Weekly Tip: Using the Communication Feature

One of the most important components of increasing a student’s achievement is communication between all members of a child’s team. This includes school staff, the student, and the parents or guardians. One of the features we insisted upon incorporating into My Day Web App was a simple way to share data with families and other team members. Before My Day Web App, I used paper versions of point sheets to communicate about a student’s day. These were placed in a student’s take home folder for the parent or guardian to examine, sign, and return the next day. While this method worked, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. There were a lot of extra papers floating around, and I constantly had to run copies of blank point sheets. Sometimes the paper copies never made it home or back to school. That’s why I wanted a parent or guardian to instantly know about his or her child’s day through email. This email button will appear in the top right corner of a Daily Report or Summary Report if you’ve entered an email address in a student’s Team tab. This feature eliminates the “lost paper” possibility, and you know the parent or guardian received the information from your report. It’s also helpful if a student has multiple households; simply separate each email address you enter with a comma and space, and a report will be sent to each address listed.

 

team tab

Enter the email addresses of parents, school staff, or others on a child’s team

 

What about those without Internet access? Many people have access from their cell phones, but if parents or guardians prefer paper copies or do not have access (some of my families do not), you can always print hard copies of reports to send home under the Daily Report or Summary Report headings. You also have the option of using the Team tab to enter additional email addresses of other people that would like data reports on a particular student, such as principals, other teachers, or support staff using the data for RTI monitoring. All you need to do is separate each of the email addresses you enter with a comma and space. Regardless of who is receiving your data reports, the communication piece of My Day Web App allows it to be completely paperless if desired. This helps the environment and school printing costs, and who doesn’t love that?

Happy Teaching,

Sara

Posted in Blog Entries, Tips and Tricks

Weekly Tip: Choosing Student Objectives

The focus for our weekly My Day Web App tip is on objectives and/or benchmarks. As a teacher, it is sometimes difficult to find a way to gather behavioral data or academic data that is more observational in nature, such as whether a student is persevering in solving problems or using strategies during a literacy lesson.

Before My Day Web App, my method of gathering observational academic or behavioral data was using point sheets and a large binder that seemed to grow into the size of a small car by the end of the year. I hauled that binder from group to group, and I searched through tabs of students and their work in order to find the one or two data sheets I needed to mark whether or not students were displaying mastery of objectives. It was heavy and cumbersome (although I did build up fairly respectable biceps). I also tried moving my loose behavior point sheets to a file drawer, but that soon filled up any available space I had. Not good. Fellow teachers, you know what I mean; space is at a premium. Plus, I loathe stacks of loose papers. This is where My Day Web App becomes extremely helpful. Instead of hauling a gigantic binder with me, I have all of my students and their data at my fingertips on my tablet (or desktop, or laptop, or… well, you get the point). I can quickly and easily pull up each data sheet for any student in a matter of seconds, put in new information, change data I’ve entered, or enter data I (or another staff member) collected at an earlier time.

However, before I can enter data, I have to choose the objectives on which I will be collecting data. I always start with the IEP goals for my students, which include academic and behavioral goals and objectives. I have found that My Day Web App works great for both of these. Often we teachers have tons of information on assignments that we give in paper format or electronically. This information often concretely show what we are assessing (such as a math problem on a test). You can enter that information into My Day Web App, and the program will be able to calculate overall percentages for you in an instant. This concrete academic data is fairly easy to collect. However, it is the skills measured without paper that I find challenging to gather data on in a consistent manner. I love using My Day Web App for these types of skills. Some of these skills and objectives include whether a student raised his or her hand before speaking in your reading group, explained his or her thinking during oral math problems, or solved a conflict with a peer during recess. These are perfect objectives for our program; you can keep a running tally very quickly on a tablet or a laptop.

 

socialgoals

Here is a list of one student’s behavioral objectives listed under their “Social” category. I also have a “Math” and a “Literacy” category for this student to help sort out data quickly.

 

If you notice you have so many objectives that your individual student reports go on forever, or you are having trouble organizing your data, a trick I use is adding a student multiple times on my class list with each listing of the student labeled with either reading (for reading goals), math (for math goals), writing (for writing goals), or social (for social goals). For example, S Reading, S Math, S Writing, and S Social would all be the same student listed on my class roster with each one containing corresponding objectives. This helps with organizing my objectives. I also include only the timeslots in which students would be demonstrating literacy objectives for my S Reading category, math objectives for my S Math category, and social skills for my S Social category. Doing this helps shorten the reports. The possibilities are endless, and My Day Web App allows you to fully customize your account to get exactly what you need. Feel free to contact us with questions or other ways you are using My Day Web App; we love to hear from you!

