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New Features: Save Time with Drawing Tool, Curriculum Collaboration, & More

New Features: Save Time with Drawing Tool, Curriculum Collaboration, & More

Spring is in the air! And along with warmer temperatures and flowers starting to bloom, spring also brings new features to the Kiddom platform, designed to reduce friction and help create context for teachers and learners.

As we thought about what features to release this spring, two things came to mind:
How can we reduce friction for teachers? How can we save them time when using Kiddom? How can we make sure that Kiddom is optimized for efficiency?

Teaching and learning has been tough over the last year and the shifts between in-person, hybrid, and remote learning have made it more important than ever to give teachers opportunities to contextualize at every possible step.

Taking those things into consideration, we’ve just launched five new features:

  • Multi-Class Assignments
  • New Question Type: Drawing
  • Improved Planner Speed
  • Curriculum Collaboration
  • Microsoft OneDrive Integration

Read on to learn about each feature in greater detail!

Multi-Class Assignments

Our new multi-class assign features lets teachers assign work to multiple classes at the same time, using a simple checkbox interface. When teaching multiple sections on the same timeline, it’s just one more click; there’s no longer a need to manage each class individually.

In addition to working for whole class assignments, this also works for student groups that have been created. For example, teachers can now assign enrichment (or remediation) work to students in designated mastery groups but different sections at the same time!

Multi-class assign is also a great way for co-teachers who work with different lead teachers throughout the day - they can assign work to their students across classes all at once.

Managing multiple classes or sections is a lot of effort; multi-class assign makes it easier.

Multiple Class Assign

New Question Type: Drawing

There’s a new question type in town and it’s name is Drawing! Now, teachers can assign drawing questions from their chosen curriculum. With this new question type, students can either create drawings from scratch or complete partial drawings provided in the question. Submitting answers via drawing helps students provide context to their through process in arriving at their answer.

Drawing Assignment

This new question type adds to the variety of ways students can communicate answers - written, audio, video, uploading an image, and now drawing - providing ample opportunity for students to communicate understanding.  

Currently, there are drawing questions included in EL K-8, OUR Math 6-12, Illustrative Math through Kendall Hunt K-12, and Fishtank Learning Math 3-8.  Prior to drawing being integrated into Kiddom, if teachers wanted to use these questions, they had to be printed, completed, and scanned back in.  Drawing reduces all this systemic friction and allows those questions to be completed in-app.

Improved Planner Speed

When we received feedback that loading the Planner screen was slow for teachers, we did some investigating.  Since those screens are where teachers spend most of their time planning instruction and assessment, they need to be lightning fast!  Our engineering team did a ton of work on the backend to improve this experience for teachers.  The load time on Planner has been reduced significantly, saving teachers significant time and frustration when planning and assigning. 

Curriculum Collaboration

For schools and districts using their own curriculum, there’s a lot of work that goes into getting that curriculum just right before teachers implement it in their classroom, but Kiddom didn’t have a great way to facilitate that process. Enter Curriculum Collaboration! Now, curriculum coaches, department administrators, or PLCs (professional learning communities) can create a best in class version of the adopted curriculum and publish it to teachers. Teachers then make a copy of the curriculum and put their own, more granular finishing touches on it before delivering it to students.

Curriculum Collaboration helps coaches contextualize the curriculum for teachers, and ensures that all teachers are starting from the same base that has all the needed edits, notes, and enhancements. This feature also saves time for coaches because they can now work on the curriculum centrally and deploy it to all teachers at once (instead of managing multiple instances).

Curriculum Collaboration hits right in that sweet spot of “rigor and flexibility” that we talk about so much at Kiddom. Coaches ensure that the curriculum is implemented with fidelity across teachers, while teachers still have the flexibility to make additional edits.

 

Microsoft OneDrive Integration

Life this year has largely been “in the cloud” and sometimes, it becomes challenging to manage all the tabs and windows needed to get through the day. Plus, especially with students, there’s always the worry that when you send them out into the wilds of the internet, they’ll never find their way back.

As part of this release, Microsoft OneDrive will soon be integrated in Kiddom so teachers can view, collaborate on, and share OneDrive files without having to download/upload docs or open links in new tabs or windows. This integration reduces the friction of tab management for students (a daunting task for even the most seasoned adult!), and helps them stay on task and present in the learning environment.

