Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Happy Holidays from Alabama Stride

Good "Stride-ings" to You this Holiday Season!

We are quickly approaching the glorious holiday season and a much-anticipated winter break for students and educators. Hooray! 

We want to remind you that Stride will continue to be available to your students over the holidays to help keep skills sharp through engaging, game-based learning.
  • Students may use their login codes to access Stride online, 24/7, from any internet connection. 
  • Now is the perfect time to create a Holiday Contest, so students can compete over the break. Need a refresher on creating contests? Click here.
  • Send us your Holiday Contest ideas, so we can feature your students and staff in an upcoming newsletter!

Iola Roberts Elementary Presents "Zero Period" for RTI

Iola Roberts Elementary in Pell City, AL, has designed a new approach to Response to Intervention that incorporates Stride's video lessons, customized printable resources, and quizzes.
Cheryl Black, a third grade teacher, tells us: “Zero Period” is a program in the mornings where students can work on concepts that have not yet been mastered. This is time set aside three days a week to assist students who are struggling or need individual attention. "
Whole Group and Individualized Instruction 
Cheryl uses Class Summary Reports and her Stride teacher dashboard to identify which concepts should be addressed in a whole-group mini lesson, and which ones should be assigned individually.
"If I notice that multiple students are struggling with patterns, I can click on the videos taband search this topic to bring up all related videos on the subject. By skimming the list, I can see which topic supports the standards I am focusing on." 

Cheryl Black uses Stride video lessons on the whiteboard for whole-group instruction.
Rewarding Hard Work with Fun
The printable instructional resources that are tailored for each student are another tool for Zero Period. Cheryl believes the detailed lessons and examples provided are useful for teachers, students, and parents alike. 
"Additionally, I can use StrideXChange to assign videos and quizzes to individual students on concepts that I have identified on their customized report as weak areas. I like having the option to require the student to review these items before proceeding to other work in Stride. This provides students with the opportunity to earn additional coins for games and rewards them for participating in Zero Period."  Below: Third graders work hard in Stride.
"I have found the more I use Stride, the more I learn about what the program has to offer our students," says Cheryl. "The teachers and students at Iola appreciate the support we receive from Stride to ensure that our students meet grade level expectations at the end of each year."  
Thank you to Cheryl Black, Iola Roberts Elementary, and CLAS Academic Specialist Rhonda Lewis, for sharing your story!  
Do you have a Stride success story or implementation design to share?
We would love the opportunity to highlight your students and staff in a future newsletter. 
Contact Amy Frith
 at afrith@fueleducation.com
Happy Holidays from the Stride and Fuel Education team!
Be sure to follow @AlabamaStride on Facebook and Twitter!

Monday, November 20, 2017

What Do Games Have To Do With Standards-Based Math Practice

Can games improve learning math and attitude towards math? This infographic gives some insight.

How Game-based Learning Can Support Strong Mathematical Practices Infographic
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

Friday, November 17, 2017

How to Change the Stride Curriculum

You can change the curriculum for the entire class or an individual student. By default, all students receive Stride 360 Adaptive Engine. You may want to change the curriculum to work on only specific skills. Special education teachers especially like this feature. A student who is performing significantly below grade level can be assigned specific skills even if those skills are from a lower grade level.

As you approach the spring high-stakes test, you may want to change the curriculum to the middle setting--Begin and remain at the class grade level.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Stride Science Curriculum Update

Stride Science Curriculum Update
Stride will be implementing updates to our Science curriculum for Alabama in grades 3-8.  All Science curriculum will now be directly aligned to the Alabama Science Standards, including newly added skills. This means more relevant content to better support our students. 
Please see below for a full explanation of these updates:
  • For these updates to take effect, the students’ current Science progress will be cleared.  They will then start over with the updated curriculum.  
  • For the students to have maximum grade level exposure, Science will not be a part of the adaptive engine. 
  • In lieu of the Progress Monitoring Assessment, teachers will be able to take advantage ofStride’s Quiz Builder feature to create Science assessments for their students.
We are very excited about these improvements in our Science curriculum for Alabama and look forward to continuing to support our educators and students. Contact Stride Customer Support at 866.552.9192, ext. 2, or support@LTSed.com.

Note: Stride Science will be temporarily unavailable from November 17th - November 22nd as we implement these updates. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Operating Contests During Holidays

You have the ability to set up a "contest" at any time. The reason the topic surfaces now is the opportunity to motivate student participation in Stride during extended holidays.

I found a video which explains how to do it, and does so in less than 3 minutes.

Contest winners are determined by the number of "Star Points" earned during the contest.

So what's the difference between "Coins" and "Star Points"? Glad you asked.

