Adding page breaks to printouts

To add a page break to your weekly or weekly by subject printouts, click the "add page breaks" checkbox in the controls area at the top of the printout:

Scholaric remembers your selection and uses it the next time you print out.

Happy Planning...

Scaling Printouts

Some users have regular schedules which take up just a little more paper than they'd like.  Others may want to scale the printout larger for easier reading.  These users can scale their printouts.  This is available in the print header:

Here you see an entry to scale the size of the printout, in percentage terms.  To scale it down, enter a size smaller than 100:

And to scale it up, enter a size larger than 100.  This scale is reflected in the printout, and the setting is saved for all students.

Happy Planning



Super Downhill

Here is my idea for a real Winter Olympic event:

Take the skier to the top of the mountain with 4 kids.  When the skier gets off the lift -

  • One child has to go to the bathroom
  • One is "starving"
  • One is "freezing"
  • One can't find their iPod

To complete the course, the skier must take care of all 4 children's needs, recover the iPod, and get all the kids to the bottom of the mountain safely while the rest of the world is judging you.

Men's and women's divisions, as well as pairs.

If you are a parent, you are definitely a champion and should be as proud of your performance as the medalists at Sochi.

Happy Planning

Grading Scales

Grading Scales are used to convert a raw percentage score, such as 83.4% into a letter grade, such as B on a report card.  

Grading scales are also used to derive a number of grade points on a transcript (yet to be released).  Your grading scales can be seen by clicking on the Grading Scales tab on the dashboard:

This tab allows you to see and edit your grading scales.  When visiting it you should first see a scale automatically created for you:

This scale is a standard 10 point scale.  It indicates the various grade levels, such as an A being >= 90.0 and 4 grade points, a B being >= 80.0 and 3 grade points, and so on.  The final level, shows <= 60.0, and naturally goes down to zero, and is worth 0 grade points.

You can change it by clicking the various parts of the scale, including the scale name, the level names, the level ranges, and the level grade points.  Click, type and submit inline.  

Note that when you edit a range, you cannot move one outside the range of the level above or below it. In the above example, I could not edit the C range, and make its limit >= 85.0 without first modifying the B range higher than that.

To add a level, click on the "Add level" button and plus icons are shown between levels:

You must then decide where to insert the  new level, but clicking on the appropriate icon, and then editing the default level information.  If you change your mind, and decide to not add a level, click on the icon again to remove those icons.

To remove a level click on the "Remove level" button, and X icons will appear next to levels:

Select the appropriate level to delete by clicking on the X next to that level.  Again, clicking on the "Delete level" button a second time will undo the operation.

The yellow star indicates a default scale.  Unfilled stars indicate other, non-default scales.  Change your default scale by clicking on an unfilled star to make that scale the default one.  

Your most common scale should be the default scale.  This scale will be automatically chosen for grading purposes, unless you take action to assign a different scale.  Changes to the default scale take effect to all report cards, past and future.

Other scales may be used due to advanced courses, or other circumstances that dictate an alternate grade range, or grade-point assignment.  For example, an advanced course may use the same point ranges, but higher grade points.

To create a new scale, click on the "Add a scale" button, and you will then be able to rename it, and edit its levels.

Using Grading Scales in Report Cards

Again, by default, all grades calculated for all report cards will use your selected default scale.  The calculated grade can be seen in the report card.  If alternate scales are created, you will want to assign them to specific course or subject grades.  This is done by selecting a different scale using the grade menu on the report card:

Note, this menu option only shows up when you have multiple grading scales.  This selection is for a specific student, for the subject or course of the report card, for the report card period.

To view your current scale selections, select the grade menu option "show grading scales" and all the scale selections for the report card will be displayed.

Happy Planning!

Exporting Lessons

To export your student's lessons, select the dashboard link Export Lessons:

You will then be presented the export screen:

On the export screen, you will see an Export link for every period, for each student.  When you click one of the links, the corresponding lessons will be mailed to your on-file email address as a comma-separated value (CSV) file.  These CSV files can be imported into a spreadsheet program.

