Sunday, June 4, 2017

Autocrat and End of Year Certificates

Excellence in Education: Autocrat and End of Year Recognitions
During my second or third year of teaching at the end of the year, I began the practice of recognizing each student for something that made them special.

My first six years of teaching were spent at a Rappahannock County High School, one of the smallest schools in Virginia, so it wasn’t uncommon for me to teach students 2, 3, 4, or even 6 times during their four years of high school. One late spring day, in my senior humanities class, one of the seniors, asked, “Are you going to give us a certificate like you did our freshmen year?”

Truthfully, I hadn’t really thought much about it, especially since they were seniors--almost all of whom I had taught as freshman (I taught every freshman history class). One student, Cara, immediately joined the conversation, “You HAVE to. I still remember that you said, I was always smiling and had a beautiful smile.”

Now I know you might be thinking, “Nicest smile. C’mon that’s pretty cheesy, Gillespie.” Well let me tell you what Cara said next, “As a freshman I was filled with self-image problems and thought I had the ugliest smile. The fact that you recognized I didn’t meant a lot to me. And I began smiling more.”

I then began to ask the students if they remembered what each of their certificates said, and surprisingly almost all of them did. Needless to say, for the next dozen years, I made sure to recognize what made each student special with a certificate at the end of the year.

Depending on the class, I varied my approach. Sometimes, I handed out a paper with everyone’s name and asked each student to write something positive about all of his/her classmates. Some of these statements were more powerful and emotional than anything I could even fathom

You can also use AutoCrat (a Google Doc Add-On) to help the process:
  1. Create an online survey using Google Forms.
  2. Create a Google Doc using the certificate template. Use the repeating brackets for places where you want to merge submitted data from the Form/Sheet. Example: <<Student Name>> or <<Best Smile>>
  3. On the Google Sheet, from the Add-Ons menu select AutoCrat
  4. Choose your Google Document as your template.
  5. Select what options you want to use.
  6. BAM! You’re done.
Now, honestly you really don’t need to use AutoCrat to do this, but it’s a powerful tool that has so many uses in education, I felt it was worth sharing. Here’s a video explaining how to use it for certificates, but it has lots of uses.

Useful Links:

Portfolio Assistance If you have a student who needs assistance setting up his/her portfolio, click here

Technology / Website Permission Request Form Please use this form to request use of a website that requires student log-in if the site is not already on the approved list. DART approved list

Calendar and Memo Items

May 15: SOL Schedule begins, modified bell schedules

May 17: Honors Award Banquet/Inductions

May 18: Faculty Meeting: Morning Only

May 19: Awards Banquet

Year-end calendar is here.

Final Exam schedule is here
May 8: Pam Bradley
May 10: Rob Ayres, Amber Sullivan (cafeteria)
May 13: Adam Southall
May 16: Monica Ferguson

Worth Your Time

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