 

Kiddom + OneDrive integration

And that's it for this edition of Kiddom's New Teacher Features! We hope you're just as excited about these videos as we are to share them with you. If you're interested in bringing Kiddom to your school or district, you can request a demo by clicking the big red button below.

Kiddom seamlessly connects the most critical aspects of teaching and learning on one platform.

For the first time, educators can share and manage digital curriculum, differentiate instruction, and assess student work in one platform with integrated tools for communication.

 

Thinking about bringing Kiddom to your school or district?

Connect with us in a 15-minute meeting to learn more about available pre-packaged curriculum by Open Up Resources, and how the Kiddom education platform can support your learning community.

Keep Reading...

Addressing Learning Loss: What to Know About the Next Round of COVID-19 Funding

Addressing Learning Loss: What to Know About the Next Round of COVID-19 Funding

If the past year has taught us anything, it is that we need to be flexible and able to adapt quickly. But how can schools and districts achieve this with a lack of resources and funding? It helps to stay aware of funding opportunities.

As you know, the federal government has provided payments to state, local, and tribal governments to help navigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, allocated through the CARES Act.

The next round of funding has $54B earmarked for education under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund.

This money will be distributed to state level Departments of Education (DOEs) that will then distribute money to their state’s schools and districts. It’s estimated that the average school will get about $1k/student, about an 8% boost in funding for a typical district.

The Purpose of the ESSER Funds

These funds are being provided specifically to address learning loss. The government recognizes that with the challenges of teaching and learning during the pandemic year, many students have fallen behind and without an intervention by way of additional funding, teachers can't be expected to cover the lost ground.

It will be up to schools and districts to decide how best to use these funds, but there are a couple of key things to keep in mind:

  • Which students are suffering from learning loss?
  • How much learning loss has occurred?
  • What will best help students who have suffered learning loss?
  • How will my school or district be able to directly tie quantitative learning loss improvement to how these dollars were spent?

Avoiding the Fiscal Cliff

One thing that’s important to consider when dealing with one-time funds is avoiding a “fiscal cliff”.  When a school or district gets additional budget dollars, it’s tempting to use it to address current funding shortages - hire new staff, add new programs, or buy new tools.

The problem with this is that these additional funds will not always be a part of the annual operating budget, so when they’re gone, it leaves the school or district in a deficit - with more annual, recurring expenses than they can cover with their budget dollars. They’ve fallen off the cliff.

To prevent this, schools and districts are encouraged to be thoughtful about using their ESSER funds in a way that will not cause budget hardships down the line - hire contractors instead of full-time staff, make one-time investments in place of annual subscriptions, or make capital investments that are paid for up-front but provide multi-year benefit.

These strategies can go a long way to help schools and districts avoid the fiscal cliff, while extending the value of these one-time funds.

Addressing Past Learning Loss, and Preventing it in the Future

The ESSER funds are being distributed with the specific objective of addressing learning loss, but we offer a solution that also helps prevent it in the future.

As content is paramount to student outcomes, we believe the best way to tackle learning loss is by investing in a high-quality digital curriculum. When housed in a flexible digital platform for teaching and learning, curriculum can be tied to real-time student data, which will enable teachers to flag areas of improvement for students.

In Kiddom, teachers can access said data autonomously, without waiting for a data import to know which students need the most help. From those standards-based reports, teachers can directly access Kiddom's Content Library to quickly search for remedial work or extra credit by standard, keeping students engaged at their own pace.

Unfortunately, tackling existing learning loss is only half of the battle. The best way to prevent it from happening in the future is by ensuring teachers and students have a flexible platform that enables continuity of learning in any environment.

With access to high-quality curriculum in a flexible, interactive platform like the Kiddom Education Platform, teachers and students are always prepared for teaching and learning, online or in-person.

Could my school or district use their ESSER funds to purchase Kiddom?

Absolutely. Kiddom can be used to directly address learning loss, and provide clear quantitative performance data on learning loss improvements over time.

