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A BPS Math Teacher’s Experience with JFYNet

A Math Teacher’s Experience with JFYNet

by Lakisha N. Scott, high school mathematics teacher, Boston Public Schools

Over my 29 years as a certified math teacher working in public and private schools in different states, in urban and suburban districts with a wide range of diversity, I have not come across a more useful and user-friendly online platform than the one offered by JFYNet.

I have used many different online platforms and curricula in an ever-changing, challenging and demanding time for K12 education. Teaching math, or any subject, in an urban high school is very difficult because we have so many types of learners with so many divergent needs that require so much individual attention, especially now in the time of COVID.

I can state beyond a doubt that JFYNet’s online math curriculum has become critical for my teaching practice because it helps me differentiate and customize my instruction for Special Needs, English Language Learners, Advanced Placement students, honors students and students who are on grade level. Being online, the program works as well for remote as for hybrid or in-person learning—obviously a critical flexibility factor now. The transition between home and school is seamless.

I can create any type of assignment I designate, such as a quiz, test, or practice. That unit can serve a variety of purposes: remediation, enrichment, practice for current standards that need to be covered, standardized test prep for state or national levels, as well as local and college-level exams such as Accuplacer. I can also use it for whole class instruction by sharing my screen with the students. The range and flexibility are unlimited. It makes the virtual classroom an engaging learning environment for students.

My students and I love the smart technology feature that grades a student the same way a seasoned math teacher would by giving partial credit for answers that are close to the correct answer. Students can show their steps and not just type in a binary right/wrong. When I review their work, I can see their thought process and the actual progress they are making in every answer they submit. I can also assign multiple choice, true/false, or open response questions. All these features align with the question style of MCAS 2.0, making the program serve simultaneously as grade-level standards instruction and MCAS prep.

BPS Math teacher shares her JFYNet experience.  "There are great graphing features and a deep portfolio of online interactive tools."

Whenever I need assistance, the JFYNet team is always available to help. I have known Cathie Maglio, our Learning Specialist, since I began using the JFYNet program in 2017 at another school. From the time I met her, she has always been available to come into my classroom to help me get set up and to meet with me as often as I needed. Now, in my virtual classroom, I can email her anytime and she replies instantly with precise and useful information. Her background as a college math teacher and software designer is invaluable as well as her years in the high school trenches with JFYNet. She understands my unique circumstances as a high school math teacher and what my students and I need most.

My only complaint is that I can spend too much time surfing through the enormous amount of material they have in their data bank. I can get so immersed in choosing problems that instead of spending 15 minutes creating a quiz, I end up spending an hour falling in love with the many alternative ways the questions are presented and assessed. If I’m not careful, I end up choosing too many interesting items and turning my short quiz into a 60 minute exam. The material is so good I really want to use it all.

I will close by saying that this JFYNet program has given me newfound hope that I can meet the needs of all my students and provide them with a strong math foundation that will propel them to make continuing gains in math literacy. The excellence of the content and the support of the staff have helped me maintain, and actually raise, the quality of my instruction even in this disrupted year. When we return to the classroom, I’ll continue and expand my use of the program, mining its depth and range to make my instruction as individualized as the needs and learning styles of my students.


JFYNet, the online learning program of JFYNetWorks, provides online resources, training, and support.


To learn more about JFYNet’s Connected Learning Solutions click on the button below:JFYNet Connected Learning


HOW ARE WE DOING? In our pursuit to serve up content that matters to you, we ask that you take a couple of minutes to let us know how we’re doing? Please click here to be navigated to our JFYNet Satisfaction Survey. Thank you!

Education in the anxious autumn of Covid

by Gary Kaplan

The need for continuity of instruction and accountability—and help.

Help! I have to convert all my classes to fully remote. Can you help me?

Hi. I’m a high school math teacher. I have to teach two classes for the summer program. Can you set me up with a curriculum?

I’ve been drafted into doing a Zoom presentation for parents. I would like to show some screen shots of math and ELA curriculum. Can you send me some slides that would appeal to parents?

Would you be able to send me my classes’ pre and post assessment scores in an excel spreadsheet so I can include them in my progress report? Thank you in advance for your help.

This is a scary and uncertain time for everyone, especially our students. They are figuring out how to learn remotely and we are figuring out how to teach remotely. The emotional toll this is taking on teachers and students is tremendous.

JFYNet Connects Learning to Goals

by Joan Reissman, JFY Learning Specialist

Standards-based instruction includes MCAS, SAT, grade-level skills

MCAS is back on the schedule for the current school year. Teachers are struggling to cope with remote and hybrid learning models, and to comprehend the impact of six months’ learning loss. JFYNet is adapting its connected learning help them meet the compound challenges of this shortened and complicated school year.

