Inquiry: How do I improve student writing on Log Sheets?

Why choose log sheets?

Importance of Log sheets in Co-operative Education:

Co-op students are required to complete log sheets on a daily basis.   They need to be able to effectively communicate ideas, tasks, day to day problems, and reflect on their Co-op experience.

Completing log sheets in some form or another maybe required in the normal working world.  Log sheets are an essential part of the Co-operative Education curriculum expectations wherein Co-op students need to reflect on and analyze their placement experiences.  It is a way of documenting daily tasks and learning. They form the basis of the students day to day work activity.  It gives Co-op students an opportunity to explain and demonstrate work experience daily.  As well as being a written record of the student’s hours and attendance.  Once the pre-placement period is over (first two weeks of the semester), Co-op student’s will return for integration or in-class periods approximately once a month.
Log sheets including reflective writing is worth 10% of the Co-op student’s final mark.  The evaluation is based on communication skills and degree of effort shown in completing all necessary sections on the log sheet, their attention to detail in the activity section, thinking and personal evaluation. Log sheets include the accurate recording of date, hours worked, activities or tasks performed and reflections on how well things were going that day.

Why I chose to improve student writing on Log Sheets as an Inquiry Question for this Non-Fiction Writing activity?

I wanted to improve the amount of detail in the description of the tasks performed and reflective writing in the log sheets.  One of the biggest problems with writing log sheets is that some students use them simply as a way to record the day’s tasks. They slip into the routine of writing entries without sufficient details and reflection.  As well, the LDSS Co-operative Education Department was using two classes of Co-op students as a “trial” run for employing Electronic Log Sheets.  The LDSS Co-operative Ed. Dept. was hoping that implementing the use of Electronic Log Sheets would also increase the actual amount of writing submitted.  The LDSS Co-op Department is implementing the use of the Electronic Log sheet in all their Co-op classes in the September 2009.

Examples From Student Log Sheets

Student #1: shows that she lists the tasks only and no reflective writing.

Timestamp Student Name Employer Name DATE START Time (AM/PM) -END Time (AM/PM) # Hours Worked Total Hours Activities Performed
2/12/2009 19:09:29 ——– ——– 2/12/2009 11:30 – 5:30 6 6
  • folded towels
  • swept floor
  • cleaned mirrors
  • organized papers in alphabetical order
  • organized work area
2/13/2009 18:48:25 ——– ——– 2/13/2009 11:15 – 5:15 6 12
  • cut foils
  • folded foils
  • swept hair
  • folded towels

Student #2: lists only the activities performed and no journaling or expressive writing.

Timestamp Student Name Employer Name DATE START Time (AM/PM) -END Time (AM/PM) # Hours Worked Total Hours Activities Performed
2/12/2009 15:20:23 ——– ——– 12/2/2009 12pm-3pm 3 3
  • helped feed patients
  • assisted with games
2/14/2009 10:18:06 ——– ——– 14/02/2009 12pm-3pm 3 6
  • help feed residents
  • assisted with bathing residents
2/17/2009 19:04:43 ——– ——– 17/02/2009 12pm-3pm 3 9
  • assited with bathing
  • help feed residence
2/18/2009 15:32:27 ——– ——– 18/02/2009 12pm-3pm 3 12
  • assisted with feeding residence
  • assisted with bathing
  • picked out clothing
2/19/2009 15:32:50 ——– ——– 19/02/2009 12pm-3pm 3 15
  • assisted withe feeding residences
  • did some assistance with bathing
  • assisted with lifts
2/23/2009 15:34:48 ——– ——– 23/02/2009 12pm-3pm 3 18
  • assisted with feeding residences
  • assisted with bathing
  • assisted with putting residences to bed (using lifts)

Student #3: although he provides more detail in the activities performed there is no reflective writing.

Timestamp Student Name Employer Name DATE START Time (AM/PM) -END Time (AM/PM) # Hours Worked Total Hours Activities Performed
2/12/2009 19:59:15 ——– ——– 12/2/2009 1:00PM-5:00PM 4 4
  • got a tour of the workplace and was shown where everything is located
  • removed four seat headrests from a new chevy van
  • did an oil change and break service on a new chevy truck
  • began helping the mechanic remove engine from 98 chevy truck

Instructional Strategies

1. Direct Instruction was provided by the teacher during Pre-placement periods and Integration periods throughout the semester to the entire class of students.

