This is the second year that I have had the pleasure of using the Fresh Grade platform in my classroom. It all started out as a desire to connect home to school, as well as maximize time and become more efficient in my teaching processes. Last year was the pilot year, and let me say that I am grateful to have the liberty to try out new things, as the sole benefit of it all is the students. That focus should never change. Within Fresh Grade is a student e-portfolio, a grade book as well as a communication medium and a way to continue to track and monitor student growth. I would consider this a non-traditional platform because through it, I can maintain a focus on students as well as differentiate within it. It’s design allows me to keep my instruction student-centered.
Fresh Grade has given me the ability to do the following things:
- Focus on Students
- Document Student Progress, observations and anecdotal records
- Add work samples in a variety of ways (documents, videos, pictures, audio)
- Send updates/announcements to parents
- Encourage three-way discussions
One of the even greater #EduWins is the idea that kids enjoy being able to see their processes and products, as well as ask questions or comment on particular work products throughout the year. One of the things I try to instill in students is that the product is important, yes, but that the focus should be on the process and all of the learning that has transpired. The learning trumps the product any day and Fresh Grade allows for that learning to be captured and communicated to parents in a way that is easy to access.
Speaking of access, Fresh Grade is available through the web page, as well as in an app version. The app is available on smart devices and tablets, whether android or iOS. This allows parents to be notified as items are posted, giving them the opportunity to see into the classroom immediately. In fact, with the app, I am able to communicate items to parents long before their students arrive at home and by so doing, they are better informed and able to help extend the learning by means of a school-to-home connection. The platform includes access for teachers, parents and and students.
Students and parents are only able to see what applies to them, eliminating privacy concerns. As a teacher, however, I am able to tag students in photos or videos, as it is relevant to the student.Within the grade book also, I am able to tag students in assignments they were tasked to complete. In other words, if I am differentiating and not all students have the same assignment, only what the student was responsible for, will show up in his or her feed. I am now a Fresh Grade champion/ambassador, as I completely support its purpose in education. Best of all, it is being offered to teachers for FREE! Recently, I was honored to be one of two teachers featured in a webinar on best practices in grades 4-8 and how this platform served to enrich teaching and learning in my classroom. Not only has it done that, it has increased the authenticity of the learning experiences and connected parents to the learning, as well as encouraged profound conversations between parents and their students. Go Fresh Grade! Follow @FreshGrade on Twitter!