Friday, January 6, 2017

Opportunity for Alarm or Opportunity to Teach

Last year, several schools contacted me about students figuring out how they can award themselves coins...or at least they think they can.

These students are not the first, nor will they be the last, to look for a way to "beat the system." In some cases, they will be successful. This isn't one of them.

Before you watch the video LTS prepared, you need to understand something that is true of any site. In fact, let's give it a try on this site right now:

  1. Right-click anywhere on the screen. 
  2. From the menu which appears, select "Inspect Element."
  3. Notice the box which appears? Right click in that box and select "Edit as html." 

That's what students are doing and making changes they think are going to permanent.

Now, let's return the screen to normal. At the right-hand side of that gray bar is an "x" where you can close the box. Let's do that.

As a teacher, here is what you need to know, what you may wish to do, and the opportunity which exists to turn curiosity about beating the system into curiosity about how to begin writing programs.

  1. Eventually, a student is going to right-click and click "Inspect Element" just in the course of trying to do something else. It's going to happen. When it does, you will know how to simply close the box.
  2. If the practice of trying to change the coin balance is wide-spread, do a demo of it for the students. Show the students how the html code can be changed, but only changed temporarily. In the process, they are learning just a little about html code.
  3. Following-up on #2, learning some html code is a must for kids today, and for all practical purposes, all of us. Seize the opportunity to make this a teachable moment. 

Anybody who blogs has to know how to adjust the width of pictures or be able to click a picture and have it hyperlinked to a site rather than opening a larger picture of the picture. Take a look at this:  

I went through the whole set videos myself (easy to do in one sitting), and forwarded the link to a superintendent who expressed an interest in introducing middle school students in her system to coding. The video set is wonderful, and is usable probably as early as third grade. With a start date of December 5, there is time to plan how it could be used in your school.

Here is the video which shows you what students have been doing on the Stride site. Remember that it's not just Stride.The right-click>Inspect element routine is present on any site.

To kids, it looks like beating the system (but they're really not). To you, it may just look like the teachable moment!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Progress Monitoring Starts January 9

The third Progress Monitoring period begins Monday, January 9th. It runs through February 10th. Of course, no teachers should ever have to worry about when the PMA period ends. Many students will have completed PMA by the end of the first week. Progress Monitoring takes only about 30 minutes per subject to complete.

As a teacher, you can always look at the Class Roster to see who has completed PMA. A capital "M" means that student has completed PMA in math. A lower-case "m" means the student has begun the PMA. When you see "MR" (or "MRS" for grade levels that have science) up and down the page, you are finished.

At the administrative level, the default screen you see when logging in shows you the progress each class is making towards completing PMA.

A capital letter means all students have completed PMA in that subject. A lower-case letter means there is more to do. In parentheses, you see how many students are in progress followed by how many students have completed PMA in that subject. When you see all capital letters up and down the page, your school has completed progress monitoring.

When we get well into the PMA period and many students have not completed it, it tells us one thing...that class is not using the program. Since Stride automatically serves up PMA questions until PMA is complete, if a student has not completed PMA, he or she has also not done any other work in the program during school hours.

If you do not already have it on the calendar, the final PMA for this school year is March 6th through April 7th.