7 great ways to hit the ground running this school year


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As the new school year gets underway there are lots of ways teachers and students can hit the ground running. Over on the global Microsoft in Education blog you’ll find a guest post by Helen Gooch, Microsoft Fellow and Master Trainer. She’s compiled a list of seven great ways to hit the ground running this year, which are covered in more detail in the original post, however here are the points in summary:

1.    Start your OneNote Class Notebook, move content over, and close old notebooks

Many teachers use OneNote to organize curriculum, including previously used lesson plans, quizzes, and tests. A well-organized OneNote notebook is a springboard you can simply copy and reuse each year when you start new class notebooks, and update as you discover new ideas and lessons.

2.    Find lessons and classroom activities

Lesson plans have to be written, but where do you find great new ideas for developing a lesson aligned to content standards that will engage your students? The Microsoft Educator Community is a phenomenal place to start.  You can quickly click on “Find a Lesson,” and filter by your subject and grade level. For free ideas, videos, samples, and training, just visit the Microsoft Educator Community’s OneNote “One Stop.”

3.    Survey your students’ interests

Send a Form out as a learning inventory to capture your students’ attention while you learn about what types of books they enjoy reading, how they prefer to learn or study, and how to help them achieve. Check out this recent blog post by MIE Expert Laura Stanner, on how she is using new features in Microsoft Forms to individualize instruction.

4.    Find documents and assignments from the start

The new Office.com home page now displays all the key apps for learning, as well as your recent documents, to make work you did last class, yesterday, or the day before easier to find. This saves valuable class time when starting a new day and returning to a lesson already introduced. It is also a great springboard when students log into Office 365 and need to open a new Word document to begin an essay or jump into their teacher’s lesson at the beginning of class.

5.    Create documents easily from a browser

Students also need a convenient way to create and access their documents directly from the browser, even when they aren’t on the Office.com home page. There are also Office Online extensions for the Microsoft Edge browser, where you can easily create new Office documents, access your recent files, and open content stored on your OneDrive. This also works on Chrome browsers.  

6.    Keeping notes and content organized

Teach your students how to use OneNote, whether they are taking notes on their own notebook, or using a Class Notebook created by their teacher. No other product provides so many resources – from embedding videos, to capturing web resources, to inking and annotating right in their notebook, to recording voice notes, and the list goes on!

7.    Going paperless this school year

Many students who love OneNote will also love using Office Lens to scan and digitize nearly anything and then send it to their notebooks without the need for any scanner. Plus, no more heavy backpacks full of paper!


These are just a few of the great ways to hit the ground running this year, to shake up your approach, and to engage students in learning. Pick your favourite, and incorporate that idea into a lesson soon. Then come back and adopt another idea, and another. Before you know it you will be using most — if not all — of these ideas, and your students will thank you!


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