Data and Measurement Reporting with JFYNet

by Cathie Maglio, Learning Specialist and Statistician

A voice for the silent partner

The JFYNet Learning Specialist wears many hats. One hat is Statistician. Wearing that hat, we collect and analyze data from the math end ELA programs our students use. We also analyze MCAS data for each of our schools. Our analyses help teachers and administrators understand exactly how students are doing and how each year’s performance compares to past years’. We collect and analyze data on a monthly basis throughout the school year and then provide a full year report at the end.

JFYNet alignments help teachers focus on goals

by Joan Reissman, Alignment Maven

Software is an integral part of today’s learning environment. There are many excellent and robust software programs, but they do not run themselves. The teacher still needs to know what to teach her students. This academic year of the virus presents unprecedented challenges. Not only will teachers not meet their students personally, but they will have to assess what each student has retained from last year to know where to start this year. They will have to gauge how much review is needed and figure out how to differentiate instruction for individual student needs. This is where JFYNet can help.

Keeping Students Engaged through Direct Student Support

by Eileen Wedegartner, JFYNet Learning Specialist

Responding to student needs. Engagement is the key to improving academic performance.

The JFYNet online program supports learning with online instructional tools that help students master grade-level standards and prepare for college and careers after graduation. We summarize our methodology in the acronym AIMS: Assess, Instruct, Measure, Support. The last element, Support, takes a variety of forms.

The Autumn of our Reconnect. School will be opening. But how?

School will be opening. But how?

by Gary Kaplan

School will be opening September 16. How it will open is still uncertain. Three operational models have been defined by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: fully in-person, fully remote, and a hybrid of the two. It is up to each district to decide which option to choose. The decisions will not be strictly pedagogical: much will depend on health and safety conditions. Final school plans for reopening are due at DESE August 10.

Tools and strategies using JFYNet’s ELA software

Tools and strategies using JFYNet’s ELA software

Hosted by Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

JFYNet is often called a test prep program. It’s true that one intended result of our online curriculum is to help students succeed on MCAS, Accuplacer and SAT, the standardized tests that weigh so heavily in the balance of their future options. But tests measure skills, and what we are really doing is helping students develop the skills that are measured on those tests.

JFYNet staff report on the new COVID-19 normal.

Hero Educators Abound

by JFYNet’s Blended Learning Specialists: Eileen Wedegartner, Greg Cunningham and Cathie Maglio

Eileen Wedegartner

In a COVID-19 update April 2 Governor Baker apologized for not being able to name a specific date when something had happened. “I feel like March 6 to today has been one long day,” he mused. “I can’t keep track of it anymore.”

I knew what he meant. These last few weeks have been a whirlwind when life as we knew it drastically changed. Seemingly overnight, the streets in Boston fell silent and New York, the city that never sleeps, fell into a coma. Baker ordered all schools closed for three weeks and then extended it even longer, to May 4. District leaders, school administrators, teachers, parents and even students are mobilizing to try out learning in different ways. As I watch my own children navigate classroom meet-ups on Zoom and Google Hangouts, I am thankful for the efforts teachers are making to fill the void we in the community feel without school.

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    Science Resource Summary

    Free Science Resources

    A multi-disciplinary treasure trove for teachers, students and parents

    JFYNetWorks provides online resources to support remote learning in all core subject areas. To support the STEM curriculum, we have developed this annotated guide to science resources. It lists free resources in all domains of science, and details activities, multi-media lessons and teacher guides for all levels. We hope it will be helpful to teachers, students and parents.

    Multi-disciplinary Resources

    Christa McAuliffe Center for Integrated Science Learning

    A project of Framingham State University, this website is a curated list that will help parents, students and educators looking for free resources they can use via remote learning. These resources are at a variety of levels, from pre-k to high school. The site has 3 parts. A key section is STEM at Home. This section is a curated list of free resources. When you click on a topic, you will see a list of resources with a short description. For each resource the descriptions give you a basic summary, type of activity, area covered, and appropriate age group. This is a work in progress and users should check periodically for updated resources. There is a wide variety of activities including digital labs, interactive lessons, demos, videos animations, and tutorials. This site also includes math activities that teachers can assign and parents and students can work through together. There is also a section of science sites in Spanish and Portuguese. STEM at Home also lists videos, webcasts, and WGBH broadcast options. Another section of the website is the DIY Universe. In this section you can create your own exhibit or multi-media show in three areas: Stars, Solar Systems, and Origin/History of the Universe. Users can access these resources as a parent, teacher or student. Another section, ISS image of the Week, provides images from the International Space Station with linked educational activities. Last, but not least there is a link to webinars that will help teachers and parents hone their remote learning skills. This is one of the best websites for easy access to a wide variety of resources.

