Articles by Rachel Samuel

How Making Students the Boss Can Empower Them in Virtual Learning

It Is More Important than Ever to Keep Students Empowered, Engaged, and Learning

As more schools shift to online learning during this challenging time, it’s critical that students continue learning in a way that’s fun, accessible, and maintains positive communication with their teachers and classmates. 

Read to Lead is a 100% free and proven blended learning solution that leverages game-based learning to help students build reading, writing, and leadership skills. Teachers across the country use the “Be the Boss” learning experiences to engage youth, and build core academic and leadership skills essential to their success in school today and the careers of tomorrow. 

Here’s how Read to Lead can be a valuable resource while you’re planning for distance learning:

 

Deeply Engage Students at Home By Making Them the Boss

Distance learning requires flexible and self-paced learning activities that pique a student’s interests. In Read to Lead games, students become the boss of a community health clinic, online magazine, or community center. They read closely, think critically, and work with a diverse staff to solve real-world problems. 

The free web-based curriculum is modular so students can move at their own pace, logging in any time of day for any length of time. One episode, or one “day at work”, takes about 30 minutes to complete. In that time, students read 5,000 words, make 10 leadership decisions, and practice a specific Reading Anchor Standard. If students read their way through 12 episodes, that’s equivalent to completing a middle school chapter book! 

Students can self-select episodes or you can assign specific episodes based on your learning goals. Here’s an example. Let’s say your students are playing Vital Signs and you want them working on vocabulary acquisition. You would assign episodes 3, 5, 8, and 11 to your class as those episodes are aligned to CCRA.R.4

Look over the guides below to identify the skills, standards, and themes addressed in each episode and make your selections. 

Alternatively, you might invite students to read the episode summaries in their own portal and choose the episodes that sound the most exciting!

 

Track Student Progress with Real-Time Reports

You have three different reports in your Read to Lead hub that give you a clear picture of your students’ activity and growth. All of these reports are updated in real-time and can be downloaded or printed.  

The Progress Report is your built-in classroom management tool so you can see how many episodes each student has played and if they are currently logged into the program.  

 

The Performance Report allows you to see how each student is performing against Anchor  Standards in Reading. 

 

The Student Activity Report shows you each student’s reading task and writing prompt.  

 

Supplemental Resources Enhance the Virtual Workplace Experience

Each Read to Lead game includes wrap around activities that scaffold and extend learning. Post-game discussion questions foster self-reflection on the decisions made as the boss. Graphic organizers are provided to assist students as they complete the in-game writing prompt. All of these resources exist as Google Documents in the student’s portal making them accessible from anywhere and easily shareable so you can offer feedback and guidance. 

Read to Lead has several other student-led projects that youth can explore at home! Students can create a Public Service Announcement or map out their dream career.  

 

Here’s some quick tips on how students can work with our Google worksheets. 

Motivate Students to Keep Reading and Leading At Home: The Million Words Read Challenge

We have a fun contest that challenges students to work together to read one million words in Read to Lead games! Once your class reads one million words collectively, they will receive prizes from the Read to Lead team!

Students are automatically awarded badges for the number of words they read. You can monitor how many words your class is reading in your account to keep them informed on their progress and celebrate their milestones virtually! 

 

When School Reopens 

When students return to school it’s important to honor them for their hard work and celebrate your community reuniting. You might throw an “office” party where students come dressed as their aspiring career! 

Our data reports help you provide differentiated instruction right away so you can reach your students where they are upon returning to school.  

We hope these tools can help you transition to virtual learning. We continue to wish for the health and safety for you and your students. 

If you need any guidance while planning, please reach out to our team at support@classroominc.org. We’re here for you!  

 

Additional Resources for Preparing for Closures

Numerous education-based publications have developed guides to help educators and administrators prepare for school closings due to Coronavirus. These are a few of our favorites.

 

How to Prevent Spring Break Slip in Your Middle School Classroom

 

Spring is just around the corner and both educators and students are looking forward to a much-needed break to rest, recharge and refresh themselves to tackle the last stretch of the academic year. Yet, even as we teachers eagerly anticipate a break from the classroom, we worry about “brain drain”, and “spring break slip” in our students.

What is Spring Break Slip?

