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Introducing Collaborative Curriculum Development for Co-Teachers and Teacher Teams

Introducing Collaborative Curriculum Development for Co-Teachers and Teacher Teams

Curriculum development represents the journey teachers plan for their students to make meaningful connections. It’s labor-intensive and emotionally exhausting. Co-teachers share this responsibility. Teacher teams (across grades or content areas) also co-plan curriculum, with each team member then taking the “master curriculum” and making it their own.

At Kiddom, we recognize co-planning curriculum is challenging given the structural limitations of the traditional school day. Are co-teachers provided with common planning time? Does common planning time frequently get interrupted by other tasks, duties, or colleagues? Is common planning time scheduled during a time when teachers actually have the mental energy to write curriculum? We believe teachers must be able to collaboratively plan curriculum without the need to be in the same room at the same time.That’s why we’re proud to introduce our latest feature: shareable curriculum.

 

Collaborators with edit permissions may now co-plan curriculum with class owners

 

How to share and co-plan curriculum 📝

Starting today, when you create a new class in Kiddom, you’ll see a “master curriculum” (of the same name as your class) waiting for you in Planner. Your master curriculum is the curriculum that will automatically be shared with class collaborators, i.e. the team members you invite with viewing or editing permissions.

 

A shareable master curriculum is created for every new class a teacher creates on Kiddom

 

  • Once you’ve created a new class, invite collaborators using their email addresses.
  • If you’d like your collaborators to contribute to your curriculum, invite them with “can edit” permissions. If you’d like your collaborators to only see your curriculum, invite them with “can view” permissions. You can always change these permissions from your Class Settings.
  • When your collaborators accept your invitation, they can co-plan this curriculum with you from anywhere, at any time.

It’s that easy. Whether you’re a co-teacher, or a part of a teacher team, shareable curriculum can make co-planning more effective, more productive, and less dependent on the structure of the school day.

Tip: Sharing your class with “can view” permissions is a fantastic way to share your curriculum to solicit feedback from department leads, instructional coaches, assistant principals, and principals.

For Kiddom pilot program educators 💁🏻

Shared curriculum is currently only available for new classes created, unless of course you’re a Kiddom pilot school or pilot district teacher. If that’s the case, we’re happy to make sure the curriculum you’ve worked so hard on over the past few weeks is available to co-plan with members of your school community. Please reach out to us by emailing support@kiddom.co with your request and we’ll take care of it as soon as possible.

P.S. If this is your first time hearing about the Kiddom pilot program, that’s okay — we’ve been pretty quiet about it. Our pilot program is designed to help school and districts plan, assess, and analyze learning more effectively as communities.Although the school year is underway, we do have a limited number of spots still available. Click here to learn more about our free pilot program.

Sharing is Caring: Introducing Collaborative Teaching and Learning

Sharing is Caring: Introducing Collaborative Teaching and Learning

A sense of collaboration and community is important for the success of any school. Collaborative environments allow teachers to feel appreciated and guided in their role. It’s not rocket science: when teachers collaborate and communicate effectively, they design richer learning experiences for their students. Today, we’re proud to announce that collaboration tools are now available on Kiddom.

After months of researching, designing, engineering, and testing, all Kiddom users everywhere can now effectively collaborate with their colleagues. Hooray! 🎉

Here’s how collaboration works

  • Adding a collaborator is as simple as entering their email address.
  • As the class owner, you decide the type of access your collaborators gain, depending on each adult’s goals and roles (view vs. edit).
  • Share your classes with multiple adults — there is no limit to the number of collaborators each class can have.

Adding a collaborator that can view your class 👀

  • This means a collaborator may only see your class timeline and reports, without the ability to edit, add, or remove any assignments or students.
  • A collaborator that can view your class won’t be able to see or send comments to students on assignments.
  • This is best for administrators, instructional coaches, paraprofessionals, or support staff who may need access to student achievement data or assignments for their own focus areas.

