Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to make student self-reflection meaningful with ClassMax

Student self-reflection on progress towards mastery is a critical component of individualized, student-centered learning.  Through this process, students are given time and the tools to analyze their progress, reflect on their learning, and plan for future growth.  

But… HOW?  

Use our free resources to guide students through the self-reflection process using ClassMax data.  Simply print student progress reports in class and distribute copies of either of our student-reflection worksheets (or save a tree and share digitally!).  Students then have a clear process to walk through for mastery self-assessment.  

Choose Your Tool

Progress Tracking with ClassMax – This tool helps students see their overall performance by standard using a clear, simple tracking chart to help identify which “Mastery Goals” students should be working to accomplish.

OR

Student Self-Reflection with ClassMax – This tool helps students check in mid-unit to reflect on their progress by standard.  By comparing what scores their teacher observed to their own self-reflection, students are given the opportunity to explain how they can move forward in their learning. 

With ClassMax, teacher observations become an important part of a student’s progress towards mastery.  But it shouldn’t end with the teacher.  Getting students involved in their learning through routine self-reflection puts students at the center of instruction and turns data into a living, breathing roadmap for student success!

5 Simple Ways to Rock Open House

Whether you are a new teacher looking to start the year strong or a veteran teacher looking to shake up your routine, our five simple ways to rock Open House will definitely set you up for success!  

1. Display student work with purpose.  It’s pretty common knowledge (and often required by administrations) that having student work up during Open House is a must.  But art projects and “about me” paragraphs aren’t exactly innovative displays of student learning.  Instead, try displaying student goal setting or progress monitoring, which shows that your students are actively involved in their learning.  Need a goal setting template?  Click here to use ours! 

2. Distribute ClassMax student reports.  When you run reports with ClassMax, did you know you can run a complete report on all areas, including progress, accommodations, behavior, and hall passes?  These reports make great handouts to go home with parents at Open House. To print these reports, follow these steps from your class dashboard: 

  • Go to Reporting in the sidebar. 
  • Select your date range. 
  • Select a student.  
  • Click the download button in the top menu bar. 
  • Success!

3. Have a task or activity for kids who come with their parents. This means you, too, secondary teachers!  Nothing is more distracting to parents than trying to pay attention to you speaking while their little ones are wiggling and squirming around.  Most elementary teachers are used to putting out activities for kids, but secondary teachers might consider printing a few coloring pages, purchasing a few coloring books from the Dollar Store, or even just putting out scrap paper and crayons or markers.  Not only will it help keep your room from being destroyed, but parents will appreciate that you went the extra mile!

4. Digitize your parent sign in with Google Forms.  Create a simple Google Form like this.  Crucial elements include collecting email addresses, phone numbers, and emergency contact information.  Open your Google Form on any student computers, laptops, or tablets that you have in your classroom and be sure to turn off your screensaver so the form doesn’t time out!  

5. Plan an exit strategy. We’ve all had those parents who are talkers and after a long day of teaching and then Open House, that’s no time to be stuck with a chatty parent.  Before Open House, work out a plan with three or four of your teacher friends on your hallway.  When Open House ends officially, the first teacher who successfully disengages from their parents should go to the next teacher’s classroom and very politely interrupt them if they are stuck with a parent, saying something like, “You ready to go, Amy?”  Once that teacher friend has been relieved of parents, continue on to the next teachers on your list until everyone has been able to escape! What are teacher friends for, anyway?!

Dive In: Student Groupings

As we enter July (WHAT?!), many of us are dusting off our teacher hats as we prepare for the coming school year. I don’t want anyone to panic, but my local Target already has their “Back to School” bins out…

While we haven’t put our umbrella drinks down just yet, there are a few things you can dive into this summer from the comfort of your beach chair. Today, we’re exploring setting up student groups in ClassMax during the summer and how they can help you save time during the school year.

Student groups can be used for all kinds of things throughout the school year. Some of my critical groups that I always have each year are:

  • ESE students (I include 504’s in this group because they receive accommodations, too, but you could easily have 504’s in a separate group.)
  • ELL students
  • Leveled groups (Level One, Level Two, etc. These might alternatively be labeled “Below Grade Level,” “At Grade Level,” and “Above Grade Level,” depending on how your district levels students.)
  • Table Groups (Table A, Table B, Table C, etc.)

To create groups in your ClassMax account, follow these quick and easy steps.

  1. Put your umbrella drink down for just a quick minute. I promise this won’t take long!
  2. From your dashboard, select the small Grouping icon from the bottom right corner.

3. Select the small plus sign icon from the bottom right corner.

4. Type in your group name. For example, “ESE” or “Level One.” NOTE: If you haven’t gotten your rosters for 2019-2020 yet, you can still create the groups. You’ll need to create one demo student that you can use to temporarily hold the group. To add a new student, go back to your main dashboard and select the plus sign in the bottom right corner that lets you add/import a student.

5. Pick up your umbrella drink. You’ve earned it, teacher friend!

Creating groups now is a simple step towards a smooth start to the new school year. When you have rosters, simply attach students to your pre-created groups and you are ready to go!

Groupings during the school year are helpful because you can assign standards progress, accommodations, and/or behavior through groups instead of having to input each student individually. Additionally, you can run reports on groupings so that you can track data for a particular subset of students easily.

So, what are you waiting for?! Dive into student groupings today and you’ll thank yourself tomorrow!

Getting Your Classroom Ready for ClassMax

I don’t know about you all, but this week I start another school year.  I’m so excited.  I’m at a new school this year, so I’ve been spending the past few weeks getting my classroom all set up in my new space.  I have been preparing my student work space, my desk, my teaching area, my small group stations – everything is in preparation mode so that I can kick this new year off right.

Which is why I have also been prepping my classroom for ClassMax this year.  Last year, I used a ClassMax prototype I was testing and while it was really helpful and better than nothing, it didn’t have nearly the features and efficiency of the polished ClassMax that we will launch on September 5.  In order to maximize my classroom success, I made a big change to how I will collect student information this year so that it makes setting up my ClassMax classes a lot easier.

For ClassMax, you can manually load your students in one at a time or you can use our csv template and upload whole classes at a time.  The template is pretty straight forward and consists of collecting the student’s name, any categories they might fall into for data analysis (free/reduced lunch, ESE, gifted, etc.), parent name, parent phone number, state test score, Lexile, and parent email.  These categories correspond with the information stored in the student profile.

(NOTE:  If you don’t have some of this information yet or don’t necessarily care to track a particular column, just leave that column blank.)

I am going to love having all this student information at my fingertips once the year starts, but inputting all that data was going to really be a drag.  I decided instead that I would have parents input their data using a Google form.  The form drops the data into a spreadsheet that I can use to copy and paste columns straight into this csv file.  If you want a copy of my Google form, here it is.  Just make a copy for yourself, customize to your class specifications, and you are good to go.


Now, keep in mind that you will need to sort your Google Sheet by class period and then upload to ClassMax.  You can only upload one class at a time.  But using this form will at least get the MAJORITY of your students in a spreadsheet that you can then manipulate however you need.

Not at a digital school?  Open a Google form on a classroom computer and have your students submit their information one at a time during the first week of school.  Or leave it open on a classroom computer during “Meet the Teacher” or “Open House” for parents to complete.

Hope that helps eliminate some of your front-loading of information before you jump into the ClassMax pool.  And mark your calendars while you’re at it!  SEPTEMBER 5 WE ARE LIVE FOR USE!  WHOO HOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Teach on, teacher friends.

Katie Brown

8th Grade ELA Teacher and ClassMax Founder