Welcome back to school! The first month of school is a busy time for teachers, but using digital assignments on Edcite can save you some time. Here are five ways to use Edcite in the beginning of the school year.
Getting to Know You Surveys
Knowing and understanding your students is an important part of teaching, and these Getting to Know You Surveys will help. You can even refer back to your students’ answers in the Assignment Report throughout the coming months.
Once you’ve started to learn about your students, a baseline assessment is a great way to begin your curriculum. The Edcite Math Baselines will instantly show you what math skills students have as they start the school year. The Edcite ELA Baselines will give you a sample of students’ writing skills.
Many teachers have students work on Edcite during class. Visit our curated Featured Collections to find great assignments to assign to your students. Then use the Live Assignment Dashboard to view students’ progress in real-time.
You can also use Edcite to create a digital exit ticket for students to complete at the end of class. You will see answers and scores as soon as students finish the exit ticket, and you can use that data to inform instruction the next day. To create your own exit ticket, visit the Create Question option in your navigation bar for our 60+ tech-enhanced question types.
Students can use Edcite on any device, so teachers often give Edcite practice for homework. If you allow retakes, the Summary Report will give you the option of selecting which retake score you would like to view, and you can upload this to your report card system.
How do you plan to use Edcite the first month of school? Let us know in the comments or share your ideas on social media!
We are thrilled to present our September Teacher of the Month, Rachel Brown! Rachel is a fantastic Language Arts teacher from Indiana who has created dozens of her own Edcite assignments, which she shares with her Language Arts team.
Read on to learn about Rachel and how she uses Edcite in her school.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a teacher at DeKalb Middle School in Waterloo, Indiana. I earned my Bachelor’s degree from Manchester College in 2012. I am starting my fourth year teaching, having spent two years teaching 4th grade before moving up to the middle school level. In my spare time I also help coach the DeKalb girl’s soccer team.
What do you teach?
I teach 6th grade English Language Arts
Why did you become a teacher?
I decided I wanted to be a teacher when I was very young. Amazing teachers along the way helped confirm this desire and strengthen my conviction to reach my goal. Throughout high school and college, I found ways to get active with kids to learn all I could from them by tutoring, coaching, mentoring, and volunteering. I loved working with the children and knew that I had made the right decision in my profession.
How did you hear about Edcite?
I learned about Edcite through another teacher. I was really excited about the opportunities Edcite provided for my students to interact with technology while being prepared for new types of questions.
How do you use Edcite in the classroom?
I use Edcite in a variety of ways in my classroom. Most of our assessments are taken through Edcite. We also do reading comprehension assignments and home E-Learning assignments on Edcite.
What aspects make you most “Edcited” about Edcite?
I love how students are able to interact both with texts and questions in new and innovative ways. Being able to have students highlight, sort, categorize, write responses, and use multiple choice formats really won me over. My students love using Edcite and being able to know how they did immediately.
I love being able to quickly see what students understand, and where their gaps are so I can adjust my instruction.
Final Words of Wisdom for other Edcite Users?
Use the assignment library. There are so many great assignments out there to help you get started if you are hesitant about creating your own assignments at first. It’s great to see how others make use of the variety of question types before starting to create your own assignments. Once you get started using Edcite, you will wonder how you managed to get along without it!
With over 11,000 assignments in Edcite’s assignments library, it can be difficult choosing which ones to use with your students. We decided to chip in, and analyzed which assignments were most popular this last year. Check out the assignments below, and please share them with the other educators you know!
(To share this assignment with friends and colleagues!)
If you’re anything like us, you’re spending your first few weeks of the school year soaking up any and all new ideas and tools you can use. We hope that one of those tools will be Edcite, an incredibly flexible tool that you can use to improve your efficacy as a teacher. You can give it a try for:
1. Whole Group Instruction: Create an assignment you can do as a whole class on the smart board or projected on the white board. Great for modeling how to do a new skill or question type. Check out how these teachers do whole group instruction with Edcite.
2. Free Writes: Use free response questions to push students to explain and demonstrate their understanding. Edcite facilitates faster grading by allowing question-by-question grading and commenting. You can also use the free response or essay questions to facilitate more open writing prompts to get students’ creative juices flowing!
3. Exploration of a new skill: Give students an Edcite assignment designed to help them master a new skill by allowing students multiple attempts to answer a question. You can add hints with videos or written instructions and provide solutions with explanations. Students will be able to see whether they are correct immediately and fix their answer.
4. Group Work: Have students work on content in pairs or small groups and collaboratively work through an assignment. You can have students work together in a variety of ways, ranging from answering together to reading to each other and answering questions. Read about how one teacher used Edcite to facilitate dialogue between students.
