Aubrey Deaton

Chardon, OH

Aubrey Deaton
Notre-Dame Cathedral Latin
Chardon, OH
How do you use Actively Learn in your classroom?

In-class reading and assigned reading for homework.

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

Giving students access to annotating texts since we loan out our novels and they cannot be written in. Now students can access their novels and short stories directly online at any time, especially if they forget their hard copies at home, and they can annotated directly in the text. I also save time and money on copies by placing questions directly in the Actively Learn text, and I can encourage students to read because they now know I can see how long and to what degree they are participating with the text. 

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

I had students highlight with specific colors for characters within the play Antigone. They also were encouraged to take their own "notes" and observations about each character's motivation/actions. At the end of the unit they could then print a copy of all their annotations and notes to use as textual evidence for their essays. I also used Actively Learn in the classroom through short stories where students watched videos and analyzed advertisements linked to the text in order to evaluate and deconstruct both literary and informational text. I could respond right away to students' answers and reset responses to set rigorous expectations. Students commented in a survey at the end of the year that by using this online system they were more engaged with the text and held to a higher standard, which ultimately increased their confidence in reading comprehension. 

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

I feel like I can be with my students even when they are at home because my annotations and notes guide them through a text without me being there. They can also alert me to things that they don't understand so when we have in class discussion the next day, all the prep has been done for me...I already know what they class is struggling with. 

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

Students read both in the classroom and at home. I assign both informational and literary text that students engage with through annotations and by answering questions. I use the multiple choice for formative assessment of learning, "polls" for relevancy and student connection, and short answer to directly link to standards and challenge students to conceptualize their understanding. I also try to throw in at least one of these questions that they are forced to use textual evidence, which in turn encourages them to take ownership while reading by annotating and taking "notes." 

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

Start with one, short text. Add in a few of your own notes to guide students as well as a few questions. Add a few fun pictures or links to make the vocabulary and concepts modern and relevant. Kids love when I add a few fun details to connect meaning for them!