Molly Guckian

Wyandotte, MI

Molly Guckian
Summit Academy North High School
Wyandotte, MI
How do you use Actively Learn in your classroom?

In-class reading, assigned reading for homework, independent reading, and research

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

It's really challenging to close read in a digital classroom.  Google Docs does not offer as many opportunities to classify and color-code student close reading comments. 

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

Most of the time I had them do the close reading on paper. I attempted to get them to close read on Google Docs with different color highlights, but the commenting feature was so standardized (unlike on Actively Learn where you can classify the TYPE of comment), I ended up abandoning ship on Google Docs for close reads.

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

Insanely. It is probably the digital tool I use most often (and I use multiple digital platforms as I have a completely paperless classroom). Not only do I love that Actively Learn helps ME work so nicely with Google Classroom (and uploading of my own Google Docs), Actively Learn has helped STUDENTS with Close Reading (Classifying and color-coding comments; During-Reading Questions that actually makes them stop and think before they can see-or as I like to call "unlock"-the next passage or chunk; look up, translate, or pronounce unknown vocabulary). It also helps me to know how long students read for (if at all). I love that I can see how long a student has spent reading because it helps me clearly identify my struggling readers and helps me plan for future texts. I love that student have the ability to share comments with the class. This has revolutionized class close reads. I love to have students submit class comments when we study for a reading test and go over a study guide. I will upload the passage on Actively Learn, have them work together in group and submit class comments, and encourage them to view these comments at home.  This is almost like a form of group note-taking because students can easily recall information discussed in class by reading their peer's comments. I love the personalized features Actively Learn offers (Font size, color, type, background color, numbering of paragraphs, dyslexic setting!) It makes everything more personalized and fits the needs of many of my students. 

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

Close Reading (Informational Text, Narrative Text...) Study Guides Homework Class Novel Reading (instead of physical books or longer texts, we will read online. Instead of marking in the margins, they use the commenting feature). 

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

To use it and use it now. It is a truly fantastic tool. All teachers should use it as there is subject-appropriate material for every subject.