Friday, December 12, 2014

K-8 Differentiated Math Instruction Website & App ~ FREE

Differentiated Math Instruction
Common Core Aligned Math Practice for K-8 on the iPad and the Web

Front Row

Zero in on Common Core math with personalized practice and assessments

Common Sense Graphite Review:
What's It Like?
Front Row is a free math practice website for grades K-8 that is aimed at addressing Common Core skills. Upon signing up, teachers are directed to the dashboard, where they'll create rosters and add students. Once there, teachers will also notice the dashboard's myriad other capabilities: a report card feature, an analysis tool, grouping options for differentiated instruction, printable worksheets, a weekly student-practice feed, grade-level graphs of student progress, and a list of K-8 Common Core math standards. What's more, upon clicking standards in this list, a set of sample student questions and teacher resources appear. These resources might also include YouTube videos or lessons from other outside sources.

Students are prompted to complete a baseline assessment upon first logging in. They'll choose one of the program's 11 domains, targeting either foundational or more advanced skills, before answering at least 10 questions. The results of this pre-assessment are immediately available on the teacher dashboard. Teachers can use this information to assign students additional practice as needed throughout the program. Students can access Front Row using a tablet (with an accompanying app) or from a Web browser (Front Row recommends Chrome and, ideally, Chromebooks). All information is stored in the cloud, so kids can use different devices interchangeably. Furthermore, individual logins make it easy for students to share devices, if necessary.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Online Formative Assessment Tools ~ FREE

There are many online resources for formative assessments. Below are some of the resources that allow teachers to visualize student understanding while involving students in their learning. I have shared individual post for some of these online resources in the past, but I think they are worth repeating and sharing with teachers again:

Kahoot – This is an amazing formative assessment tool that allows an educator to:
  • Make quizzes
  • Start a discussion
  • Create A Survey
If your students like a gaming environment complete with a leaderboard… then this will be a hit in the classroom. Content questions can be used and the teacher has access to all results.
How do you get started? All a teacher needs is a free Kahoot Account which can be obtained at:  The below manual explains how to make an interactive activity with Kahoot. Remember this is a Web 2.0 Tool - shared with the public. It is suggested for students to use nicknames or first names only. Enjoy the tutorial. You can also learn more from the manual.
*Kahoot! ~ Great Learning Starts by Asking Questions

Infuse Learning – This is a very easy formative assessment tool to get student response and even begin a classroom discussion. After the teacher signs up for an account a classroom is created with a unique ID number. Website to sign up for a free account. Students then go to the student sign in to a page using Class ID along with their first name or nick name. Remember to remind students to never put in personal or self identifying information when answering any question from Infuse Learning. Infuse Learning can be used to input in the following formats:
  • Drawing
  • Multiple Choice
  • Open Ended Text
  • True False
  • Sort In Order
  • Numeric
  • Likert Scale

Answer Garden – Welcome to another online tool to allow for Formative Assessment and engage students in discussion. Answer Garden allows the teacher to set up a website that gathers student input and ideas. As students answer a question prompt, their answers appear on the home Answer Garden screen set up by the teacher. Both teacher and students have an opportunity to see what the ideas of the crowd really are. It is simple to use. Since this is a open web tool students should be reminded to not answer with personal or identifying information. No student log in is required. Ways to use Answer Garden:
  • Pose a Driving Question
  • Collect ideas and opinions
  • Look for adjectives that describe a character in a book
  • Use as a polling mechanism… large words most popular
  • Look for number of class that can get a correct answer
  • Incorporate in a Socrative Seminar
  • Align words to an idea, concept, place, or object
  • Compare and contrast using two Answer Gardens
  • Exit ticket of a learned concept
  • Get feedback on an upcoming test
  • Your idea

Answer Garden can also be uploaded to Wordle or Tagxedo to create a Word Cloud. In the area below take a moment to learn more about how to use Answer Garden.
Explore these opportunities to learn more about Answer Garden
Check out this Quick Start Guide
Look at this Demonstration of Answer Garden
Learn more about Answer Garden with these Facts
Answer Garden One Page Direction Sheet

Quizlet – This is a wonderful study tool that allows for self assessment by students. Quizlet has a variety of flashcards, tests, and study games that make learning fun and engaging for students of all ages. It is also be used on any computer at home or school, and on the go using the free mobile apps for iOS and Android. The free account allows teachers and students to create study sets, track study progress, and compete while working collaboratively with others. Note that the free version does include some advertisements. Along with creating a quizlet, it is also possible to find others that just might help from a large database made by others. There are even ways to password protect each Quizlet. Take a moment to explore the following areas of Quizlet.

Socrative – This is an amazing feedback tool that allows the teacher to get some quick formative feedback on student learning, understanding, and reflection. It is based on the teacher creating “Quick Question” activities that can include Multiple Choice, True False and Short Answer They are intended to be quick and easy pulse checks with visuals. Students can use just about any device. It also allows for the student to remain anonymous. In short answer areas students should not post identifying information. As in all of these tools, it is sometimes best to have students use first name only, or nicknames. There are reports that are always available in the REPORTS section found after selecting MANAGE QUIZZES from the teacher dashboard. Reports can be downloaded or emailed after a class completes a Quiz. There is even a game feature. There are other advanced features that allow for class set up and student collaboration if it is appropriate for age of students.

As a reminder - when students are using any type of digital resources: