Monday, August 31, 2015

Student Recognition

The new school year is up and rolling! I always enjoy the energy and inspiration that come at the beginning of the school year. I am feeling well rested and ready to conquer the world! One of my many goals this year is to make my students feel special. In the online classroom, the key to student engagement is to make students feel cared for and noticed. One of the ways I seek to accomplish this is by creating a weekly student art gallery. I use Animoto (which offers free educator accounts with pro features!) to create an exciting gallery video each week.

I have always posted this gallery for students to access, but this year I am also emailing students who earn a spot in the gallery video to let them know how proud they should be. I send along a certificate which they can print and hang up if they desire (seen at the top of this post). I am hoping this little bit of extra effort gets my students feeling excited about creating artwork and feeling valued in their classroom community. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Keeping Parents and Students Informed

My summer school course has wrapped up and was a very positive experience. I conducted a parent and student survey at the conclusion of the course about the efficacy of the course to help them achieve their goals and how their experience was. I received many positive results and one thing both my parents and students mentioned being helpful was my consistent communication.

Each week I sent out an email to students and parents about the subject of study for the week unit, assignments, and due dates. I have discussed emails like this in previous entries (Communicating with Students Part 1, Part 2).

The main new type of communication that I incorporated in this course was to email parents and students progress reports every other week. Because the course was only 5 weeks long, it was important to keep parents and students informed. As a policy, I always allow students to resubmit projects through my course after reviewing my feedback. Even though students had access to their grade books, sending these progress reports seemed to do a nice job of alerting students to potential issues and put parents at ease. A school may already have a schedule for sending out midterm and quarterly grades as mine does during the school year. I have found that student achievement improves when students are parents are more aware of what is going on in the online classroom. It was helpful to employ this knowledge to a summer course and to include detailed information about each assignment for everyone involved.

Click here to download the progress report template:
Word version
Pages version