STAARtling Teacher Hacks in Preparation for STAAR Online

Here are four cool things teachers and administrators have been doing to help students feel better prepared for STAAR Online:

  1. Print a poster-size picture from the Educator Guide to Accessibility within the STAAR Program (like the image below) to make explicit connections to what the tool will look like and where to find it on the screen even when using paper-based instruction.  It might sound like this:”Guys, as you read raise your hand to ask me about words or phrases that are you don’t understand. During STAAR online anytime you see a blue underlined word/phrase or an arrow button, be sure to click on it to see the helpful clues.”

“Students, right now we’re using our red pens to cross out options we know are not correct. During STAAR Online, you will find the eliminator tool at the top (teacher points to the X icon),”

or “Class, I want you to take your highlighters out and mark the key words. During STAAR Online, you will do the same thing by selecting the word with your mouse to make the highlight option show up.”

or “Guys, as you read raise your hand to ask me about words or phrases that you don’t understand. During STAAR online anytime you see a blue underlined word/phrase or an arrow button, be sure to click on it to see the helpful clues.”

2. Place a page protector or clear contact paper over students’ monitors, turning the screen and cover into scratch paper. Students use the same math strategies as they do on paper but can generalize this skill into an online environment. Love it!

3. Eanes ISD and Desmos collaborated to develop a “test mode” for the popular iOS and Chrome app providing a secure, allowable graphing calculator to use on STAAR paper or online.

4. Campuses and districts have decided to replace one of their district benchmark tests with the STAAR Interim Assessment. Students get to practice using the same supports they’ll see on STAAR and districts get to plan from the data they receive.

If you know of a different STAAR prep “hack,” please share! Contact Nichole.Kertis@esc13.txed.net

Preparing Your Students for STAAR Online During Classroom Instruction: Easy Peasy!


You’ve determined that STAAR Online will best match the accommodations your student receives in class that have been successful. You’ve provided your student time to take the STAAR tutorials and practice tests, and even helped personalize settings as part of using the STAAR Online Features & Supports Checklist.

Now you’re wondering how the in-class supports you’re providing, traditionally without technology, will transfer into an online environment. How can we accomplish and duplicate these by using technology in class to improve the odds that students will use the online supports come test day?

First, we can put ourselves in a mindset of normalizing the use of digital accommodations. After all, how many of us use spellcheck or ebooks and audiobooks?

Regarding practice opportunities for Content and Language Supports provided primarily through rollovers and pop-ups, really it’s as easy as the ideas demonstrated in this table.
Content & Language Supports… …with Technology
provide clarifying information for a graphic organizer, political cartoon, or map

provide a visual representation in the selection, question, answer choices, or in the writing prompt by adding graphics, photographs, or animations

isolate specific text or information in a selection that is referenced in the question or answer choices

reword complex question or answer choices to condense text

define or clarify construct-irrelevant words, phrases, and sentences using plain language, synonyms, definitions, examples, and consistent language

reorganize and simplify historical excerpts, respecting the TEKS based academic vocabulary

get materials into a digital format and insert a hyperlink to a map, graphic organizer, or cartoon

get materials into a digital format and insert a hyperlink to a picture, video, etc.

 

bookmarking the selection and hyperlinking to that selection in the answer choice

use a website called Rewordify -this tool simplifies difficult English words

explicitly teach students to use the built-in “synonym” tool within MSWord,  a thesaurus add-on in Google Docs, or a thesaurus Chrome extension by selecting the word, right clicking and choosing “find synonym.”

use websites such as Newsela or CommonLit which automatically levels text, and has text-to-speech and other STAAR-like features.

Regarding practice for oral administration via text-to-speech (TTS), really it’s about providing lots of opportunities for students to experience text-to-speech and any form of TTS practice is useful!

 

Think about tools you already have. Many of these have text-to-speech:

  • online textbooks
  • TextQuest’s database
  • subscription-based ebooks such as Learning A-Z’s ebooks
  • Bookshare or Learning Ally’s books
  • the built-in “speak selected text” in iPad, Chromebook, and MSWord
  • or perhaps your district has a text-to-speech plugin for web browsers

Text-to-speech options are available everywhere, wherever there is text to read, it’s just a google search away! Or an email question away… don’t forget to ask your campus edTech/AT/librarian in case there is a district license to a commercial product that you didn’t know about (e.g. Snap&Read Universal, Read&Write for Google, Kurzweil, etc.).

