Wishing I Were an Octopus

It’s not that I think I’m such an amazing teacher. I hope I’m a good teacher. I work hard at it and I’m deeply invested in it, but wishing I was an octopus is not about tooting my own horn…it’s about wishing I had more hands and arms to reach more kids.

octopusFor those who are new to my blog, I am a GT (gifted and talented) teacher at an urban Title I school in Denver Public Schools. We are a TNLI school (Transitional Native Language Instruction), which means that for every grade level, we have one class that is taught entirely in Spanish. I have been at my school for several years now and I love it, and more and more students are clamoring to get into my GT classes.

I am one person. I work part time. I work with K-5. In fact, this year, with my 4th graders, I have a full group to service but also a number of “one data point kids:” kids who are more advanced in one area of learning. It’s not enough to qualify to work with me, but still enough to warrant additional attention and services.

But since I’m not an octopus, I am instead trying to leverage the power of ScootPad. I can’t work with all these kids directly, but I can supply impact virtually. I can put the additional students in my portal and keep them not only advancing, but also feeling like they are part of the group via the bells and whistles on ScootPad.

It’s one of the best solutions I’ve found!

How do you deal with your need to be an octopus?

Cheers!

Dr Michelle Anthony

 

Training Resources, Right at Your Fingertips

All professional development resources are now available in one place! Once you log into your account, on the left side of the browser you will see the PD & Training button. Once you click on the drop-down box, you have three options to choose:

1. How-To Videos – all how-to videos from ScootPad.com can be found here 

how_to_videos

 

2. Free Webinars – Click on Register Now to take part in our live webinars 

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3. PD Workshops – Browse through your purchased/upcoming workshops by date and type 

PD_workshops

 

Hybrid Classes Out-learn Traditional Classes

blended_learning_pictureMore than nine out of ten schools using a hybrid learning program reported higher academic performance on standardized tests compared to traditional classrooms in the same school district or state benchmarks (Hybrid Learning Program Results, Hybrid Learning Institute, Dellicker Strategies, 2013-2014).

What are hybrid classrooms doing so differently anyway? Many base their learning model on the following six characteristics:

  1. Blended classroom
  2. Rotation around different learning stations
  3. Small group instruction
  4. Digital assessments
  5. Differentiated instruction
  6. Personalized learning

Students at hybrid-committed school districts like Hatboro-Horsham School District(PA) and Indiana Area School District(PA), are out-performing their peers in traditional learning classrooms in their PSSA tests and Keystone exams, scoring 10% higher than their traditional learning counterparts. Spring City Elementary(PA) saw a 23-27% increase in it’s students’ Math, Reading, and Science scores from the previous year.

At ScootPad, we believe in utilizing the digital space to enhance deeper learning for students, at their own pace. Having a platform where students can log in at any time and any place to access the practice they individually need is key to successful concept mastery. Here at ScootPad, we say yes to blended learning and higher test scores!

 

Visit The Journal for more information: http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/12/18/hybrid-classes-outlearn-traditional-classes.aspx

Rewarding my Over-Achievers

In my classroom I run a gamification platform. It’s not that we play games all the time, it’s just the framework I use with kids to help motivate them. In my classes they are not given a grade. And they don’t get homework. So how do I keep them wanting to advance and put in the effort I demand from them?

I have a “level up” system whereby they earn XPs for behaviors and work they do in class that will allow them to literally move their “avatar” (aka clothespin) up the ribbon hanging in my room. In fact, most of my teacher rewards they can earn on ScootPad are XPs they can “purchase” with their coins. My thinking is that if  they  are willing to go above and beyond the class requirements, practicing ScootPad at home, or when they finish their other work in class, then they deserve to move up in the ranks, so to speak.

So how do I reward my students who go the extra mile with ScootPad ? I’ve had a few that really excelled and kept challenging themselves, even when school was not in session. While of course they earn coins for doing the work (and they can purchase rewards), I want these students to know that I recognize their extra effort and their achievement.

One thought I have is a pizza party for those kids. Another is to give  a “power up” and move them up the ribbon first thing…to let their extra ScootPad efforts advance them within the class in a way that is visible to all their peers. Maybe it will set up a healthy competition between them. :)

Other ideas or suggestions for how I can reward and recognize my over-achievers?

