Monday, March 30, 2015

Highlights From ASCD

I had the chance to join thousands of educators at this year’s ASCD conference in Houston. The focus was on two specific themes.

Student-Centered Education

Meeting Carla Hall at ASCD
Get the teacher away from the front of the classroom! Speakers discussed strategies from flipping the classroom to using QFT (Question Formulation Technique). The end goal: putting students in the driver’s seat while the teacher facilitates learning.

Personalized PD - Not Just for Students!

We personalize learning for students to align with their interests and readiness levels. What about our teachers' learning? Professional development needs to shift from one size fits all to a personalized plan addressing the individual educator’s needs and interests. Options, menus, and customized plans can make professional learning more meaningful.

Classworks is Ahead of the Game

I’m excited about these shifts and how Classworks supports educators as we all shift together.

Want to personalize professional development? We have a wealth of on-demand resources that can be used to create customized learning plans. Visit our Resource Center.

Interested in shifting your instructional style from Sage on the Stage to Guide on the Side? Use our Integrated Reading Activities to empower students to take ownership of their learning. Plus, Classworks Applied Mathematics (in development) will be key in putting the student front and center. Stay tuned for details!

Written by Jan Dierkes, M.Ed.
Classworks Curriculum & Research Specialist

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Happy Digital Learning Day!

You put digital learning strategies to work everyday and we'd like to thank you for that! 

We love hearing about teachers using Classworks as part of their digital learning tactics! Enjoy this video of Ms. Crofford's 3rd grade class blending their learning using Classworks Integrated Reading!

Using Classworks Integrated Reading? Complete our survey by clicking the Rate Integrated Reading button inside Classworks. Don't miss your chance to win one of twenty $50 gift cards—the survey ends March 31, 2015! 

P.S. Our latest contest is underway. Get the details at

Monday, March 9, 2015

Announcing Classworks All-Star Contest!

Spring forward means more than just warm weather ahead—at Classworks it means contest time! Our 4th annual Classworks All-Star contest is all about you and your students! You're working hard and it's time to celebrate your success. 

Classworks will reward top users with: 
  • 500 T-Shirts for K-HS students 
  • Twenty $50 Gift Cards for Educators 
Students: Master those activities!
Students with the highest time-on-task and at least 70% mastery from January 1 - April 8, 2015 will be eligible to win one of 500 T-Shirts. 

Teachers: Two ways to win!
  1. Post a photo of your winning student(s) in their All-Star T-Shirt to Instagram and tag @Classworksweb (don't forget to follow us) OR on Classworks Facebook page. The ten photos with the most "likes" win a $50 gift card! 
  2. Tweet us at @Classworksweb with a description of how Classworks helps you create All-Star students. Our ten favorites will win a $50 gift card! 
Follow us on social media for the most up-to-date contest information! 


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Coming Soon: Enhanced Instruction and New Search Options

If you have attended our Regional Meetings you know how excited we are about some of our upcoming enhancements! Expect to see these in the product in early March.

New Refinement Options When Searching for Instruction
To make it easier to search for and find activities, we are adding new refinement options! These new options will be available when searching Math, Language Arts, or Science. You will be able to:
  • Locate activities based on the instructional application: Flipped Learning, Teacher Led, Higher Order Independent Practice, Skill Reinforcement Independent Practice, and Stations/Centers. 
  • Locate activities that are tablet friendly.

Enhanced Direct Instruction
New instructional support will be added to the directions page of all Mini-Lessons to further support student learning of new concepts. Students will have the ability to select English (default) or Spanish for the added instructional support. Both languages will have audio support. Note: This is the first phase of our goal to enhance the Mini-Lessons. Additional enhancements will be released in the future. 

Changes in Student Module
To allow students to select the language they prefer for the added instructional content, a drop down will be added in the top right corner of the Student Module interface. The drop down menu will contain the student’s name and allow the student to select the preferred language as well as the various functionalities that were previously in the top right corner. This includes:
  • Closing out of an activity
  • Signing out
  • Accessing the student resources
The Practice Unit Launcher interface will also have the new drop down menu in the top right corner.

More details coming soon!

Coming Soon: Maximizing Digital Instruction

Enhanced Direct Instruction
Mini-lessons are getting instructional overviews. The mini-lesson, the direct instruction component of each unit, is used to introduce or review skills/concepts.  

We like to think of this new content as a little tap on the shoulder to give that extra bit of information needed to prepare the student to learn the upcoming skill. This extra support is ideal for:
  • Students learning the concept for the first time
  • Flipping your instruction
  • Supporting parents helping their child at home
  • Students that are transitioning from Spanish to English. The instructional overviews are in both English and Spanish.

Easily find activities best suited for interactive whiteboards, flipping the classroom and more...
Optimize how you search for and utilize our instructional activities to meet your needs. Examples:

  • Teacher Led: Introduce or review concepts whole class in an engaging way
  • Flipped Learning: Flip your instruction using activities with direct instruction of a concept so you can focus more on the application piece
  • Higher Order Independent Practice: Challenge your students with complex activities to apply concepts in different ways
  • Skill Reinforcement Independent Practice: Allow students to practice what they learned in the classroom at home or in a lab
  • Stations/Centers: Foster a collaborative environment by having students work together on activities that are engaging and challenging in a small group setting or during a centers rotation