Even the most animated teachers know what it’s like to stand before a room full of glazed-over stares and drooping eyelids. Student engagement is often the toughest part of the job, and many educators struggle to “hook” their students and reel them into academic content.
The good news is, you don’t have to do backflips or pepper your lesson plans with the latest slang (you really, really don’t) to get your students interested, inspired, and ready to learn. ClassHook provides you with a simple way to hit refresh on your lessons. Here are three ways to engage your classroom using ClassHook and Kiddom:
Tip 1: Use ClassHook to bring a bit of interest, humor, and retention into the classroom
ClassHook is a full library of short film clips pulled from popular media that can be used to pique interest and make students feel more connected to the academic content. Let Bart Simpson explain the properties of metal. The Animaniacs remind students to carry their 1’s. Shrek schools them on literary tropes. How’s that for a mnemonic device!
Tip 2: Use a ClassHook video as a high-level primer for a new topic
Film is a familiar medium for young people, and leveraging media literacy is a powerful way to help students understand complex ideas. Use ClassHook to introduce or reinforce academic concepts. While students won’t receive all of the pertinent information just from watching these clips, it can be the spoonful of sugar needed to move through a lesson with ease. Each ClassHook clip is tagged by grade level, subject, and topic so it’s easy to find appropriate content to fortify any lesson.
Tip 3: Make homework more approachable
At the end of a class, use Kiddom to drag and drop a ClassHook video resource from Planner into student assignments for students to watch later at home. This kind of homework can can be quite helpful for retaining a lesson, and might be more approachable to those students who already have plenty of reading materials to study. This tip might be especially useful for teachers trying to keep students engaged over a break or a long weekend.
Kiddom integrates the most helpful teaching tools in one place so you can plan individualized lessons, assign curriculum, grade, and do your reporting all in one place. Along with our new Classhook integration, you can build your Kiddom lesson plans upon various other tools like CK-12, Newsela, LearnZillion, Quill, RocketLit, IXL Learning, and more!
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To kick off a new school year, the Kiddom Success Team has put together some recommendations to help you get the most out of Kiddom and start the semester strong. These tips and tricks will help you and your students engage and get ready to tackle another year!
Tip #1: Create a Getting to Know You Survey
Investing time in getting to know your students early in the school year is essential for building strong relationships that allow students to take academic risks and encourage open, honest feedback.
Using our Google Drive integration, you can create a survey in Google Docs and share it with your students in Kiddom. They’ll each receive a private, personal copy organized automatically in a Kiddom folder in your Drive. Our assignment settings make it easy to share this without it counting towards a grade to ensure that students aren’t afraid to be honest.
You can also align your survey to any of the CASEL standards for social emotional learning — we suggest the competencies that measure Self-Awareness and Relationship Skills. Once students have submitted their responses, you can comment directly on the Google Doc or use Kiddom’s commenting features to start a dialogue that will last all year.
Tip #2: Make Every Assignment Unique…and Engaging!
It’s simple: When you give students meaningful, engaging assignments, they’ll appreciate the material, and they’ll appreciate you.
Bellwork, exit tickets, and other re-engagement activities can be crucial for retaining information, and Kiddom’s K-12 Library lets you easily offer exciting and engaging materials for all subjects. You can then use our Playlists to organize and store all of your saved videos, interactives, games, and more without hours of searching or planning. Your Playlists will be ready to go with a simple drag-and drop!
Let’s start by creating an assignment in a Playlist. The Playlist will be saved in your Planner, so you can easily drag and drop your classwork for each day whenever you’re ready to assign, without creating the assignment over and over again. Within your Playlist, you can make an assignment for each day and attach content from the Library (or your own…or both!), standards, points/rubrics, and assignment type. Use your Playlists to group lessons, resources, videos, assignment types — whatever works best with how you’re organized.
When you’re creating an assignment in your Playlist, click the Kiddom “K” logo to access our content library. With about 100,000 resources, we have exactly what you need: videos, interactives, practices, and more, for all subject areas.
Simply select your grade level, subject, and if you want, where you’d like to see the resources from or resource type. This will generate all of the content we have for your subject and grade. You can also use keywords like “American Revolution” or “Molecules” to narrow down your search. Preview the content to see if it’s the right fit and then click select to attach it to the assignment.
Since Playlists live in your Planner, you can carry them with you from class to class. When a new week starts, simply edit the assignment to add new content/change due dates/points or rubrics.
Clear and consistent routines and procedures can make or break classroom management systems. When I was an 8th grade teacher, I often wished I could multiply myself to get it all done. So I did! I created a list of “class roles” for students to act on, such as homework recorder, office assistant, and tech assistant. This gave them the chance to practice taking on more responsibility while freeing me to focus on instruction.
