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Academy’s New Curriculum Development Tool is a Game Changer — Part 1 of 3

Academy’s New Curriculum Development Tool is a Game Changer — Part 1 of 3

Melissa Giroux

Melissa Giroux

School Success Lead, Kiddom

Committed to providing contextualized support and professional development to schools using the platform to drive student achievement and support teacher learning. Her passions include women’s history and literature, vintage fashion, cats, and she hopes to stamp all 195 countries on the globe in her passport someday.

Last month, we released our newest product for schools and districts, a Responsive Curriculum Management tool that allows for collaborative, aligned curriculum development as well as access to achievement data in order to refine and improve the curriculum.

As the Kiddom design and product teams showed the school success team what these tools would look like and how they would function, I felt a pang of nostalgia and jealousy for the teacher teams and curriculum developers that would get to work their magic with these features.

Looking Back

I began my career in education as a high school special education teacher in 2009, and while we had some access to technology in the classroom, it was limited.

Primarily, we used our school Outlook accounts to share attachments via email. That was the way my co-teachers and I worked on unit plans and lesson materials; one of us would create a Word document with a scope and sequence or a weekly outline, mark where the other person was meant to fill in, and then we’d email updates back and forth.

It was messy, inefficient, and forced us to meet at coffee shops on weekends if we wanted to authentically collaborate.

We struggled to make the experience easy for all of the teachers on our team, and often found ourselves digging for hours through our Google Drive folders to find dated curriculum docs that matched the standards we were teaching.

A few years later, our school switched from Microsoft to Google and we started to use Google Docs for curriculum development and storage. Sure, now we didn’t have to rename and track each new version of a document that came our way, but there were still issues.

This was what the first step of scope and sequence mapping looked like in an 8-person English Language Arts team:

It was hard to process or look for alignment, too overwhelming to share with students or families, and isolated from the actual materials and resources we would be providing students.

We struggled to make the experience easy for all of the teachers on our team, and often found ourselves digging for hours through our Google Drive folders to find dated curriculum docs that matched the standards we were teaching. It’s unsurprising to me that in an MDR Market Report from 2017, teachers reported spending 12 hours a week searching for or creating curricular materials.

So when I first got to play with our new responsive curriculum management tools, I was ecstatic, and wanted to dig in deeper.

We decided to launch an internal curriculum development team in order to test the product, provide feedback to our teams for future versions of the product, and develop creative and authentic professional development materials for our users.

Our curriculum development team was comprised of a product manager, customer support specialists, product success managers, and was facilitated by me, the School Success Lead. My role is primarily to ensure that all schools and districts using Kiddom have the tools and training they need to effectively use the platform, so this project will be an important piece of my work this year.

…it was like being back in a curriculum planning professional development session, only better.

The first session launched this week, and it was like being back in a curriculum planning professional development session, only better. The first time around, we built curriculum focused on core literacy skills, imagining we’d be developing reading intervention curriculum for middle school students reading below grade level.

Role-playing as an English department lead (a real role I held once upon a time), I imported custom literacy standards developed based on the Common Core’s foundational reading skills and research around the seven habits of highly effective readers. I set unit descriptions, estimated instructional days, and provided my team of “teachers” with suggested resources from our Content Library and texts I’d used in the past.

Here you see a view of the units in Academy, our product for administrators.

Over the course of 90 minutes, five “teachers” (Kiddom team members spanning our Support, Success, and Product teams) added resources in the themed and leveled learning Playlists to the shared units in Planner. We then discussed what resources or assessments we would need to seek or build, and shared ideas about what could make the process even more seamlessly collaborative.

Here you see a view of the units in Planner, a feature in Kiddom Collaborative Classroom, our free app for teachers.

Here’s what we learned:

Click the image to visit our new On-Demand PD Portal

1. The School Success team learned that teachers need a clear set of guidelines and exemplar resources to confidently and successfully collaborate on curriculum, so we’re going to add a workshop about this in our On-Demand PD portal.

2. The Product team will investigate ways to support teachers in the process of developing curriculum that mirrors design thinking principles. This often starts with gathering a lot of possible resources (divergent thinking – think of all those tabs you open after a Google search for worksheets) and later narrowing down to the best idea (convergent thinking – choosing that perfect worksheet you link to your lesson plan before you go to bed on Sunday night).

3. The Customer Support team will be preparing to launch new tips and tricks on our help desk now that they understand the new platform inside and out — so they’re equipped to get to our users’ questions quickly during busy school days.

