Ways to help parents understand the Common Core

Many parents are eager to take a proactive and productive role in student learning.

To help you out, we hosted a conversation between Eric Westendorf, CEO and co-founder of LearnZillion and Greg Mullenholz, former teacher, coach, 2013 Dream Team member, and current principal in Montgomery County Public Schools, to discuss some practical actions teachers can take to engage parents. Highlights include 5 tips on how best to share resources and specific ways to support student learning in light of identified gaps or advanced student needs. We’ve summarized some of their main points in the blog post below.

VIDEO

How can LearnZillion help Parents?

  1. Help them understand the standards
  2. Help with homework
  3. Support struggling students
  4. Accelerate bored students

For more, check out this blog post: Parent Resources: 4 Ways to Support Your Child’s Learning with Instructional Videos.

 

What’s the best way to share?

 

1. Email:

Send parents the Common Core content their child needs to master via URL, Quick code, or use the assign feature.

On LearnZillion we’ve made resource-sharing easy. You can simply copy and paste the URL or quick code of a video lesson and email it to parents. You can also directly assign math content or ELA content to students to complete for homework; parents can help their child complete this work at home.

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2. Letter Home:

Tell parents HOW they can use the resources available on LearnZillion.com

Sometimes paper is still the best medium to communicate with parents. Simply download this letter, customize the yellow portion to the standards your students learned that day and voilà, your students’ parents are ready to access the content online.

Click this image to download the parent letter and customize it to your class

Click this image to download the parent letter

 

 

3. Text:

Use a service like Reminder 101 or Edmodo to text parents video lesson quick codes

Quick codes – short six digit number attached to each lesson – allow teachers and parents to easily access lesson content by typing the code into any search bar on LearnZillion.com. Remind 101 allows you to text these codes to parents with the click of a button. We’ve seen parents watch these videos on their phone while waiting to pick up their children at school, or during a quick 5-7 minute break in the middle of the day. It’s a great method to bring parents closer to their children’s education amidst their already busy schedules.

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4. Create a context:

Make it easy for parents to take action.

It’s not enough to just give parents resources. Ease of use matters; the directions you give to parents should be as bite-sized and targeted as possible. Give parents a specific lesson that will best help with homework. Suggest how they can use the video with their child. Creating context can give parents confidence that they are supporting their child in the right ways.

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5. Use as basis for math or ELA night:

Share this information with parents through an in-school educational session.

Consider using LearnZillion content as a basis for a math and ELA night. These nights – organized for parents, students and teachers for topic-specific support – are a great way to demonstrate effective practice of parent involvement. Model what it looks like to find a lesson, talk about a lesson, work on homework using the lesson, and take notes. You can kickstart a habit so that parents and students can feel comfortable using the resources without the teacher present.

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These are some good steps to consider the next time you try to engage parents. Have any other ideas? Leave a comment below. And thanks for forwarding this post along to your friends and colleagues.

5 minutes to powerful whole class instruction

Thousands of teachers use LearnZillion every day to help their students learn.  But how do they do it? How can a 5 minute math or ELA video lesson help to drive high quality Common Core instruction? These teachers think of LearnZillion lessons as orange juice concentrate: they’re short but if you add water – in the form of questions, practice problems, and tasks – they expand into an amazing whole lesson.  In other words, these lessons are a perfect starting point for their whole class planning and instruction.

How LearnZillion Works

Each lesson on LearnZillion has been created by a member of our Dream Team directly from the language of the Common Core State Standards. As a result, every lesson is grade-level appropriate, visual, and focused on explaining the concepts at the heart of a standard.  In other words, it’s dense with high-quality, easy-to-understand Common Core content.  It’s also practical – each lesson comes with a set of power point slides that can be downloaded and customized to your particular class.

Learn how to customize downloadable slides

Learn how to customize downloadable slides

 

Turning LearnZillion concentrate into juice

Here are a few tips from our community about how to turn our short videos into powerful whole class instruction:

  1. Add stopping points and questions to the video lesson.  For example, stop at the “Common Misunderstanding” part of the video lessons and ask, “why do you think students make that mistake?”
  2. Use the guided practice and extension activities at the end of many of our slides as a basis for in-class practice.
  3. Personalize and customize LearnZillion’s downloadable slides to create practice worksheets (see 5 ways to leverage LearnZillion’s Downloadable Slides for more ideas)

For more ideas, check out the lesson plans we’ve developed for the essential 3rd-8th grade math standards, or watch this engaging video discussion with Nick Pyzik, an elementary school teacher and math coach at Tuscarora Elementary School in Ballenger Creek, Maryland. Nick gives specific examples about how he uses LearnZillion to streamline his own planning, reflects on student reactions to using LearnZillion lessons in the classroom, and shares how he’s using LearnZillion as a coach.

