It's Meghan, back this week with another (hopefully) awesome idea. If you don't remember, or are new to our blog, I teach 1st grade. I love math and technology.
One of the questions we often get is how we create math groups during the guided math portion of ZONES. Math groups for me are fluid, based on the standard we are working on and each student's proficiency. I use technology, specifically Seesaw, to streamline my data collection. This is something you can do with a little or a lot of tech in your classroom. It works on any device or computer.
So today . . . Seesaw and exit tickets! Whatever the exit ticket is that I am using to gauge understanding, I have my students take a picture or screen shot of it and turn it in to our exit ticket folder on Seesaw. I can then see how my students are doing (without sifting through a pile of papers) and easily give feedback that my students can see, and that parents have access to as well.
Here are a couple examples . . .
Exit Ticket in Pieces Basic
Pieces Basic is a free app on our iPads. The students had to build the number 45, screen shot it and turn it in on Seesaw. I saw how each student was doing and gave them immediate feedback, either affirming their work or correcting their mistakes. You can see in the comment below the picture, I told the student what needed to be changed. On the picture, I edited their work using the drawing tool to show the student the correct way to build the number. From this exit ticket, I was able to create a group of students that needed to be pulled for additional instruction.
Paper Exit Ticket
Here is an example of an exit ticket from our math curriculum (Engage NY). The student completed the exit ticket and took a picture in Seesaw. To give feedback on this exit ticket, the draw, label and text features we all used. Again, the student has immediate access to this, as do parents.
In the paid version of Seesaw, you have access to 'skills'. These are areas you are working on that you want to assess the students on. Think standards, but less formal. The goal of this feature is to give you a quick view of how students are doing with a concept. When a student turns an item in, you quickly mark their understanding on a 4 point scale. Then in the 'skills' view, you have a visual of how the students are doing. You can pull a red (does not understand), yellow, light green group, or green group (ready for extensions). So easy! No lists of student, no piling paper together. All of this is hidden from students and parents. It is only for you and your instructional purposes.
While Seesaw Plus/For Schools is paid, it is not that expensive. If it looks interesting to you, you should look into it.
In summation, use exit tickets/quick checks to build small groups. And then, use technology to streamline that process so you have more time to spend with your students during the guided math portion of ZONES.
Does this scenario ever happen in your classroom?
I work with small groups of students every day during ZONES rotations. The students come to me with white boards and their resource journals. I come prepared with example problems for them. When I work with students in small groups and using white boards they are nailing it. Few errors, proving mastery, no confusion. So I leave that class feeling completely successful. The next day, I start with an entrance ticket to catch any student that I may have missed during my small group time. I give them a short paper pencil quiz and the whole class completely bombs it. What?!?! So I continue with my whole group instruction, since the whole class got the problem incorrect and my data yesterday was obviously wrong, giving another example problem to the whole class that they complete at their desk, this time with whiteboards. This time they are all getting it right again. GRRRRR! I do not understand!
This situation puzzles me greatly. I do not understand why students feel more at ease with white boards instead of with a paper and pencil. I do not understand how they can master a concept using a dry erase board but not with a pencil. I am so perplexed. However this is not the first standard or concept or school year that I have seen this happen. I am so glad that I can accommodate this using ZONES.
I have noticed that students are able to have a greater mastery of a concept using whiteboards as an option. Therefore, I have always allowed this to be a choice for my students. During whole group time, I can work the room to star correct problems on the worksheet that were done on a white board. This gives me immediate feedback on who needs help and also saves me time grading after class. If you are fortunate enough to have a second pair of hands in your classroom during ZONES time, that second pair of hands can circulate the room starring correct problems during On Your Own or Notebook as well. This is also an option for the teacher to do during conferencing time.
This year I have also noticed that students have greater mastery while working in a small group setting rather than a whole group setting. ZONES has allowed me to accommodate for that as well. I will often give the final mastery checkpoint of a concept in a small group setting. This does not mean that I correct the students or help them. The work is still done completely independently. However, when students know their work is being monitored, for some reason mistakes are greatly reduced and precision is increased. I have also taken this to the next level and allowed student the choice to "sit by the teacher" while they are working on another zone. Their zone work is still done independently, but again, for some perplexing reason, proximity to the teacher does help some student perform with greater accuracy.