"Star Points" are earned when the students play the games. The better they perform on the games, the more Star Points they earn. "Coins" are earned as they answer questions.

A contest can be established at the school level, or a teacher can schedule one for his/her KCC. As with many things, there are upsides and downsides. Will students have parents or older siblings answer questions for them in order to earn coins? Will they have others play the games for them to earn Star Points? How could you present a contest in a way that would minimize the motivation to try to "beat the system"? Good questions!

If you decide to run a contest, remember that what you are doing is something LTS sees as being newsworthy, so by all means seize the opportunity for some publicity for your school. That type of publicity also plays well for the state as a whole when it comes time to renew the grant. You can always send this type of information to me.

Friday, November 10, 2017

A Little Thing But a Big Thing (for administrators and other school contacts)

Probably the biggest issue we face at the beginning of each year is being sure the correct boxes are checked on the "Curriculum" tab for each class. If a class is self-contained, checking the box for each subject is the answer.

When students change classes and may have one KCC for math, another for reading, a third for science, etc., it becomes important to check only the box for that subject.

Invariably, we run into situation where too many subjects have been checked. We see situations like students winding up taking both math and reading PMA in the KCC for their math class. The reports become less meaningful.

The only way to be sure each class had the right boxes checked was to go class-by-class and look at the Curriculum tab. Lots of mouse clicks, especially when trying to keep up with all classes in the county.

A new field

If you have administrative access, starting now, you will see a new field when you click the "Class Manager" tab. That field shows what subjects have been checked for each class.

Now, at the school level, looking at that one page gives you the subjects selected for every class at a glance. Many fewer mouse clicks!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

New Look for "Settings" Tab

Teachers will notice a different look when clicking the "Settings" tab.

Everything that was there before is still there, only now you don't have to scroll. Menu items now display across the top.

Remember scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page to change your password? Now, it's a click away on the "Class Info" menu.

You'll have no difficulty with the new look. However, when you are used to one look, a different appearance comes as a surprise.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


One thousand, seven hundred and twenty-seven...

That's how many PMAs were completed by Calhoun County students as of 10:00 AM on the second day of the PMA window.

Completing PMA within the first few days of the window offers several advantages:
  1. You can take advantage of the Quiz Builder, Adaptive Engine (grades K-8), and changing the curriculum to just the standards you are focusing on right now.
  2. You can give students their results and celebrate successes. When you run the Class PMA Report, you will see the overall score for each student in Math and Reading. The score from PMA1 and PMA2 appear side-by-side. You'll be able to see at a glance which students made big gains and which students did not progress.
  3. From that same Class PMA Report, you can look at performance standard-by-standard. What was something you thought you taught well but the scores did not reflect that? You will be able to see what you may want to reteach. If you want to do small group instruction based on any standard, run the Student Grouping Report. Choose the appropriate time frame and watch the software divide the students into three groups based on how well they have performed on that standard.

Do you have something neat happening at your school you would like to spotlight?

Let me know. Send photos and descriptions of what's happening. As I visit your school, be sure to direct me to the things you would like to see featured.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Giving the Same Quiz to Multiple Classes

Jane is a 7th grade math teacher. She has 5 classes of 7th grade math (5 different KCC numbers.) Jane creates a quiz and assigns it to the students in one class. She wants, however, for the students in the other 4 classes to be assigned that quiz as well. How does she do this?

In essence, Jane would share the quizzes with herself.

On the Quiz Builder tab, Jane would be sure to check the "Share Box."

Next, Jane would log into another class to whom she wanted to assign the quiz. On the Quiz Builder tab, she would see a list quizzes already assigned to that class. She will also see the blue "Shared Quizzes" button. When she clicks on that button, she sees all of the quizzes marked for sharing.

Jane clicks "Copy" to add the quiz to this class.

At this point, Jane can make changes to the quiz. In addition to assigning it to the appropriate students, she could add or delete questions if she wanted to make the quiz for this class slightly different.

Jane would repeat this process, logging into each class to which she wanted to assign this quiz.

To keep the list of shared quizzes from becoming overly large over time, she could log into the original class and unclick the "Share" check box.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Progress Monitoring Assessment Window Extended Through Tuesday

I received word on Friday that the final day for PMA 1 has been extended until Tuesday, October 24. For schools that still have students yet to take PMA, this extra two days provides an unexpected opportunity. Remember, PMA is given in K-8th grade. There is no PMA for Algebra 1, Geometry, etc.

For students who have started the first PMA

Here is an important point to understand about PMA. When the PMA period ends, it a student has not yet begun PMA, he or she is out of luck. However, if the student has started PMA, the program allows that student to finish even after the PMA period is over.

