Monday, June 20, 2016

ESGI to the Rescue!

ESGI is an online assessment tool.  Once I tried it, I would never stop using it. 

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 shared ESGI with my grade level team- in both of our elementary schools.  We all loved it.  We were able to have objective data to drive our instruction, and to see exactly who needed interventions because we used the same assessments, AND ESGI provided the graphs for us.  Our Curriculum Coordinator saw the benefits of ESGI and purchased the program for all of us.   Check with your school district to see if they will purchase it for you.  Since we are supposed to have and use data, data, data- nothing could provide that data better for you than ESGI.   

ESGI has a wonderful, varied test bank for you to choose from.  We used  many of the assessments available, but we had some specific skills we wanted to assess.  For example, our word list was a little different than the ones  in the test bank, so I made an assessment that included only our words.  ESGI allows you to input your OWN tests. It's so easy.  I DID IT.  So again, you know... it is easy!

I have used ESGI for the past several years, and have tried and loved all of the different parts of the product.  I am so thankful that they allow teachers to try it free for 60 days, and see what it offers.  During that time, you can play with all the parts of it- and keep discovering more and more benefits to you as a teacher.

But this summer, it's even better somehow!  If you enter "SUMMER16" for their ESGI's  special promotion when you sign up for the trial, you can have 4 months FREE to try it out!  During that time you can play with all the features and you will fall in love with it.  This special is only going on a few weeks, so  head right over to sign up!

If  When 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.

ESGI wanted to share some Summer PD Tips with you- and here they are!  

(I'm in the first one- and although it appears that I am filming from a jail cell... you can relax because I am really not.)  What was I thinking?  Heidi Butkus is giving her tips from Hawaii, for heaven's sake...  Oh well! Here we go!



If you want more examples of what ESGI has to offer, keep on reading!

I had seen ESGI advertised before, but I thought I was NOT a "techy" person.  I thought it would take too long to figure out. Even though I always knew assessing the students took FOREVER,  I THOUGHT I liked rifling through papers and feeling like I had control of my organization that way, and that I liked using paper/pencil assessments because I had something to show for it (like stacks of papers).

Even if I had a sheet to tell me who needed what for RTI, I probably couldn't put my hands right on it, because it was in with so many other "important" papers.

I was SO wrong. 

I signed up for ESGI's  free trial and entered my class list in about five minutes. Step one! So far so good.  I needed absolutely zero help. It was so easy. (That's saying a LOT coming from me! My own grown children could tell you that I am not the fastest learner with technology... to put it kindly.)

Next, I previewed some of the tests that ESGI has available for teachers to use to assess students.  The very first one I previewed and used to assess my students was Number Recognition.

What I loved right away, was the simplicity of the test.  I could give it right on my iPad (or your computer if you would rather).  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  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 pencil or pen. There are no misplaced papers, ever.  If I want to show someone data, I know exactly where it is- online. Safe and sound.

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. The buttons on the side literally made me gasp when I saw what they could do. 

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!

Oh, and then, if that weren't enough, how about 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 can assess students in those free moments throughout the day, waiting in lines, while some children are packed up before others, at bus time, if students finish snack early- because all I need is my iPad.  I will not be taking away the instructional time to assess like I had to  before.

ESGI has a great explanatory video with all the details.  This Intro Webinar (17 minutes) is a very thorough explanation of the program. Once I watched these videos, I was all set to go.

Our RTI Team was just discussing how we needed better data collection and a more clear picture about the students coming to our RTI team.  It doesn't get more clear than this. 

If a district uses this program, every student can be entered.  The data and progress can be saved from year to year.  Groups can be created, so that only those in that group can be compared.

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 trial of the software, click 
here. Don't forget to use the promo SUMMER16 to get a 4 month free trial! Also, don't forget the  PROMO CODE  B1119  to receive $40 off your purchase for the first year. Check with your administration because they may be able to purchase it for you.  (They can use the code and save for the first year on each subscription they purchase!)
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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