Google Drive provides you with an easy way to share content and assignments with students, but what both Drive and Classroom are missing is the ability to craft and share reusable curriculum with your colleagues. Adding Kiddom to your Google Drive tool belt does just that. Read on to find out how!
Power Tip #2: Transforming Drive Folders Into Organized Curriculum
While Classroom is a great way to push assignments and materials out to your students, you’ve probably noticed that you can’t build truly cohesive curriculum there. At the very most, Classroom provides you with an elaborate system of folder organization in your Drive, but that hardly passes as a usable, scalable, curriculum.
This is where Kiddom comes to the rescue: You can not only build a curriculum with your Drive assignments using our built-in Planner, but you can also add content from other content providers as well. The best part? It’s not just a random collection of assignments in folders. You can create units, attach standards, and drag and drop assignments to different classes when necessary.
Do you have a Drive file you want to use along with a online content? Go ahead and attach the Drive material to your assignment and add the link to the website. Now you’re actually creating a curriculum you can use, tweak, and share, year after year. That’s not something that Classroom can do on its own.
Sharing your Curriculum
Classroom and Kiddom both allow you to add collaborators to your classes, but the real super-charge to your teaching will come from using Kiddom in combination with Classroom. Reason? When you share a class with a colleague, you’re also sharing the curriculum you built in Planner as well.
With Kiddom’s Planner, it’s a lot easier to share and use each other’s assignments. When you share a class with another teacher, teaching assistant, or classroom aid, you give them access to all the Planner materials you’ve created. This goes far beyond the ability to simply share folders in Drive (what Classroom does).
The biggest perk of coupling Kiddom’s Planner with Drive? The colleagues you share your curriculum with can use the assignments whenever they want, at any time of the year (or next year). They can also modify and adapt those assignments without it impacting your own classes. Pretty amazing, right?
Once you’ve shared your curriculum, your colleagues can easily drag and drop content from your curriculum into their own courses. This makes co-planning with your team more flexible and streamlined; you don’t even have to be in the same room (or the same school!) to do it.
Planning Across Grade Levels for Student Success
One of the perks of using Kiddom with Drive is Kiddom allows you to see your curriculum in a succinct and user-friendly format. One of the biggest challenges of using Classroom on its own is the fact that you can only see groupings of assignments listed by topic, but it doesn’t provide you with the standards and competencies that your students are working on throughout any given school year. The other problem? It doesn’t allow colleagues teaching other grade levels to understand what the students in your class are doing.
With Kiddom, you’ll be sharing not only the assignments and assessments you’ve created but also the standards that you’ve aligned to them. Colleagues in your department or school can see what’s happening in your class and you can all work together to create a more consistent, rigorous curriculum.
At one of our pilot schools in Marshall County, Kentucky, teachers have shifted their planning from one-size-fits-all instruction to a competency-based framework that allows for student choice in demonstrating mastery through authentic projects. They create basic templates for projects, like journal prompts for observing new cultures on a family vacations, or lab analysis questions for chemistry experiments in Google Drive, and attach them to assignments in Kiddom’s Planner. When they’re ready for students to work on a particular project, any of the teacher facilitators in this flexible learning environment can drag and drop the appropriate assignments to students’ timelines, and then add the unique details for each student in the automatically created copies in Drive.
Marshall County really helps to illustrate that Kiddom and Google are better together! Kiddom’s curriculum planning and sharing takes what you are doing in Google Apps and makes your curriculum accessible, shareable, and scalable. How’s that for a “power couple”?
Starting to feel like Kiddom and Drive are a winning combination but want to learn more? If you missed it, check out last week’s tip or ask us a question on our help desk! We’re always standing by to help.
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:
Do I have access to a gradebook in Google Classroom?
Can I track individual student progress on standards in Google Classroom?
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:
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.
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.
Now, you and your students have access to the same detailed intelligence reports on iOS devices as on our web application. Hooray!
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:
Responding to their teacher’s feedback
Uploading revisions to assignments on the go
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:
After tapping on reports, students can tap “view more” to gain access to a standards tab.
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)
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.
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?
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.
Tap on the reports icon on the bottom menu, to gain access to your reports.
Tap on “view more”, and then on the standards menu and you’ll be brought to a swipeable list of standards.