For schools and districts interested in securing ESSER funding for Kiddom and/or one of our high-quality curriculum partners, our team will work with your learning community to draft a compelling, multi-year agreement that ensures lasting success, avoids fiscal cliffs via up-front payments for long-term usage, and works with the ESSER allocations in-person. To get started, set up a demo using the red button below.

Kiddom seamlessly connects the most critical aspects of teaching and learning on one platform.

For the first time, educators can share and manage digital curriculum, differentiate instruction, and assess student work in one place. Learners can take assessments online, see student performance data with the click of a button, and teachers have the insight and tools they need to create individual learning paths.

Ready to bring digital curriculum to your school or district?

Connect with us in a 15-minute meeting to learn more about available pre-packaged curriculum, and how the Kiddom education platform can support your learning community.

You might also be interested in these articles:

Administrators: 20 Gift Ideas for Your Teachers & Staff in 2020

Administrators: 20 Gift Ideas for Your Teachers & Staff in 2020

Looking for the perfect gift idea for your teachers and staff this year? We did some research and found several great ideas appropriate for the 2020 holiday season.

It's that time of the year for gift-giving and cheer, and many administrators are realizing they have quite a task in front of them.

Holiday gifting can be a challenge, especially for schools on a tight budget – and most are. But in 2020, gifting can be even more complicated than usual.

We all know that teachers and staff deserve a really special gift this year. It's been a heck of a year for them. Which is why so many principals are asking themselves, "What gift will really show my appreciation?"

Well, look no further! Here are twenty creative, time-we-live-in appropriate gift ideas to give you a great start.

 

1. Personalized Treats from Your Local Bakery

Gifting from the local bakery in your town is not only a great way to show teachers and staff appreciation by giving them a delicious, personalized treat, it's also a way to put money back into small businesses in your community. Take this example from NatsSweets – and hey, they ship!

 

2. Custom Coffee Mugs

Personalize a mug for your coffee lovers with names or meaningful designs. This example below by CoffeeTime Designs would be perfect for Starbucks fans! This gift will be useful both at home and in the teacher lounge, where identifying your own mug is more important now than than ever. You can pair this with a gift card to a favorite local coffeeshop or fill the cup with stocking stuffers.

 

3. Funny, Relatable Candles

Sometimes laughter is the best way to heal, and we could all use some healing this year. If you're looking for a gift that does both, check out these affordable candles by NaturalAnnie Essentials, which could be great as a standalone gift, or as an addition to a spa basket. Speaking of spa baskets... (see next idea!)

 

4. Self-Healing Spa Baskets

As we mentioned, it's important that our teachers and staff take the time for a little self-healing over the holidays. There are many affordable spa baskets under $25 on Etsy like the one below by Kate and Belle Co. Or, if you are gifting for a large number of teachers and staff, you could always buy supplies in bulk and package baskets/baggies by hand.

 

5. Movie Night Kit

For a larger staff, an affordable present that is perfectly pandemic-appropriate is a Redbox giftcard ($5 will rent most movies for a night) with a bag of popcorn and a large box of candy, like you'd find at the movie theatre (Remember those? Sigh). Check out this one from Imagination Branding, who will even put the kit together for you, if you're limited on time.

 

6. Cover a Class to Give the Gift of Time

Time can be a great gift, especially during the holidays. You could present this gift in a thoughtful handwritten card, or – a fun trend we've seen lately – via scratch-able "lottery cards" like this one by Etsy maker Enchanted by Design.

 

7. Gift a PD Book Using PD Funds

One principal shared that she adds PD books to her teachers' gift baskets using PD funds, as a way to give beyond the staff gifting budget. You could personalize books with a thoughtful letter to help staff grow within their unique roles, or give everyone the same book on a broader topic to kick off a book club!

If your local bookstore doesn't have its own online store set up, check the website Bookshop, which allows you to shop online while supporting local bookstores. If you're looking for ideas, there are many "Educator PD Book Club" lists out there, like the one below from Apollo Career Center.

 

8. A Touch of Spring in the Middle of Winter

Give the gift of a plant friend or a window herb garden! Plants not only purify air, but they are low maintenance and easy to set up. Blogger Brendid has curated a great list of plant ideas here, and you can see some of her examples in the image below.

