Wednesday, August 24, 2016

6 Fast and Easy Ways for Students to Keep Up with Assignments, Projects and Tests

How an Electronic Device Can Help You 
Survive Back to School

High school is terrifying!

I realized this all over again when my son came home from  his first day of his freshman year at Veterans Memorial High School. 

In usual fashion, Coby was cool as a cucumber as we sorted through the pile of papers:
emergency cards, information sheets, the student handbook, et cetera..  All of these are things I've come to expect. No big deal.

When I came across the syllabus for his Algebra class, I got a little worried. 
Then, there was a syllabus for World Geography. Uh oh...anxiety rising now. 
Next, I found a syllabus for Biology.  At this point, I thought my head was going to explode!

Me:     O-M-G, Coby!  Have you looked at these?
Coby:  Looked at what?
Me:     The syllabuses  for your classes.
Coby:  No. 
Me:     Man oh man...these teachers mean business!
Coby:  How do you know?
Me:     It looks like all of them have a zero tolerance policy for accepting late assignments. 
Coby:  So?
Me:     So...if you don't turn in your work on time, you're gonna be racking up a bunch of zeros!

Me:     You've got to do a better job of keeping up with your assignments this year.
Coby:  Yeah. 
Me:     How are you going to remember to turn in your homework? 
Coby:  I'll just remember. 
Me:     5 out of 7 days you can't even remember that it's your job to feed the cat.
Coby:  I'll just remember. Don't worry.
Me:     It's my job to worry!  
Coby:  Maybe you can just follow me to school and turn it in for me?

Me:    I tell my patients all the time:  if you want to remember something, you've got to write it down!
Coby: Uh.....
Me:    We need to get you an assignment book.
Coby: That sounds complicated... and really old fashioned.

Old fashioned?  Me?  No way!  

That's when I decided I needed to think of a novel way to get that boy to keep up with his school work. Finally, it hit me....his tablet!

6 Fast and Easy Ways
 to Keep Up with Assignments, Projects and Tests

1.  Leave yourself a voice message- using a voice recorder app, you can simply speak the specifics of the project or assignment and then listen to them later. Example:  Math worksheet, problems 1 through 15, odds only. Due tomorrow.  As an alternative, if your electronic device is a cell phone, you can call yourself and leave a message.  No kidding, this really works!  Example:  "Hi!  Just calling to remind you there's a Spanish test tomorrow. Don't forget to study."

2.  Send yourself a text or email- it sounds weird, but you can do it and it's very effective...I've done it myself.  Example:  Remember to bring the signed student contract to Biology on Friday. As a suggestion, don't delete the message until the task has been completed. The presence of the message is a great visual reminder that you've got something to do.

3.  Take a picture- snap a shot of the information your teacher has written on the board.  This way, when you're back at home at the end of the day, there is no confusion about the assignment, the project, the material to study or the date of the test.  It's not a bad idea to take pictures of assignment rubrics and schedules for practices, club meetings,  games and special events.  While you're at it, snap a picture of your course syllabus- it has a lot of very important information you will need the entire school year.    Chances are, the pictures on an electronic device won't get lost or eaten by the dog,  and I can't imagine they would ever be left at school.

4.  Download an app- there are several great options for assignment book apps.   I recommend you check out My Homework app.  This particular app has so many features, I can't even list them all! It's pretty snazzy and does require quite a bit of data entry, but it is comprehensive and it's free. As long as  the use and maintenance of the app doesn't interfere with actually completing the assignments, it's a great choice. You can click here to learn more about other available homework apps.

5.   Set an alarm- using your clock app, schedule an evening alarm to remind you to study, to get going on your homework, to collect items for a project...whatever you need to do.  Alarm apps can be set up for single use or for Example:  Create an alarm for 8:00pm- Time to work on your research paper! Turn up the volume full blast and be sure to enable the snooze feature...just in case. 

6.  Mark it on the calendar-a calendar app is one of my personal favorites!  You can add an event, make a note or set a reminder for today, this week, this month, this year, or really, for anytime. On my calendar app, I can schedule anything I need to between now and December 31st, 2036. That's incredible!  Remember those pictures you were taking earlier? You can attach a photo to your scheduled event. Super cool!

These are just a few ways an electronic device (cell phone, tablet, iPod or iPad) can help kids keep up with the demands of school. Maybe your kids can "just remember" things, but I know mine can't. 

This weekend, Coby and I are going to go over these options so that he'll have a plan of attack come Monday. I'm determined to teach him to be responsible, one way or another. I suspect the novelty of using apps on a device will be just the thing he needs to avoid getting zeros for late work. 

I'll keep you posted!

Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.
William Shakespeare