Problem Solving in All Forms

ScootPad is a platform for reading and math learning; however, it hosts a number of other possibilities. One benefit that I stumbled upon quite recently was by accident.  I was helping my students connect socially on ScootPad, to help foster engagement before summer vacation. One aspect of this was to encourage them to send each other shoutouts. At first they were frustrated that they couldn’t type whatever they wanted. They were also dismayed at the limited number of text options available. They immediately came to me to “fix” the problem.

I explained to them that I could not change the program and these were the limitations they were going to have to work with. I was interested to watch their problem solving at work. Some simply complained and gave up. They sat sullen, having no idea what to do with the time allotted, feeling as if  they could not accomplish their objective. Some remained that way for the rest of the time. Some, still dismayed, asked if they could do a practice instead of connect with friends. While not my original intent, this seemed an appropriate solution for them, so I said yes.

Other students, however, were not deterred. They, too were frustrated at the limitations, but they chose a different route of coping. Instead of giving up, they got creative. They began putting together simple sentences, sent them along, and used them as a launching off point. For example, when Francis sent Adam a “super job” shoutout, it initiated an in person conversation about what each was doing well on in ScootPad.

Instead of me telling them they were doing a great job, they were telling one another!

Problem Solving can come in all forms.

Problem Solving can come in all forms.

What hidden ways have you discovered to foster student connections on ScootPad?

Cheers!
Dr. Anthony

Thank You Riverside Elementary!

The ScootPad team was overjoyed to receive these beautiful, well written thank you letters from Mindy Shaw’s 5th Grade Classroom!

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Mrs. Shaw is a 5th grade teacher at Riverside Elementary in Chattaroy, Washington. She is also an active member of our Teacher Advisory Board and has been using ScootPad with her classroom over the past year. We are so happy to see ScootPad is making such a big difference in her students’ learning!

We would like to share some of the kind and encouraging words with you:

“This program improved my skills both in math, and in reading.”

“When I move up a unit, it’s a challenge at first, but then I understand the concepts.”

“I thought I could never get better at math, but you guys helped me by letting us use ScootPad.”

“Thank you for helping me be a better math and reading student.”

“I have become a great learner from your program.”

“I have fun and learn at the same time.”

“Thank you guys for letting me challenge myself in the math and reading”

“You have made me feel special for going to the next level”

We want to give a final big “Thank You!” to Mrs. Shaw’s classroom! You and other students like you are the inspiration behind everything we do!

We hope ScootPad has made an impact on your classroom, too! We would love for you to share your experience with us on our “Love ScootPad” page: https://www.scootpad.com/love

Or you can write to us:

ScootPad Corporation
1551 McCarthy Blvd, Suite 114
Milpitas, CA 95035

Cheers,
ScootPad Team

The Social Side of ScootPad

As the end of school approaches, I continue to set up experiences to engage my kids’ learning activities and to help launch them into summer motivated to continue learning.  This is a tricky proposition with my students, as most of them come from disadvantaged backgrounds where Science Camp is not likely on the agenda. But my students are eager and are often looking for opportunities to connect with learning. One way I am doing this is by helping them make social connections on ScootPad.

Being the GT teacher, I work with students in various classes across the grades, and not all the students are in the group across the year. Thus, many of my students are not physically in the room together at the same time, even though a number know one another or are friends. So to help make connections and get some conversations going, I invited them to extend their circle of friends on ScootPad.

Hearing how students select their friends gives me valuable social information.

Hearing how students select their friends gives me valuable social information.

Kids had a blast doing this, and it was equally useful for me. I got to listen to how they decided who to be friends with, and why. As a teacher, especially of GT students, it’s important for me to understand the connections my students are making to one another and how I might help foster that in class.

Are there ways you have discovered emotional understanding through ScootPad?

Cheers!
Dr Anthony

Are You Psyched for Summer?

Like most schools, we are in wind down mode, getting ready to finish off the year. It’s also a time of reflection and planning, as we look ahead to planning for next fall (“Already?” you may ask…yep, already). Knowing the year is coming to a close, I know how important it is for my students to continue to work towards their learning goals, even as May turns to June. One issue is that, as much as teachers are beginning to close out the year, so are students. They know summer is coming and their investment in their learning processes is beginning to reflect that.

Knowing the shift that is happening, I decided to re-ignite interest by making a ScootPad fun day. I invited the kids to spend the first part of the class altering their “how I feel today” icons, choosing new avatars, adding some friends, sending a few shoutouts, etc. They sparked up immediately! While the hum in the room started out completely social, I noticed as the time went on it shifted.