 

9. Gift a Green Experience With a Terrarium Kit

Turn your plant present into an experience too with a terrarium kit! There are many on Etsy for $25 and under, or to save money, you could buy supplies in bulk and assemble the kits yourself. This one by Etsy vendor Sandhill Shores is only $10 – all you need is the container.

 

10. Better Health Through Hydration

An insulated water bottle is a great gift to encourage teachers and staff to stay hydrated. We're all stretched thin, and self-care is the first thing to go our the window when times are tough. Some water bottles even come with intake reminders for each hour, like these bottles by Etsy vendor Custom Vinyls by JAMO.

 

11. Custom Coasters to Protect Papers During Grading

Capture a cherished moment or send a positive message to your staff with custom coasters that will help keep desks dry. Or do it all with these coasters designed to look like Polaroids by Etsy vendor Design CKJ!

 

12. Amazon Gift Card in Bookmark Shape

It's always nice to have a gift that can be used in multiple ways. You can get these Amazon gifts cards in any amount, choose a holiday design, and ship them quickly through an Amazon Prime membership.

 

13. Fend Off the Cold With a Toasty Lap Blanket

We all need a little more "cozy" right now, and nothing says cozy quite like a warm, soft lap blanket. These chenille throw blankets from Target are $20 and come in gray, blue, cream, and gold. Perhaps you can find one in your school colors!

 

14. Personalized Tote Bag

A sturdy tote bag with pockets and a customized design like the one below for $24.95 would be a great gift for those staff members who are always carrying books around; teachers, counselors, curriculum instructors, and librarians come to mind. If you're looking for a more affordable option, there are countless vendors on Etsy that personalize totes in all shapes and sizes.

 

15. Affordable Self-Light for Zoom Calls

This could be a great gift for teachers who are giving a lot of virtual lessons right now – better lighting can help students see your facial expressions better and help them feel more connected. For helpful features to look for and set up tips, We Are Teachers wrote a nice guide here. We found this option below for $14.99 on Amazon.

 

16. Personalized Note Cube & Planner

There are all kinds of helpful office supplies that you can add a special touch to – like this note cube by Personalization Mall, who also offer lots of other options like a weekly planner, notepad, and more.

 

17. Mini Dry-Erase Board & Markers

Another great gift for teachers who are distance learning is a mini dry-erase board – can't you picture this custom board below by Organize by Julia with "Mr. Smith" or "I <3 Spanish!" on it? Markers are always a welcome gift, too. They always seem to be running out of ink!

 

18. Culinary Gift Sets

For the staff members who love trying new recipes, there are all kinds of fun recipe gift sets that come with ingredients and molds, like this lava cake mix with baking cups by King Arthur Baking. Who knows – if you're lucky, maybe they'll want to share their creations with you!

 

19. Keep Their Coffee Warm All Day

Give your teachers and staff the gift of warmth! There are all kinds of mug warmers out there, from the self-warming mugs by Ember to this Mr. Coffee warming coaster we found on Amazon for under $15.

 

20. Gift Tickets to a Virtual Event

One thing many of us miss this year are live shows and performances, whether you're more fond of comedy, music, theatre, or DIY classes. But many of these events are still happening virtually! You can search a site like Eventbrite for ideas – check out their excellent guide to the best online events to attend without leaving your home.

 

And that concludes our 2020 guide to holiday gift ideas for staff and teachers! Do you have more ideas to share? Leave a comment below and we'll add them to the list!

 

Kiddom seamlessly connects the most critical aspects of teaching and learning on one platform.

For the first time, educators can share and manage digital curriculum, differentiate instruction, and assess student work in one platform with integrated tools for communication.

 

Ready to see what a truly digital curriculum can do for your school?

Connect with us in a 15-minute meeting to learn more about available pre-packaged curriculum by Open Up Resources, and how the Kiddom education platform can support your learning community.

At-a-Glance Assignments: Announcing Kiddom’s New & Improved Timeline

At-a-Glance Assignments: Announcing Kiddom’s New & Improved Timeline

This week, we are excited to announce a core update to our student and teacher Assignment Timeline! These changes reflect a long list of suggestions made by Kiddom educators, so we have YOU to thank!

