Starting the Assignment

Task sheets are the key to any assignment. Yet with the due date bolded and multiple dot points of information sprawled all over the page, it’s easy to justify student’s concerns. When handed a new task sheet, students can be overwhelmed and lose track of what needs to be done. It can also be confusing if students don’t know where to start. The task might just be one essay question, meaning an ample amount of ambiguity as to where to begin or what to focus on.

The best way to approach something is to decide what you want to achieve at the end. Setting an end goal along with tiny short-term goals can help ease the anxiety. It might be as simple as passing the assignment or maybe your student wants a certain grade. Either way, if the desired outcome is established, the task sheet in front might not seem so daunting.

For each student, the best time to study is different. For some it’s straight after they finish school, they walk in the door and their mind is still focused from the day that they are willing to keep the momentum going. While for others, after dinner or after school commitments is the best time to study because they’ve had a break and are now ready to go again. Regardless, using that specified time each week will not only ensure that their mind is clear but also create consistent study habits.

Making sure students are clear on what the assignment is looking for is crucial to any task. Reading over the task sheet, highlighting or circling keywords that show what is required or jotting down some notes in the margin can help with the understanding. If students are still unsure of a certain theme or the task itself, encouraging them to seek answers with classmates or teachers will help with their confidence in getting it all done.

After looking through sources and information, perspectives or responses to the task can change. It’s important to remember that adjusting your point of view is okay as students sift through piles of evidence and facts on the topic. What’s most important is that students make sure that their argument or response to the task at hand is justified and coherent, because if the teacher can’t understand or read it, it’s not looking good.

And after all that, if the words still aren’t flowing, just try and write something down. There’s no point switching from the task sheet to the blank piece of paper. Brainstorming ideas or drawing diagrams of arguments and thoughts is a simple and creative way to get those juices flowing. Once you’ve got something to show, it should flow from there.

Imagining the feeling of when the assignment is done is most often enough to motivate students! Clear direction of where to go and what needs to happen will put everything into place and turn the task sheet into something complete.