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Should we have tests in virtual learning?

Kevin Ruiz is a senior at Cleveland STEM High School and a marketing intern at Floop.  Should we have tests in virtual learning?“We will have a test tomorrow.” Is the last sentence any student wants to hear, now imagine hearing that you have to take a test from home, but the question for teachers is how will we have students take tests from home or even evaluate how much they are learning from home. I’ve always been a student who doesn’t like studying or preparing for tests, but when you get that test back and you see that A or 100/100, it’s one of the best feelings in the world, but at times there are those bad tests. In this virtual learning environment, we as students and teachers have to figure out what is the best way to have students take tests when we are learning from home. I feel we could have many ways to loop around the struggles of taking a test from home. I would prefer no tests but I still feel like there needs to be something where we could be evaluating our learning fro…
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Self Grading

Kevin Ruiz is a senior at Cleveland STEM High School and a marketing intern at Floop. Self GradingThis blog was created with the help of Mark Barnes, a well-known person in the teaching industry and founder of Times 10 Publications. I asked him a few questions regarding self-grading and he gave me some very good responses, so I would like to thank him for that. Now onto the blog.

Self-grading is when a student self assesses an assignment or test and they evaluate how they think they did on the assignment. For self-grading to work, both the students and teachers have to understand what it takes for self-grading to work and benefit both sides. As a student who has been asked to self assess, I always tried to be as honest as I could with myself, and occasionally there had been times where maybe I gave myself a better grade than I deserved. I also noticed other students grading themselves much higher than what they knew they deserved. Soon enough the teacher in our science class who had s…

Peer Learning Groups

Kevin Ruiz is a senior at Cleveland STEM High School and a marketing intern at Floop.  The success of peer learning groupsHaving your students build relationships and teaching them how to interact with others is a great skill. In the real world we may be put with others to work on a certain project or we may just have to interact with others in general at work. So, making sure students are constantly learning and practicing these life skills is important. This summer I was involved in a program at Seattle University, it was a business program for students all over the country and even some international students, and mainly no one knew each other. We were all given the task of creating a business with real-life numbers and scenarios, but we would have to do it with a group of students we didn’t even know and all of it would be done through Zoom meetings. Along the way, we had a college counselor to help us with anything we needed and to help us be more communicative with one another. W…

The Era of Virtual Learning

Kevin Ruiz is a senior at Cleveland STEM High School and a marketing intern at Floop.My experienceIn early March I was in the middle of soccer practice when we found out school would be suspended for one day so it could be cleaned out and disinfected in case Covid-19 had been in the building because there had been a reported case of someone coming in contact with a person with COVID, but then one day became 2 weeks then 2 weeks became 2 months and next thing you know the school had been suspended for the rest of the school year. All the students were thinking was how will we learn or go to class now? How will teachers grade us? Will we even go back to class, all these questions started coming up for us with no immediate clear answers, Then all of these apps started coming up, apps that were made specifically for online interactions and could hold many people in a virtual environment for like a class. Wow perfect am I right. In my case my school used Microsoft Teams to hold office hour…

Building Relationships at the Start of Remote Learning

To all teachers and students reading this, I’m Kevin Ruiz a rising senior at Cleveland STEM high school, starting the first week of September I'll be starting my senior year, and with that comes lots of excitement but also disappointment that we won't get to start our senior year being in school with our classmates but we still have virtual learning and with that comes a lot of new experiences and difficulties but I will lead you guys through a collection of blogs that talk about what we as students will need when it comes to our situation from a high school seniors perspective.

