Pam's Pages

Week of April 4 - 8

Newsletter Topics

Campus News

5 Apps to Transform Teaching and Personalize Learning

Classroom Management

District News


DRA and Observation Survey Professional Development

Core Content Directors Update


5 Apps to Transform Teaching and Personalize Learning (Edutopia)

Excerpts from:

Knowing how to craft learning experiences that meld technology with the curriculum is key to crafting digital-age lessons. As digital tools are integrated seamlessly with sound pedagogical practice, a new classroom culture emerges. This is a culture focused on student-centered, personalized learning and shifting away from traditional teacher-centered classrooms.

The digitally-rich lesson format below has evolved as technology has been infused into these lesson components:

  1. Whole-group instruction
  2. Guided practice
  3. Independent practice
  4. Reflection

1. Personalize whole-group instruction and gather formative data.

Whole-group instruction has traditionally been delivered in lecture format: the teacher stands in front of the class and presents the same lesson to everyone at the same time. Lessons can be personalized using Nearpod, which allows the teacher to control delivery from his or her device. The material appears on any student device, whether tablet, phone, or computer. The formative component allows teachers to embed quizzes, polls, a draw feature, and open-ended responses into the lesson.

Teachers can immediately see the data and can share student work back to their screens in just a click. This is a powerful way for students to see peer responses and explain their reasoning.

Nearpod is a free presentation tool available for all computers, tablets, and phones. There is an app for Android and iPhone/iPad. All Nearpod features mentioned in this post are free, and additional features are available as in-app purchases.

2. Provide feedback to every student during guided practice from anywhere in the room.

Research shows that timely and immediate feedback has a significant impact on learning. Classkick allows teachers to see every student iPad screen, privately provides feedback while students are working, and has a feature where students can raise a virtual hand. These features transform how teachers provide feedback to students and how students interact with teachers.

Classkick is a free iPad app that allows teachers to assign student work, see iPad screens, and provide feedback as students work. Students can also edit and provide feedback to their peers.

3. Use screencasts for truly independent practice.

Screencasts are a powerful way for teachers to duplicate their presence and provide each student with his or her own personalized lesson. A screencast is a short, teacher-created video lesson. What makes this so powerful is that each student controls the lesson and can work independently. They can pause, rewind, and listen to their teacher again. Additionally, those who miss class no longer lack the instruction, instead receiving the same lesson presented to their classmates. Students can even slow the narration to ease comprehension. This has been especially beneficial to English-language learners (ELLs).

Educreations is a free screencasting app for the iPad. Videos open in the app and are hosted on the Educreations server. For a fee, you can add more features and storage.

4. Use video reflections for closure.

The Explain Everything app can be sued for students to show what they know. By the end of a unit, they can have video reflections showcasing all of their learning. These videos can be exported to the iPad's camera roll. They can upload their video to Seesaw, a digital portfolio app that allows them to view and comment upon one another's work. Students can check the Seesaw class feed and leave their peers either a written or audio comment. The audio feature makes it easy for our youngest students to leave comments. Seesaw portfolios are also easy to share with parents.

Explain Everything is available through both iTunes and Google Play for $3.99. This whiteboard app has a number of tools that allow for creation and exports in many formats. Primary teachers like the simple interface available in settings. Seesaw is available as an app in iTunes and Google Play. Students can share their work by taking a picture of it, uploading a photo or video, and adding text or narration. Peers can comment and "favorite" posts. Parents can also access their individual student's portfolios.

Classroom Management

Good classroom management will help you thrive (instead of just survive) in April and May. Here are some articles with helpful information. The articles are from the website:



Teacher Reports

Back in January, Tripod Education Partners sent all participating teachers an email requesting a non- SBISD email so that they could send out the teacher reports when they become available in mid-to-late April. Failure to comply with this request will hinder teachers from receiving their report. Please provide a non-SBISD email address as soon as possible.

New Scoring of Tripod Results

In the past, the results from Tripod were delivered to teachers and administrators using favorability percentages.

Tripod now uses scale scores referred to as Tripod scores. Tripod scores have a range of 202 – 398 with the average score set at 300 and the majority of scores falling between 270 and 330. Scale scores have the benefit of equal units between scores which provides the advantage of comparability across contexts and years.

DRA/EDL and Observation Survey Teacher Professional Learning Opportunities

Elementary Humanities will be offering DRA/EDL and Observation Survey professional learning sessions in April. The purpose of the sessions are to ensure all teachers understand:
  1. how to administer the EOY district assessments

  2. importance of administering the EOY district assessments with fidelity

  3. reporting the data accurately

Use the links below to register for the appropriate session.

Observation Survey Training for PreK-2nd Grade Teachers

DRA2/EDL2 Training for PreK-3rd Grade Teachers

DRA2/EDL2 Training for 4th and 5th Grade Teachers

iCoach District Reading Assessment


· Monthly update from our core content directors as well as Special Education and BIL/ESL

· Highlighting the work that is being done throughout the district for our students and teachers.


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