A Teacher’s Perspective: Effective PD

By: Audra Scheenstra

My name is Audra Scheenstra and I am a proud teacher of a wonderful second grade class at Rockford Elementary School in Porterville, California. This is my first year teaching and I have more than enjoyed my experience. This year has been my first encounter with Sokikom and I have been beyond impressed with the program. When I first learned of Sokikom, I was extremely happy to find that the games allowed the children to play at their appropriate individual academic levels. It gave me a boost of confidence to allow my students to work independently.

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Classroom Sokikom Incorporation before Professional Development Training

Before the professional development training, I was only using Sokikom during centers and as a reward to students that finished their work early. My centers are around 15 minutes per rotation, and students were able to play during one of the rotations. If they completed their seatwork early, students were also allowed to play Sokikom. This encouraged my everyone to work hard on their seatwork.

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Professional Development Training

Peter Carellas was our PD trainer at Rockford School for two days. He was in my classroom for around 45 minutes each of those days. During both 45 minute trainings, I learned numerous things about Sokikom. Not only was I able to learn useful tools, but my students were able to learn as well. Peter was awesome! He emailed me before the training and asked me what standards I would like to focus on. Once I explained to him what my goals were, he put together a lesson for my class that involved new ideas and tools for myself and my students. He taught the first day’s lesson and I chimed in during parts of the lesson. He showed me how to select lessons for students that incorporate the standards that we are focusing on and how to assign them to individual students. I also learned that I am able to check my student’s progress on assignments. Instead of flipping through a stack of math papers, I can click a couple of buttons and see the progress and growth of each student.

During the second 45 minute training, Peter allowed me to put together my own lesson for my students. He encouraged me just as much as he encouraged my students. I chose the same standard to work on as the previous day, but we focused on a different portion of that standard. Once my students had time to work on their assignments, we decided to reward them with Soki cash and also a multiple player game. They were extremely excited that I was able to play in the game with them. Peter showed me how to set up a multiple player game and we were on our way to a fun classroom experience.

The Sokikom professional development training was overall a great experience. I felt so grateful that my students were able to participate in the training with me. Very few professional development trainings allow this.

Classroom Sokikom Incorporation after Professional Development Training

After being taught awesome Sokikom tools by Peter, I couldn’t wait to put Sokikom to better use in my classroom. The day after my training, I hunted down our Chromebook cart so that we could get started using the tools that we had learned. I looked over all of my student’s mastery reports and gave them assignments that they had not yet mastered, or that I felt that they needed extra help with. Within that week, my students were soaring through the games and having a blast doing it. It was wonderful being able to give out different assignments that fit individual academic learning levels. At the end of the lesson, I rewarded them with a multi-player game.

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Sharing My Excitement

ANNOUNCEMENT to all teachers and principals! The Sokikom professional development training days were awesome! We were able to learn so much in a short amount of time. We were not rushed and the training was not only fun for the kids, but it was also fun for us teachers. If there is a training to keep the attention of both students and teachers, then sign me up!

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