Kiddom and Newsela: Better Together

Kiddom and Newsela: Better Together

Sarah Gantert

Sarah Gantert

Success Specialist, Kiddom

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

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

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

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

 

Start a Playlist with Kiddom

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

Build Curriculum From Your Favorite Newsela Content 

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

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

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

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

Time to Assign to Students!

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

 

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

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

More from the Better Together Series:

Kiddom and Newsela: Better Together

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

Kiddom and Google: Better Together, Pt. III

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...

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?

Next week, we will be investigating 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!

Introducing Guardian Access—Bringing Families Closer to Their Child’s Education

Introducing Guardian Access—Bringing Families Closer to Their Child’s Education

A new Kiddom Academy feature helps parents and guardians better understand what their children are learning at school.

 

What Can Technology Offer Students and Families?

Many parents believe technology in the classroom will be helpful for their children’s education — in fact, 86% do, according to a recent study by Microsoft and YouGov.

The truth is, there’s a lot of debate around the subject. One study has seen very different results for technology-enabled personalized learning (Rand), with vast gains in an earlier report (2015) but only slight gains of late (2017). In “Technology Doesn’t Drive Blended Learning … or Does It?” author Thomas Arnett visits five blended-learning schools and concludes, among other perks, that “although technology is not the driving force behind student learning at these schools, it amplifies the real driving force: high-quality teaching.”

In a study by the Christensen Institute, authors Michael B. Horn and Julia Freeland Fisher acknowledge that the current research cycle is incomplete. Their analysis is an insightful attempt to move past the what to the why. At best, they argue, integrating tech into our schools means that schools can begin to “move from a one-size-fits-all approach to a student-centered one. Teachers can gain a far more precise understanding of how individual students are progressing and provide them with just-in-time materials and supports suited to their needs and strengths.”

At Kiddom, we believe this understanding should extend to parents and guardians, which is why we are proud to announce a new feature to do just that. With Guardian Access, available exclusively to schools and districts using Kiddom Academy, parents and guardians will automatically receive a weekly update to shed light on how their child is performing in school, the skills they’re learning, and where their child needs support.

Each weekly update includes two reports: an Assignments report and a Standards report, as well as the overall achievement level in a class.

We’ll cover each report in more length below, but before we do, let’s briefly revisit the practice standards-based grading, since many parents and guardians might have children that are in schools that are new or transitioning to this instructional practice (feel free to skip the next section if you’re already familiar with standards-based grading).

What is standards-based grading and how does it impact my child?

Having technology in the classroom isn’t the end-all, be-all — you can’t expect a hammer to build a roof. However, useful technology can give parents, teachers, and students the right tools to measure a student’s progress accurately. It enables all parties involved to participate in an ongoing, active quality check of their student’s education, with the power to quickly identify a trend change in real time — and to react quickly with intervention or encouragement.

To add to this change in the way we measure, an important shift is forming in what we measure. Many modern classrooms are adopting a system called standards-based grading, or mastery-based learning. This approach is a creature of many names: you’ll hear the words skillsstandardsproficiency or competency-based learning — all of these terms represent the shift towards measuring student progress according to specific, measurable skills. Students are encouraged to focus on that skill or standard until they have shown that they’ve mastered it, often with several attempts, before moving on.

Mastery-based reporting requires a different mindset (and practice) than that used with traditional grades. The goal is not to be an A-student, but to demonstrate mastery of skills, and move on when you’re ready. Most students will not reach the level called “exceeding”; if they do, this might mean that they’re not being challenged enough, and may need to move on to the next grade-level competencies. For more on this, check out this Guardian Access support article.

What this means for you and your child, and why Kiddom is useful

What this means is that the student is able to understand their own achievement in terms of what they are progressing in. As you can imagine, this new approach carries the discussion a lot further than the traditional report card, where a child and parent are offered some grade letter or percentage that doesn’t mean much more than “pass” or “fail,” and certainly doesn’t provide much in terms of actionable insight.

With Kiddom, students are always on top of, not just how they’re progressing, but which specific standards or skills they are excelling in, and which they need to improve. In short, they’re able to articulate and take ownership of their own learning, and pull their parents into the details with confidence.

As mentioned, another way technology is shaping modern parenting is the ability to access progress in real-time — you don’t need to wait around for six weeks to see a report card of grades too late to fix. Now, parents are able to stay in the know and help their children work on the areas where they need improvement, from the onset of when a student starts slipping.

