Are you an online writing tutor? Or an online tutor of any kind? If so, might I suggest a quick and easy tip which I have found useful?
Immediately after each lesson, write a recap of that lesson, including everything you and the student or students did in that lesson.
Send copies of the recap to the student or students you have just taught and their parents if they are children. This way they receive immediate feedback on the lesson. And because the recap contains homework assignments for the next lesson, students and parents know what work students should complete for the next lesson.
Save another copy for yourself. For each student or each class, copy the email sent to the student and parents. Paste it along with the date you sent it in a folder named after the student or the class. Paste the most recent recap at the top of a file. If you send any additional information before the next lesson, add this to the top of the file with the date. This recap helps you recall the past lesson and reminds you of the homework expected at the next lesson.
Since I teach writing online, in my recaps I include the writing we did during the lesson. Students sometimes keep a copy from the class, but in case they don’t, they can copy from the recap and paste the writing to a document and continue the work there. Or in the recap I remind the student that the unfinished work is a google doc which they can easily access.
Here is an example of an email I sent recently:
Today ____ and I revised an essay he wrote on the film The Last of the Mohicans. It was perhaps the best essay he has written for me in terms of organization. That is because we organized the essay last week before he wrote it, and he followed the prewriting organizer.
Next he chose another topic (see below) and together we created a prewriting organizer for that topic. He will complete the essay for next our next lesson.
Topic: Why Miss Kathy should visit Orlando, FL
Thesis: You should visit Orlando, FL, because it has Universal Studios and a waterpark.
Topic sentence 1: One reason you should visit Orlando is because Universal Studios is there.
- Harry Potter, Hogwarts world
- Underground roller coaster
Topic sentence 2: Another reason you should visit Orlando is because it has a great water park.
- High, long sliding board/tube
- Bumper cars in water
Because I include the essay outline in the recap I save for myself, I have a detailed reminder of the work we did in class and the work expected from the student. I reread the recaps before the next lesson. Sometimes in my own version I include work I must prepare for the next lesson, such as finding grammar worksheets on a particular topic or providing an answer key to a vocabulary quiz.
For me, this kind of recap is definitely worth the small effort it takes.