My Best Tip Ever: Student Participation Sheets For Teaching With A Class Website!

My Best Tip Ever: Student Participation Sheets For Teaching With A Class Website!

My Best Tip Ever Student Participation Sheets For Teaching With A Class Website (MyWeb4Ed)

My Best Tip Ever Student Participation Sheets For Teaching With A Class Website (MyWeb4Ed)

These Student Participation Sheets are one of the most popular teaching tips that I share when I present locally or at other districts. I can’t take credit for creating it as it was something I picked up along my 25+ years of teaching.

I used the Student Participation Sheets whenever a class came to my lab.  However, after a while, teachers who were in the lab with me while I was teaching began to ask about them and started using them with their students in the classroom, as well.  I worked very well for class management and allowed them the same ease of management when working with technology.  Of course, the idea is that you would have you website displayed on a screen while you were beginning your class day.  

I taught my students to pick one of these sheets up when they entered the room and fill it out and have it  placed in the same section of the desk daily.  It truly became self-sufficient.  I then had them place them in a basket as they left the room.

By the way, I taught my students that if one wasn’t turned in, that would result in a grade of 1.  Therefore, even if they thought it best to hang on to a less-than-perfect Participation sheet, they quickly got the idea that it was going to benefit them to turn it in!

It is a cinch to manage and record but the biggest benefit is that it really works with the students.

Here is how the Student Participation sheet works:


      1. Print out the sheet and print copies.
      2. Cut the sheets in half so that each student gets one column every day.
      3. At the beginning of class, give the students a “Participation Grade” sheet.
      4. Have each student complete their heading.
      5. If students are not participating or off-task, cut or mark off the grades from the bottom up.
      6. At the end of the period or day, the students turn in their “Participation Grade” sheet and whatever grade is at the bottom is their participation grade for the day.

The sheet can be modified for students in younger grades or to support different grading scales. For instance, I have a version that is based on a 10-point scale and another that uses happy faces for younger students. Finally, I have a paper-saving version which reduces paper use. Examples of these sheets are included.


My best hint when using the Class Participation Sheet

After the first cut on a class participation sheet, so that a student has lost 10 points, the point is made.  I hate to say it but that first cut is essential.  And, the nice thing is that I didn’t have to say a word or interrupt what I was saying.  I simply walked to the desk, cut the grade off, and continued on.  No scolding, no negative comments, just a simple and effective act that made the point clearly!
Below you’ll see a sampling of the different versions of the participation sheet that you can download for use!

Below is a combination sheet with all three versions for you to see and download!

Combination-Participation-Sheet (MyWeb4Ed)

Combination-Participation-Sheet (MyWeb4Ed)


Capture The Potential Of a 5-Computer Classroom And Your Class Website

Capture The Potential Of a 5-Computer Classroom And Your Class Website

Capture The Potential Of a 5-Computer Classroom And Your Class Website (MyWeb4Ed)Capture The Potential Of a 5-Computer Classroom And Your Class Website (MyWeb4Ed)

Classroom Management:  Best Practices

Preparing and Setting Expectations

  • Use whole-class presentations to demonstrate the scheduling process you have developed for computer use and what is to be accomplished when the students use the computer.  If possible, show the whole group a completed project to help them visualize your expectations.
  • Before assigning an activity, work with your students on the skills required to work collaboratively.  As you know, this is a process and must be taught and practiced.  Assign jobs and responsibilities.
  • Demonstrate to the entire class the software that will be used to complete computer projects.
  • Scaffolding – Begin with a simple project with a lot of structure and build to more complex projects with less structure.
  • Before assigning an activity try completing the assignment yourself, or even better, find a student to test the activity for you. This will let you know if the activity can be completed in the time you’ve allotted and if your directions are clear.
  • Check your web links the day before the assignment begins.
  • Post computer rules clearly visible at each computer and ensure that you have presented them during a whole-group presentation before students are allowed to work on the computers.
  • Make it a class rule that students can help one another but cannot ever touch another student’s computer. That way, you can be sure that learning occurs even when students help one another.
  • Don’t change desktop backgrounds.  This can cause confusion and impede completion of projects.
  • Always have a backup lesson in case the technology fails.

Classroom Management:  Best Practices

  • Time Management
    • Use templates for student products. Place the templates in the where you can easily access them like in a cloud storage service like or You might even use student-created templates. (Hint: Be sure you have shown the whole group how to access the templates.)
    • Plan your lessons and activities so that every day has specific jobs to be completed.
    • Draw a horizontal line on the board and write each students name under the line. When a student finishes their computer work, they put their name above the line and the next student moves to the computer.
    • In younger grade classrooms, put the students names on the board written on separate, colored paper strips. When a student finishes their work, have them remove their name strip and place in a designated area and the next student moves to the computer.
    • Divide the class into groups of five. One group works on the computers independently. For larger classes, you may need to pair students at one computer. Another group learns a new concept with the teacher while another group works on an off-computer anchor activity related to the concept being taught.
    • Post a schedule. Allow a set amount of time for each student at the computer station. Students are responsible for getting to the station at the appointed time.
    • Draw Popsicle sticks. Write each student’s name on a Popsicle stick. Place the can of Popsicle sticks at the computer station. Draw a stick at the start of the day. The person whose name is on the stick will start the day at that station. That student will draw a stick to determine who goes next. For younger groups, color the Popsicle sticks.
    • Establish color-coded groups. Divide the class into five groups. Write the names of each group on a different sheet of colored paper, and post the papers by the computer station. Be sure the students know which color group they belong to. The students in each group will spend time at the computer on a given day (for example, the students in the red group will have computer time on Mondays).
    • Develop a method for timing student computer time for rotations.When working on lengthy technology projects, print out step-by-step instructions. Include some that say “Save your work; do not go any further until you help your neighbors reach this point.” This helps less-proficient students solve problems more quickly, keeps the class at roughly the same point in the project, and fosters collaborative learning.

