Review by Jason Shiroff, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2017

Sown to Grow

Cultivate a growth mindset with reflective, student-driven learning

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
4–12
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Pros: Gives students data to think critically about their goals and progress by easily adding a self-reflective layer to any assignment.

Cons: Finding time to assess academic assignments and an additional layer of student reflection can prove challenging for busy educators.

Bottom Line: If developing a growth mindset is an important part of your teaching practice, this is a solid choice.

Teachers can use Sown to Grow to build learning cycles and monitor student perception and achievement throughout the cycle. Cycles could be set up for an entire class or for subgroups working on specific goals. Sown to Grow can make it easier for students to reflect on their learning and gives teachers a new avenue to leave feedback related to goal setting and growth mindset development.

Teachers can use the data to help differentiate instruction and bolster self-directed learning in the classroom. The data and student reflections also make great conversation starters to use with students and parents.

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Sown to Grow is a tool that students can use to set learning goals and reflect on their progress. The singular goal of the website is to help students develop a growth mindset in order to take a more active role in their learning. Before students log in, teachers set up a learning cycle, which includes learning objectives, assignments, and grading scales; assignments can include links to other websites. Students cycle through four steps during a cycle: Check In, Set Goals, Work Hard, and Reflect. During the initial stage, students share how they're feeling about the content. Next, they set achievement goals for each assignment and enter their actual grades after completing the work. Students can add comments to their assignment scores, as well. Finally, students reflect on their overall progress on the learning cycle and answer the questions, "What strategies do you want to use again?" and "What new strategies do you want to try?"

Students and teachers have full access to the data in Sown to Grow. Students can review, edit, and add additional grades at any time. The teacher dashboard gives educators a quick overview of the class and helps teachers drill down into data for specific assignments or students, which helps teachers quickly give feedback to students. The student dashboard includes a to-do list and lots of clearly displayed data.

Sown to Grow is a promising tool to support self-directed learning in the connected classroom. It's a unique platform that puts students in charge of entering and reflecting on their own data. This process can help students notice patterns in their learning and select improvement strategies. Sown to Grow can give teachers information that most gradebooks can't: a look at how their students are feeling and thinking about their own progress. This layer of metacognition could provide insight into the reasons why some students are successful or struggling in the class.

Sown to Grow could be improved if it were easier to set up learning cycles and find student comments. Setting up assignment templates with customized grading scales and school-specific language would be a huge help, as would providing options for students to select when choosing an improvement strategy. The site does offer a list of sample strategies; it would be useful to customize these strategies and make them clickable to cut down on typing for younger users. Integration with Google Classroom is a useful feature and makes setting up assignments much easier. Adding a mobile app would make it a more practical tool in busy classrooms.

Overall Rating

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

The user-friendly layout helps students set and reflect on their goals. The website has a clean, straightforward design but won't exactly draw students in.

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

Students learn to flex their growth mindset by setting learning goals and reflecting on their progress. The self-directed process can help students look for patterns in their thinking and puts them in charge of their own data.

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

Video tutorials and user guides help classes get up and running fast, and developers respond quickly to support requests. Integration with Google Classroom is a huge plus.


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Jason Shiroff Classroom teacher

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