Category Archives: Classroom Tips

Teacher’s Daily Routine Includes Stride Academy

Mrs. Samantha Matthews at Hokes Bluff Elementary School in Gadsden AL, shares how she incorporates Stride Academy into her daily teaching routine.

Class with Stride Signs

As you think about your daily routine, what are some of the regular things you check off your list? Wake up. Check. Brush your teeth. Check. Take a shower. Check. Eat Breakfast. Check. Drive to work. Check. Make a lesson plan. Check. Login to Stride Academy? For Mrs. Samantha Matthews, 4th grade teacher at Hokes Bluff Elementary in Gadsden, AL, Stride Academy has become an integral part of her everyday teaching checklist.

I adore Stride Academy! It has been perfect for me and exceptionally useful in my classroom. It has made my year more successful and easier [for me] to teach.” – Mrs. Samantha Matthews, 4th Grade Teacher

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Mrs. Matthews began using Stride Academy in her classroom to accompany her daily teaching of Alabama College- and Career-Ready standards, but it has been exceptionally beneficial over the last few weeks as she prepares her students for the ACT Aspire.

Throughout the school year, Mrs. Matthews has utilized the features within Stride Academy to help 20150410_100732reinforce the skills and standards her students need to learn. The new Video Library, available on the Teacher dashboard in Stride Academy, has been a great addition to her teaching routine. Prior to class, Mrs. Matthews selects a video from the Video Library that aligns with the standards she will cover that day. Using the Smart Board in her classroom, Mrs. Matthews lets the Stride Academy video introduce the lesson. After the video lesson, she takes over and teaches the curriculum to her students. Next, with the Stride Academy Quiz Builder, Mrs. Matthews creates two quizzes for her class aligned to the lesson. The first quiz is a group activity composed of five or six items that she works through on the Smart Board with the class as a whole. Once they have tackled each item together, her class goes to the computer lab to work on the second quiz individually. The second quiz is longer, with 20 to 25 questions that test students’ knowledge of the material covered in class. After students complete the quiz, they are allowed to work on their own in Stride Academy… and that means time for a little FUN with some game-based rewards and competitions!

The Quiz Builder is an excellent tool because it allows Mrs. Matthews to instantly view students’ results. For students who perform at 80% or below on the quiz, she spends some one-on-one time with them, reviewing questions they missed. If multiple students miss similar questions, she will go over the quiz results in a group and then retest the students with a cloned quiz. (Stride Academy’s cloning feature allows you to generate an exact replica of your quiz and assign it again to students.) Mrs. Matthews averages the scores of the two quizzes for a valid score. This gives students another opportunity to work hard to improve both their scores and their skills!


Principal Charles Gardner, finalist for Alabama’s National Distinguished Principal Award, loves Stride Academy!

Because of Mrs. Matthews’ success and creativity in using Stride Academy in the classroom, she has been asked to lead a training for other teachers within her school on how they can incorporate Stride Academy as a teaching and assessment tool. Charles Gardner, Principal at Hokes Bluff Elementary, encourages his faculty to incorporate Stride Academy as much as possible throughout the day since the data from Stride Academy is consistently used to drive instruction.

Thank you, Mrs. Samantha Matthews, for sharing how you are integrating Stride Academy into your daily teaching routine! We are always thrilled to hear of new ways that Stride Academy is being used. If you have a fresh idea on how you are using Stride Academy at your school, we want to know! Please email Cate Powell to set up an interview.

4 Effective Resolutions for Your Classroom in the New Year


celebrate this new year

Welcome to 2015 and second semester! The New Year is a time for planning how you can make this year even better than the last. We’d like to recommend Four Effective Resolutions for Your Classroom in the New Year. Get inspired to… 

1. Stay Positive. The second semester stretch to summer can be arduous with standardized testing in queue. Keep a positive attitude. You’ll be amazed at how contagious your positive energy can be:

  • “Let’s get this over with.” WRONG!
    When talking about test prep, a negative approach can cause students to immediately disengage and reduce their chances of doing well. Maintain an outlook that builds confidence and compels your students to do their best. Speak about testing practice as an opportunity for exploration and sharpening skills well in advance of test dates. “We’ve got this!”

Be plentiful with positive reinforcement. Stride Academy offers oodles of feedback, allowing you to find positive points for all students as they work hard to fill in skill gaps. Congratulate them on their academic badges, coins earned, and Star points in class-wide contests. Even their total questions answered, total minutes worked and percentage after school show incredible perseverance!

Dashboard: Academic Badges by Student

Dashboard: Academic Badges by Student

2. Have a Growth Plan. What goals will you set for each student to reach by year-end?

  • Utilize PMAs. Two more Progress Monitoring Assessments are available to you in second semester. Use them to identify remaining gaps and measure growth. (Form 3 is open Jan. 10 to Feb. 14, and Form 4 is open Feb. 15 to April 4). 
  • Keep watch using your Dashboard and real-time reports.