Adding a collaborator that can edit your class ✍🏽

  • This means a collaborator gains modification privileges for assignments, grades, commenting, class settings, and rosters.
  • A collaborator that can edit your class has the ability to add additional collaborators.
  • This is best for co-teachers in special education, multi-age, or interdisciplinary classes who share the responsibility of creating and grading assignments.

Teamwork makes the dream work

The Kiddom team believes technology should enable teachers to share and learn best practices across their school communities. In fact, our pilot school communities intend to make big strides this year using Kiddom, all of which are using our collaboration features a little differently.

While we’re excited about collaboration and what it could mean for teachers and learners, we recognize there’s more work to be done. Over the next several weeks, we’re building co-planning feature sets for curriculum to accelerate our vision of building a collaborative education platform.

In the mean time, what are you waiting for? Start sharing and tweet us with your collaboration best practices using #SharingIsCaring.

https://upscri.be/17b283/


By: Abbas Manjee, Chief Academic Officer

Update 9/19: Sharing curriculum with co-teachers is now available!

Editor’s note: You can only share personally identifiable information with other teachers and administrators at your school. Please confirm that sharing your class and student achievement data with others in your school community is allowed under your school (or district) technology policy.

Closing the 2016–2017 School Year

Closing the 2016–2017 School Year

Dear Educators,

For many of you, the 2016–2017 school year has come to a close. On behalf of the Kiddom team, thank you for your passion and your service to students. We’re incredibly grateful you trusted Kiddom in your classroom.

 

The Kiddom team celebrates the end of the 2016–2017 school year with you.

 

This year, Kiddom got a major facelift. Based on feedback from teachers like you, we completely redesigned the platform to allow you to plan, assess, and analyze learning from one place. A month later, we released a redesigned student experience to promote student ownership. Oh yeah, we also released an iOS app to help you and your students work together effortlessly, no matter where you are.

In addition to a makeover and a full set of new features, we published a plethora of professional development guides to help you learn more blended learning and standards-based grading. We shared how Kiddom’s Planner makes for an effective curriculum tool for self-paced instruction. And finally, we outlined how curated playlists support differentiated curriculum development.

Since our inception in 2015, we’ve experienced rapid growth across hundreds of thousands of classrooms, catalyzed by word-of-mouth referrals from teachers like you. Your communication and collaboration has inspired us to think about how teachers might collaborate together on Kiddom. So as we wrestle with this project over the next several weeks, we wish you a fun, safe, and restful summer.

Thanks again!

P.S. If your school or district is interested in piloting Kiddom for the 2017–2018 school year, book a demo for school and district leaders and submit your school information here. You’ll be among the first to access all of the collaboration tools we’re working on.

4 Ways Teachers Can Better Prepare for Next School Year

4 Ways Teachers Can Better Prepare for Next School Year

 

As a teacher, you know there aren’t enough hours in the day to plan, teach, evaluate, and still have time for yourself. Reflecting on and planning for individual student strengths, areas of growth, and interests can take a backseat if you’re constantly overwhelmed by lesson planning and making resources from scratch. That’s where Kiddom comes in.

Whether you’re just starting to explore education technology or you’ve already got a set of favorite tools, these four strategies using Kiddom can set you up for success next year — and save some precious time.

1. Juxtapose performance with curriculum

It’s important to reflect on overall student performance, but juxtaposing that performance against curriculum can give you even more insights. With Kiddom, you can easily monitor student progress over time and analyze performance on individual standards and skills. As you review individual student performance, ask yourself: Which students grew the most? Which skills took students multiple assessments to master? Where and when did my students encounter the most challenging roadblocks?

To gather insights from reports:

  • Your reports are already full of life if you’ve added and graded assignments using Kiddom. To adjust your reports to display longer time intervals, choose the monthly view.
  • Your first report, Class Grade Average, is an average of all graded assignments and allows you to identify larger trends in overall student performance.
  • Use Mastery Groups (the stacked line graph) to reflect on and analyze changing student performance trends. As the year progressed, which students grew the most? Which students fell off your radar? Did any students make drastic performance changes? Clicking a point will reveal which students were in each group at a selected point in time.
  • Use the Class Standard Mastery graph to evaluate the progress your class made on specific standards and skills. Use insights gathered from these reports to start thinking about how you’ll adjust curriculum for next year.