    The Source Book for Teaching Science

    This is a collection of free resources that provides everything from illustrations and simulations to exercises you can use with your students. Although some of the links are inactive, there are plenty of resources to use. The website gives resources in all the major areas of biology. There are simulations, illustrations and online textbooks in each area. There are also informative online spreadsheets with data that can be used as the basis of many assignments. This site includes lesson plans that teachers can use to create online assignments for their students. Although this website emphasizes biology, there are resources for chemistry, physics and earth science. There are many resources to choose, but teachers will have to pick from a long list to find what will work best for their students.

    National Science Foundation

    This website provides resources in all areas of science. The links take you to a list of resources for each area. One advantage of this website is that it identifies the appropriate grade range for many sites. You can click this link to go to any subject area. In addition to science there are links for math, social science, computing and education. Some of these listed resources, such as Cells Alive or Chem4Kids have been around a long time, but that doesn’t mean they still don’t have valuable information. This site is also a collection of resources. Teachers can choose and assign specific activities to their students.

    PBS

    This website has a very large collection of resources and activities in almost every subject. Once you choose an area, you can filter by grade and type of activity to narrow your choices. There are complete interactive lessons and activities. Most activities have support materials so that teachers have a complete assignment for students. Activities are varied and there are games, multiple choice and short answer questions for students. Teachers can create classes and give students assignments. Teachers can view student activity and these reports can be exported to Excel. The program is fully integrated with Google classroom.

    National Science Digital Library

    This is a large collection of resources. Activities vary and some activities are more comprehensive than others. The teacher can filter by grade, standards and subject. Although this website is known for science, teachers can choose activities in life science, applied science, physical science, mathematics and history.

    CK-12

    You can enter this site as a teacher or a student. If you are a teacher or a parent, you should look at their webinar which gives advice on using their program. This website includes resources in science (starting at grade 1), math (grade 1 through college), and social studies. Teachers can use the Flexbooks. These are online textbooks that have accompanying activities. There also individual activities and videos available. For example, students can move the chromosomes to display the phases of meiosis this site does not filter by Massachusetts standards, you can use the Common Core filter. This site is very comprehensive. [account creation required]

    NSTA Freebies for Science Teachers

    These resources have been vetted and recommended by the National Science Teaching Association. You can filter by type of activity or key word. There are activities for students, but there are also publications for professional development. If you are looking for activities, use the filter by keyword and select the other materials category.

    We Are Teachers

    Here is a list of virtual classroom platforms, online quizzes and assessments, video lessons, and even complete curriculum plans. These resources are not generally free, but they will be available at no cost right now. Some of the resources offer at least a 30 day or more free trial. There are many things to choose from. They provide a short description of each listed resource and what type of offering will be available during school closures.

    National Education Association Stem Resources

    A short list of high-quality activities you can use. There are only 7 resources listed, but they have some very good activities. Not everything listed features complete activities. Activities range from K-12.

    Thoughtco

    Thoughtco provides resources for educators in all areas of science. In each area, you can find lists and articles. These resources can serve as the basis of an activity, but they are not interactive and the articles do not include comprehension questions. Teachers would have to develop questions and accompanying activities to convert these resources into complete assignments. This website also includes humanities resources.

    Khan Academy

    If you prefer your students to work with a more traditional method, then choose Khan Academy. Khan Academy provides a very comprehensive selection of short videos and accompanying online exercises for some topics. The videos are lecture style and the video is basically an explanation in a mini-lecture. It’s not for every student, but some students really do better with Khan’s straightforward approach. Teachers can enroll classes and check on student progress with reports.

    Biology

    LabXchange

    This website is sponsored by Harvard. You have to sign up, but it’s free. There are online learning assets, including videos, assessments, and simulations. The focus is biology, but some other topics are included. Teachers can create online classes and teach lab skills remotely. Right now the virtual experiments might be particularly useful for teachers seeking alternate methods to provide continuity through remote learning.

    Bozeman Science

    This website has videos that cover important concepts in high school biology. The videos have clear, colorful explanations, and some have accompanying worksheets contributed by teachers. There is a section of draft assessments organized by Next Generation Science Standards. This website connects to the wonder of science- https://thewonderofscience.com/ -you can choose assessments, videos, and resources. Teachers can find resources for earth and physical science too.

    Biointeractive

    This is a large collection of resources. You can filter by level, activity, and topic. Activities include videos with a pdf teacher guide and student handout. There is also a small section on earth science.

    Concord Learning Center

    Concord has a large collection of resources. Some of these activities are simulations that teachers can use to design a lesson for their students. If you have your own webpage, you could post the links to the activities and also add questions. Other activities already have accompanying questions.

    Busch Gardens Resources

    This website, a joint effort between Busch Gardens and SeaWorld, has a variety of activities. Although it features K-12 activities, many of the activities are geared for lower grades. Both students and teachers can access activities geared for them. In classroom activities, there are workbook style lessons. Teachers can download these activities and assign them. Teachers can substitute class discussion sections with written responses or Google hangouts. There are also teacher guides in many areas that are online textbooks with reading and assignments. Another useful, dynamic section is Saving a Species. This section has many videos and a teacher toolbox goes with the videos. The videos are on YouTube, so students can watch these shows on their tablets, laptops, phones or smart TV.

