The Art of Building Student Confidence Through Individualized Learning
Transitioning from the traditional paper and pen class structure to a blended learning model can be a daunting challenge, especially for teachers that have spent several years in the profession. As Tiffany Kannengieszer, ELA teacher at William Penn High School in New Castle, DE, describes, "To me, the fear of using (Schoology) and it going horribly wrong, outweighed any positives it could bring to the classroom.”
But one day, on a whim, she thought, "What could it hurt?" and she decided to give it a try.
The user-friendly interface from well-designed online programs, have not only helped teachers get over the technology curve, but have also helped them stay ahead of it. Tiffany, for example, now saves time by grading, creating, and assessing on the go.
"One of the best time savers has been using rubrics for assignments, discussions, and quizzes," she explains. "It has made grading quick and objective with just the click of a button. I love that I can still leave comments to give students specific feedback about their responses when I need to."
Tiffany adds, "The app allows me to make comments and grade essays as if they were paper, but without having to lug around a huge 15-pound bag."
Finding the Time for Individualized Instruction
The overall time that teachers save from grading papers can now be re-directed, allowing them to create individualized and personalized learning experiences for students.
Tiffany acknowledges that the ability to attach standards to assignments and quizzes has also helped her grow as an educator since it makes it easier for her to identify her students' weaknesses and re-teach subjects to address any gaps in learning.
"This year has been my first year in a TAM (Team Approach to Mastery) setting," says Tiffany. "With a number of special education students reading far below grade level and many high achieving students reading far above grade level, the ability to individually assign assignments and assign grading groups has really been a game changer."
"At times this means assigning appropriately leveled texts," she continues. "Other times it means giving students the same assignment, but providing more scaffolding."
Tiffany utilizes Schoology's Student Completion Rules, or self-pacing feature, to free up the time she needs to individualize instruction and provide more one-on-one coaching. Below is a look into one of these lessons covering the writing process.
More Confidence Results in Better Performance
Education technology has also “had a HUGE positive impact” on Tiffany’s student engagement and submission rates. Students who had issues losing papers, turning in assignments, or even just missed activities due to tardiness have been more successful in her classroom.
The Schoology mobile app also allows students to work on assignments, complete tasks, and learn anytime and anywhere.
As Tiffany shares, "In a class where I started with only 50% completion for assignments, I have seen nearly 30% growth and now have 80% to 90% completion on most assignments and exit tickets."
For example, one of Tiffany’s students walked into her class 15 minutes late because she missed the bus. Tiffany started to give the student the instructions for what she had missed, when the student informed Tiffany that she had already completed the “Do Now” activity in the car on the way to school.
Tiffany believes her blended model is truly making students more college and career ready. Not only are students more prepared to face the future, but teachers can also change the future of education and finally get ahead of that technology learning curve.
"With Schoology, my students have become more aware of how the activities we do in class connect to what they're supposed to be learning," she explains. "Something many of my students come to my classroom lacking is confidence. This is something that is essential for them to be successful in college and their careers."
"When they're able to use a Schoology discussion to help them formulate their thoughts and ideas before speaking in a Socratic seminar or writing an argument for an assignment, they feel more successful; therefore, they perform better."
11th Grade ELA Teacher
William Penn High School
Educator of the Year Finalist
Written by Cyndi Amaya
The Art of Schoology: Tell Us Your Story
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