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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