LiveBinders–Organization at Your Finger Tips!
LiveBinders allows users to organize online resources in one place. Think — digital 3-ring binder! Watch the video below to get an overview.
The site can remain private or be opened for public viewing. Plus, the originator can invite others to collaborate and add additional resources. LiveBinders is a versatile digital tool! I’m just learning how to create binders and have started one for a presentation on study skills in the digital age. It’s public so that I will be able to share it with session participants at the annual NELMS conference in April.
5 Possibilities for Teams
LiveBinders is a useful site for teams. Here are 5 ways to use this site to help students and team members stay organized, collaborate with other teams in the school, and communicate with parents:
- Students can create their Binders to organize their online resources for a research project. Accessible 24/7 from any computer, students can get to it at school and from home. If students are working in small groups, their information sources are stored in one place so any member can easily locate critical material. Things don’t disappear into the bottomless pits of lockers and backpacks, and the information needed for citation is only a click away.
- Team teachers can create private Binders to keep track of resources for various units or lessons. Everything is organized by unit in its separate Binder and stored on the teacher’s digital shelf.
- Team teachers can create public Binders to share with students and parents. Recommended or required sites for assignments can be organized at this site. A team might create a Binder for an interdisciplinary unit with supporting materials or one on homework help for students to access when they get stuck and can’t readily ask a teacher for clarification.
- Team teachers can collaborate with colleagues across grade levels or content areas to share resources. With several people contributing online sites, the Binder will grow more quickly. It can also be edited and updated every year.
- Team teachers can create public Binders especially for parents. It’s an efficient way to share resources on pertinent topics that interest parents: adolescent development, parenting in the digital age, how people learn, etc.
Generations of teachers have reminded students to review their notes nightly. Generations of students have ignored that advice and crammed the night before the exam. Is there a way to turn that behavior on its head? Perhaps.
Teachers send messages about what they value by the amount of time they spend on a topic or skills or procedure. If we want students to develop the habit of regularly reviewing class notes/work, then we ought take the time to teach them how to do that. The middle grades are an opportune time to help young adolescents develop study habits that will serve them well in high school, college, the military, or on the job.
Looking closely at the team schedule may reveal time where team teachers can build in guided reviews of class notes and materials. Perhaps it’s during homeroom or the fifteen minutes before lunch that often gets frittered away. Set up a schedule–Tuesday is social studies, Wednesday is science, etc. As a team come up with easy prompts to get the students talking about the material they are reviewing:
- What are the 3 things you bet will be on your quiz on photosynthesis?
- Think solving algebraic expressions–List 3 things you know so well you could could me who hasn’t studied algebra in 20 years, two things you still have questions about, and 1 thing you will do to answer your own questions.
- Use this 3 x 5 index to card to write down everything important from your notes from the past two weeks.
- Have students work together to create a visual representation of the big ideas they are studying.
By collaborating to build in regular study time, the team sends a strong message to their students and parents that they value regular and consistent review. When you see results from this review, be sure to celebrate with your students.
Here are a couple of variations:
- Overtime allow students to take control of the review. Help them become responsible for building their own study habits.
- Talk with other teams in your school and build a systematic approach 6-8. Over the three years gradually release the responsibility for studying to the students so that by the last quarter of eighth grade, most of them are on their own. Some may still need additional scaffolding.
Gradual Release of Responsibility Model
- I do it (Modeling)
- We do it together (Modeling)
- You do with a partner (Teacher coaching and giving descriptive feedback)
- You do it independently (Students demonstrating what they have learned)