Monday, July 28, 2014

Tech Tools for Workshop Model Classrooms

I use the workshop model in my classroom for Reading, Writing and Math. I have found this to be the most ideal strategy for meeting with small groups and individuals throughout the day yet I struggle to find a system for recording the data I collect during my conferences. This summer I have been on the hunt for technology tools I can use to tighten up my record keeping and eliminate the waste and piles of files of sticky notes and legal pads. I found three tools recently on Twitter and Pinterest for keeping track of assessment data and recording anecdotal notes during conferences.

1. Bright Loop Learning

I found this tool on Twitter during the Western Montana Chat #westedchat. This tablet friendly web site gives teachers a tool for keeping individual student data. Set up your class with students, including their photos.  Use buttons to mark whether they are, "on track," or "need attention." Set a goal for each student and jot a note about a lesson you can teach to meet the goal. The Common Core State Standards are embedded into the website so you can enter notes for each student based on standards. You can also enter plans for when you will teach specific lessons to small groups, the whole group or individuals. This is a fairly new web site. I have found the creators and promoters to be very helpful and open to feedback. You can follow them on Twitter and Goolge Plus to learn more +BrightLoop @BrightLoop

My plan for this tool is to have it on hand when I meet with students for conferences in Reading, Writing and Math to record my notes, plans and goals for each student.

2. Record of Reading

I found this app on Pinterst in my daily feed of educational tools and recipes. I added it to my Tech Board. This is a free app for the iPad that allows teachers to take and analyze a running record. The screen looks just like a paper running record but the app will calculate and score the running record results for you. The app also allows you to record the student's reading as you are taking the record. This means we can go back and listen before we analyze and score the record. Another great feature of this app is that is estimates the reading level of the passage based on the information you enter. For example, I entered the Lexile number for a passage and the app provided the corresponding Fontas and Pinnel level. Once you enter the total word count for the passage you are using the app will calculate a a goal accuracy rate. You can take a photo and have it appear behind the space you are recording upon. This means you could take a photo of the text the student reads and annotate over it as they read. The User Guide for this app is extremely helpful as you begin to use it. A stylus is recommended for best results. There is even a built in line that can be pulled up and down which allows your rest your palm on the device while you are recording on the screen. Results of the running record can be saved in drop box or emailed.

I am reading The Literacy Teacher's Playbook by Jennifer Serravalo this summer. She recommends a running record as the most effective reading assessment. I am excited to use this app because the one hang up I've always had with taking running records is the time it takes to calculate the data. I put it off for when I have "more time." For some reason I never have the "more time" I need to sit down and do the math and then the running record does not help me plan my instruction.

3. Google Forms

Google forms is an easy and free web tool that allows teachers to set up a quick questionnaire linked to a spreadsheet displaying the data. I used a Google from last spring to collect parent volunteers for a field trip. I found the form to be much easier to send to parents than a paper request. Parents followed the link I shared with them and answered my questions. All their data came together on a spreadsheet automatically saved to my Google Drive. Now, I am thinking I will create Google Forms for the assessments I give to students so their results are compiled on one spreadsheet. This will make analyzing and planning with the data much easier.  There will be a form for me to fill out for each student with the following information,

Reading Form

San Diego Quick Instructional Level
Six Minute Fluency Assessment
DIBELS Composite Score
Reading Accuracy
Sight Word List
Spelling Inventory Goal
Reading Comprehension Goal

Math Form

Oral Counting
Number Identification
Missing Number
Fact Knowledge
Shape Recognition
Pattern Completion
Telling Time

I will set the form up so that the fields for each sub-test so I can enter anecdotal results. The spreadsheet with all of this data will give me a clear picture about the make up of my class and allow me to create strategy groups and plan instruction. This data will also be helpful during RtI meetings as I share my assessment findings with the RtI team. I am not sharing the forms here because they will be specific to my classroom and assessment tools. Also once, I open a form up to view it can be edited by anyone and that could make collecting my data a little tricky!

Check back later this fall to see how I used these tools! I would love to hear feedback in the comments section and suggestions for getting the most out of them!

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