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Three Ways to Increase Collaboration in your Classroom or School

Three Ways to Increase Collaboration in your Classroom or School

Sarah Gantert

Sarah Gantert

Success Specialist, Kiddom

Sarah has 10 years of public education experience, including being a founding staff member of a STEM high school in Pennsylvania.

If you’re no stranger to Kiddom, you know that our curriculum sharing capabilities make working with colleagues easy, even if you can’t meet in person. The great news is that Kiddom isn’t just about sharing curriculum. There is a whole array of ways users can collaborate and share with teachers and students alike!

Here are three advanced collaboration techniques Kiddom helps you super-charge collaboration in your classroom  (feel free to mix and match based on your needs — and if you come up with a new way to collaborate and share using Kiddom, we’d love to hear from you!).

 

Are you a faculty advisor for a student-run club? Give your student leaders editing access to the class so that they can post announcements, assignments, and other important information for their members.

Step 1: Set up a “teacher” account with Kiddom for your student leaders and add that account as a collaborator to your students’ club on Kiddom.

Step 2: Provide the credentials to your student club leaders.

Step 3: Step back and let your student-run club truly be student-governed! When students have the authority to create and post club information, it gives the ownership of the club back into the hands of those it belongs.

Calling all administrators, team leaders, and curriculum leads: Are you tired of the same old professional development days? Do you need to create a space for teachers to learn on their own time, at their own pace, without the need to always bring everyone together in a room to go over simple housekeeping items? Kiddom has you covered!  Create a PLC in Kiddom for your cohort and start uploading materials from Google Drive, your computer, the web, etc. It’s that simple!

    1. If you are a Drive user and want to continue using Google Docs to collaborate en masse, check out this article about the variety of ways you can use your Google Docs for assignments, using Kiddom.
  1.  2. If your school is on the MS O365 platform, you can easily link documents, .pptx files, and more by copying and pasting a link in the description of the assignment. From there, teachers can download and make copies of any materials you want to disseminate to them.

Not only will this help to disseminate information more quickly and efficiently, but you can also start using your face-to-face PD time for deeper inquiry and creation!

As educators, we know it’s important to meet with colleagues outside of our grade level so that we can plan scope and sequence for our content area. Kiddom makes it easy to share curriculum, lesson ideas and comments with colleagues teaching other grades.  

    1. Create a class that houses cross-grade level curriculum
    2. Add your colleagues as collaborators to your existing classes/curriculum
    3. Go further: Create a PLC for teachers across the district that teach your content area.

Once the PLC is created in your Kiddom account, the world of planning became a whole lot nicer. You won’t have to rely on monthly or quarterly district/school-wide content area meetings; you can plan and build ideas together without needing to be in the same room. It’s a great way to get a head start on those infrequent meetings with colleagues in different grade levels and schools.    

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Kiddom and Newsela: Better Together

Kiddom and Newsela: Better Together

Sarah Gantert

Sarah Gantert

Success Specialist, Kiddom

Sarah has 10 years of public education experience, including being a founding staff member of a STEM high school in Pennsylvania.

If you are a Newsela user, you know it’s an amazing resource for your students. Having the ability to assign students articles based on their Lexile reading levels without having to do any re-writing yourself is a huge time saver. The grading features and quizzing in Newsela are really awesome, too.

But you know what would be great? If Newsela assignments could populate in the same place as all of your other course materials. When you have a reading for your students, you don’t want them to have to navigate between multiple apps and websites, right? That’s where Kiddom comes in to help.

Kiddom’s K-12 operating system helps by integrating a whole slew of third-party content providers in one place (bonus: you can grade in Kiddom, too). Newsela is no exception. In this article we’re going to share a great way to build a library of resources for your diverse levels of readers with Newsela and Kiddom.

 

Start a Playlist with Kiddom

  1. Head on over to your Planner in the class you want to create the reading playlist
  2. Create a playlist 

Build Curriculum From Your Favorite Newsela Content 

3. Click on “add an assignment” in your playlist and click on the Kiddom icon.

4. Filter for the grade levels you need by selecting “Newsela” in “sources” menu, then click enter to execute your search!