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Making it fun re-engages the learning!

Making things fun re-engages the learning!

“Which practice number are you on?”

“I’m on practice 3, but it’s for unit 7, what about you?”
“Ms. Anthony, if I’m doing unit 8, how many more until I get to the C unit Rodrigo is doing?”

Game on.

I will admit, I had an ulterior motive in doing this. Of course I wanted to spark some increased interest in continuing to learn through the remaining days of the school year. However, I wanted more. I know the statistics: most kids lose up to 2 months of learning over the summer. While the Summer Slide is not good for any child, children from low income homes are more at risk for even higher levels of loss.

Knowing this, my ultimate goal is to prime at least some of my students to continue using ScootPad over the summer. I plan to keep my class set up so that my students can access the learning throughout June, July, and August. As I have told them, I don’t want their brains turning to marshmallows over the summer, and what better way than by continuing to keep their learning active with our class ScootPad account?

What ways have you tried to keep your students learning over the summer?

Cheers!
Dr Michelle Anthony

 

Top 10 Reasons to Enroll in ScootPad Summer Program

summer ScootPad’s interactive Summer Program starts in a few days! Enroll your child now to take advantage of all the great benefits our Summer Program has to offer!

 

1) Prevent the “Summer Slide” 
With our specially designed summer curriculum, students will retain the previous year’s material by reviewing the past year’s core concepts.

2) Prepare Students for next grade level
Students will get a head start on the coming school year by working with new concepts from the next year’s grade level.

3) Understand Common Core Standards
Students will gain valuable experience with the Common Core Standards to help prepare them for the transition most schools will be making next school year.

4) Convenient and Self-Paced
Students will only be expected to devote around 5 hours/week to ScootPad which means they can work a little every day, or once a week.

5) Assessment Driven Insights
Monthly assessments will be given so parents can gain real-time insight into how their kids are performing all summer long!

6) Fully Managed by ScootPad
 ScootPad will carry the weight of responsibility of engaging your child this summer, so you can choose to be involved as much as you like.

7) Fun Learning Experience
While learning, kids will have access to over 250 avatars, will be able to add unlimited friends, send unlimited shoutout messages and play learning games.

8) Weekly Updates
Parents will receive weekly updates so they can easily monitor student activity and proficiency to identify improvement needs and you can even assign additional practices.

9) Motivation Tools
Kids will be motivated to learn this summer with the Summer Leaderboard where they can compare their results with other students in their grade level and work to be in the top ranking.

10) Prizes & Awards
All students will receive a ScootPad Summer Certificate, but students will also have the chance to earn 1-year free of our Silver Plan ($38 value), or a ScootPad T-Shirt if they are ranked at the top of their grade level in Reading/ELA or Math.

To learn more and enroll, please visit our Summer Page at: https://scootpad.com/summer.

If you have any questions or need help enrolling call us toll free  1-888-666-3106 (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm PST) or send an email to Summer@ScootPad.com.

Cheers,
ScootPad Team

Using the Class Leaderboard at Home

I use ScootPad with a number of hats on.  I am a GT Teacher of an urban, linguistically diverse elementary school where many of my students are learning to speak and read English while also learning to think and reason in their new language. But I also use ScootPad as a mom at home with my own kids. l love the versatility of the program! I can use it to focus on areas of weakness, or to help my children excel at their strength.

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One way I use ScootPad at home is using the leaderboard as both a motivator and a touchstone. As a parent, we often feel like what we say goes in one ear and out the other. But instead of needing to emphasize the importance of this or the benefit of that, the leaderboard does it for me! My son can see how many questions other kids are doing and getting right. He can place (and pace!) himself among his peers. As a parent, I can tell if he’s spending about as much time as the group in general on ScootPad, just to get a sense of where he falls. The motivation comes from him, instead of what may be perceived as pressure coming from me. All without me having to say a word!

For other posts in the “Ways to Use the Class Leaderboard” series, see:

Encouraging Healthy Competition with the Class Leaderboard

Using the Leaderboard to Help Students Own Learning

Motivating Learning with the Class Leaderboard

Cheers!
Dr. Michelle Anthony

Enhance Learning by Making Concepts Visual

Our second graders, like most around the nation, are building their framework of understanding around place value. Each day they have math class, where we use the Everyday Math program. They do Math Boxes and homework sheets. And if you ask them if they understand place value, they will tell you they do. Until they need to actually use it in a new context. That’s when some of  the tools on ScootPad can make all the difference!

The other day, we had a ScootPad station set up. While working with another group, I happened to look over and see my student Astera typing on Latisha’s, computer.

“What’s up?” I asked her.

