Monthly Archives: January 2015

American Lit: PLE, VLE, 1:1 Tech, (not really) Flipped Classroom, and 85% Proficient or Advanced

I am sold on the use of effective technology and goal setting in class.  While I wanted to see more last year, it didn’t happen. But the results were still pretty incredible: 85% proficient or advanced on the Tennessee State English III EOC. While I know I can take some credit, the reality is that my students rocked it out. And setting high expectations, monitoring progress, and engaging students in goal setting are the biggest reasons for such success. So, now January 8, I have a new group to repeat the success. Except I’m going to do it better this time.

This week, I’m going to spend time establishing procedures and expectations. We will complete all diagnostic testing as well, so that will act as the start for goal setting for the students. What resources are we using? A variety of free and paid services…

Monday – No school.

Tuesday – Teaching the Caught ‘Ya and etymology process. Students will complete an information sheet to help me get to know them and plan for rewards. We will then set up the interactive notebook and begin taking a few notes on key information pertaining to the course and how to pass. I promise to post my interactive notebook plan when I have it set. UnfortunTely I don’t have all of the kinks worked out for this,but I do know that even in a digital class, students need the actual written notes.

Wednesday – Complete the Caught ‘Ya and Etymology.  From here, students will learn to put documents into the interactive notebook by placing our course user’s guide in the notebook. Next, I will introduce the PLE process with a few screenshots and have students use any avatar creator app to create the avatar they will use to track theirs Rogers’s throughout the curriculum. I’m going to print the avatars and makes trading cards out of them. It’s going to be awesome.

Thursday – Students are going to take a Pretest on Noredink. This is a mostly free site where students can take a test and you can create lessons for them based on their areas of weakness,  I required students to complete two lessons a week on NoRedInk, all outside of class.  It went well, and I’m looking at doing on lesson the first nine weeks and two the second nine weeks,  I haven’t entirely decided yet. Before they can do the pretest, the site gives an interest survey so all of the questions are about things they are interested in. You should give this app a check by visiting

Friday – Reading Plus. This is a paid service that I’m still not convinced produces the types of gains we were told to expect. However, it is on the approved RTI list for the state. The students take diagnostic and insight testing, and then the program outlines a reading lesson plan learning path for the rest of the year that is intended to get them performing on grade level. Some students are assigned nine lessons and some only four. For accountability, I graded the lessons in terms of completion because the system gives the teacher a percent completion of the suggested lesson. If students do all of the suggested lessons, I will give them them the highest earned score in the grade book. This has helped about a third of students in the past, but I’m holding out that I will see Reading Plus as a more effective tool this time around, I will keep you posted.

This will round out the first week, and it will take us to our PLC meeting. We are moving into the Tennessee EOC Benchmark, goal setting, and How to Read Literature like a Professor, but you’ll have to check back for more details.