Thursday, April 13, 2017

New Features Coming this Fall!

We aren’t trying to rush your summer vacation! But, when you get back you’ll find exciting new features available in Classworks. Here’s a sneak peek. Don’t worry! We'll give you more details as the new enhancements become available.

Improved Individualized Learning Paths (ILPs) Using Restructured Units

Classworks instructional units are being restructured to ensure a tighter alignment to skills. Students will not see duplicate activities in a unit of instruction.

State Standards Alignments

It will be easier than ever for teachers to find and create instruction by state standards. The Instruction, Classes and Assessment tabs within Classworks will be optimized to focus on creating assignments using state standards with the newly restructured units. 

Renaissance Growth Integration
Renaissance has a new Growth API! Classworks is excited to be the first partner to work with them to integrate our instruction using the new API. This will streamline how ILPs work using STAR assessment data.

  • An effort is underway to align Classworks instruction to Renaissance Universal Skills. 
  • Once enabled, the Renaissance Growth Integration will automatically create ILPs in Classworks based on the Renaissance Learning Continuum and Classworks skills mapping. 
  • You will not need to generate ILPs using the “Create ILP” button in Classworks. 
  • The change is seamless for students. They will still see their learning paths under Assignments Just for Me. 
  • Outcomes from the Classworks skills will be reported back to Renaissance Learning Growth API for further skills refinement.
A New Look for Classworks Activities
We’ve started re-designing our activities! As activities are updated, they will automatically update in the system. The update will be seamless to you.

In addition to the more modern look, new activities will be responsive, adapting to your screen size. Plus: 
  • All activities will be read aloud
  • Student hints will be available 
  • Easy navigation within the instruction
  • Designed using HTML 
  • Font will be larger, easier to read 

Do you know about the new enhancements in Classworks available now? Find out here.

To make sure you're prepared, we'll provide ongoing updates via live events, blog posts, customer support, and your implementation manager during the next few months.  

Thursday, April 6, 2017

And the Winners Are...👏 👕🏆


Congratulations T-Shirt Design Contest Winners!

This year students submitted original artwork as part of the contest. The winning design will be featured on the All-Star t-shirt. 

Thank you for the amazing submissions! We couldn't pick just one! The two student winners are: 


Congratulations All-Star Contest Winners!

Congratulations to all of the hardworking students who increased their time-on-task and mastery! Special congrats to the 500 students with the highest time-on-task and greater than 70% master for the contest period. See the winning schools! 

The principal at each winning school will receive an email with the All-Star students' names. All-Star t-shirts are on the way! Learn more. 

Photo Contest for Teachers
Teachers, you still have a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card! 

Post a photo 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). The ten photos with the most likes, favorites, or retweets win $50 gift cards (see contest rules). Post your photos by Friday, May 5, 2017.

Be sure to subscribe to updates.classworks.com to find out when our next contest starts! 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Better Together: Use Classworks and Your Assessment Data to Individualize! 🖥️

Last fall we streamlined how you individualize with Classworks using your assessment data. We're thrilled to hear how you're putting data to work more efficiently! 

Our video library and Resource Center contain several helpful videos in case you need a refresh.

Here are a few that can help!

Need some additional training or support? Live chat with us in Classworks or email support@classworks.com. 














Thursday, March 23, 2017

Facilitate Math Communication in Your Classroom

Happy #FlashbackFriday! Our guest teacher bloggers write some of our favorite posts, so we pulled one from the archives to reshare.

As you're giving students that last bit of math instruction before spring break, try this idea to strike up math communication in your classroom.


I Used Applied Math to Dig Deeper with My Students 


Mary Dark, Middle Grades Math Teacher
North Carolina


As a seventh-grade math teacher, I spend a lot of time creating lessons to foster math communication in my classroom. This week, instead of creating a lesson we used an Applied Mathematics investigative problem. I’m thrilled with how my students responded, and I didn’t have to create/Google it myself.

We are adding and subtracting integers. I chose Activity 7-17: Add and Subtract Numbers on a Number Line. The critique and precision problem gave my students context for positive and negative numbers.

What It Looked Like
Students found the halfway point between items that were found in or around the lake, based on the chart. They had to look at the halfway point between the rock ledge (-43 feet) and the foot bridge (36 feet).

This led us to a discussion about what positive and negative numbers mean. One of my students answered, “the lake is sea level.” When I asked her to elaborate she said, “Because the lake is at sea level, the elevation there is zero.”

Success!
Through more classroom discussion, my students grasped the idea of using "sea level" or zero to find the absolute value or the distance from zero with relation to each of these real world items.

Next, we used Classworks number line to show how to find the distance between a rock ledge and a foot bridge.

The Struggle Is Real! 
Looking at the investigative problem, students talked about their solving method compared to the ones in the problem, defended the correct solution using evidence, and explained the error made in the incorrect solution.

There was definitely some productive struggle taking place as they worked through the steps. This is one of the major benefits of these types of problems. I act as their guide as they dig to find answers.

These activities help students approach complex concepts with confidence. My students worked through the activity and got a deeper understanding of the concept than they would have if they worked a series of problems with no discussion. With one activity, I was able to hit most of the math practice standards!

Plus, the level of mathematical conversation that it stimulated in my classroom was amazing to facilitate!

See how Mrs. Dark uses data to drive individualized learning in her classroom.