“Oh, Latisha asked me to do the problem for her. She doesn’t know how.” After a brief conversation with both girls about the importance of only doing your own work, I sat with Latisha. She stared blankly at the problem.

“I have no idea what to do,” she mumbled quietly.

Applying place value skills is not as simple as it looks.

Applying place value skills is not as simple as it looks.

“Let’s just start at the beginning.” So we walked through what the problem was asking (see image, above). Many of my students are second language learners, so reading and understanding the question is actually another layer of learning for them. The number of steps was also throwing her off.

Color can really help pull out the concepts!

Color can really help pull out the concepts!

To help her visualize the problem, I used the scratchpad to draw out each place value in its own color. This visual set up really helped things click for her! While sometimes the scratchpad is cumbersome on our Chromebooks, having access to color tools literally at our fingertips can really simplify learning! After only 1 more example, she was ready to tackle it on her own, and do it for herself!

Cheers!
Dr. Anthony

Let ScootPad Help With Procedural Learning

Teachers are given too much to do, with too little time, too few resources, and too many children. And yet, everyday, we do it.  Some days better than others. With the end of the year coming up, like most schools, our school is beginning end-of-the-year assessments. The other day, a colleague approached me and showed me some of the challenge math problems she had given her fourth graders, and the frustrating variety of answers they had written in.  Our school continues to struggle with many students being below proficiency in both reading and math. A majority of our students are from disadvantaged backgrounds, with a large portion still learning to read and write in English.

Conceptual understanding, along with computational skill is still a challenge for a number of our students.

Conceptual understanding, along with computational skill, is still a challenge for a number of our students.

Looking over their work, I could plainly see that the kids did not have the procedural knowledge of how to solve the math required in problem. Yet they also lacked the conceptual framework to even know how to set up the problem successfully.  “Where,” my colleague wondered, “do I start?” Do you work on building the procedural foundation to be able to more easily attack the math aspect of it, or approach the issues with the conceptual framework first? Sadly, there is not enough time left in the year to do both. I sat with this dilemma for a bit: how do you choose between your right arm and your left?

With so little time left in the year, what do you prioritize: conceptual or computational?  BOTH!

With so little time left in the year, what do you prioritize: conceptual understanding or computational skill? BOTH!

Suddenly, it hit me: we need both and we can do both.  By setting up a learning path on ScootPad, we can have the kids get the procedural experiences they need without it taking over the teaching time that can then be devoted to fostering the conceptual foundation. By setting up the assignments every week to keep the kids practicing at their own skill level in a self-paced environment, each child advances at their own rate, on exactly the areas they most need.  Thus, ScootPad can support our procedural learning in one way, while we take the valuable class time to build  up the conceptual framework. Happily, this means we get both! While there is no magic bullet to help our students catch up and get what they need, having ScootPad is like having an ace in the hole to help our learners get as much as they can with the time, tools, and resources we can provide them!

Cheers,
Dr. Michelle Anthony

Using Online Reference Materials Effectively

I have a bright first grader who is doing second grade work on ScootPad, as this is the right level for him in most areas.  One area his skills continue to be more first-grade like is spelling. As you can see by his below results, he is adept at using phonetic spelling, but not conventional spelling. In fact, his scores for reading were dropping notably due to his great many spelling mistakes. When I noticed this in reviewing his practice results, I thought about taking out the spelling questions and individuating his track even more. However, doing so would not solve the problem in that he would continue to misspell a number of other answers that were not specifically asking him to spell the word (e.g., fill in the blank, prefixes, suffixes).

Bright kids can show uneven profiles. How can we support all aspects of their profiles?

Bright kids can show uneven profiles. How can we support all aspects of their profiles?

My solution? I showed him how to open a new tab on his Chromebook and look up the spelling of a word. I was not sure how a first grader would do at applying this new series of skills.  But as children often do, he surprised me!  His practice scores went from at 50% to 100% instantly.  When I asked him to show me how he had done it, he showed me his adept skill at independently managing, switching tabs, looking up words, copying in correct spelling, and so on.

 

Learning to use the internet to spellcheck not only advanced his research skills, it also allowed him to advance in his ELA learning!

Learning to use the internet to spellcheck not only advanced his research skills, it also allowed him to advance in his ELA learning!

ScottPad scores skyrocket with the new strategy

ScootPad scores skyrocket with the new strategy

While I am pleased to see his scores increase, more importantly, I realize he has integrated a very valuable skill: to utilize resources and tools at his disposal to solve a problem that was holding him back and slowing down his learning and growth!

Cheers!

Dr. Michelle Anthony

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