Teacher Tuesday – Organizing Group Work and Task Management

Let me introduce you to my new best friend – Trello!  Trello is a task management tool that you can use individually or with groups.  I’m currently LOVING it for helping students with group goals and to do lists and for managing my own personal goals and running to-do lists.  I even have a Trello board to manage my workflow for photography sessions.  It can really be used for anybody not just students, Sterling and I are both using it for our personal house chores as well as our professional tasks.  Let me explain more about how this works. 

When you sign up for Trello you get a “board” and you can have as many boards as you like. Within your board you create column categories such as “To Do”, “Doing”, and “Done”.  You can customize these categories so that it makes the most sense for you.  For instance, on my photography workflow board, I have “Leads”, “Pre-Session”, “Shoot + Edit + Deliver”, “Blog” etc etc.  Your categories could be “Today”, “This Week”, “This Month” or really whatever makes the most sense for you.

But Trello isn’t just a to-do list website, it’s SO MUCH MORE and is especially great for group work.  We’ve all been in groups before that don’t work well together.  Maybe some members procrastinate until the end, or certain group members feel like they do all the work.  Wouldn’t it be great if there was a common place where students checked in and knew exactly what needed to be done?  Wouldn’t it be great if students learned how to work efficiently in groups?  Enter Trello! Here are my favorite key features from Trello and why I love that feature for student work.

In Trello you can share a board with multiple people and even assign tasks to specific people!  GONE are the days of “I have nothing to do” – welcome personal accountability!  Each group member can take a look at the Trello board’s “to do” column for their group and pick a task that they can work on and assign it to themselves!  Now you also ensure that three people aren’t all doing the same thing but instead being ultra-efficient.

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Some people love that feeling of crossing things off a to-do list – but sometimes I want to organize my to-do items even more than just to do and done.  On paper this isn’t easy because I have re-write everything into specific categories or dates.  BUT in Trello you can create items in one column and then SLIDE it into another.  For instance, in my photography workflow I can have a family task card start in “Pre-Session” and then once I’ve sent the questionnaire and contract move them over to “Shoot + Edit + Deliver”.  Then once I deliver the images I just slide them over into “Blog”.   Students can easily take items out of the “To Do” column, assign it to themselves and slide it over into the “Doing” column or even a “Approve” column.

Want to organize your tasks into different categories or track something more specifically?  Trello lets you create multiple color-coded labels and label each task card with one or MORE of those labels.  This has helped me a lot as a coach because I label my tasks per division and department ie: math, science, social studies etc.  For students working on a group project, they can label their project tasks into categories such as research, design, etc. Because you can label something with more than one label it allows students to have total freedom with how they categorize their work.  Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 8.14.32 PM

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Within a task card, you can create another to do list called a “checklist”.  When students do this they can track progress within a task.  As they check off items from this list it will show progress on the card.
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This feature is great because it enables you to hold students accountable for their daily actions.  For instance, within a task card, you can use the comment feature to have students remark on progress and keep a running log.  Because cards and activities are all tracked students cannot be inappropriate without their name being attached to it.
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Try it with your students for tracking group work!  You’ll love how it enables students to collaborate on their project tasks from anywhere with internet service plus if they’ve shared it with you then you can be involved as well and help hold them accountable.

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