Thursday, February 23, 2017

Panda Diplomacy

Piedmont Elementary, AL
Using Integrated Reading
Use a cross-curricular digital reading passage (good news you have them with Classworks!) to incorporate a current event into your lesson plan.

Panda Diplomacy
This week the United States said goodbye to Bao Bao, a popular giant panda at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Bao Bao is headed to her new home in China.


To incorporate this current event into your reading lesson, use Integrated Reading passage: 7-7 I Social Studies 1070L- Panda Diplomacy.

News articles that discuss Bao Bao
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/10/20/498679004/bye-bye-bao-bao-popular-giant-panda-heads-to-china-this-winter

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/bao-bao-the-national-zoos-giant-panda-heads-to-china/2017/02/21/48550aee-f838-11e6-bf01-d47f8cf9b643_story.html?utm_term=.189761c6901f

Lesson Ideas
Conduct a close read using the passage. For tips on conducting a close read try this or this.

Have students research and write about (or draw if you have younger students):
  • Interesting facts about where panda diplomacy began and how it relates to Bao Bao. 
  • What is China’s giant panda breeding program and why is it important? 
  • Fun facts about the four U.S. zoos that house giant pandas. What other interesting animals do they house? 
  • Other gestures of panda diplomacy that have been made toward the U.S.
Calling all student artists! Have you entered your students into our t-shirt design contest? Read all about it and submit their designs!


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Calling All-Star Student Artists!


The Classworks All-Star contest is underway. We hope your students are busy mastering their Classworks activities.

New this year: Design the 2017 All-Star T-shirt! 
Encourage student creativity! Have students illustrate what success means to them. We’ll pick a winning design to feature on this year’s All-Star t-shirt.

How To Enter

Download or print the artwork entry forms for your students. Students can create artwork digitally or print the entry form and draw, paint, or color their t-shirt design. All illustrations must be entered using the entry form. Entry forms will be accepted through March 17, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. ET.


We'll announce the winning design March 24, 2017 on Ultimate Updates and via Twitter and Facebook.  

Ideas for Inspiration
To get your students thinking creatively, have them brainstorm using the ideas below. Students can use their ideas to craft their drawing.
  • What do I want to be when I grow up?
  • What makes me successful in school? 
  • How does it feel when I am successful?
  • How do my teachers and/or parents help me achieve success?
  • When I am an adult success will look like....


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Let's Celebrate Your All-Star Students! ⭐️🎉




The Classworks All-Star contest is here! We're celebrating the 500 students with the highest time-on-task and 70%+ mastery.

How do students win?
Students with the highest time-on-task and greater than 70% mastery during the spring semester (January 1 - March 31) are eligible to win one of 500 All-Star t-shirts.

Winning students will be announced the week of April 7, 2017.

We're rewarding All-Star teachers, too! 
Post photos of your winning student(s) in their All-Star t-shirts to the Classworks Facebook page or on Twitter (be sure to include @Classworksweb in your tweet) for a chance to win one of ten-$50 Amazon gift cards. 


The All-Star contest is a great way to motivate and incentivize students! Create your own All-Star mini-contests for your class or grade level. 

A new way for students to win this year! 
We're celebrating student creativity! Next week's Ultimate Update will announce another super fun way students can win the contest -- stay tuned!  

See contest details and rules at action.classworks.com! 





Thursday, February 2, 2017

What's New and Coming Soon to Classworks! 📣

WHAT’S NEW


Read Aloud Support

Read aloud support is now available for Classworks assessments and the Integrated Reading questions. Students can have the questions and answer choices read aloud to them.


Puffin Academy
Use Classworks instruction on iPads! Classworks activities can be launched on iPads and tablets using Puffin Academy. Learn more about using Puffin Academy here.


WHAT’S COMING (Spring 2017)

Individualized Learning Assessment Results View and Filter
An at-a-glance view of your students’ Individualized Learning progress. Easily see which students you need to take action on and what action you need to take. Who needs Individualized Learning Paths (ILPs) created? Who has new test data? See the information and take action from the Individualized Learning tab.

Plus, view each student’s assessment results in chronological order and the results of partner assessments (STAR®
, MAP®, Performance Series®, ACT® Aspire™).

Renaissance® Updates

Assign Next Level ILP for STAR
Quickly assign the next level ILP for students based on their STAR assessment data. Did your student complete a learning path for STAR Reading progression 100 - 149? Select the Assign Next button to assign STAR Reading 150 - 199.

STAR Early Literacy
Use STAR Early Literacy scores to create ILPs for students within the Individualized Learning tab just like you do for the other STAR assessments!

P.S. Happy February! #FBF to our Educate and Celebrate in February Ultimate Update with ideas for incorporating President’s Day and Black History Month into your lesson plans.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Customer Spotlight: Determined Teachers, Quality Instruction = Success!

“Classworks has had an important role in closing
achievement gaps. Webb Elementary has been able to increase student achievement and ACT Aspire test scores over the past three years! ...Giving our teachers access to quality digital instruction has helped tremendously.” 

Carol Wells, Webb Elementary Instructional Coach


Webb Elementary (WES) achieved the most gains in their district during the 2014 - 2015 school year. A remarkable achievement for a school that was named an Alabama Focus School just one year prior! WES was also awarded the CLAS Banner School Award for growth in academic performance! The award recognizes schools with outstanding educational programs that demonstrate proven success. 