This structured teacher instruction involved verbal, visual and written outlines of the log sheet requirements, assignment and rubric. This was used at the beginning of the course (during pre-placement) to introduce the method of recording written details, reflecting on and analyzing their Co-op experience on electronic log sheets. Direct instruction was also provided by the teacher, throughout the semester (during integration periods) to re-iterate important procedures, components and writing expectations. The repeated use of showing Co-op students various visual forms of the log sheets and tally sheets accompanied by explanations and suggestions during the semester had a strong positive effect on learning outcomes.

Resources Provided to Students

LDSS Student Daily Log Sheet Instructions Handout

Daily Log Sheet Instructions

2. Anchor Charts

Co-created criteria posted in the learning environment and used by the students and teacher to support student learning and improve student achievement.

Anchor Chart co-created by my Co-op students and myself during a Pre-placement period.

Progressive Anchor Chart – continue to add to Anchor Chart throughout semester during Integration days. (Added sections in different coloured ink.)

See picture below:  “What must an Electronic Log Sheet include?”


3. Exemplars
Models of performance tasks that provide teachers and students with the characteristics and criteria at various levels of achievement. They are used to improve student learning.

Exemplars were used during a Pre-placement and an Integration period.

Exemplar Electronic Log Sheet

4. Performance Walls

A readable sample of two levels of work with explicit steps for moving work to the next level. Performance walls provide instruction on how to move any level of performance to the next level  and model the standard that we intend students reach.

Performance wall constructed from information provided by both Co-op students and teachers.


The logistics and template used to develop the performance wall with our students was modified from Craig Scales files posted on the ldss wiki.

In the second semester of 2009 during an Integration period, Co-op students worked in groups of four or five using a “working copy” or blank template to identify levels of Electronic Log Sheet quality.  This information was used in combination with the Co-op teachers working copy data to develop the Performance Wall for Electronic Log Sheets.

Log Sheet Template

5. Moderation

The collaborative assessment of student work to promote reflective practice – thinking about student learning, assessment practices and next steps for improving student achievement.

  • We share student work in my department.
  • We come to agreement when assessing student work in a group marking session.
  • We discuss next steps and share effective practices after moderating a piece of student work.

The Co-operative Department met the LDSS Non-Fiction Writing Goal of meeting at least once with colleagues to analyze student created non-fiction writing using a department developed rubric.

At a Co-op Department meeting, members of the Co-op staff assessed student work using the newly developed Electronic Log Sheet Rubric.  At another Department meeting, members of the LDSS Co-op department also helped in the development of the Electronic Log Sheet Performance Wall.


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6.  Altered Assessments – development of an “Electronic Log Sheet Rubric” by students and Coop Department from an “old” Written/paper rubric.  Another informal method of assessment I used was giving  written feedback on Individual Co-op student’s Tally Sheets and anecdotal comments on printed copies of log sheets during Integration periods throughout the semester.   In conjunction with providing these methods of summative evaluations during the placement period, rubrics were provided to students to assess their own log sheets during an integration period.


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Teacher Student One on One Conferences worked the best.  Discussing log sheets:  i.e. specific examples from log sheets, asking specific questions about specific tasks, requesting more detail; and requesting more reflection on how students feel about their tasks and placements was the single most determining factor in success on their non-fiction writing journal entries.  These one on one conferences occurred at the placement, during my prep period, in the hall and during in-class sessions.

Another crucial method of ensuring over all success on the log sheets was having the Co-op teacher perform daily submission checks.  This involved tracking and recording whether or not each individual student submitted a log sheet for each school day including days that a Coop student was absent from their placement.

Possible Future Instructional Strategies:

The LDSS Co-op Department has provided a daily prompt for students. A prompt might be a sentence to complete, a question to respond to, or a quote to explain.

