As anyone who has read my blog posts recently knows, I have put a great deal of effort into helping my students get excited about continuing to use ScootPad over the summer. I have no idea what to expect as summer goes on and their memory of my encouragement wears off, but I was pleasantly surprised the first week by the fact that 13 students of mine had logged in over the past 11 days. For me, that alone marked success, in that keeping kids engaged in learning in June is a near impossible feat!
But of course, I want more than simply to have students log-in. I want students learning! With the give and take in the classroom, and the opportunities I set up for my students to come in at lunch or recess to do ScootPad, I have a number of chances to interface with them about what is easy and hard for them. But with so few opportunities to do that over the summer, I have my eyes peeled for evidence of advancement.
Happily, I saw some today. “TJ” as I will call her is a good student, but one who has not been on ScootPad much over the year. Either she didn’t have access at home, or didn’t want to spend her free time at school adding on more learning…whatever the reason, she did not do more than was allotted in the times she had in class, and even then she was often behind in her work in general. Yet she is the one student who did all 3 math practices and all 4 reading practices that I assigned for week 1–the first week school was out for the summer!
Her scores were interesting: She did well on the last practice of Unit 2, but then took a nosedive for the first practice of Unit 3. I took a look at what was tripping her up in the new unit. Below was more-or-less what I saw across the board for the types of mistakes she was making: word problems, rounding, and measurement.
Normally, when I see this type of drop in scores, I do a check-in with the student. Not possible in the summer. But, to my delight, it is clear she persisted through the frustration of not doing well, and she applied what she learned from her mistakes to the very next practice. Take a look at hew new ability in the following practice:
For TJ to independently log in to ScootPad, challenge herself with a new unit and then persist with a difficult and frustrating practice shows tremendous growth for her from the beginning of the year. Happily, being the school GT teacher, I see a number of my kids over a number of years, so I will get to continue to work with TJ in the fall. She’s a great candidate for our Summer ScootPad-ers Pizza Party I am already planning for our return to school!
How do you measure growth when your students are no longer with you?
Dr. Michelle Anthony