What that means is that the critical thing is to have any student who has not started PMA to get at least one question answered by Tuesday. Then, you can finish...hopefully very soon.

Why the whole thing should be a non-issue

Many of you are going to be saying, "PMA 1? Didn't we do that over a month ago?"

Yes, you did...or at least most did. Since PMA is automatically served up to students when they log in, the program takes care of that requirement for you.

PMA takes about 30 minutes for Reading and 30 minutes for Math. The only way for a student not to have completed PMA would be for the student to have used Stride less than an hour cumulatively between September 4 and now.

In many classrooms, PMA started September 4 and students had completed it by September 5. The design of the grant is for Stride to be use extensively.

The next PMA starts November 6.

Best practice

Best practice is to look at the PMA windows and within the school set a fairly narrow window during which your school will administer PMA. For schools which use the program daily, this part takes care of itself.

Since a student must complete PMA before doing any other work in the program, a student who has not completed PMA would not get a teacher-made Quiz Builders, the Stride Adaptive engines, or questions geared to teacher-selected standards. So, doing PMA early allows teachers to give feedback and make decisions about instructions based on overall performance on various standards.

If your students are still doing PMA 1,here is a suggested plan:

  • Schedule time to complete PMA 1 What gets scheduled gets done.
  • As soon as the last students completes PMA 1, look at the Class PMA Report. Examine the standards you have taught but yet students performed poorly. Decide which ones you may want to reteach between now and November 6. 
  • Let students know how they performed on PMA 1. The Class PMA Report gives you this information.
  • When you complete PMA 2, look especially at the standards you retaught to see what improvement was made.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Are You Using Quiz Builder?

Utilizing Quiz Builder

Have you tried using Quiz Builder yet?  Here’s a guide on how to best implement this feature!
The Ease of Building Quizzes
Stride makes it easy to build quizzes for your students.  All you have to do is select the standards you’d like to test on and the number of questions per standard you’d like on the quiz.  You always have the option to view our bank of quiz questions and select the specific ones you’d like, too.  This flexibility makes Quiz Builder simple to use but also gives you autonomy within the program.
Quiz Options
Quizzes can be given during school hours or at home, online or in paper form.  You can choose to have students take a quiz during class using our proctoring options, or you can assign quizzes as homework by allowing the quiz to be taken outside of school hours.   Quizzes are also easily printed, so you can hand out a paper version of the test if the computer lab is unavailable.

Pre- and Post- Testing
Quiz Builder has a cloning option, which would allow you to give an identical quiz twice.  Reports compare the two quizzes, showing growth from the first quiz to the second.  Teachers can use this feature at the beginning and end of a learning module to measure understanding going into and coming out of the lessons.
More Instruction
You can always find more information about using Quiz Builder in our Customer Support Gallery!  You’ll find the password to access the gallery under Help & Advice within your login.
Stay Connected
Please stay connected with us through social media!  We always love seeing pictures of and hearing stories about your students.  

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Progressing Through PMA

The first Progress Monitoring Assessment ends October 13.

You have the ability to run a report on PMA for both 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.

You will notice that the graph is the first page of almost two-dozen pages of data. You can click through those graphs and tables to see data for each class and data for each grade level.

My recommendation would be to share with any given teacher the data for that teacher's class and the average for the grade level as a whole. That way, each teacher gets an idea where he or stands in relationship to the rest of the pack without ranking teachers. Richard Defoor addresses this point in his PLC seminars.

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.

(You will notice the graphs show Math, reading, and Science. You will have only Math and Reading.)

Monday, October 2, 2017

October is National Principal's Month

This video was created by a student at New Milford High School when she learned that her principal, Eric Sheniger, was leaving his position as principal. A high school noted for its accomplishments with technology, this "gift" to her exiting principal illustrates how technology can be used as a tool to foster creativity, communicate with passion, and invoke emotion in others.

The creator of this video as writes in the notes which accompany it on YouTube,:

"AKA how my high school principal inspired the leader hiding inside a frightened freshman girl You'll be sorely missed, sir; I couldn't thank you enough for everything you've done for me."

There is perhaps no better time than October, National Principal's Month, to share this moving video.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Repurposing Contests

School years run in cycles. Many of the same activities repeat annually at the same time. If you have been using the Contest feature of Stride and want to repeat some of the same contests each year, here's a tip.

Rather than create a new contest, simply change the dates on the ones you already have.