Of course, using worksheets and other paper materials is problematic for TTS. Here are some steps to consider: are your instructional materials available in a digital format (.rtf, .doc, .pdf)? If not – scan, copy and paste, or type it manually. Not enough devices? Figure out grouping, stations, splitters for headsets, etc.

Using these tools routinely will help build stamina, familiarity, and good habits with online content and supports. In the same way,  the more you can embed digital formative or summative assessment using online tools such as Google Forms and even Kahoot, the more prepared your students will be. 
For questions, contact Nichole.Kertis@esc13.txed.net.

Benefits of STAAR Online Versus Paper


If your instruction looks like this (and we know for many students it does)

…then your student(s) should be taking STAAR online!

Why? Because these supports are only available in the STAAR Online Content and Language Supports.

Sure, you might be thinking about the potential for technology glitches. Online testing might feel risky, but the benefits outweigh the risks. When students receive the same supports on STAAR that they need and routinely use in the classroom their outcomes will benefit.

For another perspective, please click to see this side-by-side document: STAAR Online Benefits.  Then, get with your team to consider classroom instruction, student data from STAAR Online released tests, interim assessments, and other online assignments to make the best decision for each student.

Please let us know if we can be of any assistance. Contact Kim.West@esc13.txed.net

 

Are Your Students Taking STAAR Online?

If so, it’s important that they familiarize themselves with the online testing environment and embedded tools. One great way to do this is to use the STAAR Online Features & Supports Checklist while completing the STAAR online tutorials and practice tests.

STAAR Online Features & Supports Checklist

It’s important to explicitly teach students how to use the features and supports available as part of the STAAR online assessment. This checklist breaks down the general navigation tools, accessibility features, and designated supports so you can target your students’ practice time and track their progress toward proficiency. The checklist can also be used to keep track of student preferences, such as the speed of the text-to-speech and color background. In addition to helping students, the checklist is a great tool for parents to learn about the STAAR online assessment. Parents can download the STAAR Online Testing Platform to their home computer and practice with their child.

STAAR Online Tutorials

The tutorials are the first step for students to learn about the online testing environment. The tutorials show students how to navigate through the test, respond to the different question types, and access the available tools. In addition, short videos illustrate how to use the various features and tools. Tutorials are available for various grades/subjects and courses.

STAAR Online Practice Tests

The practice tests are the second step for students to learn about the online testing environment. The practice tests are released STAAR test forms that have been previously administered. These tests provide students with an opportunity to interact with the test interface, respond to questions, and locate and use available tools. Practice tests are available for various grades/subjects and courses.

Resources

The STAAR Online Testing Platform operates through a secure browser that must be installed on a desktop or tablet in order to access the tutorials and practice tests. Links to the secure browsers are available at https://www.texasassessment.com/technology/.

The Educator Guide to Accessibility within the STAAR Program provides information about the features and supports that make the STAAR accessible to all students. The guide also includes specific examples of the online features and supports offered on STAAR online.

For more information contact Gretchen Kehrberg, gretchen.kehrberg@esc13.txed.net.

 

Write Powerful PLAAFPs and Standards-Based Goals!

IEP title

There are many aspects to writing a complete Individualized Education Program (IEP). This one-day training will focus on writing powerful Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) statements which will lead to student-focused goals.  Participants will leave with easy-to-use tools to support their efforts for well-written IEPs.  This intensive instruction includes participant practice and reflection.  This training is for ANY special education teacher (PPCD to high school) who writes IEPs.

IEP Best Practices: PLAAFP and Goal Writing

February 12, 2018

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

$45

Register for this workshop, SP1939270, in Ecampus.

For additional information, contact Kim West at kim.west@esc13.txed.net

Register today for To Drill or Not to Drill? Math Fact Strategy Instruction!

Do your students struggle to learn math facts?