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.
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.
Summertime is a crucial period of rest for students, but as educators we know minds should stay active to retain the year’s learning and ensure brains “stay in shape” till back to school season. So how do we balance giving our students time to recharge, while keeping them academically engaged?
The key is to provide students with assignments that give them complete control of their pursuits.
Traditionally students have been bombarded with summer reading lists, math packets, and history readings to prepare them for their upcoming school year — but really, what we want our students to be doing over the summer is relaxing while retaining skillsandnot necessarily learning new content for next year.
It’s easy for teachers using Kiddom to support student learning through meaningful, student-centered activities all summer long. Need some ideas to kick-start the summer? Check out the following activities that can be used in any content area this summer.
Students do a lot over the summer, whether it’s going away on vacation, endlessly playing video games, reading books independently, or hanging out nonstop with friends and family.
By assigning prompts to students weekly, monthly, or at their own leisure, journal assignments can help students document and reflect on their activities throughout the summer. Here are some sample prompts you can assign on a recurring basis using Kiddom:
Identify and explain something you learned today.
If your students were playing video games for eight hours everyday all summer, they learned a lot of new things. Video games use problem solving and inquiry to complete challenges, beat “bosses,” and win the game.
Ask your students to explain how they overcame challenges in their game and you’ll be surprised at how much of what you taught them or how much you will be teaching them, is used while playing video games!
2. How did you use something you learned last school year today?
3. How do you think what you did today might fit into what we are learning next year in class? Write a brief explanation.
This one works really well if you’re preparing them for a new course/subject.
Choose a Book
Keeping students engaged reading books is tough during the off-season. But there is a way to keep them interested and excited.
Instead of assigning them a book for the summer, why not let them choose a book on their own? There is no limit to what they can read: graphic novels, short stories, poetry, or a piece of literature. Have your students choose a book on their own and write a journal reflection about it. You can give them specific prompts, but leaving it up to them to reflect on their thoughts and challenges will help them remember why they love to read and also help them to reflect on their own perceptions and interpretations of the work they chose.
Assign simple journaling prompts at weekly or monthly intervals. Set them up in advance using Kiddom Planner.
Use Kiddom to set up check in dates throughout the summer for students to post their reflections. Students can submit as many times as they want, for as many books as they want.
If you want to go the extra mile, send comments to students throughout the summer — this is a great way to keep in touch with your students as they transition to the next school year. It’s also an effective way to get to know students you may have next year.
“Hack Your Summer Vacation” Project
Yes, “hacking your summer” sounds weird, but bear with us. This involves inquiry and problem solving. Have your students predict problems they might run into over the summer break. Then, encourage them to think about ways they might solve those problems. Perhaps they can even invent something that solves it! Students can submit their work to you throughout the summer to get feedback and encouragement from you.
Bonus: You could join in the fun and create your own invention and submit it back to your students for their viewing pleasure!
Here’s how to create your “Hack Your Summer” project in Kiddom:
1. Set up an assignment for each step of the scientific process or design process. Students can submit their progress to these assignments as they move along in the project.
You’ll notice the assignments in Timeline at left, and additional resources for this project stored in my Planner at right.
2. Set up a general assignment for students where they can submit their inventions to you throughout the summer.
3. Create a playlist of resources for students who might be struggling with ideas for a summer hack or invention.
At the end of the summer, you can share your class with their future teachers to showcase their work. It’s as easy as that!
Independent Research Topic
High school students are often the hardest to get engaged in meaningful summer work, so why not give them an option to investigate a topic that interests them in your content area?
We can use summer assignments to get them excited about the classes they’re set up to take in the upcoming school year. By setting up an open-ended research assignment in Kiddom, students can submit their thoughts, perspectives, articles, and analysis throughout the summer. This is a great way to keep students honing their critical thinking and inquiry skills all summer long. Even better: not only are students working on skill sets that will be necessary for next year, but you’ll gain a wealth of knowledge about your students and their interests throughout the summer! So if you’re spending some time planning curriculum for your new set of students over the summer using your Planner, you’ll also get to learn more about your students and their interests!
You got this
Keeping students engaged during the summer months is tough and rightfully so. We all need a break. But that doesn’t mean completely shutting off all summer is good either. Just as we make our own choices about how we learn in the summer, let’s let our students do the same.