Spring break slip. Brain drain. Summer slide. Regression. These are just a few commonly used terms to describe the phenomenon of students’ learning loss during school breaks. Time off from school and regular lessons during winter and spring break and summer vacation is a welcome respite for students, but unfortunately, it has some negative side-effects as well.

It is a well-documented trend that students experience a negative impact on their learning after returning from vacation time. Research shows that most students lose 2 to 3 months of math computational abilities and reading skills over the course of the summer vacation, and this impact is felt even after shorter breaks in winter and spring. These losses are even more acutely felt amongst students of lower-income families who may not have access to as many resources at home as students from higher-income families.

Educators, school administrators and other prominent voices in education have shared their hopes for a more year-round instructional model to reduce long breaks from school, with increased opportunities for students to participate in recreational and enrichment activities. Yet, a significant change to the school system that America has used for decades is not likely to happen anytime soon.

As educators, we are tasked with finding ways to address brain drain and spring break slip for the foreseeable future. So what can we do to prevent and reduce the negative impacts of this phenomenon in our classrooms?

Vacation Academies

Rather than hindering students’ learning, breaks from regular school instruction may be a godsend for struggling students – if this time away from school is used to provide them with extra instruction. Recent research done in school districts in Massachusetts reveals that intensive small group tutoring can have significant benefits in helping students who may need a little extra coaching. 

Conducting “vacation academies” means that winter and spring break could become an important period for students to play catch up on material they may have difficulty with and improve their test scores. Particularly for students who are on the verge of attaining proficiency standards, these “vacation academies” can be instrumental in helping them achieve better test scores.

Technology and Digital Tools

Not all schools have the funding to provide intensive academic help to struggling students during school breaks, nor can all parents afford to send their children for tutoring. However, technology is almost ubiquitous and offers a low-cost strategy to help educators minimize spring break slip in their classroom.

A multitude of educational apps, games, and computer programs are available at the touch of a button, all for a fraction of the cost of 1:1 coaching or small group tutoring, and many are even free! Read to Lead, a free blended learning program helps build literacy in students while simultaneously developing important leadership skills on a gamified platform that simulates real-life workplace environments. The program also offers bite-sized assignments students can work on independently during school breaks, keeping their minds active and learning loss at bay.

To reinforce essential middle school math skills, TeachThought recommends a variety of apps that can help keep students on track during school vacations and combat spring break slip. With a variety of options available, educators are bound to find something that caters to the needs of their students.

Engage Parents

The best efforts of educators would be for naught without the support of parents. Particularly during vacation periods, parents have the most influence over their children. It is critical that educators leverage parents and get them on board to keep their children engaged in learning even as they enjoy a much-needed break from school. Whether it’s taking their children to museums and parks, or reading and discussing local news articles together, or setting aside time to review concepts taught in school, parents can help prevent spring break slip in their children through a variety of activities.

The learning loss that comes with students being on vacation is definitely a reality, but going into spring break with a comprehensive plan to reinforce what students have learned during the semester can help combat it. By offering intensive academic (but still fun) help during the break, using digital tools and roping in parents to help, spring break slides can be reduced in our students.

What are you doing to help minimize the impact of spring break slip in your middle school classroom? Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and share your thoughts!

Top Products Teachers Love for Middle School Classrooms

 

No matter how many years of experience you have as a teacher, keeping students engaged and motivated, particularly in middle school, is always a little tricky. Kids wise up to our usual strategies, and new apps and tech are constantly hitting the market with (almost) unbelievable claims. And after years of using the same methods, even veteran teachers are looking for fresh, novel ideas to improve their classrooms.

Whatever the reason, it’s always good to have a couple of tools handy. Check out our list of top products teachers can’t stop talking about.

Positive Behavior Tallies

So often in our classrooms, we find ourselves reprimanding students for their poor behavior. However, research shows particularly in younger children, positive feedback is more effective and registers better than punishment or focusing on the negative. This classroom management system designed by a middle school language arts teacher with over a decade of experience focuses on just that – recognizing the positive to eliminate the negative.

The system is easy to implement, encourages self-monitoring and is a flexible tool that works in a variety of classroom scenarios. The digital download is an affordable option for teachers on a budget and includes helpful tools like a teacher language guide for giving tallies, behavior expectations cards for students, and parent postcards to send positive messages home.

Teachers who have tried Positive Behavior Tallies describe it as “simple and easy but so motivating and positive addition to classroom culture”, and “a real game-changer” that “works like a dream”.

