Best Digital Assignments of 2016

 

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As we begin a new year, we are taking a look back at what our community assigned throughout 2016. While over 19,600 digital assignments have been shared in our Assignment Library, below you will find some of the best assignments sent to students in 2016.

Continue reading Best Digital Assignments of 2016

Our Test Prep Playlist: Math

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Spring is in the air! And that doesn’t just mean rain showers and spring allergies. For many, spring means testing season, and there’s nothing quite as stressful as that.

To help our beloved teacher community, we have assembled a playlist of our best test prep resources. This one has exceptional resources for math teachers, and we’ll be post a similar playlist for ELA folks soon. We hope this helps!

SmaterBalanced Resources

*SmarterBalanced is a major testing consortium that will be administering digital exams in 18 member states, including California, Oregon and Washington on the West Coast and Connecticut, Delaware, and Vermont on the East Coast.

Grade Assignment Name Link
3 SBAC Grade 3 Practice Test https://edcite.com/1m42ht
4 SBAC Grade 4 Practice Test https://edcite.com/122l59
5 SBAC Grade 5 Practice Test https://edcite.com/1i15tv
6 SBAC Grade 6 Practice Test https://edcite.com/19ytlk
7 SBAC Grade 7 Practice Test https://edcite.com/1hbsvr
8 SBAC Grade 8 Practice Test https://edcite.com/1fp7nd

 

PARCC Resources

*PARCC is a major testing consortium that will be administering digital Common Core exams in 13 states, including New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Illinois.

Grade Assignment Name Link
5 PARCC Grade 5 EOY https://edcite.com/1en3fb
6 PARCC Grade 6 EOY https://edcite.com/13fdda
7 PARCC Grade 7 EOY https://edcite.com/19o70m
8 PARCC Grade 8 EOY https://edcite.com/10pxfl

You should also see our Top 10 PARCC Assignments for more outstanding resources!

Tests on Common Core Standards

These “quizzes” (quizzes are probably less stress-inducing to the little tykes!) will help you assess which Common Core standards your students may need to review, and which standards your students aced this year. Edcite’s standards-based reporting features will be particularly helpful with this!shutterstock_222285793 

Grade Assignment Name Link
K Quiz — Kindergarten — All Standards https://edcite.com/1nh8q1
1 Quiz — Grade 1 — All Standards https://edcite.com/1q6m42
2 Quiz — Grade 2 — All Standards https://edcite.com/1wey1a
3 Quiz — Grade 3 — All Standards https://edcite.com/1xmp02
4 Quiz — Grade 4 — All Standards https://edcite.com/1t2q0n
5 Quiz 1 — Grade 5 — All Standards https://edcite.com/1e2wps
5 Quiz 2 — Grade 5 — All Standards https://edcite.com/1nent0

Think there are other assignments on Edcite that could be helpful test prep? Share them in the comments below!

10 Outstanding PARCC Assignments

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With the PARCC assessments around the corner, teachers are scrambling to find resources to help their students practice. And, to make things slightly more complicated, students need to not only practice with the rigorous, Common Core-aligned content, but they also need to practice their technology skills to prepare for these computer-based exams. To help teachers with both of these aspects, Edcite has added 10 PARCC-specific question types that mimic those students will see on the performance based assessment (PBA) and end-of-year exam (EOY). Here are 10 outstandingly awesome assignments teachers in our community have created themselves and shared in our library!

ELA:

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1) Assignment Name: PARCC Question of the Day
Created By: Mary Ellen Weeks
Grade/Subject: 4-5, ELA
More Information: this ELA assignment asks students to practice reading a passage and answer comprehension questions. It’s short and simple, but effective! Daniel has posted many “Question of the Day” assignments on Edcite, which you can find by searching for his name ‘Daniel Davis’.

2) Assignment Name: Happiness PARCC Research Task
Created By: Elizabeth Curington
Grade/Subject: 6-8, ELA
More Information: this assignment makes great use of the Part A/Part B ELA questions students will commonly see on the PARCC ELA exam. For more information on these types of questions, see our blog post!

3) Assignment Name: Argumentative Essay: Uniforms in School
Created By: Lisa Velagic
Grade/Subject: 6-8, ELA
More Information: this assignment asks students to consider the arguments for and against uniforms in school and write their own argumentative essay. Argumentative rather than persuasive essays are heavily emphasized by the Common Core, according to this ELA teacher.

