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Sign Up Now: Digital Curriculum is Here to Stay.

Sign Up Now: Digital Curriculum is Here to Stay.

Last winter, we surveyed nearly 450 educators on their transition to digital curriculum. Shortly after the results came in, digital curriculum became more of a necessity than an option: the COVID-19 outbreak caused schools across the country to shut down. 

Since then, schools everywhere have had to pivot from traditional learning to distanced scenarios. In order to remain effective and mobile, administrators have had to decide which artifacts of traditional instruction they should keep, which they should update, and which they should throw away. 

Traditionally, curriculum has lived in paper files or cloud drives, making it accessible to future teachers and learners, but not adaptable. At its best, a digital curriculum allows you to edit and contextualize instruction based on student performance, cultural relevance, or personal teaching and learning styles. And with the ability to plan and distribute curriculum alongside assessment data, going digital opens up a world of possibilities not previously thought possible with print curricula.

If or when school goes back to “normal,” will digital curriculum become a mainstay? We think yes. That’s why we’re excited to announce a forthcoming online event from Kiddom: Digital Curriculum is Here to Stay

On Saturday, January 30th, join us for a virtual summit on digital curriculum. As part of this free event, you will be able to connect with educators that have already made the transition to digital curriculum, and learn from digital curriculum thought leaders. You will also be able to preview curricula for different subjects and hear from educators that are using them in the classroom. 

We’ll kick off the morning with a talk show session between two digital curriculum educators and our very own CAO. Then, we’ll have a meet and greet session for all attendees to get to know one another, and discuss trends in digital curriculum across the nation. 

For sessions 3-5, you can choose either the Curriculum Track, which introduces you to different digital curriculum providers available in Kiddom, or the Platform Track, which is full of tutorials for making the most of Kiddom. Lastly, at 2pm ET, we’ll come back together for a brief word from a digital curriculum thought leader. You don’t want to miss it!

At a typical Kiddom school, hands are in the air, there’s a buzz in the room, and teachers and students are energized. Kiddom was designed to help improve teacher retention and increase student performance and graduation rates.

For the first time, the most important parts of teaching and learning are connected and simplified in Kiddom. Curriculum lives in one place and is easily measured and refined, instruction is personalized to meet the needs of each student, and data serves as a powerful system of support for every member of the learning community to keep students on track.

What People Are Saying

“Kiddom is great for assessing data and then assigning appropriate work based on individual student performance. I love that it's very easy to attach standards and rubric to every assignment.”

Jackie Curts, Middle School Teacher

“Using Kiddom has made me stop and ask, ‘Am I just letting this student repeat what they already know, or am I really challenging them?’”

Ann Leghorn, High School Literacy Specialist

“I can see where my class and any student is at any moment in their educational journey. This way, I can take action to assist them to work towards mastery.”

Mr. Albrecht, High School Teacher

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Announcing Kiddom Classroom Weekly Orientation!

Announcing Kiddom Classroom Weekly Orientation!

At Kiddom, we strive to make products that will connect teachers and learners, and help deliver as many aha! moments as possible. The result? Kiddom has so much to offer that it’s hard to keep track of it all. 

With free curricular resources, instructional tools, assessment data, and a communication suite, our free Classroom app for teachers has what it takes to improve and streamline the process of learning—but only if teachers know how to use it.

When you sign up for Kiddom, you may notice a series of emails welcoming you to the product. In this sequence, over the course of a few months, you’ll learn how to do everything from assigning work to sharing reports and data. But what if you want to get off the ground a little quicker? After all, we’re in the middle of the school year.

Introducing: Kiddom Classroom Orientation!

We’re excited to announce that, starting next month, we’ll be offering a free webinar walkthrough of Kiddom Classroom every week. Each Wednesday, members of our School Partnerships and Customer Success teams will host a session that covers the basics of how to use our free platform for teachers and students. Learn directly from experts on Kiddom Classroom, and bring them your questions on the ins and outs of our app. 

These sessions will begin on Wednesday, January 13 and alternate between 4pm Eastern and 4pm Pacific time. Click here to register! Bring your questions and concerns, and prepare for many aha! Moments, which you can then bring back to your students. Hope to see you there!

Vivi Hyacinthe

Vivi Hyacinthe

Marketing Specialist

A lifelong learner, primarily through storytelling. 

Sign Up Now: Digital Curriculum is Here to Stay.

Is digital curriculum part of the new normal? We think yes. That’s why we’re excited to announce a forthcoming online event from Kiddom.

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.

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

Looking for the perfect gift for your teachers and staff during the pandemic? Look no further! This gift guide is made for 2020.

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

The Kiddom Timeline is where teachers spend a lot of their day-to-day, so we listened to your suggestions and made it better than ever.

Student Groups for Blended, Hybrid, and Distance Learning

Student groups allow teachers and students to move seamlessly between in person and online instruction without suffering content loss.

