Monday, January 16, 2012

Super Fantastic Software!

 I hope you are having a fantastic January so far! It has finally snowed here in Illinois so the kiddos are just ecstatic! Me on the other hand, not so much...I only like it to snow on Christmas and New Year's...then no more until the following Christmas.  :)

How many of you feel overwhelmed with report card testing and getting report cards filled out ??? I am sure there is a resounding “MEEEEEE” and several hands being raised!! Well I am here to share with you something that will help ease some of your anxiety and calm your nerves, at least in the classroom this time of year.

Last year, a colleague of mine and came across the website “ESGI” (Educational Software for Guiding Instruction) and thought we would give it a try since there was a 60 day free trial. This website allows you to build your own assessments and test right from your computer! First you must type in all of your students’ names and then start making the assessments of your choice. Some of the assessments we built were, letters and sounds, sight words, patterns, shapes, colors, numbers and ordinal numbers.  The students LOVE to come to your computer and show you what they know AND all you have to do is click “YES” they got it correct or “NO” they didn’t get it correct and then all the information is stored in the system. Then it shows you right away, in a pie graph how the student did. One of the great things about ESGI is that it saves you time but even better than that, it allows you to analyze the data for each child or for the whole class. It will graph the information in either a pie graph or bar graph. You can also print off parent letters to tell parents what their child knows and what they do not know on a certain assessment. There is then an option to print flashcards to send home with the parent letter. 
Parent letter generated after "Student A" was tested on the first 6 letters and sounds for Jolly Phonics.

 Parent letter generated after "Student A" was tested on 1st quarter sight words.

Flashcards generated for the above tests.

Once our 60 day trial was up, we went to our principal to see if there was any money available for us to purchase a full subscription. Lucky for us there was (because it was rather pricey, but yet so worth the money)! Once we had our full subscription, my colleague and I were able to link our accounts. This means we were able to share some information. We are not able to share student information but able to share any tests that we have made. This was wonderful because then we shared the responsibilities and only had to do half the work that we were doing before in making the assessments. Now that we are nearing the end of our year subscription, we have introduced it to the rest of our K-1 staff in hopes that they too will get on board to this AWESOMENESS!  Especially as each grade level has their common assessments. This means once the tests are made then all the hard work is done! The website also has a resources tab where you can get freebies, a classroom management tool and a parent conferencer which are all wonderful. The classroom management tool allows you to make desk tags with the alphabet, name tags, name plates, name cards for the pocket chart and much more! GREAT NEWS: You can get these without having to be a member!!!!
So what all of this means is, no more flipping through folders and binders to find your assessments only to then have to go and make copies and then try to find a place to file all of these paper assessments. Everything is right there on ESGI.  And no, I am not a spokesperson for ESGI and I do not get any kickbacks from the company either. I just have been using this program for the past year and find it amazingly wonderful!  I hope you check it out and that you love it as much as I do!!  

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