Not only do class roles give students greater agency — if done right, they can be an orderly foundation for your class culture.
How can I implement this in my class?
Think of tasks students can carry out to help the flow of the day or period. You know your class and students best, but feel free to use our resource of possible class roles and descriptions.
Create an assignment for each role in Kiddom. Write out the descriptions in student-friendly language so they will be able to understand the expectations when it is their turn.
Create a Playlist of class roles that you can drag and drop into your Timeline and assign them to different students throughout the year.
Go over the roles and expectations as you would routines and procedures. Depending on your students, you may need to model it, review it mid-year, or have them sign up. Ask them to master it and then teach the next student for you.
That’s it! Enable your students to contribute to the class and give yourself a break.
Tip from Nicole Plante, Support Specialist
Tip #4: Start a Student Club! Run By Students, Powered by Kiddom
Teachers using Kiddom know it’s a great way to plan, organize, and assess student progress throughout a school year. But did you know you can also use Kiddom to power student-run clubs?
If you are an advisor for a student extracurricular, whether it’s student government, debate team, or the anime club, you know it’s a lot of work to get members the information they need about upcoming events, trips, fundraisers, and meetings. You’ve probably found yourself wondering how you can put more of the onus on your students to get it done. That’s where Kiddom can help.
If you want to give student club officers control of their clubs, it’s as simple as creating a teacher account for them to use on Kiddom.
Just set it up with credentials for students by creating a student officer email account, then use that account to sign up with Kiddom as a teacher. This account can be used each year as new students take leadership roles in your activity.
Here is an example:
Class: Debate Team
Teacher: Ms. G
Collaborators: Debate Team Leaders
Now your students have access to the same posting and commenting abilities that you have, putting student-run clubs back in the hands of students.
Do your student officers need to distribute an itinerary for a upcoming club trip? Do they need to vote on a revision to club by-laws? They can easily post documents, questions, and polls for their club members with this account!
In addition, these student club leaders will have the ability to assign members of the club individual tasks and goals; just like you would do in an academic Kiddom class. Meaning, not only can your club become officially student-run, but your student leaders will be able to distribute tasks and assignments to groups of club members in order to get everyone invested in club goals and activities.
Once your students have access to their club’s Kiddom course, the possibilities for student ownership are endless!
We hope you find these hacks for using Kiddom fun and exciting! Let us know how you’re using Kiddom by emailing email@example.com, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter below for the latest news, guides, resources, and more!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Nearly ten years ago, I started my career in education as a math teacher at a new alternative high school serving over-age, under-credited youth in New York City. My students were labeled “at-risk” of dropping out because they were 16–21 years old and previously unsuccessful in high school. Many suffered from chronic absenteeism, caused by factors such as homelessness, family responsibilities, and/or incarceration. If we, the educators, were going to serve our students well, we were going to have to get pedagogically creative.
One of the first curricular tools I built to share — on the first day of school — was a public, student-friendly gradebook on Google Sheets. (Yes, this was before Google Classroom existed!) Students could track their progress and identify which skills needed extra work at any time. Little did I know this experience would eventually propel me to help develop a school operating system that tackles technology issues plaguing educators and supports them with more opportunities to offer individualized instruction.
Creating a Toolbox — and Filling It
After creating the gradebook, my colleague and I developed a curriculum aligned to New York state math standards. We scoped and sequenced the curriculum according to a set of power standards representing scaffolded skills. If students mastered a power standard, they could move on and didn’t need to wait for others. This competency-based system made sense; if students were chronically absent, holding them accountable to a pacing calendar would prove futile.
To supplement in-person support offered during class and lunch periods, I published a simple Google site to house my lessons, assessments, and other resources. If students missed class or needed additional help, they could go to my website and access the day’s lesson as well as videos and digital exercises from YouTube and Khan Academy.
As my students submitted work, I tracked everything in my gradebook. My goal was to minimize the information asymmetry that tends to exist between what teachers know about their students and what students know about their performance. At the time, I had no idea this system was called “standards-based grading.” I was so green at this point in my career that I probably assumed every classroom in the 21st century operated this way. I didn’t realize what we were trying to build was innovative.
The following year, I wanted to ensure that when students did come to class, they could participate and engage — or at the very minimum — access the content via a class set of iPads. I stepped up my game by adding even more videos and assessment exercises to my class website, mining resources from IXL and CK-12. I generated logins for my students and started “blending” instruction using the free content from these publishers. This worked nicely for my students, who felt like I was carefully attending to their learning pace and providing them with targeted learning materials.
By the end of year, more than half of my students passed the Algebra 1 state exam. For context: in years prior, every one of these students had failed this exam at least once. Of those who failed again this time around, many had never come so close to passing and looked forward to retaking it in the summer.