5. Once you find an article you want to use, select it and add it to your playlist (Tip: Label it with the Lexile Level at the front to help with sorting. Example: 890L: Article Title). 

6. Newsela creates multiple Lexile level readings for each article. Using the same keywords that you used to execute your first search, repeat steps 3-5 for each Lexile level you need to add to your playlist! (Note: Newsela changes article titles for different Lexile levels, so make sure you are looking out for similar titles, not exact titles, while you search different grade level readings.)

Time to Assign to Students!

7. Now that you have your playlist ready to go, you can drag and drop the assignments to the Timeline when you need them AND assign each Lexile level to the appropriate group of students.

 

The real bonus in all of this? The fact that your Newsela readings and assignments can now be a part of a more holistic assessment of student mastery. Newsela assignments can live beyond the Newsela app, with all the other assessments and assignments you’ve created throughout the school year.

This article is part of our Better Together Series, which investigates all the ways the Kiddom K-12 operating system helps to enhance the tech you are already using in your classroom. 

More from the Better Together Series:

Kiddom and Newsela: Better Together

Build a library of resources for a diverse levels of readers using Newsela and Kiddom together. If you’re a Newsela user, you know it’s an amazing resource for your students. Having the ability to…

Kiddom and Google: Better Together, Pt. III

Kiddom and Google: Better Together, Pt. III

If you are using Google Drive or Classroom, you know Google just updated the student and teacher experience. What’s great about these updates is that the Google and Kiddom combination is even more powerful than before. Check out this list of awesome things that Kiddom and Google can do together.

Note: This is Pt. 3 of our 3-part series on how Kiddom and Google work better together. Be sure to also check out Pt. 1 on Helping Students Track and Act on Progress and Pt. 2 on Transforming Drive Folders Into Organized Curriculum.

With new updates to both Kiddom’s platform and Google Classroom, there are many perks to using them together. The biggest one? Increasing student ownership by providing students access to reports and progress throughout the school year. Here are a couple of ways you can maximize your Google Drive and Kiddom experience:

Student-Teacher-Parent Conferences

While Google Drive and Classroom can certainly provide you the ability to get assignments and grades out to students and their parents, Kiddom gives you the additional benefit of illustrating the progress of each student in your class throughout a school year.kiddom

Often, when parent-teacher conferences come around, we often find ourselves trying to explain what getting an 88%, a 95%, or a 72% means. Kiddom allows students and parents to understand, in competencies, the progress being made in class. With standards-based grading reports, Kiddom takes a percentage grade and creates an easy to understand, written, explanation of student progress.

Kiddom’s reports break down a student’s progress standard by standard, so you can truly differentiate instruction for your students and they’ll have a better understanding of why they are receiving certain tasks and assignments beyond just the “I have a 72% so I’m being remediated” mentality.

Where does this all lead? When the time comes to sit down with parents, your students can take the lead in discussing their progress and their weaknesses. That’s why combining Google and Kiddom is such a great choice.

Project-Based Learning:

When you have the power to assign standards to individual student work or group work, you’re taking PBL to the next level by allowing the inquiry and problem solving required of students to flourish. As students get more and more comfortable in a PBL environment, they come to understand the standards being addressed in your class, and they take more ownership throughout the year: They will be the ones tacking standards onto their projects, based on what they know they demonstrated. Or they might choose a project and a standard set because they know they struggle with those skills.

Think about it: Let’s say you assign students an essential question for PBL. The next step would be to show them the standards that would be addressed for this specific unit. But what if you ask them to choose how they will complete the project by assigning themselves standards and competencies? You could have the following criteria:

1. Ask students to choose at least three standards from this particular unit that they want to focus on in their project.

2. Two standards should be areas in which they feel they will excel.

3. One standard should be an area in which they know they might be weak.

4. Students can explain their rationale for picking these standards in the pre-work and brainstorming phase of their project. This helps students hone their metacognitive skills while they prepare to complete the project.

