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Study Island Group Session Feature Focus

Study Island Group Session Feature Focus

Group sessions aren’t new, but the way classrooms are operating in 2020 is. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Group Sessions tool was already one of the most beloved features of Study Island. This year, the tool proves to be essential in providing meaningful formative assessment in the socially distant classroom. Teachers love it because they are able to add stimulating collaborative practice and enhance teacher-led instruction, both virtually and in person, using real-time student data. Students love it because it’s a competitive, fun way for them to learn. It provides variation in their assessment routines, whether they are physically in a classroom or at home! Plus, it’s built right into the program, meaning that if you have Study Island, you have Group Sessions at your fingertips.

By leveraging technology, you already have in your classroom and in students’ homes, Group Sessions give teachers the ability to conduct simple, measurable, and easy-to-use activities that actively gather actionable student data.

How do Group Sessions work?

This Study Island feature is a perfect tool for on-the-fly or preplanned assessment. Not only are Group Sessions easy enough to use that they can be set up in five minutes or less, but they are also flexible enough to let you plan out which Group Sessions you want to use in your upcoming week’s lessons.

To start, you can launch Group Sessions right from the Topic Tree by simply selecting the topic you want to practice and clicking the Group Session button from the pop-up menu.

Then, you will have three different types of Group Sessions to choose from:

Checkpoint: In checkpoint mode, students take a noncompetitive, teacher-led quiz as a class or group.

Challenge: In challenge mode, students compete against their classmates in a teacher-led session, earning points for correct answers, quick responses, and correct-answer streaks.

Race: In race mode, students race against each other to answer as many questions correctly as possible as quickly as possible.

Learn more about Study Island’s game-based Group Sessions.

You can also create a Group Session as an assignment type in advance so that you never miss out on a minute of instructional time. Keep in mind, in order to build assignments, you must first organize your students into classes. 

If, at any point, students need to leave a session early, they can save it for later and then return when class resumes. Session results are instantly put into a Group Sessions Report, where you can dig deeper into individual student results and see how each student answered each question.

How can I use Group Sessions in my classroom?

Formatively Assess Students: Not only is this one of the most popular ways teachers use Group Sessions, but it’s also one of the most important. Use Group Sessions before or after instruction to check for understanding via in-class quizzes and test reviews and get immediate and actionable data you can use to drive instruction on the spot. This application of the feature is especially important in the current landscape, as teachers need formative assessment tools that can be used both in person and virtually!

Bell Ringers or Exit Tickets: Group Sessions can be a great way to start or end any class. As a bell ringer, you can test students’ knowledge of the subject they learned the day before. This fun activity will also help to keep them motivated for the rest of class. Using Group Sessions as an exit ticket is a great way to see if students were paying attention to that day’s lesson. Plus, who doesn’t want to end with an exciting, competitive activity?

Prepare for End-of-Year Summative Tests: Many states will still be moving forward this school year with end-of-year assessments, and with an academic year that has looked less than standard, preparing students for success has never been more important! Make test prep fun! Host a large or small Group Session challenge or race. You can still create general knowledge checks that include a variety of different topics for whole-class instruction or pull only standards that students are struggling with for targeted practice, still keeping them engaged and excited. If your students are unfamiliar with how to answer technology-enhanced (TE) items for high-stakes assessments, Group Sessions is also great for teachers to demonstrate how TE Items work. Because you can select the exact questions you want to use in a Group Session, you can build a session with only the types of items you want to include. After all, we never want students to miss a question because they don’t understand how it’s set up.

Study Island’s unique Group Sessions feature helps teachers involve students in teacher-led or student-led, standards-based practice and learning, and it keeps students engaged while it tracks their progress toward mastery in real time. It provides teachers a method to formatively assess students in both a virtual and in-person setting, a challenge that many educators are facing in 2020 and beyond. So, the question is: if you haven’t gotten to know Group Sessions yet, what’s stopping you?

Ready to get started with Group Sessions? Check out these ways other educators are using Group Sessions in their classrooms, and visit the Study Island Getting Started page for resources and more tips on how to utilize this feature. Not a customer yet? Try Study Island for free!

This post was originally published in July 2017 and has been updated.

brittany.voges's picture
Brittany Voges

Brittany Voges currently serves as a Content and Social Media Specialist at Edmentum, and has been with the company since 2016. Before her time at Edmentum, Brittany studied Elementary Education, and eventually went on to teach 4th grade in Title 1 schools. Because of her background in education, Brittany is passionate about providing educators across the United States and the world with the tools and best practices to empower their students each day in the classroom.