Building Relationships at the Start of Remote LearningAt the beginning of the year, us students always find ourselves doing icebreakers to learn our classmates and over the years you slowly know everybody in your high school, by senior year you probably do know everybody so the ice breakers become useless at some points, but usually we were never really able to establish a great relationships with the t…

Summer Reading: Grading for Equity by Joe Feldman

This summer my entire faculty read Grading for Equity by Joe Feldman. This book is packed with research and also addresses and respects the sensitive nature of discussing grading. He does a great job of answer teachers most common questions and concerns about grading reform, like 'If I stop grading homework, won't they stop doing it?' Here are my reading notes:
Assumptions About Grading to Throw OutGrades are mathematical and therefor objective - refuted by looking at grading variance within a single school Intellectual ability falls on a bell curve, and so should student grades within a course - refuted by growth mindset research Students are effectively, extrinsically motivated by external factors like grades - refuted by research by Dan Pink and others that shows that extrinsic motivation only really works for menial tasks.Pillars of an Equitable Grading SystemAccurate - does the grade reflect what students know, and not their behaviors Bias-Resistant - our practices sho…

Our Commitments to Racial Justice and Equity

Floop stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. We are horrified by the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Elijah McClain, and countless others at the hands of police. We condemn the racial hierarchy that existed before the founding of this country and enforced by this country’s history of racist policies, from slavery, segregation, and our modern era of mass incarceration and policing that disproportionately harms Black people and communities. We are heartbroken at how these wider policies of oppression persist in our education system, through our curriculum, assessment policies, tracking, and discipline processes. But we are also heartened by the renewed attention and support of Black Lives Matter and are committed to doing our part to dismantle the racial hierarchy.
Support Black Lives Matter
Up to this point, we have been quiet on email, social media, and this blog to allow more important voices to come to the front and to engage in thought…

My Racial Awakening: Discovering I am Asian

I tell an abridged version of this racial awakening story to my students to model conversations around race and identity. Being open and authentic with students, I hope, encourages them to be open and authentic with me. I’m sure you have a story of racial awakening as well, and if you haven’t formally articulated it yet, I hope my story can be a useful example.

I learned that I was Asian when I was 11. The fact it took me so long to learn I attribute to luck and privilege.

Growing up, I believed I was Canadian. My identity as Canadian started with my parents before me. Their stories are so much more interesting than what I can share in a paragraph, but simply, my parents lived classic immigrant stories. Both immigrated to Canada from lives of poverty to be part of the first generation in their family to attend college. My dad had a one-way ticket from Hong Kong to Canada with $500 in his pocket, and he drove taxis all night to pay his way through school. My mom grew up in rural Malays…

Use "wise feedback" to increase motivation

Repost from our first blog from Dec 2015. This simple, research-based strategy can have dramatic outcomes for students.

We are betting that you have often experienced this frustration:
Hours spent providing feedback on papers only to find them in the trash. Here at Floop, we are digging into the research and best practices on providing feedback. We’ve stumbled on a few interesting ideas that are challenging the way we think about feedback.

This research paper from David Yeager et al is a gold mine. Think about this incredibly simple practice tried in one of their studies:
A post-it note that said, 'I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them' was placed on students’ essays along with detailed and rigorous criticism. A simple note with dramatic effects. African American students in the control group (who received a control note instead) revised their essays at a rate of 17 percent. African American students who received…

To Our Founding Teachers

TLDR: During Teacher Appreciation Month, May 2020, teachers can be recognized as Floop Founding Teachers and receive 50% off Floop prices for life. To join, contribute to our summer fund, or show your support for another teacher. [Update June 1, 2020 - Our campaign has ended. Thank you to all our new Founding Teachers for your support!]

Looking back on the last 3 years, I am humbled by how far Floop has come. When I attended a startup hackathon lugging my 150-quiz paper stack, I was only trying to figure out a way to give my students meaningful feedback faster. Then I met Christine Witcher, a middle school STEM teacher who became my co-founder. Christine taught me about effective peer feedback and how to shift agency to students. We dove into the research, talked with feedback experts, and learned about feedback literacy, the crucial life skills around giving, receiving, and using feedback to learn. That led us to incorporating intentional feedback engagement into our platform and cre…

5 Tips for Talking With Students About Coronavirus

As a teacher in Seattle, I’ve seen my class size dwindle through the week. On Monday, 15% of students were absent. On Wednesday, 30% were absent. And on Friday, I had less than half of my students in class. Walking the hallways felt like a ghost town.