5. Exit Tickets (Formative): Create an exit ticket for the day’s objective on Edcite and use the automated grading to quickly score it and analyze the data to know what to review the next day in class. Some teachers also like to give a weekly exit ticket to adjust any of their RTI (Response to Intervention) groups; you can easily differentiate your exit tickets to assess various groups at the appropriate level.
6. In-Class Checks for Understanding (Formative): Prepare a set of questions covering the lecture material and guide students to complete each question at strategic “checkpoints” during a lecture or other instructional time to get instant feedback on how well students understand the new concepts. Check out how one teacher, Meghan Gieg, incorporated these questions into her lesson plan as checks for understanding!
7. Summative Assessments: Use Edcite to make a quiz or test for your students. The questions can be randomized and the assignment can be timed. Plus, you can easily export the data from Edcite and import it into your grade book! Check out these tips on how to set up a great summative assessment.
Outside of Class
8. Homework Assignments: Many teachers create weekly homework “packets” or send home homework daily on Edcite. You’re able to see how much time a student spent on the assignment and get the data before they walk into the classroom. Save the time that you would usually spend checking homework and instead go over the common misunderstandings or target specific students with remediation. Our Edcite Teacher of the Month last September, Mrs. Pallitto, would send one math and one reading assignment home each week for her 4th graders.
9. Flipping Your Classroom: Upload videos explaining new concepts for students to watch at home, and create questions to correspond to the video. This allows students to learn and practice a skill independently, and frees more class time for reinforcing skills, broadening application, and deepening understanding. Read more about flipping your classroom here.
10. Student survey questions: Add a “fun” student survey question at the end of assessments or homework assignments to gather information about the type of music your students like, their favorite celebrities, etc. and use this information to make examples and future assignments more engaging. Maybe you could then use the data from the survey for a class project?
Add to this list! Take an existing assignment or unique activity that you do in your classroom and create it on Edcite! See the benefits that come from quick grading and share it with other teachers!
If you’d like to share how you are using Edcite or are interested in learning about how some schools have begun using the site as a department, school, or district, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We know that converting your paper-and-pencil assignments to digital ones can be quite the challenge. But, with every challenge is an opportunity. On Edcite, the digital assignments you create can help you save time and engage your students through a high-variety of interactive question types. This blog post gives you an overview of our top 10 math questions and how you can use them in a math assignment. We hope it’s helpful to you!
What is it?
Why use it?
How it’s used in math? / example?
Multiple Choice /Select Answer (PARCC or SmarterBalanced)
Students select an answer choice (single select) or several correct choices (multi-select)
Adaptable for single or multi-select
You can add as many answer choices as you want
Useful for the first question in a scaffolded sequence of questions.
Can easily be followed by a free response (how did you get the answer above) to make this question more rigorous
Numeric Response (PARCC)
An open-ended question where students type in a response
Teachers can program in a margin of error in the answer
Great for open-ended questions where you want the student to solve fully on their own
Fraction Response (PARCC)
Visual question type for student, multiple fraction grid shapes are available (rectangle, circle, etc.)
Great for visual learners
Has multiple grid shapes available (rectangle, circle, etc.)
Used to help students practice fractions in a visual way.
Really great for earlier grades!
Math Keyboard (PARCC or SBAC)
Students answer question by entering answer using a math (calculator) keyboard
Autograded or free response
Use the same calculator that will be on your test (SBAC or PARCC)
Good for entering algebraic answers
Free response allows students to explain reasoning mathematically
Number Line Zoom (PARCC)
Students select a segment of the number line, zoom in on it and then place their answer.
Can be set up with fractions or decimals
Excellent for having students practice estimating fractions or decimals
Change the intervals to uncommon ones (i.e. go by sixths) and have students try to place familiar numbers
Touch Image (Image Types)
Flexible item type that allows you to choose an image and have students click parts of the image based on your prompts
Can set number of tries for each answer for a student
Works well with graphing questions where students should click on parts of a graph to answer question
See number line example in next blog post!
Graph Points and Lines (PARCC)
Basic graphing item type that students use to plot linear equations, points and segments.
Students can plot more than one figure per answer
Can graph points, segments and lines
Questions where students are constructing a graph
Graphing practice (paired with Graphing Inequalities, this is great for middle school and early algebra)
Drag and Drop (SBAC): highly flexible question type that makes student construct response.
Students drag their answers to construct a response.
Summer: the time for a little R&R, vacation, and, if you are like me, GETTING AHEAD!
Thus, here is a little “To-Do” list (including both ideas and resources) that we can use to prepare for next year!
