Moderate to Severe Developmental Disability: Eight Essential Skills for Living
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Moderate to Severe Developmental Disability: Eight Essential Skills for Living

Most evaluation tools and curricula arrange skills according to the way a typical child might acquire them. Essential for Living by Patrick McGreevy, PhD BCBA-D et al takes a different approach. They group skills into categories of “must-have,” “should-have,” “good-to-have,” and “nice-to have.” This instrument also identifies deficits in functional skills that might be the…

When We Put the Focus on Grades—Are We Missing the Mark?
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When We Put the Focus on Grades—Are We Missing the Mark?

When I think back on my own fond memories from early elementary school, I am flooded with thoughts of show and tell, hatching and raising baby chicks, four-square on the playground, and pretend cooking in my kindergarten classroom’s Playskool kitchen. The focus for my learning, as far as I can recall from those early days…

What Student-Driven Learning Actually Looks Like (Hint: It Looks Fun!)
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What Student-Driven Learning Actually Looks Like (Hint: It Looks Fun!)

Have you ever heard the quote, “When one teaches, two learn”? Tweet This supports the mindset of, “The true strength in our classroom lies in the collaboration of learners, not in the knowledge of one expert.”   Tweet Gone are the days where the teacher is the only expert in the classroom. Classrooms need to…

Removing the Limitations in a Digital Environment
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Removing the Limitations in a Digital Environment

What is the ideal blended learning environment? I have had a lot of noneducators talk to me about technology in the classroom. Most don’t have informed opinions (so I’m happy to share mine with them). Many ask me what the best device is for learning. Sadly, I’ve even had educators argue this point with me…

Progress Tests… Are They Reliable?
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Progress Tests… Are They Reliable?

I recently had a small administrative problem with an institution I sometimes teach for, that ultimately made me realize for the first time why I feel uncomfortable with the term “Progress Test”. For some time now, I have generally avoided using the term Progress Test, favoring instead something more general like “Midterm” or “Module/Unit Assessment”,…

The Carrot and The Stick: Are American Schools Actually Teaching Us?
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The Carrot and The Stick: Are American Schools Actually Teaching Us?

When I was seven-years-old we moved from the United States to Switzerland because of my father’s job. I was born in Brazil, but having left it just two years old, I didn’t really know anything other than the U.S. I didn’t even realize I was Italian, not American. From the moment we stepped off that…

A Grammar Lesson They’ll Actually Love
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A Grammar Lesson They’ll Actually Love

English teachers have the unfortunate reputation of being monotone and boring. Most students dread the thought of session after session focused on grammar. Long papers facing the scrutiny of their instructor seem to be a daunting punishment. How can we make a typically fear-inducing topic and make it fun and engaging? Below, I share my notes…

Let’s Recap! Video Response App Helps Students Reflect with Ease
Assessment Classroom

Let’s Recap! Video Response App Helps Students Reflect with Ease

James Britton is endlessly quoted as saying “reading and writing float on a sea of talk.” For kids to become truly fluent with language, talking is a major component. Reflecting orally is also a way for students to codify and cement their ideas into structured ways of thinking. Master teachers of today know the importance…

Using Rubrics: Integrity, Fairness and Responsibility
Assessment Classroom

Using Rubrics: Integrity, Fairness and Responsibility

A rubric is an assessment tool that helps to maintain integrity and fairness in grading. They also help students to be responsible for their learning through better and timelier feedback. But how do rubrics accomplish this? What makes a rubric such an effective way for online instructors to articulate to students the desired learning outcomes for the…

Creative Lessons with Fake Texts, Tweets, Facebook Pages and More
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Creative Lessons with Fake Texts, Tweets, Facebook Pages and More

What if Lewis and Clark had cell phones? What would JFK have posted on Facebook? What would Abe Lincoln have Tweeted? While it’s fun to think about what how modern technology would have affected the past, it’s also a creative way for students to demonstrate an understanding of historical figures, politicians, authors, or even plants and…

3 Easy Ways to Gamify Your Classroom with Kahoot
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3 Easy Ways to Gamify Your Classroom with Kahoot

One of education’s hottest buzzwords these days is gamification: the integration of games into classroom instruction to enhance student learning. Purposeful gamification can allow for personalized learning, increased student engagement, and greater creativity. (For more information about why you should integrate gameplay into your instruction, see this Fractus post by Rebecca Davies) But what if you’re new to…

De-Grading Education: Replacing Grades with Mastery-Based Learning
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De-Grading Education: Replacing Grades with Mastery-Based Learning

Author and educational strategist Elizabeth Wissner-Gross has something to say. Something that could ruffle your feathers. Something that could shake your very classroom foundations… She believes it’s time to end grading. In the below TEDx talk, Elizabeth discusses her experience with ‘grading on the curve’ and how she believes not only does this go against everything a…

The Most Beautiful Way to Assess, Poll and Engage: Typeform
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The Most Beautiful Way to Assess, Poll and Engage: Typeform

Overview It’s not often that you come away from an online poll, quiz or survey with a sense of awe and wonder. In fact, it’s not often that you come away from these experiences with any other sensation than relief that it’s over. Well, Typeform takes a completely fresh approach to asking questions online and puts user…

5 Ways to Embrace Digital Annotation for Student Feedback and Grading
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5 Ways to Embrace Digital Annotation for Student Feedback and Grading

Overview There’s nothing quite as satisfying as the soft, smooth roll of pen on paper. That ability to scribble, strike, crumple and tear. But what about the downsides of this ancient medium? Endless printing cycles. Lack of searchability. A desk stacked to the roof with essays and sheets to mark. It’s these frustrations and a determination to streamline the classroom that…

Get More Out of Class Assessment Using Socrative
Assessment Classroom

Get More Out of Class Assessment Using Socrative

Overview Socrative is an online and mobile platform created for specifically educators that makes real time questioning, instant result aggregation and response visualization simple, fast and surprisingly fun. Whether you are looking to create a formal test with reports and feedback, visualize student answers for discussion and further learning, or create a more engaging classroom quiz, Socrative is…

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