Using Actionable Data in Kiddom to Support Intervention (Webinar Recap)

Using Actionable Data in Kiddom to Support Intervention (Webinar Recap)

How can administrators support teachers operating in a hybrid or distance learning environment? This webinar uncovers ways to use Kiddom data to inform remediation and enrichment. Check out our previous webinar recaps below:

Without classroom visits and in-person interactions with teachers and students, administrators have struggled to gain visibility in the classroom. At Kiddom, we want to help you work smarter, not harder, with in-depth data views at the school, classroom, and student levels. 

This webinar functions as a part 2 from the week prior on using Kiddom data as an instructional coach. This time around, you will hear from Kiddom Chief Academic Officer Abbas Manjee and Opportunity Academy Principal Geoff Schmidt on a tiered approach to intervention for students and teachers. Then, you will learn how to use Kiddom data as a school leader to support a response-to-intervention (RTI) framework. Let’s begin!

Response to Intervention: What’s at Stake?

To start off, Abbas asked Geoff to summarize the struggle that administrators are facing in this unprecedented era of distance learning. Geoff returned to a metaphor that you may have heard or read about in last week’s webinar: “you’re the pilot, and you have these levers that you need to pull for different purposes to keep the plane steady.” Traditionally, administrators knew what levers they were working with: classroom observations, feedback, team collaboration, and traditional coaching sessions. This year, not many of those tools are still possible.

As a school leader, Geoff has to now rely on having the right data system in place. “Kiddom has certainly become that for us.” 

Find out how he has reimagined tiered intervention in the clip below.

Next, Abbas gave a quick overview of Kiddom’s mission: “we fundamentally believe that curriculum, instruction, and assessment needs to be embedded all in one place in order for educators and administrators to make sense of the data and make meaningful strides toward intervention for students.” 

Abbas and Geoff then kicked off a conversation on the benefits of having curriculum, instruction, assessment—and now, communication—all in one place. Listen in below:

The 3 Tiers of Intervention

Next, Abbas and Geoff launched a discussion of the 3 tiers in the response-to intervention framework:

Tier 1 is the “balcony view” across schools or classrooms. In this phase, you’re looking at the data to pull out big trends in assessment, instruction, or curriculum— “what’s working, and is it working for all my students?” Tier 1 interventions are leadership-driven, not yet involving teachers. 

Tier 2 contains small group, targeted interventions: “this is a place where your resource bank comes in handy.” If you notice a trend in a specific standard, you can find aligned resources that will help. Ideally, teachers are identifying small groups of students that need support, but not every school has this data in place.

Tier 3 interventions are where you’re “getting granular.” In this phase, school leaders are identifying opportunities for collaboration between teachers, or between a teacher and a specialist, in order to benefit a specific student. Said student may be on an individualized education plan (IEP).

Learn about the 3 tiers in more detail in the clip below:

Kiddom Academy Data Views

Finally, it’s time to look into the Kiddom platform and see how our data views bring these 3 tiers to life! 

Starting with the School Overview dashboard, Geoff talked through his thought process and what he looks for during a tier 1 intervention. “You’re looking for trends that are a tell to what the big picture challenges are in a school.”

In this balcony view of the whole school, you can quickly see how many assignments have been assigned, how many have been scored, and how many students are at a mastery level. 

View the clip below to learn more about what Geoff looks for as a leader of a “mastery-based school that prides itself on delivering feedback.”

From the School Overview, Geoff clicked on a teacher to access the individual Teacher Dashboard. From here, you can see how students are doing in each of the teacher’s classes, as well as how many assignments have been scored by said teacher. 

In the example data, only 8% of the 40 assignments have been scored, and 93% are missing. “That’s a conversation,” Geoff says. School leaders can use this data to prep their teachers for conversations about delivering feedback at the right time. 

From the Teacher Dashboard, you can click once more to open the teacher’s view of the Kiddom platform. From there, you can see individual student progress and also open up assignments that have been graded. This enables the school administrator to independently get up to speed, without having to email their teachers to ask for student work. Learn more in the clip below:

For Tier 3 interventions, Geoff recommends using the Student Dashboard in Kiddom. “This is where you’ll identify if there are students who need broad interventions, if they’re struggling across classrooms.” In the example student data we explored during the webinar, the student was excelling in one class but not developing to mastery in another. But what if the data had been red across the board? “It’s going to be really important to have the right people collaborating,” Geoff says. “This Academy view allows me to start catching those trends a lot earlier.”

From the Academy view, again, you can click to see Kiddom through the student lens. Find out what this means for student feedback in this clip:

Whether you’re looking for school-wide trends, or at an individual student’s assignments, Kiddom has the data views that will help you spark meaningful conversations and informed action plans. Many thanks go out to Principal Geoff Schmidt of Opportunity Academy, Massachusetts for joining us on this webinar and showing us how he makes the most of Kiddom Academy! 
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 a centralized hub. 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.

 

Are you thinking about bringing digital curriculum 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…

Using Kiddom as an Instructional Coach to Effectively Impact Teachers (Webinar Recap)

Using Kiddom as an Instructional Coach to Effectively Impact Teachers (Webinar Recap)

How can instructional coaches and other administrators support teachers operating in a hybrid or distance learning environment? This webinar uncovers ways to use Kiddom data to inform coaching, remediation, and enrichment. Check out our previous webinar recaps below:

Without classroom visits and in-person interactions with teachers and students, instructional coaches have to rebuild their work from the ground up. At Kiddom, we want to ensure that you have the right tools to do it. 

