As an educator, we are trained to be these highly organized individuals. We label, we color code, we sort and we stack. It’s the only way we can ever be successful. But our students? Not so much. They might be the most unorganized people ever! Trying to get our students organized can be an impossible task. But it doesn't have to be with a digital table of contents!
You might be thinking, “That’s wonderful but I’m paperless, how can I create something similiar?” I am glad you asked! In the digital notebook world, keeping students organized with all of their digital files is actually quite easy. I have constructed a list of five SIMPLE, EASY TO FOLLOW steps that you can easily incorporate into your next digital notebook unit.
- Students log into their Google Drive. On the left, they click on NEW, and then FOLDER. They name their new folder appropriately for whichever digital notebook unit they will be working on.
- YOU, the teacher, create a Google Sheet set up to resemble a ‘table of contents’ for the digital notebook unit you are working on. You will want to include SOME of the first few documents the students should have in their folder. You will also want to include a section that allows them to manually ‘check off’ each item that they have completed.
- SHARE this digital table of contents document with each of your students. They will find this shared document in their Google Drive account, under the link called “Shared with me”. Once they open the document, they can “move” to the document to their digitial notebook folder.
- As the students work through their digital notebook unit, they will be held responsible for updating their now-digital table of contents and checking off each assignment they have completed.
- Once the unit is complete, the students can SHARE their digital table of contents, as well as the rest of their digital notebook unit, with you. At the point, you can use a pre-made scoring rubric to complete a ‘notebook check’ of all mandatory assignments in their shared folder.
Teaching our students to be organized is KEY to mastery of a unit. Creating the beginning of the digital table of contents give the students a guide as to how it should look and be set up.
Having the students be in charge of typing in each assignment that corresponds to the unit into their table of contents, and then giving them the satisfaction of ‘checking off’ each completed assignment holds them accountable for their own work. Allowing the students to view your scoring rubric early on in the unit will show them exactly what they need to do in order to achieve the grade they want.