Remember my post about student-driven, project-based learning? If not, take a peek at "Hand Over the Reins: Student-Driven Projects." In that post, I highlighted our district challenge for classrooms to be awarded Google Chromebooks and the project we submitted in hopes of being named recipients.
Guess what? Our class was fortunate enough to receive Chromebooks for every student! YIPPEE! HOORAY! If you have read my post on executive functioning, you know that independent student organization and responsibility are of utmost importance. Google Calendar use via our Chromebooks has been a student organization savior!
NOTE: Our students are not yet able to take their Chromebooks home, so please know that all of these suggestions may be completed on any device with Internet access at home and/or school.
In order to maintain a master list of all assigned homework and include more details for nightly assignments (including links to homework files or attachments), I created a master homework calendar for my class. This allows me to put detailed homework instructions for specific or repeating/ongoing calendar events. This is the calendar that I post on my website, so that if a student forgets about an assignment or does not accurately record assignments in their personal homework calendars (see below), that student or their parents may reference the master list online. Also, this is a great resource for parents to continually keep track of what you are learning and tasks assigned.
Add specific events (assignments or due dates).
Add repeating/ongoing events (assignments or due dates).
Share the calendar with students and parents.
Within that master folder, students choose the folder for that week’s date.
Inside, they have access to everything they could possibly need (and more) to access the nightly assignments.
I still wanted to keep students personally accountable for the responsibility of recording nightly homework by doing the following:
I had them create a new calendar within their accounts and title it “(Name) Homework.”
They then add an event each day before leaving class titled “(Day) Homework.”
Using the email I send them each afternoon with nightly homework details (see below), students enter the information into their new event.
Once students create and populate their personal activities calendar (see below), they may start assigning timeframes to their nightly homework so that they are responsible for completing work prior to or after evening activities.
In addition to personal student calendars, I implemented the following back-up methods for students and parents to ensure they have several avenues to access information, resulting in a no-excuses expectation for nightly work.
Send an email for personal homework calendar entries to students before dismissal. Include brief notes on homework, and you may include links to files needed. Even if a student forgets to enter the information on their personal homework calendar, they still have the email to reference.
Share your class homework master calendar with parents and students.
Share your calendar’s web address with parents so they have access even without a Gmail account.
Embed your class homework calendar on your class website (if you have one).
In organizing our nightly assignments on students’ personal homework calendars, it became evident that they had little to no concept of timeframe after school for personal activities and homework planning. Time management at school is key to successful executive functioning, and it is important for students to carry those skills over to home application. So, I assigned students a weekend assignment to complete with their parents.
Create a new calendar in your school Gmail account Google calendar.
Title it (Name) After School Activities.
With a parent, create events in your calendar and fill in details for after school transportation, events, and activities.
If activities or events repeat, be sure to create a repeating event.
Share the calendar with parents and Mrs. Petlak.
Use the times listed for after school activities to help you plan for homework completion. (If you have practice on Tuesday from 6:00-8:00, you will need to work on assignments as soon as you get home from school.)
This has truly made a huge impact on homework assignments, accountability, and student independence, with little hassle and much excitement.
Students feel empowered by owning their own calendar.
They thrive on keeping track of personal after-school activities and planning out time to complete homework.
Best of all, there exists an understanding between school and home that, with all of the avenues for student organization and responsibility organized in Google Drive and their Google Calendars, students are independent and accountable.
Trust me, this will be a lifesaver for all involved, and everyone will LOVE using these devices for increased executive functioning at home and school!
Thanks for reading, and see you next week!