Mentee Minute

April 14th, 2014

Top Requests from New Teachers

This newsletter will take a look at some of the questions we have heard from new teachers. As you are doing your walk-through, take a look at how your mentor addresses some of these questions.

Tip #10 How to get students to come to your Adobe Session.

Try to spark your student's curiosity by advertising a news item the day of the chat. Tell the students you are going to preview an upcoming assignment, play a game or provide an interesting video clip of something you will be discussing at the chat. Many students are busy with extracurricular activities so it is important to make the chat worth their time. After the chat, post another news item and praise the students who attended. Adobe attendance is not required but encouraged.

Tip #9 Practical suggestions for addressing failures

Once you have contacted parents and offered a schedule change, you may be wondering what else can you do to help a student who is failing your course? Here are some ideas.

1. Ask student to attend your weekly synchronous session. This is the best way to assess and offer immediate feedback.

2. Tell the student to focus on work that is current to avoid late points. Often students who fall behind, continue to stay behind because they are trying to catch up on past work. Focusing on current assignments may stop the pattern of late work.

3. Ask the parents to post the assignment calendar on the fridge or student's desk at home and check-in daily with the student about assignments. What better way to encourage communication among stakeholders!

4. Encourage the student to email you assignments they are working on prior to the deadline for help. Offer examples and commentary as needed. Be approachable in email.

5. Examine the grading categories on the grades page. Look to see if there is a category where the student is struggling. For example: Discussions, perhaps the student is not completing these or not earning full credit by responding to peers. Communicate targeted areas for improvement with the student.

Tip #8 How Can I Keep Up with Grading

Each teacher has his or her own method for keeping up with grades. Here are a few of the methods for grading that have been observed:

~ Grade from the gradebook. This allows a teacher to see ungraded work and updates
the grades as items are graded.

~ Grade in groups. Grade the 18/16 week groups (dropboxes, discussions, quizzes) on
one day, then the 14/12 on another.

~ Grade all of one item (dropboxes, discussions, quizzes) at a time.

~ Grade each evening.

~ Grade on set days (i.e. Monday, Wednesday, Friday).

~ Create a spreadsheet of students with below passing grades.

Do you have a method that works best for you? If so, please send it to one of the authors for sharing in a future newsletter.

Tip # 7 How to Embed a Video

Videos can be embedded in announcements, feedback, and discussions. They are a great way to include supplemental material or provide feedback and remediation. Embedding videos is a quick process. Take a look at the video below. Due to D2L upgrades, some items may look slightly different, but the process remains the same.

Tip #6 Differentiation Ideas - Doing something different in place of an assignment

Tip #5 Remediation - The process of correcting

Remediation can take several forms. Remediation is always data driven and addresses areas of weakness. It often requires focused practice or re-teaching of a particular skill or standard. Remediation should expect the student to practice for mastery.

Here are some websites that are great for focused practice.

Tip #4 Grading with Audio Feedback

Take a look at this case study for why providing audio feedback is not only a time-saving tip but also a best practice for helping students relate to your feedback.

Using audio feedback in your teaching - Case study

Tip #3 Making Use of Edmodo

Edmodo is a social networking site for educators and students. Currently, GaVS uses Edmodo for teacher collaboration. Each department has its own group that is used to share course schedules, resources, and questions. GaVS has many other groups, including: specialized professional development, test prep, professional learning symposium, among others. Take a look at this short preview video for a better understanding of Edmodo.

Tip #2 Data Analysis Samples

Data can be gathered from a variety of places. The previous week's Smore discussed data analysis in more detail. Here are a few more samples of data analysis and its use in courses.

Tip #1 How to Vary Content in ePortfolio

Many teachers wonder just what should be included in the ePortfolio. As noted in the professional development sessions, ePortfolio is the means by which teachers share what they are doing. The ePortfolio should include professional development documentation, differentiation examples, best practices, school goals, data analysis, and personal/professional profiles.

What are good examples of those items?

Professional Development: screenshots of sessions attended, summaries of articles read, documentation of conferences attended.

Differentiation Examples: any items used to provide differentiation (videos, announcements, resources, etc.)

Best Practices: announcements, communication samples, highlights of your course (this is a pretty big category, with the most possibilities).

School Goals: anything done to meet the school goals

Data Analysis: highlights of the methods used to gather data about students success and struggles.

How do I keep my ePortfolio from being repetitive?

One way to vary the content is to choose different methods of presenting artifacts. For instance, one professional development artifact might be a screenshot of a session attended. Another pd artifact might be a recording link. Still, another artifact might be a written summary, or a video. No matter the choice of presentation, each artifact should have a reflection. Reflections can be completed in writing, video, or audio formats. Be creative!

Meet the Authors

Joyce Bearden ~ GaVS 2013/2014 Teacher of the Year; GaVS 2013/2014 Mentor of the Year; GaVS Latin Instructor since 2009

Kelly Gardner ~ GaVS 2012/2013 & 2013/2014 Teacher of the Year Finalist; GaVS English Department Mentor; GaVS English Instructor since 2007