What does a typical day using the Unified Classroom to drive all teaching and learning activities look like? Let’s tag along with Karen Smith, a 7th-grade Math teacher. With a single education technology platform, Karen is revolutionizing her classroom with easy access to all of the tools she needs with a single login. She no longer needs to switch between systems to do her work. Instead, she moves easily among PowerSchool assessment, learning, behavior, gradebook, and analytics solutions from one simple, easy-to-use dashboard.
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At around 6:05 a.m., Karen wakes up, pours a cup of French Roast, and logs into the Unified Classroom dashboard on her iPad so she can respond to parent questions. She could wait until the end of the day but it’s much easier to jump on and reply while her mind is fresh.
One parent is wondering why his student’s grade fell from an A to a B. After a quick check of the gradebook, Karen lets him know about the two quizzes with poor scores and several homework assignments that are still missing. Another parent asks if her student has been getting to class on time, and, after answering, Karen sends her instructions for downloading the mobile app to get push notifications that will let them know immediately if their child is tardy or absent. Karen’s principal has expressed on numerous occasions how happy he is that she is able to quickly respond and engage with parents.
Time to get ready for work!
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Karen arrives at school 30 minutes before class, starts her laptop, and logs into the Unified Classroom dashboard. With one login to access all of her class learning tools, Karen very rarely has to contact the IT department for help recovering or remembering multiple passwords!
She checks her latest assessment results to determine where students are succeeding and where they need more work — both as a class and individually. She sees that several students still need help understanding complex fractions, but overall, she’s pleased with their progress toward mastering the course content.
On her Period 1 class page, she reviews the lesson that they’ll be going through later this morning. This course has been taught in previous years and Karen was able to access last year’s complete course content and just add a few updates to better meet her class’s needs. She’s added new YouTube videos — accessible to students and parents from the Unified Classroom — to better explain concepts that she noticed were difficult in previous years.
Karen has collaborated online with other math teachers at her school, as well as in another school in the district, to share ideas for new, effective, multimedia content that appeals to today’s learners. Her students have also been valuable collaborators in adding course content, with several students finding interactive, relevant resources that have been integrated into the Unified Classroom.
Her Superintendent loves the constant collaboration and has proudly touted the team communication at several board meetings.
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When the morning bell rings, Karen takes attendance for her first class. Her seating chart is mapped out in her digital gradebook in the Unified Classroom so it only takes a minute, literally, to mark which students are present and absent. Previously, the attendance office would have followed up with phone calls home once attendance was submitted, but now the Unified Classroom automatically, and instantly, contacts parents via the mobile app.
One student arrives five minutes late and Karen marks them tardy; she notices on the attendance page that this is the eighth time this term that the student has been late, as well as being absent four times. The student’s grade is also slowly dropping. Within the Unified Classroom, the student is identified as starting to struggle based on six indicators, and Karen uses the Response to Intervention (RTI) tool to assign the student to targeted intervention programs to help the student to quickly get back on track.
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Karen starts the day’s lesson by having all of her students log on to the class page dashboard on their Chromebooks. Today they’ll be viewing a pair of engaging YouTube videos – discovered by her students – that introduce the topic of algebra. In addition to the videos, which they can also access at home with their parents through the Unified Classroom, Karen’s students have access to downloadable PDF files with extra information – all embedded on the class page.
With easy-to-use content creation tools, Karen has the ability to embed digital content from the web into the class pages, as well as create online discussions, assignments, and assessments. Karen also utilizes WikiProjects, an online space for students to create, communicate, and collaborate with each other.
Several of the students stood out during the class discussion with valuable insight and participation. Karen enters positive behavior reward points into the Unified Classroom; students will be able to cash these in for rewards at the school’s online store.
After the lesson, Karen discusses the day’s assignment which is accessible directly from the class home page.
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At the end of the day, in her planning block, Karen creates an assessment by selecting test questions from thousands of pre-written items available within the Unified Classroom. She knows that the assessment results will provide insight for instruction tweaks she can make immediately to close learning gaps and misunderstandings before the class moves on from a section or topic. To prepare her classes for end-of-year summative assessments, she uses formative assessments to track real-time student learning and pinpoint areas of weakness. Ultimately, she’s able to adjust instruction to ensure her students are demonstrating learning outcomes indicated in the standards.
Though she didn’t need to today, this would also be the time that she would enter discipline incident data within the Unified Classroom, sending that information directly to school administration.
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Karen wraps up the day by grading assignments, which she does in the Unified Classroom. She can easily open homework assignments submitted within the site, provide comments and corrections directly on the page, and then add the grade in one step on one screen. She can also do this later from home on her iPad, but she has plans for the evening and wants to get everything done at school – on time.
All in a day’s work – in the Unified Classroom.
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