Remind-Text Your Students and Parents


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Originally shared by Shannon Presloid- Biology, Anatomy/Physiology and CCP Anatomy/Physiology teacher at Berea-Midpark High School

Communicating with students and parents about a student’s classroom progress is an important part of a teachers role and responsibility. The Remind App has allowed teachers to communicate important information to a student or parent via their cell phone. A more reliable and effective communication tool than traditional email.

Remind not only works to communicate to all students but can be expanded to include parents/guardians of your students. To begin using Remind download the Remind app from wherever you get your phone apps. Once in the app, create a new class and share out the password. Participants will text the class specific code to the remind app (81010). This code will automatically add the student or parent into the class. At this point they will be added to your class and will recieve the text message when sent by the teacher. Teachers can send a message to the whole class or target individual students or parents within the class.

Possible uses of Remind:

  1. Inform students of upcoming due dates and tests
  2. Students can ask questions and teachers can reply with assistance
  3. Share important links or files to students and parents
  4. Communicate directly to parents about successes and struggles in the classroom
  5. Attach voice messages for your students




Managing Student Passes


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Originally shared by Shannon Presloid, biology, anatomy/physiology, and CCP anatomy/physiology adjunct professor at Berea-Midpark High School

One of our teachers has developed a system she uses to monitor student passes. Her system  puts the ownership back on the student to be accountable for being in class. This positive behavior system rewards those students who demonstrate they can take care of their buisness before class.

The process works like this: Each student is given their own pass to use each quarter. The teacher’s name is clearly identified on the pass as well as the student’s name. Each student is given 9 passes each quarter. When a student requests to leave the class the teacher signs and records the time he/she is leaving class. Students are given 9 passes to use, but any unused passes are converted to extra credit to be applied at the end of each of the quarters. Here in lies the motivation to stay in class. Student passes reset after each quarter. The teacher keeps the passes organized for the students, but if the student loses his/her pass or they abuse the time they’re absent from the class, that student loses the ability to use the pass.

Here are the passes. Click here to link to a Google Doc version.


This pass system has helped to motivate more students to refrain from leaving the classroom and miss valuable class time. It’s also helped keep record of when students are leaving, how long and sets a clear limit to the number of times each student can step out.

If you’re looking for a solution to the problem of overused and abused hall passes this may be strategy you can find success with.

Increasing Science Literacy


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Originally shared by Kelly Baumgartner- Biology, Astronomy, AVID teacher at Berea-Midpark High School

One of the most impactful strategies to increase student achievement is to focus a concerted effort on student literacy within the content area. This is especially true within the science content area. One teacher has made a concerted effort to increase the number of AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) strategies within her teaching practices.

One such strategy is a Marking the Text reading strategy. This strategy focuses on student active reading and critical thinking. Teachers can select any text as this strategy is flexible in its use and effective in assessing a students understanding of the reading material. Students work through a series of reading requirements. The strategy is organized into the following format, and students actively work on each of the following steps as they read.

  • Step 1: Number the Paragraphs
  • Step 2: Circle Key Terms, Names of People, Names of Places, and or Dates
  • Step 3: Underline an Author’s Claims and Relevant Information
  • Step 4: Highlight and Define Unknown words

Feedback from teachers who have used this strategy have shared that at first students showed some push back. However, teachers are reporting as students have grown accustomed to the process they are confident in their ability and enjoy the process.

Any science articles would be appropriate for use of this strategy. Live Science, Science Daily and NPR all are reliable sources for your science themed current articles.

Here is a more detailed outline of the Marking the Text Reading Strategy


Modeling your Expectations with Students


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Originally shared by Kelly Bryan- Chemistry Teacher at Berea-Midpark High School.

What does good work look like? As a teacher we often can make assumptions that students know what we are looking for. We may not take the time to make sure our students actually know what we expect.

Kelly Bryan has been working on a stragetgy to help clarify  expectations she has for her Chemistry students. She has begun modeling the quality of work she expects to see. By simply showing students it eliminates any question about what expectations are set. It has shown to give students a vision of the effort and attention they should be working towards.

For example, before students complete an assignment or a lab Kelly will showcase both excellent and poor examples of work. Students assess the work and try to identify why the work is quality or poor. This comparision allows each student to compare what they see to what they are working to complete. It eliminates any questions of uncertanty and gives them a frame of reference when they are completing their own work.

Thus far, this strategy has proven to rachet up the level of work within in her classes. A simple strategy for teachers to begin in their classes, but quickly has the potential to refocus your students on the quality of work they are producing in any class.

Vizia- Create assessments embedded in YouTube Videos


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This was orignially shared by Steve Blatnica

If you are looking to share videos with your students to watch and check for their understanding during or after the video Vizia may be the free site you’re looking for.

Teachers can upload YouTube videos they’d like to share with their students. Once uploaded, you are able to scroll to any part of the video and add a question for students to respond to. The great part of this is the video will automatically pause when the question is posed. In order to progress the students must respond. Teachers can add multiple choice or short answer style questions. There is no limit to the number of questions you may pose within a video. Teachers can use this tool to assess student understanding during the video to assure they’ve seen and heard important aspects to the video clip.

