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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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The Daily Memo: Staying Organized With Help From the Internet

When I started my doctoral program, I knew I would have to be away from class for several weeks during the school year. I have never really liked the results I get with substitute teachers, even though I have been one and understand their problems all too well. I needed to do things differently.

I designed a Web site that would serve as the repository of all my assignments. I also decided to post the agenda for every class, every day. It seemed like a good idea until I realized that I had to update it every night. Still, having fresh information on the site every day added a level of anticipation to each class.

On the site, there is a link for each class. On each class page, there is a link to the Daily Memo. In it, I post whatever I want the students to do for that particular day. They check it every day, whether I'm in class or not. When I am on the road, I update the site from wherever I find myself that evening.

I even throw them little curve balls, in which I ask them to email me something, again through the site, about the assignment they are working on. I rarely read through these responses very carefully. Rather, I use them as a way to see who is looking at the Daily Memo each day.

Now, when I have to be away, substitutes fight to get my class, because they know they really don't have to do anything. I've already done it!

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Sue Wolf's picture
Anonymous (not verified)
Kudos to this teacher and all who have also provided this type of resource for students and families. As a parent of middle and high schoolers, it makes home life so much more managealbe when they have a back up of information from a long, busy day at school. My kids not only have what they need at their finger tips - directly from the teacher, but accessing it regularly builds in them a responsibility factor that will sustain them through life. Those who forgot to finish something, didn't know what questions to answer, or didn't write down the due date, can go from barely making it through a class because of missing (yet often finished) assinments - to a highly successful student. All because they have another opportunity to get this vital information! With expectations high and the volume of work to match, teacher communication is a key factor in making sure students learn what the teachers are indending. Yes, planners are great, however when your brilliant dyslexic child is not an organizer, has poor handwriting, or just gets overwhelmed writing it all down when it's time to go to the next class... it's not enough. When a smart and capable student has tools like this, it opens the door to what we are all hoping they grasp - the world of edcuational opportunities. Thank You teachers who use technology!

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