We are very excited to present our November Teacher of the Month, Shana Nissenbaum! Shana is an amazing elementary teacher who works in Ohio and lives in Indiana. Read on to learn more about Shana and how she uses Edcite.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a third grade teacher at National Trail Elementary School in New Paris, Ohio. I earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Penn State University, and a masters in literacy from Alfred University. I have been teaching since 2004 in places such as Pennsylvania, western New York, Indianapolis, and now Ohio. I have been happily married since 2008 and live in Richmond, Indiana. I enjoy playing and coaching softball, anything related to turtles or Penn State, and interpreting data.
What do you teach?
I teach third grade Language Arts. You can learn more about me and my teaching in the first and third parts of this article from my time teaching in the Indianapolis Public Schools.
Why did you become a teacher?
I became a teacher because of one special teacher in middle school that made sure I was doing well. I later worked as an aide in her classroom as part of an internship in high school. That experience solidified my desire to teach. However, as I have learned and grown as a teacher, I realized that what really drives me is the ability to connect with my students and help them connect with the world. When I speak to my kids I talk to them like they are real people. This causes them to open up and trust me. I can teach them content standards and how to be a good person at the same time.
How did you hear about Edcite?
I went to the OETC conference last year to learn about how to incorporate more technology into my classroom. One woman was presenting on this website she used to mimic the question formats that would be on state tests. It was love at first (ed)cite.
How do you use Edcite in the classroom?
I use Edcite in the classroom in two ways. The first way that I use it is for individual practice. Students get their personal iPad, find a comfortable spot in the room, and get to work on an assignment I made for the current “I can” statement. Second, I do my assessments almost exclusively on Edcite. The students have practiced the format during individual practice time, and now are ready to be assessed on the content without being hindered by the technology component. I make my own assessments for testing because I want to cover the current “I can”, but also get data on previously taught content. Both the individual practice and the assessments are graded (great for me) and give immediate feedback to the students (great for them)!
What aspects make you most “Edcited” about Edcite?
I love the new tool that came out last month to monitor students in real-time during an assessment, the Assignment Dashboard! In third grade, we are constantly talking about using the text to find your answers. This way I can see what question the student is on and how well they are doing finding their answers in the text.
As I said before, I noticed Edcite because it allowed me to make questions that have the same formatting as those on the state test. My students come from a small rural town and not all of them have access to computers or internet. Luckily, my school has an amazing technology program, so each third and fourth grade class has a class set of ipads and laptops. I can use Edcite to get my students used to the formatting and wording of technology enhanced questions that they wouldn’t get to see at home.
Final Words of Wisdom for other Edcite Users?
It gets easier and easier to use. I make the assessments for my team because I can do it so quickly now and I really enjoy picking the different types of question formats to mix up the practice. Even better, if you do get stuck, the customer service and support is amazing! I get replies from my representative in Ireland very quickly and she gives thorough feedback!