Alison Sickler

Watsonville, CA

Alison Sickler
Ceiba College Prep
Watsonville, CA
How do you use Actively Learn in your classroom?

In-class reading

What problems were you experiencing in your classroom or school prior to adopting Actively Learn? 

As a school with no prescribed curriculum, I struggled to assign readings to students in a way that I could assess their comprehension and thinking.

What solutions did you try to address problems in your school/classroom prior to adopting Actively Learn? 

I also used the now-defunct Curriculet.

How has Actively Learn helped improve your students’ learning and/or your teaching? 

Actively Learn enables me to quickly and easily assign current, engaging informational texts to accompany our print novels. I am able to immediately assess and monitor student comprehension, rather than fumble with endless stacks of papers for which it would be too difficult to compile data. I love that I can automatically stop a student in his/her reading and check for understanding.

How do you use Actively Learn with your students? What type of content do you assign? 

Every year for my informational text and research unit, I take suggestions from my 8th graders for the kinds of issues they care about. This varies every year depending on current events, so I use the web tools on ActivelyLearn to adapt recent news articles, which allows me to assign highly engaging texts in a way that still enables me to check for understanding.

What advice would you have for teachers who are new to Actively Learn? 

Use the "import from the web" tool to use and adapt current events articles as companion texts for fiction. Make a routine of it so your students become accustomed to close reading as a habit.