Cheers!
Dr. Michelle Anthony

ScootPad Support During The Holidays

happy_holidaysWe wish you the best of holidays and a prosperous 2015 filled with joy, abundance, and truly precious moments.

We will be closing our offices this holiday season from December 20, 2014 to January 4, 2015. During this time we will have limited support, so please allow for a longer response time for requests.

The best ways to reach our support team during the holiday break include:

  • Submitting a Help Request from your account or
  • Sending an email to support@scootpad.com
  • Phone support will be unavailable during this time

We will do our very best to respond to your help requests promptly.

We appreciate your understanding and hope you enjoy the holidays with friends and family. We look forward to contributing to your success in 2015!

How-To Videos Now Available!

We have created a number of video resources for teachers, parents, and admins to get familiar with how ScootPad works. Watch a quick (2-5 min) video to get started using your account and then check out some of the how-to videos of each feature!

Quick Getting Started Videos For:

teacherbutton   schooladminbutton   parentbutton

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Launch videos with 1-click

 studentrostervid

All how-to videos are easily accessible from the specific pages within your ScootPad account (dashboard, roster page, assignments page, assessments page, etc.). We hope these videos are a helpful resource for you and your school!

As always, we’re interested in your feedback, so feel free to send us your ideas, suggestions and comments.

Cheers,
ScootPad Team

Seeming Struggle or a Need for More Challenge?

Sometimes, I focus my teaching brainpower on a single student. Trying to problem solve a tricky kid can make my job a lot easier if the student can change the dynamic in the class or help a group be more productive. Also, when I think about a single student, it can sometimes change the way I think about many students. I had such an epiphany this morning when I was thinking and writing about Remi.

Remi is a student who seemed to be doing great in his ELA practices.

By all accounts, Remi is doing great across the board!

By all accounts, Remi seemed to be doing great across the board!

However, when I looked at how he was doing concept-by-concept, I found some areas of glaring weakness.

Looking closely, there are a number of areas where Remi struggles

Looking closely, there are a number of areas where Remi struggles

To address this, I assigned Remi a number of concept improvement practices. Somewhat to my surprise, he showed no struggle at all with them. Despite being red in virtually all of the questions given on the improvement practices, he was getting them almost all right!

Seems like Remi has taken on the challenge!

Remi is rocking these improvement practices!

In fact, when I drilled down even more, I could see that on most of the questions, he’s been getting them right on the first attempt!

Remi is getting most of them right on the first try!

Remi is getting most of them right on the first try!

So now I am wondering, are these concepts truly hard for him, or are they simply ones he needs to take more time to read and consider as he rushes through what must be very easy questions for him in general?  Might his apparent “weakness” and “struggle” really be a sign that he’s ready for more challenge??

What do you think?

Cheers!

Dr. Michelle Anthony

Happy Holidays from ScootPad!

With the holiday season in full effect, we would like to wish everyone a relaxing break from their every day hustle and bustle. May everyone have a holiday break full of laughter, peace, and love.

holiday picture_blog

We’ve also compiled a short list of games to include in your holiday celebrations. Enjoy!

1. Charades–This one never gets old. Form two teams. Decide how many rounds will be played. One person from either team will act out a movie, book, person, etc.–holiday related– for their team members until the the timer (60 seconds) runs out. Then the next team goes. Whichever team has the most points at the end, wins!

2. Scavenger Hunt–Have the kids draw various holiday themed pictures, and have the host hide these all over the house for friends and family to find. The person who finds the most pictures wins a special prize!

3. Unwrap the gift–The host chooses a gift fit for any guest and wraps it in several layers of wrapping paper (6-10 layers). Ask your  guests to sit in a circle and pass around this gift. Similar to musical chairs, one person will be turning on and off the music as they please, and every time the music stops, the person holding the gift at that  moment will remove a layer. Whoever opens the last layer of wrapping paper, gets to keep that gift!

4. Holiday word-mania–Everyone will need a writing utensil and scratch paper for this one! The host either chooses or asks for a word pertaining to the holiday. He/She says it out loud and everyone has to write as many words as they can using the letters within that word, before the timer (60 seconds) runs out!