Classroom Management in the Digital Age

Like it or not, technology is a part of our lives and it is here to stay. Taking a hardline approach and banning devices from the classroom in order to reduce distractions and get students to focus is no longer an option. Teachers need to effectively harness the power of technology to create the best learning environment for their charges, but knowing how to navigate that can be tricky.

This practical guide lays out effective practices for teachers to manage their digital-rich classrooms while keeping students engaged and motivated. Authors Heather Dowd and Patrick Green draw on their first-hand experience as educators to layout thoughtful and practical strategies teachers can immediately implement in their own classrooms.

Described as a “valuable resource for teachers wanting to integrate more technology in instruction” and “hands-on practical source for effectively and efficiently using technology as a powerful tool for learning”, this book is a worthy addition to any teacher’s toolbox.

Read to Lead®

Need a way to get kids engaged and on task when it comes to reading? Add some fun and lots of learning to your classroom by incorporating Read to Lead into your curriculum. This unique gamified platform breaks through traditional barriers that keep students from reading and provides an immersive storyline through authentic workplace scenarios. The easy-to-follow gameplay is an effective tool for student engagement, and the platform is structured in such a way as to allow for self-directed learning.

Teachers need not worry about their classroom descending into chaos as their students complete tasks in each episode, and the responsive-learning ability of the platform ensures that students are given tasks according to their capabilities. The Million Words Read Challenge also adds an element of competition to the classroom, serving as further motivation for students to focus and hit their goals. Educators have reported “seeing success from Bridgeport to the Bronx” and that “because it feels like a game, some of the kids lose themselves in it, they become so immersed… it’s engaging for them.

ELA Word Wall for Middle School

As students progress through the various content areas in different subjects, they constantly need to refer to the specific terms and vocabulary that pertain to that topic. Take the hassle out of creating your own word wall with this handy resource that includes word cards from a great selection of academic and content-specific vocabulary terms.

This resource includes over 100-word cards with definitions and can add a burst of color to your classroom decor as well. “Easy references for my ELA students” and “one of my favorite purchases” are just some of the high praise that teachers have given this very budget-friendly classroom resource.

These are just a few of the tools teachers have loved using with their middle schoolers. What are some of the top products you have used and had success with? Let us know in the comments!

Celebrating International Women’s Day

 

International Women’s Day has been celebrated around the world since the early 1900’s. Today, it is commemorated on a global scale on the 8th of March, as a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. 

It also holds special significance in the movement for women’s rights and gender equality. Across the world, from Cuba to Cambodia, from China to Chile, this day is celebrated through parades, marches and other symbolic observances. 

Women’s Empowerment Must Begin Young 

Part of the problem starts at a young age. Growing up, we look to the adults around us, both in real life and in the media, to form our concepts of who we are and our roles in society. However, women are poorly represented in the workforce in senior or decision-making positions, in management, and in government. The truth is our girls and young women lack female role models to inspire them to pursue their ambitions.

In the area of STEM, research shows that when girls have a role model to look up to, they are more likely to consider a career in this field. Deep and personal conversations with relatable mentors can also help instill confidence and impact their career aspirations, giving them the self-belief that they too can achieve greatly.

How Read to Lead Helps

Finding real life female role models and mentors for young women can be a challenge. At Classroom Inc., we believe young women should see themselves as leaders today. That’s why our platform Read to Lead features women in a variety of roles from medical assistant to senior reporter, from Director of Technology to family physician, that serve as role models for students to envision themselves in these careers.

By working through the different episodes on the platform, students see women in key positions of leadership, as decision-makers who have the power to affect change and as influencers whose opinions bear weight in the workforce. They also interact with these characters in an authentic workplace environment that allows them to clearly see their role, not just in their workplace but in the community as a whole.

Read to Lead also offers students a chance to learn more about the workforce skills necessary to perform their jobs effectively. Interpersonal skills, communication skills, even just having the confidence to speak up and voice their opinions are some of the critical skills young women can gain from using this platform.

For example, in Episode 2 of Read to Lead: Vital Signs, students help Victoria, the new medical assistant at the community clinic, find the confidence to speak up when she thinks she’s discovered what is wrong with the patient, in order to help the medical team give her proper treatment. By helping students develop these essential skills, we are empowering them to take on challenges they may face as they enter the workforce in the future.