We know that by 6th grade (TEK 6.3D) students are expected to add, subtract, multiply, and divide integers fluently. In this workshop you will learn effective and efficient strategies for students to use in order to build automaticity of the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts. Teaching of strategies to recall basic facts builds flexible thinking in a student. Students with flexible thinking are able to see a number in several forms and use the knowledge and skills they already possess to find a solution for an unknown fact. In addition to building flexible thinking, teaching of strategies to recall basic facts improves math calculation skills which are necessary for success on STAAR.

All attendees will receive a set of the FACTastic Math Strategy System, a comprehensive program for teaching basic math facts through strategy-based instruction. Full-day attendees will receive the FACTastic Math Strategy System for addition/subtraction and multiplication/division. Half-day morning attendees will receive the FACTastic Math Strategy System for addition/subtraction. Half-day afternoon attendees will receive the FACTastic Math Strategy System for multiplication/division. Check out this video to learn more about the FACTastic Math Strategy System.

Register Today!

Date: February 26, 2019

  • Full Day: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Half Day (Add/Sub): 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Half Day (Mult/Div): 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Price:

  • Full Day: $75.00
  • Half Day: $45.00

Go to Ecampus and search for the following course numbers.

  • Full Day: SP1940756
  • Half Day (Add/Sub): SP1940810
  • Half Day (Mult/Div): SP1940811

For more information contact Gretchen Kehrberg, gretchen.kehrberg@esc13.txed.net.

 

Are you looking for Supplemental Aids?

Are you looking for examples of supplemental aids to use in your classroom? You’re in luck! The Accommodation Central website now has downloadable supplemental aids in both a Teach and Test version for all of the TEA allowable supplemental aids. Examples include mnemonics, graphic organizers, math charts, and more!

Follow these steps to access the resources.

  1. Go to the Accommodation Central website.
  2. Type supplemental aids in the search box.
  3. Click on the entry for the type of supplemental aid you’re interested in.
  4. Scroll down until you see downloadable resources.
  5. Click on the link to download the supplemental aid example.

For more information about supplemental aids check out this video. In the video you will learn details about supplemental aids including:

  • The purpose of supplemental aids
  • Who can use supplemental aids on state assessments
  • Who determines eligibility to use supplemental aids
  • How to implement and individualize supplemental aids
  • Where to find more resources about supplemental aids

For more information contact Gretchen Kehrberg, gretchen.kehrberg@esc13.txed.net.

 

STAAR Stuff: Supplemental Aids for Science

What are supplemental aids?

Supplemental aids are paper-based resources that assist a student in recalling information and concepts taught in class.

Who can use supplemental aids?

To be eligible to use supplemental aids on a state assessment, the student needs to routinely, independently, and effectively use it during classroom instruction and classroom testing.

Check out this video highlighting the four types of supplemental aids eligible students can use on the science STAAR tests.

Where can I get more information about supplemental aids?

The TEA Supplemental Aids Policy Document has more information on supplemental aids, including determining eligibility and types for each subject area. Check out the Accommodation Central website to view a variety of supplemental aid downloadable examples.

AND . . .

If you’re looking for ways to meet the diverse needs of students in your science classroom then register today for the Science for All workshop!

In the workshop you will explore evidence-based instructional strategies designed to help all students, especially struggling learners, make progress toward success. You will also learn about accommodations and modifications, how to implement supplemental aids, and tips for helping students transfer their knowledge from instructional practices to the STAAR test. This day-long workshop is designed for all science teachers, but is particularly applicable to teachers of STAAR tested grades (grade 5, grade 8, and biology). You will participate in hands-on activities, small-group discussion, and will leave with ideas and strategies you can start using with your students right away!

Date: January 28, 2019

Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Cost: $45.00

Register for Science for All in Ecampus by using course number SP1940797.

For more information contact Gretchen Kehrberg, gretchen.kehrberg@esc13.txed.net.

STAARtlingly Helpful January PD!

It’s almost here…!! Wishing you a warm, wonderful, and peaceful holiday season!

Understanding that when the break is over, educators and students will be that much closer to high stakes testing days, we want to highlight an upcoming workshop designed to bring clarity around the most current STAAR accessibility resources.

When focused on teaching, preparing for and deciding between paper and online STAAR accessibility options can feel overwhelming.