*Originally posted October 27, 2015

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Build Confidence with the Right Preparation + Digital Lessons! 🌷

Happy spring! I write this as I’m all bundled up because, of course, March! But, bring on beautiful flowers, peeps (you either love them or hate them), and end of year testing - ah! 

You’ve been working hard with your students on achieving academic success all year. As you take the time to prepare them for some of the more difficult concepts on the tests, use your digital reading and math lessons for additional support.

“[The Classworks activities] really prepare them for the types of questions they’re going to be asked in their [end of year tests]. It has them explain their thinking and gives them lots of different digital tools to use to solve problems. The type of tasks they are asked to do on the test–explaining their thinking or doing an error analysis–are addressed in these activities.” Jennifer Geyer, third-grade teacher, Trip Elementary.
Here are a few ways teachers are using the activities to prepare students:
  • Use the text-dependent questions to foster students’ ability to re-read and analyze text and find evidence to support their answer–skills they will need for success on the test. 
  • Assign an Applied Math Expanding problem related to the standard being taught. The Expanding problems have higher DOK levels and help students build a deeper understanding of the concept and better math communication. 
  • Have students use the enhanced technology incorporated into the activities -- typing in constructed responses, using the highlighter and note tools, and using digital manipulatives. This type of practice will help students feel more comfortable with the online assessment. 
Add activities to your lesson plans that promote higher-order thinking, deep comprehension, and analysis of text (watch the videos below for more ideas). Students will feel confident with the right preparation and digital lessons that mirror the types of questions they’ll see!






Thursday, March 9, 2017

Motivate to Accelerate: How One Principal Raised the Bar for Students! 📚

“This assessment data is not reflecting my students’ best work! How can I motivate them to take ownership of their scores and progress?” Hector Baeza, Principal at C.A. Donehoo Elementary in Alabama, knew the STAR reading scores he was looking at were not reflective of what his students could accomplish. As a result, it was a challenge to make instructional decisions based on those scores. He and his team quickly put a plan in place to change that.

The school district uses Renaissance STAR paired with Classworks instruction for both closing gaps and teaching grade-level standards. Here’s how they used their data to inform instruction and motivate their students to reach higher levels of achievement. 



Tier 2 Support
Students work on Classworks Individualized Learning Paths based on their STAR Reading and Math assessment results. This is one important reason behind Mr. Baeza’s desire to motivate them to do their best on the STAR tests. Students receive instruction at the level they are ready to learn based on the test results. Lessons are aligned to Renaissance's Core Progress for Reading and Math.

Tier 3 Support
The intervention team uses the STAR Screening report to target instruction to the specific areas where students need extra support. In addition, the teachers use the STAR Instructional Planning report to select Classworks Integrated Reading and Applied Mathematics activities to help strengthen needed skills. Students receive 1:1 support from intervention teachers when completing these rigorous lessons. Students take the STAR assessment monthly and are regrouped accordingly.

School Incentives
The next step for C.A. Donehoo was to motivate students to take ownership of their test scores so they reflect their best work! Mr. Baeza developed an incentive plan using the STAR Growth report. The program started with fifth-grade students. They needed to score a 700 or higher on their math or reading STAR assessment to join the club, which participated in fun activities like going to Shoney’s for lunch on Fridays! The motivation worked and word spread to the other grade levels who wanted their own clubs! Now, there are three clubs based on STAR scaled scores:

  • 550 Club for Third Grade
  • 650 Club for Fourth Grade
  • 700 Club for Fifth Grade
Students are rewarded by getting their names and pictures on a club poster and the television rotation. Mr. Baeza and his team have seen tremendous growth since implementing his plan--1.5-grade levels of growth since the program began! In fact, it has been so successful that Mr. Baeza has upped the ante. Next year, fifth graders will need to score an 800 on the STAR assessment to join the club.

C.A. Donehoo Elementary was awarded the Classworks Digital Learning Grant this year! We're excited to see how they use their $2,500 grant to innovate even more. 

Want to learn more about using your assessment data paired with Classworks? Our Resource Center has guides and videos to help! 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Thanks For a Successful Training Season!


Thank you for making Classworks Winter Professional Development a success! A special thank you to our partners: ACT Aspire, NWEA, and Renaissance!
"Wonderful workshop! ...I love how you incorporated examples of what other schools are doing, and how we can learn from each other. We love Classworks! Thank you for all the one-on-one help. As always, we are already looking forward to next year, to see more."    
Sophia Bridgmon, Winston County Schools 
A recap!
  • 97% felt the training was meaningful
  • 93% of attendees are ready to train others/try it in their classroom
  • Over 200 attendees
  • Over 50 districts
The highlights! Learning the innovative ways you’re using your assessment data to inform your instructional decisions. Thank you for sharing your creative ideas for motivating and incentivizing students! Find other ways to motivate students here. 

Find videos that walk you through using NWEA, Renaissance, and ACT Aspire assessment data paired with Classworks instruction in our video library, and additional resources in our Resource Center.

Questions? Use Live Chat in Classworks to speak with a Customer Success Representative or reach out to your local implementation manager.
"I attended both days of training. It was awesome! We received an adequate amount of information and had time to collaborate and learn from other colleagues. Thanks to all the presenters! 
Regina Porter, Tallapoosa County Schools 

Have you heard about what's coming to Classworks this spring? Learn more.