Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ESGI- Assessments made EASY!


OK- I have a new little cheer.  E S G I is E-A -S -Y.  That's it.  Simple and easy, like ESGI.  I have been checking my students over these past couple weeks on all sorts of skills.  I can't believe how much more efficient my assessments are this year than last year.
I tried ESGI as a free trial last year for 60 days and LOVED it.  Before, I had all sorts of checklists, completed assessments, assessments to complete, half-completed assessments, papers to use for the assessing, etc, etc, ALL OVER my classroom.

I am very organized, and love to be organized, so I kept the papers in one area.  But, it became this huge, overwhelming pile of paperwork that took so long to wade through to find who needed help with what, or who needed to be rechecked on what.

I'm pretty sure I may have fallen into the pile once for a few days. 
ESGI to the rescue!  ESGI is an online assessment tool.  You enter the students in your class, then you choose the assessments that you want to use, and start assessing!  It's so easy!  I call my students up to my desk one at a time during free choice time, while they are waiting in line for recess, or even at bus time.  The assessments are quick to do online- and then the information is right there for me anywhere I can access the internet- my iPad, the computer,  home, school.   Always.  If I want to check on which students need letter ID help when I am at home, I can get the information.  I don't have to carry home piles of papers and sort around until I find the assessments I need.  I click a button and a graph of my students' performance is there, or an individual student's performance is there OR- flashcards of the letters my student needs to practice are ready to be printed.  It's amazing.

I loved ESGI so much, that I did a training this summer for the rest of my Kindergarten team in both our elementary schools.  Everyone loved the idea, so we spoke to our Curriculum Coordinator, and he bought a subscription for each of us to use it.  We chose assessments that fit with each skill on our Kindergarten Report Card, inputted them, and were good to go to start assessing. We are so excited to be doing this as a team, so we can really work together, know that we are all on the same page, and use this great data to help guide our instruction if we see certain areas that are weak.

In fact,  we didn't find assessments exactly the same as some of the skills on our report card so I made assessments on ESGI for those. You can input your OWN tests.   I made 13 assessments- and they were so easy to do.  That way, the assessments are exactly what we wanted them to be. For example, our sight word list was a little different than the ones that were in the test bank, so I made an assessment that included only our words.

ESGI has a test bank of lots of different assessments.  They are awesome and all done for you! But, if you have some specific skills you want assessed, just know that creating a test is a piece of cake.  Even I did it.  ME.

This is a great time of year to try ESGI free with ESGI's  60 day free trial.  If you love, love, love it and want to purchase it,  you can put in my PROMO CODE  B1119  to receive $40 off the purchase price.  It is usually $199 for a year for a subscription, but with this code, it is $159 for the first year.
Here is some additional information about ESGI to explain some of the great things it has to offer!

The  screen is clear and easy for the student to see.  And- all I had to do was click "y" (for yes) or "n" (for no)  underneath the number if the child knew it or not.  The student can't even tell which letter you click, so they aren't worrying if they are "right or wrong."  If you I a mistake, there is a "back" button to the left, that let me go back.

There is not a packet of papers for each child that I have to  flip through.  I don't spend  ten minutes trying  to find my Number Sheet to use for the checklist.  I never spend time looking for a  one pencil or pen. There are no misplaced papers, ever.  If I want to show someone data, I know exactly where it is- online. The data is there. Done.  Saved.  Never to be lost.  Easily accessed from anywhere you have internet access.  Here are some samples of data from a class shown on the ESGI site- just to give you an idea of the different data you can access.  This was after John Smith was tested for sight words.

After the test, you can click the "details" button to see exactly which words were missed.

This shows a whole class with a lot of data.

But that is only the first FABULOUS part. Look what else you can do and see!

The Class Totals Report tab on the right gives so much information. It shows progress for the semesters, lets you rank students, and allows you to sort the data anyway you want! The program helps to group students, makes it easy to see which  students to pull to work on specific skills, and what areas need extra focus during instruction time.

The Bar Graph Analysis shows what areas are most efficient for you to focus on with your students. This is a bar graph for the assessment of Upper Case Letter ID.

Clicking on the gray area shows the students who do not know the letter.

The next two tabs may be my favorites.  Let me go back a bit and tell you that this  idea was created by a Kindergarten teacher, Greg Gorman.  I truly felt like giving him a HUGE HUG because it was as if I had written a list of what I would want in a program like this, and he did it for me.  When I saw there was a tab called Print Flash Cards, I thought NO WAY!

I don't know about you, but I go though so many 3x5 cards, making  flash cards to send home for the children with sight words, letters, or numbers to work on at home.  I also like to keep a set at school for RTI for each child, in case I have a few minutes to work with a child.  I can just grab his/her packet and work on them at bus time or before school.  Well, making these flash cards for each child is really time consuming, but I know it is beneficial, so I always make these after each time I screen the students.   If someone is thoughtful and insightful enough to include this feature on a program, I know this is the perfect thing for me.  Everything else about ESGI is such wonderful quality and so helpful, but that one detail summed up the fact that the creator of ESGI "gets it."

Here is an example of some sight word flashcards.  The student's name is even on top so they don't get mixed up!

There is even a ready made parent letter with the child's name and the area showing parents where the student needs extra help.  See that button that says, Test Results Letters?  Oh my, oh my.  That tab inserts that student's  name and  your name as a signature on a letter detailing what the student got right and what the student missed.  You can decide how much or how little information is on the letter (so it isn't too overwhelming for the parent.)  This is also a great way to for the teacher to keep a record that parents have been notified about student progress and areas of concern.

This program is so user friendly and makes assessing students so quick and easy, that I know I will be able to check on the students' progress more frequently, and keep my data and data that parents receive so much more up to date. I won't be taking away the instructional time to assess like I had to  before.
There are also custom tests from HeidiSong Skills, CCSS, and GKIDS, written by the authors of HeidiSongs, Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten, and Smart Kids.

Here is an example of Deedee's Counting Forward Assessment:
 and her Counting Objects Assessment:

ESGI added a wonderful Class Management Tool on top of everything they already offered.  It gives you everything ELSE you may have thought would be really nice to have, all in one place.  It's right HERE!!!
Here are the items:
And here are what some of these look like-
This is the list that you can fill in for you class.  It prints the students' names. (I just cut them off because it was first and last names from my class.)
 Here is a sample of the Table Name Plates!  AWESOME!
 Name Writing Practice!

Pocket Chart Tall

Can you believe it?

ESGI has really changed my life in the classroom. If you want to learn more about ESGI and to get a  free 60 day trial of the software, click here. If you like using it and want to purchase the program, you can use my special PROMO CODE  B1119  and receive $40 off your purchase for the first year. The price is usually $199 a year, but with the promo code, it will be $159 for the first year. Check with your administration because they may be able to purchase it for you.  They can use the code and get it for $159 for the first year, too.

Have fun trying it out.  I know you'll love it.  Then, start  dreaming about what you will do with all of the extra space in your classroom that isn't taken up with assessment paperwork and all the time you'll have since assessments won't take so long.  
Thanks for stopping by!

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