The Power of Adaptive Learning

So much is expected of both educators and students. Classroom teachers need to make sure students of all skill levels are prepared to be successful now and in the future, while also ensuring they perform well on high-stakes exams. And students need to fully understand what they’re learning so they can build on that foundation and advance to more complex concepts in higher grades. Easier said than done.

That’s why we created UpSmart®: to help students and teachers do all of that with ease. As class sizes grow and test scores remain important, finding a way to individualize instruction to support students’ varied knowledge bases can be difficult, and this is where UpSmart comes in. We designed UpSmart so teachers can easily incorporate the program into their regular classroom instruction. Teachers teach a lesson, then assign that specific topic in UpSmart, and UpSmart’s detailed and easy-to-understand data enables teachers to quickly identify which students are “getting it” and which need extra help.

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Deeper Dialogue around Digital Distractions

Since the dawn of time, students have gathered together to learn new skills from teaching figures–– and subsequently been distracted from the learning at hand. Today, technology has infiltrated our classrooms and increased the likelihood of student distraction, whether from a buzzing in a pocket or an update in a browser tab. A quick web search reveals a spectrum of responses to this challenge, ranging from free use to an outright ban of devices.

When deciding how to handle digital distractions, it’s often good to start by drafting a contract. This can outline when and where digital devices can be used in a classroom, what they can be used for, and consequences for not meeting expectations. Some elements of a contract may need to be set by a teacher based on school or district policies, particularly around safety and privacy. However, a great way to encourage student buy-in is to have them engage in creating this contract. Here are some conversation starters that can help deepen the dialogue around digital distractions:

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One District’s Success Establishing a Virtual School

Flexibility is important to modern students and families, and establishing a virtual school can help you provide quality curriculum while giving students a less rigid learning environment. But figuring out how to start one can be intimidating. When built using the right curriculum, virtual schools can help districts recapture lost students from competing charter schools, other virtual programs, or even home schooling. Jarret Coutee, Program Administrator at Lafayette Online Academy in Louisiana, shares how the district expanded from a blended learning program into a full-fledged virtual program that better serves all students.

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Getting Students Back on Track After a Break

Getting Students Back on Track After a Break article banner

We all look forward to the holidays, and teachers, as much as students, look forward to some time off from the hustle and bustle of a busy fall semester. But it can sometimes be difficult to get back into the swing of things after we’ve recharged our batteries.

Though I’m usually ready to get back to work after a break, the same is not always true of our students, and those first few weeks in January can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you get students motivated after a lengthy school break!

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Top New Books for Educators: See What’s Coming in January

Here are some of the top new books for educators being released in January:

School-Based Observation: A Practical Guide to Assessing Student Behavior
Amy M. Briesch,‎ Robert J. Volpe,‎ Randy G. Floyd

Widely used to assess social–emotional and behavioral referral concerns in grades PreK–12, systematic direct observation is an essential skill for school psychologists and other educators. This accessible book helps practitioners conduct reliable, accurate observations using the best available tools. Chapters present effective coding systems for assessing student classroom behavior, the classroom environment, behavior in non-classroom settings, and behavior in a functional assessment context; also provided are guidelines for developing new codes when an appropriate one does not already exist. Procedures for summarizing, graphing, and interpreting data for different assessment purposes are detailed. In a large-size format with lay-flat binding for easy photocopying, the book includes 13 reproducible coding forms. Purchasers get access to a Web page where they can download and print the reproducible materials.


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