The purpose of these prompts are:

  • to use questions to stimulate reflection and extend comprehension
  • to challenge students’ thinking by inviting them to interpret, infer, summarize, form conclusions and evaluate selections
  • to extend personal responses by considering the views of others

Reflective writing offers students’ opportunities to write without fear often associated with marking and/or being judged. Every log sheet entry is individualized and a recording of how the student felt at the time.  However, some students tended to write about the same topic each day (i.e. “how slow the shop was each day”).  Providing prompts might reduce this or encouraging students to write about a variety of topics and take what they feel are the varied entries and develop these further.


There was a remarkable improvement by all three students in reflective writing throughout the semester.

Student #1: Despite having repetitive daily tasks, Student #1 was able to write about future goals, new equipment and techniques and things that made her feel good at her placement.  Exemplars, anchor charts, performance wall, anecdotal feedback and one on one teacher conferences seemed to provide the most effective instructional strategies in helping student #1 obtain more success in completing Electronic Log Sheets.

Examples of Student #1 Log Sheet entries:

4/2/2009 18:33:09    Student #1    Supervisor #1        2/4/2009    12:00 – 3:00                 3    96.5

Today was a fun day because I actually did something.  My boyfriend came in to be a model. Deanna taught me how to cut hair so I pretty much cut all his hair. My boyfriends hair is really curly, so Deanna said since I did that with no problem I’ll be able to do any type of hair.

4/23/2009 21:34:44    Student #1    Supervisor #1        23/04/09    11:30 – 4:30        5    137

Today I swept hair, windexed the chairs, windows and mirrors. I also washed hair. There wasn’t too much to do today because Deanna had all day yesterday to clean and she did it then. I’m learning lots at Deanna’s though, i just watch her cut hair and i tried it out on my little sister and i cut her hair, and it looked really good. She and everyone else liked it too. I really like doing hair. I also just found out recently that I have over $11,000 to go to school and I’m still saving up.

5/3/2009 21:53:18    Student #1    Supervisor #1        1/5/2009    11:30 – 3:00        3.5          156

Today was a really fun day. Deanna taught me how to cut long hair. I also put a head of highlights in a friends hair. Everyone liked it and complimented her on them. It made me feel good because I’m not even in school yet and I just started. I also cut my boyfriends hair again a couple of days ago and he told me that he thinks hair cutting comes natural for me because it didn’t take long and it looked good. His sister used to do his hair and he said it took her forever.

5/20/2009 21:02:50    Student #1    Supervisor #1       20/05/09    11:30 – 5:00        5.5          189

Today was a slack day, for the five and a half hours I was there, there were only three clients. Two were colour though so it is always steady basically. We had a short break in between so Deanna tried her new krimper in my hair and tried different techniques on it. Today there was a lady that came in, and she likes to make herself look young so she loved my hair. I was her inspiration for her hair cut. That made me feel happy because a lot of people get their hair cut like me :)

Examples of Student #2 Log Sheet entries:

Student #2:  Despite having poor sentence structure, grammar and spelling, Student #2 progressed from only writing about tasks performed to analyzing her placement experiences from her perspective as well as from others around her.  Daily log sheet submission checks, one on one teacher conferences with individualized feedback and encouragement to write about her feelings and experiences without fear of being assessed totally on conventional English methods appeared to be the best instructional strategies for this student.

2/24/2009 17:14:27    Student #2    Supervisor #2        24/02/2009       12pm-3pm             3            21

today i helped feed residences, because they would start to fall asleep so i had to keep reminding this one lady to wake up and eat something. today i witnessed a very agressive resident. she started yelling at one of the nurses. this made me relize that this job takes a lot of patiences.

  • i walked residences back to their rooms
  • helped with lifts
  • i am excited to start my lift training tomorrow so i can actually do something!!

2/26/2009 15:35:33    Student #2    Supervisor #3        26/02/2009        12pm-3pm             3            27

today was a frustating day
i had to try and feed a difficult resident
she kept keeping her mouth shut, so it was very had to feed her,
i got trained on the lifts today which was good. it was easy for me to catch on, and they said i did a good job.
then they had me go around and take blood pressures, this was always difficult. i dealt with a very agressive resident. she seemed fine at first but then started freaking out, i think they took her off her meds, that was why she was acting so strange. today i really got a look of what this job will bring

3/6/2009 15:35:45    Student #2    Supervisor #2        6/3/2009        12pm-3pm             3            39

today was a pretty good day.
I helped in the tub room, and got to deal with another difficult resident. This lady started to pee and poop all over the floor, which smelt really bad. It’s not her fault because she can’t control it but it made me relize what we all could be like someday. Not all the residents were like this, I also dealt with a man who was very helpful at washing himself, which was good.

