“How do you get it all done?”
“I couldn’t get it all done if I didn’t have Classkick.”
We sat down with Pamela Kent, a Classkick Mentor, to see how her school uses Classkick. She is an intermediate math instructional specialist in Texas who was looking for a solution to providing students with accommodations, and found an incredibly effective solution for her Special Education students by using Classkick to record her tests and provide immediate, individualized feedback. This is her story:
Q: What are the demographics of your school?
A: We have 300 students in each grade at our Title I campus with nearly 40% low SES. We are a 6A district with one high school, one middle school, two intermediate campuses, and six elementary schools. We have the highest concentrations of African American and Hispanic students between the two intermediate campuses in our district, and we have a significant number of ELLs whose primary language is Spanish or Urdu.
Q: What is your school’s goal for using Classkick?
A: Originally, my goal was to meet the needs of students who need oral administration as an accommodation for assessments. And then as I played with Classkick more, I realized we could differentiate between different groups of students by using the same assignment but scaffolding it differently. The kids wouldn’t realize that their neighbors would see different questions on their screen, so the differentiation was privately provided. And now, Classkick has provided more collaboration. You can give instant feedback; students can give each other feedback. My original goal has been met, but we have expanded and found more that we can do with Classkick and I am sure that we have not even come close to maximizing what we would could be doing yet. But, we have definitely grown in our usage and found only additional benefits.
Q: How is Classkick used at your school?
A: We use Classkick to collaborate, differentiate, and accommodate. The opportunity for real-time feedback ensures there is collaboration between teacher and student or between students. Differentiation is achieved when teachers assign different things to different groups of students. Students may be learning the same topic, but teachers can scaffold based on need or enrichment, and students wouldn’t know that they are completing different work than the student next to them. They may all be working on fractions, but solving different problems. As an accommodation tool, Classkick helps us because we have a large group of students who need oral administration of tests. Attempting to read a test to some students while keeping the rest of students who do not need that accommodation on task becomes cumbersome. When we put a test in Classkick and use it as a tool to help give support in the way of accommodation and scaffolding, it solves our problems!
Q: Who is using Classkick at your school?
A: Our campus is a 5th and 6th grade campus, and teachers in all subjects are using it. Initially, Classkick was only being used in Math and once the word spread that we were using Classkick to provide oral administration for our assessments and seeing success with students, the word spread to Science, and then Reading.
Q: How are teachers at your school trained to use Classkick?
A: Originally, I presented at a differentiation station for my faculty using Classkick. Since then, it’s spread mainly through word of mouth. I remind teachers about Classkick and ask them to come see me during their conference time. I’ve also chatted with the math specialist for the district who asked me to present to 4th grade teachers at an elementary campus. I shared how we use Classkick at our campus and how it is helping to prepare our students for different skill sets on their state test.
Q: How often do students at your school use Classkick?
A: In my classes, my students use Classkick almost daily. In other classes, students are using Classkick once a week. Some students who prefer completing their work on pencil-and-paper take a picture to insert in Classkick. We actually had one student discover that she could do this and show the rest of her classmates. When a teacher asked her, “What if you want to change some of your work?” the student replied that she could delete the first picture and add a second. This was excellent for our students because the kids could see that the adults were learning, as well. So now we encourage our students to share key findings with each other and with the whole class.
Q: Which devices are you and your students using to access Classkick?
A: We are a 1:1 campus so students and teachers each have an iPad. But, I often find it quicker to create my Classkick assignments on a desktop. I also have some kids who prefer using Classkick on the desktop instead of their iPad.
Q: For how long has your school been using Classkick?
A: 2 full years
Q: What initial professional development did you receive?
A: I saw Classkick on a website, started playing around with it, and taught myself. That’s what’s so nice about Classkick — it is totally user friendly. For this 50 year-old, Classkick was not overwhelming to get started on my own.
Q: How has using Classkick affected your student’s learning?
A: Teachers who have used Classkick for oral administration report that their kids are more comfortable for state testing because the state tests are also computerized with a strange voice reading them the passage. Students are now more comfortable both with the interface of taking a test on a computer and having interacted with a test that is administered orally.
Also, we have had more of our special needs kids passing their state assessment the first time they take it than we have in the past, and we think this is directly tied to having students practice using Classkick. We still focus on teaching content, but when we do our test prep, and we practice on Classkick, it helps put kids at ease.
We have also been able to discuss accommodations with students by practicing on Classkick. For example, some of our students have said, “I feel more comfortable with a real teacher reading it to me.” So we have been able to note the preferences of students before they take their state assessment.
Also, I had a student who was out for an entire week with an illness and she missed several days of review right before state testing. She was getting extremely anxious, so I asked if she had a computer at home. I showed her how she could log into one of our assignments at home and how I could review her work and answer her questions. Her parents wrote me email that thanked me profusely because they were having trouble helping her but could see me writing on her screen and answering her questions!
I was also out one day and wrote plans for my substitute to have students log onto Classkick in my absence. I loved that Classkick gave me the flexibility to be out for the day, and I could still check in on some students and even nudge some of them, reminding them to get busy! The accountability piece that Classkick provides is awesome. I can see what students are doing in real-time, and my students know that.
Finally, I have a few hunter-gatherer-type students who wait and listen for other students instead of trying each question on their own. With Classkick, they can no longer rely on those verbal cues from other students, so they have to practice persistence to arrive at their answer. It’s great!
Q: What does the data say?
A: Since implementing Classkick, the pass rate for our 5th graders has increased nearly 10%, and the rate for our Special Education students has jumped over 25%!
Q: Will your school keep using Classkick?
A: We will definitely continue to use Classkick in the way we’ve been using it, and as we bring new staff members in, I know there will be people who continue to explore other ways to use Classkick and maximize its potential. I feel like we have not even scratched the surface yet. In these two years, I have already seen different things occurring in classrooms that didn’t occur the first year. So, we are going to continue to add to our Classkick usage as we play and figure out what else Classkick can do for us.
Currently, we are using Classkick heavily in math and science, but we would like to see it grow into our language arts and social studies classes. In my role as the math instructional specialist, I help all the 5th and 6th grade teachers with their pacing and curriculum development. After looking at data from our informal and formal assessments, we make decisions about new things to try or concepts to revisit. It is often during these meetings where we will propose new Classkick assignments to try so we can analyze the data afterwards.
The other intermediate campus in our district keeps asking, “How do you get it all done?” And I say, “I couldn’t get it all done if I didn’t have Classkick.”