ZONES allows me several things that whole class instruction never would:
1. Confidence of mastery. If I have any discrepancy in student work I have small group informal data that I can use to feel confident of mastery. I have now watched a particular student work several problems right in front of me. I know what they have mastered. I know what they are struggling with. Even if they do have an "off" day and fail to master a particular quiz or checkpoint.
5. Ability to assess or work with students in small groups. The small group setting continues to amaze me. Students do need that one on one time, the thought that the teacher does care enough that he/she does individually understand. This allows me time to help students one on one, remediate, or reteach. I never had that individualized instruction teaching math before using ZONES.
So I am here to proclaim, "Let them use white boards!" If that is the tool they feel most comfortable with, then let them use it. If they are most comfortable having a teacher "watch" them do the work. Great! With ZONES I have the flexibility to allow students to have that choice. We are not assessing how the student learns best, we are assessing that the student has mastered the concept. If those tools help and they are fairly easy for me to allow and implement, then I say "No Problem!"
Today I want to tell you about a web based app that would be great to use during On Your Own or Memorize. It is called Front Row. If you haven't heard of it, it's a (mostly) free app that has a lot of possibility. If you have heard of it, but haven't had a chance to check it out, I'll lay it out for you.
Front Row is a web based app that is easy to use for teachers and is very kid friendly. It actually offers other subjects besides math, but today we will focus on math . . . because you know, math.
What you need to know:
From the Student Perspective
When students login, they see their home screen. For On Your Own, students would choose Math. For Memorize, students would choose Fact Practice.
How cute is that pig??
From there, the students choose the domain they are working in. Each domain has them take a pre-test which decides where they start working in each standard. The questions are kid friendly and have a read aloud option. For ZONES, I would assign the students to the domain we are currently working in. This screen is very cutsey, which is great for early el. Other domains that are more applicable to the higher grades are less cute.
....back to that cute pig. As students work, they earn coins which they use to buy clothes for their piggy. (My pig only has shorts.) They can only enter the store after they have worked for so long and the store is timed - they cannot spend forever dressing their pig!
There is also an easily accessed assignment page where students can go to for any assignments you've given them.
From the Teacher Perspective
In the free version, you can assign one standard at a time. As you teach each standard, you could use Front Row to gauge their understanding. Once that assignment has been completed, you can assign others.
Front Row seems pretty great, right? I definitely encourage you to check it out. It has a lot of potential to make your ZONES time engaging for students and it would allow you to work smarter, not harder.
-Meghan, 1st Grade
I now have ZONES all fully functioning in my classroom. So this is where the magic really happens in ZONES Math. ZONES Math gives you the amazing opportunity use student data to truly help students' learning.
Enter the MTSS Model - A Multi-Tiered System of Support. If you are not familiar with this model, each state has it's own "interpretation" of this. I think this brochure (even though it is from Florida) is a really great explanation of the model. Check it out here. They defines this educational model as:
This model is an amazing integration of the best practices used in the core curriculum, general education classroom (common curriculum, cooperative learning strategies, sheltering and scaffolding based on student need), and the interventions necessary to meet all students' needs.
Tier 1 Instruction - Universal Level
Tier II Instruction - Targeted Level
Tier III Instruction - Intensive Level
Why does this matter?
* The MTSS model is a requirement. If your school district has a plan in place to support this model - fantastic! However, not all schools have something like this in place. If you implement ZONES Math however, you will be able to comply with this requirement right in your classroom.
* It meets student need. Requirement or not, it is best for the students and their learning to individualize their learning as much as possible.
* You have the data - this is great to have for teacher evaluation purposes. Need to prove that you are teaching in an effective way? Need to prove you are integrating subject areas? Need to prove that you are differentiating? Need to open ended questioning? etc., etc. etc. ZONES has you covered
* You have the data - I know I just said that - However this specifically for student need. When you are faced with a student support meeting and need to show what interventions you have tried you have the evidence. You can show your Tier I teaching and can prove if it was effective. you can show your Tier II intervention and can prove with data if it was effective. You can also, in some cases prove that you have attempted some of the Tier III interventions and have the data if it has been effective. If a students has been involved in all of their Tiers, you also have a deep understanding of their learning abilities. This data proves invaluable if you are trying to have a student evaluated for special education services.
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