An Introduction to Assignments
Well done with the first few days of remote learning … this is a new adventure for all of us! As a parent who has had their kids at home with them for 3 days now – all trying to get work done together – I know how challenging it is.
Hopefully this guide will shed some light on the next stage of Barnes Primary Remote Learning – using the Assignments feature of Teams.
The first three days of remote learning were simply attached as files in Teams, sent out via Parentmail and on the school website. This was quick and easy for 3 days but it is not sustainable moving forwards. Thankfully Teams has a feature called ‘Assignments’ which lets each class teacher set tasks which the children can easily see, and through which they can hand in their work.
You might remember from the last guide that there is an ‘Assignments’ button on the left hand side and in the General channel of Teams (they are both links to the same area):
A lot of the detail in this guide covers KS1 and KS2 year groups who will be using Assignments. Early Years plan to use Assignments as well but may end up using them slightly differently so they are more age appropriate.
Don’t worry – just read the instructions.
KS1 & KS2 plan to put up 1 assignment per subject per week for each class. Sometimes an assignment might need to be split into 2 if it needs a lot of reference material; this will be clearly marked in the title.
There are two ways to get to Assignments. If your child clicks ‘Assignments’ on the left they will see the class selector; they should then click on the relevant class:
(If your child chooses Assignments from the top menu from within their Class Team, they do not see this screen.)
Once your child has found the Assignments area, your child will see any assignments sent for your child’s class:
- Assignments will be clearly titled, for example ‘Maths week 1’.
- A range of subjects will be set each week depending on the class; there won’t be an assignment for every subject every week.
- The teachers are aiming for 15-20hrs of work per week.
- If your child wants to ask a question about an assignment, they should do this in the relevant subject channel in Teams (see the previous guide on Finding your way around MS Teams).
In the following example there are 4 different assignments available. No assignments have been completed yet:
Any of the assignments can be viewed by clicking on them, this then shows all the information about the assignment. There are several parts to this area:
- Read the ‘Assignment Instructions’ carefully, this is where the teacher will tell you what needs to be done and what needs to be handed in
- The ‘Reference Materials’ section gives any documents that are needed to complete the work
- The ‘My Work’ section is where your child’s work will be shown when you have uploaded it
- The ‘Points’ section is not used by Barnes Primary
Follow the instructions the teacher has set. If the teacher has asked for work to be handed in, then click the ‘+’ icon and upload the work.
This could be a photo of the work, a completed work sheet, a word document of an essay … basically any document or picture.
You will see the different options for uploading work:
- Attaching a document you have on your device
- Adding a URL to something on the internet
- Creating a document from within Teams (probably less likely to do this)
Handing in work (if the teacher has asked for it)
Depending on the assignment and the class, the teacher might request work is handed in. Once you have added any work that is necessary, it will be shown in the ‘My Work’ section.
Your child can then click ‘Hand in’ to send it to the teacher.
- In this example the instructions say ‘We do not need any work handed in’ but I have attached some just for demonstration purposes
- Whether or not the assignment needs work to be handed in, your child should click the ‘Hand in’ button to show that they have completed the assignment
- Once the ‘Hand in’ button has been clicked, it changes to say ‘Undo hand in’; your child can click this if you need to change the work or if your child has made a mistake. This can be done even after the teacher has reviewed it; maybe they might ask for more work or point out a mistake or other problem
- the class teacher will be able to see that the assignment has been completed and might mark it and give feedback
Uploading photos of your child's work using a smart phone
Often the easiest way to hand work in with Teams is just to take a picture of it with your phone and then add the picture as ‘My Work‘.
This can be tricky so here is a guide to getting it to work. The simplest option is if you don’t already have Teams on your phone, you can download it then login with your child’s account, take pictures with the phone camera and upload them directly into Teams:
- Download the Teams app onto your phone (from either GooglePlay or Apple App Store. Log in using the pupil’s barnes.richmond.sch.uk account
- Once in your class you can select Assignments (across the bottom of your screen).
- Within the assignment you can ‘Add work’
- You can upload a photo from your phone
- You can see the image attached within the assignment. You can then either go out of the assignment (‘<’) where your image will be automatically saved or if your assignment is completed, ‘Hand in’
If, like me, you use Teams for work and you don’t want to be logging in and out all the time then you need some kind of cloud storage service which is supported by the device your child is using to access Teams.
A good choice if you have Apple devices is just to use the free iCloud storage.
- Take a picture of the work from your phone
- Looking at the picture click the ‘share button’ (its a little box with an arrow pointing up)
- Scroll down to ‘Save to Files‘
- Create a new folder in your iCloud Drive if you like
- Click Save
- Now go to Teams and follow the steps above to add work, on any Apple device you’ll be able to select ‘Browse‘, ‘Files‘ and ‘iCloud‘ and find the file you just saved.
When assignments will appear, and when to hand them in
Ok this bit is a tad complicated, so hang on in there with me!
Firstly, what week is it? For the purposes of numbering assignments the school is starting at ‘Week 1’ commencing Monday 24th March (i.e. the first week children were remote learning):
- Week 1 – starting Monday 24th March
- Week 2 – starting Monday 30th March
- (2 weeks of Easter)
- Week 3 – starting Monday 20th April
- Week 4 – starting Monday 27th April …. and so on …
Normally: Assignments for a week will appear in Teams at 8am on the Thursday before that week.
The children will then complete the work in the following week.
They will then have until the next Monday to ‘Hand in’ any work or just click ‘Hand in’ to tell the teacher they have done it.
However to get everything started:
- At 8am on Thursday 26th March assignments will appear in Teams for Thursday 26th and Friday 27th March
- The children will have until Monday 30th March to hand any work in
- At 8am on Friday 27th March, assignments will appear in Teams for week 2 (week commencing Monday 30th March)
- This takes everyone up to the Easter holidays and no homework will be set for the Easter holidays (yay!!)
- Then the above process continues at 8 am on Thursday 16th April, assignments will appear for Week 3 (week commencing Monday 20th April)
By then we will all be old hands at this and everyone can have a well deserved cup of tea!
Problem: Assignments aren’t showing up in the Assignments section of the iPad version of Teams
This has been reported by some parents.
At the bottom of the iPad app if you click the Assignments button in some cases the list of assignments doesn’t show up. They can still be seen in the General Posts section and can be accessed.
This is easily fixed:
- Click Assignments at the bottom of the app
- Click the class name at the top
- Reselect the class
- Click ‘Next’
- The assignments will then appear in this list as well
Problem: In Teams when I click on an attachment to an assignment it shows up as black rather than the PDF (it used to work)
This is a known problem with Teams it seems and it is annoying. I have found this on a Mac using the Teams app but according to the internet it can also happen on Windows.
The problem is that when you open an attachment to an Assignment in the Teams app, you briefly see the attachment but then it is immediately replaced by a black screen. This seems to have happened for me after a system update.
The solution is to delete the settings.json file which somehow has become corrupted. On a Mac:
- Close Teams
- Open Finder
- On the top Menu bar select Go, then Go to Folder
Copy the following text into the box:
- ~/Library/Application\ Support/Microsoft/Teams
- Look for the file called ‘settings.json‘ and delete it.
- I also deleted the Cache and Application Cache folders from this directory as well but I’m not sure if that was necessary.
- Restart Teams and try again … hopefully it should display properly now!
- All the above items you deleted are recreated when Teams restarts.
On a Windows machine the settings.json file is in:
- c:/<your user name>/appdata/roaming/microsoft/teams
For those wanting to get much more into the detail here is a long and detailed discussion about it with the answer above, there is no clarity on why this happens, or how often: