Making Learning Visible

As a teacher who is also a mother of two children in elementary school, I believe strongly in communicating regularly with parents on what is going on in the classroom.

For years I have used the planner (or agenda) as a means of writing personal notes or communicating important upcoming projects or events.  I also look forward to parent-teacher conferences and student-led conferences where the parents are able to see what the students have been working on and ask specific questions about their child’s progress, strengths & struggles.

But what if a parent cannot make it to a conference or has shift work where the planner doesn’t always get read?

As a working parent what I appreciate is the use of technology as a means to keep connected with what my children are working on in the classroom, and to communicate directly with their teachers.  I would LOVE to touch base with my children’s teachers in person regularly, but that just isn’t realistic as a working parent.

Class web sites have become another way for parents to be connected with their child’s learning in the class.  I have used class web sites myself as a teacher, as well as blogging.  I have recently been introduced to another means of making learning visible to parents and that is with Fresh Grade.

The Surrey School District (#36) continues to impress me with how supportive it is regarding taking risks with new technologies in the classroom and innovative ways of teaching.  Fresh Grade is a fantastic tool to keep learning visible for parents – each student has a personalized portfolio created, which parents can access with a code provided.  I am very new to Fresh Grade, so there is still a lot for me to learn about it.

It is so important to me for parents to be fully engaged in their children’s learning, and to feel a part of the process.  I am excited to start using Fresh Grade with my group! 🙂

2 thoughts on “Making Learning Visible

  1. great to hear about the positive steps forward in Surrey, and a creative use of FreshGrade. In our district we are experimenting with using a freshgrade type tool to actually replace report cards. How are sd36 teachers feeling about communicating learning through an eportfolio AND writing summative reports. Is there a move to use these as a replacement for summative reports?

    • Thanks for your comments Kyle!

      With everything new & innovative there are definitely some teachers feeling uncomfortable with change. For the majority of the teachers in our district, however, I think there is excitement about implementing a new way to provide parents descriptive feedback, which also emphasizes creativity & communication. Surrey pioneered a pilot program eliminating letter grades altogether in about 13 elementary schools and 6 secondary schools (I believe those are the numbers, correct me if I am wrong!). This is all in the “experimental” stage right now, but I do know many teachers who are a part of the pilot project DO love it (as do the parents based on the feedback) and find it extremely beneficial. I am at the very beginning stages myself and have A LOT to learn. If our district decides to use Fresh Grade for reporting rather than the traditional method, and MOE supports this, then I will be ready & wiling! 🙂

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