As a society, we have not tapped into the full potential of half our population. This untapped potential is a great loss, and we should be aiming to unlock more of the talents of all our students, including young women. Read to Lead can provide an opportunity to share how women can be leaders, influencers and change-makers in the workplace, and inspire young women to pursue their ambitions.

This International Women’s Day, share Read to Lead with your students to show them women in leadership positions in the workplace, and inspire them to strive for greatness. How are you empowering the young women in your classroom to pursue their ambitions and create a more equal workforce?

Why It’s Critical for Students to “See Themselves” in Classroom Materials


Since the
Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education to make education equally accessible to all Americans more than 60 years ago, the racial makeup of our nation’s classrooms has changed dramatically. Where white students used to be the majority, by 2025, students of color are expected to be a majority of high school graduates.

Yet, school booklists and the content students are exposed to has not changed to reflect the diversity we now see in our classrooms. What better time to examine this issue than during Black History Month, where the voices and achievements of people of color are being celebrated? 

A recent study found that although 85% of NYC’s public school students are non-white students, a vast majority of elementary school books did not include work by people of color or feature  characters of Black, Latin and Asian descent. Book publisher Lee & Low reports that in the past 24 years, only 13% of children’s literature included multicultural content, and only 7% of authors were people of color. School booklists still heavily lean on classics, which almost exclusively focus on the middle class, white, cisgender experience.

But why is it so important for students to see themselves (and each other) reflected in their curriculum?

Identity Formation

An important aspect of social development in children is identity formation. More than just their sense of self, they also learn about and understand their place in society, fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance in their community. The books and content students are exposed to in school can play a powerful role in identity formation.

As Natasha Capers, the coordinator for the Coalition for Economic Justice, observed, “When children are not seeing themselves represented by curriculum, it sends them a message.” Introducing multicultural content in the modern classroom is critical to helping children construct their identities and feel like valued members of society.

Promoting Empathy and Social Skills (Social Emotional Learning)

Empathy, along with other social skills, is something that children acquire in the process of growing up. Studies show that reading is an effective tool for improving emotional intelligence and empathy in children.

When children are introduced to materials that feature characters of different races, religions, appearances, and abilities, they are able to see similarities between their own lived experiences and those of others who may appear different. Particularly in the modern context with ever more diverse communities, this is a critical element of education that should not be overlooked or neglected.

Increasing Engagement Through Connections

We naturally tend to engage better with content that relates to us, our backgrounds, or our culture. Yet, many students of color graduate high school without ever having seen themselves represented in their school material.

This can result in lower engagement, participation and ultimately achievement, as students feel disconnected from the characters they encounter in the school curriculum. Increasing cultural diversity in classroom materials can be an effective way to boost student engagement and improve academic performance.

How Can Read To Lead Help?

It is evident that we need to include more diverse materials in our classrooms, yet the question of ‘how’ remains. The easy answer would be to expand our book lists to include books by people of color and those that are more representative of our students.

However, in practice, this is easier said than done.
Teachers can sometimes lack diverse classroom toolsthe training and confidence needed to incorporate this content in their classroom, and may be fearful of or uncomfortable with teaching a different curriculum than the one they’re used to. Even making changes to the curriculum can be met with resistance, and many educators don’t even know where to begin.

That’s where Read to Lead can be a useful resource for educators looking to implement a more culturally responsive curriculum. With a diverse set of characters who portray a variety of ethnicities, cultural backgrounds and abilities, Read to Lead provides students the chance to see themselves represented in the material they are working with.

Additionally, Read to Lead aims to inspire readers to see themselves as leaders. The broad range of characters featured ensures that students see themselves in the game platform, and can envision themselves fulfilling similar roles as they move into the workforce. The games intentionally portray diversity in leadership roles, making a direct connection for students.

Read to Lead can be easily integrated into the existing curriculum during school hours, as part of an after school program, or even during vacation time. Kiwonda Riley, former Academic Coach at Mercer Middle School in Savannah, Georgia, found that “The Read to Lead characters are relatable, which makes it easier for my students to engage with the games and identify with what they are learning.”

A culturally responsive curriculum is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’, but a necessity to support and cater to our ever more varied classroom makeup. By introducing resources such as Read to Lead into their classrooms, educators can start taking the first steps toward a truly representative curriculum in which every student sees themselves reflected.

