New School Year. New ScootPad!

This August, we’re introducing a brand new design and a ton of new features making it easier to engage students and accelerate learning than ever before. You’ll enjoy:
New Design
Every page has been redesigned to be easier to use with intuitive navigation.
Any Device
The new design adjusts to perfectly fit your desktop, tablet or mobile phone screen.
Online Instruction
Interactive instruction to help students learn common core concepts easily.
Interactive Assessments
20+ unique question formats (more than both PARCC and SBAC combined!).
Features You Wanted
New and enhanced features most requested by admins and teachers!
More Payment Options
Online ordering of site licenses and classroom plans. Pre-pay or pay as you go!

To help you get a head start for the new school year with ScootPad, we will be announcing free webinars and training sessions shortly. Stay Tuned!

Cheers,
ScootPad Team

Uncovering Hidden Struggles

I always find it interesting to see what areas my students struggle with in ScootPad. When I look at the results, I can see if it’s a specific area of struggle for a whole class, or if individuals are getting tripped up by specific kinds of problems. Sometimes the reason for the struggle is obvious (e.g., a student does not know their multiplication facts and thus is having a hard time with division). In such a case, the solution is also obvious–work on the area of weakness to improve skill knowledge and student performance.

But what happens if the reason underlying the poor performance is not so obvious?  Such was the case with “Colby.” Colby is a bright, eager first grader who is whizzing his way through the second grade math track. He almost always scores 100%, or close to it, on math practices.

Looking at the practice results, we can assume this student is doing perfectly.

Looking at the practice results, we can assume this student is doing perfectly.

 

So imagine my surprise when I was printing out his progress report and saw he was at 64% on something!

I was surprised to see this  red score amidst what looked like near-perfect practices.

I was surprised to see this red score amidst what looked like near-perfect practices.

Confused, I went into the practices themselves to see what was tripping him up. It was hard to find one worthy of exploration, but I decided to check out 2 of the 85% scores.  Seeing the kinds of questions he was getting wrong, I was more confused: the math was simple, the concepts not nearly as advanced as many I had seen him do without any issues.

Sometimes a child's struggle is more than meets the eye.

Sometimes a child’s struggle is more than meets the eye.

After sitting with it for a bit,the solution came to me: it was the wording that was throwing him off, not the math. And while this may seem relatively insignificant, it pointed to something worthy of my time and consideration: the new tests coming (PARCC in our case) rely a great deal on just such types of wording! No longer can students get by on math understanding alone: They must also be able to decipher the math desired through the veil of a great deal of language.  For students in schools such as mine, where many are second language learners, thinking about teaching students the language is as important as teaching them the math! Colby’s results reminded me of the great challenge that awaits me with my students as we prepare for PARCC in the coming months.

What new challenges have you discovered by looking at some interesting questions and student answers on ScootPad?

Cheers!
Dr. Michelle Anthony

Meet Our Interns!

Please join us in welcoming our 2014 Summer Interns! They have joined us from all over the country to work on some interesting projects and to make an impact on millions of students using ScootPad!

Alekya

Alekya_photo

“Hey! I’m from Seminole, Florida and am a sophomore in high school. I like to listen to music, play sports, and watch movies.”

Cavan clashofclans

Cavan_photo

“Hello! I am currently a senior in high school and am from Campbell, California. I really enjoy working at ScootPad because everyone is super nice, helpful and the program is just great! During my time off work, I enjoy hanging with friends, listening to music, and gaming some. If you play Clash of Clans and read this, join my clan! PAX-13. Now have a great day.”

Connor

Connor_photo

“Hey! My name is Connor and I am currently a junior in high school. I’m from Saratoga, California and I love listening to music and playing sports.”

Kevin batman_logo

Kevin_photo

“Hi, my name is Kevin, and I am currently a junior at a high school in Gotham… sorry it’s actually in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I enjoy running, drawing, playing the piano, and fighting crime ehm I mean coding. I’m super excited to be working at ScootPad this summer, and I already exceeded the 1-2 sentence limit for this post, so bye!”

