If you click on the photo above, you can read the infographic on a student, named Josh, who happens to have an executive function disorder. This is all too common for many parents and teachers–the student unintentionally comes to school without ……. Homework is one of those things that is typically forgotten. Imagine how the student feels when the teacher asks for the homework and it’s not there. There has to be a solution and there is. There are a number of ways that the forgotten homework problem can be resolved through technology.
A great way to resolve this problem is by using Microsoft OneNote. Microsoft OneNote comes with all Microsoft Office Suites–from the least expensive to the most expensive suite. If you have purchased Microsoft Office then you have OneNote. Most school districts use Microsoft Office so that they already have it as well. A student’s homework notebook can be stored in a number of ways: 1. The school district may allow access to the district server with a student log in from home. 2. The district can allow access to a Windows Live account from a school computer or iPad. The OneNote iPad app is free!
So now, the student, through whatever means, is able to access his or her homework assignment in their OneNote notebook. As soon as the student enters any response to the assignment, it is instantaneously updated on any device that the student or teacher has access to. So that means when the teacher says, “Josh do you have your homework?” Josh can say yes I do! If it is not the paper version [easily printed from OneNote], at least Josh would be able to retrieve his assignment from OneNote. This problem is then eliminated thus helping Josh feel more secure in his abilities.
It is very helpful to use rubrics to help a student see progress. This rubric can be saved as a template within OneNote and be completed immediately after the homework is complete. An additional rubric can be used to demonstrate Josh’s progress in locating his homework at school. In my opinion, we have to stop sweating the small stuff and find ways to help students with Executive Function Disorder be more successful in school. If we can eliminate minor problems by using technology then that’s what we need to do.
As you may or may not know by now, I love using Microsoft OneNote with all my students. There is an iPad app for OneNote as well as computer applications. As of this date, the app is free. Since there is an iPad app, iPads do not need to be sent home with students. Parents can access the app for their own iPad. With the Notebook stored on Windows Live, the parent, the student and the teacher can access the notebook. OneNote comes with any Microsoft Office Suite. It is more cost effective to buy the suite than just OneNote alone as you then have access to other programs. If you click on the image, you can enlarge it to see all the notes that I have written. If this assignment is going to a number of students, you can e-mail the page so that it can be opened in each student’s notebook. This is my notetaking program of choice for all my students.
As I have always said, Microsoft OneNote far out shines its free counterpart, Evernote. I use OneNote for all my documentation needs. In fact, I wrote about it in my book, ‘Using Rubrics to Monitor Outcomes in Occupational Therapy.’ OneNote acts as a notebook or file folder. Each notebook can have an infinite number of tabs [sections] and pages. The best thing is that you can carry all your files, well organized, on a thumb drive [USB Drive]. Student work samples can be scanned into OneNote and other work samples can be printed into OneNote. I can enter a page from any program or website. For me, the best feature of OneNote, and the one that makes it so much more flexible than Evernote, is the ability to create templates that can be used in every notebook. Templates are universal. That saves much needed time, as I do not have to redo the template for each of my students. OneNote conserves your energy since you never have to take large files or notebooks home.
When working in schools, there is a constant need to collect and analyze data. In doing so, I also feel the need to constantly evaluate my students’ skills in other areas as well. I always try to assess or reassess skill(s) during each session. I began creating Daily Task Worksheets. I typically work with an older population [middle and high school] so that vocational skills also enter into the therapy session. My thought was to get my students used to using and finishing a checklist in a timely fashion. I now keep my forms in Microsoft OneNote so that my students’ work was organized and they can use technology while completing a number of tasks assigned on any given day. Students were assigned to one of my computers [they all had names] and asked to open their own notebook. Since many of my students are seen in groups at this age, it is important to create an individualized plan for each student that encompasses their goals and promotes a sense of independence. My students love working on daily task worksheets.
My students were able to complete tasks independently or with very little assistance. At the same time, I would be assessing activities of daily living [tie your left shoe], left-right discrimination, handwriting, following written directions, and any other number of skills. Since each of the worksheets were created for individual students, I could easily include activities that would measure goal progress and, of course, explore daily progress on anything related to those darn standardized assessments. If the worksheet is completed on a tablet, a stylus is offered to the student for handwriting. Sometimes that portion of the worksheet was printed so that the student could complete it on paper. I always worked on a student’s signature, whether or not is was a goal and had them sign in daily [this just supported my billing]. It was the very first part of the therapy session. Students were required to keep an agenda for school, so I used that agenda to further increase their independence by applying a label for OT, which they applied to the correct date and added a period #. I found that students with transition issues were able to get so much more work accomplished than when they did not have a worksheet.
