In my school, we have started to use a program called MasterTrack. At the beginning of the year, over the course of two weeks, I gave students the benchmark tests to see where they were at with grade level standards. Next, I took the data, entered it in to MasterTrack and quickly saw where students were at with their understanding of the mathematical standards they should be understanding at grade level. This information has given me a very clear understanding of math content that I need to revisit, which students are needing more challenging work and – what I really have loved – is there is a setting that can provide groupings based on their scores. This could be to pair with others who are at the same level OR to pair students who could help support and push other students thinking. Again, this is a completely new assessment technology for me – have you used this before? Any thoughts. I will continue to give the benchmarks connected with this and monitor student growth and report back on what I am noticing and how it is (or is not) working for our classroom. So far, one struggle I have with the program is that it does not necessarily match up with the curriculum we are using so are the benchmarks a fair assessment? I would say no BUT the content is the same just the method of, for example, math models may not be representative to what they actually know if the curriculum has not explicitly taught that yet. More thoughts to come!
I have started to use ClassDojo as my main communication platform with families and to personalize the school to home connection. I know that I am using it very simply right now and that there are many bells and whistles that I have not yet utilized. What I am enjoying so far is that I can quickly contact families, easily share pictures straight from my phone and have more of a real time update about what is going on in our classroom. I am also really liking that it takes less time to do than a more typical newsletter but has a more personal touch with meaningful connections for the families of the students in my class. So far, the main downside is that not all families have connected to it so I am only connecting with about 80% of my families. I am still sending out a newsletter every two weeks or so but I notice that it feels more archaic and has the pace of snail mail compared to the instant and more easy to use Class Dojo platform. I will update this page when I get a sense of how families are feeling about it and the new ways I am using it as the months go on. One goal for this webpage is to give an authentic glimpse into how teachers try to use new technologies, the ways it works well, the frustrations when it does not and everything in between! If anyone has used ClassDojo – let me know your thoughts!ClassDojo