What’s next?

We recorded the session for our own internal use, and have listened back to the session to refine our processes. From it, we hope that engineers and product designers can learn what kinds of issues users experience when trying new software, our support team can better anticipate questions from our customers, and our school success managers can create protocols and training materials for our Academy teams.

We hope that as an ed tech team, participating in a type of professional learning community will make us more attuned to the needs of educators, more creative in how we support them, and quicker to adapt our platforms to the needs of the classroom.

You can look forward to more updates from our Curriculum Development team as part of this blog series.

To learn more about our new responsive curriculum feature, visit this page. To see a demo of this exciting new feature, book a call today.

Kiddom Academy picks up where the LMS leaves off, offering an operating system for K-12 schools and districts to measure and act on classroom intelligence. We define a K-12 operating system as a set of interconnected tools to enable schools to operate more productively, increase student outcomes, and improve upon their respective instructional models.

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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Live at AESA: Kiddom Chats with The EduTech Guys

Live at AESA: Kiddom Chats with The EduTech Guys

Jason Katcher

Jason Katcher

VP of Sales, Kiddom

Education and SaaS technology leader with a passion for K12 edtech.

Last month, Jason Katcher, VP of Revenue at Kiddom, sat down with the EduTech Guys at AESA 2018 (Colorado Springs, CO) for an interview about what we’re doing here at Kiddom. Read the full transcript of the interview below, or listen to it here.   

The EduTech Guys: [00:00:00] The EduTech Guys present a conversation recorded from our live coverage of the AESA conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2018. Enjoy the program.

Jason Katcher: [00:00:11] Fantastic. So my name is Jason Katcher. I lead our revenue efforts, I’m the Vice President of Revenue for a company called Kiddom, and I’ve been with the company now for seven months as we bring our product to market for administrators. 

The company’s been around for about four years, focused mostly on the classroom experience for teachers. Prior to that, I spent two years at Dropbox, where I started their higher-ed division, focused on enabling researchers globally to collaborate on large files. And prior to that, I actually spent a little bit over a decade at Google, focused all across their education components’ early-on days — disrupting the advertising industry, focused on for-profit education and helping them market to potential students.

In 2013 I wanted to get closer to schools and making an impact. So I was fortunate to join the Google for Education team, that was just starting out ChromeBooks, Google Apps. I led those efforts across the Americas from 2013 to 2015 before leaving. And it was a wonderful experience launching Classroom, but there were some other reasons why I left. I thought there were some gaps in K12 education that our companies needed to fill and sort of serendipitously I fell into the hands of Kiddom. And I’m really excited about where we’re going with this.

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If you’re a K-12 content provider and you’re reading this, please consider it an open invitation to reach out and connect with me at Kiddom.

The EduTech Guys: [00:01:29] So let’s talk about what Kiddom offers, what do they do?

Jason Katcher: [00:01:33] Sure. So Kiddom is building the operating system for K12 to enable classroom intelligence. And what that means, “operating system” is not your technical OS sort of Windows or IOS. It’s really about enabling all of the key constituents in a student’s success to have the ability to operate more effectively. And those key constituents for us are the principals or the administrators, the teachers, the students, and the parents. And so by enabling them to have more access to information in real time, we believe they’ll be able to access more content that’s relevant to those kids in order to provide that student with the best chance of student success.

So if you think about an LMS, that is definitely a part of our system, but we believe the operating system picks up where the LMS leaves off. And there have been a couple of companies who’ve tried the operating system; there’s Summit School, Summit Learning. There’s also some very large challenges and well-documented challenges with that model, as well as AltSchool, who tried to just build schools, former Googlers actually, and realized that that’s not quite as easy as it seems, from the outside in.

The EduTech Guys: [00:02:35] Right. (Laughter.)

Jason Katcher: [00:02:35] And you know it takes a lot more than just tech smarts to build a school, and they learned that the hard way. So we are looking to bring that same platform of not being prescriptive, enabling teachers to teach the way they want. So whether it’s blended learning or project-based or they’re focused on standards-based grading or ELL or Special needs, Kiddom is a blank canvas, much like Google Classroom was. If you think about Google Classroom actually, that was designed to help teachers operate their classrooms more effectively. It was not designed with the intent of becoming an LMS or administrative tool.

The EduTech Guys: [00:03:10] Right.

Jason Katcher: [00:03:11] And administrators don’t have a view into that. So if you think about the enabling of operating something better, or more effectively that’s essentially what an operating system, in our opinion is and is where the puck is going.

