Category Archives: Assessment

Teachers: How Can I Help Meet Your Needs and the Needs of Your Students?

ISTE Padlet

Google Slides Presentation ISTE 14

When training teachers this past school year, I started each session with a question,“How can I meet your needs and ultimately meet the needs of your students?” I was in charge of training faculty and staff members for Title I Schools in Greenville, SC. I saw the tremendous pressure that our teachers were under this year as they implemented the Common Core State Standards and adjusted their teaching styles.  The vast amount of workshops, professional development, and meetings that teachers were required to attend this year was astounding. I knew how valuable their time was and I wanted teachers to realize that the tips that I was sharing with them would truly make a difference in their teaching and ultimately in their students’ learning.  I did not want to waste one minute of their precious time.  Whether I was training during their 45 minute planning period or after school for an hour, I wanted to be as clear and relevant as possible. Here is how I did this:

Google Documents  I prepared several Google Documents to gather information from teachers. One Google Doc was a Sign Up Sheet so teachers could request for me to come in their classroom and model a technology skill or app with their students while teachers observed and assisted me.  Teachers loved learning beside me with their students. Many times, I would tell the students, “Class, I’m showing you how to go to settings and adjust this feature, so if your teacher forgets, you can show her.”  It worked.  I truly taught the students how to do pretty hard technical trouble shooting that the teachers had a hard time grasping, but the students totally understood.  This saved me time, the teacher time, and the students’ time when they could problem solve on their own.  

Padlet as the Bulletin Board for Ideas I used to create a Choice Board for teachers.  I had several topics on the Padlet Wall for teachers to choose from based on the feedback I gathered from Google Docs.  I would present one or two ideas that needed to be shared at the beginning of my session, then I let teachers guide the rest of the PD by their interests.  We were truly operating in a 21st Century Environment with lots of collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication.

Padlet Walls: Science Techbook   January Menu Formative Assessment iPad Ideas and Teaching Strategies Teachers became interactive and shared links to websites and forms they used on the Padlet wall while we learned together.

Todays Meet I also ran a Today’s Meet during the sessions, so I could have a running record of their questions and comments. Many teachers used this same idea during their Literacy Stations after participating in Today’s Meet during training. Students were actively engaged in the lesson and didn’t mind adding their comments and asking questions in this environment. Some students were too shy to talk in class, but felt comfortable sharing ideas using Today’s Meet.  QR Code


Common Core Research Projects for Elementary Education

Common Core Standards:

Research to Build and Present Knowledge

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Range of Writing

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Here are a few ways our students are conducting research in the classrooms.

Science Stations in 4th Grade

Research: Edmodo and Ask3

Graphic Organizers

Popplet Lite and Smart Art in Word are great tools to use to organize information and essential facts required for the research project.

My favorite website to use for research is Instagrok. You can change the reading level of your searches by sliding the bar at the top of the page, which is helpful and you can build your own Journal to share with students or they can create their own journals of notes.

Another favorite research tool is SC Discus.  Students can create workspace projects as they conduct their research.

Students using iPads have enjoyed using the App StoryKit  and Book Creator to create their own textbooks using photos, their own paintings, recordings of their voices, and typing their findings on each page.   Edutopia ideas

Publish Student Work

Register for a Schooltube account tutorial

Upload videos to Schooltube tutorial

GCSD Blog publish video tutorial

Websites for Research   Use Firefox or Chrome, not Internet Explorer     SCDiscus  Ask your PTA to buy a school account, no ads

Photos:  Library of Congress


 Book Creator  iMovie  StoryKit  SockPuppet  Popplet

QR Code Generator for FireFox

PDF QR Code Generator for Firefox

QR Code Movie: How to Create a QR Code

T Search Research Graphic Organizer

How to Create a T-Search Research Tshirt SCAN-ETS3327_000


Fun Research Projects


Photos for Primary Sources 

Parker’s Blog

Sara’s Blog

Screen Chomp and Ask3 for Formative Assessment

We plan to use Screen Chomp and Ask3 for formative assessment this year with our students at Welcome Elementary.  These apps are cross-curricular and will allow teachers to evaluate students’ understanding of concepts and skills.

We would also like to post their Screen Chomp screen recordings on the teachers’ blogs so others can see their work.  Here is a very simple hand-out about how to do this:  Screen Chomp Hand Out

Here is a YouTube video about Screen Chomp:  Screen Chomp Video 

Here is a more detailed Hand-Out about how to use Screen Chomp.

How to add a hyperlink to your GCSD Blog:  Adding Hyperlink

Ask3 Videos are contained within the App for students and teachers to view on the Bulletin Board. Students and teachers can add comments, critique and collaborate using this App.  Here is a video about using Ask3. Ask3 Video

Here is a Hand-Out about Ask3.

Good luck as you share tutorials created by your students.

Quality of Teaching Improves with Testing Feedback

Professor Dylan William has found that in the classrooms of the best teachers, students learn at twice the rate they do in the classrooms of average teachers- they learn in six months what students taught by the average teachers take a year to learn. And in the classrooms of the least effective teachers, the same learning will take two years. He also found that students who were from disadvantaged backgrounds learned just as much as those from advantaged backgrounds if they were in the most effective teachers’ classrooms. Also, the students who suffered from behavioral problems all learned as much as those without.

I have found by using Edmodo quizzes and activexpressions or activotes for formative assessment that I really can see who “gets it” and who doesn’t. It is the perfect opportunity for me to analyze the test results with the students. It gives us the chance to talk about the answers they missed and why they thought that. It allows students to discuss and present their point of view. Every time I retest after one of these discussions, the students always do better. They remember the answers they missed the first time and do much better. I tell them that we all learn from our mistakes in all areas of our life, not just on tests and assessments.

Research from Promethean compared 3 types of assessments:

20 questions on paper, 20 questions on Activexpressions 1 and 20 questions on Activexpressions 2:

1. Paper test took 20 minutes to complete and peer mark, teacher didn’t have time  to complete the analysis before class was over.

2. Self-paced AE 1 took 10 minutes to complete while some only took 5 minutes. The results were analyzed and feedback was immediate because it was electronically graded.

3. Self-paced AE 2 took 5 minutes to complete, some in 3. Analysis and feedback was immediate.

My advice is to use your Activexpressions, activotes, laptops with Edmodo, iPads with Edmodo or activengage to assess your students, provide instant feedback, and analyze results. Teach your students to explain their thinking, argue their case and discuss their ideas.  You will improve learning in your classroom: Guaranteed!