The Transparent Blog

Create and Share a Parent Sign-Up Page for Conferences

28 Oct 2016

Let’s take a look at how to create a sign-up sheet for parents teacher conferences in Transparent Classroom.

Here are some things we’ll accomplish:

  • Create a Google Spreadsheet
  • Link it to a “Page” for parents in Transparent Classroom
  • When you’re done it will look like this!

How do you do it?

Start by creating a Google Spreadsheet. You will need a Gmail or Google account to work with Google Applications like Google Sheets. Then go to:

Drive.google.com > New > Google Sheet

Name your document, (e.g. Parent Teacher Conferences) and create your spreadsheet.

  • You might want to make columns for the Date, Conference Time, and Child Name.
  • Fill in the dates and times available for conferences in separate rows.
  • You can even create colored rows and alternate alignement in time column for easy use!

Formatting is similar to Excel and other spreadsheet programs, and Google saves all of your changes as you go.

Connect Your Spreadsheet to Transparent Classroom

When you’ve finished creating your document, you’ll want to add it to a “Page” for parents in Transparent Classroom. First, create a link to your document. In Google Sheets, go to:

File > Publish to the Web > Click Embed > Publish > Are you sure you want to publish? Click Ok. > Type Command or Control-C to Copy Link

Next, open an new tab and go to:

Your Transparent Classroom Home Page > Under Pages, Select All Pages > Add Page

Next, name your page and paste the link from Google Sheets into the body. You’ll need to create a bit of image formatting to help your link display properly. You can copy and paste or type this text –> width=”100%” height=”800px” <– into your HTML with the exact placement shown below.

Save your changes, check out your new page! Feel free to test your document before sharing with parents.

Bonus!

You can create a link directly to your page from the home page! Go to:

Your Transparent Classroom Home Page > Next to Pages Click Edit > Type *“Your Page Name”:/pages

Customizing Lesson Scales (Introduced, Mastered, ..)

16 Oct 2016

Many of our guides have asked to customize our scales for lessons (Introduced, Mastered, Needs More, …) when recording child progress with lessons. And now you can!

This means you can finally do things like:

  • Add Practiced to masterable lessons
  • Add Re-Presented as a lesson proficiency
  • Change “Mastered” to be something else

How do you do it?

You’ll need to be or find an admin to change your lesson scales. Then go to:

Admin > Lesson Sets > Settings > Check the box that says Customize Scales.

What can you customize?

After you have selected Customize Scales, the option to edit will appear. You can choose the name for each level of proficiency for Masterable Lessons as well as Ongoing Lessons.

You can add up to six levels of proficiency or leave some fields blank.

The names on your scale are now keywords when recording lessons from the Activity Page:

And your new color coded key will show on the Progress and Plan page:

We hope you enjoy the new customizable lesson scales and let us know if you have any questions!

New Team Members

15 Oct 2016

We’ve had an explosion of growth and interest over the summer during which we’ve grown from ~80 schools to ~250 schools.

To keep pace with so much growth, we’ve added some extraordinary team members. Who many of you have met at this point. However, formal introductions are always nice :).

Please meet:

Andrew

Andrew Smith

Software Developer

Andrew loves bringing a positive impact to communities and families as a software developer for Transparent Classroom. In his spare time, he travels around the world teaching social dance.

Nathan

Nathan Stell

Sales / Customer Support

Nathan has worked as a teacher for the past 8 years. He loves creating spaces for learning and is excited to be a part of bringing Transparent Classroom into the lives of so many teachers.

Sara

Sara Dwyer

Sales / Customer Support

Sara has worked as a reading specialist and classroom assistant and is passionate about eduction. She loves helping people gain a deeper understanding of the workings of Transparent Classroom.

Welcome Andrew, Nathan, and Sara! We’re glad to have you!

Child Forms: Designing, Mapping Fields, Assigning + Notifying Families

14 Jul 2016

We’ve been promising this for a while, but we’re finally done with a bunch of form improvements.

They include:

  1. Better, more intuitive form designer.
  2. Ability to map from/to fields in child’s profile.
  3. Batch assigning forms + batch notification of parents.

Now, you’re probably thinking either “Awesome, how does it work?” or “That sounds interesting, but I’ve never even seen forms…”

In either case, we have a short video for you to watch. It walks you through designing a form, mapping fields, assigning the form, filling it out, and managing it.

End of Year Housekeeping

30 Jun 2016

Summer is fast approaching and we want to ensure your transition is smooth. There are a few items that you want to make sure happen at the end of every school year or summer session. Here is a quick overview:

  1. Update start and end dates for your sessions (2015-16, summer 2016,…)
  2. Assign children to the next session they will be attending.

If you’ve got that, great! If you’d like a little more detail, here you go:


Update start and end dates for your sessions

Go to Admin–> Sessions. Click on a session to edit the start and end dates. Even if you are closed for the summer, make sure you have a summer session that is marked “inactive” with the correct start and end dates. This will ensure that we are charging you the correct amount during the summer.


Assign children to the next session they will be attending

Go to Admin–> Classroom Placement. Here you will see a list of all the current children and what classroom they were in for each session. Choose the session you want to assign in the upper right corner (Summer 2016, 2016-17). If they’re staying in the same classroom for that session, simply copy the classroom over. If they’re moving on to another classroom, use the drop down menu to select a classroom.

Alternately, you can change or add sessions to a child’s profile individually. Select a child and ‘edit’. Here you can add a child to another classroom and assign them a session.