Familiarize yourself with any additions or changes to your curriculum and end of year assessments. If possible, TAKE THE ASSESSMENT YOURSELF. This guarantees that any materials you create align to the end goal and give you accurate data that indicates which students are on-track toward reaching the goal and which students need additional support. (PARCC Practice Tests, Smarter Balanced Practice Tests)
Edcite-itize your current curriculum: This is what I will spend MUCH of my summer doing. I currently have a word document containing the lesson materials for each day of the school year. I am working to turn each of these into Edcite assignments. (Ex: HERE is the original lesson in word document form. HERE is the assignment now that I have Edcite-itized it!)
ReadWorks: Free to register!! AND they are consistently updating their bank of fiction and nonfiction passages. Download the passage onto your computer and then use it to create an Edcite assignment!
iXL: You need a subscription in order to access the full program. However, you are still able to access MANY practice problems without a subscription!! Also, because this is a computer-based program – it gives additional ideas for creating strong Edcite assignments for your class!!
Engage NY: THE AMOUNT OF RESOURCES HERE! WOW! I have only gone through 2 modules. It would be possible to create a year’s worth of assignments simply with utilizing the FREE resources Engage NY offers. You can view either as a word document or a pdf, download the answer key, and Edcite-itize away!!
BULK UP YOUR RESOURCES!
I have posted on random websites/blogs/etc and had teachers who are retiring offer to donate books, whiteboards, projector screens, etc. One of our teachers wanted to do a hot air balloon theme – she posted her idea on a hot air balloon forum – had an old basket and balloon donated and used it as her reading corner!! We posted on a skydiver’s forum to get old parachutes donated for our use in our elementary P.E. classes! The ideas here are endless!
Donorschoose — always a great way to gather additional resources!
Thrift Shops — Because it is the end of the school year, many people are donating books, book bags, belts, etc. to the local thrift shops. THIS MEANS IT IS A TEACHER’S PRIME SHOPPING TIME!!
First Book — Free to register and books are up to 80 & 90% off retail price!
Ebay — It can be easy to forget about, but there are consistently great deals here on calculators, protractors, science lab equipment, books, personal white boards. Often you can get free shipping as well!
Scholastic Fair — Find out if and when there is a local fair near you. School supplies at great discounts!!
Use the extra time wisely: gather useful resources and get ahead with curriculum planning, but make sure to take time for yourself as well — you deserve it!!!
Thank you to Meghan Gieg for all of your great Monthly Monday Posts this school year. Have a fabulous summer! 🙂
Why Technology Can Help Reduce the Summer Learning Gap
It’s May! In my classroom, students are preparing for finals and completing final projects. In these moments, I try to pause and reflect on the growth and accomplishments of the past year.
As I do so, it stands out to me that this growth we are celebrating will not “stick” with my students equally. While some of my students will keep growing in the next few months, others will actually lose skills and understandings that they have now. Unsurprised? Some people (who probably aren’t educators) would say “This makes perfect sense, some students end up successful, some don’t.” But this is not random. Not at all. With a high degree of accuracy, I can predict which students will gain or lose ground in which subjects.
Who is Affected:
I do not have a crystal ball, I just know about Summer Learning Loss (SLL). SLL occurs when students lose academic skills or knowledge during summer vacation. The academic community has started to try to quantify this loss. They have found that on average, American students lose about a month of academic time during summer break.
But these data do not tell the whole story, which is much more interesting when you look at specific subjects and populations of students. In mathematics, students lose approximate 2.6 months of content time. Interestingly enough, in ELA, high-income students actually GAIN in achievement during the summer, while low-income students lose about 2 months of reading achievement. To get a better idea of what these data mean, over the course of a K-12 school career, the average student loses over 2 years of academic time in math (and ELA for the average lower income student).
What Can We Do?
Technology can be a powerful lever in reversing the SLL trends. Think flipping your classroom, all summer long! Through the diverse education platforms out there, teachers can send assignments to students, monitor progress, and view student data as much or as little as they want during the summer. And, because more and more educational websites are becoming mobile-accessible, it’s becoming far easier to access these learning tools and practice opportunities.
I’m currently working with teachers to set up their summer work on Edcite, and the process has been inspirational to see! Based on their level of mastery during the school year, teachers are differentiating the content and sending specific assignments to specific groups of students. Thankfully, with multimedia-rich and interactive assignments, this summer work will be a lot more engaging for students that the traditional summer work packet. Best of all, teachers don’t have to wait until school starts to see if a student did or did not complete the work — they can monitor progress and access student performance data throughout the summer. And, through Edcite’s reporting features like the standards report, teachers can see what standards and concepts students have mastered, and which might need to be focused on more during the next school year.
If you have any favorite digital resources you love to use during the summer, I’d love to add them to my bag of tricks! You can email me (email@example.com) or tweet at me (@bbmcintosh14)!