Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Make CCSS Learning Fun Parent Workshop at Bandini Elementary

Today we are hosting a fun interactive workshop for parents of current kinder through fifth grade students. We will showcase “Make and take" activities taught by teachers. Parents will learn how to use math manipulatives to help their child learn the new CCSS math standards and learn interactive ways get your child excited about learning with Common Core using technology. 

To access today’s slides, click HERE

Top 10 Websites We Recommend for Parents and Educators

1. Khan Academy is a free website comprising thousands of educational videos aimed at self-paced instruction. Although most widely known for its math videos, Khan Academy offers tutorials on a wide range of other subjects as well. Kids might find themselves using the site as part of a school assignment or as a way to practice math concepts for test prep. They might even want to explore the site for their own enjoyment. For math concepts -- from upper-elementary through college-level -- the site offers an almost unlimited number of practice exercises, organized by topic, with instant feedback and progress data. However, parents should know that the site will work best for kids who need procedural help, rather than conceptual understanding, whether they're looking for intervention or enrichment.

2. BrainPOP/BrainPOP Jr
Geared to helping kids from kindergarten to grade 12, this site offers tons of educational games and videos on subjects like social studies, math, science, art and history. BrainPOP Jr is great for little learners from kindergarten to grade three. Full access to the site requires a subscription, but there’s plenty of free content to explore.
3. Canadian Geographic Kids!
Magazine heavyweight Canadian Geographic has a kids’ site where tots can learn all things Canadiana. Here, they can explore a virtual map, find out fun animal facts and delve into educational videos and games.
4. DOGO News
Does your child love reading and watching the news? Created by a San Francisco mom, this kid-friendly news site is the perfect place for curious minds to catch up on current events, with articles written specifically for a younger audience.
5. HowStuffWorks
If your little one is constantly asking why and how, then this is the place for her. You’ll never have to answer a tough question again (well, maybe!).
6. KidsReads 
Here at Today’s Parent, we feel that it’s never too early to read. Nurture your little bookworm with kid-themed articles, book reviews and author bios.
7. NASA Kids’ Club
Blast off into learning with this galactic page where wee astronauts can do puzzles and games and learn all about the famous space program.
8. Science Bob
Let your kids geek out on this informative site. It’s the go-to spot for all things science, with experiments to try, research tips and a Q&A section.
9. Starfall 
A phenomenal resource for young readers, the site features tools and games that align with the school curriculum. This site is so fun, your kids will forget it’s educational.
10. Cool Math Games
As the name suggests, this isn’t a boring math site. Excite your little mathletes (or struggling academics) with this hands-on site that’s brimming with strategy, logic a
nd skill games.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Practical Ideas for Classroom Formative Assessments

Our team is gearing up today for another session at our Common Core Cafe. Today we are will learn how to use cloud-based software which allows teachers to create assessments for students, building easy-to-use rubrics that can be shared with students and colleagues, collect web-based assignments, solicit feedback from parents or students and comment and share ideas with class. Teachers will learn how to use technology web based programs to facilitate formative and summative assessments. They will also learn how to use web-based services to manage class success, and improve student behavior and engagement by awarding and recording real-time feedback. I will be discussing the behavior management tool, Classdojo. Erica Silvia will teach how to use Google forms and David Keys will be presenting how to use Plickers in the classroom. We are looking forward to collaborating and learning together today! 

Here is the link for the online evaluation today

To access today’s slides, click HERE

What is it?
ClassDojo is a behavior management tool for the classroom. Each student has a profile, complete with their own avatar, to which teachers can assign positive and negative points (or 'dojos') throughout the lesson. The program can be operated by a teacher from their computer or tablet, and each time they award a point an (optional) sound plays to alert the class.
This information is then recorded on students' profiles so that it can be reviewed throughout the year. Parents also have logins so that they can view their child's achievements from home.
Where can I find it?
You can create an account on the ClassDojo website. It takes a few minutes to sign up as a teacher.

How much does it cost?

Start out by using ClassDojo to track class-wide progress toward behavioral goals. Use it like a high-tech marble jar: Points can be added or taken away depending on how the class is behaving. Help your class set goals and work toward rewards based on how many points they've earned. However, be careful to ensure that individuals aren't publicly singled out in negative ways. You can also use the system to monitor students' individual progress and look for behavioral patterns. In this sense, you could use ClassDojo as more of a high-tech behavior chart, with frequent assessments for each student.
At the end of class, consider how you'll display the behavior point totals for the day, either by class or by individual student. Be sure to utilize the built-in tools to communicate with parents, which can help bridge the gap between home and school. ClassDojo can also be incredibly effective as a teacher tool. Teachers who are concerned about privacy and don't want to make class behaviors public could privately use the app to track student behavior. The behavior reports would be very helpful for reporting!
Watch this video to see more ways you can use ClassDojo: 

The reason most teachers get behind innovative classroom technology is because, in some shape or form, the tool maximizes our output by minimizing our workload. Whether the tool saves us time, takes a step out of the process, or redefines the experience altogether, effective technology integration doesn’t just change our habits, it enhances the ones we already have.
The problem often lies in finding a tool that doesn’t fade with time, or take longer to learn than is a worthwhile investment. Google Forms is one of the rare web tools that can reach and benefit teachers regardless of curriculum, ability or need.

Google Forms can be used to collect information from respondents.  Maybe those respondents are students in your classrooms, maybe they’re other teachers in your building, maybe they’re parents of your students.  Regardless of who you want to collect information from, Google Forms is a simple and free tool that’s great for the job.

Provided you have a Google account, you can access Google Forms at
Aside from self-grading quizzes, Google Forms is also an excellent tool for collecting information of any kind.  It's great for if you’re looking for parent volunteers for your classroom, if you’re wanting feedback from your colleagues on what to cover at the next professional development, or basically any time you need to collect data that you’ll want to break down and analyze.

Overall, I’m a huge fan of Google Forms.  It was already a solid tool for education and now that they’ve added in the self-grading quizzes, it’s raised itself to a new level of usefulness.  If you’re looking to collect and analyze data of any kind, particularly if you’re wanting to send out formative and summative assessments that can be automatically graded for you, I absolutely recommend checking out Google Forms.

Additional Resources & Tutorials suggested by Ms. Erica Silva:

Click on these links for: 
      Pre-Made Google Form Templates for you to use tomorrow!

What is it?
It is a website & app combo that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without students needing to have a device.

Why it's Equitable and Awesome!
It gives ALL students the opportunity to respond because all they need is their card, no phone or other expensive device needed. It eliminates embarrassment for getting questions wrong while still letting the teacher know who's getting it and who's not. No waiting for students to log in or needing to set up; simply pull up the app, have students pull out their cards and go!