Thursday, July 13, 2017

"Summer Stride" Open to All Alabama Students

Calhoun County Schools benefit from Stride all year long. This summer, all Alabama students, regardless of school, can enjoy Stride.

This article explains more and allows students to sign up for free.

Feel free to spread the news to parents whose children attend schools that are not already using Stride.

Today, a National Public Radio spot highlighted the program. You can download that clip here.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Disregard the PMA Report That Came in Your Email

One of the things I like about the Stride reports is the ability to sign up for weekly email updates. Every Saturday, you get a link in the email that produces the School Summary Report (for administrators) or Classroom Summary Report (for teachers) for the previous week.

The automated report saves you from having to manually run it yourself. It also saves you from having to remember to run the report.

An enhancement that will be a good idea...

What if during PMA, you also got a weekly link that would produce the PMA Report? Again, the report would be delivered automatically via a link in an email.

If it worked.

Several weeks ago, I saw exactly what we just talked about. The only thing was that it only displayed the last two PMA periods. I had a couple of discussions with tech support.

I explained how confusing it was for schools to receive a report that looked incomplete. I also saw why the report was showing incomplete data.

As I looked at the long URL in the email, part of that URL made reference to a "start date" and another part to an "end date." When I manually edited the URL and changed the start date to August 1 instead of some February or March date, the report was perfect and included all PMA periods.

My understanding was this report was being pulled until the fall. Indeed, I had not gotten that report again.

Until this weekend...

There it was...only worse. Only PMA 4 is showing. That's not the worst part. If you click the link in the email, look closely at the URL it takes you to:


See the problem? 

You are getting a report that includes PMA work done between April 1 and April 30. Most students had completed PMA44 long before April 1. 

While you have that long URL in the browser, if you were to arrow to the end and change the start date from "04/01/2017" to something like "08/01/2016," the PMA Report would display correctly.

I am sure the development team will have the problem straightened out in plenty of time for the fall.

Being able to get a PMA Report delivered to your email every week during PMA will be a great thing. Like any other data, however, it's only useful if it's correct.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Might This Be the Next Programmer for Stride Academy?

Most 12-year-olds love playing videogames. Thomas Suarez taught himself how to create them. After developing iPhone apps like "Bustin Jeiber," a whack-a-mole game, he is now using his skills to help other kids become developers.


This video is 4 1/2 minutes in length. It's a great example of at least two things:

  1. Students are capable of creative thinking far beyond their years, and when they are interested in something, the results can be amazing.
  2. Students at this age can get up before audiences and present themselves confidently and in a way which captivates their audiences. When students see adults present, it's one thing. When they can see someone near their own age, it's another.
To view this talk at its original location, go to this link.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

PMA 4 Ends April 7

The final Progress Monitoring Assessment ends April 7.

As with previous PMA periods, you can run reports both at the school and the classroom level.

Running the PMA Report at the School Level:
  1. Use the school administrative login to access Stride Academy.
  2. Click the "Reports" tab.
  3. Click the blue "Generate Real-Time Reports" button.
  4. Click "View Reports."
  5. From the list of reports which appears, click "School PMA Report."
  6. The defaults on the next screen should be OK as is.
  7. Click the red "Apply" button.

Running the PMA Report at the Classroom Level:
  1. Use your KCC code and password to access Stride Academy.
  2. Click the "Reports" tab.
  3. Click the blue "Generate Real-Time Reports" button.
  4. Click "View Reports."
  5. From the list of reports which appears, click "Class PMA Report."
  6. The defaults on the next screen should be OK as is.
  7. Click the red "Apply" button.
The resulting graph will look much the same as the school graph displayed above. Clicking through the remaining pages will reveal data on each student.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Stride Newsletter for March

Laissez les bons temps rouler! 
South Alabama schools know how to make the good times roll—even while they're learning! Many schools in the southern part of the state enjoy a Mardi Gras holiday, and we were honored to see our Stride super-users participating in Mardi Gras themed contests during this time. Without further adieu, allow me to introduce this year's Mardi Gras Royalty and Krewe!
Elizabeth Fonde Elementary, Mobile
The top three students at Fonde Elementary, earning the most skill badges during the school-wide Stride Mardi Gras Contest, are pictured above:
♦  Megan Nguyen, 62 skill badges
  Melody Johnson, 41 skill badges
  Daniel Lopez, 34 skill badges
These fourth graders were appointed as Stride Mardi Gras Royalty, awarded 500 coins to their Stride accounts, treated to a lunch of their choice, and given a Stickbot Studio Pro Set! Congratulations!
Collins-Rhodes Elementary, Eight Mile
Collins-Rhodes Elementary has crowned their Stride Mardi Gras Queen, Ki'Nish Steele! 

