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