Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My, How Far We've Come!

    My team is trying to find the best way to assess and integrate some RTI (Response to Intervention) time into our crowded schedule. This is a challenge on a year-round schedule because someone is always gone. We are also in different places in the scope and sequence. For example, Track A just finished a section of math with multiplying decimals. Track B is gone on vacation. Track C is finishing the previous unit. Track D is just starting the unit with multiplying decimals. Our solution for using common assessments is to use Edmodo's Snapshot.  It will help us track the progress of each student and identify which students need extra support for each standard. Since our district is using MasteryConnect, we'll use that for the summative assessments. Snapshot is an easy way to track progress before the bigger, higher-stakes tests.

 Since my team members are new users to Edmodo, we planned for me to take each class into the lab to  help the students set up their accounts and to get started by taking a Snapshot.

Yesterday, I took the first class into the lab.  It was a little frustrating for me because the kids lacked so many basic skills.  They didn't know what a URL address was or where/how to type it in. They didn't know how to make a tab or refresh a page. They didn't know how to exit a page. Perhaps the most frustrating part for me was they had no sense of "click on a few things to see what happens" instead of asking the teacher about every little thing. It wasn't their fault of course. It was mine! I needed to shift down and start from the beginning. Their lack of patience was understandable. They didn't know what to do and I didn't do a very good job of teaching them.

The whole process of setting up an account and taking a Snapshot is really quite simple. It became difficult because I didn't set expectations from the start.  I assumed that the kids had been learning some basic skills in the lab, had been taught some digital citizenship, and knew behavior expectations and care for the computers. Never assume!

I only had the class for 45 minutes but it felt like 2 hours! Afterwards, when I was back in my classroom and with my own students, I had to take the opportunity to express my appreciation for all of their hard work this year with learning technology.  I really hadn't realized just how far we've traveled! My students started off not knowing much if anything just like the other class, but now they're quite tech savvy. Not only have we learned how to use many web tools, but we've learned how to navigate through new sites/apps.  My students are not afraid to take a minute or two to just "click around" to explore a site. They work independently and use each other for help.

Sometimes, it takes losing something to appreciate what you have.  I have a new appreciation for my students and their efforts to learn.

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