As I take a few minutes to reflect on the tools I have been using this year, a few keep coming up as my absolute favorites. Students are asking to see the teacher dashboard, to see their progress. I have students clapping for each other when they see their progress with no prompting from me. That has brought tears to my eyes.
One of my best strategies has been to look at their learning targets and have them see where they are making progress and why, or if they are having trouble and how can we help. We have a wall up with student names and their badges and accomplishments, and believe me I can’t miss a day or Mrs. Francis is in trouble. I have a different group this year and therefore their progress is very different, but I do know that the below tools have really helped rock my classroom!
This works on all platforms and I don’t think I can say enough about how groundbreaking this program has been for us. The students work on different areas. If they miss a question, it shows them an immediate video and tells them two other students in the classroom they can ask for help. The coins add up to go to the piggy store to make the hottest fashion piggy. The Students pretest in all the math domains from k-8 and then let the learning begin.
Students can touch the button for audio support and there is a pullout for math tools they might need as well as a scratchpad. A teacher can see the strong and weak domains such as word problems or measurements in graphic detail. Report cards give an overall grade equivalent, allowing you to group students.
Printables is absolutely awesome with the click of a button you have customized worksheets for each student. Adaptive feed shows the standard the student has worked on with a green, orange, and red for mastery. Click on the box and you have instantaneous lessons on that particular standard. How cool is that? Analysis lets you break down and compare which students have which stand making it a quick way to easily see if any reteaching needs to be done. Grade level compares students on a graph given you an easy pictorial view.
They have done a wonderful job under frequently asked questions, answering questions, having training videos and presentation materials. Best of all it is free. There is a school license option and now a benchmark assessment options that districts can check into for a cost.
I have not even begun to tap all of the wonderful things in this program. It is available on the web and web based on iPads. It has both math and ELA, which is broken down into different domains. Students earn badges that have scientific information on animals and they let me know the second they earn a badge. It has wonderful data tracking with day by day progress. It works through vocabulary, language, informational and literature reading.
Behavior can be tracked, ipads can be used as clickers and teachers can run contests. Worksheets can also be run according to skills students may be weak, providing more independent practice.
This program has amazing customizability with the push of a button. I am able to tell what students worked on, their scores, questions and even if they were focusing. It is like having a classroom of extra eyes! Any scores less than 70% are highlighted in yellow making it easy to spot where the student may need extra help. Some features are free with the others being $99 for a year for unlimited students in a class.
The third blended learning tool rocking my classroom is a reward that the students absolutely love called Skoolbo. Our classroom was contacted last week as we are approaching “Super Classroom status” having answered over 22,000 questions correctly. Students can play through a software download on the computer, web or as an app. Students make their own avatar, choose a plane and off they go. It switches between literature and numeracy and starts very basic.
Through its algorithm, it assigns student content they have mastered, practicing and new material. They compete against other students and the dreaded Dr. Weevil in one minute sessions. While participating in timed events is very hard for my students, they love it. I love it as a teacher as I can get into the dashboard and see what skills they are mastering and practicing. It keeps track of improvement and the students go nuts when they get to where the superhero costume. I can hear them say, “I got first, I get a new plane”.
This is free to individual teachers with a cost for parent reports and district level demographics.
The tools I am using are keeping my students motivated, allowing me to individually reteach concepts and really see what previous skills they are missing. With us moving to the online testing format, my students are needing all the practice they can get. And along the way they are teaching me a thing or two as well. Isn’t that what blended learning is all about?
Feature image adapted from image courtesy of Flickr, Nina Matthews Photography.