These will probably not work for you as it, so take what works and make it your own!
If you are looking for templates and resources, skip ahead…if you want to have some context, keep reading.
Daily? Weekly? Zoom? Meet? Teams? We are figuring out #allthethings!
But more recently, the most dreaded buzz words—synchronous and asynchronous learning–have been stressing us all out. Between getting the required number of minutes on our schedule and actually understanding the difference, I hope these formats will help you. I’m no expert—how can any of us be? But, I hope you’ll feel a little more ready to plan those lessons.
First things first, our schedule. We have a minimum requirement for synchronous aka LIVE time with students and asynchronous aka student-paced or independent work time. We were also asked to make our schedule mirror the regular in-person schedule as much as possible. This is why you see such specifics about lunch and recess and even restroom (because we only have one set of bathrooms for the whole school!). Of course, we will share with families that they can reorganize time as much as the need to, except they should be present for LIVE lessons. (I will put that in all caps for the rest of distance learning and say it like “LIVE FROM NEW YORK, It’s SATURDAY NIGHT!” You can’t stop me.)
So now you know how my time is organized. I’ll share more about the schedule later.
Reflecting on the spring: One thing I recognized was that regardless of where students’ academic needs were, there was an additional level of support for students with technology—the hyperlinks and the embedded videos and logins and turn in buttons and private comments and emails and forms and…it never ended!
So I took the ideas my district shared with me that are readily available as free templates both simplified and jazzed up and made it as easy to follow for students as I could imagine.
Pretty quickly I learned what worked:
- Highlighted text.
- Embedded links and videos.
- Not all subjects on the same day!
What didn’t work:
- All subjects on the same day.
- Me talking about assignments rather than giving time for them to do them during our meeting.
- Having a separate place to record assignments other than the slides.
- Basically there was something that was always not right for everyone! Including me!
3 Asynchronous Assignment Templates
First ask yourself these questions:
- Do some or all students need daily assignments chunked out or will they do better with a week long assignment to manage as they see fit?
- Do you personally have the time to manage two types of assignment formats?
- Will changing the format allow students better access to the content and keep and/or raise expectations?
If you skipped ahead, WELCOME to the templates and resources section!
NOTE: Please don’t judge the “ask of the task” on these examples–honestly, I know they could be better assignments, but I was really trying to help everyone feel successful and learn at the same time–that was super hard during these quarantine times.
I found that students who would normally flourish in my classroom were feeling overwhelmed with weekly assignments. They needed support to break it down to know what to do day-by-day. I didn’t lower expectations, I supported them in learning and tracking expectations each day. I was also able to give them feedback daily (exhausting, but necessary), but because not all of my students did the daily hyperdoc assignments, I was able to manage it and get faster as time went on.
I went through two different versions of this and it is on google docs which is not my favorite formatting wise–but for kids typing right into the doc, it made the most sense. The first version shows the directions on the left and task/questions on the right. What I learned was the students didn’t always read down and go back up to where the task began which made me move to the one column.
The first one was what I started with–not my original idea! This was adapted for 5th grade from a template that Hillary shared (Teaching Without Frills) via instagram stories. You can see the colors change when the day changes and each day is a morning message. I’m not sure if this will work for my students or not! I’m going to take a poll and see–but the biggest problem I run into here, is that they weren’t recording a lot on this document and I had to create other assignment documents. So many documents! And if I did make a space for them to record right on here, then they couldn’t turn all the days in until Friday was finished. So you just have to decide what works for you! And maybe this would be a better fit embedded into a google site or something similar as a published slide deck that has links, but not as something that each student gets a copy of on Google Classroom????
You can see I then broke it down to one set of slides per day–but eventually I thought the google doc was just easier than multiple slides!
Weekly Slides by Subject:
Where I might have thought daily assignments was a better fit, I found that some students were totally ready to work on one subject throughout the week or finish something in one day. This presented a little bit of a challenge on feedback, however, because some students wouldn’t turn in until Friday or even over the weekend. So I would randomly go in during the week and write comments like “Hey! I noticed you haven’t gotten started… let me know how I can help!”
You’ll also notice in the reading example above, I put the read aloud slides right into the assignment so they could “binge” read or could read a bit each day. This differed from students who received the daily hyperdoc format because they only received a few chapters each day pacing it across the week. I would set up a flipgrid to discuss and shared ideas, but the students who had daily format would see the info for the flipgrid on the final day of assignments so they wouldn’t have anything spoiled for them.
In the end, I needed to adjust my sections and put some students with daily assignments and some with weekly. I’m not sure how I will organize this school year, but I’m excited to see what makes sense for my students because even though I have an idea of what I like and how to manage it, the truth is, every set of students is different and I’m different now, too!