Kiddom and Google: Better Together, Pt. I

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Kiddom and Google: Better Together, Pt. II

Missing the ability to craft and share reusable curriculum with your colleagues? Adding Kiddom to your Google Drive tool belt does just that!

Kiddom and Google: Better Together, Pt. III

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.

The EduTech Guys: [00:03:22] Yeah I agree. I think that’s really cool. So I guess that’s my next question, is around filling those gaps. You know I was going to ask this — it’s exciting to know in our time that there are still areas for companies like Kiddom to come into place and fill these gaps and create jobs and create opportunities for students and teachers. That’s amazing.

There’s, you know Google… 90 percent or more of our listeners’ schools use Google. I mean, why wouldn’t you — it’s free. But you’re right. A lot of teachers always ask me, “I want to do this in Classroom, but Classroom’s not designed to do that. This is what Classroom is designed to do. And so it’s you know, “Well I want to use Docs for this, well Docs is not designed to do that. Docs is just — it’s your fork. And that’s your knife. And this is your spoon. So how did this how did this come about. I mean, what was the talk that built this.

Jason Katcher: [00:04:28] Yeah sure, so there’s a couple avenues we can go there, but really I think understanding the genesis of how Kiddom was created. Because it comes from a place of solving true pain points that are existing in the classrooms as we know them now.

Many people on the Kiddom team are former educators, administrators, so they fully understand the points-of-view of how products still have gaps in solving some of those challenges. And a lot of that’s related to the ability to coalesce data on one platform.

Our CEO, Ahsan Rizvi, actually resides on the West Coast and his concept for this was that even the wealthy districts in San Francisco had real challenges with interoperability.

The EduTech Guys: [00:05:06] Aha.

Jason Katcher: [00:06:10] And all it really did was connect the workflows that teachers were already doing — we’re not here to tell someone how to teach or how to instruct — and connect that workflow with the data. So the data that’s coming from the assessments, or the standards that they’re looking at to make sure that they are assessing properly, and bring that together in a way that makes it really easy for a teacher. And so that’s really around three different components, the classroom product is we provide them with — and it’s all free. So teachers can sign up right now, and it comes with a collaborative planner where the curriculum will live. It comes with a free reporting system that gives them these really easy sort of beautiful and simple reports that enable them to intervene or enrich, depending on where those students are.

The EduTech Guys: [00:06:53] Sure.

Jason Katcher: [00:06:53] Very quickly. And I’d say the real difference between what Kiddom has built and what other LMS’s, I mean I wouldn’t call us quite an LMS at this point, is that we have a third-party content library. So the content that is connected to assignments that teachers are putting out there can come from their hard drives, as usual. It can come from Google Drive. We have a deep integration with Google, as we speak.

The EduTech Guys: [00:07:14] Sure.

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Jason Katcher: [00:07:14] And most importantly we have third-party content that is on the site itself. So Khan Academy, CK12, Newsela, LearnZillion, IXL, and we’re adding more, Scholastic just joined, and we’ll be really adding more around OER and then hopefully the traditional publishers. But by having all of the content readily available at the fingertips all for free for those educators, they suddenly didn’t need to go anywhere else.

So it becomes an all-in-one platform for classroom experiences. And the nice thing about that is that all of the content is all standards-aligned so Kiddom comes with every standard already baked into the system, so when they’re creating an assignment, we have national standards, there are state-level standards if they’ve forked those national Common Core ones or if you have custom standards, they can implement those as well, and then there are rubrics in the system.

It’s also about having a grading scale of “mastery” or “progressing”, so very simply a teacher can see within their class which children are thriving, which children are struggling, and then quickly intervene by seeing which kids need more time to further be assessed on a standard. And they don’t need to go find more content relative to those standards, which if you think about it, a teacher says “Great, I know I need to intervene, but what do I do?” And so they maybe they go to Google, if they’re smart, and they type in the standard code and they try and find some content or another teacher —

The EduTech Guys: [00:08:30] Right, right.

Jason Katcher: [00:08:31] — (Kiddom) does all the legwork for them. We prompt them right back, we know what they’re trying to assess. We prompt them back to the content library and we take away a lot of the guesswork, and that’s really the big part of it.

And as machine learning gets stronger, we’ll be able to identify when a certain piece of content was being used for a specific standard, and now how relevant or strong that piece of content was versus something else. So that’s a little bit more the long game.

The EduTech Guys: [00:08:52] Yeah.

