Who’s Out There?

The sudden closure of our school meant that I spent the better part of last weekend scrambling for how I could continue to provide engaging and meaningful learning activities for my students. I believe I have a good start with the Living History Project. But the problem is how to tell my students about it…

So I posted announcements in our LMS and pushed them out via ParentSquare (messaging system). According to our dashboard, all parents are connected to and set up to receive notifications/message except for one. While I find that hard to believe…I’m going to go with the known data that 99% of parents/students are receiving my messages.

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So how does that explain that I haven’t heard from or seen any online activity from 25% of my students? Three parents reached out privately in response to my ParentSquare message about picking up a hard copy of the assignments, so I’m not counting those parents/students among the 25%.

So I decided to take one of the assignments I posted–a Google Form soliciting which type of Living History Project they were going to do…paper versus digital–and I made that a five point summative assessment grade in Aeries. Students who did not complete the Google Form received a zero. Those who did earned five points.

And then I waited…

Before long, I had students emailing me and completing the Google Form. In fact, this was my favorite email:

The student didn’t write anything in the email. They just sent me a screenshot of their grade in Aeries…to which I replied:

“I am so glad you checked in with me! I have been posting announcements in PowerSchool and ParentSquare/StudentSquare about assignments that you need to be working on. We are taking a break from the unit test and digital notebook and you are working on the Living History Project instead. The missing assignment is the Google Form that you need to fill out. Go to PowerSchool > Living History Project.”

And then 30 minutes later, the same student sent me a screenshot of the completed GoogleForm.

Mind you, I am not counting the GoogleForm as a summative assessment. But I needed to figure out a way to reach those students who have been silent since last Friday. I know many of them check their grades…so that was my way to get their attention.

I suspect that over the next day or two more students will come out of the woodwork as they and their parents adjust to a new normal. I know they need to catch their breath. I know that they have other priorities to worry about…but my goal was to see who has online access…who was out there with me. We were not given the opportunity to gather this information before school was closed which would have been more helpful than the data from ParentSquare that listed only one household as having not contact information.

If anyone has other creative ways to get students to respond…my ears are open. In this day and age, we need to band together to share best practices and innovative ways to stay in touch with our students.


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