“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley”
Robert Burns, 1785
A day in the life with your Milk (My Interactive Learning Kit)
Teaching is the best job in the world, but it doesn’t always quite go to plan. Some days it feels like you’re doing more firefighting than teaching.
It makes sense, then, to delegate some of the stresses and strains to tech.
We’re not promising miracles, but teachers say their Milk Student Planner app is saving them 2 hours a week.
But how does this work over the course of a day?
Start the day with calm, clarity, and a nice cup of tea
Compiling messages for registers is made so much easier with the Milk.
Gone are the days of stuffing pieces of paper in the right or wrong pigeon holes, much to the amusement of colleagues.
Having sent messages through the app, you can begin your day with a greater sense of calm and wellbeing.
That way, you’re ready to face …
… Year 11 first thing
Some of those lads seem to have grown inches overnight, but at least you know who’s done the homework, who has struggled, and who hasn’t read your push notification.
What’s more, students must rank the difficulty of each homework, allowing you to identify problems early on.
The importance of homework completion is undeniable. It’s a constant source of anxiety for teachers at Key Stage 4 and 5. It doesn’t seem fair that our efforts are judged on theirs. But it’s been ever thus.
We wrote in our last blog:
“Homework = success. Teachers know there’s an undeniable correlation between homework completion and exam success.”
We’re proud to report that Milk boosted homework submission by 44%.
You can now start lessons positively
It’s never good to begin on a negative note.
Rather than “you didn’t do the homework”, far better to kick off with:
“Brilliant. Most of you not only read and understood the homework, it was easier than you expected.”
We are all pack animals. Whatever our age. Humans and teenagers alike follow the herd.
When students see that the majority of their peers are getting on with the work, social proof dictates that the stragglers soon follow.
You’ve already given some feedback
With Milk, it’s quick and easy.
The teacher simply uses the comments box to give feedback, individually or to the whole class.
This allows for cutting and pasting (rather than writing the same thing on 30+ exercise books.)
Furthermore, you can share links to answers, model essays, AOs, checklists, and more besides.
If you don’t see a particular class very often, the worry is that pupils lose momentum, or forget your subject altogether!
You can lessen the likelihood of this. The Milk Student Planner app oils the wheels of communication and keeps your subject top of mind.
Pupils have had time to process the emotion
We can all empathise with the initial upset of a slightly disappointing mark. This is a time when students may take things personally, seek excuses, or play the blame game.
The fact you’ve already sent meaningful feedback allows for a cooling off period.
When they next see you, they’ve had time to process the emotion and can now begin to consider your feedback and work on ways to improve.
And then …
The penny has had time to drop. They understand more fully why they didn’t get the mark they wanted. They’ve read your feedback a few more times and realise that they didn’t quote enough or show their workings or label that graph properly. Perhaps they could have used a wider range of tenses. Lessons begin with common understanding rather than conflict.
Lost books … just before the exams?
Don’t panic! Pupils still have all your digital feedback.
And reading all your comments all in one go and learning to spot patterns are great for revision!
You hit the ground running each lesson
The feedback can give a greater sense of structure and purpose to your lessons, as you’ve mapped out your destination before they arrive.
End lessons in an orderly way
Sometimes we lose ourselves when a lesson is going well, and leave too little time at the end to explain the homework.
No more cajoling students to hurriedly copy down homework in the dying minutes of the lesson.
They know you’ll send precise details of the homework on Milk.
And you’ll soon be saving time on setting future homework tasks. Re-using homework instructions for future classes is as simple as ticking “Favourites”. Archiving homework tasks makes them easy to find at a later date.
Communicating homework details with other teachers comes in handy if you share a class.
Homework still owing?
Do you spend as much time chasing homework as marking it?
Keeping tabs on some students seems like a losing game, so you’ll want to enlist the help of parents.
Milk makes communication with parents quick and easy. The analytics show at a glance where to focus your efforts, saving time on unnecessary phone calls or individual emails.
79% of parents said Milk has been a positive way forward.
74% of parents said it makes it easier to understand homework.
Lunchtime meeting with pupils
With Milk (My Interactive Leanring Kit), you can quickly organise one-to-one sessions with those who are struggling.
This makes all the difference in some instances. It’s a chance to listen, to truly listen to your pupils’ concerns.
Greater focus in pastoral meetings
Every child struggles with homework once in a while.
With Milk, you can quickly spot the recidivists.
Then you’re not alone chasing the same pupils.
A child who isn’t handing in your homework may well be having difficulties across the board. Early intervention is paramount.
The app works best when used across the school.
As we wrote in our last blog, “How to make the most of your Milk (My Interactive Learning Kit)”:
“Homework analytics enable pastoral teams and heads of year to join the many dots and identify struggling students in a timely manner. Far better than relying on chance conversations in corridors and common rooms.”
Sharper focus means shorter meetings.
Lunchtime and after-school clubs
It’s great getting involved in school sports, but unforeseen events or the great British weather often have other ideas. (Those pitches have had their fair share of rain this last month.)
Perhaps you’re returning late from an away fixture because of traffic.
Re-arranging times or, alas, cancelling sessions because of inclement weather are now a whole lot easier. With Milk Student Planner, you can inform the school, pupils and parents in one fell swoop.
We’re not promising the world.
We can’t solve disputes in the playground, or help that child get picked first instead of last, or fix the fact your Year 11s barely fit in the lab these days.
We can’t help your younger pupils with lost uniform, especially when they’re unlabelled, and you have nothing better to go on than “I swore I left my bag in the changing rooms.”
Then again, with Milk you could send out a quick message to the relevant classes and colleagues.
And, hey presto, it turns up.
Time seems in such short supply. Hopefully, we can save you a little of that.
Time for another cuppa.
We hope you’ll tune in to our next blog: it’s all about surviving your NQT year, or any year for that matter.
We really hope that you’re getting the most out of your Milk.
It’s easy to set up and we’re always on hand to help.
You’ll get all the support you need.
Mike Dowling and the team at Milk
For more help with time management and productivity read Top ten time-saving tips for teachers.