    Chemistry

    American Association of Chemistry Teachers

    This website includes complete activities for teachers that make great e-learning lessons. Some of the activities are better for classroom work but there are many activities that feature a video. You can give directions to your students to complete the activities on their own or you could do this work as a group by Zoom or Google hangout. The advantage of these activities is that they include a teacher guide, a student activity sheet and an answer key. These documents are in Word and pdf format, so you can decide what works best for you. These activities cover 14 different areas of high school chemistry and there are hundreds of lessons for your students. There are also activities for middle and elementary school students.

    General Chemistry Interactive Solutions

    This website includes a collection of resources that you can use to teach topics. There is good information, but many of the activities are not as dynamic or interactive as other websites.

    Concord Learning Center

    This website is similar to Concord’s biology page. There are 165 resources for teachers to use. These activities vary. Some are simulations and other activities are meant for classroom work (although some activities might be done at home through teacher instruction). Lessons vary from activity general plans to complete lessons with accompanying guides for students and teachers.

    Physics

    The Physics Classroom

    This website has a large collection of resources for physics teachers. There are many links to varied resources that include online textbooks, interactive activities, physics videos and complete physics lessons with varied activities.

    MIT Blossoms

    This is a very large collection of resources that varies in quality and functionality. Some activities are excellent, but others are either non-functional or old-fashioned. Since this is a large collection of sites, it definitely worth investigating. Some activities require a sign-up to use. There is a short description of each website, so you can quickly decide if this activity would work well for you.

    The Physics Front

    The Physics Front has complete lessons and online activities. You can browse by course, level, or topic.

    The Science Spot

    Although this is a very basic website, you might want to use it if your students have limited access to online curriculum. Some of the materials are simple to download, so students could access the work easily on their phones.

    Engineering

    Engineering Activities for Kids (when Under Quarantine)

    This is a collection of activities that students can do at home. This site is useful for teachers looking for activities to assign or parents trying to engage kids in stimulating work.

    Try Engineering

    Teachers can find lessons plans to download and activities for their students on a wide variety of engineering topics.

    Teach Engineering

    In this large collections of resources, you can filter by subject, topic, lesson type and grade level. You can also choose a curricular unit with multiple activities. There is a time estimate and description for each activity.

    U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

    This website emphasizes practical activities that teachers can assign. The activities focus on creating inventions. There are separate activities that focus on many high interest topics such as the relationship between engineering and tattoos or 3-d printing.

    YouTube Resources

    Professor Dave Explains (Science and Math)

    Professor Dave offers short simple video explanation on a wide range of topics in science and mathematics. These videos are mini-lectures. Although the videos are good, teachers will have to develop accompanying lesson plans or pull activities from another source.

    Crash Course(Science and other subjects)

    These are short, easy to understand explanations on many topics. You can study biology, chemistry, engineering, math history and many other subjects. They are colorful and easy to understand. The videos have caption options, which will be helpful to ELL students.

    The Amoeba Sisters(Biology)

    Two high school teachers started this channel to demystify science. These are fun, colorful videos that your students will enjoy. Some of the videos may be suitable for middle school students. They also have a website that has GIFs, handouts, resources, and science comics. You can also access the videos from this website.

    High School Biology Lectures(Biology)

    If you prefer more traditional lectures, try this channel. This is not a complete course in biology, but there are 28 videos on YouTube. The narrator has some interaction with the students, but mainly lectures. The videos have good graphics and they vary in length. They also have a website http://www.interactive-biology.com/highschoolbiology/ You can view the videos on the website and there are a few games (flash based).

    Stanley Bergkamp (Physics)

    These videos focus on higher level physics and chemistry topics. The teacher covers AP Physics, Honors Physics and AP Chemistry. These videos are traditional classroom lectures and each video is 45 minutes to an hour. The explanations are good, but they are not flashy. You get a high-quality detailed lecture on physics and chemistry topics. This will appeal to students who like detailed explanations and prefer a lesson that mimics a classroom setting.

    James Dann (Physics)

    James Dann gives short explanations on a variety of physics topics. The videos are mini-class style lectures, whiteboard demonstrations, students performing experiments and physics demos.

    Michael Farabaugh (Chemistry)

    This channel provides a complete chemistry course with class lectures, concept video demos, labs and unit quizzes (with explanations).

    PBS Digital Studios, Physics

    This channel is sponsored by PBS. These are high-quality videos that are engaging and easy to understand. There are experiments you can try at home, as well as a group of video puzzles to experiment with and figure out.

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    Compiled by Joan Reissman, the MCAS Maven.