Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Student Success Stories?

We are looking for success stories on individual students who are using Stride. The grant which brings us Stride is renewed each year, and success stories strengthen the application.

You can send those stories directly to me.

Please also share whole classroom and school success stories. You can send those to the same address.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Customized Instructional Resources and the "Master Answer Key"

I always figure that if one person has a good question, others either have the same question or will soon have that question. This post addresses one such answer key for the "Customized Instructional Resources."

You see links to the Customized Instructional Resources in two places:
On the class roster. (The packet addressed weaknesses found on PMA.)
On the Student Grouping Report (The racket addresses weaknesses found on everything except PMA.)

This resources packet is long, and for that reason, is something you may not want to use. After all, much of the advantage of Stride Academy is that the software relieves you from the monotony of duplicating pages and grading papers. For those who do use it, however, having an answer key is helpful.

Where do I get the answer key?
When you click the link to create a customized packet for a student, you get a screen that looks like the figure below.

You are able to print the entire packet or select a particular part. Notice also the very last line...
"You can download the master answer key document here."

What you are getting is a one-time answer key for every question that would be asked of any student. Save it digitally (because it's long). Save it in Dropbox so you can access it fro school and home.

How do I make sense of the answer key?
You won't.

The answer key only makes sense when you have a student's packet to grade. At various points in the packet, the student has questions to answer. At the bottom of the page on the student's packet, you will see the page number and unit number on the Master Answer Key where the answer to that set of questions is found. At that point, the whole thing makes sense. 

If you have not used the Customized Instructional Resources at all, now would not be a bad time to simply look at a same. Go to the Class Roster in one of your classes. Click the link beside any student's name. A pdf packet will download. You can then get a flavor for the length of the packet, the type of material it contains, and make a decision on how (or if) you want to use it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Alexandria Elementary: Champion Block

We Love to Motivate Students!

Happy February, Alabama educators! As Valentine's Day approaches, we want to celebrate your love of teaching, and how we love to help you motivate students through Stride!
Allow us to introduce you to some very special third grade students from Alexandria Elementary in Calhoun County. They are the third grade reading champs from a new Stride motivational contest their school is running this year called The Champion Block. During Champion Block, these students LOVE to compete for the most questions answered correctly in Stride! 

Congratulations to the third grade reading champs for having the most correct answers in Stride during Champion Block!
The Champion Block: 45 Minutes a Day of Laser Focus
Alexandria Elementary implemented "The Champion Block" this year as a unique way to target critical reading and math standards that students need to master, and celebrate their success!
Instructional Coach Melissa Hampton is the mastermind behind The Champion Block, which is a daily 45-minute period designed for third and fourth graders where students are laser-focused on mastering a particular grade-level standard for a three-week period. After each Stride Progress Monitoring Assessment (PMA), the third and fourth grade teachers use the assessment reports to select a standard where students need to target their efforts.

Here's How Champion Block Works:
  • During the daily Champion Block, students divide into groups based on their PMA performance on the selected standard.
  • They begin the three-week period by taking a quiz on that standard designed by their teacher in Stride's Quiz Builder.
  • Each day therafter, they use Stride with the Curriculum Settings set to only that standard, as well as other resources, to practice and learn.
  • Because students are grouped according to their PMA performance, each group receives differentiated instruction appropriate to their needs.
  • At the end of the three-week period, students are again quizzed on the standard through Quiz Builder, providing teachers with a pre-/post-test comparison.
  • Every three weeks, teachers alternate between focusing on a reading or a math standard.
Melissa Hampton developed these whimsical bulletin boards to celebrate the Top 10 Studentsin each grade level based on their number of correct answers in Stride during Champion Block. She updates the bulletin board at the end of each three-week period. In addition, the Top 10 students are recognized in the morning announcements and with certificates.  

The Top 10 Reading and Math Champs from Champion Block are celebrated in whimsical bulletin boards.
Many thanks to Melissa Hampton and Alexandria Elementary for sharing this exciting Stride campaign with us! Do you have a unique Stride contest or implementation idea? 
Share it with your fellow Alabama educators!
Contact: Amy Frith, editor, Alabama e-News
Phone: 850.203.1639

Monday, February 12, 2018

Asking for Your Input

Stride is conducting some research and would like for your feedback. Could you take a moment and give your input?

You'll also have a chance to leave your own comments.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Friday, January 19, 2018

How Do I Prevent Cheating on Quizzes?

The Quiz Builder provides an easy way to construct and grade quizzes aligned to Alabama standards. While we covered this capability during the training at each school, the Stride Academy Support Gallery (found on the "Help & Advice" tab) offers additional material. There you will find these resources:

  • How to Create a Custom Quiz Using Quiz Builder video
  • How to Share Quizzes with Other Teachers in Quiz Builder video
  • Custom Quiz Builder Quick Start Guide for Teachers and Administrators

Questions will soon occur to the experienced teacher:

  • What if the student does not finish in class? What keeps that student from finishing the quiz later, outside of class or at home, possibly with the help of other people?
  • What if a student stays home from school and knows a quiz is being given? What will keep the student from logging in from home and taking the quiz?
  • If the same quiz is being given to multiple classes, what is to keep a student who will be taking the quiz 6th period from logging in from somewhere else in the school 2nd period and answering the questions with the help of the textbook or friends?

Presently, Stride Academy has no control to limit quiz taking to only school hours. Even if this capability was in place, it would not address all of the scenarios above. So, what is the teacher to do to prevent cheating on the Quiz Builder quizzes?

To answer the question, let's look at what we do in the pencil and paper world...We pass out to the test to the students when it is time to take the test. If a student is absent, we don't "pass out the test" to that student. If a student will be in our class 6th period, we don't "pass out the test" to that student 1st period.

The digital parallel to "passing out the test" is assigning the test.

When you create a quiz with Quiz Builder, you see a black link which allows you to "assign" the quiz to the entire class or any selected students. Simply wait until the students are seated and you are ready for them to begin the quiz. At that point, pull up the Quiz Builder, click on the quiz, and click "Assign Students."

If Johnny is not present, you don't assign the quiz to Johnny. You have just prevented him from taking the quiz from home.

Your 5th period students would love to access the quiz early, but since you don't actually assign the quiz until they are seated in 5th period, they cannot access it early.

What about the student who does not finish during class and plans to finish later? First of all, you will have the Quiz Builder pulled up on your computer. As you circulate around the room to observe students, you will also be refreshing the page on the Quiz Builder for an instant update of what percentage of the quiz each student has completed and the percentage of correct answers each student has.

When you call "time" on the quiz, you borrow an old trick teachers have used for many decades: make note of who has not finished. Very simply, if you see that a student has not finished 100% of the questions, and later the Quiz Builder shows he has completed all of the questions, you know that student cheated. You won't have to address that problem many times before students get the message that you are a step ahead of them!

Testing security has been a challenge since before any of us entered the front door as students. Over the years, the tools change, and the strategy for curbing cheating changes with it. Now you have a strategy for security with this new tool. Happy quiz building!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Celebrating Achievement with Student Badges

Watch this video to learn more about student badges and how to view them in the Teacher Portal!