In this lesson, I have my students report directly to the computer lab for class. As soon as they begin to arrive, I ask them to log on and open up Microsoft Word. After taking attendance, I show the students from the teacher computer and projector how to use Microsoft Equation Editor to insert all sorts of mathematical symbols and notation. This is a skill that they can take with them long after high school, and I have found that typically none of my students have experience with it. This workshop takes no more than 10 minutes to run, and ensures that the students will be able to type neat mathematical work without resorting to using the clunky "sqrt(x)", "*", or "^".
As the class period draws to a close, it is likely that students will not have completed their writing. Rather than using multiple instructional days, I tell students that it is their responsibility to have it finished within the next 2 weeks. Students can submit their papers to me online, through our web-based classroom called ECHO. This platform allows me to make comments directly on the student submission, as well as on the assignment rubric.
It is important to be sensitive to the fact that not all students have access to technology at home. To accommodate those students, I write students passes during our homeroom time who need to report to the library to finish their police reports. Over two weeks time, the students will have had EIGHT homerooms in which to finish - which should be more than enough time. However, if for some reason a student is not able to finish within the two week window and they do not have access to a computer at home, I provide them with additional time free from penalty. It is more important to me that the students gain experience writing mathematically than the completion date of the paper. This is not the case with all assignments.