Istation Success Story: "Such a win for us!"

Istation helps student's vocabulary soar!

No matter how hard she tried, Mindi V. could not get her students to use Istation Reading at home. But when this 4th grade teacher from Anna, Texas, challenged her students and offered a prize for their efforts, everything changed.

“I started what I called the 60-minute club, challenging kids to use Istation at home for 60 minutes in a week,” she explained. “If you came in Friday morning and had used Istation for 60 minutes at home since the last Friday, then you got to eat lunch in the conference room.”

It was a simple concept, Mindi conceded, but it worked.

“The first week I had one kid,” she said. “The next week, I had that kid and another kid. The next week I had four. It exponentially grew, and by the end I had seventeen kids.”

Perhaps most impressive was the growth of the student who attended consistently from the first week.

“He was a student who was dyslexic and struggled a lot in reading,” she said. “Math was his strong subject. We would talk about the Istation tiers a lot. He’d take an assessment and run over to me to see his score.”

She spent a lot of time explaining to him that as long as he was growing, the tier didn’t matter. 

“Vocabulary is where he soared the most,” she said.

That growth was evident when he took the STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) test at the end of the school year. 

“He got ‘Commended Performance’ on his STAAR reading test,” she said, choking back tears. “That was such a win for us, and I know [Istation and the 60 Minute Club] had something to do with it.”

Tags: Testimonial, Success Story

Istation Success Story: "They don't want to miss a minute."

Students love Istation; teacher loves results

Science teacher Tonja K. from Seguin, Texas, said she has seen a change in some of her students and she knows Istation is responsible.

“I have forty-two students,” she said. “I’d say probably twelve students use [Istation]. And they love it, because they don’t want to miss a single minute of the time they’re allotted.”

Tonja said she is impressed. “I know they love [Istation] and I know the results I’m getting, I love,”

She is seeing an impact in her science class. “When we talk about concepts in science, several of them have said, ‘Oh, well, I know that because I read it on Istation,’” she said.

She went on to explain that she’s even heard this from some of her lowest-performing students.

“Being familiar with the concept gives them a more level playing field,” she said, “and that feels awesome because they have it in them. They just need that boost of confidence.”

Tags: Testimonial, Success Story

EdTech Works: How to Go 1:1

Featuring Scott Hagedorn

A device for every student: some districts see this as a lofty goal that might be attainable far in the future. Others have been there for years. How did they do it? And is it working? Our latest EdTech Works Podcast answers a lot of questions about going 1:1. While at the Texas Computer Education Association Convention in Austin, we spoke to Scott Hagedorn, the director of technology at Hardin-Jefferson ISD outside Beaumont, Texas, about how he convinced his district to go 1:1.

Follow Scott Hagedorn on Twitter @HagedornScott.

Check out past episodes of the EdTech Works Podcast!

Tags: Technology, Podcast, EdTech Works Podcast

Istation Success Story: "He became more confident in himself."

Istation helps ELL student read and speak English!

We met Heather J., a technology coordinator from Dallas, Texas, at a convention for educators. When we asked her how Istation is helping her students grow, she described its immediate impact on English Language Learners.

“All of our school uses [Istation],” she said. “We use the reports, and kids are on it daily. We have a majority Hispanic school. We have a lot of kids coming straight from Mexico with little English or no English.”

She went on to explain that when those ELL students begin to use Istation Reading, “their English just grows and grows and grows very quickly.”

She offered one specific student’s story as an example.

“We had a 1st grader [who] came in in the middle of the [school] year, and we put him on Istation,” she said, adding that the boy didn’t even know how to use a computer until she taught him.

Soon he became comfortable with the technology and identified with the characters.

“He loved seeing his progress chart,” she said. “We’d send the reports home to the parents, and they were so thrilled that his English was growing.”

Istation helped improve more than just his language skills.

“He was very shy when he came in,” she said. “He didn’t want to talk much, but as he started using [Istation] and his English started growing, he became more confident in himself.”

Jarrell said that seeing the student’s growth in school apply to other areas of his life was very exciting. 

“When I see a kid grow that quickly in half a year,” she said, “and he feels comfortable speaking to his teacher, speaking to students, going home and using it, speaking to his parents in English, it’s just great.”

Tags: Testimonial, Success Story

Istation Success Story: "More than half the class on level!"

First graders make big, fast gains with Istation

We met 1st grade teacher Tamara A. at a conference for educators. She sought out Istation to share the excitement she experienced as she used Istation Reading for the first time and saw its immediate impact.

Tamara’s district conducts a one-on-one assessment with 1st graders.

“At the beginning of the year, phonemic awareness is always a problem,” she said. “I’ve worked and worked throughout the year in previous years trying to fill that gap, and it’s really frustrating to get them to develop. It’s something that’s just really hard and can take hundreds and hundreds of hours.”

Suddenly, things changed, and Tamara said she has Istation to thank. Her campus had been using Istation for 3rd grade and above.

“This year, we had a funder give us some money,” she said,” and we were able to add 1st grade and 2nd grade.”

She said her middle of the year assessment shows her class is developing phonemic awareness skills unlike any year before.

“It’s amazing. It’s something I didn’t expect to see,” she said.

She had a lot of hurdles to overcome when this school year began. 

“I started the year with a difficult class with a lot of gaps,” she said. “I had too many below reading level.” 

But after her middle of the year assessment, more than half her class was on level with reading.

“That is just a lot faster than usually happens for me,” she said.

Allison is definitely impressed.

“It’s something I’m usually still fighting for,” she said. “They have to be able to read after this point. And to be able to send them on as a reader, and to be confident the gaps are filled and the foundation is there—that’s huge.”