Meghna double icecream cone melonheadz colored

Meghna_photo

“Hi! I am a junior in high school and live in San Jose, California. I enjoy spending time with other people and I love to eat. :-)

 

Cheers,
ScootPad Team

Creative Ways to Track Student Activity

I love how ScootPad sends me weekly updates on my students. One of the first things I look at in my account is how many of my students have logged in that week. I work with a great number of students every week, some of whom rotate into and out of my class, depending on a number of factors. Thus, seeing the number of sign ins may not give me all I want to know in terms of who has signed in most recently.

Can you tell who's logged in just by their avatars?

Can you tell who has logged in just by their avatars?

So I have developed a little trick to allow me to easily see right away who has logged in and who has not. I give my kids a challenge: change their avatars when they log in each week. To add to the fun, I set guidelines:

  • Choose an animal
  • Choose something with the color green in it
  • Avoid one that has the color red
  • Remove the smiley face from your avatar.

I’ve even asked my students to choose a mood from one of 3 that I’ve given them to choose from. For example, have everyone choose either dancing, hypnotize, or whistling. Mix it up and make it fun.

mood

The kids love the challenges, and you can easily see who’s logging in, even before you check your dashboard for results.

Cheers!
Dr. Anthony

 

Helping Students See Strengths and Weaknesses

Each week I set up both Math and Reading practices for all my students to do at home. Not all students do the practices, mind you, but they are always available. In fairness, some of my students don’t have internet access. Also in fairness, when my students are in my GT class, they are missing work in their regular class that they will have to make up as homework. Adding homework to homework is often not the best way to excite kids for additional learning opportunities. So what can get them excited?

Students often have no idea what all those checks and X's add up to.

Students often have no idea what all those checks and X’s add up to.

 

One strategy that has worked well with my students has been to give them the tools to recognize their own areas of strength and struggle. For example, I have them log into ScootPad and go to their learning paths. They always marvel at how far they have come, looking at the number of units they have completed. They also love to see their “beehive” as they call it. While they chip away at a set of skills with each practice, they don’t notice or realize that each question builds towards something. And they rarely take the time (or realize the means) to see what they are building towards: proficiency and mastery.

What better way to see progress than a green “hive” staring back at you? It imparts a feeling of instant success! And what better motivation to improve than realizing there is a red “hive” in the mix? I have many students who stare at the red hexagon as if it were a black hole: their face reveals shock, and confusion. As if they had no idea that those little ‘x’s’ at the end of a practice over time actually meant anything.

“Ms. Anthony?” some will question, “I don’t understand. Why is this score so low?”

Others will come over somewhat despondent, as if they have been “discovered” or “found out.” “Ms. Anthony, I know I’m not doing well on this, but I just don’t know how to do it.”

While it can sometimes be difficult for them to acknowledge a challenge, the opportunity it presents for me is well worth it: having kids own their learning and invest in their own outcomes.

succeed

Cheers!
Dr. Anthony

Fundraise to Get ScootPad For Your Classroom!

money_iconWe know how tight school budgets can be so we wanted to share some fundraising options to help you get ScootPad for your school or classroom. We recommend setting up a fundraiser through Donors Choose, through ScootPad, or through both!

 

donorschooselogoScootPad teachers have had great success raising funds through DonorsChoose, an online charity open to thousands across the world.

donorschoose

Ms. Mini (Imagine South Lake Charter School, Clermont, FL), for example, recently added a fundraiser for a ScootPad subscription for her students.

ScootPad Fundraiser

fundraiser_setup1fundraiser_share

You can also easily setup a free fundraiser on ScootPad!

You can share with your community through your school webpage, Twitter, Facebook or Twitter.

The securely donated funds are immediately added to your account!

 

To set up a fundraiser on DonorsChoose: http://www.donorschoose.org/

To set up a fundraiser on ScootPad: Click on upgrade in your teacher account and then select “fundraiser”

SP_Fundraiser

Cheers,
ScootPad Team

What to Do When Kids Say: I’m Bored!