In this webinar recap, you will hear from Kiddom Chief Academic Officer Abbas Manjee and Customer Success Manager Eric Guitierrez on the role of instructional coaches today. Then, you will learn how to use Kiddom data to support teachers and improve student outcomes. Let’s dig in!

The Role of Instructional Coaches Today

Who has the visibility to help students when teaching and learning happens at home? “It puts some immediate hurdles in the face of a teacher,” Abbas says. Teachers used to be able to assess where help was needed in the classroom, at a moment’s notice. “That is no longer the case.”

Hear more on the new reality for teachers in this clip from the webinar:

For instructional coaches, the hurdles become brick walls. Whereas they could once drop in on a lesson and observe a teacher, instructional coaches must now reinvent the wheel. “Instructional coaches are similar to pilots flying a plane in the dark,” Abbas says. “ They might not see where they are going, so [instructional coaches] have to rely on the instruments they have at their disposal.”

These instruments are readily available for educators, in swarms. Unfortunately, schools usually have to adopt more than one instructional tool, on top of communication, curriculum, and assessment tools. The problem that instructional coaches face is that these tools don’t speak to one another, putting the burden on teachers to interpret information from a dozen different sources. 

“When we think about the role that technology plays in the classroom, it should really be there to solve those big problems that we’re currently facing,” Eric says. Kiddom for Schools and Districts can help you replace  four or  five tools with one consolidated platform. “It provides you with a clear view of data from the school level, teacher level, and student level. Through those different experiences, within a click you’re able to open a portfolio of learning that’s happening in every single classroom—without having to do an observation.” 

Learn more in the following clip.  

Having data that illustrates how teaching and learning takes place on a classroom level, and on a student level, means professional development no longer has to take a one-size-fits-all approach. 

Abbas recalled his experience with this type of PD during his time as an educator: “It felt, very much, not customized for me, I had to sit through it, and it certainly wasn’t built in a way for me to move ahead or receive the support that I needed.” 

He then posed a question to Eric: as a coach, how did you build 1:1 connections, and what opportunities do you see today now that everything’s digital? View the clip below to hear Eric’s response.

Using Kiddom Data to Inform Instructional Coaching

Next, we dove deeper into the data with the Teachers Dashboard. At one quick glance, you can see top performing classes and student mastery. When you scroll down, you can click on individual teachers to see how many assignments they’ve added, scored, and how many haven’t been completed. 

From the individual teacher view, you can click once more to see student data as they would see it within the Kiddom platform. Imagine how smoothly coaching conversations could be, based on data you can both see!

Next, we toured Eric’s favorite aspect of Kiddom: class standard mastery data. In Kiddom, you can attach skills and standards to assignments and individual questions, giving a robust view of student mastery. 

“If I do have those 15 minutes with a teacher via Zoom, I’m asking targeted questions. I’ve already viewed the data, so we’re not spending time opening it or sending it,” Eric says. “We’re looking at the specific numbers and coming up with concrete action steps that I can now, as a coach, provide ongoing support [with].”

View standards mastery data from Kiddom in this clip:

Instructional coaches can use Kiddom to understand student performance and spotlight work from teachers who are knocking it out of the park – or those who might need additional support. But instructional coaches aren’t the only ones who can benefit from using Kiddom data. Tune in next week to find out how teachers and other admins can use actionable data in Kiddom to support student outcomes. 

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 a centralized hub. 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.

 

Are you thinking about bringing digital curriculum 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…

Behind the Scenes, Beyond the Bot: Kiddom Customer Success

Behind the Scenes, Beyond the Bot: Kiddom Customer Success

Do you remember the first time you logged into Kiddom? Between creating a class, editing curriculum, and inviting students, there were endless possibilities for starting the school year on the right foot. Along with endless possibilities comes a fair share of questions. Good thing the app has a blue chat bubble letting you know that Customer Success Manager at Kiddom is only a click away. 

But our story doesn’t begin there. It begins the moment your school or district signs a contract with Kiddom, making a commitment to improving student outcomes and teacher workflows. Who is there to show you the ropes? How do you ensure that you’re using Kiddom to the fullest? How do you know Kiddom will bring you closer to your goals, year after year?