How do you include culturally diverse content in your classroom? Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter and share your stories! 

Celebrating a Successful 2019: A Note Christina Oliver, Our Executive Director

Happy New Year! 

If we haven’t met before, I’m Christina Oliver, the Executive Director of Classroom, Inc., the creator of Read to Lead. I’m the mother of two middle schoolers, a former New York City teacher, and have spent the last 15 plus years creating and bringing high quality (no cost!) curriculum to educators like yourself.

As I reflect on 2019, I’m reminded more than ever of the need for fearless leadership in our world. For the last two decades, challenges within education and society have been increasingly pressing.

In 2019, we saw incredible gains and impact.

We are seeing more and more youth take a stand on issues that matter to them. We are witnessing a moment of awakening around the world, and we need fearless leaders to come together to tackle these challenges.

This is why Classroom, Inc. exists. We created Read to Lead, our learning games and curriculum, to deeply engage students in literacy AND leadership.

Read to Lead is the right educational solution to help educators develop leaders to solve the challenges of tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s leaders must have both the mindset and skills to confront and improve these issues for generations to come. Youth will need to be critical readers, clear communicators, and strong writers to build a wide knowledge base and contribute to the larger dialogue. That is literacy.

They will need to understand and tackle big problems. They will need to work with others who have diverse perspectives and to build coalitions. They will need the ability to seek input and information from many viewpoints, to collect data, and make informed and tough decisions with a strong ethical foundation. That is leadership.

Our work continues, and I’m excited by the possibilities the new year holds.

Here’s to 2020 and helping even more teachers empower and create the next generation of readers and leaders!

4 Ways to Best Motivate Your Students in the Second Semester

Students who are motivated are often easier to teach, and learn better. However, keeping them inspired to engage with their education can be a challenge, particularly in the second semester and the final stretch of the school year.

Here are four proven ways to ensure your students stay motivated and engaged in the crucial second half of the year and finish on a strong note.

Visual Goals & Progress Boards

At the middle school level, students often aren’t good at visualizing abstract goals. Help your students keep track of their goals and see the progress they are making by creating a visual goal and progress board. Just as with a physical destination, when students can see where they are “going”, they become more motivated to work toward attaining their goal.

A visual goal and progress board can be as simple as post-its on a wall marked with certain milestones, or a more elaborate display of where students are in their journey to achieving their goals. There are lots of ways to put this into practice in the classroom, but the critical thing is to ensure students can clearly see their goals to provide them with some added motivation.

Tech Tools & Gamification

Which middle school student doesn’t love technology, games or apps? Introducing tech tools and games into your classroom can be an excellent way of capturing student interest and motivating them.

Whether it’s using Read to Lead to help students improve literacy, leadership and decision making skills, or apps to increase student engagement and better manage your classroom, technology can be an effective tool in the classroom to motivate students.

Build a Classroom Community

We often see our students as individual learners, but creating a classroom community can be a powerful motivating force. When students see themselves as part of a learning community, they become more motivated to participate, engage and contribute.

Encouraging students to work together to achieve shared goals, or implementing the jigsaw method can be effective in building community among your learners. The Read to Lead Million Words Read Challenge also helps develop a community spirit among students as they collectively strive to read one million words on the platform.

Educators who participated in the 2019 challenge also reported higher levels of motivation among their students, as students pushed each other to read more words and hit the targets of the challenge.

Praise & Recognition

A tried and tested strategy for keeping students motivated is through praise and recognition of their efforts and achievements, yet students and their parents alike do not feel that educators are doing enough on this front.

Recognizing students’ efforts and celebrating their achievements can be something as simple as saying “good job!”, or a small note sent home to the students’ parents, but can have significant impacts on motivation. A class celebration at the end of the semester as a reward for students’ hard work and success could also serve as added motivation, giving students something to look forward to throughout the semester.

 

On the Read to Lead platform, students earn badges as they progress through the game and reach different milestones, helping motivate them to keep reading and building up their skills. Additionally, classes that become “Student Millionaires” by hitting their targets in the Million Words Read Challenge are also recognized and celebrated with parties and prizes.

 

By implementing some of these strategies in our classrooms, we can encourage our students to participate, engage and learn more effectively in the second semester.