 

 

2. Fine-tune curriculum from lessons learned

Gathering insights on which units need refining can become wasted labor if we never actually get the chance to revise curriculum. And once the school year gets underway, making those0 changes can get exponentially harder given time and resource constraints. With Kiddom’s Planner, you can modify your curriculum with ease.

To fine-tune curriculum in Planner:

  • Open Planner from the right side of Timeline. If you haven’t created curriculum in Kiddom yet, start by adding a new unit. Add items you’d typically include within a unit like assignments, videos, and other types of resources.
  • If you’ve already created curriculum in Planner, easily add more items to it by using the blue + button. To remove assignments or resources that didn’t work the way you thought they would, press the trash button. Be sure to use the insights you obtained from your reports to make the changes you think could improve student performance next year.
  • The best part about Planner is that it makes ongoing curriculum development simple, which opens up more possibilities for students to make meaningful connections with academic content. Changes are saved in real-time and of course, your curriculum can be imported across all of your classes.

 

 

3. Build differentiation in early

Differentiated curriculum allows students to meaningfully connect with content, but designing it well can be time-consuming. If you know a specific topic requires a little more remediation, why wait until your students hit a roadblock to design resources? Alternatively, if you know a certain point of your curriculum generates a lot of student interest, wouldn’t it be nice to have exploratory resources at the ready? Use the playlist feature in Planner to grouping together resources like videos, readings, and assessments on a topic for enrichment or remediation.

To differentiate instruction with playlists:

  • Open Planner and find a unit or topic for which you’d like to add resources based on your experience teaching it. From there, click the blue + button and add a new playlist. Title it whatever you’d like.
  • To get started adding resources to your playlist, hover over the playlist until another + button appears. Clicking this + button will add this assignment to the playlist. You can add as many assignments and resources as you’d like within a playlist.
  • Some students love knowing what’s coming up, while others can get overwhelmed by this information. Assign a set of resources or share individual assignments from your playlists, depending on the student. This allows you to match the working style of every student.

 

 

4. Supplement curriculum with digital resources

A teacher’s challenge is twofold: lessons must align to standards and engage students with relevant connections. This is inherently time-consuming. To save time and avoid reinventing the wheel, use Kiddom’s Library to find free, standards-aligned resources. Attempts and scores sync with Kiddom, which means your Kiddom reports encapsulate everything students work on, from materials you’ve made to pre-made digital content.

To find free, standards-aligned resources:

  • Open your Timeline and click the blue + plus button to add an assignment. From here, click the “K” icon to access Kiddom’s Library. From here, perform a keyword search (e.g. “fractions’) to find a plethora of lessons, videos, exercises, and more. Use filters to zero in on grade level and/or subject-specific content.
  • Use resources from Kiddom’s Library to supplement assignments you create in each unit in your Planner. This way, you won’t have to create an entire lesson, with all of the resources that go with it, by yourself.
  • Finally, don’t forget that content from Kiddom’s Library can not only be assigned to a class, but to an individual student too.

 

 

When the school year gets started, every minute counts. We hope these Kiddom features save you time and help you develop authentic learning experiences for all of your students.

Extra credit: for even more time-saving tips, register for a free one-on-onecoaching session with a Kiddom team member.

How I Unintentionally Made Parent-Teacher Conferences Student-Centered

How I Unintentionally Made Parent-Teacher Conferences Student-Centered

As a former New York City high school teacher, I know that parent-teacher conferences seldom provide parents with enough time to process what their children learned, what they’re interested in, and what needs improvement. These conferences are rarely original and are often a missed opportunity to truly connect with parents about something beyond the report card.

In contrast, my own parent-teacher conferences were student-centered — creating space for meaningful discussion about things other than grades. But if I’m being transparent, I have to confess I didn’t intentionally structure them that way. I credit technology — and superheroes.

