• Coda & Jetter

Principal Feathers Asked THEM!

Dr. Rebecca Feathers, Principal, Delaware

The Let Them Speak! Project is Alive and in Action in Delaware

Delaware principal, Dr. Rebecca Feathers is a pirate principal. She is the type of principal that leads with confidence, fun, resilience, and high expectations. Her 2018 #oneword is Action! And she reached out to us and did just that, she took action in guest writing this blog. She shares her recent experience LETTING THEM SPEAK!

Here's how she took Action....

Did You Ask THEM?

It’s the time of the year when teachers reflect upon our school success plan (SSP) and begin to write the plan for next year. All teachers take a survey prior to our Leadership Team SSP planning & writing meetings. The teachers provide information on the programs and resources we used over the year and give their thoughts about us using or not using them next year.

I am always challenged to think differently thanks to my amazing Twitter PLN! Rebecca Coda & Rick Jetter have been tweeting using the #LetStudentsSpeak. This hashtag was a sneak peek into their latest book Let Them Speak! I received my copy of the book today, 4/29/18, yes TODAY! Without having read the book I was inspired by Rebecca, Rick and my PLN tweeting about STUDENT VOICE.

With that said, I realized that the teachers have the opportunity to share their thoughts about programs and resources we use but our students do not. Student voice IS the missing link! So I thought, why don't I activate student voice regarding programming!

Math Programming Google Doc Survey

Our students piloted an online math program this year. So we decided to ask them what they thought about it. Tier 2 and 3 students in grades 1, 2, 3 used the program as a component of their RtI intervention while all students in grades 4 and 5 used the program. Our 4th grade students (91) took a seven question Google Doc Survey. Teachers interviewed students in grades 1, 2, and 3. And I had the privilege to have 1-1 conversations with some of our 5th graders.

And What They Said Was AMAZING!

Grade 1: Did you enjoy using the program?

“Yes, it makes me smart and keeps my attention.”

“Yes, I wanted to get more tokens and it is fun.”

“Yes, I can learn bigger numbers and it helps me think more.”

Grade 2: What did you love about the program?

“I get to learn new stuff that I never learned before.”

“It has a lot of activities.”

“It helps me learn math.”

“I love when you finish the levels and challenges.”

“There is fun learning and they are kind of hard.”

“I like the prizes and it moves you to different places to learn.”

“You uncover the clue you need, you earn coins, and you can go to the arcade.”

Grade 2: What would you change about the program?

“I wish you could change the face of the character.”

“I wish you could change the hair and clothes (on the avatar).”

“I wish I could make it more challenging.”

“Some of the levels are too hard.”

“I wouldn’t change anything.”

“When you click the ? for help, it doesn’t teach or help as much as I wish it could.”

Grade 3: Do you like the program?

“I love it because you can do fun math games.”

“I don’t like that teachers can’t help.”

“Yes, because you get to do lots of math.”

“No, because it is kind of hard for me.”

“I like buying stuff and playing the games.”

“Yes, it is fun. I like the games and learning more.”

Grade 4: Did the program help you?

64.8%- Yes

26.4%- Maybe

7.7%- No

Grade 4: Did you like using the program?

85.7%- Yes

14.3%- No

Grade 4: What was your favorite part about the program?

“How you can get better at math skills but still have fun.”

“We earn badges and get mini games.”

“After we answered some questions we got to play a fun math game.”

“You can customize it kind of like a car.”

“How it helped you learn.”

“When it gives you hard questions.”

“We get to cash out our coins. And I like the decimal activity.”

“My favorite part was the money and time with fractions.”

“It is independent.”

“Learning new things.”

“There are different lessons that you can do.”

“I like that you got to change your backgrounds, avatar, and the fact that it is way better than (insert other online program).

Grade 4: What was your least favorite part about the progam?

“My least favorite part is when the red bar comes up when you get a question wrong.”

“When there is a lot of solving to do and you keep getting the answer wrong and you still don’t know what it means.”

“When the explanation isn’t specific.”

“I love it so I don’t have a least favorite.”

“I don’t like when there is a question I don’t get and it doesn’t tell me what to do.”

“I couldn’t do it at home.”

Grade 4: How do you feel about the program (end of year)?

“It is my favorite thing to do at school and it is more challenging.”

“I loved it because it was challenging.”

“I don’t like it I love it.”

“It is helpful but hard.”

“I don’t like it.”

“It’s not my favorite but I like it.”

“Excited and challenged.”

Grade 4: Did the program help you?

64.8%- Yes

26.4- Maybe

7.7- No

Grade 4: Did you like using the program?

85.7- Yes

14.3- No

And Here's Where the Magic Comes in.....

Letting THEM Speak!

Grade 5: 1-1 Discussions with Fifth Graders

“It is fun. It can be challenging at times. When the math is above me it doesn’t give me enough support. The help button doesn’t tell you what you did wrong. There really aren’t any tools. Sometimes I am doing large math problem in my head and that can be annoying. I do try to persevere though. I like that it is not a blank white background with a math problem on it like (insert other program). This makes it way more engaging and fun. It lets you customize your program and that makes it fun. I like the games. They are quick. But they are a fun brain break before you get back to learning. I think kids in all grades will enjoy this program. The kids in my class (for the most part) like it. I like it so much that I downloaded it at home and use it almost every day.

“I really like it. There are different activities and it lets you choose what you want to work on. Sometimes my teacher assigns something specific and it helps with what we are learning in class. I get to practice math I know but I also get to learn math I didn’t know. It usually starts out easy and then becomes more challenging. I like the appearance of the program. It makes it fun. I like earning coins, customizing my program, and playing the games. I think most of my classmates enjoy the program too.”


Students like math

Students like to be challenged

Students like to be engaged

Students like the opportunity to customize the program

Students like choice

Students like “games”

Thank you Rebecca & Rick for sharing your greatness. My book arrived and I am ready to dive in to find the treasure that is sure to help us activate STUDENT VOICE in our school!

Dr. Rebecca Feathers

Elementary Principal

Middletown, Delaware


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