5. Draw & write–This hilarious game will keep your holiday events jolly! Each guest will need a writing utensil and scratch paper. Each person will now write a sentence (it could be anything) at the top of the page, and then pass their paper to the person on their left. The new person holding the paper will illustrate that sentence. Then, this same person will fold over the top of the paper–so that only their picture is showing–before passing it to their left again. This new person must write  a sentence describing the picture–fold the page to hide everything but their sentence–, and so on, until the original paper gets back to the first owner. Enjoy reading the hilarious document once it comes back to you!

There you have it! Wishing everyone a joy-filled holiday season!

Cheers,
ScootPad Team

For more games :
http://www.reunionplanner.com/latest-news/general/latest-news/fun-family-holiday-games/

ScootPad Alleviates Test Anxiety at North Country Elementary

Jolinda Smith’s students at North Country Elementary in Antelope, CA were pleasantly surprised after completing field testing for the new Common Core state tests. Students breezed through the test and found that all of their hard work on ScootPad had paid off! Jolinda was shocked to find that, by using ScootPad, her kids had not only become more comfortable with testing on a computer, but had also gained a new sense of confidence with Common Core content.

Jolinda explains what she needed to succeed:

“Our biggest challenge this year was getting students used to being on a computer to complete the new Common Core tests. I knew that my class needed a computer program that was able to not only help them adjust to taking tests on a computer, but truly focus on the change from multiple choice answers to a written answer/critical thinking format. As a teacher I have used Khan Academy, but the format is not as kid user-friendly as ScootPad and does not have the English/Language Arts Common Core focus my students needed.”

Jolinda stresses the impact ScootPad had on test preparation:

“Usually testing is an anxiety time for kids, and I thought this year would be especially difficult, because testing was all done on the computer. Instead, after we had finished our second day of Common Core testing, I was surprised to hear students say ScootPad was much harder than the test they had just completed.  Upon further discussion, all kids admitted that if they had not used ScootPad this year, the test would have been really hard.”

“Initially, my students were very frustrated when we started using ScootPad because the format was so different. The true success was my students’ initial frustration being turned into a sense of success. ScootPad has taught them that when practicing a skill, you learn from your mistakes by critically reasoning out problems.”

 

 

North Country Elementary, and over 30,000 other schools, are using ScootPad. To see your school’s learning impact, click here:

https://www.scootpad.com/metrics

Cheers,
ScootPad Team

3 Ways to Use ScootPad in the Classroom

For many people, ScootPad is an at-home platform to extend learning in school. I use it this way at our house, with my own children. My son has been doing ScootPad for years, when none of his teachers even knew about it! Since I’ve returned to the classroom, I’ve brought the power of ScootPad with me.

While I use it as an at-home platform to extend learning for my own students, I am a GT teacher in a high poverty school where a number of families don’t have internet access at home. I’ve learned to implement ScootPad in many other ways.

1. Make your room available–I make my room available before school and at lunch for kids who want to come in and work. I talk to their homeroom teachers to get them permission to do ScootPad after finishing their required work.

2. Use ScootPad as a direct tool–When I use ScootPad during my students’ GT time, it takes many forms. Sometimes it’s a warm up, after 5-7 minutes, the kids save their work and we move on. I love that all their progress is saved so that kids can work at their own rate, and my class is not held hostage to let the last ones “finish” while the quicker kids sit there waiting.

3. Explore ScootPad for the day–I might be with a few kids, giving mini lessons for areas of struggle. I might have kids investigate their learning paths and what areas of a topic are harder or easier for them. I’ve even taken whole days for kids to find friends, do shoutouts, and adjust their avatar.

The goal is simply to help them build confidence with the platform and  feel successful, as this actually increases the amount of time outside my class they spend on ScootPad practices.

Although I feel I’ve done a relatively good job of introducing and maintaining ScootPad across the year, I am very mindful of the limited time I have with my kids, and I want to be sure I am maximizing every moment.  Thus, I am always revisiting my strategies to emphasize the program in balance with all the other things we do in my class.

I’d love ideas on how you use ScootPad in class, and how you might suggest I adapt or adjust the ways I do! :)

Cheers!

Dr. Michelle Anthony

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