How I made OneNote Class Notebook the most versatile tool in my classroom

With this being my first year at a new school, I started exploring many platforms that I could use to set up a completely paperless classroom. I was looking for a platform that would allow me to communicate with students, administration and parents. It would have to allow real-time, class collaboration, oh, and it would have to let me give assignments, grade them and be super simple to use, without taking a lot of time and trouble to set up.

When someone sees a full OneNote Class Notebook with all the tabs, sub-tabs and pages within, the first question that pops up might be, ”Why go through all the trouble?” It’s easy for me to explain that it really is no trouble at all. Here’s why it’s the best thing that can happen in your classroom:

 

Communication

 

The first reason concerns how I convey to parents what I’m teaching. Parents have busy lives and little time, but when they do have a few moments they want a full report. By giving parents rights to view the content library, they are able to see everything that has been happening in your classroom as if they were there. All the instructions (for me that usually means video tutorials, screen recordings, step by step instructions, additional materials, sites, etc.) that are shared with the students are shared with their parents as well.

 

Collaboration

 

The ability to assign tabs and pages to small groups of students of two and three is the best thing about Class Notebook. I can make groups according to their interests and the types of learners they are – I don’t have to go by their seating arrangements.

 

Report card

 

Allowing parents to view their child’s Notebook is like opening a whole world to them. They can not only see the progress they’ve made, but the products of their work. There will be time when grades will become obsolete and students will apply to universities with their portfolios. Once parents view their child’s Notebook they no longer care for the grade, but for the growth.

 

Observations

 

Just imagine how easy it is for the administration to keep track of your lessons when they have full access to the materials you’re sharing with the students, along with your weekly plans, daily plans and student notebooks.

 

Behavior reflection sheets

 

We need to keep track not only of students’ emotional growth, but their intellectual growth. Having a tab for dedicated to reflection sheets in private student Notebooks makes communicating progress with parents and keeping track of it all much simpler.

 

Giving feedback

 

Using OneNote, feedback can comprise anything from written notes, to audio notes, video, badges, scribbles – you name it. I’d really like to see all methodology books rewritten, since each and every one you read suggests that oral feedback is only instant. Well, using OneNote, even facial expressions can be delayed, recorded and posted into a student’s notebook for evaluation later.

 

Less time spent

 

Using page templates allows me to spend less time on lesson starters and planners, and more time on adding content to my library.

 

Embedding content

 

When it comes to sharing content with students, OneNote gives me so much freedom to embed all kinds of materials I already use, whether they’re visual, audio, or text (that can easily be turned into audio with Immersive Reader). You can embed almost anything, from presentations, to videos, to websites. That is the main reason why OneNote is a must in the classroom.

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