4) Assignment Name: The Night & Number the Stars
Created By: Chip Davis
Grade/Subject: 8, ELA
More Information: this ELA assignment asks students to compare passages from 2 different texts, reinforcing a skill students will be asked to do often in the PARCC exams. For more of Chip’s outstanding assignments, search for ‘Chip Davis’ in our assignments library. Also, read this guest blog post by Chip and his colleague Marita Scarlett used Edcite to prepare their ELA students for PARCC!

5) Assignment Name: The Crucible ELA Assessment
Created By: Jessica Kaiser
Grade/Subject: 11, ELA
More Information: this assignment provides practice on a range of math concepts, from functions, this ELA assignment asks students to read text from the Crucible and complete some text-based analysis.

Math:

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6) Assignment Name: Fractions Performance Task
Created By: Josie Fixler
Grade/Subject: 4, Math
More Information: this assignment asks students to explore the concept of fractions and use many of the new math-specific item types.

7) Assignment Name: Math TestNav Skills
Created By: E Gorski
Grade/Subject: 3-5, Math
More Information: this assignment allows students to practice with the math-specific question types that will appear on the PARCC exam, from keyboard response to pictograph response.

8) Assignment Name: Algebra I Semester Exam
Created By: Janice Pleimann
Grade/Subject: 8-12, Math
More Information: this assignment can be used as a summative assessment, or for some basic algebra practice with your students.

9) Assignment Name: 8th Grade Cumulative Exam
Created By: Josh Schneider
Grade/Subject: 8, Math
More Information: this assignment provides practice on a range of math concepts, from functions, to rational/irrational numbers, to geometry. If you want to focus on one of these skills, you can customize this assignment for your students on Edcite by deleting or adding questions as you see fit.

10) Assignment Name: Int Math 1 PARCC Quiz (No Calculator)
Created By: Becky Dornette
Grade/Subject: 8, Math
More Information: this assignment provides practice on a range of math concepts, from functions, this ELA assignment asks students to read text from the Crucible and complete some text-based analysis.

Bonus Assignment!

11) Assignment Name: PARCC Sample Assignment
Created By: Deb Bogard
Grade/Subject: 4-12, Science/ELA
More Information: this assignment showcases many of the PARCC question types and contains content for many different grades. It’s a great way to show other teachers at your school what they can find or create for themselves on Edcite!

 

 

Getting Over the Tech Hump with your Students

Monthly Mondays with Meghan: Getting Over the Tech Hump with your Students

‘Twas the night before Edcite, when all through the house,
not a teacher was stirring, not even a mouse!  
The assignment was designed and created with care,
in hopes that the students would answer the questions there.  

When the next day began there arose such chatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.  
“How do I scroll?”
“Do I click on one word or the sentence as a whole?”  

I ran to my board, to my students gave a whistle,
and taught them the basics before the end-of-day dismissal.  
As I packed up my things, they heard me proclaim,
“Before rolling out Edcite, there are skills to explain!”

All this to say – the first time I used Edcite in my classroom, I excitedly told my students to open their chromebooks, login to Edcite, click on the assignment and eagerly exclaimed, “You may begin!”  Note to self: Make sure computers are on and functioning before doing anything, because within the first 5 minutes there were far more hands in the air and confused faces than I had bargained for!  They were loving the new experience and Edcite layout; however, they had a lot of questions regarding technology and computers in general.  After hearing a few of their questions, I paused the entire class, taught the lessons I am about to share with you and then had them continue on with the assignment.

One important detail to note:  Given the need for the following lessons – the first time you use Edcite in your classroom, plan for an additional 10-15 minutes to teach some of these essential skills!

Now, onto the 4 lessons I wish I had planned for–in hopes that your start with Edcite can be smooth sailing!