Ki'Nish, a second grader, earned the most skill badges (42 total) during the school-wide Mardi Gras Madness Contest. Well done, Ki'Nish!
McIntosh Elementary School, McIntosh
McIntosh Elementary honored their Mardi Gras King, Queen and Court from the Krewe of the Timberwolves!
We are so proud of these McIntosh students for demonstrating outstanding work in Stride during the carnival season!
Ella Grant Elementary, Prichard
Ella Grant Elementary awarded new bicycles to their top students who competed in the school-wide Mardi Gras Break Contest, Feb. 24-Mar.5. Pictured from left to right are:
♦  King Jamar Campbell♦  Queen Miracle King♦  Princess/Runner Up Ramona Jones
Nice job! We know you worked hard to earn these awesome prizes!
George Hall Elementary, Mobile
Pictured above are exemplary Stride students from George Hall Elementary, who soared to the top of the rankings in their school-wide Stride Mardi Gras contest. Congratulations on a job well done!
Dr. Robert W. Gilliard Elementary, Mobile
Pictured above are Mardi Gras royalty representing Gilliard Elementary with the top Star Points earned in Stride during the contest period:
  Derrick Payne, Ms. Morrison's Fourth Grade: 116,958 Star Points 
  Laterrance Milton, Ms. Finch's Fifth Grade: 47,350 Star Points 
♦  Coreion Williams, Ms. Stacy's Third Grade: 13,723 Star Points  
O'Rourke Elementary, Mobile
Check out O'Rourke Elementary's top Stride users in their Mardi Gras attire! From left to right, the winners are:
 Madison Eagleson-Hardin, Third Grade
 Zee Abdulla, Fourth Grade
Congratulations, and way to get into the spirit of Mardi Gras!
Thank you to all Alabama educators for continuing to support your students in using Stride! We love to hear your success stories, contest highlights, and feedback on our program. Share your thoughts with me at the contact info below:
Amy Frith, editor
Stride Alabama e-News
Phone: 866.552.9192, ext. 1011

Thursday, March 16, 2017

What Are Your Success Stories?

The feedback I am getting as I visit schools is that students like Stride. That's good news, because if students like something, they will spend more time with it. You are sure to have some "success storied" to tell. "Success" can be defined in many different ways:

  • The student who understands academic concepts which were mysteries mere days ago.
  • The students who would rather work on Stride questions than watch TV, because of the engagement.
  • The parent with whom communication has been hard, but has become intrigued with Stride and the information the Parent Report provides.

We define success in different ways, but we each have stories to tell.

What are your stories? LTS, makers of Stride, is interested in hearing them. Send your thoughts, quotes from students, quotes from parents, pictures, and whatever constitutes the story you want to tell. You can send anything you wish directly to me. I will make sure the appropriate person gets them.

As a side-benefit, you can re-purpose your efforts. Take a picture and write a few lines, and you have also done all the work needed to get some newspaper coverage. While we often complain of how the media is slow to cover the good things which happen in school, those in the media say they don't know about those good things unless we tell them about it.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Enter to Win Our "College and Career Ready" Dream Board Contest!

"College and Career Ready"—how often do you use or hear these words as an educator? Have you ever paused to ask what "College and Career Ready" means to your students?
For students, those words should incite visions of their future: the college or university they hope to attend, the Fortune 500 company they want to work for, or perhaps the military branch in which they'd like to serve.
Let's Get Creative!
Stride™ is launching a nationwide contest that asks students to put their college and career dreams into pictures. Students will create their own "dream boards" on poster board to illustrate their future goals. Click here for details on designing a dream board!
Testing season is upon us, and we know this is a challenging time for students and teachers. Let's help students find perspective for why they continue to work hard in school and prepare for their tests—with the end goal of becoming College and Career Ready!
Contest Deadline is April 7, 2017!

How Can Your School Win?
  1. Share contest details with teachers and parents. Use this handy, printable take-home sheet.
  2. The national deadline for the contest is one month away: April 7, 2017. Set a deadline for your students to submit their dream board posters to you prior to this date. When all dream boards have been completed, find a central location in your school to take a picture(s) of your boards. You could choose to display them in a hallway, foyer or cafeteria; or have students hold them up in a group picture. 
  3. Submit pictures of your dream boards, along with a list of participating students, to no later than 5 p.m. CST on Friday, April 7, 2017. The winner will be announced the following week.
  4. The school with the best participation and most creativity will win national recognition, a beautiful plaque to display on your campus, student certificates for every participant, and other goodies from Stride and LTS Education Systems!
  5. If you plan to participate, please RSVP at the link below so we can stay in touch as your school's dream board campaign begins to take shape!
Count me in! I plan to participate.
Share Your Dreams!
Don't forget to share your school's dream boards on social media! Use hashtags: #CollegeAndCareerReady #WeAreTheFuture #DreamBoard #Stride

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

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.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Check Out Stride's New Games!

