Tuesday, August 30, 2016

3 Things every teacher MUST figure out

The school year is upon us! Teachers across the country will soon greet a new group of students. There's nothing like the hope, promise, and excitement of the first day of school. The whole year is in front of you; you have an opportunity to start fresh - to do things the "right" way this time.

Determining HOW you are going to run and operate your classroom is a critical question. Every teacher needs to answer these three critical questions:

1. How am I going to send information TO my students? 

Teachers must have an effective way to get assignments, links, articles, homework, instructions, templates, etc to their students.

Bady ways* to send information to students: 

  • Ask them to type www....
  • Print it out - save a tree!
  • Email it - so 1990
Good Ways to send information to students: 
  • Use Google Classroom!
  • Create a class website
  • Use another learning management tool (but really, you should use Google Classroom!)
  • Setup a shared folder (but really, you should use Google Classroom)

2. How am I going to receive information FROM my students. 

You must have a foolproof way to receive finished work, questions, drafts, and reflections from your students.

Bad ways* to receive information from students:

  • Email - you get enough email already
  • Sharing Google documents - "shared with me" is a disaster already.
  • Printing - save a tree. 
Good ways to receive information from students
  • Have them turn it in via Google Classroom (for real, your life will be much easier)
  • Have them submit work via a Google Form. 
  • Use shared folders in Google Drive (but really, you should use Google Classroom!)

3. How am I going to grade, evaluate, and provide feedback to students? 

You must have a simple and effective way to provide feedback to students. Your method should be easy for you to provide and simple for your students to receive. 

Bad ways* to provide feedback: 
  • Use a PDF annotator to write on student work (don't believe me, ask Alice Keeler, she'll explain it. = ) 
  • Print everything and mark it up on paper - this takes too long
  • Just give 'em a grade, skip the feedback
Good ways to provide feedback: 
  • Use the comment feature in Google Drive
  • Leave private comments in Google Classroom
  • Use Kaizena to leave verbal feedback. 
  • Record a screencast and send it to students. 
  • Use a rubric tool like Goobric or OrangeSlice
It doesn't really matter how you answer these three questions. No two classrooms will be the same. What IS important is consistency. Pick your tools and methods and be consistent! 

How have you answered these three questions? 

*I'm not against, typing URLs, printing, email, hand-written feedback, etc. But I would NOT recommend using these methods as your standard way of sending, receiving, and providing feedback to students. 

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