In this article, we'll cover:

  • A Quick Overview of Timeline & Planner
  • New Student & Teacher Timeline Updates
    • At-A-Glance Assignments
    • Know What's Due & When
    • Filter Assignments by Due Date
  • New Teacher Timeline & Planner Updates
    • Edit & Delete Assignments
    • See Submitted Work From the Timeline

You Asked, We Listened. We Have You to Thank!

We are excited to announce a core release that simplifies everyday tasks (like viewing assignments, filtering assignments, and checking for new comments on assignments), and provides a more holistic picture, in effort to bring greater transparency to teachers and students.

When we first designed Timeline, we strove to create an all-in-one view – after all, this is where teachers and students would spend a great deal of their time in Kiddom.

We wanted to allow teachers and students to quickly know what's been assigned, when it's due, and what's been submitted and graded. But, in the spirit of being lifelong learners, we believe there are always ways to improve. And so this week's big release had to start with listening to educators' voices.

We've received so many creative suggestions from teachers and administrators on how to improve the Timeline this past year. We made several changes along the way, but we knew a larger, core update was needed, and so we began collecting a list of your Timeline suggestions while prioritizing distance learning features. 

Well, those suggestions have been applied, and the new and improved Timeline and Planner is finally here – so thank you, educators! In a big way, this one came straight from you.

 

Quick Overview to Get Our Bearings

Before we dive in, let's get our bearings and go over what exactly Timeline and Planner do, and where they can be found. You can skip ahead to the next section if you're already familiar.

When you click into your Course in Kiddom, there are four key sections to understand: Timeline, Planner, the Classroom Navigation menu, and the Student Roster. Teachers see all of these sections, but students will only see the Classroom Navigation, Roster, and Timeline.

Click around on the tabs below to gain a better sense of the different areas included in this update.

Kiddom Timeline

Timeline – From the Timeline, you can see all of your upcoming and past assignments. As part of the new release, students and teachers will be able to filter Timeline Assignments by New, what's due Today, what is Late, and what work has been completed, or Done. Additionally, there is now more information available on the at-a-glance assignment cards.

Kiddom Planner

Planner – The Planner is only visible in the teacher view, and it is where teachers can view their digital curriculum, build out or edit existing curriculum, or simply drag and drop activities and assessments into the student Timeline. As part of this release, updates have been made to show more information on the activities, to match what's visible in the Timeline, and soon you will be able to view assigned and unassigned curriculum.

Kiddom Classroom Navigation

Classroom Navigation – This area helps you quickly jump around to your Announcements (Classroom), Timeline, Reports, and Class Settings (not Shown).

Kiddom Student Roster

Student Roster – From the Student Roster, you can quickly start a chat with students and, if your school is using Kiddom for Schools and Districts, you can have student groups and see who is online.

 

Student & Teacher Timeline Updates

At Kiddom, we are committed to creating student-centric experiences in online learning. This goal was at the heart of our new changes to Timeline and Planner. In order to manage their time and workload effectively, students need to understand at a glance, what's due and when. 

But that’s not all: now students will be able to see their grades at a glance as well, knowing within an instant how they’ve done on an assignment. Check out this and other changes below.

 

At-a-Glance Assignments

As mentioned, a big part of this update is ensuring that students and teachers have what they need at-a-glance. Two things students and teachers will be able to see at a quick glance are as follows:  

 

1) See Which Assignments Have New Comments on Them

For assignment-based feedback and communication, comments are your best bet. Now, students will never miss a comment from their teachers – within the Timeline, students and teachers will be able to see a blue message box on the top left of the assignment icon, when there is a new comment to view. Note: This feature will be available soon.

2) See the Most Vital Info on Assignment Cards

Students will have quick access now to the most vital information about their assignments – due dates, whether they've completed it already or not, and what grade they received. As a teacher, you'll want to know how many student submitted their work, how many you've graded, and what the grades are (for individual students). Now, that's all visible, directly on the Assignment Card! In the next section, we'll dig into the four types of cards, which are now color-coded by due date.

Knowing What's Due & When

Students and teachers will be able to see quickly what is due and when, thanks to a new color-coded system that groups assignments by due dates. The four categories they will see are as follows:

 

1) See New Assignments & Viewed Assignments

New assignments are always in blue. Once you open an assignment, it becomes light blue until the day that it is due. Assignments you’ve never opened remain in dark blue.