Back-to-school season is the busiest time of year for a Kiddom Customer Success Manager, as they prepare to train dozens of learning communities with in-depth welcome sessions, Office Hours, and 1:1 coaching with teachers. Over the course of the year, our team dedicates countless hours to:

  1. Hearing you out. Our team is there to answer any questions you may have via email, face to face, or our user-friendly in-app chat. Test it out today—on average, it takes us 5 minutes or less to respond!
  2. Anticipating your needs. At the Kiddom Help Desk, we have a forum of posts that cover the answers to all of the most popular questions. These articles have step-by-step instructions for setting up Kiddom, GIFs to confirm where you should click, and are organized in sequences that will help you make the most of Kiddom.
  3. Advocating for you. Whenever there’s a bug or a software issue with Kiddom, you don’t have to get on the phone and wait in a queue to speak to a human being, who may or may not be equipped to fix the problem right away. We do things differently. At Kiddom, your dedicated Customer Success Manager is there to investigate and resolve any platform issues. 
  4. Adapting to your goals. At the start of the school year, your one and only goal may be to get the ball rolling. We get that. But beyond the back-to-school season, Kiddom Customer Success Managers meet regularly with school or district leaders and key users to set goals that line up with the school year, and to assess how helpful and effective Kiddom is so far.
  5. Offering multi-channel support. In the app, we share weekly tips with our school & district customers on timely ways to use Kiddom features. If you follow us on social media, you don’t have to look too far for a tech tip about Kiddom. The Kiddom After Class video series shares 90-second tips on how to use Kiddom to the fullest. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube

The Customer Success team at Kiddom is committed to helping educators ensure quality of learning at a distance, or in-person. Partnership is the means, method, and measure of success. When your goals evolve, so will our approach to supporting teaching and learning in your community. 

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Change Management for Implementation & Troubleshooting (Webinar Recap)

Change Management for Implementation & Troubleshooting (Webinar Recap)

If we could sum up this year’s back-to-school season in two words, they would be ‘initiative fatigue.’ This webinar explores change management troubleshooting and blended learning strategies, adapted for the current moment. Check out our previous webinars below:

Whether it’s coordinating your masks to match your outfits, or adopting a completely virtual model of learning for the 2020-21 school year, it’s safe to say that educators everywhere are learning how to adapt. But did you know that there’s a framework for implementing successful, sustainable change, and diagnosing what your community may be lacking?

This week, open educational researcher Jennifer Wolfe joined Kiddom CAO Abbas Manjee for a discussion on the Knoster Model for Managing Complex Change. Pictured below, it shows 6 necessary elements for successful, sustainable change. When read from left to right, the model shows, in red boxes on the right side of the image, the outcomes if one of the 6 elements is missing. In our webinar discussion, our two presenters identified two areas where teachers and school leaders may need the most support for the current moment. Keep reading to find out which ones, and to gain 3 blended learning strategies adapted for the current moment.

Defining Change Management

After introducing themselves and Kiddom, Jennifer and Abbas set the audience up with a working definition of change management, which comes down to preparing, supporting, and helping individuals, teams, and organizations in making organizational change. The purpose of change management is to implement strategies for effecting change, controlling change and helping people to adapt to change.

So why is change management so important? “My goodness, at this particular moment in history we are all experiencing so much change, that it can be so overwhelming,” Jennifer says. How might we use change management strategies to help teachers, families, and students engage with innovative learning models that have become critical in the COVID-19 era?

Watch the clip below to understand the motivation behind this webinar, and gain a sneak peek at what’s to come.

Skills and Resources for the Current Moment

From educators in our network, we’ve been hearing a lot of anxiety and frustration about the new learning models that have been put in place as a result of COVID-19. In the Knoster framework, these two symptoms point to a lack of ‘Skills’ or ‘Resources,’ as you’ll see in the image below:

“If your community is going to make learning happen during a pandemic, then everyone involved needs to have the skills to make this work.” Let’s be clear—very few educators out there were trained to teach online, so a lot of this skill building has had to happen on the fly. As more and more schools & districts invest in ed tech solutions, teachers are having to learn to be fluent in the new resources that their community has invested in. How do we make sure educators are working smarter, not harder? Keep reading to find out. 

Blended Learning Strategy #1: Flipped Classroom

The first blended learning strategy that Jennifer presented was to flip your classroom to work smarter, not harder. “It can be easier than you think to record your instruction. You can use Kiddom’s new communication center, or there’s lots of other tools out there as well,” Jennifer says. 

A flipped classroom with recorded instruction gives students more autonomy over their learning. With a video of a lesson readily available to them at any time, they can review it as many times as necessary for the concept to sink in, or revisit it later in the year as it becomes relevant to future instruction. 

Teachers also gain flexibility as they can cater to both an in-person and a virtual population. Teachers can use videos with their in-person students to free up some time for their virtual students. By distributing the video online before a synchronous lesson, the virtual group can then maximize that time together by having a discussion of the material. “Regardless of how it was implemented in the past, this is a  strategy that you can truly employ to save some time,” Abbas notes. 

In Kiddom, it’s easy to embed videos from other platforms like Loom, Screencastify, and YouTube, but you can also record your own within the platform. Embedded videos keep students within the Kiddom platform, where they can’t be distracted by other video content. 

Students can use Kiddom’s communication tools to respond to any part of an assignment—using text, images, audio, or a video of their own. Find out how it’s done in this clip:

Blended Learning Strategy #2: Station Rotation

If students are broken up into smaller groups for instruction, teachers have more face time with individual students and can more readily offer them the attention they need. Teachers can organize the class into 3-4 small group activities: one group with the teacher, one doing an online activity, one doing an offline activity, and a group doing a partner or collaborative activity. “Students can participate in each of these activities at home or at school, creating a more cohesive classroom experience that engages all learners, where they still feel like they are part of one unit even if they are in different locations.”

