Meet the Edcite Team: Florida Edition

We are so excited to continue our new series: Meet the Edcite Team! Each month we feature a different member of our team by asking them a set of questions.

This month we are featuring our amazing team member in Florida, Josie Mittleman. Read on to meet Josie!

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What brought you to Edcite?

I had worked for several big educational publishing houses and was looking for a better way to make a difference in the world of education. I was drawn to Edcite’s philosophy. Edcite believes that teachers are able to create excellent content that promotes authentic learning and immediate action.

Tell us about what you do at Edcite.

I am the PD and Curriculum Specialist. I travel to schools and districts training education leaders on how to manipulate the Edcite platform. I also manage content creation on the Edcite platform.

Tell us about your education background.

I graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University with my Master of Arts and a specialty in Elementary Education. I also graduated from York University in Toronto, Canada with my Bachelor of Education and my Bachelor of Arts, Honors. I was an elementary teacher for many years. Following my classroom work, I worked for several educational publishing houses including McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, and The College Board.

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Which teacher in school impacted you the most and why?

Mr. Ryan was my favorite English teacher.  He inspired me to love literature.  He helped me develop a love for Shakespeare, which is something I have carried with me throughout my life.

What advice do you have for teachers who are using Edcite?

Make sure you spend some time getting to know the platform. It’s like driving a car, a little intimidating at the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, you will wonder what you ever did without it.

shutterstock_96812923What is your favorite movie or book?

My favorite movie is Grease. I can remember seeing it when it first came out in the movie theaters and swooning at how cute Danny Zuko was. I also remember re-enacting the scenes with neighborhood girlfriends and singing the songs at the top of our lungs. To this day, should I see the movie or hear the music, I still jump up and sing along with it (I know every word!).

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

While I absolutely love my job at Edcite, my favorite job in the world is being a mom to my 14-year-old daughter, Dalia, my King Charles Cavalier, Speckles, and my Maltipoo, Jasper.

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Thank you, Josie, for all of your hard work supporting the Edcite team and schools across Florida! 

Are you an educator in Florida? Feel free to reach out to Josie anytime at josie@edcite.com or on Twitter via @EdciteFL. Be sure to check back next month to meet another member of the Edcite team!

National Hispanic Heritage Month Playlist 2

This is the second part of our series on National Hispanic Heritage Month. Click here to visit Playlist 1!

We are continuing our celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month by sharing a playlist of assignments dedicated to learning the Spanish language. Read below to find beginning, intermediate, and advanced Spanish assignments.

Continuamos nuestra celebración del Mes de la Herencia Hispana por compartir una lista de las asignaciones dedicada al aprendizaje de la lengua española. Lea a continuación para encontrar principiante, intermedio, y las asignaciones españolas avanzadas.

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Assignments about the Spanish Language


Asignaciones Sobre la Lengua Española

Continue reading National Hispanic Heritage Month Playlist 2

National Hispanic Heritage Month Playlist 1

September 15 to October 15 marks National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. To help students learn about the culture and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans, we have a playlist full of assignments that are ready to assign!

15 de septiembre al 15 de octubre marcas Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana en los Estados Unidos. Para ayudar a los estudiantes a aprender sobre la cultura y las contribuciones de los hispanos y latinos, tenemos una lista de las asignaciones que están listos para asignar!

Assignments about People and Culture 


Asignaciones Sobre la Gente y la Cultura

Here you will find assignments in both English and Spanish./ Aquí encontrará las asignaciones en Inglés y Español.

Continue reading National Hispanic Heritage Month Playlist 1

Teacher of the Month: Melissa Christensen

We are so excited to present our first Teacher of the Month of the 2016-17 school year: Melissa Christensen! Melissa is a fabulous math teacher who teaches at Lamar Louise Middle School in Miami, Florida.

Read on to learn about Melissa, our August Teacher of the Month, and how she uses Edcite in her school.

I am married with one child who is off to college this fall. When I’m not working, I enjoy traveling, watching Marlins baseball, and cheering on the Florida State University Seminoles. I am in my 12th year of teaching Middle School Math (6th through Algebra, Regular, Advanced, IB, and Gifted students in blended classes).

Mel 2What do you teach?

I currently teach with a co-teacher in a technology infused middle grades math class called iPrep Math. Our curriculum is computer based and we follow a project based learning format where students are encouraged to work individually or in small groups. My job is to facilitate learning by addressing the needs of individual students.

