Sara Layton

Santa Clara, UT

Sara Layton
Mountain Heights Academy
Santa Clara, UT
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? 

Students were having trouble with comprehension and feeling overwhelmed with large amounts of reading. Students were also looking to online resources like Shmoop or Sparknotes to copy answers to quiz questions because they were not engaging in learning. I have a high number of tiered students and SPED students who needed extra reading support. 

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

I have always tried to add supports, reading notes, one-on-one tutoring, peer forums, and writing templates to help struggling students.

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

It has been a great benefit for all of my students to be able to stop and reflect on the literature while in the act of reading. Adding questions right into the text has been an excellent way to boost comprehension and enjoyment. Adding images, videos from outside sources, and even my own recorded videos right in to the text has also been a great way to may reading more interactive. For my tiered students and others struggling, I have assigned extra helps in the questions such as hints, writing templates to help them organize responses, and this has led to measurable results. I have found that student comprehension has increased, which has led to better performances on formative and summative assessments later on in the course.

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

I use AL for almost all of our course readings. I have longer works of literature such as novels and plays, shorter works and poems. I have also used it to link to websites and informative texts. I usually include questions and also ask students to provide their own comments and reflections in the margins as a type of class discussion and collaboration.

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

I took a year to ease into Actively Learn by using it for just a few assignments and experimenting with different types of questions and assessments. After that first year I was committed, and I continue to add content so that now most of my reading material is in AL. This is my all-time favorite tech tool!