Frequently Asked Questions
How can I use the program?
Morning Check-In is currently free to classroom teachers K-8. Sign up using the form on the "Morning Check-In" page. Specify the number of students in your class and a title for your classroom website. We'll email you a setup link and an onboarding video that shows how to get your classroom started in under 5 minutes.
How do you protect student privacy?
Who created the program?
Morning Check-In and other Topical Storm survey and writing apps were created by elementary school teachers in Massachusetts, Vermont, Minnesota, and Indiana, an Assistive Technology Specialist, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley Teaching and Learning Lab, and a software developer.
What's our mission?
Topical Storm began ten years ago as an assisted writing tool (for "brainstorming topics"). Many students are afraid of writing. They are intimidated by the blank page and need coaxing to explore their own ideas. Our goal is to relieve this pressure by guiding the process and asking probing questions to stimulate their thinking. One student said: "Topical Storm is like writing with a friend."
With the pandemic, it became clear that we must address students' emotional needs before trying to teach them academics. We created SEL-based journaling lessons and surveys to help students express their emotions and think of coping strategies. Morning Check-In is the easiest of these apps for students and teachers to use and the one that provides the most immediate value.
What is the benefit for students and teachers?
Morning Check-In asks students to reflect on their own experiences, then saves the data for the teacher to view. Students appreciate having the opportunity to write directly to their teacher and be heard at the start of a busy school day.
Teachers use the data from Morning Check-In to see which students need additional care. Parents at teacher conferences appreciate when the teacher allows them to follow their child's emotional development during the year. School psychologists have used the data to justify services for at-risk students.
Where has it been used?
The writing tools were tested in more than 30 classrooms Grades 3-6 in Massachusetts, Vermont, and Minnesota. One 3rd grade classroom spent a whole year writing amazing personal narratives, fiction stories, and arguments about cell phones and homework.
Morning Check-In is beginning its third year at Walpole Public Schools. We would like to roll it out to more schools and are providing it free to test its usefulness.
What devices does it run on?
The program is web-based. It runs best on Chromebooks and laptops with the Chrome browser.
It has not been tested on iPads, and it's difficult to use on iPhones because of the small screens.
Can I create my own surveys?
Email us if you would like to create your own surveys or would like us to create a custom survey for your class.
Copyright (c) 2023 by Steve Herbst. All rights reserved.