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Customer Story

Pear Deck Learning Passes the Test for This Indiana Teacher

An Indiana teacher discusses how Pear Deck Learning helps students pass state tests and take ownership of their educational journeys.

Brandie Schroeder, a fifth-grade teacher at Central Elementary in Plainfield, Indiana, has seamlessly integrated Pear Deck Learning tools into her classroom for years. Whether facilitating exit tickets, conducting in-class examples, or preparing for state tests, Brandie relies on Pear Assessment, Pear Deck, and Pear Practice to empower and engage her students throughout their learning journey. 

As the bustling period of state testing approached, we had the opportunity to speak with Brandie about her strategies with Pear Deck Learning in the classroom. She shared that these tools are not just aids, but essential partners in fostering a learning environment where independence and confidence bloom.

Preparation starts with regular in-class experiences

Brandie's commitment to empowering her students is evident. "Since being in fifth grade, I'm trying to give students a lot more ownership over their schooling," she said. She leverages Pear Assessment to facilitate this, ensuring students understand learning is not a one-time event, but a continuous journey of growth and improvement.

"I use Pear Assessment for exit tickets at the end of lessons with the option to allow students to make corrections by using the redirect function," Brandie explained.

She has implemented a system where students are granted multiple attempts to achieve a perfect score, fostering autonomy in their learning process. This approach not only gives students instant feedback but also instills the notion that learning is iterative, promoting resilience and perseverance.

“I feel like that just helps them because they get instant feedback, and they're able to look back at their work and say, 'I just made a slight mistake,' or 'I really don't understand how to do this,' and then they can come to ask me for help. I feel like that's been a huge deal for them, and they now have that expectation. They know every exit ticket is going to be like that, and they're going to have the opportunity to manage their learning because fifth graders want to be in charge of things a little bit. This does a good job at giving them that little bit of freedom they crave. It helps them understand it's not like a one-and-done; you'll get multiple tries in life, and it's not always just going to be this, especially on exit tickets. Those are just to make sure I'm also teaching things correctly and everybody's understanding."

From homework to testing day

With the advent of online testing, Brandie quickly recognized the challenges her students faced with the new format, particularly the technology-enhanced question types that were unfamiliar to them. 

"Part of the reason I started using it is because we had just switched over to online testing and we were starting to find students were struggling with the technology-enhanced question types," Brandie recounts, reflecting on her early adoption of Pear Assessment.

As online testing became the norm, Brandie noted students were not necessarily lacking in knowledge, but rather in the ability to navigate the question formats presented in this digital context.

"It's not that they were getting questions wrong because they didn’t know the answer, but because of the type of question that was being asked," she explains. 

To help familiarize her students with the formatting of questions, Brandie incorporates certified state practice tests on Pear Assessment into her daily routine. This method transforms the daunting task of test prep into an interactive, engaging learning experience. By administering these practice tests through Pear Assessment, she not only demystifies the state testing process but also leverages the tool's capabilities, such as passage navigation and the ability to flag incomplete responses, to create an authentic simulation of the testing environment.

Leveraging Pear Assessment's robust features, such as flagging incomplete responses, to simulate the testing environment authentically, she ensures her learners enter state testing with confidence, familiarity with the format, and a deep understanding of the skills needed to succeed.

Interactive learning instills excitement and pride

Brandie also turns to Pear Deck Learning to increase student engagement during her lessons. She shared how she integrates Pear Deck seamlessly with her math lessons, with a special fondness for Pear Deck’s compatibility with Google Slides. This integration allows her to enhance existing presentations with various engagement activities effortlessly.

"I can pull up the dashboard and see all of my students’ work on their screens," she noted, highlighting the benefit of real-time feedback in understanding students' comprehension levels.

Brandie shared the enthusiasm her students expressed when seeing their work displayed on the screen during class activities. She mentioned they take pride in their work, often adding their names to anonymously displayed responses to ensure recognition. This underscores the positive impact of technology on student engagement and motivation within her classroom.

Practice becomes play

Brandie's use of Pear Practice adds another dimension to her teaching. She incorporates it during intervention times to review weekly reading skills and as a spiral review, observing high levels of student engagement. The diverse question types offered by Pear Practice, including drawing responses and multiple-choice questions, cater to different learning styles, making learning interactive and enjoyable for her students.

"I love that they can draw and then the class gets to vote on the best one," Brandie mentions, emphasizing the collaborative and competitive elements that drive student participation. Through Pear Practice, Brandie not only reinforces academic concepts but also cultivates a supportive classroom environment where students feel valued for their contributions.

Beyond one class

Brandie's dedication to leveraging technology to enhance teaching and learning extends beyond her own classroom. She has actively advocated for Pear Assessment within her school district, leading professional development sessions to familiarize colleagues with its features and benefits. By sharing her expertise, Brandie has facilitated the adoption of Pear Assessment district-wide, ensuring more students have access to effective assessment practices.

Her story exemplifies the transformative impact of Pear Assessment on both teaching and learning. Through her innovative use of Pear Deck and Pear Practice, she has empowered her students to take ownership of their learning journey while equipping them with the skills and confidence needed to excel in assessments. Brandie's commitment to educational excellence showcases the profound influence of technology on modern pedagogy.