In this interactive workshop you will become familiar with the updated STAAR accessibility policies. You will learn about expanded student eligibility criteria, expanded allowability of technology tools, and how to meet the technology guidelines. Most important, you will learn how to integrate technology into your content area/s that simulates the online accessibility resources, enhances your teaching, and addresses students’ need to routinely and effectively use their supports during instruction.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the STAAR Accessibility updates
  • Explore STAAR Online Practice Tests and the embedded supports
  • Discover tech tools that simulate STAAR embedded supports and choose the tech tools that are applicable to your content area and your students
  • Practice using instructional/assistive technology tools
  • Discuss classroom implementation strategies to ensure students have opportunities to use supports routinely, effectively and independently
  • Understand the parameters of the 2018-19 Technology Guidelines and test security processes
  • Familiarize yourself with the resources of Accommodation Central

Note: There will be a focus on the following Designated Supports as well as the Calculator and Dictionary Policies:

  • Basic Transcribing
  • Oral Administration
  • Spelling Assistance
  • Content and Language Supports
  • Calculation Aids

Whether you’re a special or general educator, administrator, or related service provider we hope to see you at one of these dates:

  • Jan 22, 2019 registration details here
  • Jan 23, 2019 registration details here
  • Jan 29, 2019 registration details here

Please contact Nichole.Kertis@esc13.txed.net or 512-919-5246 for any questions.

 

Winter Workshops for Educators of Students with Significant Disabilities!

You won’t want to miss these winter learning opportunities in 2019!

1/8/19:  Evidence-Based Practices: Research Based Teaching Strategies for Teachers of Students with Disabilities (SP1939799) $45

In this workshop, participants will learn the definition of evidence-based practices (EBPs), why these high yield strategies are important, and where to find resources on EBPs that can enhance instructional practices. By the end of the workshop, participants will have the knowledge and tools needed to implement the EBPs of prompting, modeling, reinforcement, differential reinforcement, task analysis, visual supports, and social narratives.

1/28/19 and 1/29/19:  Road to Recovery: Supporting Children with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Who Have Experienced Trauma (SP1939395) $90

Participants will learn basic knowledge, skills, and values about working with children with IDD who have had traumatic experiences and how to use this knowledge to support children’s safety, well-being, happiness, and recovery through trauma-informed practice. Training activities, including small group exercises, analysis of case vignettes, and discussion, will also encourage exploration of assumptions and attitudes that providers may bring to these cases that may help or hinder their ability to do the work needed. The setting will allow providers to immediately apply ideas, practice problem-solving skills, and learn from each other.

2/6/19:  STAAR Alternate 2 Overview (SP1939620) Free

This training is designed for first-time STAAR Alternate 2 test administrators.   In this optional training we will discuss the updated participation requirements, key dates, allowable accommodations for STAAR Alternate 2, planning for instruction using the essence statements,  TEKS Curriculum Framework, and TEKS vertical alignment. Participants will also have the opportunity to practice administering the test using released STAAR Alternate 2 sample test questions.

2/15/19:  Introduction to the Active Learning Approach: Strategies for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities (SP1939624) $45

In this introductory workshop, participants* will explore the fundamentals of the Active Learning approach, including the Dynamic Learning Circle, Active Learning equipment, the 5 Phases of Educational Treatment, and additional training resources.  There will also be a make and take!

*This workshop is appropriate for Life Skills teachers, PPCD teachers, teachers of students with Visual Impairments,  Occupational Therapists, and Assistive Technology Specialists.

2/25/19: Creating Successful Teams for Teachers and Paraeducators (SP1940744) $45

Are you part of a team of educators working closely together in a special education setting? Then this is the workshop for you!

In this workshop, special education teachers and paraeducators will examine strategies and skills for promoting effective communication, collaboration, and team building.  Workshop topics will include ways to improve teamwork, working relationships, communication, leadership, and role clarification.  Participants will also learn strategies to support effective problem solving and decision making.  Teachers and paraeducators are encouraged, but not required, to attend as a team.

For more information, contact jennifer.russell@esc13.txed.net or darcy.schiller@esc13.txed.net