WES shares how the commitment of their educators paired with quality resources lead to success. 


The Plan
“First, all students are given a Classworks assessment to find areas of weakness. Then, we use Classworks instruction to strengthen the specific skills,” explains Carol Wells, Webb Elementary instructional coach.

All students at WES work on Classworks at least one class period each week. Students with skill deficits are given additional class time to work in Classworks. “The right students receiving the right amount and type of instruction is crucial. Classworks takes out the guesswork because it uses their individual data to give them exactly what they need.” 


The Result
Using this approach, Webb Elementary experienced tremendous outcomes including their recognition as a CLAS Banner School! 

Success! Spring 2015 Test Scores
All students with greater than three hours of time-on-task in Classworks improved their spring reading and math test scores!
  • Math
    • Math scores improved 36%! 
    • 56% of students scored on or above grade level in the spring compared to 20% in the fall.
  • Reading
    • Reading scores improved by 33%!
    • 58% of students scored on or above grade level in the spring compared to 25% in the fall. 
Success! ACT Aspire
“Once we saw the progress made on the spring assessment we were confident this would translate to the 2014 - 2015 ACT Aspire scores,” says Principal Marsha Shelley. “ We were happy to be right!”

Houston County School District and Webb Elementary experienced growth on their ACT Aspire scores when compared to the prior year, despite the fact that the state of Alabama fell flat.

“Classworks is woven into the fabric of our district now. We are able to successfully intervene for students in need of additional support and provide enrichment to those who master the necessary grade-level skills. It works!" Cas Haddock, District Assessment Coordinator, Houston County Schools
Read the full success story and find out how WES is now using grade-level reading and math instruction to keep the momentum going!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Congrats Digital Learning Grant Winners! 🎉🏅

And the 2016 Classworks Digital Learning Grant winners are...

Kasey Liner, Chastain Road Elementary,
Pickens County Schools, SC





"Classworks helps differentiate learning for each student and their individual needs. I love how Classworks can analyze strengths and weaknesses for each of my students. The program engages my students and they often complain when their sessions are over: “Just a few more minutes, Mrs. Liner?” Classworks helps me be an effective technology teacher that makes a difference! 

My goal is to have my classroom mimic the learning environment provided in flexible seating classrooms. I am excited about the possibility to increase student achievement with devices."


Robert Garcia, Crownover Middle School
Denton ISD, TX





"I have been using Classworks for over 5 years now, and each year it is my goal to improve and refine the use of it. Our students have demonstrated significant improvements through the use of Classworks.

I partner with our reading teachers once a week to create collaborative lessons used to co-
teach, and we use Classworks to reinforce these lessons. We divide up the Chromebooks from our school cart to review the Classworks lessons. We have the students demonstrate their knowledge through the quizzes and games. It has been a true team effort to coordinate and plan this endeavor.

Our goal is to make sure that our students have the ability to use Classworks at least once a week...with a Classworks outdoor technology learning space."


Hector Baeza, C.A. Donehoo Elementary
Gadsden City Schools, AL




"Our intervention team utilizes Renaissance STAR reports to pinpoint the math and reading needs of students identified for Tier III support. The team has Classworks reading and math lessons available for students. Utilizing these lessons our team has been able to successfully narrow the gaps in our students learning. We have had amazing results moving students out of Tier III.

STAR scaled scores have increased between .7 to .9 year's growth in one semester for each grade level. We recently had one student jump 200 points in reading. We have one computer lab and almost each grade level has an iPad cart that they share. We need additional classroom computers. Students have been asking for more computer time so they can get on Classworks and continue to improve their STAR performance!"


The Digital Learning Grant 
We launched the grant in 2015–$2,500 each to three teachers to purchase classroom technology–and we're thrilled about the overwhelming response! Thank you to all who submitted for sharing how you're using Classworks now and the innovation you have planned.

Be sure to follow us on social media to find out when the application window opens for the 2017 Digital Learning Grant!













Thursday, January 5, 2017

Stay Warm and Catch Up With Our Top 5! ☕

Happy New Year! 

2017 is off to an exciting start! We're planning for our Winter Professional Development (sessions kick off January 24th), and reviewing your Digital Learning Grant applications! Winners will be announced here next week. Plus, we've got snow in our forecast (pretty exciting for us down south).

While you're staying warm and safe in the winter weather, take a look at our top 5 blog posts!

Ultimate Updates 2016 Top 5


5. Four Steps to Achieve Rigor in Your Lesson Plans
Practical ways to step up your lesson planning game. Rigor doesn't have to equal more work. It's about choosing the right tasks. 

4. Create An Optimal Learning Environment for Each Student! 
Group students, provide learning paths, and set goals to create a learning environment that meets all of your students' needs. 

3. Teach Paired Passages
A sample lesson plan and some pro tips to promote deep reading comprehension with digital paired passages. 

2. How Do You Know? Help Students Build Math Justifications
For students, using math language and putting understanding into words can be difficult. Help your students build justifications -- videos and a sample lesson plan are included. 

1. Content is Key: Transform with Technology
Devices are useless without the right educational content. Watch how one school successfully weaves technology into classroom learning using quality instruction. 


With 40 posts in 2016 alone, it was hard to choose! Need ideas on how to incentivize students, use math problem-solving activities with kindergarteners, or add a micro-credential to your teacher evaluation artifacts? Check out some of our other 2016 Ultimate Updates, and be sure to sign up!