Kiddom allows teachers to keep all assignments AND data in one place. With station rotation, data is an essential way to identify which students might belong in each small group. Kiddom Reports makes these decisions seamless. “Not only do you get a holistic view of your class over time,” Abbas says, “but you also get your class broken up into groups that are already updated in real time. 

If mastery data alongside learning management wasn’t enough, you can also attach standards and skills to assignments to receive a breakdown of how your students are performing against each one. Discover what Kiddom Reports look like in this clip:

Blended Learning Strategy #3: Teaching Playlists

One of the best ways to manage work in person and at home is to create self-paced assignments that students can complete on and offline, using a Playlist structure. This gives teachers the most flexibility in how and when they work with students, and allows teachers to more directly target the individual needs of their students throughout the day.

“This,” says Abbas, “is one of my favorite components of Kiddom: the ability to build sequential, comprehensive lesson plans within one artifact, share it with students, and have them work through it at their own pace.” In Kiddom, Abbas demonstrated building an assignment with 3 video lessons nested within it, with questions to assess understanding in between them. Students can work independently and at their own pace while teachers use Reports to understand how students are performing. 

Wrapping Up

The Knoster framework can be used to diagnose what your community may be missing in your pursuit of change. Speaking of change, you may love it or you may hate it—but it’s essentially guaranteed for the 2020-21 school year. We’ve covered 3 ways to iterate on classic blended learning models using Kiddom, but don’t embark on a new initiative without having the skills and resources in place. You’ll only end up with anxious or frustrated teachers, with these sentiments trickling down to students.

“There are some students who are actually thriving right now, because they get to work at their own pace and they’re not held under the same conditions of a traditional school day,” Abbas notes. “Let’s lean into that and give students the affordances they need to succeed, because that’s who we’re doing this for.”

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 a centralized hub. 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.

 

Are you thinking about bringing digital curriculum 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…

Building Authentic Connections with Students in Kiddom (Webinar Recap)

Building Authentic Connections with Students in Kiddom (Webinar Recap)

The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has upended routines in almost every industry, not least of which is K-12 education. This year’s back-to-school season may look and feel differently, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be just as fun. Find out how to use Kiddom to build authentic connections with students online. You can view more webinars in this series here.

The beginning of a new school year has always been a colorful time of year. Students get reacclimated to class schedules and workloads, and warm up their seat in a new classroom. Well, for many schools across the nation, this school year is bound to look and feel a little differently. But that doesn’t mean the warm and giddy traditions of a back to school season have to disappear. 

The question at the forefront of nearly every educator’s mind right now is how to engage students without the power of a live classroom connection, five days a week. Earlier this week, Kiddom Customer Success Manager Eric Gutierrez hosted a webinar that poses an answer. Keep reading to discover how to use Kiddom technology to create classroom culture at a distance, and build authentic, inviting connections with students. For more ways to maintain the routines of the classroom virtually, check out our previous webinars below.

 

Using Kiddom Announcements to Build Classroom Culture

Without the right tools, connecting with students at a distance can be challenging. It was bad enough when teachers had to juggle multiple tools in order to maintain instruction; now, with distance learning, students have had to do the same. 

Kiddom was designed to close the gap between disparate tools and create a seamless thread between curriculum, instruction, assessment — and now, communication. In our classroom culture webinar, Eric demonstrated three ways to connect with students in Kiddom, using the same tools that lend themselves to instruction and learning management. Check out the first method, the Classroom Announcements feature, below:

 

The Announcements feature can facilitate great discussions that encourage students to connect with their teachers. Need a hand getting started? Try one of these student discussion prompts each week to get the conversation going. 

Building Classroom Culture with Engaging Curriculum

The second way to engage students at the start of the school year is through personalized, fun curricula. In Kiddom, educators have the flexibility to adapt an existing curriculum to fit the needs of their classrooms, or create their own to suit the current moment. Eric debuted 3 creative examples of curricula that engage students on a personal level: journal topics, book club activities, and virtual tours of cities around the world.

Which one of these curricula would you like to try in your classroom? Let us know in the comments!

Giving Dynamic Student Feedback in Kiddom

Using Kiddom to assign journal prompts and ‘About You’ questions is all well and good—but pretty soon it’ll be time to assign work with higher stakes. Why should the culture building stop there?

In Kiddom, it’s easy to provide rich feedback to students using our commenting tool that’s attached to every assignment. Teachers can record videos, audio, images, or text to give students a full picture of their performance and where they can improve. See it in action in this clip from the webinar:

Let’s Review: The Student View

At Kiddom, one of the most frequent questions we get is how do things look for students? You might be pleasantly surprised, or simply pleased to know that the teacher and student views are as similar as they can be — without running the risk of plagiarism! Before opening up for questions, Eric walked us through the student view of everything he just showed us: announcements, assignments, assessments, and feedback. 