Lesson 1: Sending the assignment

Perfecting your PARCC Practice

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When I was younger, I had a coach who always said, “Practice as you’ll perform, because you’ll perform as you Coachpracticed.” She was 100% correct. If I practiced with a specific bad habit, it appeared during game time. If I didn’t work to my full capacity, I was more winded during game time. It was important that I practiced as I wanted to perform–and I always told my students the same. Feeling comfortable with the testing arena is essential to actually demonstrating what you know. Nerves can play a huge part. Tests aren’t end all be alls–but they do matter. And, students want to do well and feel good. So, as their teacher, their educational coach, it’s my responsibility to know as much about what they will see as possible. My students need to know how to master the three types of questions that will appear:

That means we need to practice these types of questions. To be clear, that doesn’t mean we just do the PARCC practice tests over and over again, it means that the content I want to cover and teach in my class is assessed in an aligned format. That’s why I’m going to go through each question type and talk about how it appears on PARCC, how I coach my students to prepare for it, and how it has been recreated on Edcite.

Next page: EBSR Questions

Am I Going To Get Fined for This? A Look At Mississippi’s Education Policies In The Legislature

I woke up today and told myself to be positive. That is no easy task when you are constantly being bullied by those with the “power”. I am not being bullied by the big kid that sits in the back of the classroom or the football jock who is too cool for school, but instead by the people we elected to lead our state. Yes, I am being bullied by the Mississippi Legislature and their leadership. I am not the only victim of their bullying and politicking. Every educator, student, parent, and concerned citizen is as well. What really gets my goat is that its by members of my own party! I have been a lifelong Republican and follower of conservative principles, but now I am being picked on by folks from my own team who have lost sight of our true conservative teachings.

Let me paint a picture for you concerning education in the state of Mississippi. I can sum it up into one number (made up of two digits, but that apparently is not important to teach): 50. We are dead last compared to all other states when it comes to academic achievement in K-12 education. For years we functioned under the Mississippi Frameworks which were a set of objectives that lacked rigor and often even cohesiveness. Seeing a need to improve, Mississippi along with 47 other states and the District of Columbia signed onto a set of national standards in the areas of English and Mathematics.

In 2010 (over 4 years ago), Mississippi’s elected officials voted in favor of accepting the Common Core State Standards for College and Career Readiness that came out the year prior. Common Core came from an idea brought forth by the National Governor’s Association collaboratively with the Council of Chief State School Officers in 2007. This idea was not the brainchild of President Obama nor Secretary Arne Duncan, but from the states and their executive leaders. I tell you all this to say…Common Core is not an Obama plan. It is not a mandate passed down by the federal government. Instead it was the brainchild of a group states who used state’s rights (a conservative principle) to develop a set of standards jointly for students across the nation.

Fast-forward to late 2014 and the beginning of this year. The Republican-controlled legislature in Jackson has rallied against Common Core and demeaned it to be an evil atrocity forced down the throats of the states (see above for rebuttal). This hellfire spreads to every tea party supporter and GOP faithful in the state. Suddenly teaching children to think critically and learn math in a conceptual and concrete way is communist or socialist.

Granted it is an election year here in Mississippi (primaries this summer and the general in November), but some of the happenings in Jackson are down right dirty. The Legislature forced the state to drop out of the PARCC assessment consortium because they felt that any company should have a chance to bid on being the provider instead of PARCC being a sole-source provider. Alright, seems like a fiscal conservative move. Now there is a piece of legislation in the chambers that calls for the provider chosen to have been in existence for over 50 years. Well, that eliminates two of the three current producers of Common Core-aligned assessments and leaves only ACT. I personally do not care who writes our tests, but this move is deceitful.

Of course, our Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House are attempting to abolish Common Core and write “Mississippi standards”. We have already had Mississippi standards and we finished last every year. The Senate Education Committee would not even allow our Superintendent of Education, Dr. Cary Wright, to speak on behalf of the standards before they voted to send the bill to the full Senate chamber. Only one member voted to not send the bill to the full Senate and it happened to be the one person who wanted the Superintendent to speak.

In our state seven years ago, we passed the Mississippi Adequate Education Program which was to set a figure that would ensure Mississippi education was 100% funded annually. Well, in 7 years it has only been fully funded twice and both of those were election years (once under Governor Haley Barbour,a Republican). An organization called “Better Schools, Better Jobs” successfully got Initiative 42 added to the ballot this November that requires the state to constitutionally fully-fund Mississippi education. What did the legislature do? Got their own initiative, Alternative Initiative 42A, added to that ballot with very similar language, in large part, to confuse the voting public come November to hopefully defeat Initiative 42.

Dare I even mention the bill to make a teacher contacting a member of the legislature while at work punishable by a $10,000 fine? Thankfully in the writing process this bill was defeated in committee. I will give one point to the legislature on that front.