Jason Katcher: [00:05:06] It was really hard to plug all these various systems together. So how do we build something that can actually bring that all together into one platform? So you don’t have your content in one place, your curriculum in another, your attendance in another. At the same time, his college roommate, Abbas Manjee, who is our Chief Academic Officer, was a math grade chair in the DOE in New York, and he was working with some really challenging kids. The type of kids that need serious remediation, sometimes jail, that kind of thing.

The EduTech Guys: [00:05:31] Sure, yeah.

Jason Katcher: [00:05:31] And he was using a grade book that he had designed in Google Sheets that was working really well for what he needed. And suddenly the DOE mandated that all of the schools needed to use PowerSchool. And so suddenly he needed to do double entry. It was interfering with his workload, it made things impossible for him to do. And he saw no value in that.

So, at the same time that his frustrations were bubbling over, he started to talk back to his roommate and they said, “Well why don’t we get together and make this thing a reality. Using your educational experiences as an academic chair, and then mine on the technology side…” (of our CEOs’, on that side) “And bring that together in a way that we can really solve some problems for teachers in the classroom.” And that’s how Kiddom was born about four years ago.

Jason Katcher: [00:08:52] And now in the last few months, administrators have been asking us for last year — “How do we get the same level of insight? How do we get the ability to centrally distribute our curriculum?” which is a really big problem.

Most of that curriculum lives in Google Drive, and it’s all scattered and scope and sequence isn’t mapped out, you have no standards alignment on it… and then as we go forward we have really the platform for a true Early Warning Response System, which will enable augmentation of current MTSS strategies that these districts are using.

But our job, again, is to take away the guesswork for the administrators and the ones running that intervention. We surface the data for you, based on our platform and suddenly you can focus more on the actual intervention that happens in the classroom.

The EduTech Guys: [00:09:37] I like that you that you also include enrichment, because I think a lot of times, I think in a lot of cases, there are multiple platforms out there that don’t quite obviously get into the extent that you guys do, but that provide the intervention side of things.

I think it’s key that you touched on the enrichment side of things. So, if I’m a teacher and I’m looking through all of this and I say, “OK. This student is — you know, they’ve got this, there’s not a problem — but I still have other students who aren’t quite there yet; I still need to keep that student engaged here. I’ve got this whole list of content tied directly to the standards and things I’m already teaching, but it is enhancing and enriching what that student needs in order to keep that student engaged while the other ones are coming along,” and I think that is a very, very key point to what you bring up.

Jason Katcher: [00:10:34] I think it’s a great point. Kids get bored, and it’s important for teachers — again, we focus on At-Risk all the time, and I think what you bring up is equity, and the ability to finally start to understand and this is something we’ve heard from superintendents, is that when you take it at a high level, and you take that’s sort a 30000 foot view. And it’s a “Oh 70% of my kids across my district are at mastery level or above,” That doesn’t tell the whole story.

The EduTech Guys: [00:10:57] Right.

Great Educators Teach the Whole Child

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Jason Katcher: [00:10:58] We need to start peeling back the onions to understand to haves and the have-nots. What are the things you’re going to do differently for the kids that are actually having a tough time, based on a variety of factors, because you really can’t get to the root of it without having context of that child. So, the teach the whole child conversation.

The EduTech Guys: [00:11:14] —Yes!

Jason Katcher: [00:11:14] And then, on the kids that are doing really well and are getting bored, you know that’s really where we need to think about you know, how to move them faster. It’s not about everybody moving at the same pace anymore, and finally we’re at a point where I think we can start to deliver some of that. So enrichment and intervention are both key, but it’s also key for superintendents to rely on partners and companies who can help them surface that data and coalesce it. And I think one of the most interesting parts of our company is the content library because if you think about it, most curriculum providers are not transparent in terms of who is using my curriculum and if so what are they using it for —

The EduTech Guys: [00:11:50] Sure, right.

Jason Katcher: [00:11:51] — and if it’s effective. So you think about that, and it’s hard to do because the curriculum lives in one place and the LMS lives in another. But the fact that we have this content living on our site enables finally you as a administrator to say “This piece of content was attached to this assignment, which was assessing this skill, and it led to this outcome.”.

The EduTech Guys: [00:12:09] Right.

