Friday, December 26, 2014

Decimal Data- Snapshot, IXL, Student Reflection

   I'm using Edmodo's Snapshot for quick formative assessments to track student progress and guide my instruction. I love the visual information that is provided instantly following a four question assessment. (Each Snapshot is four questions, but a teacher can assess more than one standard at a time.) As a class, we've been working very hard on understanding decimals. Place value, and applying their knowledge to real-life situations (word problems) always seem to be the most difficult concepts to understand.  I think it's going to take constant practice to improve in those areas- especially word problems.  Understanding and working through word problems is also a reading skill.  Practice-Practice-Practice Sometimes I also think it's a mindset. Students see a word problem and their brain seems to shut off.  They often give up without even trying.  I'm trying to change that. We're getting better, but it is a struggle! 

   The information from Snapshot gives me the names of the students that are falling into each category of meeting the standard, borderline, and behind.  This allows me to quickly pull a small group aside for reteaching or to help an individual student.  The challenge is to find the time that the students need with me.  I'm very thankful for parents that have been coming in to help this year.  I usually don't have such reliable, competent help. It is really making a difference!

I can also see how each student answered the questions for each Snapshot, and assign them remediation lessons/activities. I usually use the Learnzillion lessons.  Edmodo has a new addition to Snapshot called OpenMinds for Premium users that is brand new.  I really haven't been able to use it because it is new and currently has issues of operating smoothly.  I think that the engineers are working on the bugs after the holidays. I look forward to using it to provide more specific help and games to assist students in their understanding.  I'm lucky that Edmodo is letting the Ambassadors use the new features for free.

   I'm also using IXL to track student progress and growth.  This is more of an independent learning program.  I use it for practice, not for instruction.  I love all of the visual graphs and charts that they make available to teachers.  This graph looks pretty good.  We worked hard to be able to convert decimals between standard and expanded form.  Other graphs are not so pretty and could put me to shame if someone wanted to be critical of my teaching practice.

This graph shows how rounding decimals is still a challenge, but that students are starting to understand the concept better and are mastering this skill.

This chart is showing student progress.  There are 18 skills that students need to master.  I can easily see who needs help and support.  I can also see those students that need more of a challenge.  That's important to me because too often so much attention is on the kids falling behind.

   Graphs and charts are fun to look at and I can see why our country has gone assessment "crazy"!  Technology now allows teachers, administrators, and others to see in visually stimulating images the assessment data. The whole focus of assessment is something that I'm getting used to.  I've always assessed my students' learning with quick, multiple formative assessments.  I've never really been able to have the visuals that are available now.  I've relied on my "gut" and "teacher instinct" through the years.  The difference that I see now, is that I have real data, charts, and graphs, to back up what I already know about my students.

   As much as I'm loving the colored graphs and charts, I'm most excited about my students reflecting on their own learning.  Refer to my other post.  Students know when they understand a concept.  It's exciting for me to see them taking more ownership of their learning.  Their progress in IXL and on Snapshots validates what they know.

I'll continue to use web 2.0 tools/apps for practice and to engage students in the content through various modalities.  Kids like using Mangahigh Zondle Wizenworld and Kahoot The challenge is to find what works for each student.  Everyone learns differently.  Sometimes, it's just a matter of 1:1 time with me (or a parent) and no technology. It's rewarding when I can help the "light bulb" turn on for them.

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