Flexible Assignments That Tell a Rich Story

Flexible Assignments That Tell a Rich Story

Trace a student’s journey to mastery with this new feature

Educators in our pilot schools and districts have been using Kiddom this school year to create self-paced curriculum and personalized assignments. Their work is shifting towards student-centered, authentic projects and away from teacher-driven assignments with only one right answer.

This shift provides options for demonstrating mastery in both the processes students use and the artifacts they create. To support our pilot schools’ desires to build student ownership, we’ve expanded the ways teachers can send assignments and students can send evidence of demonstrating mastery.

Students can send multiple attachments to teachers, allowing for multiple attempts on a single assignment

Now, each assignment created by a teacher can have multiple attachments from their computer, Google Drive, or Kiddom’s content library.

Students benefit too — they can send teachers more than one attachment per assignment, allowing them to do more complex and rigorous work in a streamlined way.

How do multiple attachments support teaching and learning?

  • Choice: Provide students with choice by sending multiple attachments as a set of options to choose from. An English teacher might attach multiple readings to choose at the same Lexile level.
  • Modality: Help every student gain an understanding of the learning material by attaching a video, an audio file, and a reading to meet their needs.
  • Process: Let students share several drafts of a project within a single assignment, or offer checklists and graphic organizers in the same assignment as the final project.
Teachers: supplement an attachment of your own with a curriculum resource from our Library

Students will now be able to:

  • Attach multiple attachments before submitting an assignment
  • Access and attach items from Google Drive
  • Make multiple submissions over time on a single assignment

Teachers will be able to:

  • Send multiple attachments from a single assignment
  • Attach more than one curriculum resource from Library
  • Send more than one Google Drive attachment
  • Attach any combination of files (PDFs, screenshots, images, etc.)

We’d like to thank our pilot school communities for helping us understand why allowing for multiple attachments is critical for classrooms focused on promoting student choice and voice. We’re excited to learn how you’ll use this new functionality in your quest to unlock potential for all students.

https://upscri.be/17b283/


By: Melissa Giroux, School Success Lead

P.S. If this is your first time hearing about our pilot program for schools and districts, click here to learn more. We do have some availability for learning communities interested in implementation spring 2018.

Just Added: Teaching Resources for Literacy, Writing, and Grammar

Just Added: Teaching Resources for Literacy, Writing, and Grammar

Knock knock. Who’s there? To. To who? To whom!

Grammar puns aside, the literacy gap is serious business. In the United States alone, an estimated 8.7 million 4th-12th grade students struggle with the reading and writing tasks required of them in school.

At Kiddom, we believe students deserve strong literacy instruction in all of their classes. That’s why we’ve just added teaching resources from the fine folks at Quill.org and RocketLit to our library.

Quill.org provides free writing and grammar activities for elementary, middle, and high school students. Activities are great for small group instruction or station work. They’re excellent for homework assignments as well.

Activities are designed to be completed in ten minutes, so there’s a lot of flexibility in how you use them. For example, a sentence combining activity asks students to combine multiple ideas into a single sentence. They then receive instant feedback to help them improve their clarity and precision.

Instantly find Quill.org’s resources and build grammar and language skills for writing assignments

Do I need a Quill.org account?
No. Both teachers and students can access the activity directly via the content library preview or in the student assignment. When a student completes the activity they will see a results screen.

RocketLit offers non-fiction science and social studies articles, written in a voice students love. The articles are packed with analogies and available at multiple reading levels, covering topics for upper elementary and middle school. Science resources are aligned to NGSS and a growing number of state standards.

Articles for students include listening support for lower reading levels and annotation options. Assessments include multiple choice and free response style questions. Students complete an initial reading diagnostic and RocketLit adapts each assignment you choose to the student’s own reading level. This adjusts as student’s reading improves.

Find RocketLit’s articles in Kiddom to introduce science or social studies topics

Do I need a RocketLit account?
Yes. However, teachers get a free one month trial and all 5th grade reading level versions are free. Your students will also need accounts which you can set up when you create your teacher account.

Whether you’re an English Language Arts teacher, literacy specialist, or just a grammar nerd, you’re going to love these resources. To learn more about library of free teaching resources, visit our help desk.

https://upscri.be/17b283/


By: Abbas Manjee, Chief Academic Officer

P.S. This educator guide on literacy instruction provides a definition of content literacy, its impact, strategies for incorporating literacy skills, and tips for using Kiddom to help you integrate literacy and content seamlessly for yourself and your students.

Sharing is Caring: Introducing Collaborative Teaching and Learning

Sharing is Caring: Introducing Collaborative Teaching and Learning

A sense of collaboration and community is important for the success of any school. Collaborative environments allow teachers to feel appreciated and guided in their role. It’s not rocket science: when teachers collaborate and communicate effectively, they design richer learning experiences for their students. Today, we’re proud announce that collaboration tools are now available on Kiddom.