Once completed the videos can be shared with students via link. This link can be shared via Google Classroom, Weebly, Twitter and many other websites. Students follow the link to the Vizia. Results of each video assessment are shared back to the teacher via Google Sheets. This makes it very easy to see results and evaluated student understanding.



Check out Vizia by clicking here


Shifting to Inquiry Science Labs in Physics


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Originally Shared by Heather Koczur and Mike Yonek from the Berea-Midpark Science Department at Berea-Midpark High School.

Physics teachers at Berea-Midpark are making a focused effort to transform old “cookbook” style lab experiences into inquiry driven physics labs that assess student understanding. The identified goal to increase the number of inquiry labs has been established and both teachers are evaluating existing labs they’ve used in the past and transforming them into labs that students discover for themselves. They are still using the more guided labs, but more as an introductory experience for the students to learn the basics. The inquiry labs come at the end of their units of instruction and help serve as an assessment of student learning. They must apply what they’ve learned in a practical laboratory experience.

The change in approach comes as a result of teacher observation that students completing labs and not really having an understanding of what they just did. The students came away with less than anticipated. The students were able to complete the labs with good results, but didn’t know how or why those results were possible. Removing failure and the learning that takes place when you have to rethink something was taking away from the labs actually teaching what they wanted them to.

The teachers are the same style for each of their inquiry labs. Many have been revamped and morphed into inquiry labs from detailed “cookbook” style. They have proven that it is possible to change what you’ve always done into something greater.

Labs are organized around the following items:

Process begins with guiding questions,  what are the experimental variables, what type of data table will you need, sketch your plan, what is your process or methods, data analysis, experimental conclusions and error analysis.

Please click the links below to view the labs

Friction Lab- Google Doc                    Rocket Lab- Google Doc


I Wish My Teacher Knew….


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Originally shared by Debra Barb from Berea-Midpark Science Department

One way that one of our science teachers begins the school year is with a simple question she poses to her students. Students simply answer the following question on a 3×5 note card and return to the teacher.

I wish my teacher knew…

This simple question has elicited some very powerful statements that her students feel comfortable sharing with their teacher, especially early in the school year. Students shared some insight into their lives at home or at school. For a teacher, the items shared provides valuable information as you learn about the students you’ll be working with during the school year. A simple, powerful tool for teachers to incorporate into their classrooms. This strategy could be used anytime, not necessarily in the beginning of the year. You’ll find out things you never knew about your students.

Managing Student Work Using Stamps


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Originally shared by Berea-Midpark chemistry teacher Kelly Bryan

In order to promote students to keep up with course work within Chemistry several teachers have begun to utilize a strategy that allows them to quickly assess student work and progress without consuming large amounts of time.

When a new unit of instruction begins, teachers share the activities, classwork, labapproved-stamps and homework with the students. During the course of the unit, teachers monitor completion of the assignments by quickly moving around the room. Students who have met the deadline for completion of the work will receive a unique stamp. This strategy allows the students to keep the work and make revisions or make note of new learning. In a way the teacher defers collection and grading in order for students to be accountable for revisions. The stamps simply provide the teacher a visual cue to identify if the student met the deadline for completion.

Once the unit of instruction is completed the teacher will collect the packet of work. The stamps provide a quick visual so the teacher can award a cumulative score for the work. This strategy allows makes grading and giving feedback easier for the teacher before the summativce assessment.


Nearpod App: Create dynamic presentations with a variety of unique features


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nearpod-logoNearpod App and Chrome App

Originally shared by Berea-Midpark science teacher Steve Blatnica

Nearpod takes your basic presentation and builds student engagement. Using the Nearpod teachers can convert or create presentations that can integrate questioning, drawing, short answer, true-false, polls and a few beta applications that students can participate during a lesson.

Pros: Student centered. Teachers can combine direct instruction and formative activities to check for student understanding during lessons. Huge library of existing presentations that teachers can sort by grade level and topics. Teacher can take existing presentations and incorporate the features found within the nearpod app.

Cons: There’s a little bit of a learning curve with using the app. Trial and error seemed to work best. Start with using a few features and as you grow in experience incorporate new aspects of the application. Need devices that can access the app such as ipods, ipads or Chromebooks.

“Nearpod: a discussion setting where kids are interacting” from Nearpod on Vimeo.

Costa’s Levels of Thinking


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Originally shared by Berea-Midpark science teacher Kelly Baumgartner

As part of our AVID initiative at the high school Costa’s Levels of Thinking were shared within our department to share a variety of strategies to increase rigor within the science classroom.  Teachers are encouraged to  keep this visual tool close to where they lesson plan to spark awareness of what type of questioning in they’re including within their lesson plans.

Level 1 Gathering form the base upon which Level 2 Processing and ultimately the high level skill of Level 3 Applying  could be reached.


The most dynamic classrooms tap into each of the three levels. Teacher can begin by purposefully building questions into their lesson plans that use the adjectives found within the graphic organizer above.