This is just one way you can have students choose standards, but really it’s up to you and your students to find the best combination of standards assignments. You might even want to assign everyone in the class a certain standard while allowing students to pick a few others they want to incorporate into a project. Regardless of how you do it, providing students with the opportunity to practice inquiry and metacognition is an added bonus when you use Kiddom alongside Google.

Assignment Submission Super-Charged:

In Classroom, students can certainly submit written assignments to their teacher, but what about videos, PDFs, podcasts, pictures, etc.? With Kiddom, students can not only submit the written parts of their assignments, but they can also submit multimedia and other content that goes along with it; all in one dropbox per assignment. That’s pretty awesome, right?

 

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With Google Drive integration, students don’t even have to move their files in order to attach them to an assignment in Kiddom. They just need to connect their school Google accounts with their Kiddom accounts and they have a direct connection to all of their work, all the time. And you can easily grade any type of multimedia straight from the Kiddom app using our built-in rubrics or your own custom rubrics. Not only that, but just like everything in Kiddom, it’s fully customizable for each student. You can attach a rubric, attach a set of standards, or add a student goal for any number of students at one time (all the way down to a case-by-case basis).

Using Kiddom along with Google Apps helps take your classroom to the next level of ownership; it allows students to choose what types of files to submit, how they will submit, and what needs to be submitted in order to receive credit and show progress on the skills being tested. Not only that, but Kiddom’s built-in rubrics make grading Drive assignments even simpler than before.

 

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And that concludes our 3-part series on how Kiddom and Google work better together. Be sure to check out Pt. 1 on Helping Students Track and Act on Progress and Pt. 2 on Transforming Drive Folders Into Organized Curriculum.

 


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Written by: Sarah Gantert, Success Specialist

Kiddom and Google: Better Together, Pt. I

Kiddom and Google: Better Together, Pt. I

Are you using Google Classroom, but spending an inordinate amount of time grading and helping students understand their progress? This is where a tool like Kiddom can come to your rescue! Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing pro tips for power users seeking to take their use of education technology to the next level.

Pro Tip #1: Helping Students Track and Act on Progress

You might be using Google Classroom and wondering, “Why would I want to transfer my assignments into Kiddom?” To make sense of this, consider the following questions:

  1. Do I have access to a gradebook in Google Classroom?
  2. Can I track individual student progress on standards in Google Classroom?
  3. Do students have access to progress reports in Google Classroom?

Your answers to these three questions are probably no.

While Google Classroom provides a great way for students to receive content, it doesn’t (yet) provide a way for students to measure their progress and therefore, take some ownership over their learning experience.

By using Kiddom’s Google Drive integration, you can take everything you’ve set up in Google Classroom and transfer it to Kiddom’s Planner; doing this provides you and your students access to progress reports that they wouldn’t otherwise have in Google Classroom.

Unlike using Google Drive and Classroom, with Kiddom you don’t have to download multiple third-party apps in order for it to give you the classroom intelligence and reporting that you and your students need. It’s all housed within the Kiddom K-12 operating system.

Giving Google Drive a Standards-Based Boost

Does your school or state require your assessments be standards-aligned? You probably noticed there is no standards tracking in Google Classroom or Drive. That’s again where Kiddom comes in: you can attach your Drive assessments to Kiddom assignments, attach relevant standards, and voila: you’re now tracking student progress while using all the material you already created in Drive. The best part? It’s all in one place!

How do you attach and grade standards with your Drive assignments? Check out these three easy steps below:

 

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Step 1: Create an assignment in Kiddom and attach the Drive document you want to assign to your students.

Step 2: Click on “attach standards” in the assignment options.

Step 3: Search and add (check) the standards you want to attach to the drive assignment, and click save.

 

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If you want to make it really easy to attach standards to your assignments, visit your class settings and add standards to be tracked in your class. Now, when you go to attach standards in an assignment, the standards that you are tracking in your class settings will appear for you. One less step towards analyzing student performance… nice, right?

Kiddom’s intelligence reports also create easy to interpret, beautiful graphs and progress reports for each student in your class, including their progress on each standard you’ve assigned with your assignments. Using Google Drive, you’d have to manually track those standards, but if you use Kiddom and Google together, it’s a match made in heaven!