After months of researching, designing, engineering, and testing, all Kiddom users everywhere can now effectively collaborate with their colleagues. Hooray! 🎉

Here’s how collaboration works

  • Adding a collaborator is as simple as entering their email address.
  • As the class owner, you decide the type of access your collaborators gain, depending on each adult’s goals and roles (view vs. edit).
  • Share your classes with multiple adults — there is no limit to the number of collaborators each class can have.

Adding a collaborator that can view your class 👀

  • This means a collaborator may only see your class timeline and reports, without the ability to edit, add, or remove any assignments or students.
  • A collaborator that can view your class won’t be able to see or send comments to students on assignments.
  • This is best for administrators, instructional coaches, paraprofessionals, or support staff who may need access to student achievement data or assignments for their own focus areas.

Adding a collaborator that can edit your class ✍🏽

  • This means a collaborator gains modification privileges for assignments, grades, commenting, class settings, and rosters.
  • A collaborator that can edit your class has the ability to add additional collaborators.
  • This is best for co-teachers in special education, multi-age, or interdisciplinary classes who share the responsibility of creating and grading assignments.

Teamwork makes the dream work

The Kiddom team believes technology should enable teachers to share and learn best practices across their school communities. In fact, our pilot school communities intend to make big strides this year using Kiddom, all of which are using our collaboration features a little differently.

While we’re excited about collaboration and what it could mean for teachers and learners, we recognize there’s more work to be done. Over the next several weeks, we’re building co-planning feature sets for curriculum to accelerate our vision of building a collaborative education platform.

In the mean time, what are you waiting for? Start sharing and tweet us with your collaboration best practices using #SharingIsCaring.

https://upscri.be/17b283/


By: Abbas Manjee, Chief Academic Officer

Update 9/19: Sharing curriculum with co-teachers is now available!

Editor’s note: You can only share personally identifiable information with other teachers and administrators at your school. Please confirm that sharing your class and student achievement data with others in your school community is allowed under your school (or district) technology policy.

Building “Good Noise” in Classrooms

Building “Good Noise” in Classrooms

The principal slams the door open and skids into my high school English classroom, sweating and red-faced, eyes darting across the room. Most students barely notice him come in; they’re all standing in clusters rehearsing opening remarks and giving each other pep talks. The two young women closest to the door look up at him, eyebrows raised, and then scan the room to see who’s in trouble.

 

 

“What’s happening….” he trails off. “Oh…I…thought. Um. What are you guys working on?”

A student silently points to the board. “Final debate prep begins now!” warns the SMARTBoard, with a timer ticking down the seconds until the main event.

“We’re getting ready to debate about these uniforms you got us wearing,” and I saw the realization pass across his face. The class was buzzing with energy, but was decidedly not out of control.

The principal finally leans in to me and says, “I thought they were fighting but…this is good noise,” as he walks out.

For decades, students were told to be compliant, to speak only when spoken to, and teachers with noisy classrooms were considered ineffective. Today, we know it’s more nuanced than that. Sure, kids shouting over each other or disrupting quiet work time is still inappropriate. But increased student talk time has also been proven to be an indicator of classrooms that breed inquiry, engagement, and achievement.

That “good noise” is fostered by curriculum with explicit instruction and practice with speaking and listening and collaboration skills. Debates, group projects, Socratic seminars, presentations, or competitions are all fertile ground for the development of academic skills alongside key social emotional competencies. Kiddom’s planning and assessment tools make it easier to give students ownership of their learning.

Use Planner to create Playlists, or groups of resources, to increase the amount of accountable student talk and engagement.

  • Students working in groups can be assigned individual roles based on their strengths and growth areas. For example, make a playlist for the “Presenter” that has exemplar speeches, checklists for rehearsing and soliciting feedback, and worksheets for anticipating audience questions. Each role gets their own, specialized playlist once the students have chosen or been assigned.
  • Provide student choice in topics for writing or research projects. Simply create Playlists of key texts and drag and drop them to your timeline to assign them to the students who chose each topic.

Teach Social Emotional Learning Skills in Context

  • Align assignments to CASEL’s social emotional standards and use pre-loaded SEL rubrics in tandem with academic standards to give students feedback on their ability to negotiate conflict with peers, communicate clearly, or seek help when needed.
  • Kiddom has pre-loaded speaking and listening standards from the Common Core or your state — assess students on the content of their presentation and on their ability to communicate.
  • Create custom standards in Kiddom to move students towards a class culture goal.

Beautiful Reports Support Student Self-Advocacy

  • Use Kiddom’s simple but detailed mastery reports to conference with students in groups or individually about their progress, gain insight into their perspectives, and use the information to tailor instruction further.
  • Kiddom’s student dashboard also makes it easy for them to log in at any time and see how they are doing, send a message to teachers for help, or guide their study focus.