Check Out Stride's New Games!
Three exciting new titles to play over Spring Break!
From coast to coast, students are itching for Spring Break. Whether they're traveling or relaxing at home, your students can enjoy three new Stride games during their time off. These games are live in your Stride account today!

Add, Subtract, React!
Our Chemist has gone a little "mad scientist" and forgotten the formulas for his solutions. He needs assistance in Basic or Advanced mathematics. Once you've mastered making mixtures, you can move on to the Multiplied level of play.
  • Genre: Math (Basic and Advanced)
  • Hero: The Chemist's assistant (you!)
  • Objectives: The Chemist is looking for a chemical with a certain number. Use the funnel to add chemicals from the passing vials to your own vial. You have three tries to successfully complete the equation.

Rocket Kitty
Following in the footsteps of his famous ancestor F√©licette, the first cat in space, Rocket Kitty is ready to launch an expedition to the moon, Mars and beyond! 
  • Genre: Arcade
  • Hero: Rocket Kitty
  • Objectives: Answer questions correctly in Stride to launch. Collect the stars to boost your journey. Avoid the enemies as you loop and dive through the obstacles!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

PMA4 Starts March 6

The 4th and final Progress Monitoring Assessment begins Monday, March 6. The window ends on April 7.

You will probably want for your students to complete the Progress Monitoring Assessment as soon as possible. The sooner the assessment is complete, the sooner you have your reports.

What to do in preparation for PMA

  1. When students know that the data is important to you, it will be more important to them. Run the Class PMA report and talk briefly with each student about the percentage of correct answers on each subject during PMA1, PMA2, and PMA3. Asking them to predict a score for PMA4 is a possible motivator.
  2. Review test-taking strategies. Students should use scratch paper on the math problems. Trying to do calculations in one's head is a recipe for disaster. 

What to do after PMA

  1. Run the Class PMA Report. You will see a list of every standard with the percentage of correct answers. Which standards were low? How will you remediate these standards before the high-stakes test?
  2. Do you want to do small-group instruction based on a particularly important standard. Run the Class Grouping Report. For each standard, you will see who scored 70% or above, who scored below 50%, and who scored between 50% and 70%.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

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.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

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!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Motivational Ideas

I received this feature in an email from LTS. It highlights ideas one elementary school has implemented to motivate Stride use. Your school could be the next one featured.

Benignus Elementary is Bananas for Stride 

Benignus Logo

 Brrrrrr-ing on the Winter Frenzy at Benignus Elementary!

Nothing beats the winter fun of a good old-fashioned snowball fight!  Benignus Elementary in Spring, TX (Klein ISD knows this to be true. That’s why for their “Winter Frenzy” school-wide Stride contest, the Top 100 students got to toss some snow on February 20!
Students were a bit confused at first, since there was no snow on the ground. However, Benignus staff used chilled, felt balls for “snowballs.” According to Holly Mason, Assistant Principal at Benignus Elementary“The kids loved it! It was so much fun!”
groupA[1]      groupB
    ………… actionA[1]      actionB[1]

Learning Fun All Year Long

Benignus has been extremely creative with their school-wide Stride contests this year. In November, they held a “Turkey Trot” contest, with the top primary and secondary class winners each receiving spirit sticks and winning a spotlight on the school-wide video announcements.
Over winter break, Benignus students competed in the “Snowflake Showdown.” This time, the winning class got to host the school-wide video announcements from their classroom, and topped off their victory with a popcorn party.
We look forward to finding out what contests they will run this spring! Thank you for sharing these great contest ideas!

Weekly Incentives Motivate Students

Weekly incentives are also very successful at Benignus Elementary. On the “Stride Wall” pictured here, the Reading Specialist highlights the top class from each grade level for the week (based on Stride Reading performance).
beningus pic stitch “Stride is hands-down the most user friendly program I have ever encountered.  The designers seem to have taken the time to see every possible challenge or question encountered by teachers.  They have created a program that fits seamlessly into our curriculum and classrooms.  Students learn while having fun, and teachers can administer prescriptive lessons or glean priceless data.” - Dede Dietzman, 1st grade Teacher, Benignus Elementary

Getting Ready for STAAR Testing

What are your strategies for using Stride to help prepare for the STAAR tests this year?
Holly Mason, M.Ed., Assistant Principal at Benignus Elementary, reports:
“As testing has gotten closer, teachers are writing TEKS-aligned quizzes and assessments. Based on in-class formative and summative assessments, teachers are also assigning specific skills in Stride to spiral back to and assist with TEKS/skill mastery.”

We Welcome Your School’s Contributions.

The everyday strides that your students and teachers are making in the classroom are the very reason Stride exists! Your ideas and achievements help us build a better program.