Friday, January 16, 2015

Data Tracking with Numbers

My desk is a mess.  I'll admit it, no shame here.  Usually I have piles and piles of paper.  In past years, I have kept individual data folders for my students in order to show them their growth and progress.  As wonderful as these folders were, my sanity couldn't afford anymore paper!  Goal setting is an important part of learning, so I couldn't just ditch it.  By setting their own goals and seeing how they are progressing toward the goals, students are able to adjust their learning.  They can see the correlation between effort and success.  In an effort to keep the good and let go of the bad, I am trying something new:  digital data folders.  

My kids love using the iWork suite from Apple.  Pages has become one of their favorite apps for creating documents.  So, Numbers was a logical place to graph and chart data.  Numbers works just like Pages, except, it does things with "numbers."

This student was able to see how a little extra strategy work resulted in a big payoff.

I created a template for my students to keep track of their data in Numbers.  This way, I could ensure that data would populate the bar graph correctly.  This process is so simple though, next time I will let my 4th graders create the Data Tracker themselves.    It is important on the tracker to have the students list their goals.  In my class, we call our goal a "green score."  This number was made by using STAAR's progress goals as a starting point, and then the student and I adjusted it as needed.  By putting the goal on the data tracker students can look at the trends in their data, as well as, how close they are to their own personal goal.

When I conferred with this student, we discussed the inconsistencies in her scores and then brainstormed solutions.

My favorite part of this using Numbers to track student data is the reactions the students have when they see their bar graphs move!  Having an interactive document makes a big impact on how students perceive the data.  

Tips for using in your classroom:
  • The iWork suite is amazing for upper elementary grades.  The apps are very easy to learn and you will not lose class time "teaching the apps."  Best of all, once they learn one, they know how to use them all.  Pages, Numbers, and Keynote all have the same work flow.  Icons have the same function in all three programs.
  • The students can email a PDF to you or a parent straight from the app. Gotta love simplicity! 
  • My kids immediately started to change and tweak my template.  I love how quickly they caught on to how the app functions.  I, however, should have set some boundaries such as:  you must have a bar graph, or don't make your background a picture.  I think its important to let them tweak and explore, but the document still has to function as intended.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Dogo Books

I couldn't post about Dogo News without posting about Dogo Books. Dogo Books is a website of "Book reviews for kids, by kids."

Dogo Books is a great place for kids to go to find books to add to their wish lists.  Students can view new books, popular books, or view books by genres.  Most books let the students preview the first few pages of a book!  Along with blurbs and information about the book, some books even have a book trailer for students to view.

My students are voracious readers who love to tell their friends all about the books they are reading. Dogo Books allows them to share the books they are reading with the world!  Kids can leave reviews for others on the site to read.  This is a fun way to introduce students to the world of social networks in a safe environment, while still teaching content.

Go try this site out now!!!  To get to the website go to:, or you can get there by clicking "books" at the top of the Dogo News site.

Tips for using in your classroom:

  • Students can post with or without a login.  Login in using a Google Account is allowed.
  • Teach your students how to write a book review before showing them this site.  This will help to connect the activity to your ELA standards as well as help the site get some well-written reviews.

News Articles for Kids

I recently found myself looking for news articles for my 4th Graders.  I was amazed at the number of news sites there are for kids!  I wish I would have known about all these resources sooner.  A real-life news story beats a test-prep passage any day! Here is one of my favorites Dogo News.

Dogo News is a site I have been using since our school went 1:1.  I love Dogo News because it lets you sort the content by grade level.  This ensures the readability and appropriateness of articles.

Click on "Grades" to change the range of articles you can view.  (See the Red Arrow.)

Other great features of Dogo News:
  • Teacher login lets you store your favorite articles and create classes.
  • Student logins allow the students not only to have access to the site, but to view articles you have select for them.  (A student login is not required for students to use the site.  I will often post the link to an article on Edmodo.)

Tips for using in your classroom:

  • Students and teachers can login using a Google Account.  (You gotta love that!)
  • So far, I have found that the K-8 articles have all been elementary friendly.  I have no trouble saying yes when students ask, "Can I go on Dogo News?"