We know that this work is easier with a support network. Kiddom provides PD on a range of topics including standards-based grading and social emotional learning. Request a Kiddom demo or PD support here.

Why I Left Teaching: Tidying Up Your Time and Finding Joy

Why I Left Teaching: Tidying Up Your Time and Finding Joy

My grandma was a teacher. My mom was a teacher. The only thing I can ever remember wanting to be was a teacher. I felt (and still feel) that it runs through my blood as a core piece of my identity. So, it may come as a shock that I am stepping away. I am leaving my job as a classroom teacher.

 

 

The realization came as a slow and steady evolution. However, at the end of the path, the decision was ready made. Here is my story.

Last summer I read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. To summarize, she walks the reader through a process of decluttering belongings by asking a question about each and every object. “Does it spark joy?”

This question bounced around in my head as I began to evaluate my life, growing busier with time clutter by the day. I thought, What if I applied the idea of spark joy… to my time? I began my courageous analysis.

I started journaling about every action I took throughout the day. I kept a diligent log for weeks. Then, I went back and looked at each and every item and asked, “Did it spark joy?” (For my purposes, I define joy as activities that keep me grounded in the present moment and contribute to my long-term wellness. However, this could be an entirely different blog post!)

With that definition of joy, I developed a rating scale.

1 = spark joy

0 = joy neutral

-1 = joy depleting

I determined that after adding up all of my numbers, I could with almost certainty predict the outcome of my day. High number, great day. Negative number, horrible day. It seems so obvious now, but at the time, it was a real revelation.

I set a new life purpose. Create days with a high joy value.

How to begin?

Eliminate the -1

What could I do to completely cross joy depleting actions off my list?Example- The joy depleting errands through big box stores were replaced with Amazon delivery.

Transform -1 into 0

What could I do to change a joy depleting activity into a joy neutral activity?Example- While loading the dishwasher (-1), I started listening to audiobooks (1). In one simple step, I created a 0!

I was starting to make progress on the homefront. I was amazed that with very little effort, my days were increasing more joyful.

However, now I was faced with looking at my professional time.

Taking attendance: 0.

Facilitating Inquiry: 1.

ANYthing involving standardized tests: -1.

I was stunned at the results. A profession I thought I loved left me with more days, than I wanted to admit, in the negatives. I always had considered myself a positive person. I was confused. Had education changed? Had I changed? Were other teachers feeling this way?

Just to humor myself, I started crossing off all of the -1 activities from my list. Is it possible to create a day with mostly spark joy? If it were possible, what would it look like? As fast as my hand could write I began to journal about the vision.

I visualized joy being at the center of education. I visualized feeling full year round with minimal moments of depletion and exhaustion. I wanted to create a life that I didn’t need a vacation from. I extended the vision, not only to myself, but to every other teacher in the profession. What if we could create a system that held teacher and student wellness as the centerpiece for all decisions? What if.

 

What if…

 

It was in that moment that my decision came ready made. This school year I committed to take daily action around the things that matter to me most. I began to notice a difference in my energy as I began using my strengths.

It was with a mixture of certainty and trepidation that I applied for my leave of absence. It shocked my family and co-workers. It shocked my students and parents. I wasn’t quite sure how to answer the question, “What will you do?” The best response I could come up with was, “Live my joy”. Because really- what else is there?

I dove in and began doing research. I found organizations and people that had similar missions. To bring wellness to teachers and students. To prioritize joy. To make time and space for personal growth and development. Things have to change in the field of education, or the high rate of burn out will leave our students stranded. I believe I can help bring that change.

So, here I am. My last day of school. I may be leaving the classroom, but I will always consider myself a teacher.

 

Quote from Deb Fee

 

I am available for questions or comments at stephanie.kennelly@gmail.com

As I create space for new habits, here are some of the organizations that have inspired me:

1000-Petals is a well-being training and consulting company based on the science and practice of mindfulness and movement.

Kiddom is a team of passionate educators, designers, and developers creating transformative tools to make learning personal, expand access to quality content, and foster community collaboration.

Yellow Barn Wellness is a community based organization that strives to create an environment where the complexities of today are simplified back to the basics that our bodies call for — to build a balance of fitness and nutrition in an environment that encourages both.

Generation Wellness provides innovative solutions to empower educators, counselors and parents to promote the success of each child.

Mad Hatter Wellness is working to enhance the quality of life for children and adults with and without disabilities through empowerment, education, awareness, and movement to globally eliminate sexual violence and promote advocacy for self and others.

