A great educator is always looking for ways to transform their teaching practice and hone their skills. But how do they know where to begin? By getting advice from other teachers!
We’ve gathered advice from real teachers across the country to share their tips on how they've been able to transform their instruction with eSpark. Here's what we heard:
#1: Data is key.
Take advantage of eSpark's progress reports and weekly emails to help you automatically track student data and identify trends.
Tracking student data is an important part of every teacher’s job, but it can often get complicated. Teachers using eSpark have access to the Teacher Dashboard, where they can monitor their students’ weekly activity and track standards mastery in both reading and math. Weekly email alerts provide teachers with small group suggestions based on shared areas of need, as well as celebratory high fives for students who recently mastered standards.
“I don't know how I ever went without this program. I'm able to tell my students' progress to the tenth of a point. It has changed the way I report data ... My life has been so much easier with this tool. I love the emails that give me insight as to who is struggling and who needs praise. Each student has made tremendous growth in 12 weeks! I consider eSpark to be a must have in every classroom.”
– Kelly F., teacher in Montana
“There are so many things I love about eSpark. I am sent emails with links to supplementary material to target specific students' needs. I know, at a glance, what each student is doing well at and where they're struggling. It's all standards-based and goes right along with my curriculum. The best part – it’s so easy to use!”
– Laura T., teacher in Idaho
#2: Make small group time more valuable.
Give yourself the time you need to work 1:1 or in targeted small groups by having the rest of your class work independently on eSpark.
Many teachers struggle to find the time to meet with small groups when they have a class full of other students who also need to be engaged and challenged. Having your students work individually on eSpark’s assignments or adaptive lessons ensures they’re all receiving differentiated instruction and practice, while you pull students who need a little extra support.
“During my small group time, and when I'm working with students 1:1, eSpark is a tool that allows me to be confident my students are working individually on content that is standards-based and high quality. It keeps them working at a steady pace and at their own level. They love it as much, if not more, than I do!”
– Amanda C., teacher in Iowa
“I use eSpark as part of our RTI intervention time. As I work with students in small groups, the remainder of my students can work on their own levels or a topic of my choosing to align with our standards. Perfect for independent practice!”
– Laura T., teacher in Indiana
“eSpark is a great way to keep the kids engaged and learning, while I work with other students. They're able to get remedial skills, stay fresh with grade level skills, and even work above level. Every kid has benefited.”
– Noelle C., teacher in Indiana
#3: Be prepared for any learning environment.
Set yourself up for long-term success by using resources like eSpark that work in any learning model.
Classrooms have changed dramatically in the last couple of years. Make sure you have tools in your toolkit that can be used in any learning environment, so you can quickly pivot to meet your students’ needs. eSpark works great whether students are in the classroom, at home, or a mix of both.
“When we heard we were going to be doing some in-person, some hybrid, and some virtual learning last fall, it was slightly overwhelming. [Using eSpark] has been ideal for remote learners during this time, as well as my in-person students. I am grateful for eSpark this year.”
– Lori L., teacher in Indiana
“After school closed last spring, we weren't sure what learning gaps each student had. We're in a hybrid district right now … I love that [eSpark] gives differentiated instruction in a year when we don't know exactly what holes need filling from missed learning.”
– Jacqui H., teacher in Iowa
#4: Give every student equal opportunity for success.
Look for ways to further support equity in your instruction.
The resources you use should level the playing field for your students and reach them where they’re at. Using eSpark is an easy way to ensure that each student receives personalized instruction tailored to their unique strengths and areas of need.
“eSpark is a comprehensive, inclusive learning tool for my class. It allows me to differentiate for all learners in class … it has been invaluable during this challenging time for educators and students.”
– Jane B., teacher in Illinois
“The combination of guided lessons, instructional videos, educational games, and practice opportunities engages students of all learning styles. It's my students’ favorite part of the day and I have witnessed them make great gains in their abilities, particularly those who struggle the most.”
– Mr. B., teacher in Missouri
“[eSpark] is useful for students on both ends of the learning continuum. My top kids are getting that extra enrichment while my lower students are being supported with guided practice and additional instruction.”
– Cheryl J., teacher in Pennsylvania
#5: Seek out tools that provide ongoing support.
Take advantage of professional support – it can make a huge difference when done well.
All support is not created equally. Research the professional development and training resources made available to you, and invest your time in the ones that other teachers vouch for. eSpark’s PD and support offerings have been consistently cited by teachers as best-in-class.
“What I like best is the support [I receive] from the eSpark team. Whenever I have a question, they quickly respond. They are listening to the needs of teachers … It helps me better meet my students’ needs!”
– Jill D., teacher in Wisconsin
“The communication from eSpark is great. I don't feel alone. I feel supported by the eSpark team.”
– Lorraine M., teacher in New York