Saturday, November 21, 2015

Trimester One Updates

I haven't written much this year.  This seems to be the year of correcting non-compliance issues for my district so there has been a lot of energy spent making changes to get into compliance.  For example, I now have to teach 100 minutes of PE each week rather than having PE taught by a PE specialist.  Since I have never been athletic, and dreaded PE for my entire school life, this has not been something I've been excited about.

I have had my students using GoNoodle more than in the past.  If you're not familiar with the website, GoNoodle has a variety of videos related to exercise and movement that can be done in the classroom.  Most of the videos are 1-6 minutes, although there are some that are longer.  GoNoodle has calming videos, yoga, dance, exercise and more. They add new content on a regular basis and create content that tie to holidays.  For example, before Halloween there was a dance related to different bones in the body, sung by a skeleton.  Recently they've had some thankful songs and a turkey dance.

As far as daily activities we are generally following activities from last year with tweeks here and there that are small enough not to write about.  So, read through my blog posts for the last 2 years and you'll know what we're up to.

Digital GoMath has not gone well.  The students, parents and I have suffered through enough frustrations in 2 months that I finally set it aside in favor of paper and other digital providers such as TenMarks, Front Row Education, Splashmath, and Zeal.  In a recent meeting Houghton Mifflin reps did say they are working hard to improve the experience, so we'll see.  Right now, though, I'd say that the above 4 free companies are all a better bet.

My students and I have started using a digital "data binder".  It's called Sown to Grow and I learned about them at an Imagine K12 event at the end of September.  Right now my students are using Sown to Grow to track addition/subtraction math fact tests and also RazKids reading comprehension progress.  Here are some screenshots to show what I see.  For RazKids the scoring is set up to reflect number of questions answered correctly out of 10 and for the math timed test it's set up to reflect a % correct.  I can set these parameters as well as color gradients.

It's easy for students to enter scores after they complete a RazKids quiz or math test.  Here's what they see when they look at their own progress.

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