I am no stranger to educational technology. As a teacher for ten years, I was an evangelist for using technology in the classroom. I was an early adopter of Google Docs (and eventually Google Apps for Education) as well as an LMS that harnessed the power of online socializing and put it to use by creating a social, 24/7 environment for students to access content and lessons.
I am also very skeptical of most edtech companies: I wanted to utilize tech that helped my students and I knew that not every device, subscription, nor platform was relevant to my teaching style. I loved tech, but it had its time and place in my classroom.
In 2017, I entered the private sector of education and spent most of the year traveling across the United States working with teachers to support the integration of technology in their classrooms. I often came across the same tired, skeptical sentiment about edtech:
It seemed like a chore for teachers to adopt and use new technologies.
In many places, administrators were pushing new technology initiatives to an entire district, while not even being able to turn on a computer or log into accounts themselves and yet wanted every teacher to become experts. There was a completely understandable level of frustration and disillusionment coming from the teachers. Why were they expected to implement something when the people asking them to do it were not capable of also integrating it into their daily routines?
I have a lot of empathy for their plight. I too had been a victim of education’s awkward fascination of using tech for the sake of tech. Regularly, administrators brought the staff together to mandate new tools, whether or not they actually fit into the goals we had for our students. It was exhausting and demoralizing. I still tell stories about the time the teachers in my school were given iPads and told to use them but given no professional development or reason behind it. But hey, at least we could say our teachers all had iPads in their hands, right? (Oh and by the way, a year later, those same iPads were taken away and redistributed to an elementary school in the district because only a small fraction of our teachers were actually using them.)
I’m sure you are thinking: but Sarah, don’t you work for an edtech company? How can you still empathize with all the tech-tired teachers out there when you work for a company that is promoting tech use in classrooms?
The answer is simple: Kiddom believes in empowering teachers so that they can empower their students. Technology is meant to be relevant, meaningful, and helpful in the classroom. In keeping with my love of odd numbers, here are 5 reasons why I think Kiddom meets teacher needs.
One: Kiddom is free for individual teachers to use. That’s not going to change for anyone that decides to start using Kiddom in their classroom. That’s an amazing thing for teachers who are so used to testing out technology only to have it turn into a subscription-based, limited platform three weeks later.
Two: Kiddom gives teachers the ability to collaborate with each other more effectively and efficiently. Instead of endless lists of documents and exchanged emails, Kiddom provides teachers with a common place to house shared curriculum documents and lesson plans. It provides them a place to create lasting, meaningful content with each other, even if they aren’t in the same room.
Three: Access to high quality content. It takes a lot of time to curate resources for our students. During that time, we are often searching multiple websites, databases, and textbooks trying to find things that are suitable for our current students AND standards aligned. Kiddom understands that plight and wants to give your time back. We have a content library that is easily searchable based on your specific needs. Heck, it even provides you a one-stop-shop to search some of the most utilized resource subscriptions that you are used to using in your classroom (ex: Khan Academy, Newsela, IXL Math, Flocabulary, etc.)
Four: Google Drive integration. We understand that a lot of teachers have already integrated the G Suite apps into their classroom and are comfortable with using them with their students. With Kiddom, you don’t have to lose what you know — you can easily add assignments straight from your Google Drive account. The added benefit: we take Google and super power it with our awesome student analytics, mastery reports, and ability to assign and customize content to individual students instead of a one size-fits all assignment for the entire class.
But most importantly?
Five: Flexibility. We want you to use Kiddom the way it works for you and your students. If you just want a place to collaborate with your colleagues and share lesson plans together, then use Kiddom to do just that. If you want a more thorough and expansive ecosystem for your classroom or school (or district), we have you covered too. As a matter of fact, this summer we are launching a new pilot program that boasts comprehensive support, training, and resources. If you want to be an early adopter of our comprehensive school wide platform (and be privy to some bonus perks for being a part of our first group of Academy educators), set up a demo with us and we will be more than happy to have a one-on-one conference with you and your team.
This is the most passionate, teacher and student-centric group of human beings that I have come across in the edtech world and that is why joining the team at Kiddom was an absolute no brainer for me.