There are a number of reasons why my students were absent. Some students had a cold or flu, while others were at academic competitions and college visits. For the vast majority, it was out of precaution for coronavirus. While most of our teenagers are not personally at risk, they might live with an aging grandparent or have a younger brother with a compromised immune system.

Regardless, the empty seats were an ever present reminder, and for the 30-50% of students still in my classes, the only thing they were talking about was coronavirus. Here are some tips I’ve kept in mind when talking with them:

Tip #1: Recognize that this situation is emotional Every student will feel differently about coronavirus. They might be thinking about a fami…

Using Floop for Remote Learning

With Floop started by two teachers in Seattle, you can bet we’re feeling the impacts of coronavirus. Even though our schools are still open, over half of our students are absent out of precautionary measures. Remote learning is now a requirement for us to reach all students, in class and at home.

Teachers can use Floop for FREE through the end of the school year, and schools or PLCs with 5+ teachers can sign up for a free 30 min PD. Here’s how Floop helps teachers give feedback to students learning remotely.

Try Floop for Free
Your Existing Assignments, Any Device Floop was designed to support the way you work and teach, so you use all your existing assignments, paper or digital, on any device. Because students can submit photos of their work, in addition to PDF and Google docs, sheets, and slides, you can facilitate feedback on a variety of assignments. Math tests from home, mixed media paintings, circuits for digital electronics, drafts of essays, science lab notebook entries - all a…

New Year, New Floop

Floop just got so much better. Over the past 6 months, the Floop team rebuilt the app from the ground up in response to your feedback. In addition to the features you already know and love, we’re excited to bring you:
Teacher and peer feedback under one roofRead receipts to see if students are reading your feedback (don’t worry, students don’t see read receipts)A beautiful new visual redesignThe same database--so all your students, classes, and assignments will still be there.Check Out New Floop
Update Jan 21, 2020: New Floop now has Google Drive and Doc integration for students to upload straight from Google Drive. Let us know how it goes!

TLDR: Floop rebuilt its app so we can better serve our teachers and students longterm. New Floop offers a brand new visual design and additional features. Use New Floop if you want to run a guided peer review or see feedback read receipts. Use Old Floop for now if you rely on Google Drive and Doc integration.
What's New With Floop In addition to …

Modeling Feedback Literacy for Our Students

Feedback literacy is an important set of skills that help us learn from feedback. Everything from the way we grade to the way we structure lessons and group work can give students opportunities to develop their feedback literacy.

What's often overlooked is the amazing opportunity we have to model our own journey towards better feedback literacy. To help you along, we've developed a rubric that you, the teacher, can use to self-assess and set goals for improving your own processes for seeking, giving, understanding, and using feedback to learn.

Check it out and let us know what you think!

Click here to download the rubric, along with our entire Feedback Literacy Curriculum.

The Four Stages of Loving Mistakes

The Four Stages of Loving Mistakes In order for students to develop a capacity for learning from feedback, they must first be open to confronting their mistakes. In my classroom, assessment pass-back day used to be an emotional roller coaster. Some students are bouncing out of their seats and others are close to tears, awaiting the 'judgement' that was ahead. 
Through thoughtful and patient instruction and practice with the four stages of learning to love mistakes, my students are becoming increasingly open to confronting their mistakes and using them to learn.
Normalizing mistakes involves the teacher helping to model an open curiosity towards mistakes.Celebration involves finding peers who made similar mistakes and investigating together.Analyzing mistakes involves finding patterns in our mistakes.Generalizing mistakes involves extrapolating patterns to provide valuable insights for future learning.
Floop has developed a lesson plan, as part of our bigger Feedback Literacy c…