Bad days.  We’ve all had them.  It’s during these days that a kind gesture of the smallest kind can encourage us to press on, or perhaps change the entire course of our day.  I recently received the following email from a parent in response to a conferring note.


Here’s how it happened:

Google Apps is one of several district initiatives this year.  Google Apps offers many advantages.  In my class, students have all created a folder for themselves in Google Drive.  They’ve shared this folder with me, and I’ve placed each of their folders inside a folder on my Drive, which I’ve named 20142015Students.  I therefore have access to anything inside these folders, including a subfolder they’ve created for Writing.

In this folder is the first writing piece of the year, which we’re currently working on finishing up.  This writing piece has been a bit of a struggle for myself and them.  For the past decade, the first writing piece has always been a personal narrative – something nice and familiar to launch the year with.  With our new LA curriculum, our first unit is now a research-based opinion essay.  Personal narrative vs. research-based opinion essay.  Just a bit of a difference. Nonetheless, students have been drafting various parts of this essay using Google Docs.  Because they’ve shared the folder within which these docs are found, I can easily access them anywhere – school or home – and provide comments, including positives and teaching points.  It’s really just digital conferring.

I’m able to track this digital conferring using Chronicle.  At times I’ll use the pic feature of Chronicle to capture what I’ve written to the students.  In particular, this student was doing a really nice job with what has been a very difficult writing task, so I just decided to share the pic with Mom and Dad.  And since Chronicle automatically inputs a student’s associated email addresses into the “To:” text field of the email, sharing the conferring note was a cinch.

The response back from this student’s mother made me smile. The quick email I sent helped change her day, but little did she know that her response helped change mine as well.  Helping others, encouraging others, impacting others – this is our fuel as teachers.  And just maybe on those days when we’re running on empty, it’s more important than ever to find ways of refueling.      As creators of Chronicle, we hope this post can help some of you refuel as well!