I am an spreadsheet newbie in the biggest way possible. I can honestly say that, although they intrigue me, I have NO idea what I am doing with all the boxes and rows and letters and formulas! There, I confess! So the first thing I did was go in and do the tutorials from the 21 Things site. I tried the given spread sheet tutorials in both Excel and Google Spreadsheets so I could see which one worked better for me.
For me Excel was a bit easier but I figure that once I know the basis of one well, I can probably beat my way through the other if I need to. Excel also seems to be the one that we use most often in my district.
Then I went and looked at the Google forms practice activity.
The other thing that I did was take Mike's advice from our last webinar and looked up another tool for support on learning spreadsheets. http://www.gcflearnfree.org/office2010/excel2010
What a wealth of information! Thank you Mike!
So after a lot of video watching, where I learned a great deal, I got my spreadsheet pulled together! High fives all around!
The first assignment was to take the FERPA/HIPPAA quiz. I have to admit I got about half of it correct! Pretty disappointing from my viewpoint but I was able to learn a lot of information that I did not know before.
As a special education teacher I am always working with confidentiality for the rights of my students and families. Parent give me a hard time on things as simple as questions like, "What other students are moving to the upper elementary classroom with my child next year?" When I tell them I can't tell them they first look amused and then not so much. I explain that if their parent wants to share that information, that is their choice. "I will know when school starts next year", they will say. Yes, you will, but I cannot share that information without the parents consult. Other common questions include medical issues and behavior concerns on a particular child. Again, I have to explain that this information is confidential and that their parents may share it if they so choose. All adults in my room, including substitutes, are given instructions not to give any personal information on any child to a parent and that all questions need to be directed to me. I do this specifically to protect my para professionals (not necessarily trained in confidentiality and always trying to be nice) from getting into "trouble" by sharing information that is confidential.
In terms of the FERPA/HIPAA information much of this is simplified at the elementary level. A lot of this information becomes more important to children and parents at secondary and post secondary level when you are looking at things that may or may not affect the student in apply for college or job skills opportunities. Having had five children go through the educational system I have only had to get involved with there student records once. We don't have a lot of demands to see MEAP records on a third grader, but it was good to get this information and add it to my knowledge base on education.
Data Collection in Education
In my district we use Skyward for attendance, student management, special education IEP/MET's, report cards, etc. I use MiStar (previously, Zangle) for my medicaid records. We have used SIS to look at data as a district and as individual buildings at different grade levels, gender, ethnicity, disadvantaged, etc. Since we have almost 60% of our children receiving free and/or reduced lunch I decided to look at the number here at third grade in math. And WOW! What I found was a very large discrepancy in scores between the economically disadvantaged and the not economically disadvantaged students.
Now, honestly we have looked at similar numbers like this before and our whole school knows that within our school population this has been a ongoing problem. With the downturn in the economy over the last five years, the problem has only gotten worse!
Then I went back and edited my report to see the same information at the state level.
When I put the two together I saw a number of things. First, from the trend graph, Patterson's third grade not disadvantaged students started in 2009 pretty strong above the state average. Their numbers dropped below the disadvantage students in 2012 before rising back up but still short of their 2009 percentages. The disadvantaged students stay pretty consistent until they take a large drop in 2013. The state averages stay pretty consistent with a slow amount of growth in both groups. The little movement up or down makes sense when you consider the number of students across the state compared to just the students in one individual school like Patterson. Patterson's students for last year look to be slightly below state averages for economically disadvantaged but above state averages for not economically disadvantaged. The economically disadvantaged are the same in level one (advanced), a little below the state average in level 2 (proficient), better than the state averages for level 3 (partially proficient) and considerably below the average for level 4 (not proficient). Patterson's not economically disadvantaged students are above the state averages for overall proficient, above for level 1 (advanced), above for level 2 (proficient), below for level 3 (partially proficient) and above for level 4 (not proficient).
A couple of things come to mind when looking at this information. First, you have to remember that if you are looking at five years of data on third grade testing you need to remember that these are not the same children year to year. So if you want data to see how individual grade levels of children are doing you need to look at the same group for grade three, four, five, etc and compare "apples to apples". The second thing that comes to mind is that this is only one piece of data comparing children based on economics and qualifications for this subgroup which is free and reduced lunch. This give you only a small piece of information to work with. Then you need to look at facts that might not be in the data like initiating a new mathematics curriculum for the first year, class size, other external factors that might affect the data like weather, mid year staff changes, for example. In addition, to get deeper into the heart of the data you need to break down the testing and look at the actual questions, the vocabulary and trends. What were our children strongest in, what were their weakest areas, how does our curriculum relate to these strengths and weaknesses, and then ask yourself. "How or what do we need to implement to improve our children's knowledge base in mathematics?"