 

And there you have it! In Kiddom, building classroom culture at a distance is more than possible: it’s engaging, creative, and fun for both teachers and students. Join us next week for our webinar on Change Management for Implementation and Troubleshooting. In today’s climate of constant change for K-12 education, next week’s conversation is bound to be relevant to your school or district’s situation, whatever it may be. 

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 a centralized hub. 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.

 

Are you thinking about bringing digital curriculum 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…

Free Accessories to Decorate Your Virtual Classroom — Kiddom Style!

Free Accessories to Decorate Your Virtual Classroom — Kiddom Style!

Over the past few weeks, on social media, there has been a deluge of teachers sharing their Bitmoji classrooms for the world to see. Many intend to use them as virtual backgrounds on conference calls, or on their teaching websites. At the end of this post, you can create your own using our Kiddom-style backgrounds, furniture, and accessories!

 

Not even a global pandemic is enough to slow down teachers during back-to-school season! Since virtual learning is so popular (and necessary) this year, many teachers are missing out on the opportunity to decorate their classrooms—which, some might say, is the highlight of the season. Well, it’s high time that this fundamental truth was taught in schools: there’s a Bitmoji for every situation!

For students of many crafty and tech-savvy teachers, the first smile or wave they see from their teacher will be a cartoon one. All over the internet, teachers are showcasing their homemade digital classrooms, which feature an animated version of themselves greeting their students. 

Some of them include interactive features, like the example below. Each item in the room links to a video or activity that encourages teachers to center their health. From the comfort of your own home, you can leave your masks at the door and devote some time to your physical and mental well-being. What item would you like to see in a staff-focused wellness room?

Below, here’s a student-focused version of a wellness room, or Safe Space, posted by @littlest.classroom on Instagram. We can practically hear the waves from that beach background!

Of course, some teachers are calling for more realistic landscapes….

For teachers of younger students, creating a virtual classroom with objects of different textures and shapes has proved to be a great way to engage students visually and hold their focus. 

Many virtual classrooms even include mascots and animal companions. Teachers have been including pets, books, posters, and other miscellaneous items as a way to add personality to their online spaces. In distance learning, this 2-D canvas will be seen far more often than you think—might as well make it count! 

As a way of adding more personality to the scene, some teachers are using links on their handmade boards to send their students to a ‘Get to Know Me’ page or slide. You can use the same tactic to share a fun survey or video introduction. 

In a digital classroom, you can communicate a lot with the few words you decide to include in your design. @AtomicMangoMom on Twitter found the perfect place to squeeze in the 7 elements of music: atop the whiteboard in her virtual music classroom. That would be the perfect place for them IRL, too. Check it out!

Other teachers are using words to share inspiring material. Quotes can be a useful tool in setting the tone for a fantastic year. In the example below, a poster on the top left reads, “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?”

Now, it’s your turn! We couldn’t let Bitmoji have all the fun. We’ve created a few digital accessories for you to put on stage with your virtual likeness. Choose from backgrounds, blackboards, windows, furniture, and accessories to build out a classy cartoon classroom that welcomes and amuses your students. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Use this Google Slides presentation to create your masterpiece.
  2. Get the Bitmoji extension for Google Chrome.
  3. Place yourself in the scene using the Bitmoji of your choice!
  4. Post your virtual classroom on social media and tag @kiddomapp!

This school year may be the first of its kind, but there’s no doubt that teachers have what it takes to engage students and create meaningful learning experiences. We hope that these accessories help you to create something outta this world! 

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 a centralized hub. 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.

 

Are you thinking about bringing digital curriculum 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…

4 Myths about Digital Curriculum, Busted

4 Myths about Digital Curriculum, Busted

In a summer webinar, we discussed the merits of a truly digital curriculum. Below, we unpack some misconceptions about going digital in preparation for the webinar, which occurred on July 28, 2020. View the highlights of our discussion here

 

In the world of pK-12 education, curriculum reigns supreme because it defines what and how young people should learn. No matter where learning takes place this fall, the importance of curriculum will not falter. But in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, quality curriculum that allows for remediation and enrichment is more important than ever. 95% of school administrators anticipate learning loss due to COVID-19 this fall. With new distance and hybrid learning models becoming prevalent, the way we create and interact with curriculum will have to change. Why should that mean reinventing the wheel?

In a curriculum survey conducted before the pandemic we found that many educators associate “digital curriculum” with “PDFs available online.” But PDFs are static, and disconnected from the key components of learning. The benefits of having a dynamic, engaging, digital curriculum merely begin with teachers saving time—but the perks don’t end there.

Recently, Kiddom and Open Up Resources hosted a webinar on how to bring curriculum to life for pK-12 students. In this webinar, we demonstrated how much you can do with curricula housed in a digital learning platform. As a supplement to the webinar, which you can catch below, we created this article to cover 4 common myths about digital curriculum—busted!

Vivi Hyacinthe

Vivi Hyacinthe

Marketing Specialist

A lifelong learner, primarily through storytelling. 

MYTH #1: Storing PDFs in a cloud drive is the same as having a digital curriculum.

