Review by Seth Guttenplan, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2018

Birdhouse for Teachers

Teacher-parent organization tool keeps kids with disabilities on track

Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Pre-K–12
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Pros: Many different behavior and progress categories allow all involved to communicate a student's full story.

Cons: Internet access is required, and there's no way to share selected info with students.

Bottom Line: If everyone involved has web access and keeps up to date, kids with special needs will benefit.

Teachers can use Birdhouse as a behavior management tool to allow caregivers at home and educators at school to collaborate on one tool. By creating clear goals, the team can stay on the same page to help the student. Teachers can email parents an update on the student's progress at any time or download the data for IEP meetings or conferences. 

Homework assignments can also be shared with parents. You can include the due date and any other information important to completing the assignment. In addition, there's a skills practice category to share; if you want to be more specific with assignments, you can choose to discuss specific skills being worked on in your classes. Be sure to look over the sharing options (which individual categories to share as well as viewing and editing capabilities) and use notifications to make sure you're staying up to date.

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Birdhouse for Teachers is an organizational tool that gives special education teachers, parents, and other caregivers one place to share information about a student's behavior and progress. It's intended for caregivers of kids with developmental disabilities, but certainly can be used for any kid as needed. Teachers can create a profile (that includes entries for diagnoses) for each student and invite parents and colleagues to share their experiences while working with the student.

Teachers can enter information about absences, the student's food intake, homework, and skills practiced, if the student presented good behavior or had a meltdown, and more. The student's information is stored in a planner-style space called a Daybook, where members of the team can either view or edit the information, based on the sharing settings set up by the teacher. Users can create folders to store info like medication and goals, and can also access reports that show student progress over time.

Collaboration for all parties in and out of school benefits a student's progress, and with Birdhouse for Teachers, a student can no longer hide information from a teacher or parent when both are consistently in contact. Teachers may understand why a student enters school tired, with detailed parent info from the evening prior, and parents can better understand the student's progress in school even if the student cannot communicate directly to the parent. Though parents and other caregivers are easily looped in, it would be nice if teachers could choose to share selected data with the student as well. And while the interface is easy to use, more categories with pre-generated options (like types of absences) would inspire teachers and reduce the amount of time typing. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Teachers and parents will enjoy having more information about what's happening at school and at home, but there's a lost opportunity to involve students as well. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Teachers, parents, and other professionals have one place to stay up to date with the background info, daily behavior, and progress over time of students with disabilities. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

There's a community with FAQs and articles on how to use Birdhouse, but the information is difficult to find.


Common Sense Reviewer
Seth Guttenplan Technology coordinator

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