Help your students visualize their growth. Using visual means to show student gains is proven to engage students in their lessons and help them understand the value of the work they are doing. Allow them to see the graphs and data from the Individual Student Details view of your Dashboard or their Student Progress Reports.

Dashboard: Student Details View

Dashboard: Student Details View

3. Give Individual Time & Attention to Students. Find a way to focus on each student individually. Schedule regular one-on-one time or assign individual classroom jobs. Nurture a relationship, and you’ll find students are more comfortable communicating with you about their academic concerns (and even personal matters if they need you).

  • Tip: Assign (and rotate) meaningful classroom jobs that your students are capable of, like media/computer monitor, running errands, taking attendance or watering plants. Reward them with extra coins and let them know they did a good job of meeting your expectations

Enjoy your students more while you can; by year-end, you’ll be saying goodbye to a great group of kids.

Rewards: Transact Coins

Rewards: Transact Coins

4. Stay Organized: Teach Smarter, not Harder. Second semester is an easy time to get overwhelmed as you push toward end of year objectives. Use technology to your advantage:

  • Use Student Grouping Reports to organize small groups of students with similar skill abilities/deficiencies.
  • Design your own reporting system. Decide when and how often you need to analyze student data via your Dashboard and real-time reports. Is it on Friday − weekly or biweekly? Set reminders on your email calendar for periodic data review. Be sure to also schedule emailed parent reports via the Reports tab.

Use Quiz Builder to easily create quizzes that reinforce unit/lesson plans, or retest students on specific skills. Share quizzes with your fellow teachers, so no one has to recreate the wheel. Remember that Stride Academy’s curriculum unpacks your state’s standards for you. It doesn’t get more organized than that! 

Choose Skills in Quiz Builder

Choose Skills in Quiz Builder

As always, our Customer Support team is here to help you with your teaching goals and getting the most from your Stride Academy subscription. To reach them, email or call toll-free: 866.552.9192. 

Happy New Year from LTS Education Systems and Stride Academy!

Keeping Your Class Healthy This Winter

Temperatures are steadily dropping, which can only mean cold and flu season is right around the corner. No one likes getting the sniffles, and everyone hates getting the flu. We’ve pulled together the best tips for keeping your class healthy through the upcoming winter!

1. Have your students wash their hands with soap and water. Warm water is best with foaming or liquid soap. Find a fun scent or cheerful dispenser for your classroom, and squirt enough for each student as they line up to wash up before meals or as they’re coming back from recess! 

2. Use proper hand-washing techniques. Hand-washing should be done often: before and after eating, after using the restroom, after sneezing or rubbing a running nose, and after playing outside. Teach students to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice through as they scrub their hands. It takes about 20 seconds to thoroughly kill germs. They’ll have clean hands and have fun singing while they wash up!

3. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable. Read labels to find ones with above 60 percent alcohol content, but don’t look for “Antibacterial” or “Antimicrobial” since those will kill even the good germs. Have your students use hand sanitizer any time they aren’t able to wash their hands. A quick squirt after a sneeze is the perfect example!

4. Cough and sneeze into a sleeve. Elbows and upper arms are better at blocking germs from spreading than when you cover a sneeze with a hand. Learning this trick at a young age will make it second nature and keep down the number of germy hands in the future!

5. Use tissues only once before tossing. Using a tissue once, then it throwing away and washing your hands after is the most effective way to stop the spread of germs. Always make sure students throw their tissues away as soon as they use them, that’ll help stop germs and keep the tissues from being left on desks.

6. Suggest students not share drinks, chap stick, etc. with friends. Explain to your students why it’s important not to share things like water bottles or utensils with others since they have germs all over them, and they’re an easy way to pass on sickness.

7. Make sure everyone eats a healthy diet. A healthy well-balanced diet makes for a healthy immune system. Encourage parents to prepare lunches rich in vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and iron, or if students are assigned snack days, request that parents look for healthy options that will boost immune systems.

8. Disinfect high traffic areas. Use a diluted bleach solution or products with antiviral agents to wipe down tables, writing utensils, white boards, door knobs, books, and other commonly touched surfaces. This is probably easiest to do at the end of every day and when you have a break during lunch or recess!

9. Ask for help in keeping your classroom healthy. It might help to send a note home to parents asking for donations of tissues, hand sanitizing wipes, and other tools to keep the classroom environment as healthy as possible.

10. Put an air purifier in your classroom. Good air purifiers will improve indoor air quality by removing allergens and harmful particles. You can keep your classroom’s air cleaner with little hassle.

Even following these tips, it’s inevitable that you’ll still wind up with sick students. Don’t let them get behind! Stride Academy is here to keep your student’s learning even when they can’t be present in school!