Click the "Edit" button. Enter a new start date and end date. Your new contest is ready! In a couple of minutes, you can have all of your contests ready for the new year.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Study Shows Positive Impact of Stride on ACT Aspire Scores

The Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS) announced the results of a research study related related to Stride. The study, conducted by Auburn University, measured the impact of Stride on ACT Aspire Results.

Here are the key findings:

  1. Stride students overall improved math benchmark pass rates by 15% compared to their demographically matched peers who improved pass rate by 8%. 
  2. For reading benchmarks, Stride students improved by 10% whereas their peers showed no statistically significant change. 
  3. Economically disadvantaged Stride students improved math pass rate by 23% whereas their peers showed no statistically significant change. 
  4. Students using Stride who are both African-American and economically disadvantaged improved at a greater rate than their peers for math pass rate (23% vs. 10%) and reading pass rate (18% vs. 13%). 
  5. Students in Special Education who used Stride improved reading benchmark pass rate by 57% compared to an improvement of 33% by their matched peers. 

According to the research findings, “the results suggest that the Stride™ program has been successful during the 2015 and 2016 school years in improving academic achievement in targeted schools."

This finding is in accord with a data analysis of the program done in 2011-12 by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA) which found that students enrolled in the program ‘showed positive results in 8th Grade Math and Reading scores relative to their matched peers’.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

PMA Extended to October 20

Because of Hurricane Irma, the PMA window has been extended to October 20. Stride is a nationwide program, and many schools in the impacted areas are Stride users.

Truthfully, the end date of PMA shouldn't be an issue for any of our Calhoun County Schools. Best practice is for each school to set its own narrow window at the beginning of the national window. That way, you get your results quickly, can use the data immediately, and can take advantage of Quiz Builder and the Adaptive Engine.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Changing the Curriculum for Multiple Students

We all encounter times when one student needs something different from the rest of the class. That's why the Curriculum tab on Stride allows you to select a student and assign only the skills you desire for him or her.

What if you have several students in one class for whom you need to change the curriculum? You can certainly handle each one-at-a-time. But what if they all need the same skills? It would be nice to multi-select those students and let one change do for all.

Luckily, there is a way to multi-select students and change the curriculum:

  • Go to the Curriculum tab. 
  • Under the "I want to change the curriculum for," look below the radio buttons and find the two large, blue buttons. 
  • Click "Set & Assign Curriculum to Multiple Students at Once." (It won't matter whether the radio button is set to "The entire class" or "This individual student.")
  • On the next screen, you see two green buttons. Choose "Select Multiple Students." 

  • On the next screen, you see a drop-down that lets you put check marks beside the names of the students. 

  • On the right-hand side of the screen, choose "Include only the specific skill areas..." Continue to select from the desired folder, and begin choosing the needed skills.
  • You also saw another green button, the one about selecting groups. If you have several students who will probably all need the same skills as you move through the year. You can create a group and assign skills to the entire group at once.

In education, we have always wanted to differentiate for students. The logistics and time required get in the way of the best intentions. Being able to multi-select students and adjust their curriculum makes differentiation easier.

Friday, September 15, 2017

How to Know Who Still Needs PMA

For a teacher, it's easy to know which students have completed PMA and which have not. Just look at the "Class Roster" tab.

What if you are an administrator? How can you tell what students throughout the school still needs to complete PMA?

When an administrator logs in, the default is the "School Info" screen. The lower-case letters indicate classes which still have at least one student not finished with PMA. The first number in the parentheses indicates how many students have not finished. But how could you get a list of names of who those students are?

Finding the Names

  1. As you are looking at the "School Info" screen, click on the blue "Enrolled students" button in the upper right-hand corner. 
  2. On the next screen, click the blue "Download as Excel" button. 
  3.  The results will be a list of students sorted by grade level. Within each grade level, students are organized by KCC.  
  4. The "PMA 1" column will give you what you are looking for.

What colleagues do you have who are missing out on these posts? Encourage them to go to the blog one time and put their name in the email signup.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Your Picture Here

Do you have a Stride story to tell? What's working for you? What are students saying? What are parents saying?

I would like to hear your good news and share it in this space with others. You can send digital pictures and your story to me at this email address: Frank@FrankBuck.org

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Progress Monitoring Is Up and Going

If you teach students in the K-8 range, the Progress Monitoring Assessment has begun. When students log in, they automatically begin PMA questions just by clicking on the big coin. Each subject area requires around 30-45 minutes.

Don't worry if a student does not finish in one sitting. When the student logs in next time, PMA questions resume. Another good feature is that when students go home, PMA pauses. Students may use Stride Academy, but they receive the regular Stride Adaptive Engine questions. That way, students are under your supervision during PMA.

