April 14, 2004
As a middle school teacher, I am always trying to get students to take leadership positions in class. In order to keep accurate records, I assign a student to be 'secretary' of the week. That student must take down notes in our class notebook, write down homework assignments, record what pages we are reading, and help students who are returning from an absence. This process has really cut down with the “What did I miss?” from returning students. We have a running record of what transpired, what goals we met, where we left off while watching a video, etc. Since I teach five classes of the same subject, looking at the class notebook also helps me see what we've covered in each class.
Students earn extra credit points for being a secretary, and they really look forward to being the 'co-teacher' for a week. New students are easily transitioned into our procedures because they have a weekly buddy to help them catch the flow of the classroom. I have also used the class notebooks as another tool to help wayward students take responsibility for what was really assigned. Since I have used this method, no student has ever said, “You didn't tell us that in this class... maybe you did it in another period?”