Survey on Socrative
After reviewing the different program for this section, I decided to go with Socrative. I put together six questions to gather process and perception data on our new math program this year, Engage New York and how the teachers surveys felt our new program would affect our MEAP (now MStep) scores in the future. There has also been a lot of controversy from parents who are struggling with some of the methods this new program is using so I also wanted to know how the teachers were perceiving parents' feelings.
I created four multiple choice and two short answer questions and sent the information out to our kindergarten through fourth grade teachers. I was very happy with how many replied (and I admit to bribing with chocolate).
Questions, Surveys, and Polls
I could see data collection has being easily collected using a program like Socrative. After digging into the data for 2012-13 third grade MEAP in mathematics staff could come up with a list of focus questions using demographic, achievement, process and perception data. We could come up with a number of relative questions that can be changed or refined throughout the year to help us build a stronger math program and working as a building team to address our building needs.
What do our demographics (gender, race, ESL) look like and compare the scores to the average on the third grade MEAP in mathematics. What areas do we need to strengthen? How will be chart our data?
How did our students perform related to state, district and surrounding communities on the third grade MEAP in mathematics? How can we improve our scores using the new Engage New York curriculum?
What procedures or systems can we implement to help improve our student's scores based on data from the MEAP scores?
What is working? What is not? How can we address our needs in the classroom?
We already do mini surveys with our parents during parent teacher conferences but we could use technology to help reach parents that cannot make conferences or miss the survey and Dennis would not need to sit down with 400 pieces of paper and tally all the answers!
Here we go! Now this is my area that I am good at, at least I hope so! My life from 8-4 is all about differentiated instruction and UDL! I have eight children in my classroom, K-2, two boys and six girls all with IQ's less than 70. All of them are very complicated in their own way. I have three children that are "SXI" or severely multiply impaired. Four are non-verbal, four are diapered, one is Down's Syndrome and ASD, one just Down's Syndrome, two have the same genetic syndrome called Wolf Hirschhorn that is one in 200,000 births (and I have two, very odd!) two children born significantly premature with significant delays, and a seizure student. There IEP goals go from keeping eye contact with an adult for seven seconds to reading at a DRA level 8. Most of the students also receive OT, PT and Speech and Language services. So I am all about differentiating my instruction!
So I read the Scholastic article on differentiated instruction and yes, this is what I do. All my children have a folder that I keep daily logs on. They also have a bucket/box that holds academic that address their individual needs, a speech and language folder with specific tasks, adaptive equipment such as pencil holders and grips. On the wall above these boxes are "I Can statements" for each child (targeted learning). Here the children's goals (academic, OT, PT & S/L) are stated so that everyone can see what the expectations are for each child. There is also an area for OT and PT to give activities and academic indicators such as sight words and number knowledge. All staff (I have four paraedcuators that work in my room) can reference this board and the boxes so that each child has activities based on their needs.
Each day we do at least two "groups" or "circle time" activities with oral language, shared reading, movement activities, written language activities and hands on manipulatives. During these group activities we still differentiate based on children's needs so that everyone is able to participate and be successful. For some this is oral based conversation and for some it is participation at their level. I feel this one of the most important times of the day as each child has a "bar" that is set for them to reach. Once they have reached that bar, we move it up a bit and strive to improve our skills. For some of my children their bar is considerably lower than other children but they are able to see and hear higher levels of conversation going on and benefit from the experience. And some of my children may never "speak" but that does not mean that they don't understand the conversation. The remainder of the day is used for small group and individual instruction focused on literacy and math.