Ways to use LearnZillion

 

What else can you do with the lessons?

When LearnZillion lessons are the building blocks for whole class instruction, it’s even easier to use them for differentiation, for homework, or for parent engagement. Students will benefit from that direct link to what happened in class, and parents can finally make sense of the standards-driven shifts. Administrators, too, are using LearnZillion Premium as the backbone of a digital Common Core curriculum, and to help drive high-quality professional development.

 

Stay in touch!

We like to help all our users benefit from ideas and discoveries, so thanks in advance for sharing your experiences and advice for using LearnZillion with us!

LearnZillion ELA Webinar Archive

This page is regularly updated with our webinars focused on implementing the Common Core ELA standards — be sure to create a free account on LearnZillion to receive invitations to future events.

 

Thumbnail.OfficeHoursJoeyHawkins.Webinar.2014Writing Office Hours with Joey Hawkins of the Vermont Writing Collaborative

Recorded 03/13/14 8:00pm EST Get tips on instruction and resources from a nationally acclaimed writing educator and expert. (All grades)

 

 

thumbnail.EQuIPRubricIntro.Webinar.2014

An Introduction to the EQuIP Rubric

Recorded 03/13/14 5:00pm EST Learn how to identify high quality materials aligned to the Common Core (All grades)

 

 

thumbnail.ELAEssentials.Webinar.2014 ELA Essentials: Understanding the structure and transitions of the ELA standards

Recorded 3/4/14, 4:30 PM EST focus your lessons and write meaningful teaching objectives aligned to the ELA standards. (All grades)

 

thumbnail.SkipJoanPrincipalAnxiety.Webinar.2014 How Principals Can Relieve Anxiety Around Common Core Implementation

Recorded 3/5/14 3:00pm EST A discussion with Dr. Skip Fennell and Joan Tellish about how principals can help teachers implement the Common Core. (All grades; Administrators)

 

Thumbnail.Streamlineprofessionaldevelopment.Webinar.2014

Save time, reduce stress. Streamline planning and supercharge your professional growth with LearnZillion.

Recorded 2/30/14 3:30pm EST Learn how to integrate LearnZillion into your lesson planning process. (All grades)

 

thumbnail.OfficeHoursDavidLiben.Webinar.2014Literacy Office Hours with David Liben of Student Achievement Partners pt 2.

Recorded 2/26/14 8:00pm EST Get tips and resources from David Liben, a nationally acclaimed ELA/literacy specialist. (All grades)

 

thumbnail.writingaligningsequencingtextdependentq.Webinar.2014Writing, aligning, and sequencing text dependent questions

Recorded 2/19/14 4:00pm EST Learn proven strategies for crafting text-dependent questions. (All grades)

 

 

thumbnail.TextTalk.Webinar.2013Text Talks: A First Step in Planning for Close Reading

Recorded 1/30/14 4:00pm EST Get tips, ideas and an actionable format for launching successful text talks. (All grades)

 

 

Literacy Office Hours wiScreen Shot 2014-03-27 at 1.37.55 PMth David Liben of Student Achievement Partners pt 1.

Recorded 1/8/14 4:00pm EST Get tips and resources from David Liben,a nationally acclaimed ELA/literacy specialist (All grades)

 

 

Ready for more? Click the button below to view our math webinars:

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LearnZillion Math Webinar Archive

This page is updated with our webinars focused on implementing the Common Core math standards — be sure to create a free account on LearnZillion to receive invitations to future events.

 

Thumbnail.EQuIPMath.Webinar.2014

Using the EQuIP Rubric: Math

Recorded 03/18/14 5:00pm EST Ensure your math resources are Common Core aligned. (All grades)

 

 

thumbnail.EQuIPRubricIntro.Webinar.2014

An Introduction to the EQuIP Rubric

Recorded 03/13/14 5:00pm EST Learn how to identify high quality materials aligned to the Common Core. (All grades)

 

 

thumbnail.SkipJoanPrincipalAnxiety.Webinar.2014

How Principals Can Relieve Anxiety Around Common Core Implementation

Recorded 3/4/14 3:00pm EST Help your teachers implement the Common Core (All grades; Administrators)

 

 

Thumbnail.Practicaltipsforusinglessonplans.Webinar.2014Practical tips for using LearnZillion’s Math Lesson Plans in the classroom

Recorded 2/27/14 6:00pm EST Learn how to use LearnZillion’s Math Lesson Plans in your classroom. (Grades 3-8)

 

 

Thumbnail.Streamlineprofessionaldevelopment.Webinar.2014Save time, reduce stress. Streamline planning and supercharge your professional growth with LearnZillion.