2) See What's Due Today

Assignments that are due today will appear in yellow. This can help students immediately prioritize what is due soon and manage their time better.

3) See Late Assignments, and Which Were Submitted Late

Hopefully you won’t see the color red very often on your Timeline: red assignments were either submitted late or haven’t been submitted yet.

4) See Completed & Graded Work

Green assignments have been submitted already. Additionally, teachers and students will soon be able to see what grades were given for each assignment directly from their Timeline from the individual student view. Note: This feature will be available soon.

Filter Assignments by Due Date

This one was perhaps our biggest feature request – you can now filter your assignments by those four categories we mentioned: New, Due Today, Late, and Done!

Teacher Timeline & Planner Updates

Teachers will have all of the above views of assignments, with a few exceptions, which we'll cover below. Soon, they'll also see some important changes to their Planner.

Edit & Delete Assignments

Teachers can now edit or delete assignments by clicking the small menu to the right of each Assignment card. You'll be able to edit the following elements of the assignment after submitting an assignment:

See Submitted Work From the Class Timeline

See Total Submitted Assignments From "Everyone" View

Upon viewing the entire class's Timeline, teachers will be able to see how many students have submitted their work.

See Individual Submitted Assignments From "Student" View

Upon viewing an individual student's Timeline, teachers can see what a student has submitted and soon they will be able to see the grades they received at a quick glance, as well.

There you have it!

We hope you're just as excited about these features as we are to share them with you. If you're interested in bringing Kiddom to your school or district, you can request a demo by clicking the big red button below.

Kiddom seamlessly connects the most critical aspects of teaching and learning on one platform.

For the first time, educators can share and manage digital curriculum, differentiate instruction, and assess student work in one platform with integrated tools for communication.

 

Thinking about bringing Kiddom to your school or district?

Connect with us in a 15-minute meeting to learn more about available pre-packaged curriculum by Open Up Resources, and how the Kiddom education platform can support your learning community.

Keep Reading...

Teaching Greatest Hits: Tiffany Hamm, Most Engaging Classroom

Teaching Greatest Hits: Tiffany Hamm, Most Engaging Classroom

Melissa Ruiz

Melissa Ruiz

Sr. Event Marketing Manager

Before Kiddom, Melissa managed events for Turnitin and Edmodo, where she learned how much she loved Edtech.

We know teachers have a hard job to do with a limited amount of time. It makes us ecstatic to learn from amazing teachers that go the extra mile to contribute to making the world just a little better, one student at a time.

This is the first spotlight in a series of five, in which we feature the winning recipients of Kiddom’s inaugural Teaching Greatest Hits series. Look for the others over the coming months by signing up for our Teaching Community Newsletter.

In a day and age of high stakes testing and ever-increasing accountability, how do we embrace change? How can you thrive for something different, for something better?

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we held this award series for teachers who deserve recognition for their outstanding work in the classroom. We searched far and wide to find the winners of this year's Teaching Greatest Hits, and see what makes them tick. 

I sat down with Tiffany Hamm, an English teacher at Los Gatos High School in California. She's been teaching for 27 years and as the winner of the "Most Engaging Classroom" award, she has managed to push for the change she wants to see in the world with amazing grace.

The interview below...

Q: What do you currently teach?

Tiffany Hamm: I have a freshman English class. And then I have a social justice junior class piloting this year. And I've been teaching senior social justice for the last three years. They decided to have the juniors start and stay with me for two years. English eleven and in English twelve considered English class towards college credits. And so we're piloting it have these courageous conversations.

 

Q: What brought you down the path to become a teacher?

TH: Well, I actually wanted to be so many other things. I wanted to work as a missionary for a while, then I wanted to work in the system with incarcerated youth. I thought, "well, I could be a therapist..." and then my mother said, "You know you can do all those things in college education and be impactful in the classroom," – and she was right. Education has always been something that I just love because it's never the same day twice.

 

Q: What kinds of connections to the world can your students make with the activities and assignments in your classroom?