Jason Katcher: [00:12:09] And so if you think long-term about the ability to sort of break open the curriculum model, much like Google did when I was there in the early days around advertising, it was just sort of an accepted fact that you didn’t know which advertising dollars were working and which… You know it’s like half works and half doesn’t. I don’t know which one, how to optimize anything, right? They used to throw us out of the agencies, and agencies didn’t care because they were getting paid a commission regardless. But now if you’re a marketer you can even think about running an advertisement because Google AdWords brought transparency and accountability. B,ut in the curriculum world or in K12 it’s sort of understood that for 50 years you just use it and keep on moving.

The EduTech Guys: [00:12:46] Right.

Jason Katcher: [00:12:47] We think that’s not OK. In 2019, you should start to really know what’s being used because you’re paying a lot of money for it, in many cases. Now we know that there’s a better ROI to be had. So long term, we’re going to be able to help prove for schools the efficacy of those dollars that are being spent, as well as the stuff that’s free because you also don’t want to just use something for free if it’s not effective.

The EduTech Guys: [00:13:07] Right, exactly.

Jason Katcher: [00:13:07] So if all we are is fantastic but not if it’s not creating the results you want… So this sort of all-in-one platform is is where, you know, it seems like we’re headed now.

The EduTech Guys: [00:13:15] That is awesome. Well a one stop shop. That’s what I’ve been preaching for 15, 20 years. That’s what’s wrong with my teachers down at school level.

The Evolution of EdTech — and What’s Next

We explore 6 waves in the evolution of edtech to understand why the time is right for school systems to adopt their own “operating systems”.

The Case for a K-12 School Operating System

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…

Jason Katcher: [00:13:24] And it’s you know the challenge with getting to that point is that it’s really hard to know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been. So I actually just posted a blog for Kiddom on the evolution of Ed Tech, and thinking about the waves of transformation that have been happening in technology where you first had these closed ecosystems in Microsoft or Apple.

The EduTech Guys: [00:13:41] Sure.

Jason Katcher: [00:13:42] That’s where you lived in education. And you picked one, and that was your poison, and those were the ecosystems you went into, and that lasted for a long time –.

The EduTech Guys: [00:13:48] A long time.

Jason Katcher: [00:13:49] — and then Google Apps finally released Google domains in G-Suite and all these things it’s now become Docs, Sheets, Slides, and that created the ability to move to the cloud, and you were accessing it from either Microsoft device or an Apple device — but devices were still expensive.

The EduTech Guys: [00:14:04] Right.

Jason Katcher: [00:14:04] And then ChromeBooks was the third wave, which drove price points way down, we had the secure, sharable model.

The EduTech Guys: [00:14:10] Platform agnostic, exactly.

Jason Katcher: [00:14:11] Yes, and then that enabled a one-to-one experience to start to be seen in the last several years. And then you had applications, which now, if you think about it, they used to only run on you know, Android apps, iOS apps, now you run Office apps on Android, you can run Docs on–

The EduTech Guys: [00:14:24] Yeah, we’re running Open Office on ChromeBooks. So I mean, it doesn’t really matter at this point.

Jason Katcher: [00:14:28] Exactly, it doesn’t matter and that’s the beauty. So the fifth wave is where we are now. Which is around data unification. Because, if you can not bring all of that data together then you can not build a holistic profile of a student, and therefore you are kidding yourselves if you think you’ll get to a personalized learning experience. Yeah. And then wave six will ultimately be around machine learning and artificial intelligence to enable this stuff to be more supplemented. And so it’s a really exciting time and that’s where we’re Kiddom is coming in and kind of really skating where that puck is headed.

The EduTech Guys: [00:14:55] Yeah. That’s very cool. Tell our listeners how they can get in touch with you.

Jason Katcher: [00:14:59] So our website, and this is important because it’s not a dot com, it’s a dot co — but it’s Kiddom, K-I-D-D-O-M-dot-co, and as a teacher you can register for a free class on there now, we’ve got a demo class that will populate and show you exactly how to utilize the system. And if they want to get in touch with me, you know personally, they can reach me on Twitter at @ J Katcher 74, that’s J-K-A-T-C-H-E-R-7-4.Be ready for some provocative tweets, if you’re okay with that, then come visit. (Laughter.) But overall, the website would be the best place where we can have demos and whatnot.

The EduTech Guys: [00:15:31] Well I’ll throw out the social media too — Kiddomapp, kiddomapp is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, you can type it and you’re there.

Jason Katcher: [00:15:38] That’s right. We’re all over Twitter, Facebook, we love to provide great resources. (Laughter.).

The EduTech Guys: [00:15:42] Awesome.