As teachers, we work so hard to make learning interesting and engaging for kids. This practice gets harder and harder with the number of requirements that keep getting heaped on, with less and less time to do it due to increased testing. Knowing how hard I work to spark my students’ interest, there is no worse comment I could hear than “I’m bored.” I feel deflated, defeated, and defensive.

bored

This actually happened just yesterday when I was working with a small group on ScootPad. My student, Luka, was distractedly punching keys on his computer and then said to me, “Can I go back to my seat and do other work? I’m bored.”

“Bored?” I thought. “Oh no! Maybe ScootPad has run its course and it’s not engaging the kids anymore. Maybe the excitement has died down and it’s all “work” to them now. I mean, who has time in school to be bored?” I was ready to actually announce my last thought aloud when I stopped myself. There is so much to engage kids within ScootPad, I knew there was more to it than simply being bored.

“What’s boring you?” I asked.

“These math problems. They’re just really boring.” I came over and saw that he was getting a number of problems wrong in a row.

When problems feel hard, kids can get "bored."

When problems feel hard, kids can get “bored.”

Knowing Luka, a bright boy for whom most learning comes easily, I asked, “Does it feel boring to get the problems wrong over and over?” He shrugged.

I had deciphered the code! We sat and problem solved some of what had been tripping him up. I saw the light go on in his eyes and his energy picked up.

“Oh!” he exclaimed, “So THAT is how you do it!” Re-energized, he went back to work, newly engaged. I moved on to another student. “Ms. Anthony,” I heard him call over, “I got 20/20. Can I do another?”

So much for being bored!

Cheers!
Dr. Michelle Anthony

Win an iPad Mini!

ipad_mini

Sign up for a FREE Admin account for chance to win an iPad Mini!

(June 29th – July 12th)

ISTE_ATL

 

Going to ISTE? Stop by and we can sign up for you!

(Ed Tech Start-Up Pavilion booth #1826)

Good luck!

Cheers,
ScootPad Team

Avoid Summer Learning Frustrations with Balanced Assignments

I am excited to have a small handful of kids who have been using ScootPad since the school year ended. I have a weekly standing assignment for both reading and math for anytime a student happens to log in. But I want to make it more individualized for my students who are taking time from their summer to be on ScootPad. I’d like to power-punch the learning by making sure I am supporting the areas that will most benefit them.

math_reading_assignment

To do this, I am looking at their reports to identify both a strength and a weakness. If I give them practices with only their weaknesses, I might frustrate or discourage them. So to keep things balanced, I am creating practice assignments that are a blend of both their areas of strength and weakness. I believe like this will allow them to be successful while also being challenged to look at topics that are more difficult for them.

For example, “Terri” has done some work on ScootPad since school ended. While looking at her report for math, I can see she struggles with money multiplication, elapsed time, and a few others. However, she is rocking in the standard ‘comparing number using place value and lines and angles,’ among others. Thus, I am selecting 5 topics that will challenge her, and 5 I already know she is successful in (see image below).

Finding the balance between challenge and success

Finding the balance between challenge and success

What are some ways you seek a balance between challenge and success?

Cheers!
Dr. Michelle Anthony

 

Come See Us at the ISTE Conference in Atlanta (June 29th & 30th)

ScootPad will be at the ISTE Conference this year in Atlanta, Georgia! Look for us at the Ed Tech Start-Up Pavilion booth #1826 June 29th and 30th! Please stop by and say hello to the ScootPad team!

   ISTE_ATL   ISTE 2013 conference at the San Angelo Convention Center.

 

About the ISTE Conference

This year’s conference will be held at the Georgia World Conference Center in Atlanta. Teachers and educators will have the opportunity to network with other educators and companies. ISTE also offers a multitude of professional development opportunities that will help strengthen skills to support digital age learning!

iPad Raffle: Sign Up for a FREE Admin Account for a chance to win an iPad

Make sure you stop by our booth to enter our drawing for a chance to win an iPad Mini!

Not able to attend? Simply have your principal/admin sign up for a FREE admin account by July 1st to be entered!
Sign up here: https://www.scootpad.com/static/school

ipad_mini

For more information about ISTE 2014: https://www.isteconference.org/2014/glance/

To register for ISTE 2014: https://www.isteconference.org/2014/attend/

Cheers,
ScootPad Team

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