At the top of both reports, you’ll get a general assessment of your students’ achievement for a given class. If your teacher uses standards based grading, you will see one of the four terms: Developing, Approaching, Mastery, or Exceeds. For more information on the breakdown of those terms, see this page. You can use this to understand you child’s development aligned to a skill.

Let’s take a look at the two types of reports available via Guardian Access:

Assignment Reports. The assignment report was designed to help parents and students with accountability. This report helps answer: What does my student need to complete? How is my child doing for their assignments? How are they doing for a particular assignment type? The focus is on how they performed for that piece of work, rather than the standard. This particular report gives you more details for the actual assignment, rather than the standards the assignment aligns to. This allows you to track what your student is doing in class, see the attached standard labels to each assignment, and note the student’s mastery level according to that particular assessment.

Standards Reports. The standard report helps answer: What is my child learning? What is their progress? You will notice that you will still see an average performance for all of the standards assessed. This is a snapshot of how your student is doing overall. Additionally, you will find details on the specific standards that your student is working on: it will show the standard label, description, and their mastery level for that particular standard.

We believe this alignment can make parent-teacher conferences much more effective, especially if students are able to drive the conversation about what they’re learning.

Key takeaways

1. The field of education is still in discovery mode to determine the best ways to use technology appropriately in the classroom, but a few proven uses are the abilities to measure progress in real-time, and to enhance the power of teachers.

2. As teachers and learners ease into more individualized, student-centric learning approaches, the role of parents and guardians is also evolving.

3. Kiddom’s new feature Guardian Access enables parents with greater access to their children’s progress, allowing them to:

A. Give students individualized feedback; congratulating them on the exact skills they’ve learned or providing support as they approach understanding of a standard.

B. Monitor student achievement in real-time, and help students take action before grades are “finalized.”

C. Allow students to take more ownership of their grades, developing self-management skills.

At Kiddom, we’re focused on delivering value to every stakeholder involved in a child’s education. As we work toward our mission, we’re excited to help even more teachers, students, parents and guardians, and schools achieve the wonderful things that were previously thought impossible.

Happy teaching and learning! 💜


Are you a school leader who needs a better tool to help inform and serve parents, guardians, teachers, and students? Does your grade book do a meaningful job in explaining your students’ strengths and areas to grow? Talk to our school success team about Kiddom Academy today.

Are you a teacher interested in using Kiddom for search-by-standard lesson planning, teacher collaboration, personalized assignments, student communication, and real-time assessment and reporting? You can still do all of these things with our free app. Sign up here.

What Makes Kiddom for Android Special? Interview

What Makes Kiddom for Android Special? Interview

As many of you know, teachers can plan, assign, assess, report, and more using Kiddom, available via desktop, Apple, and as of earlier this year, Google Play.

But there’s more to our Android product than you might think. This week, we had a chat with Kiddom’s Mobile Engineering Lead, Guillermo Alcantara, to tell us what makes the Android product special.

 

So, what is unique about Kiddom Android compared to other versions of the product?

Guillermo: If you’re using Kiddom on Android you’ll find it is more similar to the web experience than our iPhone app, which often has a different interface, than what you might see online. That’s because we’ve created more custom widgets for iOS, whereas with Android we’re building more for Google’s vision. In other words, because Android’s store is owned by Google, the Android mobile product is more optimized for Google standards.

Kiddom on Android is also more performant; we’ve put more emphasis on making the product work in varied conditions. For instance, if your network is slow or your screen is small, the Android product can be handy in those situations… we have built it from the start with attention to limitations like internet speed, battery life, and smaller screens. Our Apple product, on the other hand, is a more optimized experience for newer Apple devices, in keeping with iOS protocol.

A third uniqueness about our Android product is the ability to be easily translated, which is on our roadmap to release soon. It’s not something we have prioritized, but the entire app is ready to be translated — as many of our users are Spanish-speaking, and we know that could help a lot of schools.

 

 

Speaking of what’s “on the roadmap,” can you tell us more about what is coming soon for Kiddom’s Android product?

Guillermo: Soon we’ll be able to offer a translatable version of Spanish and Chinese. Many developers are familiar with FIGS (French, Italian, German, and Spanish), which is perhaps a traditional approach to translate, but we’ll likely make our earliest translations in Spanish and Chinese.