Enter the LMS
I was proud, but also exhausted. The time required to maintain the number of tools I was juggling was eerily close to the time I used to spend working as an investment banker. I dedicated hours every week copy-pasting student achievement data from multiple systems into one gradebook, analyzing each student’s progress and assigning work based on need. The last thing I needed was another system to maintain, but that’s exactly how my third teaching year started: my school administration decided a centralized system for grades was necessary to assess how all classrooms were doing. They bought a learning management system (LMS) and asked us to start using it.
Procuring the LMS was purely an administrative decision, fueled by a desire to monitor school-wide trends to make resource allocation decisions. I couldn’t fault school leadership for this, but I still hated using it. I didn’t want to change the way I’d set up my class because my model working for my students. Now, in addition to importing data from IXL, Khan Academy, and an adaptive learning program called Carnegie Learning, I had to transfer the achievement data from my gradebook into another system. It felt like every tool I used in the classroom was inherently designed to work in isolation.
By the end of that year, my patience had grown thin. I stopped updating the LMS on a regular basis and wondered how long it would take before somebody noticed. My colleagues had mixed feelings about it too. Because the LMS was designed to contain a lot of tools for teachers in a single view, it was clunky and cumbersome to use. For example, it didn’t integrate with Google Apps, which we had spent the last three years using. Nor could I customize features to align with my class set-up, or remove certain features altogether.
Building and Brainstorming
After three more years teaching in alternative high schools, I left the classroom to join Kiddom and address this interoperability problem. In an ideal world, teachers would be able to access a set of tools driven by their classroom needs and aligned to an instructional model of their choice. Administrators would be able to measure and take action from macro-level trends, manage and review curriculum, and enable educators to incorporate the instructional models and technologies that serve their classrooms best.
Unfortunately, teachers are constrained by tools that are ineffective or redundant. Many education technologies are not interoperable. School and district leaders continue to spend an inordinate amount of time piecing together data to understand what’s really happening. When that takes too long or doesn’t work, they resort to classroom observations — because they’re easy to do.
During my time at Kiddom, I’ve had the opportunity to apply my teaching experience and work with a team of designers and developers to tackle these problems head-on. At first, we focused on teachers and learners and the tools needed to enhance a singular classroom experience; this led to a simple, visual standards-aligned gradebook. Next, we connected this gradebook directly to digital content publishers like CK-12 and Khan Academy so that teachers could access teaching resources in order to differentiate instruction efficiently and save time.
Because every classroom experience plays a role in the larger ecosystem within a school, we designed a set of collaboration tools to help teachers work together, share, and learn from each other more effectively. We then focused on the information asymmetry that exists between classrooms and their respective administrative bodies. Working with and listening closely to public school administrators, we brainstormed various ways we could support school systems from the top-down and bottom-up.
A K-12 School Operating System
The result of this work is Kiddom Academy, a K-12 school operating system supporting collaboration and individualized instruction. Using Academy, administrators can identify and act on aggregate achievement trends, manage curriculum and assessment, and efficiently integrate other tools they’ve come to rely on. They can set up frameworks for a range of pedagogies in line with their organizational goals. Classrooms gain access to a comprehensive library of standards-aligned resources and curriculum development tools. Beautiful, actionable reports help students, teachers, parents, and administrators monitor progress and take action.
Kiddom Academy, our K-12 school operating system for schools and districts
A K-12 school operating system is the next step in the evolution of education technology. Interoperability matters in schools and districts now more than it has ever before, because we’ve come expect it everywhere else. For example, I can purchase a pair of concert tickets using my EventBrite app, and then export the information directly into my iPhone calendar. So too should teachers be able to use a variety of learning apps in their classroom and expect them to work together seamlessly. As we see more content and pedagogy-specific tools in the market, we can expect increasing numbers of teachers to find and patch together the tools that work best for them; administrators will be no different.
My teaching experience helped me understand that I didn’t need to buy a blended learning or personalized learning product. I had a process and practice in place, and needed a set of interoperable tools. I can’t imagine how much more passion and creative energy I might have offered my students and colleagues if I wasn’t staying up late every night copying and pasting data to differentiate instruction. “Personalized learning” might be trendy, but it isn’t new. Teachers have been trying to enhance and individualize learning using the tools at their disposal for a long time.
That’s why at Kiddom, we’re hell bent on designing and implementing technology that enables all students to learn via pedagogy and pacing optimized for them. We’re betting big on the idea of building a system for other learning apps to run on — rather than in — to help schools plug and play the tools they find most effective. We can’t wait to see how schools will use Kiddom Academy to execute their vision for teaching and learning.