What are some of your strategies for keeping your students motivated? Join the conversation in our Educator Community Facebook Group, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter!

How to Help Middle Schoolers Learn How to Serve Their Communities

 

Middle schoolers are at a young and impressionable age, and their experiences both in and out of school will eventually shape them into the adults they become. As such, it is important to provide them with opportunities that enable them to grow and reach their full potential, so that they can become engaged citizens in their community.

Read to Lead makes a point of showing students the value of serving their communities. Through hands-on, project-based lesson plans, the program empowers students to see that they too can make a difference in their communities and that they are not too young nor too ineffectual to have an impact on their actions. 

Community service goes well beyond benefiting the recipients of the service. A survey of 1,200 teenagers conducted by Prudential Financial’s Spirit of Community Initiative revealed that 90% of respondents who volunteered said that service makes them feel good about themselves. The study also revealed that volunteering produced personal benefits to the teens in the form of a positive self-image, optimism and confidence.

So how can we help middle schoolers learn how to serve their communities?

Adult Encouragement and Support

Middle schoolers are still at an age where they are open and receptive to suggestions from adults about how best to spend their time and what activities to engage in. Adult encouragement can go a long way in inspiring middle school students to serve their communities.

Educators, in particular, are uniquely placed to introduce the concept of service to the community and communicate its importance to students. Apart from approaching this from a merely rhetorical perspective, educators can give their students a taste of what it is like to serve the community by introducing programs such as Read to Lead®️ into their classroom or encourage them to plan and execute their own projects to serve their communities.

Read to Lead®️ Games

Set in the fictional town of Port Douglas, the Read to Lead®️ game Community In Crisis places middle school students in the context of a small town during a moment of tribulation. Students take on the role of an important and influential community member who has the power to make decisions that have an impact on others around them. As they move through the episodes, they interact with other characters and learn more about how their contributions can bring about change within the community.

Playing these games gives students a sense of community, and allows them to see how they fit in. Students can draw parallels between Port Douglas and their own communities, and the more they see that their efforts make a difference within the game platform, the more they would be inspired to start thinking of how they can bring about change in their own communities.

Community Action Projects

Each Read to Lead® game culminates in a community action project. Students are encouraged to think about the problems they see in the world, reflect on how they can take action to change things, and put their ideas into practice in their communities.

After nine months of using the Read to Lead®️ platform, 17 middle school students from The Legacy Center put together a plan to serve their community by providing healthy snacks and poems of encouragement and support to those experiencing homelessness. This project empowered the students to see themselves in a position of being able to enact change in their communities, and the tangible results of their efforts will surely inspire them to continue on this path of service-learning.

Helping middle schoolers learn how to serve their communities does not have to be a challenge. With adequate support and encouragement, the right tools, and giving them a chance to put their ideas into action, we can motivate middle schoolers to serve their communities.

How are you helping your middle school students learn to serve their communities? Join the conversation in our Educator Community, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Using Read to Lead’s Data Reports To Create Student Success

 

It’s a common adage that you can’t manage what you don’t measure, and this absolutely holds true for our students’ achievements. The key to their success in the classroom lies in tracking and measuring their progress over time, in order to celebrate their accomplishments and address their weaknesses. With a variety of tools available to educators within the Read to Lead®️ platform, we can help you manage student growth and help them achieve success.

Data + Tools = Student Success!

Within Read to Lead®️, each episode addresses a specific English Language Arts standard within the Common Core Anchor Standard. Mastery of that standard is gauged on how well the student performs in the workplace activity for each episode. Each episode also includes a writing prompt for students to complete, which educators can then review and assess based on the rubric provided.

The data reports available in Read to Lead®️ allow educators to view students’ progress within the games, their performance for each reading anchor standard, and their workplace activities and responses to the writing prompts. Based on this, educators can then provide additional guidance and coaching to students in need, in the areas in which they struggle.

Class Progress Report

To get a quick overview of where students are in the game, educators can use the Class Progress Report. This handy tool allows educators to see which episodes students have completed and the specific reading standard that was addressed in each. This report also shows, at a glance, which students are currently online, and which students have started but not completed an episode.