Jason Katcher: [00:15:43] It’s been awesome, thank you.

The EduTech Guys: [00:15:44] Well Jason, thank you so much. What a great conversation. It’s been a pleasure.

The EduTech Guys: [00:15:46] You’ve been listening to a recorded conversation from our live coverage of AESA 2018 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Remember to visit us on the web at W-W-W-dot-Edu-Tech-Guys-dot-com. 

Want to learn more about Kiddom Academy?

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

You might also be interested in these articles:

Three Ways to Increase Collaboration in your Classroom or School

Three Ways to Increase Collaboration in your Classroom or School

Sarah Gantert

Sarah Gantert

Success Specialist, Kiddom

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kiddom and Newsela: Better Together

Kiddom and Newsela: Better Together

Sarah Gantert

Sarah Gantert

Success Specialist, Kiddom

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

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

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

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

 

Start a Playlist with Kiddom

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

Build Curriculum From Your Favorite Newsela Content 

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

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

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

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

Time to Assign to Students!

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

 

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

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

More from the Better Together Series:

Kiddom and Newsela: Better Together

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

Kiddom Reports + Microsoft O365: Better Together, Pt 2

Kiddom Reports + Microsoft O365: Better Together, Pt 2

Sarah Gantert

Sarah Gantert

Success Specialist, Kiddom

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

This is part two of a two-part series. Did you miss last week’s Microsoft and Kiddom: Better Together article? Check it out here.

Using O365 to track student progress on group assignments is a great way to help keep your classroom organized and efficient so you can focus on working one-on-one with your students.

But the inevitable reality of teaching still exists: What about their grades? How can we show our students, their parents, and our administrators the data that indicates the progress we are seeing every day in our classrooms? What about standards alignment?

That’s where Kiddom comes in!

Our grade-book and reports help to create a holistic view of how your students are doing. Kiddom also allows you to customize your reports based on how your school’s grading system works (Are you a mastery-based school and not a percentage-based school? We have you covered!) .

 

Kiddom reports provide an added level of analysis to student progress: they don’t just give you a number–they provide you with a holistic picture of how students are doing. Even if you choose to view your students’ scores traditionally (as percentages), reports in Kiddom will still provide you with an overall skills (standards) assessment for each subject area. This provides parents with a more comprehensive view of their student’s progress beyond the numbers we typically see on grade reports.

 

Not only can you grade all the MS O365 assignments that your students have been completing, but you can also grade and report on the assignments that live outside of O365, as well.

Teachers can add an infinite number of assignment types: PDFs, pictures, paper documents you can scan and add to an assignment, articles from other resources… the list goes on!

Kiddom and Microsoft truly are, better together.

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

More From the Better Together Series…

Kiddom and Newsela: Better Together

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

Kiddom and Microsoft Office 365: Better Together

Kiddom and Microsoft Office 365: Better Together

Microsoft Office 365 and Kiddom: A Perfect Combination for Collaboration.

Kiddom and Microsoft Office 365 are a powerful combination for teachers looking to enhance collaboration in their classrooms. With MS O365’s collaborative editing features and Kiddom’s ability to assign groups of students assignments independently from the rest of the class, you have a project-based learning match made in heaven.

 

Check out the step-by-step process below to get started.

Step One: Use Office 365 to create an assignment

1. Teachers will have to make an assignment for each grouping of students and a document for each of those groupings.

2. Make sure sharing permissions (able to edit) are set appropriately in each Office Doc/Sway/Etc.

 

Step Two: Create a Playlist With Kiddom

1. Create a Playlist in your Kiddom Planner for the activity you want students to collaborate on, add all the necessary documents from O365 to each assignment (Pro-Tip: Less is more! Add multiple O365 documents to each assignment so you can reduce the amount of assignments on the screen.)

2. After creating your project playlist and adding all the necessary files, you can drag and drop the assignments to Timeline from Planner and assign them to each student group.

Now your students can collaborate in O365 and keep all of their documents in one location for you to monitor and provide feedback.  The coolest part is that you can provide private, individual feedback to each student in the group using Kiddom’s commenting feature. So your students can collaborate away in their Word Doc, but you can use Kiddom to discuss individual student work privately with each student in the group. Pretty awesome right?

Be sure to check out part 2 of Kiddom and Microsoft: Better Together — in which we investigate how to add the power of Kiddom Reports to your Office 365 assignments (and beyond!).

Are you ready to get started with Kiddom? Check out our free video demo and to see more of the great things Kiddom can do for you and your students!