Whether during an initial setup meeting or in a frantic email, one question we hear frequently is, “How do I get my teachers some training on JumpRope?” Since we do sell in-person (when possible) or virtual training on our software, it may come as a surprise that our response is to suggest that any training time with teachers be focused on the “why” of standards-based grading and its associated practices, rather than the “how” of using JumpRope.
Our experience in providing advanced training on our software has been that teachers get overwhelmed with the details of what things are called and where to click. They spend a lot of energy trying to take notes and remember things. With no previous experience or context, they soon feel overwhelmed with too much information that’s hard to process. Like a lot of other professional development, by the time they need to put it to use in their classrooms, they've forgotten the important stuff. Fortunately, we have seen over and over again that once teachers are using the software in real-time, with real assessments and students, they pick it up quickly.
We have learned over the past 11 years of working with schools using our gradebook the types of questions teachers have around the use of our software. So, we have taken the questions that are most frequently asked in our support conversations, and used them to design embedded tutorials and in-the-moment accessible support documents. The tutorials can be accessed like a course and/or taken or repeated as needed, providing on-going support that we know is the most effective way to support teachers with new technology. By encouraging teachers to use the tutorials in the software as their questions come up we have avoided the dreaded one-and-done PD that research tells us is not as effective as timely support.
Our decade of fielding teacher questions has also shown us that many times teachers reach out to us with questions that are not about the use of the software, but rather how their school has chosen to implement standards-based practices (like using formative assessment for feedback only, as opposed to including it as part of the grade). In our experience, when teachers understand the beliefs of the district, how standards-based practice differs from earlier practices, and the decisions made about setting up JumpRope, their efficacy in using the software comes quickly.
Our best advice to schools and districts looking for training and support for teachers is to use their internal resources to help teachers understand the “why” of standards-based teaching and learning, and not the “how” of using JumpRope. Here are some topics and activities that may be a valuable use of time with teachers as they prepare to use JumpRope:
Create a grading policy or guide that outlines your district’s/school’s beliefs and how that is supported in JumpRope.
Do a compare and contrast chart of old planning, instructional, and assessment practices and the new system including the rationale/benefit of the new practice.
Explore the differences between formative assessment and summative assessment and what that means for entering scores into JumpRope.
Have teachers map their assessments for the first several weeks/months of the year to know which standards they are assessing and when they are assessing them formatively and summatively.
Have teachers analyze their existing assessments to see which standards they can be linked to in the plan tab.
For more support around these topics and others to help prepare teachers for implementing standards-based teaching and learning check out our blog posts, or contact us for customized PD.