Tags: Testimonial, Success Story

Istation Success Story: "If I didn't have Istation, I'd be wasting time."

Istation saves teachers time!

Dallas, Texas, 4th grade teacher Danelle H. really likes data.

“I’m a data person!” she said with a laugh. “I just love to see data!”

So she regularly looks at the detailed reports Istation provides for each of her students.

“I like that I have a tool in my pocket that I can access any time of day,” she said. “And I can get data on a specific student. It will tell me all I need to know: that this child is struggling with this and this is what you need to do. I love that the charts are done. All I need to do is go to interventions and print off what I need for my children.”

She said Istation saves teachers precious time and imagined what teaching without Istation would be like.

“It would be chaotic and time consuming,” she said. “I feel like if I didn’t have a resource like Istation, I’d be wasting time trying to go and find things I need for my kids.” 

She said Istation provided critical information to help her differentiate instruction.

“I like Istation because it allows my students to log on, and it meets them at their individual needs,” she said. “If I need certain intervention pieces for small groups or tutoring, I can log on to Teacher Resources, pull it, print it, and use it in a small group.”

She said she’s been an Istation believer for years.

“I used [Istation] when I taught kindergarten, first, second, third, and now fourth grades,” she said. “I’ve seen increases in all of my students because of Istation,” she said.

Tags: Testimonial, Success Story

EdTech Works: How The Experts Do It All!

Featuring Todd Nesloney and Aaron Marvel

Connected educators are known for being active on social media, and one of the most well-connected is Todd Nesloney, a first-year principal in Navasota ISD. In 2014 he was named Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) Classroom Teacher of the Year. He joined our EdTech Works Podcast at the TCEA Convention in Austin to share ideas about using social media. Navasota ISD Instructional Coach Aaron Marvel got in on the fun too, discussing new classroom technology.

Follow Todd Nesloney on Twitter: @TechNinjaTodd.

Follow Aaron Marvel on Twitter: @TeachinglilJohn.

Check out past episodes of the EdTech Works Podcast!

Tags: What's New?, Podcast, EdTech Works Podcast

Istation Reading en Español Updates

Istation additions and enhancements for release!

The exciting new Istation Reading en Español release includes forty decodable letter books with lessons in Cycles 1 through 8! Daily 5™ strategies are embedded in the lessons and to implement independent and fluent reading. Each book contains a quiz with decoding questions as well as comprehension questions that feature the topics character and setting, details and main idea, and sequence and inference.

The release also includes the Secret Word Game for cycles 9 through 11 with phonemic awareness review while teaching vocabulary skills to determine the meaning of words after each book in the cycles.

Istation Reading en Español is a Spanish intervention program that fully integrates with the ISIP Español assessment and automatically places students in the Spanish reading computer-adaptive program. Istation Reading en Español supports all bilingual and dual-language implementation models and prepares students for standardized tests.

Reading en Español uses lively animation, music, and characters to teach students cultural heritage, science content, vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension. To learn more about Istation Reading en Español, click here.

Tags: What's New?, Curriculum, Feature

New Updates to Timeless Tales

Timeless Tales takes things up a notch with the Hero’s Journey in Unit 3!

Unit 3 of Timeless Tales is now available! The latest reading content will continue the archetypal hero’s journey with futuristic fantasy fiction, classic Greek mythology, stunning art, and sophisticated gameplay that pushes boundaries and meets rigorous standards in reading comprehension, language arts, vocabulary, and word analysis. 

Istation Reading’s Timeless Tales curriculum utilizes an interdisciplinary approach incorporating high-interest literature and educational games to engage middle school students, in addition to systematic instruction to improve reading proficiency in all four major areas tested on ISIP-AR. During their adventures, students are provided direct instruction and practice to actively support the application of their developing skills. 

Timeless Tales features Paige Turner, Literary Genius! Paige takes students on fascinating journeys through ancient civilizations, mysteries, medieval quests, wilderness survival tales, pop culture, and more. Each passage promotes at least one of the six pillars of character education, encouraging good citizenship and empowering the hero within every reader. 

New updates include:

  •   “Masks,” a new epic, dystopian adventure in which students investigate the strange world of the Empire as they follow Tagore, teenage superstar, through the archetypal hero’s journey
  •   Two new episodes of Didja Ninja, Paige Turner’s fun and quirky animated graphic novel
  •   New graphic organizers to provide scaffolding and support for new skills and abstract concepts
  •   Six new stories in the World of Wonders self-selected reading library, including a two-part hero’s journey tale of a young Siberian warrior princess
  •   A new series of Teacher Directed Lessons for individual, small-group, or whole-class instruction
  •   All-new Vocab Hack game in which students use their understanding of vocabulary concept maps to help Paige beat a nasty computer virus
  •   All-new Syllable Search word analysis game in which students use their knowledge of syllabification to rescue W.A.D.E. from deep-sea doom

Tags: What's New?, Curriculum, Feature

Teacher to Teacher!

The Istation team recently had the pleasure of meeting thousands of inspirational teachers at the Texas Computer Education Association convention in Austin, Texas. We shared a lot and learned a lot about technology in the classroom.

The Istation booth at the event attracted a celebrity! Well, maybe not the movie star himself — but we did meet a man whose life is the basis for a major motion picture! Fredi Lajvardi’s life as a science teacher is the subject of the movie “Spare Parts.”

Istation’s Sabrina Jones now travels the country consulting with schools, and prior to that she spent fifteen years in the classroom. She and Lajvardi had a great conversation in this Teacher to Teacher Podcast.

Tags: Teacher to Teacher