One of the daily tasks that a student in an alternately assessed class can do is to take attendance. Many students can recognize classmates names, even though he or she is unable to read. By using OneNote, the daily attendance can become an activity that is easily mastered in a short period of time.
In the screen shot above, I have added a number of fictitious names with a check box next to each name. I have enlarged the font making the requisite eye hand coordination a bit easier. The student in charge of attendance merely needs to either click on the box, or if using a tablet, tap it to check the box to indicate that the student was in attendance. You can make the template a bit more challenging by adding additional responses, such, absent, and even add related services, i.e., OT, PT, Speech, etc.
The Attendance form is saved as a template so that there is no need to recreate the form each time. The form is easily modified to add or subtract additional students. A space for a student to sign can also be added and completed with with a pen tablet on a PC or with a stylus on the iPad or tablet.
This is another, more advanced version of taking attendance. The template saved on OneNote can be modified as your students abilities improve. The student responsible for taking attendance will need to interact with each student in the room to obtain his or her initials on the form. This can be accomplished using a pen tablet with a PC or a stylus using an iPad. Learning how to write initials is another skill that will become useful in vocational training.
As an occupational therapist, working as an independent contractor, I have been asked quite frequently, what programming do I use for notes. Well, I use Microsoft OneNote. I love the versatility of this program and the auto-save feature. If I need run to my next appointment, I never have to worry if I have saved the notes that I have just written. Notes are always legible and you can make templates for note forms that you use regularly.
One thing that I really like about OneNote is that I can create my assessment rubrics [you know that I am a big fan of rubrics] and save each one as a template.
Do you see those little green boxes? Just one click [if on a computer] or tap [if on a tablet] and OneNote will check the box for you. Once you set up your rubrics and save them as templates [you must save templates only once], they will be available to you forever. You then have accurate and transparent data collection for each session. I recommend using one page per session. You can also make templates in Excel to graph your data.
I recommend making a notebook for each individual patient. Templates are available across all notebooks that you create [another cool feature]. When you discharge the patient, import the Excel file into OneNote and you will have complete and accurate data of the patient’s progress [with a graphic] over the course of your treatment. You will have to enter the data separately into the Excel file but it is faster and more accurate.
My book, Using Rubrics to Monitor Outcomes in Occupational Therapy, explains how to develop and modify a rubric and the importance of accountability and transparency in our documentation. Adapting to the new regulations can only support and teach others about what we do so that we do not get swallowed up by professions waiting to do so. While this may be initially time consuming, once you have your assessment rubrics in place, documentation will be easy. Remember, you can e-mail a page using a HIPPA Compliant e-mail system [like hushmail.com] or print it for your records.
Another of my favorite therapy areas is teaching students how to take notes. Taking notes is not easy. Students must be able to respond to auditory cues with a pen/pencil or a keyboard. Some students feel the need to take down every word, while others can take down the highlights. Since I am an occupational therapist, my job is to teach students how to respond to environmental cues with movement. So I would like to talk about taking notes in my favorite note-taking program, OneNote.
There are a number of reasons to set up note – taking templates or forms in OneNote. For example, this T-Chart can be used for a number of different classes and discussions within a class. Prompts that may indicate that a T-Chart should be used are: Compare/Contrast; Conversely; Vocabulary Words/Definitions; Pros/Cons, etc. This note-taking template can also be used for pre-algebra/algebra or anywhere where there is a rule and a sample. The Cornell style of note-taking also uses a asymmetrical T-Chart for cues and notes.
Much of the job is already done for the student. The page is already formatted for the student. I find that formatting is often part of the delay and disorganization in taking notes. If you click on the date, a little calendar appears and the date can be easily changed (calendar will indicate the correct date). The same can be done for the time. Rows can easily be added to the table by clicking on the appropriate icon in the ribbon at the top of the screen or by right-click and then click on Table. The color of the page and print can also be changed to address any visual concerns.
The real trick is learning the verbal prompts so that the appropriate form can be identified and opened. The great part of this system is that this is an auto-save program! If the student closes the program before saving, the work will still be there. Another factor to consider is keyboarding speed and accuracy. Figure out if the student can take dictation on the keyboard accurately before recommending this method to any student.