Budgeting for superheroes was always a hit in my algebra class. I provided students with a superhero’s historical financials and challenged them to figure out a way to redirect more cash towards their characters’ “superhero needs.” That could mean more Iron Man suits for Tony Stark or a better sewing machine for Peter Parker. My students dominated the family conferences after the superhero unit, presenting their work to parents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, other teachers — literally anyone who would listen. “Mom, this is the project I want to show you,” said one student. “Look how I saved Iron Man thousands of dollars by just paying off his credit cards. Now he doesn’t pay interest, which means he’s not wasting money!”

In these conferences, we spoke little about grades and missing work because I had provided that information to my students in real-time throughout the semester, which meant conferences became a space to talk about what’s being learned rather than what’s missing.

Despite emerging digital communication tools that seek to bring parents and teachers closer, the structure of parent-teacher conferences largely remains the same: “Here’s how Susie did. Here’s our wall of work. That’s her worksheet with a sticker on it. Oh, and she really needs to stop throwing erasers at Laila.” Often, “what needs improvement” dominates the conversation; if parents must endure this in multiple classrooms with multiple teachers, it doesn’t provide the incentive to come back next time.

I most definitely didn’t plan a project to have something like the superhero project culminate before every parent-teacher conference — that would feel forced. If my students didn’t have a project to talk about, they reflected on their favorite topics in class or their increased sense of confidence grappling with mathematics. Grades were never the centerpiece of the conversation because I invested a lot of time and effort ensuring my students and their families could access their class progress and grades before conferences — in fact, anytime they wanted during the semester. Providing students with access to grades in real-time — and providing them with a means to improve their work — redefined the parent-teacher conference experience. Conferences became a wonderful opportunity for parents to see and hear their children in action.

 

On Kiddom, students can access to their achievement data at any time to track growth and progress.

 

I set a minimum expectation for myself to keeping my gradebook up-to-date on a daily basis. In my first year teaching math, I built and maintained a complex gradebook using Google Sheets. I inserted the sheet onto my class homepage and made it publicly accessible for students to track themselves. (Of course, I replaced names with ID numbers). It looked more like a financial model than a gradebook — and it was ugly — but its existence made students rush to the computer to monitor their progress. Sometimes students would leave comments in spreadsheet cells with their grades and tag me in it, “Thought I turned this in, can you print me another?” Grades not only became accessible, but my students no longer had to wait until progress reports to ask for additional work to get them on their way; instead, this became an ongoing practice. I had effectively created the conditions necessary for my students to self-advocate, which, as I would later learn, meant parent-teacher conferences would be less of a performance review.

As report card season for the school year gets underway, I encourage educators to do their due diligence. Do the research on tools that can minimize the information asymmetry between teachers and learners. I’m not keen on public data walls to achieve this, because I’ve witnessed students get demoralized after tracking their performance against peers in public spaces. And I wouldn’t build a gradebook from scratch again either. That’s too time-consuming to maintain and, at this point, there are plenty of free gradebooks out there that offer a simple student-facing portal to get you on your way.

At Kiddom, we recently redesigned the student experience to allow students to access and submit work, track their own progress, and solicit feedback from teachers all from one place. We intentionally redirected 100% of our engineering effort towards the new student platform because we believe education technology has typically ignored the student experience. That’s unfortunate, because students today move fast and are incredibly tech-savvy. And from what we’ve gathered, teachers are constantly looking to empower students to take control of their learning.

 

On Kiddom, students actively communicate with teachers to get the feedback they need to earn mastery.

 

My experience in classrooms has taught me that it’s possible for technology to transform parent-teacher conferences. But technology isn’t going to redefine parent-teacher conferences for you; it’s only an enabler. So before you set out to restructure your parent-teacher conference, be sure to set up the practices you’ll need for success. Empower students with their own achievement data, but be sure to keep them updated. Then, design a way for your students to access remediation and/or enrichment resources on their own. If you can do that, the possibilities of student ownership are endless.