Monday, December 4, 2017

Student Portfolios

As a music teacher, I have always struggled with assessing student performance standards like singing and playing instruments. Don't get me wrong, I do it every single day. Usually, I take anecdotal notes while everyone is working together.  Individually assessing students takes a lot of time and what are the other children supposed to do while I individually assess? The music room has no desks, no independent books, and, frankly, it's hard to be monitoring others while trying to give your complete attention to the student you are assessing.  Because of this, student portfolios have always been interesting to me but I have never really mastered how to make it work without a ton of additional things for me to do.


Class Dojo is a well known website used to help support teachers in classroom management.  It allows teachers to encourage important skills and communicate with families through messages, updates and photos. But along with all the great features that come with helping students be behaviorally aware and accountable, Class Dojo has a way to help with creating student portfolios for assessment too.

Within Class Dojo, each class has a "story" which allows you to post things for all connected parents in the class to see. Each student also has an individual "story" which allows things to be posted for just their family to see. Or for you to view for the purposes of assessment! A perfect, already organized and created by someone else, spot to record student performances!
I have just began to mess around with this feature but it requires no additional sign in for students and teachers or students can add things to their wall. Here is an example from second grade in which students were practicing creating their own rhythms with a new note, the half note. I traveled around and took a quick video of each student clapping and saying the rhythm they composed. It was a quick post by hitting one button and then it was available for both families and myself to view.

Our school uses Class Dojo quite a bit, so I love that kids already know how it works and could, just as easily as I can, add things in their own "story" or portfolio.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Carrie Driscoll

I am Carrie Driscoll- I am in the midst of my 7th year of teaching 4th grade at Bethesda. Along the way through those 7 years the landscape of education has greatly shifted, including the use of technology tools in and around instruction. When I toured Bethesda as a part of my interview, there was one portable Smartboard in the 4th grade pod that the teacher and students were using while skillfully trying to dance around the giant cords anchoring the board to an outlet.  If you walked through Bethesda today, you would see kiddos sailing, unanchored, around the open concept pods with their iPads in a 1:1 environment.

I have been fortunate to be a part of Bethesda and along for this journey from the lonely, anchored Smartboard to untethered iPads in the hands of ALL. I LOVE using technology tools in instruction and for kiddos to create meaning to their own learning. I am usually the first one that will jump at the chance to start using a new tech tool and enjoy working with colleagues to improve our practices together.
Carrie Driscoll
4th Grade  Bethesda Elementary 

As with any road there have been peaks and valleys, twists and turns and frustration and celebration. The road of “instructional technology” is no different.  It can feel like the speed limitless autobahn where there is movement on all sides at an insane pace .  Sometimes you’re just holding on for dear life, sometimes you’re cruising in your own lane and then sometimes you need to pull over to make sure you’re taking the right path. I hope to contribute to the learning  by sharing celebrations and setbacks along my “Journey to Modification!