TH: We tend to hold tightly to our norms. My students are never seated the same seat twice. This encourages them to talk to different people, and pulls them out of their comfort zone.  I got this idea from a Freedom Writer teacher down in Long Beach, CA. There's about 500 of us who trained with Erin Gruwell from the Freedom Writer movie. 

 

Q: In your nomination, fellow teacher Liv Johnson told us about the social justice Monopoly game you play in your class. Could you tell us more?

TH: The Monopoly game is a study of inequity, race, class, and redlining. The students will pick who they want to be (with game markers). And by accident, they will have a certain wealth category or not. Some students are impoverished from the start and they never catch up; some will always be in jail. And when they get out of jail, they realize that they can't afford to live in the world. So oftentimes, they have asked to go back to jail because it's easier and they don't make payments. Doesn't that emulate life?

We're looking at just mercy and mass incarceration in the new age—how quickly are we to judge people. Some people are living this now.

 

Q: Tell us about the service trips you take with students!

TH: We went to New Orleans and worked in the Ninth Ward, studying inequity of race and also building homes with Habitat for Humanity. We have gone to Peru, built roads for students who did not have access to getting school. This year we’ve talked about going back to Peru, or Mexico to build houses. Something to get them out of their element.

 

Q: In your opinion, what defines an engaging classroom? Have your strategies changed from year to year to improve student outcomes?

TH: I want to give my students a voice, and make them feel comfortable to speak. We cannot really have these conversations about race, gender, and ethnicity if they don't feel safe in the classroom to have it. These are difficult questions that I'm asking. Before they can grapple with them out loud, suspend judgment, and feel free to make a mistake, we have to work on creating that culture first.

You can never look at a different perspective until you feel comfortable enough to have one. 

 

Q: Can you speak to those structured conversations and how they establish a healthy environment for students?

TH: First, we find our commons. Commons happen a lot. My students don't think they have anything in common with anyone sitting next to them until they start talking. Right now, we're looking at our identity and how it shows up, and exploring what they're willing to share with each other. There's risk involved but they also need to know that they have boundaries and so they've drawn their own personal boundaries.”

 

Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching?

TH: Honestly, I look forward to seeing my students every day. Each of them brings something to the table that's new—a different outlook on life. I love it when one student doesn't really think that they're being seen and then they have a moment like: "Hey, I see you. I've seen you all along." And they don't know that because I think they see themselves as just one of many in the class.

At the start of the school year, we put up all of the pictures on the wall and everyone has a saying and we look at them and celebrate the fact that we're all in this together, It wasn't by accident. And so that's it— my students really.

I’m very glad I was able to interview Tiffany Hamm in person and see her inspiring classroom. Every inch of it is covered with quotes and utter kindness. She has shown me that if you have passion, you can love what you do every day, inspire students to ensure their success and encouraging them to fulfill their potential.

Recap: What Makes Up Teaching Greatest Hits?

Each of the categories were scored on a different rubric. But as we saw from the nominations (and personal experience), teachers can shine in a myriad stands on three pillars, hanging from one common theme of empowering students: 

  1. Fostering inclusivity by supporting and uplifting students of all abilities, cultures, and beliefs. 
  2. Impacting students beyond the perimeter of the classroom, by delivering culturally relevant curriculum, opening doors to new interests, and teaching the whole child.
  3. Upholding equity in education by providing scalable, dynamic, and personalized learning experiences.

Visit the 2019 Teaching Greatest Hits announcement page to learn more about the winners, and subscribe to our newsletter for more uplifting content by teachers, for teachers.

New Features: Save Time with Drawing Tool, Curriculum Collaboration, & More

Spring brings new features to the Kiddom platform, designed to reduce friction and help create context for teachers and learners.

Is Blended Learning Here to Stay? (Survey Results)

How has COVID-19 changed our blended learning practices in the classroom? A recent survey showed some surprising and uplifting results.

Illustrative Mathematics by Kendall Hunt Now Available in Kiddom

Everything you need to know about the new Kiddom + Illustrative Mathematics by Kendall Hunt K-12 digital curriculum partnership.

Announcing Kiddom Classroom Weekly Orientation!

Our free Kiddom Classroom app has what it takes to improve and streamline the process of learning—but only if teachers know how to use it.