Managing Classroom Behavior and Disruptions

  • Create a binder for each computer of self-help instructions for computer projects, index cards with a ring, or create a classroom FAQ web page.  Use it for those questions you get often and teach the whole group how to locate and use them.
    • Split up the responsibility for creating these cards among your department or co-workers.  If everyone creates 2 or 3 FAQ cards on different common help topics, they may be copied to produce the completed FAQ resource for students.
    • If using an FAQ web page, be sure to spend time showing students how to access and use the page.
    • If using a binder, use dividers to split the FAQ’s into related areas.
    • For younger grades, include picture support.
  • “Try three before me” – This method means the student tries three other methods before interrupting the teacher.  Those methods may be:
      • using the help or support feature on a software program;
      • the FAQ binder, cards, or web page; or
      • asking a neighbor who is also working on the computer.
  • Use colored paper cups to signal for help.  For example, a blue paper cup means all is well and a red paper cup means help is needed.  Students should place the red cup on the computer or desk and go back to work while waiting for the teacher to assist.  (Hint:  Go over this expectation with students as a whole group before allowing computer use.)
  • Place clear step-by-step instructions for the students on your classroom website or printed out and ensure one is at each computer workstation.
  • Develop a team of student experts who assist students with computer projects.  Consider rotating this job every six weeks.
  • Create a web page for the student tasks and write clear instructions and provide links to the necessary websites.  This cuts down on wasted time when students struggle to type website addresses and improves the chance of a positive outcome. (Hint:  Before answering questions, be sure that the students have checked the web page.  This teaches them to read carefully and builds independent learning skills.)

Evaluating the Computer Projects

  • Do a gallery walk. After a lesson using presentation software, allow students to walk around the room and view everyone the work of their peers. They might get some good ideas for the next lesson — and finding something positive to say about other students’ work teaches good manners.
  • Use Microsoft Word 2007 and insert comments into Word documents.  Comments are a great editing and motivating tool for kids. Use them to guide drafting and brainstorming and to help students peer edit and work collaboratively on group projects. Following these steps to insert comments:
    • Select the text or item that you want to comment on, or click at the end of the text.
    • On the Review tab, in the Comments group, click New Comment.
    • Type the comment text in the comment balloon or in the Reviewing Pane.
    • When a student moves the cursor over that word or phrase, the comment will pop up.
    • Note:  To respond to a comment, click its balloon, and then click New Comment in the Comments group. Type your response in the new comment balloon.
  • Grade the project in stages  instead of waiting until the end to offer evaluation.  (Ex:  outline, rough draft, final draft)
  • Give points/grade for productive lab time
  • Create or find an  evaluation rubric easily using Rubistar.
    • After clicking on the website, create an account.
    • Once you have an account, login and choose “Find Rubric” from the tabs at the top of the page.
    • Type keywords such as “computer project.”
    • Click “Search.”
    • Check the results for a rubric that will serve your goals with your class.
    • Click “Print Page” to make a copy of the rubric.
  • Plan for students who finish early by having a web page of educational resources the students may explore.

Project and Lesson Ideas with Student Computers

Learning Centers – Use the computer as an online learning center while other activities are going on in the room.

Using MentorMob as a Class Management Tool

MentorMob has many uses within the K – 12 classroom. However, one of the most valuable and little talked about benefits of using MentorMob is for class management and student safety.

When students are working in MentorMob, they are working within the playlist moving from step to step. The framework or interface of the MentorMob playlist can be used to ensure students are on track and on task. The playlist has an easily recognizable frame and a simple glance around the room provides assurance that students are in the right place and working on the right assignment. This is a huge benefit when managing classrooms especially when some of those classrooms have 30 (or even more) students.

To enhance this tool as a classroom management feature, be sure to tell your students how easy it is to determine if they are on target and on task before they begin their work.

My favorite feature of MentorMob is its use for classroom safety. MentorMob’s interface is set up so that teacher – selected websites are brought to the students within the interface instead of the students browsing out to the Internet. This feature eliminates a lot of random searching which can lead to a variety of problems from not completing the work to happening upon inappropriate sites.

No matter what type of group you are working with, presenting in the MentorMob interface decreases the chance for distraction and improves the opportunity for engagement and focused learning.

The next time you are considering taking your students to the computer lab or bringing a laptop cart to your room, create your lesson in MentorMob first and productivity in the quality of products submitted by the students are likely to be improved.

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