Recorded 2/30/14 3:30pm EST Learn how to integrate LearnZillion into your lesson planning process. (All grades)

 

thumbnail.LessonPlans.Webinar.2014

Learn how LearnZillion Lesson Plans can help you ensure students master the essential math standards

Recorded 2/12/14 5:00pm EST Ensure that your students master the essential math standards. (Grades 3-8)

 

thumbnail.BackmappingSkip.Webinar.2013Back-mapping from PARCC and SBAC items to Formative Assessments

Recorded 1/8/14 2:00pm EST Prepare for Common Core math formative assessments. (All grades)

 

 

Ready for more? Click the button below to view our ELA webinars:

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Assign to students: ELA

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This video is the fourth in a series of five tutorials on how to create a class, assign students Common Core content and track student progress on LearnZillion.com.

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Assign a video lesson

  1. **Note: you must first create a class on LearnZillion before assigning students content. Learn how to do this by clicking here.
  2. Find your lesson: type a lesson title, topic or Common Core standard into either of the search barsScreen Shot 2014-03-10 at 2.07.13 PM
  3. Click into the lesson you would like to assign
  4. Click the Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 2.09.32 PM button in the upper lefthand corner of the video lesson
  5. Enter a due date
  6. Choose to assign to either your entire class or individual students
  7. Click done – you have now assigned that lesson

Assign a video playlists

  1. **Note: you must first create a class on LearnZillion before assigning content to students. Learn how to do this by clicking here.
  2. Click classes in top left corner, click into your respective class.
  3. Hover over the drop-downScreen Shot 2014-03-03 at 8.27.24 PM, and click “Assignments”
  4. Click “+New Assignment”
  5. Search and filter the assignment library by grade level and subject Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 2.21.52 PM
  6. Select a playlist (a selection of videos that cover a specific standard) by hovering over said resource and clicking “select”. You can also preview each assignment before you assign it.
  7. After you select all desired assignments click the assign button Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 2.27.28 PM .
  8. Select a due date, choose the class and/or student(s) to whom you like to assign the assignment, and click done – you have now assigned that quiz and/or playlist.

Student view

When your students log in, they will see their assigned assignments. They can click into each assignment, complete it in full, or complete part, save and finish the rest later.

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Student view

Track student progress

Learn how to do this in the next video …

Addition resources

Each ELA lesson set comes with additional resources. Consider printing these out or sharing them with students. Possible resources include:

  • Anchor texts that you can download and distribute to students (most lesson sets)
  • Read aloud videos (some lesson sets)
  • Printable assessments (some lesson sets)

Access these by clicking into and/or by previewing an assignment:

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ELA lesson set page

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Click below to watch more:

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How to Track Student Progress on LearnZillion.com

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This video is the fifth in a series of five tutorials on how to create a class, assign students Common Core content and track student progress on LearnZillion.com.

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Track assignment completion

  1. Click on “Classes” in the upper righthand corner
  2. Click into a class where you’ve given an assignment
  3. You will be able to see the video playlists, for ELA and math, and quizzes, for math, that you’ve assigned to your students. You’ll be able to watch and monitor their progress by seeing how many students have completed the assignment (e.g. 2 out of the 4 students whom were assigned this assignment)
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Assignment information

Track assignment performance

  1. Complete the steps in the Track assignment completion section
  2. (Playlists for ELA and math) Click into individual assignments to see the videos your students have completed.
  3. (Quizzes for math) Click into a specific assignment and you will see more details on student performance. You can see the questions answered and whether each student got the answer correct, shown in green, or incorrect, shown in red. You can also see the questions your students missed (e.g. question 3) and use that information to guide your planning.
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Assignment performance

Track student performance

  1. Complete the steps in the Track assignment performance section
  2. (Playlists for math and ELA) Click into an individual student’s name to see how many and which videos they viewed.
  3. (Quizzes for math) Click on a student’s name to see how they responded to questions. Through this process, you can identify gaps in student misunderstanding.
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Student responses to a math quiz

By assigning LearnZillion quizzes and playlists to students, you can differentiate instruction and track student mastery along the way.

Click below to watch this series from the beginning:

     Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 7.27.06 PM    or  Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 11.59.24 AM

 

Assign to students: Math

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 1.34.05 PM

This video is the fourth in a series of five tutorials on how to create a class, assign students Common Core content and track student progress on LearnZillion.com.