Accessing PDFs online is a step in the right direction—but true digital curriculum allows you to contextualize for your classroom. Without the ability to edit your PDFs to foster student growth and learning, your curriculum isn’t reaching its full potential to engage students.

In Kiddom, digital curriculum comes to life with the ability to edit it for success in the classroom. Students feel engaged and empowered by interactive materials that are crafted with their strengths in mind. Teachers and school leaders also gain key insight into how curriculum is performing, with real-time data on student performance.

 

MYTH #2: Digital curriculum is easily accessible because it’s online!

Teachers can probably tell you—just because your curriculum is available online in a drive doesn’t mean that it is easy to keep track of. PDFs are familiar, but not ideal. What gives digital curriculum the edge over traditional curriculum is the ability to connect it to instruction and assessment. 

Kiddom combines the intuitive, easy-to-use interface of a PDF with invaluable data on student performance. In our K-12 OER Content Library, it’s easy to search by subject, grade level, standard, or content provider. Compared to PDFs on a cloud drive, where you can search by arbitrary file name only, finding content on Kiddom to enrich or remediate students is a breeze.

No matter how you edit or share your curriculum, you’re still able to see views of how it was used and how it performed towards student mastery. When you drill down into student performance by standard, you can pinpoint exactly which units and lessons really resonated with students, and which could use more contextualization.

 

What Free Resources Come With This Distance Learning Bundle?

Kiddom + OUR promo

1. Kiddom and Open Up Resources co-authored this No-Nonsense Guide to Distance Learning to help learning communities ensure continuity and quality through engaging remote learning experiences.

2. We are also partnering to host a Distance Learning Webinar Series. Sign up for upcoming webinars here.

MYTH #3: Digital curriculum is too expensive.

Because it’s tied to device access, many people think that adopting a digital curriculum is too expensive. In our survey, 1 in 4 superintendents cited budget concerns as a reason their schools had not moved to digital curriculum. The truth is, going digital is often cheaper than print, and much better for the environment. A 200-student school using roughly 6 pieces of paper per student each day will save $19,200 in printing costs, 240,000 pieces of paper, and 29 trees per year by going paperless for one school year. 

 

In Kiddom, curricula can easily be updated, reducing the need to replace print materials. Educators gain flexibility and autonomy when they can make the changes necessary to maintain culturally relevant instruction. And, schools & districts save money when they don’t have to replace outdated textbooks for the entire community.

MYTH #4: My students will think my digital curriculum is fun because it’s online.

While it’s true that today’s students are digital natives, it takes more than being on a computer to engage them in learning. Online access alone is not what makes curriculum engaging; rather, it’s the flexibility and variety of instruction that comes with being able to edit and contextualize curricular materials for every unique student. 

Digital curriculum should be crafted intentionally, with online learning at top of mind, so that it can tap into all of the potential of a digital learning experience. Students should be able to take ownership of their learning, with engaging and interactive materials. Open Up Resources Math 6-8 digital curriculum is packed with instructional supports that encourage every student to take their own path to mastery. Many units include a practical activity that provides real-world context, such as “Making and Measuring Boxes” or “Let’s Design a Tent.” 

Much like traditional paper curriculum, it takes the expertise of an educator to make digital curriculum engaging for students. In a platform like Kiddom, teachers have the flexibility and autonomy to adapt curriculum for any classroom model. Teachers can also create personalized assignments with resources from our standards-aligned Content Library.

In this era of distance learning, schools and districts are hungry for a “digital-first” curricular experience. That exists in Kiddom, and it’s more flexible than a folder of static PDFs. With the ability to fully customize curriculum for each classroom, teachers can engage students in meaningful ways—in distance learning, in the classroom, or in a blended learning model.

These myths may have been standing in the way of your digital curriculum journey—but not anymore! Attend our webinar next week to discover what else is possible with a digital learning platform, and visit our website to learn more about how Kiddom is helping schools prepare for distance or blended learning models.

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 a centralized hub. 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.

Are you thinking about bringing digital curriculum 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…

How Kiddom Schools & Districts Are Preparing for the Fall (Webinar Recap)

How Kiddom Schools & Districts Are Preparing for the Fall (Webinar Recap)

Relive the discussion on what’s at stake for schools in the COVID-19 era, then explore some features in the Kiddom + Open Up Resources distance learning bundle that can help you in your digital or blended classroom. You can view more webinars in this series here.

The Kiddom team can only imagine how hard this spring must have been – being asked to provide high quality learning at a distance, at a moment’s notice. Plus, so many schools and districts are changing their fall back to school plans day by day, making it so challenging to plan and prepare. That’s why we’ve planned our second series of Distance Learning webinars to help educators adjust to the new normal. 

This week, Kiddom co-founder and Chief Academic Officer Abbas Manjee addressed our largest audience yet on the topic of preparing for the fall semester, whether learning be in-class, remote, or blended. Check out the webinar recap below, and if you’ve missed our previous sessions, here they are:

 

The Highlights: Preparing for the Fall Semester 

The Lengths We’ll Go: Getting Pedagogically Creative

Before diving in, Abbas shared his background in education: first, as a math teacher in New York City, at an alternative high school for underserved students between the ages of 16 and 21. His students faced systemic challenges such as homelessness, incarceration, and chronic absenteeism. 

