Show Your Work: Documenting Independent Student Work

During the period of school closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I created online assignments for my vision and O&M students to complete on their own. I wanted a quick and easy way for students to document the completion of their assignments in one place. This was especially important because in many cases there was no written assignment to turn in--the assignment might be to watch a video or listen to an audio file, without requiring a written response. The students could have emailed me when they finished assignments, but then I would have had to either save their emails or document it myself in another place.

So, since our district uses the Google platform, and I provide both vision and O&M services, I created a shared Google Sheet called "Vision and O&M Work" for each student, with columns for date, subject area, activity completed, and response (if required). A PDF copy of the Sheet template is attached to this post. Since I teach both vision and O&M, the subject areas for vision might include keyboarding, technology, transition, etc. If it was an O&M assignment, usually the student would just note "O&M" for the subject. In the shared folder that housed the Sheet, I placed a Google Doc with very specific directions for using the Sheet; a PDF file of those directions is also attached to this post.

Since the Sheet was a shared file, I was able to see each student's entries on an ongoing basis. By checking each Sheet every couple of days, I could see the progress the student was making and give them a virtual "nudge" if I wasn't seeing any entries. The Sheet was useful both for grading my vision resource students (who were enrolled in a class with me) and also documenting IEP progress for those students as well as the students I serve on an itinerant basis.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that my students started off pretty well with entering information in the first week of digital learning, but after that I had to do a good bit of reminding to get them to do it. However, this is not a reflection on the form itself, because it should have taken the students no more than a couple of minutes to enter the information upon finishing an assignment. And if a student repeatedly failed to do it, I noted in my service logs and progress reports that I did not have documentation that the student was completing the assignments.

For readers of this post, you are welcome to use the attached documents as a model to create your own forms and instructions and customize them for your own students and learning environments. I saved the documents as PDF files so that my original files would not accidentally be modified, but they are very easy to create using any spreadsheet and document programs you wish. Although it might sound like a lot of work to create a form for every student, once you create a template it is easy to copy and customize it for each student. I plan to continue using the form in the next school year for any remote learning that takes place.