 

 

 

Written By: Stephanie Kennelly

4 Ways Teachers Can Better Prepare for Next School Year

4 Ways Teachers Can Better Prepare for Next School Year

 

As a teacher, you know there aren’t enough hours in the day to plan, teach, evaluate, and still have time for yourself. Reflecting on and planning for individual student strengths, areas of growth, and interests can take a backseat if you’re constantly overwhelmed by lesson planning and making resources from scratch. That’s where Kiddom comes in.

Whether you’re just starting to explore education technology or you’ve already got a set of favorite tools, these four strategies using Kiddom can set you up for success next year — and save some precious time.

1. Juxtapose performance with curriculum

It’s important to reflect on overall student performance, but juxtaposing that performance against curriculum can give you even more insights. With Kiddom, you can easily monitor student progress over time and analyze performance on individual standards and skills. As you review individual student performance, ask yourself: Which students grew the most? Which skills took students multiple assessments to master? Where and when did my students encounter the most challenging roadblocks?

To gather insights from reports:

  • Your reports are already full of life if you’ve added and graded assignments using Kiddom. To adjust your reports to display longer time intervals, choose the monthly view.
  • Your first report, Class Grade Average, is an average of all graded assignments and allows you to identify larger trends in overall student performance.
  • Use Mastery Groups (the stacked line graph) to reflect on and analyze changing student performance trends. As the year progressed, which students grew the most? Which students fell off your radar? Did any students make drastic performance changes? Clicking a point will reveal which students were in each group at a selected point in time.
  • Use the Class Standard Mastery graph to evaluate the progress your class made on specific standards and skills. Use insights gathered from these reports to start thinking about how you’ll adjust curriculum for next year.

 

 

2. Fine-tune curriculum from lessons learned

Gathering insights on which units need refining can become wasted labor if we never actually get the chance to revise curriculum. And once the school year gets underway, making those0 changes can get exponentially harder given time and resource constraints. With Kiddom’s Planner, you can modify your curriculum with ease.

To fine-tune curriculum in Planner:

  • Open Planner from the right side of Timeline. If you haven’t created curriculum in Kiddom yet, start by adding a new unit. Add items you’d typically include within a unit like assignments, videos, and other types of resources.
  • If you’ve already created curriculum in Planner, easily add more items to it by using the blue + button. To remove assignments or resources that didn’t work the way you thought they would, press the trash button. Be sure to use the insights you obtained from your reports to make the changes you think could improve student performance next year.
  • The best part about Planner is that it makes ongoing curriculum development simple, which opens up more possibilities for students to make meaningful connections with academic content. Changes are saved in real-time and of course, your curriculum can be imported across all of your classes.

 

 

3. Build differentiation in early

Differentiated curriculum allows students to meaningfully connect with content, but designing it well can be time-consuming. If you know a specific topic requires a little more remediation, why wait until your students hit a roadblock to design resources? Alternatively, if you know a certain point of your curriculum generates a lot of student interest, wouldn’t it be nice to have exploratory resources at the ready? Use the playlist feature in Planner to grouping together resources like videos, readings, and assessments on a topic for enrichment or remediation.

To differentiate instruction with playlists:

  • Open Planner and find a unit or topic for which you’d like to add resources based on your experience teaching it. From there, click the blue + button and add a new playlist. Title it whatever you’d like.
  • To get started adding resources to your playlist, hover over the playlist until another + button appears. Clicking this + button will add this assignment to the playlist. You can add as many assignments and resources as you’d like within a playlist.
  • Some students love knowing what’s coming up, while others can get overwhelmed by this information. Assign a set of resources or share individual assignments from your playlists, depending on the student. This allows you to match the working style of every student.

 

 

4. Supplement curriculum with digital resources

A teacher’s challenge is twofold: lessons must align to standards and engage students with relevant connections. This is inherently time-consuming. To save time and avoid reinventing the wheel, use Kiddom’s Library to find free, standards-aligned resources. Attempts and scores sync with Kiddom, which means your Kiddom reports encapsulate everything students work on, from materials you’ve made to pre-made digital content.

To find free, standards-aligned resources:

  • Open your Timeline and click the blue + plus button to add an assignment. From here, click the “K” icon to access Kiddom’s Library. From here, perform a keyword search (e.g. “fractions’) to find a plethora of lessons, videos, exercises, and more. Use filters to zero in on grade level and/or subject-specific content.
  • Use resources from Kiddom’s Library to supplement assignments you create in each unit in your Planner. This way, you won’t have to create an entire lesson, with all of the resources that go with it, by yourself.
  • Finally, don’t forget that content from Kiddom’s Library can not only be assigned to a class, but to an individual student too.

 

 

When the school year gets started, every minute counts. We hope these Kiddom features save you time and help you develop authentic learning experiences for all of your students.

Extra credit: for even more time-saving tips, register for a free one-on-onecoaching session with a Kiddom team member.

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