As a scrappy first year teacher, Abbas knew he was in a special place and wanted to do whatever was necessary to help his students succeed. That included building his own gradebook out of Google Sheets, which you’ll see in the clip below. Even before companies began developing digital tools for educators, teachers were using whatever resources they could to help their students.

Today, at any given school, there’s an entire suite of technological tools used by teachers to do their work—supposedly in the most efficient manner. But with assessments being housed in one platform, and curriculum living in another tool, and the gradebook being in yet another, there are so many hours lost in translation in even the best of circumstances. During a pandemic especially, these fragmented processes drain teachers of what energy and time they can give to students. 

Hear the discussion below:

 

What’s in the Kiddom + Open Up Resources distance learning bundle?

The No-Nonsense Distance Learning Guide, with guidance for every educator role

Challenges We Face: By the Numbers

Next, we discussed the challenges that educators and students face right now: lack of devices, lower student engagement, new grading methods (or none), and more. According to EdWeek.org, 75% of teachers report that their students are less engaged in remote instruction than they were before school closures. Our in-session poll reflected the same trend; approximately ⅔ of respondents named student engagement as one of their biggest challenges. 

Lack of live instruction and device access received 21% of votes each. 19% said they were not covering intended curriculum, and 10% named grading methods as a tough adjustment. 

On a national scale, these issues are even more exaggerated. For example, 56% of teachers report that they are simply not giving out grades on assignments anymore, making it difficult to track how instruction is landing in a remote classroom. What may have once been the biggest joy of teaching is now a remote luxury: only 12% of teachers report having synchronous interactions with their students every day.

 

Find more statistics and challenges in the clip below:

How do we prepare for a semester we can’t predict?

After viewing the statistics on how COVID-19 impacted school this spring, Abbas reviewed what we’ve learned from early plans to relaunch this fall: there’s not just one playbook to go by. Even in the most affected areas of the country, there’s dissonance on how to reopen next semester. The Los Angeles Unified School District, for example, is going with completely remote instruction, while New York City Schools are opting into a hybrid model.

Of course, this has left teachers with a plethora of questions, including:

  • How do we remain flexible for resurgences of the virus?
  • What does hybrid even mean? Two days a week? Three?
  • How do we keep the bar high while providing targeted support to students?

Then, Abbas introduced the work we’re doing at Kiddom to support teachers during this unprecedented transition. “In a world of uncertainty, we believe at Kiddom that established routines and discipline survive.” No one knows routine like an educator does. And because of that, there’s still hope for the fall semester: the routines will take place on different terrain and cadence, but they’ll still be there. Find out how in this clip:

Next, Abbas took attendees on a platform tour of Kiddom, a single education platform that connects curriculum, instruction, and assessment, “because we believe it’s a single fabric waiting to be threaded together.” 

 

 

3 Ways to Stay Ready for Teaching and Learning in Any Environment

1. Ensure Continuity of Learning Through High-Quality Curriculum

The tour began in the ‘Classes’ tab in Kiddom, where teachers (and students) can see all of the classes they are responsible for. Abbas then took us to the ‘Curriculum’ tab, where Open Up Resources curricula are completely built out and waiting for teachers to use.

2. Contextualize Instruction for Any Situation

The next part of the tour showed us how to edit curriculum for a remote environment. Some assignments, for example, may call for partner work, and it’s important to be able to adjust to whatever measures your community is taking to prevent the spread of the virus. 

In Kiddom, curriculum and assignments are completely customizable. You can also attach videos, voice notes, and other materials that may help to recreate the feel of a synchronous classroom.

3. Engage Students to Take Ownership of Their Own Learning

The last link of the platform tour covered creative ways to engage students in a remote environment. Sharing assignments with students is one of the building blocks of using Kiddom, but did you know you can use the Class Timeline as a message board? And attach questions to videos to create pre-work assignments? 

Finally, the tour concluded with viewing reports. With rich, standards-based reports, Kiddom provides a full picture of student performance with one click. Students can also see their performance by standard, and search our Content Library to find standards-aligned resources for enrichment or remediation.

Coming Soon: New Distance Learning Tools

From our perspective, the pandemic has accelerated the need for distance learning tools – specifically tools that do not add to the already overwhelming suite of resources teachers and students are being asked to learn and use. With that in mind, Kiddom is going to be rolling out a new suite of distance learning tools that help increase connectivity between teachers and students while decreasing the burden of when, how, and where that connection happens.  These new tools add robust asynchronous and synchronous communication tools to the Kiddom platform, making communication—and connectivity—seamlessly integrate with curriculum, instruction, and assessment for blended and distance learning environments.

 

Happy teaching and learning, and we hope to see you in our upcoming webinars in our distance learning series!

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 a centralized hub. 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.

 

Are you thinking about bringing digital curriculum 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…