You put a lot of energy, creativity and effort into planning and managing assignments – from designing and assigning them to answering questions, checking up on whether they’ve been turned in and finally grading them.
But does corralling assignments ever feel like this?
Here are seven ways to make your assignment process easier, from start to finish.
1. Simplify standards-based assessment
If you teach in the US public school system, alignment with state education standards is part of your day-to-day life. Designing assignments to meet those standards may, at times, feel like it’s putting a damper on your creativity. But with the right tools, standards-based assessment doesn’t have to keep you from incorporating fresh, creative and engaging assignments into your teaching.
The Skooler learning management system makes it easy to directly import standards from your state’s Department of Education, then align the standards to your lesson plans. Every assignment you make in Skooler, and its assessment, can be linked to the appropriate standards – like a checklist. That way you can ensure that, for every student, your plans, assignments and assessments are aligned to meet the standards for each student’s respective level.
2. Get the most from rubrics
If you’re using formative assessments to evaluate how students are progressing in their learning, you know the importance of feedback rubrics. But creating and attaching rubrics to every piece of student work – and making sure students keep track of them – can be a complicated endeavor.
Save yourself time and energy by starting a library of re-usable rubrics in Skooler. Simply click on the Rubrics tool, then + Add rubric.
Customize your fields and points values in the rubric creator and copy and paste the criteria you usually use. Save. Now, the next time you go into Assignments & Assessments, it will be there, ready to attach to your students’ assignments. Here’s an example:
3. Focus on mastery while streamlining the feedback cycle
With Skooler and Teams, the feedback cycle mirrors what goes on in the classroom. Rather than a “one and done” situation where assignments are turned in and graded all at once, Teams allows students to turn in their work as many times as needed to master the assignment. This way they keep learning and improving their work over time, and teachers can track their progress and provide guidance along the way. This is a great way to transition into a competency-based education model where students can learn and revise at their own pace until they master a new skill. Then they’re ready to take on the next assignment (and so are you).
4. Support project-based learning
If you’re using project-based learning, you may find yourself assigning (and assessing) multi-modal projects where students can create any type of project they want to, so long as it answers certain questions. This may involve a lot of different project formats – essays, posters, dioramas etc. – making the process of assessment even more complicated. (Ever drive home with a backseat full of poster boards?)
While multi-modal projects can provide unique and incredibly powerful learning experiences, they also can take a lot longer to grade, making students wait longer to get feedback. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could support multi-modal projects all within your online learning management system?
With Skooler, you can give students the flexibility of a wide variety of different formats and file types for their projects, such as interlinked documents, digital whiteboards in OneNote, videos, photos of constructed projects and even video storytelling or presentations. All can be assigned within their Class Notebook, which allows for multi-modal inking, typing, and embedding multimedia. You can give feedback in the same place, making the whole process faster and easier. (And it just may save your back seat from all the shedding glitter.)
5. Feel the joy of checking-off daily work
Ever find yourself staring at a stack of 30 spiral bound notebooks that you need to flip through to find every student’s latest journal entry or to check a project for completion? There is a certain satisfaction as you close the last notebook in the pile, but just think how much smoother and more satisfying the experience would be if all of the exercises and assignments were in one digital hub where you can evaluate them and mark them complete.
This is how it works when you move your exercises to the assignments hub in Teams. Journal entries can be completed as Word documents or a Class Notebook page. You can even skip assigning a point value. Simply pull up the assignment for review, select a student’s document to open it in the document viewer, and speed through each student’s work using the arrows next to student names. When you check them off as complete, the student is immediately notified.
Super fast. Super easy.
6. Tailor assignments with a simple dropdown
You may find yourself teaching multiple sections of the same course to different groups of students or needing to tailor assignments for specific students who have different learning needs. It can be tough to track who’s working on what. And you don’t want students with special needs to feel singled out when their instructions and work differ from those of other students.
When you create assignments in Skooler, you can either select multiple classes from the dropdown menu or select individual students or small groups in one class for specific work. And it’s easy to re-use assignments too – no sense reinventing wheels.
7. Be a quick-change artist
Nobody’s perfect. And sometimes assignments need to be changed. Perhaps you make an assignment then realize later that you’ve missed a key direction. Or you might find yourself answering the same questions over and over – a clue that you probably weren’t clear enough in your directions from the start.
When you manage your assignments in Skooler, you can make changes at any time – even assignments you’ve already sent out – and ensure that your students always have the latest and greatest. Open the assignment, select the Edit button, change what you need to change, hit Update and you’re done. And you know that both you and your students are looking at the most up-to-date version.
Not at your computer when you realize a fix is needed? No problem. You can make changes to assignments, or even create new assignments, right from your phone.
How are you using Skooler to make your day-to-day teaching a little bit easier? Let us know!