Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Daily Logs and Building Skills

I've been wanting to blog more regularly. However, the last few years have definitely provided an atmosphere that has made it difficult for consistency. Even when I do have an idea for a post many times I'm tired or I just can't bring myself to do it, and even when I do it takes a long time to actually get me to where I'm publishing it. So I decided to change things up a little bit and instead of waiting for the inspiration of a blog post or a big project to share, I decided to start sharing just simple activities and strategies that I use on a regular basis. I would love for this to be a weekly post focusing on something that I did that week. I feel like that might be a little ambitious so we'll shoot for once a month and if I get more than that it's bonus!

I'm cheating a little bit with this one, because this is a strategy that I used prior to Christmas break. But it's a good one so I feel like it's worth it. This a collaboration between my teacher, bestie, Becca Hawthorne, and myself. (PS...find yourself a good teacher friend who you can bounce idea off of. I can't tell you how many ideas have become awesome because of chatting with Becca).

We find ourselves doing a lot of projects, and trying to work in different employability skills. Incorporating those "soft skills" that students really need (and want) to learn to develop. One of the things our students constantly talk about wanting to improve is their time management and organization of many tasks over a series of days. We've played around with using daily logs before. But this final one that we came up with worked really well and had just a couple extra elements in it.

First off.. We start with a Got Done List. This term "got done list"  came to us from our amazing counselor. She uses it as a strategy at the end of the day rather than making a to-do for tomorrow she makes a got done list for the day. This way she can feel accomplished with things but she got done. (BRILLIANT!!! And definitely one for personal use as well as the classroom)

We figured this was a great strategy for students to use on project work days. So the first section of our daily log is the "Got Done List". What did you get done? They listed off in a bullet like format. Depending on what they worked on. It may be one thing. Or maybe they got three things done in a day. There's no specific requirement other than they have to be specific. They can't just say worked on research, they need to be specific on what they researched and where they researched it.

The next column is labeled "Goals" and asks students to make a list of what they like to try to work on tomorrow. This is that organization piece to the employability skills. They know they have a lot of tasks to complete, and trying to organize what needs to be done and when is an important life skill. This section is meant to help them develop that ability.

The final piece to this puzzle is the teacher signature. This was the brilliant addition by Miss Hawthorne! This allows the teacher to check in with each student on what they accomplished for the day. In order to get the signature they have to physically show what they claim to have accomplished. So if they worked on Google slides, they need to show me the specific slides they got done.  I won't sign off unless I can see proof of the work they accomplished. And then when I glance at their list for tomorrow. Gives me an opportunity to ask them if there's anything I can do to help or if there's anything they need from me to be successful. It's a great little check-in at the end of the class and gives me an opportunity to pick out anyone who may be struggling with time management and could use a little more guidance and attention from me. This might just be my favorite part of the entire log sheet! 

Now, I took this project log, that's meant for an individuals, and I adapted it for my class final group project. The log is essentially the same, except instead of my signature, they need a teammate to sign off on their log. This does two things. It helps with the time management organization piece that the individual log did, and it adds in an accountability piece as well. I make sure to take time at the beginning to explain the importance of their signature and verifying the work completed by their partners. They can't backtrack later and say, " well Janie really didn't do the work that she said she did, we were just being nice..."  That doesn't fly. This hopefully helps them to have conversations before there's conflict about work ethic. It's also allows me, as teacher, to facilitate having the difficult conversations if its needed. Typically I find if students know that the expectation is for them to log their progress each day, they tend to make more progress!

Want to copy of these logs? Just click below, make a copy and it's yours! Just don't actually claim that is yours... 😉

Also...follow my teacher bestie on Twitter! @MsHawthorne266  she's the best!


  1. I'm excited by all this posting! I know it's hard to keep it up once the semester is in full swing, but I appreciate your ideas very much and definitely find inspiration from them. Thanks!

  2. YES! Yet another great idea I'm going to use basically immediately. THANK YOU <3<3