We are also constantly using our Android app to run tests that help foster a better user experience, so often those roadmap features show up on Android first. Like the Snapshot Roster feature, and the ability to take notes, for instance.

 

Can you speak more on the Snapshot Roster feature?

Guillermo: One feature we’re excited about releasing soon is the ability to add students on mobile in a quick and easy manner. Teachers can simply use their phones to take a snapshot of their student roster, whether digital or in print, and from that list, our product creates a new account for each student using text recognition technology called OCR (Optical Character Recognition). This will save teachers a great deal of time when they need to add a new class or want to switch over to Kiddom in the middle of a semester.

 

…and the Notes feature?

Guillermo: Yes, it provides users the ability to make notes. This feature was first available only in Android and we hope to soon make it available to everyone. That’s because we typically use Android to test new features. If we see that enough people are using the features we’re testing, we’ll roll them out to all of our products for everyone to use.

 

Can you tell us about the Student Groups Feature in Android?

Guillermo: Student groups — right now Kiddom assignments are only available for the entire class or one individual student, but what if you have a team assignment? This is a feature being testing in Android right now.

 

In closing, can you share what is your favorite part about the Android app?

Guillermo: I like the Timeline better in Android than in any other client. It’s easier to swipe rather than scroll.

…and that’s all he had time for! (Engineers are busy people, you know.) We hope you learned something new and useful, and as always, teachers, please let us know your thoughts and requests! We are building these products for you. ❤

For more information on Kiddom Android, visit our Support Page, or you can always reach us at support@kiddom.co if you have any questions.

On the Hook to Engage Students? Find ClassHook’s Video Resources from Kiddom’s K-12 Library

On the Hook to Engage Students? Find ClassHook’s Video Resources from Kiddom’s K-12 Library

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!

kiddom

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

 

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!

 

 

Ready to start planning with ClassHook resourcesKiddom is free for classroom teachers!

 


By: Eboni Hogan, Content Specialist

 

How Might Schools Quantify “Personalized Learning?”

How Might Schools Quantify “Personalized Learning?”

Personalized learning is a buzz phrase we hear often in education. This pedagogical style is inspirational, and may serve students well, but it often lacks direction.

Many professional development sessions begin with: “Let’s define personalized learning,” because the term is thrown around so often. At Kiddom, we’ve had the privilege to witness many excellent strides toward personalized learning in different environments, but many haven’t yet seen it in practice. So how does an administrator or community measure the pursuit of this practice without knowing exactly how it looks or where to focus their efforts to improve?

In mastery-based classrooms, students become better advocates of their learning when they know where they excel and where they need to improve. The ability to measure performance in a focus area and put that information to practice generally empowers most students to achieve their learning goals. Schools and districts are no different.

For those systems working to offer more opportunities to personalize learning for students, visibility on success metrics makes all the difference in their own instructional growth and professional development. That’s where Kiddom comes in, and we are delighted to announce a new partnership that makes it easier than ever for districts and schools to quantify their personalized learning initiatives.

Kiddom provides both, a team dedicated to your success and a platform for personalized learning, so you have a direct pathway to monitor instructional change within your community. And now Kiddom has partnered with Education Elements to provide an Onpoint score for your personalized learning journey.

What is an Onpoint Score? A “credit score” for personalized learning, Onpoint provides the framework and metrics to help learning communities focus their individualization efforts, including curriculum and instruction, support, culture of innovation, strategy, and so much more.

 

kiddom

 

Providing schools a focused plan to implement personalized learning is what we are most excited about, as many of Kiddom’s educator communities use our school operating system for this very reason. Kiddom’s early adopter program offers benefits to new schools and districts that adopt Kiddom, including training, a personal success specialist, membership to Kiddom’sEducator Brain Trust, and the newest addition, Education Elements’ Onpoint score for personalized learning.

The ability to give individualized support to every student, with wide ranges of needs, abilities, and interests, is an amazing and critical feat to accomplish. With Kiddom’s tools and Education Elements’ reports, schools and districts are better equipped than ever to quantify their own success. They now have the knowledge to target their efforts in supporting both teachers and admin as they cultivate a personalized learning experience for students.

Interested to learn more about what Kiddom offers schools and districts? Let’s set up a time for a walk through!

Pin It on Pinterest