If you don't receive the email, you may want to check:

  • Your spam folder
  • Your tabs if you are using gmail with tabs
  • Your email address, by clicking on your username on the top-right corner of the screen

Happy Planning

Easier Lesson Sequences

Lesson sequences just got a bit easier.

There are two new changes designed to make entering a sequence easier.

First, when entering a curly-brace range, you don't have to mark the lesson as repeating.  Scholaric detects the curly braces, and assumes it is repeating, and marks it for you.

Second, there is a new option to end repetition at the sequence.  When automatically marking the sequence as repeating, as above, Scholaric will default to this selection.  This option is available because when a sequence is specified, it has a natural ending, and the number of lessons need not be specified.

To see it all in action, first flip to the repetition tab, and then type your description in:

Then, the only thing left is to select the repetition days.  If you set your default schedule for this course, even this lesson could be skipped.

Happy planning

Setting the Default Schedule of a Course

To set the default schedule of a course, use the course menu:

Select "set default schedule..." and the Course Schedule Dialog appears:

Which allows you to set the default schedule of your course.  This is used to auto populate the schedule of a repeating lesson, or to set the schedule of a non-repeating lesson.  This schedule is then later used to decide where to bump a lesson to.

Happy Planning

Upgrade Results

The infrastructure upgrade is now complete.  Some minor issues were found and fixed.

For now, you should see a faster Scholaric - due to these changes:

  1. Ruby 2, an upgrade from ruby 1.9 with many speed improvements
  2. Cedar, my host's latest application platform
  3. Rails 3, which has many speed improvements over rails 2
  4. Unicorn, a faster web server
  5. Javascript and stylesheet minimization, and combination into a single file per request

This should make the platform generally run faster for you.

Happy Planning


Scholaric Infrastructure Upgrade

I am planning on a major infrastructure upgrade - the planned date is Saturday, November 23rd at 9:30 PM Central Time.

Due to the complexity of this upgrade, Scholaric will be offline for at least an hour.

I will be backing up the database and restoring it to a new one, doing configuration changes, rolling out new code, and pointing the domain names (DNS) to the new servers.  Good times.

Please be aware that the DNS changes can take hours to roll out.  During this time, the old Scholaric will produce a maintenance message, even while the new one is up - so it's possible for your browser to be pointing to the maintenance-mode Scholaric even while the new one is available.

New with this upgrade - the leading www. in the URL will now be required.  If you drop the www, it will redirect for you (that is, if I configure it correctly :).

When complete, a new, faster Scholaric will be in place, and it will be time to start improving the service again.

Happy Planning

jeff

Finishing one Year and Starting a New One

Finishing up a year and starting a new one is a tricking thing for a planner to handle.  Some families like to plan ahead and get that next year entered, while they are in the current year.  Others like to finish this year, close it out, and plan over break.  Still others don't want to even think about next year now.  Just take that break, and plan year just-in-time.

However you want to handle it, it's important to understand how Scholaric works, and what not to do.

First, what not to do.  Do not delete last year's lessons.  Do not delete last year's courses. Do not delete last year's period.  Do not change the dates of your current period.

These are all destructive actions, and prevent you from seeing the prior year's data.  This is bad, you need to preserve your records over time.

As for what you should do - there are five steps:

Add new courses

This is done by clicking on the courses label.  When a course is added, it appears every week in the grid, whether you have lessons in it or not.  This means the new course will be visible in your grid for the rest of this year.

Plan the new year

Create your lessons in the new courses as you would for this year.  Don't forget the powerful lesson sequence syntax.  The new lessons won't show up in your current year's goals, report cards, or grade book.

Add a new period

Create a new period for your new school year.  When you do this, Scholaric copies your current period's goals, and grading settings, to try and save you time.

Set new Goals

Should you desire new goals for the new year, you can create them.  Goals are tied to the current period, so they won't show up in the current period.

Hide old courses

When you are done planning on the old period, you can hide the courses from it.  The courses then only show up in the planning grid for weeks in which they have lessons - meaning that you can always come back to see the grid in all it's glory for years to come. 

Change the current period

Finally, when you are truly finished, change the current period.  Then your goals, report cards, and grade books will reflect the new year.  To view yesteryear's goals, report cards, and grade books, just change the period back, and they are back.

Happy Planning