Kim Fields

Don’t Hope For It; Work For It

My students have a difficult time transitioning from a self-contained classroom in primary to a departmentalized grade level upon entering fourth grade. Being responsible for keeping up with assignments for multiple classes for multiple teachers is difficult. Each year I find that the list of students with missing work piles up. Last school year I began to keep a missing work spreadsheet that I allowed students access to view so that they could easily track what assignments they still needed to complete for my class. This helped decrease the amount as it helped students keep track, but the list was still much longer than I would have liked. With this in mind, I chose to implement a tool called the effort tracker. Throughout my most recent unit, I began to have students keep track of their effort. I had them report on questions such as, “How hard did I concentrate or try? How much time did I spend studying, practicing, or working on this assignment? How carefully did I check and correct my work? Did I ask questions or request help if I was confused?” I was surprised at the honest way that students answered each question and watched as they began to make connections between their effort and their success. My missing work list decreased, and my students began exhibiting characteristics of responsibility and self-awareness. I recommend this tool for use in the classroom. It was worth the time that it took to implement it.

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