We are proud to introduce our eighth Sunday Spotlight, featuring Nerissa Gerodias who teaches in San Jose, CA. Nerissa enjoys discovering and sharing resources on Twitter, is an advocate of Growth Mindset, and she enjoys snacking on fruit and nuts while using Edulastic. We hope you enjoy getting to know Nerissa just as much as we did!
High School Math
Yerba Buena High School
San Jose, CA
30 years teaching
“I love sharing my enthusiasm for Math with my students. It makes me happy to see students’ curiosity develop- that leads them to take initiative to learn more.”
Get to know Nerissa Gerodias
What do you love about teaching?
I love sharing my enthusiasm for Math with my students. It makes me happy to see students’ curiosity develop- that leads them to take initiative to learn more. I am excited to have a fresh start every year as the new school year begins giving me opportunity to try new things, correct last year’s mistakes and continually improve on my teaching skills.
What is your “Edulastic story”?
I discovered Edulastic through a teacher’s blog that I come across through Twitter. Luckily I got invited to join the Edulastic Innovator Team and I learned more how to use it to provide timely feedback and intervention.
Describe your Edulastic “aha” moment.
Grading papers has been very challenging for me and time consuming, yet it is crucial that I get to see how my students are learning. Grading and giving students timely feedback is an important part of the teaching and learning process. Planning a meaningful lesson also takes time and as important if not more important as giving timely feedback. I learned about Edulastic from a teacher’s blog and I am so thankful that I come across Edulastic. Right from the start I knew that Edulastic was the answer to my dilemma and I am so happy that I invested time to learn how to use it in my classroom. With Edulastic I can give feedback in real time and intervene in real time when the situation calls for it.
As a result, students tend to attend to precision and they are making sense of Math as they do the Edulastic tasks assigned to them. I really appreciate the fact that Edulastic offers various ways of checking for understanding allowing me to give tasks that calls for varying depth of knowledge. I also like the opportunity to reassign a task so that students can have 2nd, 3rd or 4th chance at completing such task. This allows students to focus on learning rather than just grades.
What are your teaching/learning goals this school year?
This year I am teaching Math 1 and Math 3. In two of my Math 1 classes, about 80-90% of students are English learners who speak very little to no English. There’s also a few English learners in my Math 3 classes. This means that these students will need that 2nd, 3rd, 4th, Nth chance to tackle a task. Edulastic will help me give that opportunity to my students. I would like to be able to create meaningful tasks in Edulastic that can boost student understanding of Math.
Visuals will help my English learners understand the language of Math and I can use Desmos with that. I am looking forward to the partnership of Edulastic with Desmos and excited to see what tasks I can create with both applications.
Tips for new Edulastic users:
I used Edulastic mainly to create tasks that measures student learning. Even if there are many available ready made tasks in Edulastic I still created my own items that are fit for my students. It can be overwhelming and frustrating learning the different question types but it’s definitely worth it.
A growth mindset is crucial here. Having assigned many tasks that are reassigned multiple times to all my classes make managing the student records extremely laborious and time consuming. I learned to organize my tasks in a spreadsheet with tabs for different grading period and linked to the student responses per class.
This year I am looking forward to the opportunity to upload scores directly to my grade book. This will free up so much time that I can use in planning better lessons.
Favorite Edulastic question type?
I like Drag and Drop and Multi-Part. This year I am excited to use the Drawing Response.
Favorite snack while using Edulastic
I love fruits and nuts.
Coffee or tea?
Best tactic to get the class quiet?
I stop talking and wait.
Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler
Must-have classroom decor:
Growth Mindset Posters
Favorite time of the school year?
Beginning of 2nd semester which starts after the Christmas break. It’s recalibrating time.
Funniest student moment?
A student said that math means “Mental Abuse to Humans”
Kindest compliment you have received from a student?
Upon learning that I can reassign a task to one of my English learners, the student said “I love you, Ms G!” and gave me a hug. This just happened last week.
Greatest teaching-related accomplishment this year?
Learning how to use some ed tech tools.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Go out with my family, learn from other educators through Twitter.
What is the benefit of learning how to use instructional technology?
Having more time to plan and create meaningful lessons that develop student critical thinking.