Performance Report

For more detail on how well each student or the class is performing, educators can tap into the Performance Report. This report provides a detailed breakdown of how well a class or individual student is performing on each assessed standard. In addition to the name of the episode and a description of the reading skill being assessed in that episode, this report also showcases the number of episodes completed by each student, how well they performed on each assessed activity and the task level of that activity for each reading anchor standard.

The color-coding by task level also provides a clear visual representation of how students are performing. In addition, the ‘Sort’ function makes it easy for educators to group students by their capabilities to provide more assistance to students who may require more guidance with the tasks or certain reading standards.

Student Activity Report

The third type of report available to educators is the Student Activity Report, which shows individual student progress and work. This report provides educators access to each individual student’s score and the task level for each episode completed, as well as the amount of time they spent on the activity. This is also where educators can evaluate a student’s workplace task performance against the provided answer key, and review their writing prompt response to see if the suggested key points have been adequately addressed.

Using Data Reports to Create Student Success

Together, these three reports provide educators with a comprehensive understanding of each individual student’s progress over time, the areas in which they excel, and the skills they may be struggling with. This detailed look into students’ performance enables educators to channel their resources and efforts appropriately to set their students up for success.

For a deeper dive into Read to Lead’s data, take a look at our recent webinar.

How are you using Read to Lead’s data reports to create student success in your classroom? Join us in our Educator Community to share your ideas, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and join the conversation!

 

New Years Resolutions: Reading Challenges to Inspire Your Students in 2020

 

New year, new resolutions! As an educator, have you made classroom resolutions with your students? Setting a goal to spend more time reading or to read a certain number of books before the end of the school year can be easy resolutions to achieve. Whatever your students’ reading goals are, it can be a challenge to keep them reading all year round without ongoing motivation and inspiration. Here are some ideas to help get your students pumped and ready to read through the year!

12 Books, 12 Categories, 12 Months

In this fun yet very manageable challenge, students are encouraged to expand their horizons by reading widely from a variety of genres. Students tend to discover a certain genre or style of books and stick to reading books from that category. Fantasy books or comics are common favorites, but introducing diversity in the books students are reading can have a multitude of benefits.

Science fiction pushes the limits of their imagination. Historical fiction breathes life into ancient characters. Biographies cultivate empathy and teach them about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. Reading widely helps students increase their awareness of the world and enlarges the boundaries of the world they’ve come to know – and they can do this just by reading one book a month!

Encouraging students to read different genres can also help with engagement. When a student has the chance to explore a variety of books, they are more likely to develop a love of reading! 

A Challenge for Every Season

What better way to theme your students’ reading than by the seasons? Books about winter in January, stories about new beginnings for spring, reading outdoors during the long summer days – incorporate fun into reading by letting the spirit of each month or season shine through in the books your students read.

Brightly, A Penguin Random House Company has a variety of reading challenges for children that highlight key themes, celebrations or events each month or season. The April challenge focuses on National Humor Month and National Poetry Month, while the October challenge draws its inspiration from Halloween and the essence of autumn. Each challenge works in perfect harmony for the season and is sure to be a source of excitement for students as they look forward to each month’s challenge.

The Million Words Read Challenge, Read to Lead®️

Read to Lead is redefining the word ‘millionaire’ – it isn’t just about dollars anymore. Inspire your students to become millionaires, simply by working together to reach a collective goal of one million words read on the Read to Lead platform. The Million Words Read Challenge runs from the 6th of January to the 30th of June, 2020, and can be a great motivator to encourage students to read more.

All classrooms and programs that have registered for a free Read to Lead account are automatically enrolled in the challenge. With every episode that each student completes (there are over 32 episodes across the three games!), they add 5,000 words to their individual and class tally of total words read, so the more they read, the closer they get to achieving their goal of becoming millionaires.

In 2019, the achievements of hundreds of students who had read over one million words on Read to Lead were celebrated at The Million Words Read Celebration Breakfast. Educators and students alike reported that their participation in the Million Words Read Challenge boosted student confidence and increased motivation, particularly among students with lower levels of academic achievement. This interactive gamified platform that allows students to track their progress is sure to inspire students to read and keep reading through the year to hit those goals and become millionaires in their own right.

Reading challenges are a great way to encourage students to read and to read widely while allowing them autonomy and choice in their book selections. We’d love to hear about any reading challenges you’ve designed for your students to keep them enthusiastic and engaged in reading all year round in 2020. Share your ideas with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!