Charts and checklists

Checklists and charts can help students take responsibility for themselves and their work. Here are three instances, where these helped students with homework and attendance. 

Let’s Complete Homework

Context: Satya Elementary School is run by Bharti Foundation in a rural area, Budhakheri in Punjab. Mr. Baldev Singh, a Grade 6 and 7 teacher, noticed that many of his students were not serious about completing their homework on time. He found it difficult to keep a check on which students have and which students have not completed the assigned tasks.


Micro-innovation: description, implementation and impact (according to the teacher): Mr. Singh prepared a homework task checklist for each term. The checklist has details of all the chapters or tasks to be covered during the term, the expected completion date for the task and the names of all his students. Every time a student completes his assigned work, he comes to the checklist and signs and dates the task in front of his name. This allows Mr. Singh to see which students have completed the set tasks on time and whose task is pending. The checklist visually reminds the students about the chapters to be completed in the term and helps them to see the learning coming up and what’s expected of them. It also helps both the students and the teachers to keep a check of whether they are managing to complete their work on time and enables teachers to spot the need for an intervention with particular students early on.
Although the students are signing in the checklist, the teacher also has to create systems and block time in his own schedule to check the work in the notebooks and closely monitor the quality of completed work by his students. Completing work on time is just the first step in terms of monitoring students’ learning through homework.

Mr. Singh says that a new realisation has dawned upon the students about the need to plan carefully to manage their workload. After checking the pending work list they have started completing their tasks on time. The checklist is also being used as an assessment tool to assess whether the class is meeting the term goal of finishing different topics in time.

My attendance, My learning

Context: Government Upper Primary School Kesarpura is located in Kekri block of Ajmer District in Rajasthan. Mr. Chandra Prakash Vaishnav, a teacher of Grade 1 and 2, faced a two-fold problem in his classroom: First, low levels of motivation among students to attend school regularly and second, student reading levels were not as good as they ought to have been.

Micro-innovation: description, implementation and impact (according to the teacher): In order solve this problem Mr. Chandra developed an attendance chart showing the name of each student written in Hindi. He pasted this chart on the wall. At the beginning of each day, the children are asked to first come up to the chart, read their name and mark a tick against their name to show that they are present. The child who is absent on that day, marks his absence as 0 when he comes the following day. At the end of the month, each child calculates his attendance on the chart and receives public acknowledgment. This idea is interesting because it goes beyond the crude way of taking attendance in a register that takes away teaching time. Rather, it encourages children to take charge of their own attendance and shows the students how they are doing compared to their peers. The teacher will need to ensure he follows up carefully with students whose attendance is low to understand the reason behind it. Also, he needs to carefully check if the students are honestly marking themselves. Improved attendance rates have given more opportunities to learn and read. The chart helps both teachers and students to be aware of their attendance in class which motivates them to come regularly.

Incentive Chart
Context: Vivek Modern School is an Affordable Private School located in the semi urban area, Subhash Vihar in East Delhi. Meenakshi, a grade 3 teacher, was finding it hard to keep track of student progress and realised that her students were not as motivated as they could be in the class.

Micro-innovation: description, implementation and impact (according to the teacher): 
With the help of other teachers in school, Meenakshi has introduced an ‘Incentive Chart’ in her class. Students get a 'Smiley' drawn in front of their names on the chart if they exhibit good behaviour and finish work on time. Students receiving 10 Smileys get a ‘Smiley Badge’ which they can put on their uniform for a week and after getting 30 Smileys on the chart, they get a ‘Feel Proud Card’ in the assembly by the Principal. This micro-innovation is interesting because it not only motivates the students but also gives the teacher a clear visual reminder of which students still need to improve in certain areas. She can refer to the Smiley chart during the day and support students one-on-one. It also makes peer recognition the highest honour, therefore reinforcing the idea that progress and learning should be celebrated. 

To be genuinely useful, teachers will need to ensure that they make full use of the chart during class. This may require adding more structure to the process. Meenakshi has noticed that students are motivated to gain more Smileys and Feel Proud Cards from the Principal and try hard to improve. Like everyone, students too love to be appreciated by their teachers and their peers.

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