Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Organization Tool - Spreadsheets!

I'm so pleased with this tool. Just using slash marks I can track what we've done and what we need to do at a glance without worrying about rescheduling my lesson plans if we're off a week or two in a subject. Click on the link to see it bigger.

2011-2012 Assignments Example

How I use it: Each row is a week of school. I include a row for vacation / holiday time. In the date column, I'm also tracking what weeks we have Monday co-ops (orange=co-op). Theoretically I have 36 rows. Each column is a subject. "Seton" is this child's grammar book. I decided that I'd like her to do 5 pages per week. So I list the lesson numbers.

As she completes a lesson, I put a slash mark through it (mine are diagonal -- yours can be any direction you like). So, if she/we get the flu and we're off for 2 weeks, I know right where we left off. In a workbook it doesn't seem like I'd need this kind of tracking, but it also keeps me accountable for grading (it's happened that in March I think "it's been a while since I've graded grammar" and I pick up the book to realize I haven't graded since October, so I have no idea what she's learned and what she hasn't. I usually make up for it in the final months of school cramming what she missed *blech*.)

Math-U-See is done at the child's pace, so, as she completes a worksheet, I put a slash through a, b, c, d, e, f (the numbering for the worksheets in that chapter). When she get 100% on a worksheet (a-f) she can move onto the test, so I circle the (T). Once she passes the test, I put a slash through (T) and move onto the next chapter. It doesn't matter which week we're actually in when they get to an assignment. For example, we could be in week 5 by the date, but she could be working on chapter 7 in Math. It's a math curriculum for mastery, so she may stay on one chapter for a month and cruise through others.

I can also see at a glance if we've accidentally skipped spelling for 2 weeks when I thought it had only been a week while we caught up in science. The form itself reminds me that at the beginning of the year I really wanted her to write a paper per week in either history or literature and now that her wrist is healed, 6 weeks later, it's time to get back to it.

With this system I can daily track math and grammar while I only need to test on Vocabulary weekly. When something is strung out over multiple weeks (like history units), I can accommodate that. At the end of the year I can see what we skipped from my original plan and decide that summer fun is more important, or I'm desperate to read that literature book to them.

If I wanted to make it a page longer, I could add blank rows under each week and track grades with this sheet.

I developed this originally for my high schooler, but I keep a copy and give one to each child in 6th grade on up so they can fill out their student planner.

It doesn't seem like brain surgery -- but this has been GREAT for me! I've made them for 2 other families this fall. (it's too fun to keep to yourself!) You might have to make yourself a legend so you remember what your own abbreviations mean, but .... that's O.K.

(Did everyone know about a tool like this all these years and just not TELL me???)