What can super-charging Google Drive assignments with Kiddom intelligence reports do for your students? Here are a couple of ideas:

1. Offer students a voice during conferences: Whether it’s student-teacher conferences or parent-teacher conferences, your students will be able to lead the conversations and talk about their academic growth and areas in need of improvement. Kiddom’s reports make it easy for students to track their progress by allowing them access to it 24/7.

2. Offer students ownership: If you have students doing independent, inquiry-driven work in your classroom, you know that it’s hard to keep up with the timely feedback and conferences required to keep students excelling. That’s where Kiddom reports come in: they can follow their progress with each benchmark assignments submitted/evaluated as soon as you grade the assignment. With the ability to track their progress toward certain skill sets (Standards Based Grading), students will know what they need to focus on, day after day and week after week.

Ready for more tips? Check out the next post in this series, Transforming Drive Folders Into Organized Curriculum.

 

 


kiddom

Written by: Sarah Gantert, Success Specialist

 

P.S. Want more resources for the upcoming school year? Check out Kiddom’s K-12 Library to access to thousands of standards-aligned resources from popular publishers.

Introducing Skills-Based Reports for Students and Teachers on Apple Devices

Introducing Skills-Based Reports for Students and Teachers on Apple Devices

Now, you and your students have access to the same detailed intelligence reports on iOS devices as on our web application. Hooray!

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Actionable, Skills-Based Reports in Students’ Hands

We know students are more accustomed to using smartphones than laptops, so we wanted to make sure they can gain access to their assignments, grades, and feedback from the iOS app.

Whether they are switching classes or riding the bus home from school, students will be able to access more detailed, skill-based feedback on their phones. With this knowledge in the palm of their hands, students can advocate for themselves by:

  1. Responding to their teacher’s feedback
  2. Asking questions
  3. Uploading revisions to assignments on the go

 

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Student-Led Conferences

Standards Mastery reports allow students to have access to their data throughout a week, month, marking period, or school year, giving conferences a student powered turbo boost. Whether your students are doing a weekly check-in or you are having end of year conferences, Kiddom allows them to stay on top of their strengths and weakness all year long, wherever they are.

The new iOS upgrade provides students with the same access to their reports as the desktop version, so even on their way to a parent-teacher conferences, students can look over their reports and feel empowered to speak to their experience when the meeting takes place.

For students to gain an overall view of their progress in a specific course, they just need to tap on the “reports” menu at the bottom of the app. From there, students can view their standards mastery report by doing the following:

  1. After tapping on reports, students can tap “view more” to gain access to a standards tab.
  2. Tapping on one of the standards, students will be given a view of how they have progressed, over a given timeframe, on that specific standard. (note:the grey arrow on the chart indicates the previous data point)
  3. Swiping left and right on the standards card will take students through each of the standards they have been assessed on and see how their assignments correlate to the score.

 

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A Bonus!

4. Students can tap on any assignment in the timeline to see the details of the assignment, their submission, and any communication on the assignment.

Now when they conference with you or their parents about their progress they’ll be able to discuss their skills with evidence based responses. Pretty nifty, right?

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Teachers, We Didn’t Forget about You

Let’s face it, even when we’re in line at the grocery store, our students can sometimes be on our minds. With the Kiddom iOS app, you’ll be able to access all the same detailed reports that you do on the web version. So whenever you have an “a-ha” moment about your students and their needs, you’ll be able to access everything you need directly from your iOS device.

  1. Tap on the reports icon on the bottom menu, to gain access to your reports.
  2. Tap on “view more”, and then on the standards menu and you’ll be brought to a swipeable list of standards.
  3. Want more? By tapping on one of the standards boxes in the standards tab, you’ll see an option to search the Kiddom content library! Now, you can assign material that both remediates struggling students and enriches those that need to move beyond the timeline.

 

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Bonus: You can continue to leave feedback for your students even when you are away from your desk by tapping on an individual student’s report, navigating to their mini-timeline and clicking on the assignment for which you would like to leave comments.

 

 


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Written by: Sarah Gantert, Success Specialist

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