This edition of Teacher Talks features Shelley Kloppenborg, a fourth grade teacher at Oak Park Elementary in Des Moines, Iowa.
How do you use Front Row?
I use Front Row throughout the day in my classroom. First of all, the printables are used approximately twice a week as individualized morning work for students as they enter the room and get ready to start their day. Next, during our Daily Math Review (DMR) time the students receive small group or individualized instruction from me based upon the areas that Front Row shows as deficits. Then the students use the program during center time to check for new or related mathematical understanding and growth. Finally, students that are proficient in a standard can spend up to 15 minutes daily tutoring other students on skills identified through Front Row.
Because of Front Row, I don’t have to:
guess where my students are at in their development.
spend an enormous amount of time trying to find and understand the mathematical standards of the grade levels below and above.
find below level resources to work with students that need additional support in standards that are at grade levels below the level I am instructing.
Because of Front Row, I CAN:
individualize plans for all of the students in my classroom.
meet the needs of all the different learning styles in my room more effectively.
spend more time instructing on targeted skills and standards.
Tell us about your students and how they’ve used Front Row
Many students in my classroom have had extreme deficiencies in the standards. These students have shown great success with the program because of the way the program is structured.
One of my exceptionally low students found the program to be helpful because it did not single her out as being behind. She knew she was struggling in math and felt that she just couldn’t be successful. However, after we started Front Row, she started to see that she could increase levels and be a successful mathematician. By using the video, the in app math tools, and the teacher/peer tutoring, she persevered to show exponential growth in the standards and her mathematical thinking. Now she sees herself as successful because in Front Row she is often at the head of our leaderboard. Since she could see herself as a mathematician; she built up her confidence and now is close to understanding the on grade level standards.
What are the best ways you’ve found to use your iPads in your classroom?
The best way I have found to use iPads in my classroom is to research apps to make sure they are really working to help develop the standards. Once I feel that the apps are going to be effective to increase student understandings of the core standards, I make sure that I can monitor and assess student growth through the program.
Since we are not a one to one school, I assign two or three students to an iPad. This allows students save information from individual apps on the devices. This helps me find data and information more efficiently when I am using the data to drive instruction. Students use email, dropbox and in app servers to share growth information with me.
Are you and your school taking any initiatives to prepare for the Common Core?
We are preparing for the Common Core in our district by digging deeper into the standards. We work within our buildings in data teams and grade level planning for daily instruction to elevate our student’s understandings in the core standards. Districtwide, we meet monthly to understand how the common core is being developed in other buildings throughout the district at our grade level.
We use Scholastic’s Fastt Math program and Scholastic’s Mathematics Inventory (SMI) to monitor ongoing growth districtwide.