We hope you all have smooth transitions to your summer programs (if you have them) and let us know if you have any questions!

Elementary Record Keeping with Planning by Day + Meetings Notes

26 Mar 2016

Over the last year, we have been talking to many of you elementary guides about how we could better serve you.

We heard that you wanted better group support in their classrooms, that you planned by the day, and that meetings (aka student conferences) played a big role in your record keeping.

This is our answer (skip to the bottom to watch it in a video).


Interactive Lesson Plans by Day

We have a new format for elementary lesson plans that allows you to drag planned lessons into the day of the week you intend to present them. You can also add lessons + children to your plan from the same page.

Not only can you craft your plan your plan here, you can also execute it. After you’ve presented a lesson, just check the box and Transparent Classroom will mark it as given!


Meeting Notes

Each elementary child now has a place to store notes about their meetings. You can put agreements, plans, directions, whatever you want here. It keeps the relevant ones front and center, and you can just check the box to archive one when it’s no longer relevant.

In addition, we also show the lesson plan for just this child on the same page page. You can interact with it as you would on the class lesson plan, moving lessons to other dates or adding them. You can also drag a lesson from the notes to the plan when you’re ready.


To really get a feel for the new features, watch them in action, then try them out!

When Parents Can't Login

16 Feb 2016

When you’re adding all of your parents, there are always a few that need some extra help logging in.

Sometimes a parent doesn’t see the invite in their mailbox, sometimes it gets stuck in their spam folder, sometimes they forget their password, and sometimes we’ve entered their email wrong!

Here’s a handy flow chart to help you help your parents:

Attendance

24 Sep 2015

By popular demand, we’ve added some bells and whistles to attedance.

  1. A child’s hours of attendance can be set (and changed).
  2. When you view attendance by month or day you will be able to see any child that is tardy.
  3. A child (or staff member) can be signed in and out multiple times a day.

To set a child’s attendance hours, first go to ‘Children’ and select ‘edit’ for the child. Scroll down to ‘Normal Hours’ and select the drop down menu. If the child’s normal hours appear here, select them and you are done.

If not, select ‘choose different hours’ (don’t worry, after you do this once, the system will learn the hours you entered and let you choose them next time).

Use the toggles to input the child’s hours and days of the week that they are at school. Once you save the information will be available on the drop down menu as an option for all subsequent children.

When you view the attendance by month you will see several columns to the right.

One says ‘late drop off’. Here you will see the number of days that month that the child has been tardy. There is also a column called ‘late pick up’. Here you will see the number of days a child has been picked up late. Also, the column next to that tells you how many minutes over time they were.

On the attendance by day page, you will see in red how late a child was.

Children (and staff) can be signed in and out several times a day if needed.

A parent can sign a child in and out from the Drop Off/Pick Up app, or a teacher or assistant can do it from the attendance by day page. Simply click on ‘edit’ to the right of a child’s name and fill out the new event.

Onboarding Parents

20 Sep 2015

Onboaring parents to Transparent Classroom can seem like a big task, but it’s actually very easy and straightforward.

We recommend:

  1. Send an introductory email like this to your parent community.
  2. Invite parents to Transparent Classroom (see below for more info).
  3. Have a parent night where you can set some expectations about what parents might see (see below).

Adding Parents

Go to the child’s page and select ‘add’ next to ‘Parents’.

Select ‘new’ if the parent is not already in the system or ‘existing’ otherwise.

Input parent’s first and last name and email - select ‘Private’ next to email if you think parents would prefer not to share their email with other parents. Then press “Create”.

Parents will receive an email inviting them to log on to Transparent Classroom to create their profile and see their child’s page. They will be able to keep their contact information up to date and see as much of their child’s information as you’ve decided to share with them.

Setting Expectations

Why not have a parent education night where you introduce Transparent Classroom and tell parents what they can expect?

If you choose to have parents see all the lessons and entries on Transparent Classroom, it may be useful to talk to them about the sequencing and age-appropriatness of the lessons and why they’re given when they are. For example, we have found it useful to talk to parents about indirect preparations in Practical Life and Sensorial activites that set the child up to be successful in the Math activities. You might use an information sheet like this to do so.

We have also found Sequence Charts like these helpful in illustrating the flow of Montessori lessons for parents.

Problem Solving

If a parent is having trouble setting up their profile or navigating the site, check out our suggestions for addressing that. If you still can’t solve the problem you can reach out to Jeremy or send the parent his way.

Lesson Names

01 Sep 2015

Not only are lesson names are a bit picky in Transparent Classroom, they are also one of the first things you need to understand when you want to import your own lessons.

Let’s start with how lessons are structured. You can see that the lessons here are organized by area, group, and subgroups. The area is Mathematics, the groups + subgroups are the dark blue rows, and the lessons are in white.


There are a couple guidelines to follow when naming lessons.

1. Lesson names must be self explanatory + unique.

In Transparent Classroom, you will often type only the name of a lesson. If you need the group or the area to understand which lesson it is, that will be confusing. So avoid lesson names like “Introduction” or “Symbol”, and include a bit more like “Introduction to Fractions” and “Wooden Hierarchy Material: Symbol”

2. Use colons to separate lessons/materials and sublessons.

For example: |Sun and Earth: Time Zones| |Sun and Earth: Unequal Day and Night| |Sun and Earth: 24 Hour Day or Night at the Poles|

This is important because, when you are using Transparent Classroom in the future, you will type a lesson name and you will first ONLY see the part before the colon. After you hit tab, you will see the sublessons. So the part before the colon should be what you would think to type first.