WMel 1hy did you become a teacher?

I have a BA in International Relations and a M.P.A. I decided to teach math because I remember how hard it was for me and I felt that I could empathize with students and give them confidence that they could succeed.

How did you hear about Edcite?

I heard about Edcite through an email that I happened to open…the email talked about computer based test questions, and I knew that would fit perfectly into my class and help my students prepare for the new FSA Florida state exam.

Mel 4How do you use Edcite in the classroom? What aspects make you most “Edcited” about Edcite?

I like the variety of Edcite questions. I like the variety of reports that can help me better use the data to help my students. I am impressed with their customer service as they are always available. Also, I am using Edcite to make our district Topic Exams more closely resemble the FSA.

Final Words of Wisdom for other Edcite Users? :)

The software is powerful, but there is a “learning curve.”  Do not give up, and don’t hesitate to contact hello@edcite.com because they are ready and willing to help.

Meet the Edcite Team: Intern Edition

We’re excited to share a new monthly series: Meet the Edcite Team! Each month we will feature a different member of our team by asking them a set of questions.

This month we are featuring our fabulous summer intern Maya Ravichandran. Read on to meet Maya!

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Where do you go to school? What are you studying? 

I go to University of Southern California, or USC, and I’m studying Computer Science.

What brought you to Edcite?

I loved that Edcite gives teachers an opportunity to improve students’ learning experience and gives them a free and easy way to do it. I really connected with the mission, and being a part of this team is definitely rewarding.

Tell us about what you’ve been working on during your internship.

I have been creating new question types for teachers to use in their assignments! Specifically, I created a drawing question type where students can draw their answers. I am also working on a drawing and vocabulary game.

Which teacher in school had the most impact on you and why?

shutterstock_311465798.jpgI would say my newspaper advisor had the most impact on me. My favorite and most memorable experience in high school was working for three years on the newspaper staff. My advisor was always open to talk and gave excellent advice. He was an excellent teacher and perfected the balance between leading and allowing students to run the newspaper independently.

show don't tellDo you have any advice for teachers about how students want to learn today?

Students don’t want to just be presented with information. For me, in order to fully understand something, I have to be completely immersed in it. In other words, show not tell. The more interactive and hands-on a student’s learning experience is, the better he or she remembers it in the future. I still remember all the quiz tournaments and group projects, but all the Powerpoint lectures start to fade quickly.

What is your favorite movie or book? Why?

My favorite books are both by Khaled Hosseini: The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. He writes so beautifully, and his stories are so heartbreaking and haunting.

Do you have a favorite quote?

One of many favorite quotes: “Sometimes remembering will lead to a story, which makes it forever. That’s what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.” – Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried

shutterstock_383833837.jpgWhich is the better half: Northern or Southern California? 

This is a hard one! I go to school in Southern California, but I was born and raised in the Bay Area. I’m going have to say Northern California because I’ve got to stay true to my roots.🙂

Name three things you can’t live without.

1) My phone. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can survive without it, literally and figuratively.

2) Music. It’s the best way to relax and focus.

3) Chocolate. No explanation needed.

Thank you, Maya, for all that you’ve done this summer as an Edcite intern! 

Stay tuned for Maya’s drawing question type on Edcite, and be sure to check back next month to meet another member of the Edcite team!

Improving the Quality of the Feed: Electronic Common Assessments

Educational assessment articles and books across this country in the last five years have referenced hogs, chickens, and cows. The question has been if you want a healthier animal, do you weigh it more often or do you improve the quality of the feed?  It has been continually suggested for the last decade that improving our students’ achievement requires breaking the pattern of being data-rich but information-poor.

However, assessments were just being given and were taking up valuable instructional time when we weren’t doing anything with the data. (2)This has been the case in my district over the last few years.  We were using an outside vendor to track student progress and doing a great job at weighing students.  However, assessments were just being given and were taking up valuable instructional time when we weren’t doing anything with the data. Add a number of parents who refused to have their students take these assessments and we had an assessment system that wasn’t working for anyone!

As Director of Educational Services, it was my number one priority this last year to build capacity in my staff to convert data to information that gives teachers tools needed to probe for causes where students are underperforming or exceeding expectations, analyze conditions that contribute to various trends of student achievement, and develop intervention and enrichment strategies to support these analyses.