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Assign a video lesson

  1. **Note: you must first created a class on LearnZillion before assigning students content. Learn how to do this by clicking here.
  2. Find your lesson: type a lesson title, topic or Common Core standard into either of the search barsScreen Shot 2014-03-10 at 2.07.13 PM
  3. Click into the lesson you would like to assign
  4. Click the Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 2.09.32 PM button in the upper lefthand corner of the video lesson
  5. Enter a due date
  6. Choose to assign to either your entire class or individual students
  7. Click done – you have now assigned that lesson

Assign quizzes and video playlists

  1. **Note: you must first created a class on LearnZillion before assigning content to students. Learn how to do this by clicking here.
  2. Click classes in top left corner, click into your respective class.
  3. Hover over the drop-downScreen Shot 2014-03-03 at 8.27.24 PM, and click “Assignments”
  4. Click “+New Assignment”
  5. Search and filter the assignment library by grade level and subjectScreen Shot 2014-03-10 at 2.21.52 PM
  6. Select a playlist (a selection of videos that cover a specific standard) and/or corresponding quizzes (problems associated with each standard) by hovering over said resource and clicking “select”. You can also preview each assignment before you assign it.
  7. After you select all desired assignments click the assign button Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 2.27.28 PM .
  8. Select a due date, choose the class and/or student(s) to whom you like to assign the assignment, and click done – you have now assigned that quiz and/or playlist.

Student view

When your students log in, they will see their assigned assignments. They can click into each assignment, complete it in full, or complete part, save and finish the rest later.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 2.37.14 PM

Student View

Track student progress

Learn how to do this in the next video …

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How to assign students content on LearnZillion

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This video is the fourth in a series of five tutorials on how to create a class, assign students Common Core content and track student progress on LearnZillion.com.

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Learn how to assign content by clicking one of the buttons below

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Click below to watch more:

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How to enroll students, and manage student information on LearnZillion

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This video the first in a series of five tutorials on how to create a class, assign students Common Core content and track student progress on LearnZillion.com.

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Transcript:

Add students to your class:

  1. Click on “classes” in the top right corner
  2. Click the respective class where you would like to enroll students
  3. Hover over Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 8.27.24 PM bar which can be found below the search bar and select “students” from the drop-down menu.
  4. Click “+Add students”. Enter each student’s name on a separate line, click “add” then “save”. If you want to you can also copy and paste in your entire class roster.

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Enroll students in your class:

When you look at your class roster you’ll notice two things. First under each name it says that the students are “pending” – although you added them to your class the students still have to create their own accounts. Second you’ll see a unique enrollment code above each student’s name. Students use this code to register for an account and ensure that they are tied to your specific class. To enroll your students …
  1. Click on the class of which you’d like to enroll students
  2. Hover over the menu bar and select “Students
  3. Click on the blue button that says Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 8.23.46 PM. You can print them out, distribute them to your students, and they can then enroll in your class. Once they have enrolled, you can assign them video lessons, quizzes, and practice problems. Find out how to do this in the next tutorial video …

Signup your students

Instruct them to do take the following steps

If they already have an account on LearnZillion:

  1. Visit learnzillion.com/student/login
  2. Enter your username and password
  3. Click on “Classes” in the menu bar at the top of the screen
  4. Click “Add Class” and enter the enrollment code

If they don’t have an account on LearnZillion:

  1. Visit learnzillion.com/student/signup
  2. Enter the enrollment code displayed above and complete the rest of the form
  3. Click “Create my account”

Manage student account information: see their username, reset their password, and more

Once a student has enrolled, you can keep track of their student account information. You can see the student’s name as you entered it (e.g. “Harry Potter”) and you can see the student’s username (e.g. “HarryPotter12354”). This is the name that the student uses to log in to their account – if a student ever forgets their login information you can find their user name here. If a student forgets their password, you can reset there password by simply clicking the three horizontal bars under the student’s name, clicking edit, entering the new password and confirming it below.
Student account information

Student account information

Click below to watch more:
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How to Create a Class on LearnZillion.com

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This video is the second in a series of five tutorials on how to create a class, assign students Common Core content and track student progress on LearnZillion.com.

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Transcript:

When you’re ready to create your class login to LearnZillion.com
  1. Click on “classes” in the upper righthand corner of your screen. If you’ve already created classes you can see them here.
  2. Click the Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 8.29.08 PM button to create a new class. Enter your class name (note: your student will be able to see this so put your name as your students address you; i.e. “Mr. Jone’s 3rd period math”). Next, select the appropriate grade levels and subject areas. Then choose a grading policy – I like to display the result as soon as a student completes the quiz so they have immediate feedback.
  3. Now you’re ready to add your students. We’ll describe how to do this in the following video …

Click below to watch more:

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