Communicate: News Quest

posted May 19, 2016, 7:51 AM by Emily Kroutil   [ updated May 19, 2016, 8:00 AM ]
When I know something important is coming up, or there is something that I want to make sure the kids' are aware of, I create an announcement.  With my flipped classroom, I don't create a ton of announcements because I see my kids in class and am able to get news items to them that way.  However, sometimes I have very important news that I want to MAKE SURE that they see, so I'll create an announcement.  Below are some examples of these announcements I've created for physics:
These news items pop up when they log in Haiku and can be set to last for a specific amount of time.  For example, I wouldn't want any of the above announcements to be shown past the date on the announcement because they wouldn't be useful after that time.  The middle announcement is in all caps, which is generally frowned upon, but it was a last minute announcement posted due to some last minute information we received from the information specialist, so I was in a hurry and I wanted to make sure they noticed it (NOTE: That would have been an excellent time to use Remind101 if I'd had it set up with my students).

In my AP class, each day is formatted showing what is due and what is for homework each day, so I don't need to post reminders like those above.  However, the students mentioned that they liked when I posted important topics for their current unit in announcement format, so I started doing that.  And example of one of those is below:
This announcement was much longer and doesn't have any highlighting or anything to make it eye-catching, but this type of announcement wasn't for that purpose.  It was simply a way to post important information they would need for their unit test in a place they could access it easily when they logged into Haiku.

I have also created a completely new page in Haiku and put it at the top of the list of pages (which makes it come up first when the students get to their "physics" class in Haiku.  This is for when I have important announcements that are longer or need to be up for an extended period of time or have more information that I need to convey to the students.  I can create these "announcements" or "news items" and publish them and unpublish them as needed.  That way, if they seem like something I might need to publish for a different class in the future, I don't have to recreate anything.  Some examples of these news items are below:

These types of announcements and news also offer more space for me to incorporate whatever information I need to give the students.  

If I have something important to tell the students, such as an important date or opportunity, I would use the appropriate methods for that type of announcement.  For example, it wouldn't really make sense to create a whole extra page in Haiku just to remind students about a test.  It does, however, make sense to create a whole page if you have more information to give the students or you want them to be able to access it easier.  It just depends on the type of information you want to give to your students and the context of that information.

Ideally, if I wasn't working with a free software that had a limited amount of upload space, I would probably include a picture to grab their attention a little easier.  For the AP Environmental Science announcements, I could even have pictures of some of the content they needed to know (such as biogeochemical cycles).  However, I would try to make the pictures content-specific, as sometimes older high school students are put off by cutesy kid graphics.  (they feel like we are talking down to them or treating them like little kids).