Jeanann Paczesny

Tinley Park, IL

Jeanann Paczesny
Victor J. Andrew High School
Tinley Park, IL
How do you use Actively Learn in your classroom?

In-class reading and independent reading.

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

Students reading levels were below average. Many of my students were in a college bound class reading at a 3rd grade reading level.

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

Students were given adapted versions of texts that were different from the texts used in class. This signaled other students and my students that they were different and needed special help.

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

Since I started using Actively Learn with all of my students in class--at grade level and below, I have been able to challenge them to work harder and think more in depth about a piece of literature while using the same text. I was able to customize the reading for my students. My below level readers were finally able to have conversations with their peers about the same piece of literature. In one of my lowest level classes, I purchased a class novel, The Great Gatsby, and tailored the questions to their level while including videos, charts, outside information, maps, vocabulary, etc that aided their understanding of the novel. In addition, I was able to project a specific chapter on the board--read it aloud to the students--and discuss sections leading up to the question or intervention aide. The ability to chunk material aided in the comprehension of a text that was unmanageable for students before. I could also highlight the passage to show students where to look for the answer in the text. Without using the option of Actively Learn, my students would not be able to utilize the classic literature as did their peers.

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

Since I am an English teacher, I assign short stories, poetry, essays, non-fiction, novels, etc. I like the feature of being able to upload stories or literature of my choosing to use in the Actively Learn format. I also use the chart that shows what skills and standards students are proficient in or need more work in. It is helpful to have that information to share with parents and administrators.

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

Try it once and you will see all levels of students actively engaged in learning. Students are able to work at their own pace while teachers can provide immediate feedback on how they are progressing. It is a Charolette Danielson level 4 activity tool where students are in charge of their learning. Our Administration loves to bring visitors into my classroom to show off all levels of students participating in higher level class activities.