Happy Teaching,

Sara

Posted in Blog Entries, Tips and Tricks

Why I Won’t Go Back: How My Day Web App Has Made My Job Easier

Greetings! I’m writing a spur-of-the-moment post. I am used to planning things, so bear with me. I thought I would only post tips and tricks on this blog, but I felt compelled to share how My Day Web App helped to solve some of my problems this week. That’s the number one (and only) reason why we created My Day Web App in the first place–to solve problems and make teachers’ lives a little easier.

A problem I know all teachers face, including myself, is time. Try this new intervention. Read this article. Learn this new curriculum. Call this social worker. Collaborate with these people. Sit in this meeting. While all of these things are critically important, I often wonder how much more I can cram into my day. I already arrive at school long before required, and I still feel like I am barely keeping my head above the water. “Work smarter, not harder” is what I always hear. How can I work smarter so I can be the best educator for my students? That’s when it hit me at the end of last year as I sat at my desk, wasting hours on calculating achievement data instead of thinking about what those calculations meant for my students. I needed something that would be quick to learn, easy to implement, have the ability to organize all of my data, and do the number crunching for me so I could use my valuable brain time for things like modifying lessons, analyzing student performance, and making learning happen for my students. I needed the granddaddy of all apps, and I needed it at an affordable price. As far as I could tell, this didn’t exist. I tossed my ideas around with my husband, and we decided it needed to be built. Enter My Day Web App.

Instead of sitting at my desk this quarter crunching numbers for all 64+ student goals (which used to take hours), I clicked a button called Summary Report, entered in the starting and ending dates of this last quarter, and all of my student data was instantly calculated for me in about 10 seconds. This allowed me to finish my progress notes in about an hour (two if you count proofreading at a later time). This was huge! There I was, sitting face-to-face with something called “extra time” (say what?!?!). I decided to use this “extra time” for researching apps to assist with student reading and writing. This has been on my list of things to do for years. Seriously. I was so excited about all of the time I saved and what I got to do with it that I snapped a picture of a thumbs up to my husband on my lunch break. The problem I had set out to fix almost half a year ago was solved.

Summary report

Here’s an example of a quarterly summary report for a student’s math goals

As a teacher of students with special needs, I also face another challenge–I have to move from classroom to classroom. Sometimes I have to drag an armful of materials with me. Occasionally people ask if I need help, so I know I must look ridiculous carrying piles of materials around the school. One of the things I used to lug around was a large 4″ binder filled with hard copies of student work and my data collection sheets. On these sheets, I tallied observational data, summary data from assignments, and a bunch of numbers and percentages that I would eventually average out at the end of each quarter to get the performance data for all of my students. My binder of data did the job, but it didn’t do it very well. It was inconvenient, heavy, and made a ton of extra work for me when calculating all of the information I had entered throughout the quarter.

Thankfully, my husband and I had My Day Web App (the beta version) up and running this past semester. This allowed me to transform how I collected data. Instead of lugging a binder around, I needed only my tablet or Chromebook to pull up my My Day Web App account. Multiple times a day I looked at the goals of each of my students when I met with them and entered data in real-time through observations. At the end of the day, I easily entered information from hard copies of running records, math worksheets, spelling tests, et cetera. This constant face-to-face time with each of my student’s goals helped me better understand them as learners, where I was going with my teaching, and if I was hitting those targeted goals in a timely fashion. Sure, I knew my students’ goals before My Day Web App, but this newfound constant familiarity has been priceless. This truly was a most unexpected result of using our app. Note: if you’re wondering, yes I still have my binder of hard copy data for each student; I can’t let go of this yet. Thankfully it sits on my desk where it belongs.

 

***

I decided as I relentlessly tested the beta version of My Day Web App that I couldn’t keep this application to myself. I had to allow other people to use something that I found took very little time to learn and set up but saved hours in the long run. I am so excited to continue to further use My Day Web App for intervention calculations, emailing reports to parents and team members, and reflecting daily on how my students are doing. I know the time I save preparing reports will equal time available for me to seriously evaluate the quality of interventions and strategies I choose, which will equal increased student achievement. For the first time in a while, I feel like I have a little breathing room, and I like that feeling.

Happy Teaching,

Sara

P.S. As always, please share how you are using My Day Web App and your thoughts through our email team@mydaywebapp.com or our Contact Us form. We teachers are our best resources and support system.

 

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Posted in Blog Entries

Welcome To The My Day Web App Blog

We at Bright Egg, LLC are thrilled to announce the launch of our new web app, My Day Web App. The purpose of this blog is to provide you with information, tips, and tricks to help you discover all that My Day can do for you. We encourage you to explore more about My Day Web App and Bright Egg, LLC on this blog, Facebook, Twitter, or on My Day’s website mydaywebapp.com. We also welcome your valuable thoughts and questions, so check out our Contact Us page.

Please follow our blog and share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, or any other social media site of your choice. We hope to make data collection and analysis easier for all teachers and school staff, so let’s get the word out about My Day!

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