Mississippi is an amazing place with truly amazing people. I am a former Yankee who is so glad to call this land home, but we are doing our children a disservice by using our children as pawns in a political game. The Lt. Governor and the legislature may want to back away from Common Core because it is too rigorous and they believe Mississippi children cannot do it, but I along with Mississippi’s education professionals believe that Mississippi children can.


Cody Shumaker

Cody S. Shumaker was born and raised in northwest Illinois and after college joined Teach For America in the Mississippi Delta. After three years of teaching high school history, he received two post-graduate degrees at Delta State and Ole Miss. He has been an elementary administrator for three years in Bolivar County, Mississippi.


Thank you, Cody, for this great guest blog post. We value hearing from educators about issues they feel are important.

Edcite provides a platform for teachers to create rigorous and contemporary assignments easily, so their students are better prepared for opportunities after K-12. Edcite’s mission is also global. As such, our technology can adapt to support any standards adopted in different states and different countries. 

Today, we meet most of the requirements for the Common Core (in the US) and will adapt to any future standards adopted by any state. 

Tips and Tricks: Using Edcite for Assessments

Assignments vs. Assessments:

I teach high school Civics and Computer Science in San Francisco and, when I give my first test of the year, I like to set a distinct tone. With most assignments that I give out, I try to foster a culture of collaboration, questioning, recalling prior information and learning through mistakes and trying new things. This changes when it’s time for me to assess where we’re at. All notes and materials are put away, the noise level is silent, and there is no collaboration between students.

It’s important to be able to change the experience or feel of something to match the tone of the task at hand, which is why I want to highlight ways to change the experience from everyday assignments on Edcite to assessments on Edcite.

When Edcite started, we envisioned teachers using our platform in a formative way with their students. In the last few weeks, though, we have seen teachers using Edcite for summative assessments and so we have begun working with selected schools and districts to support summative assessments.

Assessing on Edcite:

In recent weeks, we have seen an increase in questions about how to use Edcite for Unit Tests and Benchmarks. This blog post will walk through some of the innovative ways that teachers are using Edcite to implement these assessments:

  • Limit Access

When you give pencil and paper tests, you don’t give your students the test anytime they want. Tests are generally taken during class so that the teacher can monitor students. Edcite has a feature that allows you to restrict access to a test to a specific time and date range.

To access this, open up the assignment editor and click on “Settings” (in red box in screenshot below).

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Then, choose the tab titled “Limit Access”. Here, you will see a lot of options for restricting when students can access the test.

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If you are planning on giving the test in a specific 1 hour block, you can set it up here. The test below is set to be given next Tuesday (1/27) from 1 to 2pm (note that military time is used so AM and PM are not necessary).

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  • Student View Settings

Typically, students complete pencil and paper tests before they are given any kind of feedback from their teacher. I don’t stand over my civics students shoulders and tell them “Nice job, you got #2 right, but go take a look at #3”. Doing so would prevent their work from being their own. In Edcite, we make answer checking and redoing questions an option (this is useful for homework and practice) but you can turn it off for your assessments!

To do this, go to “Settings” from the assignment editor.

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Choose the “Student View” tab (see screenshot below). Here you can either allow or disallow students redoing questions (I disallow this for students on tests).  You can also choose the option to “Hide Answer Details”. I would recommend choosing this if you don’t want students to be checking their answers as they go. If you don’t put this setting on, students can get discouraged if they see they missed an early question but can’t go back and do anything about it.

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There is also a timer option if you want students to be aware of their time. Disclaimer: student feedback has been pretty consistent that the timer makes them nervous, I don’t use it for my tests!

Why Use Edcite for Assessments?

Edcite is a great assessment tool because:

  1. Much our teacher-created material is Common Core aligned (we have over 3,400 Common Core assignments, for every grade level and every subject!)
  2. Edcite’s question types mimic those used by the end-of-year exams — SmarterBalanced and PARCC.
  3. Edcite offers standard by standard grading. (For more info about Edcite’s standards grading and reporting features, stay tuned for our next tips and tricks blog post!)

Want more summative assessments from Edcite?

At Edcite, we are currently working on building Common Core aligned benchmarks to help students practice for new testing. If you are interested in learning more, sign up here. We will reach out to you!