PLpalooza – Learning from our colleagues

In reading some of my colleagues slides on this event, I found several slides to have stuck out with things I can use with my students but this is one I found super useful. Bear shared some ideas about playlists and this is what I found useful: offering options that are engaging to help with behavior management, including pit stops to check for understanding, setting goals, and putting something like a star for items that are completed to help with behavior management (positive reinforcement). I would love to use WOOT Math as it allows the whole class to work on a problem at the same time, and shows all of the students work on the Promethean not attaching any names. This is great because students can learn from each other, and I’ve found this is one of my best approaches in the classroom! I can’t wait to implement some of these new ideas.

PLaPalooza – Once, Twice, Three times a Presenter

First things first…

But it’s a good kind of pooped! It was really amazing to be able to present and share ways to formatively assess students in a Personalized Learning environment. The basics of my session(s) were about the different digital tools, but the explanations, questions asked and discussions had dug more into instructional strategies and how to get the most out of both the tools we are using and the students we are targeting.

It was also intimidating to present to middle and high school teachers – I chose the assessment tools to be K-12 friendly, but don’t have much experience implementing them with older students. I think I did a good job of making it reach across grade levels.

My hope is that each person (almost 30 per session!) walked away with even just one assessment they would like to try in their class. I gave a variety of options and hope that I didn’t overwhelm them. 50 minutes just isn’t long enough! Here’s a link to my presentation: PLaPalooza – Digital Formative Assessments: Let’s Take Some Together!

Now, onto #VSTE….

Mroz Slides Reflection

We all know student reflection is important, but having relevant and quick ways for students to reflect is awesome!  Lynne posted the emoji reflection pocket organizer in which students could drop popsicle sticks with their names to reflect how they are feeling about their current learning.  I love that this is a private and easy way for students to show their level of understanding.  As a teacher, you could then easily form groups based on this quick reflection.

I can’t “WAITS” to try these!


View Pure!  So excited to have a way to clear the clutter and stress from YouTube vids in the classroom and on playlists!  Strips video on YouTube of ads and only allows the selected video to be played.

AnswerGarden!  I am always looking for fun ways to assess in real time!  I will have to experiment with this and how I would like to use it across subject areas.

Playlist accountability!  Having students check themselves in to what they are going to be doing during their playlist work on the Promethean board throughout the block.



PLApalooza Reflection – Whitehead

This professional development experience was helpful in some ways, but a little disappointing in several ways. I found that the SPED Round-table discussion was very useful. I really like being able to speak with other SPED teachers about how we can use PL in our jobs because I do find it difficult in a lot of ways. It was good to hear that other teachers have challenges with this too, but it was also really helpful to get advice on how I can use PL for my students. Some of the best advice I got was making sure I get to collaborate with the general education teachers on playlists so that I can be assessing and working on goal work with these students. All of the teachers felt as if PL can be difficult for learners who need more structure and instruction, but I did come away from today feeling more comfortable with implementing PL with my students especially during my FLEX 5th grade math group. In the two other sessions I found that I did not get as much out of it. The “Making the Most of MAP data” session was helpful in one way, teaching me that I can get a quadrant chart to understand if my students are meeting growth goals or not and if they are below or above grade level. I feel this is especially helpful in understanding if my students need more help with growth. Finally, the PL for Struggling Readers session was not a session I took anything away from. I was dismayed that the presenter only showed us what she does specifically for her students, instead of helping to teach us methods that we could implement in our own classroom. I was not aware that the session was specifically for secondary students, but I know that if I had been given some ideas instead of things that my presenter does specifically for her classes then I could have found some things to implement or have been inspired. We also ended our session 20 minutes early, so all in all not a very good experience. I wish that this event had more events for elementary level teachers, and I really wish I had been able to go to sessions more tailored towards a cross-categorical special education teacher, as I cannot use a lot of the information that was being presented. I’m glad I did take away some things from some of these sessions, and I’m excited to implement these new ideas as soon as possible.

What I will use in my classroom…TOMORROW

Using the colors on a flip chart where students can drag their name to what they have chosen to work on. It seems like such a simple change for accountability….I love the idea of making a slide on a flip chart that lists the different things that the students can be working on and while giving them voice and choice it also allows me to see exactly who is working on what or if they are spending too long on a specific program. For example we ask our kids to work on math games for 15 minutes and many of them decide to play the games for the entire time so allowing me to see exactly who is working on what and glancing up knowing that they have been in the same area for over thirty minutes will allow me to keep them focused on completing parts of their playlists.

PL Playlists

I attended a session called Playlist Like a Pro in which the session leaders shared many different versions of Playlists they have used in their classroom.  It is obvious that playlists are not a one size fit all from year-to-year and the presenting teacher shared that what works for one class won’t necessarily work for another.

We saw many different types of playlists:

    • Coloring playlist – activities are spread out through a picture and as students complete an activity they color it in
    • BINGO/Choice Board with Must Do/May Do
    • Points Playlist – as students complete activities they earn points – must earn certain number of points (*similar to the “menu” style – choose appetizer/entree/dessert)
    • Interactive/Digital – Google Docs/Sheets

A huge takeaway from this session was that we should start small and increase in difficulty throughout the year as your students show that they are ready.  Having a playlist with a small selection of meaningful activities is better than multiple pages that will overwhelm students and teachers.

I look forward to continuing to embed different types of playlists into my classroom and to identify what is a great fit for my students.

Reflecting on Knickmeyer’s Slide

I love the idea of having playlists in different formats other than the points format that I’ve been using. I think my kids would really enjoy another format like the coloring or BINGO to give them a goal other than just completing the tasks. My kids seem to struggle with completing their required tasks when they’re given other optional tasks so after reading Chelsea’s slide I think I might modify my points style playlist to incorporate the menu style and have an appetizer section that has to have a certain number of points before they can move on to the next portion of the meal.