Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Using Technology and Data with ESGI

Our school has made a really big push toward using more technology in the classroom and using more data, data, data to drive instruction.  All eight of our kindergarten teachers are using ESGI for our assessments this year, and our technology and data use is easy as pie because of it!

We are in the process of changing over our report cards, so this year, we experimented using ESGI to assess the skills on our current report card.  We all downloaded the same assessments that went with each skill we needed to check, made some of our own (also very easy!) and assessed away! 
We have all love using ESGI.  The assessments are so easy to keep up to date, because you can reassess whenever you feel you need to, and the data updates.  
As we create our new report card for next year, I am already putting together some other assessments that are available on ESGI that we will use for that, so we will be all set to start using ESGI next year with our new report cards.
Our district also wants each grade level to send five week reports between our report card, so parents know areas to work on at home with their children.  Other grades have had a really hard time with this, because it is taking so much more time for them to do the extra assessments and reports. BUT ... ESGI has these awesome parent notes that are automatically made with the skills each student does not know and needs to work on. We can just print these out, and we're good to go!  How awesome is that! 
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. I also keep a copy of this to use for RTI or if I have someone available to work with a student.  This way, I know exactly what each student needs. 

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. Our district purchased it for our grade level.  We received $40 off for the first year for each subscription that we bought.  This was a wonderful way for us to try it out as a grade level.  We love using it. 
Here is some more information about ESGI if you are not familiar with it.  I just can't say enough good about it.  I assess each student on my iPad, and that is it! No mess, no misplaced papers.  Just data at the touch of a button, anytime I need it. 
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.

If you don't find assessments exactly the same as some of the skills on your report card , you can make your own assessments to use on ESGI . 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.

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!
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, because assessing the students does not take time away from teaching, like it did before. It's much easier and faster with ESGI. 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.
Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

  1. I love this blog post! I've heard great things about ESGI, and it would definitely be great to make ASMT easier/use less paper I may show this to my principal and beg her to let us try it =)

    Kindergarten Teacher at the Wheel


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