Interventionand Enrichment

In relationship to the educational shifts required in the academic content standards for our state, I spent considerable time developing assessments created by my teachers that function from an evidence-centered design (see the embedded image for more information on this type of design).  Evidence-centered design begins with inferences that we want to make about student learning connected to standards and follows with a collection of evidence (i.e., an assessment) that shows how we know that students are making progress toward doing what we claim they can do.

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I knew that if I was to get buy-in from staff on utilizing the data to drive instruction, we had to create our own assessments. From my perspective, this meant that we either had to learn how to write good questions quickly or find them from vetted resources.  Utilizing resources from Achieve the Core and Illustrative Mathematics and doing some work with assessment blueprinting, we created assessments on Edcite that my principals and I felt were worthy of kids’ time and that would also provide us with valuable information with which to adjust instruction.

However, assessments were just being given and were taking up valuable instructional time when we weren’t doing anything with the data. (4).jpg

Edcite’s new platform Edcite Schools fit our needs as it was cost-effective, allowed us to generate reports in a number of ways (standards-based, classroom-based, student-based, etc.), and allowed our teachers to provide feedback to students via the electronic platform. The system allowed us to search through question banks that we vetted using an assessment vetting tool on Achieve the Core. It also had the extra advantage of being able to be customized to give students experience in a viewer very similar to our state’s assessment system, AIR.

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After we administered our first assessment, we met in grade level teams to analyze results. Utilizing the reports in Edcite Schools and following a data-protocol, where we set norms, focused on what students can do, what students were struggling with, and trends amongst assessments, we were able to have the professional conversation about how we were going to improve our instruction. The quality of the feed improved and we saw growth amongst students from assessment-to-assessment.

However, assessments were just being given and were taking up valuable instructional time when we weren’t doing anything with the data. (6).jpg

Fast-forward to June, which in my state is every curriculum director’s nightmare: the release of state achievement data. I learned that the work that we did with Edcite Schools actually was predicative.  When I compared our internal Edcite Schools data to our state achievement data, with a 99% predicative accuracy, I was able to determine which students were in danger of not meeting grade-level benchmarks.  We are now data rich.

As we plan for the following year, it is crucial that we start to utilize the information that we are collecting consistently to further plan interventions to help our students who are struggling. I know, as do my teams, that there are going to be mistakes. Will we have it 100% right next year? No. The key is to plan the administration of the assessment knowing that we have to do better for our students with whatever data comes back. They deserve it so that we can consistently focus on the feed rather than than weighing.

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Bryan R. Drost is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the ESC of Summit County, Ohio. He holds a Master’s of Education in Educational Foundations with an emphasis in Standards-Based instruction as well as a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction and Assessment both from Kent State. Bryan holds a variety of roles at the state and national levels: chairperson for the Ohio Foreign Language Association Technology Integration Committee, an ODE Network Regional Leader, a member of ODE’s Fairness and Test Use Committee, a steering committee member of the Northeast Ohio TALK Network, a RESA master coder, a national supervisor for edTPA, a consultant for the National Board, part of NCME’s Standards and Test Use Committee, one of Ohio’s Core Advocates, and a Batelle for Kids Roster Verification trainer. He has presented throughout the state and country on various topics related to instructional shifts, assessment, and technology integration. 

 

Easy Summer Planning with Edcite’s Social Pages

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You switch off the classroom lights and turn in your key. Then you rev up your car’s engine and hit the road. Summer! Summer is time for decompression, whether that means watching Netflix, reading some good books, or getting out and enjoying the warm weather.

We know how important it is for teachers to have this time to recharge. We also know that teachers spend part of the summer planning ahead for the next school year. Thankfully, we can help make the planning process easy!

Our new Social Pages allow you to easily organize and find the best assignments for your new classes in the fall. Read on for three ways to use the Social Pages.

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My Profile

On this page, you can showcase collections of your favorite Edcite assignments. Organize your collections by month, unit, topic, or however you plan your lessons. After you’ve created a great collection, share it with other teachers!

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Featured Collections

On this page, you’ll find dozens of Edcite-recommended assignment collections. Follow your favorite collections and make copies of assignments to send to students in the fall. When you follow this social page you’ll be notified when a new set of Featured Collections appears!

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Discover Teachers

Search for teachers at your school or in your state. Follow teachers and their collections, and easily make copies of assignments.

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Discover Teachers

See how easy it is to plan ahead for the next school year? Now you’ll have even more time to head to the beach, hang with your friends, binge watch your favorite show, and get in that much-deserved relaxation!

Did you make an awesome collection? Share the link with us, and your collection may be featured!

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