It’s a few days before school begins. And you suddenly remember that summer assignment is due oh-so-soon. Yikes!
You meant to start it right after school ended, but you wanted some time to relax. You even read that blog post about planning your summer assignment, but forgot to print out the planning sheet. This is your first major assignment for your AP or IB class and you don’t want to kill your grade right away. What should you do???
I suspect that many of my students have been in your shoes. Most schools publish summer assignments in April or May so students have plenty of time to prepare. However, most kids wait until the last minute. And hand in a piece of crap. Seriously, I have graded many, many poorly written summer assignments.
But you have to turn it in. Students who don’t turn in a summer assignment are immediately on the teacher’s radar. In a bad way. Also, you start the school year off with a zero in the gradebook. So, here are some tips for completing your summer assignment on the quick. Your final product won’t be your best, but something is better than nothing at this point.Students who don’t turn in a summer assignment are immediately on the teacher’s radar. Click To Tweet
Disclaimer: As a former teacher, I hate giving this advice because it is a horrible way to complete assignments. Use this once and never again. Don’t let me catch you coming back to this post.
Complete your Summer Assignment at the Last Minute
Accept your mistake
You need to own up to your own mistake. You should have paid more attention at the end of last year, checked the website, planned earlier, etc. This isn’t your mom’s fault or the teacher’s fault, it’s your fault. And in case you’re wondering, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU ASK FOR AN EXTENSION! (The only kids who ever got an extension from me were kids who had just moved into the district.) It’s never fun to admit you messed up, but that is part of being an adult. You made this problem, now you’re going to fix it.
Clear your schedule.
Try to move any commitments and say goodbye to hanging out with friends for the next few days. You have a lot of work to finish in a short amount of time.
Read the assignment carefully.
Read the information sheet and rubric over slowly and carefully. What do you actually have to turn in? Many summer assignments include some sort of choice. Read a book of your choice, complete 3 out of 5 sections, pick a project choice to complete. How will it be graded? Does it have to be a certain length or include a particular number of sources? Once you know what the assignment requires, you can figure out how to proceed.
Grab your materials
Need a book? Check the public library. If there isn’t enough time for Amazon to deliver it, download the Kindle app and buy the e-version of the book. Time is of the essence here. If you have to physically create something, write a list of all the necessary supplies and make a quick trip to Target or Michael’s. You don’t want to realize at midnight that you needed gluesticks.
Start skimming the text
Many summer assignments come with a question or questions you must answer. Focus your reading on answering those questions and skip the rest. This is not the time to linger on the beauty of the author’s prose.
If you’ve been assigned a non-fiction text, you don’t have to read every word. Read the introduction and conclusion VERY closely. Within each chapter, start skimming the first sentence of each paragraph. At minimum, make sure you understand the author’s argument and his or her evidence.
If you’re reading fiction, the internet will be your friend. Hit up Sparknotes or Cliffs Notes for a synopsis, but also skim the book! (Teachers can tell if you’ve never cracked open the book.) If there is a faithful movie adaptation, watch it. But research the differences between the movie and the book!
Just start writing
Start by answering the questions directly – you can make the language prettier later. Just get the words on paper. Write your introduction and conclusion last.
Double check the rubric
Make sure you are including everything on the rubric. Do you need outside sources? A bibliography? You are trying to salvage your grade – don’t mess it up even more by forgetting to include those 2 quotes from the book.
Edit, edit, edit
If at all possible, give yourself at least one day to edit. Let’s say your assignment is due on Monday. Try to finish Saturday night, so you can edit on Sunday. If that’s not possible, take a few hours away on Sunday afternoon. You will come back to the assignment refreshed and better able to edit. DO NOT TURN YOUR ASSIGNMENT IN WITHOUT EDITING. This is a major red flag for your teacher.
Buy a planner and start using it
You could have avoided this stress by using a planner. There are great paper and electronic planners around. I highly recommend this one!* Now, set it up and start using it. Let this be a lesson for the future!
*This is an affiliate link. If you click on the link and buy an item, I earn a small commission. It won’t cost you anything. As always, I only recommend products I use and love! Thanks for your support! )
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