From here I went to the article on differentiating instruction and UBD. http://www.wested.org/online_pubs/kn-05-01.pdf
I think one of the biggest issues with not using technology more in the classroom has to do with time! In my district, at the elementary level, we have C.O.R.E. to implement, a new math curriculum (that we were given in August) and coordinating book study, staff meetings, DATA meetings, SAT meetings, PLC, Rubicon, IEP's, math and literacy "road shows", M-Step, 5D+ with three rounds of evaluation and paperwork, specials that revolve in a four day cycle with one having a no special day, DIBELS (literacy & math) with interventions, RTI, DRA, three rounds of report cards with parent teacher conference for two days in between each set of written report cards, and then we also need to plan, grade and teach our students. I would love to have time to show the rest of the staff many of the things I have learned through 21 Things but honestly, I don't think anyone would come!
Next I went into UDL Strategies and looked at the different categories. We have been using UDL in my district for many years and so I am very familiar with the work. I use a lot of visuals in my room such as PEC, picture charts, communication boards and books, schedules, etc so I went into the visual category for this picture. http://udlstrategies.wikispaces.com/Make+Learning+Visual I just used PhotoPeach recently and thought the program was simple and easy to use. I could definitely used this program more frequently in my classroom to enhance the use of technology with my students.
Lastly, I went into Yakitome. https://www.yakitome.com/tts/text_to_speech/Welcome-to-YAKiToMe?b=None
I used one of my Daily Notes that I use to inform my parents about what we are doing in class. Since so many of my children are non-verbal or struggle with speech and language issues, my Daily Notes give them a start point for what we did in school. It also gives them our crazy ABCD schedule so they know if they need to send in gym shoes or a library book.
So for Professional Learning Environments I am already a member of MACUL and REMC and have gone through their sites. I did go in and look at the ISTE sight, but as a poor educator, I will have to save that membership for later. I already have a Twitter account, although I will admit I have never used it. I think it is null so I started a new one with my school address. My twitter account name is de_dannecker
I cannot say I am a big believer in Twitter. I guess if I had more free time it would be OK, but between my work, family and this class I really don't have time to add another "social" media that distracts from what I need to do. But now if someone asks, I can say I know how to Twitter!
I had fun learning about Google+ with communities. I started my own community that I can hopefully give others in my building/district sites they can use in their classrooms. This is one of those "works in progress" that is going to be forever changing!
I am already a member of MACUL (cause it's free!) so I went in and looked at all the Special Interest Groups (SIG) based on my needs as an elementary special education teacher. I look forward to getting additional resources to help me with the technology side of my classroom. I went into the online version of the Spring 2015 MACUL Journal and found an incredible amount of articles that cover all the SIGs and more. I found this one article, "The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators" as I am always looking for new technology to bring into my classroom (Thank you 21 Things for Educators). This article has a whole array of tools that you can use that I will need to go back and investigate. This one article actually touches on two the the SIG's I signed up for, elementary education and special education.
And look at that! There is symbaloo EDU that I learned from the first class of 21st Century Teachers and used daily in my classroom! But there are many more sites here I will need to check out. http://issuu.com/macul/docs/maculjournal_spring2015
For the assignment on REMC projects I watched the video on the iTune U classroom and it was fascinating.
Now I am not lucky enough to be in a school where each child has their own iPad, nor do I have an average classroom with my special needs K-2 children, BUT I saw many ways I could use the iTunes U in my classroom. Every year I have children that are new to my classroom but since I teach K-2 this year and have taught K-4 on previous years, I obviously have returning students who have already seen the materials I have used from the year before. Granted, my students vary so greatly in terms of their cognitive needs that repetition of a theme does not necessarily hurt their learning (sometimes it is actually a good thing) but you would find me in the rubber room if I taught the same thing year in and year out! :) So, for example, life cycles is category I teach every year, but some years we grow flowers or pumpkins, or hatch chickens, or butterflies, or praying mantis, or ladybugs, etc. I seldom do the same life cycles two years in a row. If I used iTunes U and developed each one of these life cycle themes into a unit, my students could investigate the other life cycles that we did not use on a given year to increase their experiences. I could use the same premise for areas of interest that one child may have, such as dinosaurs, and use that material to teach literacy or math skills. Downloading the C.O.R.E curriculum would also help generate learning targets to relate to the different areas of interest. I have learned so many different programs through this course that I could also add slideshow for spelling or sight words, math facts, videos of our field trips, etc that would be of high interest to the students. I would like to take a course on how to use ITunes U and then begin to implement it on the two iPads I have for my classroom.
My name is Deirdre Dannecker. I have been in education since 1981 and have taught K-6 in general education and special education. Presently I run a resource room with K-3 students. I love my job!!!!