3/30/2009 15:53:26    Student #2    Supervisor #2        30/03/2009        12pm-3pm             3            64

Today I helped a man eat, who started to see things. He would start to put his hand up to his mouth to eat, and then chew nothing. It was weird to see, but kind of interesting. I also helped with trays, which is giving residents meals, who didn’t go down to the dining room. One man who I feeding, said he wasn’t himself today. He just sat in his chair all day, and didn’t do anything. It made me feel sad for him, and hope that I don’t have that when I get old. Today I also assisted with baths.

Examples of Student #3 Log Sheet entries:

Student #3:  This Co-op student started off the semester only entering the activities he performed at his placement each day.  Although he entered some detail about the tasks he was doing, there was no reflective analysis.  After a one on one conversation early in the semester, student #3 started providing more and more reflective writing entries.  With progressive development of material on the anchor chart after the first integration period and the group Performance Wall activity, Student #3 was providing large amounts of reflective writing.   However, he developed a pattern of writing about one particular topic (i.e. the lack of work at the auto shop he was employed at).  We had tried various other placement options, but he had to be within walking distance of the school so his options were limited.  At this point, I encouraged him to put as much detail into his activities and try to be positive.

2/12/2009 19:59:15    Student #3    Supervisor #3        12/2/2009    1:00PM-5:00PM    4    4

  • got a tour of the workplace and was shown where everything is located
  • removed four seat headrests from a new chevy van
  • did an oil change and break service on a new chevy truck
  • began helping steve (mechanic) remove engine from 98 chevy truck

3/11/2009 18:44:10    Student #3    Supervisor #3        11/3/2009    1:00PM-5:00PM    4    64

Today was empty when I got there so I was told to clean up the shop. So I washed the whole shop floor down and cleaned any tools and stuff lying around up. I helped Steve for a few seconds, all he needed was me to hold onto a pry bar for him. Other then that I helped Darrle out for the rest of the day. I held the pry bar for him for a few times while he tried to get a wheel bearing out of a 2004 chevy pickup. He was running behind a bit cause of the wheel bearing. All the mechanics said that is the worst they’ve seen so Darrle had me do the front brake service on the truck so that was pretty good to do that. Still don’t know if I want to do this as a career though. I’ll have to see how things turn out in the end.


There was nothing for me to do and even Adam said I was wasting my time there so they let me catch my bus home.

3/23/2009 16:51:02    Student #3    Supervisor #3        23/03/2009    1:00PM-5:00PM    4    76

Got here and Darryl put me to work right away. He needed someone to hold the light and hold some nuts in place because there was a broken stud for the manifold on the driver side of the truck so I was crampt curled up sitting on top of the motor under the hood holding things for him for a good hour and a half; put the welder he was using away once he was done. After that rob had me drain and repair the oil catchers that where leaking. Shop is a mess as always so I cleaned up cardboard and garbage that was lying around. Put spark plugs in the right side of the truck Darryl was working on. Learned how to change a tire with pressure sensors on them so that the sensors don’t get damaged. Swept up a pile of oil dry. Took out the pile of cardboard I had and all the garbage cans were full so I took them out to. Balanced a tire for Darryl’s Cavalier. Did that Interview assignment with Jeff.


Kinda wondering whats gonna happen with this place. Alot of the guys think it’ll be shut down in a few months. They laid off the apprentice which kinda sucks I liked working with Josh. Starting to do a bit more around here but not much, its better then nothing at all and im only a coop student. I checked to make sure George had the same hours recorded as I do. I kinds lost track but not counting today he has me down for 80 hours total after the week after march break and I think my total was only 72 or something so I think I lost track of some hours somewhere along the lines. Days are getting nicer so the days don’t seem to go by so slow to much anymore. I’m filling out the log sheet a little early cause people are going home and I won’t have anything else to do in the next ten minutes but ‘m still here till five. If logging early is a problem just let me know, thanks. You have a good one.

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