Contributing to the Profession

on

Shelter in Place (SIP) is a challenge few of us had the foresight to plan for a year ago. While there were a few resources that I used before school closure happened, there are a couple that made it possible for teachers to continue providing for student learning throughout SIP. Some of these have proved so valuable that I will continue to use them. Here are three examples.

Altitude Learning

Altitude is a platform that is designed around Standards Based Grading. I used it to provide student with relevant and timely feedback about their progress with the learning goals. Seeing their progress motivated students and helped them focus their effort on topics they needed more support with. It provides effective formative feedback.

Parlay

Parlay is designed to facilitate class discussions. My students are willing to participate in class discussions and socratic seminars in their ELA and Social Science courses yet when they walk into a science classroom, they are afraid to participate. I believe this is because the discussions they are comfortable participating in have many correct interpretations while discussions in science often revolve around a “right” answer. They are afraid of being wrong.

I use the anonymous discussion capability of parlay to get students to discuss topics that require them to predict the theory or outcome of an experiment. Discussions that happen before they are “taught” the proper theory or methods.

Positive Physics

I wasn’t expecting to love Positive Physics. I though it was a distance learning substitution so students could access practice problems and assessments without live classes. I didn’t think it would be engaging. In reality, students really liked having immediate feedback and the ability to correct any mistakes when doing practice problems.

My students’ math skills are low and my site is struggling making progress with their state math test scores. I feel that as a physics teacher, I am well placed to help our math department. I want to find the budget to continue to use Positive Physics with my students next year. I want them to be able to practice their problem solving skills.

Bonus!!!

Peardeck

Let’s be real here. Peardeck saved my pandemic life. My district required student cameras to be off for distance learning. That meant that I taught a room of black squares filled with memes. Made a joke, a funny one, and… nothing. Bueller? Bueller?

With Peardeck, students could respond to questions and I would see the response live. Let me repeat that. Live. Not just the submitted response but, character.by.character. I finally knew that there were real people on the other end of Zoom and that they were engaged in their learning. It motivated me to do better during distance learning. I finally had formative feedback that allowed me to know whether I could move forward or had to reteach the topic. This is crucial to delivering effective lessons.

Peardeck. Get it.