We are thrilled to introduce Edulastic Innovator Spotlight member Buck Bommer! Be sure to check out his #EduVictory — it’s really great! We enjoyed getting to know Buck and hope you do too.
Get to know Buck Bommer
What inspired you to work in education?
My mother was an ELA teacher before she had my sisters and I (she’s now an Intervention Specialist) and so I had the perspective of an educator at an early age. She inspired me to consider the profession and appreciate the idea of how impactful teaching can be. I also love my content! I realized early on that the interactions I get to have with students allows me to share my passion and hopefully inspire others to pursue professions in the discipline.
How did you learn about Edulastic? What is your Edulastic story?
love edtech! I frequently peruse the blogs/web pages of fellow teachers that I have stumbled across in PD or other conferences and a few of them mentioned a website that allowed for dynamic question building and a unique interface for receiving quick feedback on student growth.
I dove into the site and realized that it was just what I was trying to find. I have since created most of my assessments for my students on the platform and have been able to help understand their growth in ways I never imagined!
What do you love about Edulastic? How do you use it in your classroom?
Dynamic assessment creation is Edulastic’s biggest strength in my opinion. State tests are challenging for students on multiple fronts and I think one area that goes overlooked is the way students are asked to provide their responses on those assessments. I know of no other assessment creator that allows for such unique and practical tools for simulating those high-stakes moments. The other feature I use frequently is the Live Class Board. This panel allows me to see, in real-time, how well students are doing on content and so it is a powerful formative assessment tool. I have many concept checks built on Edulastic to help inform me during the unit of their level of understanding.
What tips do you have for teachers who are new to Edulastic?
Like most new tech in education, you have to not be afraid to click on stuff! There are so many options (and nested options) within the platform and question creator that it all can’t fit on the screen. Keep asking yourself “how can I make this question the most useful for my students to analyze” and you WILL BE ABLE TO DO IT….it just may not be visible on the main page. Also, be sure to use it for both formative and summative assessments since it can give a great snapshot of where students are in their progress within a topic.
Please sum up your teaching philosophy in a few sentences.
As teachers, much of the information that we have traditionally dispensed in a classroom can now be found with a Google search. It is imperative that we understand that our job is to provide students with practical, authentic opportunities to critically think about the topics within our content areas so that they are prepared to tackle any application of the material. I strive to create a classroom experience that challenges all students to push beyond simple ideas and try to see the underlying connections that science provides for the world!
Share an #EduVictory from the past year. In other words, do you have a particular success story that happened in your classroom or school?
I believe that a student’s grade should reflect what they know. This seems obvious, but I’m not sure that it is always the case. In order to create a more accurate understanding of the knowledge a student obtains in my class, I allow them to demonstrate it at any time before they leave my room. I utilize retakes and reassessments to complete this, but it takes a lot of time! This past year I was able to employ a set of assessments that I created in Edulastic from the previous year and construct a portfolio of practice for a student who experienced a major trauma in her life and missed a lot of class. She was able to run through my assessments, which included multiple questions types and examples of the material, and she ended up passing my class and the state test in Biology!
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (the irony!)
What do you decorate your classroom with?