumer Economic classes, they have started encouraging the students to actually do something with their formative assessment results in order to help them for future assessments. To start the semester, they created a Google sheet that lists the students' formative assessments, and the students are asked to add their scores into the sheet. From there, they have to reflect on strengths and weaknesses and then make a plan of action for improvement. Eventually, Erica and Kelly hope the students can create these sheets themselves, advocate for themselves regarding what they need more help with in class, and then help others in the class in an area they have mastered. Talk about student owership! This type of lesson/activity can be utilized in any class, at any school, as students should always be reflecting on their learning.
Bonus Tip - Did you draw/write something on the board or notice something in a students' notebook that you want to share with the class? We all know that some people learn better using a pen and paper. Or sometimes we need to share information with our students that is better displayed by us on a whiteboard or chalkboard. Instead of just erasing it or having the student put his/her notebook away, take a picture with your phone and upload the picture of the notes to the Google Drive. If you have a view folder, put this in the view folder for all students to see. There is an awesome app for the Google Drive that makes it simple to complete this task. Watch the video below to see it in action.
We can't always assume our students are confident using technology to enhance their learning. We need to model effective practices and give them time to get organized, reflect, and advocate for themselves. I have enjoyed talking with teachers about how they tackle this problem in their classrooms! #whatsup