You will see who has finished PMA when you log into Stride and look at your Class Roster.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

No PMA for Science

PMA consists of tests in reading and math. There will be no science assessment this year.

Stride is in the process of examining the alignment between its Science curriculum and Alabama standards. During this process, there will be no Science PMA.

If you are an administrator, here is what you will see on the "Assessments" tab.

Notice that all of the selections are "grayed-out." You are not able to make any changes from the school level. You cannot turn off PMA. Furthermore, you cannot turn on PMA for Science even if you want to.

While we are talking about subjects...

Now is a good time for every teacher to look at the Curriculum tab to be sure everything is set correctly.

  • Which subjects should students work on in your class? Be sure those subjects are checked. Are your students finding they are missing a coin for a subject when they log into Stride?  The culprit will be what is checked on the Curriculum tab.
  • Do you have the "F.A.S.T. 360 Adaptive Engine" checked? That's going to be the place you generally want your students to be.
  • Do you have a student with some special needs? In the "I want to change the curriculum for" section, bullet "This individual student" and choose the student from the drop-down list. Now, you can check the appropriate subjects for that student. If you only want the student to work on certain standards, bullet "Include only the specific skill areas that I choose." Click "Choose Skills" and start to drill down to the skills you want that student to have. Don't forget to return to this spot and change those skills at the appropriate time.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Student Shop:An Overview

The Stride Shop has been a part of the program for a year. It is an optional component. Students will not even see the Stride Shop as a menu item unless the school or teacher has added items to the Stride Shop.

Are You Using Learning Earnings?

The Stride Shop is very similar to Learning Earnings. In fact, they are so similar they would duplicate each other.

If your school is using Learning Earnings, here's my suggestions:

Put exactly one item in the Stride Shop...a certain number of coins earned allows the student to buy a certain number of Learning Earnings Bucks. The school can decide on what those coin amounts and LE Bucks would be.

This way, the Stride Shop feeds into Learning Earnings and strengthens that program. At the same time, students have one more reason to use Stride...earn coins to buy Learning Earnings Bucks.

If You Are Not Using Learning Earnings

If you are not using Learning Earnings, read through the rest of the post. It's sort of like Amazon for students! Many older students are not motivated by the games. However, as a teacher or school, you can add items to the Stride Shop that appeal to them.

The Stride Shop allows the students an additional way to spend coins. They can play game or they can spend them in the Stride Shop.

Our coin-based rewards system + your prizes =
Your Student Shop is Open For Business!
We love your spirit of rewarding students' hard work.  So we've created a place for teachers to incentivize learning with more options than games.  Welcome to your very own Student Shop, your online marketplace for classroom rewards!  Stock your Student Shop with prizes like these examples*, set the parameters for students to earn each reward, and elevate the learning excitement!
*These are examples only.  Prizes and rewards must be furnished by teachers/staff, parents, school community partners, etc., and are not provided by LTS/Stride. 
Here's How to Get Started:
Click on the New "Student Shop" tab
on your Teacher Dashboard.

There you'll see the Quick Start Menu for your Student Shop -- and it's as easy as it looks!  Since you are brand-new to this, you'll likely want to start with "Create a new product." 
Creating a new product will prompt you for  the details you need to enter about an item, in order to add it to your Shop.  Decide on a Coin Cost, a Limit per student, DescriptionUpload an Image and more!  You can go back andEdit a Product anytime you like.  Here's an example:
Soon, you'll have a collection of rewards to jumpstart student usage in Stride!  To view your product catalog, select the option for "Manage Products."  See how nicely organized:
The Student Shop will track your new orders each day, and tabulate your Order History for easy reference.  You can also set up Email Alerts to notify you when students place orders or when an item is out of stock.  Soon you'll begin to see which prizes are most popular, so you can add inventory!
Once you deliver a prize to a student, click on the hyperlinked status for "Delivered?"  A pop-up message from Stridelogin.com will prompt you to change the order status to "Fulfilled" (by selecting OK).
The Student Shop allows you the flexibility to turn off Permissions for individual students who may not be in good standing to participate. Once they've earned back that privilege, you can easily turn their permissions back on.
As soon as you have one (1) item added to your Shop, your students will be able to access the Student Shop on their Stride interface.  Instruct them to look for the "Shop" menu option.
The Student Shop is active in your Stride account today!
If for any reason, your school or district wishes to DISABLE the Student Shop functionality, your Stride Administrator may contact Customer Support at support@LTSed.com or 1.866.552.9192.
Be a Featured Contributor!  
We simply cannot wait to hear about the rewards you are offering, and your students' participation. Email Amy Frith, e-News editor, to share your ideas for the Student Store. We will publish a list of the best in our next issue!