We think a lot about time management at Chalkup because we know that a student who can follow a schedule and plan ahead is more likely to thrive as their responsibilities and workload grow. Why not introduce them to tools that will sharpen these skills and develop their time management preferences?
We’ve found that getting these resources in a student’s toolbox will help do just that.
A shared course calendar is a good way to get your class thinking about what’s ahead. And you can play with this tool for more than just when homework is due. Additional calendar entries -- like a suggested study timeline or check-ins on projects before the final due date -- enforce spreading out work instead of saving it to the last minute. (There will always be someone who waits to the last minute. But hopefully this will set up the majority of your students to build good habits.)
We like this hack - consider starting the first class of the week with a review of your Chalkup calendar and talk about what’s ahead. Get it in front of them. Visualize how much time is available to complete work or study for an upcoming exam. After a few weeks, remove this practice. Ideally some of your students will take up reviewing the course calendar independently and build it into their own time management system.
A big lesson is learning not just what you have to do, but estimating how long it will take. This takes practice - there are plenty of adults still learning how to do this effectively.
To help students learn how to effectively allocate their hours, we suggest using a tool that allows you to work a time estimation into the mix. For example, in our workflow we allow teachers to include a time estimate on all assigned work. This estimate syncs to a student’s dashboard and calculates the total amount of time it will take for them to complete work across all of their classes.
(Smarter) To-Do Lists
That leads us to to-do lists: a tried-and-true form of time management. Let’s make more out of these tools. It’s worth looking for ways that a student can organize their whole life, not just homework, through a digital to-do list. We think study time, band rehearsal hours, sports practices, or anything else you need to make time for is worth keeping track of. That’s why we worked custom student tasks into our calendars to give students more time management options.
This is a big one. Sometimes all you need is a little reminder that a due date is coming up or you have an exam tomorrow. Don’t let stuff like this slip through the cracks - build a notification system into a student’s toolbox and make room for customization.
As students develop systems for balancing schoolwork, it’s nice to give them options for how they keep themselves on track. While some might prefer a text message or push notification when it’s time to roll up their sleeves and get something done, others could prefer an email. Test tools that give them these reminder options.
Help from Peers
In the real world, staying on track sometimes means leaning on teammates. Consider looking for tools that connect students outside of class and encourage collaboration. There’s a lot to be said for how these tools can support learning objectives, but they also have the potential to grow good time management habits when they help peers hold each other accountable.
A strategy here is using digital collaboration tools to create virtual study groups or discussion threads that get students reliant on one another to finish tasks or further discussion.
Depending on the age and time-management savvy of your students, it might be appropriate to get parents into the mix to enforce good habits. If you’re using digital assignments or a course calendar, look for ways to grant parent access. This doesn’t mean you’re allowing parents to take over a student’s time management, but inviting them to the party lets parents backup good practices at home and stay in the loop about upcoming work. Think of it as a united time management front.
Take Your Work With You
Welcome to 2015. If we want to show students how to make the most of their time, schoolwork should be accessible whenever a student wants or needs it. This is why cloud-based resources like Google Apps for Education are so awesome. Whether in school, at home, on the bus, or in a waiting room, students can check in on assignments from a phone, laptop, or tablet. Leverage these resources and highlight the benefits of being able to catch up whenever it makes sense for your schedule.