Suzanne Miller

Chapel Hill, NC

Suzanne Miller
Guy B. Phillips Middle School
Chapel Hill, NC
How do you use Actively Learn in the classroom?

In-class reading, independent reading, research, and quizzes.

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

Students lacked access to online texts that allowed students to annotate, respond to digitally or track their comprehension/mastery of content. They were not transferring their skills from print text to digital text. Also, there was a disconnect with content area literacy and teacher's willingness to address it in their classes. 

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

We used Common Lit, Newsela, Dogo News, Google Docs and various platforms for reading online text, but never were able to customize it to fit each of our unique content areas. With a new, standards-based, district curriculum, we were not looking for an additional "program" to pile on. 

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

Students are motivated by reading that is purposeful and meaningful. Phillips, like most other middle schools, strives to meet the diverse needs of our students to help them achieve in high school, college and beyond. Worksheets and paper projects/assessments simply do not meet those needs. Our students are required to primarily show what they know through online assessments/tasks. As a result, they need skills to bridge the ever-expanding paper vs. digital divide. Actively Learn became our solution. It closed the feedback loop with writing revision and provided a wealth of student assessment data in real time. This allowed us to naturally differentiate and students to engage in deeper learning. 

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

All types of content, because I am a literacy coach. I have pretty much used all of the capabilities that AL offers. 

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

Once you start actively teaching using actively learn, you will never want to go back to what you used in the past. It is a game-changer for literacy education!