After wrapping-up our first video shoot to simulate the digitized good-ole’ running record, I felt how this tool truly creates the opportunity to use these assessments for learning, transforming the process from a teacher- to student- and family-centered one.
Through the shoot most of our ideas were validated but we also learned more about the interactions between the students, teachers, and parents with devices and were able to come up with some more solutions.
For this shoot my students were Francisco’s son, Lucio, and daughter, Sabina. My two own middle school children were unavailable to shoot because they had a fun camping trip to attend while Mama stayed behind.
The Process with ReadWithMe
Before calling the student over to my desk I logged in to my ReadWithMe account, choose my class, the student, and new assessment.
Once this was done, I called the student to my desk and welcomed them. I explained briefly I wanted to see how they’re doing in reading and gave them instruction to wait until I said begin to start reading.
Then I gave them or entered the 3 number and letter token for them to pair our two devices. Once the devices were connected I gave the student basic directions before asking them to begin reading.
As the student read the passage, I followed along and tapped on whatever words they did not decode properly or any words they struggled with so much that I said the word for them. The minute timer built in to ReadWithMe grayed out the screen when the minute was up and I double tapped on the last word they read.
Before excusing the student back to their desk, I briefly went over the list of misread words on the side of the teacher screen with the student, replayed some of the errors for them, and showed the student as I emailed their parents the report of that assessment. The student was excused, and I moved on to the next.
When using paper based assessments, before the student came to my desk, I would have to put in at least 1 hour of preparation photocopying materials to differentiate for the many students at the many different reading levels in my class. Not only did I need copies of the teacher assessments, but of the student passage as well. After photocopying I needed a timer, pencil/pen, calculator, and not to mention differentiated activities for the rest of the class while I was with a student at my desk.
When administering summative fluency assessments, their testing booklets come with two passages already, so I had no need to photocopy at the end of units. But if I wanted those snazzy, color-coded graphs I had to fill out scantrons after calculating their scores. Those snazzy, color-coded graphs of student scores are great but they don’t give a clear idea of the reasons behind the student’s performance; they’re only numbers. So while the data is presented nicely, it may not be robust enough to inform my instruction, and I would still need to do my own data collection if I really wanted to understand who should be in what small group and why. So getting students into small groups could take a day or two.
To only need an internet connection, any digital computerized device, myself, and my student this time when assessing with ReadWithMe was almost like a summer in Hawaii.
With the student at my desk there was no clutter, no noisy timer distracting students working independently, no pens, or multiple stacks of passages. There was a clean, orderly desk with a welcoming, calm teacher adding to the calmness experienced by her student before an assessment as opposed to a preoccupied, seemingly scattered one having to sort through paperwork.
This time when I welcomed my students and asked whether they’d like to see how they’re reading was coming along I was authentically excited. The student was also authentically excited because they’d been reading material at their level more often with their parents and peers.
Sabina had written her own passage which her father had lexiled and edited to make sure it was in fact at her reading level. In this case this wasn’t a total cold read since she wrote it and it had been edited before she saw it again. But I was fascinated to hear she had recognized how the passage had been changed. It was amazing to see her so engaged with the text!
As a teacher I would love to spend my time helping my students write passages, lexile them for reading level, and contribute to cold reads for peers in younger grade levels. This would add so much more meaning to their writing process and I bet as authors they’d be so excited to witness others learning from their writing!
At one point, while assessing Lucio, Francisco’s son, Sabina, was getting bored so we were left one iPad less. There was no despair though because instead I paired my Android up with the iPad and continued assessing Lucio. I was still able to use all of ReadWithMe’s available functions despite assessing from my smartphone and from two different platforms.
Once the passage showed up, I briefly went over the instructions and asked Lucio to begin once our devices were paired. He read and made errors, but this time, he wasn’t distracted by pencil or pen marks and could barely see me tap on the words he misread. He was not distracted or stressed out by feeling or watching me mark his errors.
The device screen grayed out letting me know the minute was up, without any annoying alarm, that potentially could distract the rest of the class or alarm the student reading. I simply let the Lucio know that the minute was up and he stopped.
I was not only able to show the Lucio the list of misread words on my screen, but I replayed his voice to see if he could catch his own errors, and then emailed the report of results to his parents.
I loved being able to show Lucio that I was emailing his results to his parents right away. This really made Lucio think about what was going to happen between he and his Dad when he got the report. Since Dad was in the room, he asked if Dad could take him to get a Slurpee after the shoot.
We wrapped and Dad was nice enough to get the whole team some Slurpees!
You too can become a part of the beta ReadWithMe family by signing up at http://readwithmeapp.com/focus/participate. Saturday we will post a day in the life of a ReadWithMe beta participant, so stay tuned!