Brooklyn Middle School MY Access Training

with Jane Cook on 1/6/11

Questions from AM Group:
In attendance: Jane, Jim, Holly, Kathy
Teacher-Side of MY Access Questions:
• Is there carryover to their “off line” writing? – We talked about this; there appears to be carryover to writing but it doesn’t necessarily translate on the Editing and Revising section of the CMT.
• What’s the difference between the types of prompts? √
• How do we teach the power of words? What MY Access resources can help with that? – We looked at some of the word banks, pre-writing wizards, etc. that are located in the Resources section (click on the Resources link in the upper right-hand corner to find some great resources for teachers and students).
• How can we help kids become comfortable and confident with their own writing skills? – Give students an authentic audience and a real purpose. Then give them time to practice, practice, practice! Windham Middle School uses MY Access as a scaffold and as a way to give students immediate feedback. Then students use their writing to create projects and products, e.g., a PowerPoint presentation created by 5th graders for the 4th grade orientation, Animoto and Xtranormal videos, travel brochures, etc.
• How do we use MY Access to prepare students for the response to lit on the CMT? – See notes below from PM group. We developed a plan.
• With limited class time, what do we do with tech problems so the time is not wasted? - Have a back-up plan. Always have paper/pencils/pens available in case the technology isn’t working.
• How can we assign different assignments to different groups? √
• Enabling feedback in multiple languages √
• Scheduling the laptops – Jane talked about how they found that a paper calendar stored on the cart did not work at Windham Middle School because teachers needed to know where the cart was in order to schedule time to use it. She showed how Windham Middle School uses an online calendar to schedule the four carts that they have. To see how they use their online calendars, go the TEAMS Wiki to see links for three different online calendars that WMS uses: To view one of the calendars, go to:
Student-Side of MY Access Questions:
• How do we use the persuasive writing wizard? √
• How do we have students use the revision plan? √

Questions from PM Group:
In attendance: Sharon, Kathleen, Lisa, Diane, Enrica
Teacher Questions
Q: With such limited time, how can we connect with people and Web sites that can enhance lessons?
A: Jane recommended that teachers check out the Windham Middle School CT TEAMS Wikispace at and Thinkfinity – go to the CT TEAMS Thinkfinity page at There are lots of other resources for educators on the Web. Jane encouraged people to search for things and share them with their colleagues. The BMS Wikispace would be a good place to do that.
Jane also said that she’d be happy to connect the BMS teachers with teachers at Windham Middle School who are working on MY Access. E-mail Jane at her Windham e-mail account at if you are interested in talking with WMS teachers about how they are using MY Access and to find out what other kinds of 21st Century technology they are using with their students.

Q: Which things is MY Access best for and which things should we be using paper and pencil for?
A: We discussed this briefly. Depending on teachers’ comfort level in creating assignments and using the reports to analyze the data to help inform their planning and instruction and the students’ access to technology, MY Access can be a very useful tool for many things that used to only be done with paper and pencil. See some ideas in the responses to other questions in these notes.

Q: How do we integrate MY Access with our new Reading program? How do we use MY Access for short answer questions?
A: We experimented with My Prompts and found that is one way to do this. The group created a My Prompt by copying and pasting from the Journeys online anthology using the 6-point scale. Then they copied and pasted in one of the suggested responses which was given a score of 1.7 by the Approximator Holistic Scorer; this would be a 2 if you rounded up on a 2-point scale. They revised the response by deleting some of the wording and the score went down. When they revised the response to the point that it did not address the prompt at all, it was rated as Non-scoreable.
We talked about how to use this as a way to give students practice in writing open-ended, short answer responses to literature. In order to keep that data together so that it won’t “muddy” the data that should be scored on a 6-point scale, Jane created a new BMS teacher account in MY Access. The login is:
o Username: bmsjourneysteacher
o Password: bobcat
Whenever BMS teachers are doing 2-point open-ended prompts, they should login as the bmsjourneysteachers. In that way, they can share the prompts that they are creating and keep that data segregated from their other data.
Jane created a group (with the last name) of each of the teachers who attended today’s training session. Teachers will use this account to create a series of My Prompts by copying and pasting in from the Journeys online passages or by creating other open-ended prompts. The morning group can use it for their own open-ended My Prompts. The maximum score for these responses will be a 2 even though the scale is still a 6-point scale.

Q: What do we do when the technology freezes or there are other technical glitches?
A: Have a back-up plan; always have paper and pencil available. If you start having hiccups on the network, have students start their writing in Word and copy and paste it into their MY Access assignment writing space.

Q: How can we use the reports to better target instruction?
A: Jane showed a one page handout for generating reports. Click on the filename below to open this handout:

We looked at the Performance Summary Report and briefly talked about the Error Analysis Report. Both are very helpful in planning for flexibly grouping and differentiating instruction for students.

Q: How do I correctly set up the assignments? How do I target specific assignments for individuals and small groups?
A: Jane demonstrated how to set up assignments and each of the teachers created an assignment. She talked about the value of using the reports to give teachers data to inform their planning and instruction. For example:
• Teachers can use report data to help them form subgroups within their classes and create different assignments focused on what each group needs.
• If the report data is showing a weakness in writing conclusions, teachers can create a mini-lesson/s related to writing strong conclusions to meet the specific needs of students in your classes.

Q: How do we use Boolean logic to search on the Internet?
A: We didn’t have time to work on this. Jane suggested working with Pam and/or Glen on this. She also said that she has pages on the WMS TEAMS Wikispace related to searching and researching. For links to several pages related to searching and researching, go to: For a page and links related to Boolean logic, go to:

Student-Side of MY Access Questions
Q: How do we get the kids to use the Revision Plan most effectively and independently?
A: Have the students use the Revision Plan to set goals and choose strategies. Have them write a reflection after they have made revisions related to how effective their strategies were. Focus students on only one or two goal areas when using Intellimetric prompts. Use the reports to help create subgroups that need to work in specific areas. Create different assignments for subgroups based on what you’re seeing as student needs from their writing.