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Interview: Christine Flowers, Third Grade Teacher at Berwyn South School District

Partnering with Technology to Support Student Growth and Autonomy in IL Classrooms

In this interview, Christine Flowers describes the value of partnering with technology to promote student autonomy and growth in the classroom.

Q: How does eSpark make it easier to address the diverse learning needs found in your classroom?

Christine Flowers: I love how I can look around my classroom while my students are eSparking and know that they are all working on different levels and being met at their skill level in such an independent setting. Not only that, but I am able to go in and see their progress, the areas they are excelling in, and the areas they are struggling in. It’s really such a beneficial tool for both of us. When my students use eSpark, they always know exactly what to do next and I know they are always working on a standard that aligns to the curriculum I am teaching in my classroom.


Q: What do your students like best about eSpark?

Christine Flowers: Some of my students love the challenge associated with completing a Quest and making that connection between what they learned on eSpark that day and what I have been teaching in the classroom. Other students find these Quests more challenging to get through, but being able to actually see where and what they are struggling on allows me to give them the personalized instruction and attention they need to move forward.

I think one of my students’ favorite parts about eSpark is their ability to record how they are feeling before beginning a Quest. This social-emotional check in makes eSpark so unique by enabling me to touch base with each of my students in a very efficient and natural way that I normally don’t have the capacity to do. Students sometimes need an outlet to reflect on feelings unrelated to school and this check-in gives me the chance to monitor how my students are feeling and follow up with those who might be angry or sad that day so that I can give them the space to talk about it.


Q: What do you like best about eSpark?

Christine Flowers: I love the weekly emails eSpark sends that offer small group suggestions and helpful resources to use in my classroom. Sometimes, If it’s a really crazy week, I know that I can rely on these suggestions entirely to guide my instruction. Other weeks, I’m able to pick and choose from these resources and suggestions to pull various students aside and help them on the particular skill they are struggling with that week, while my other students are independently eSparking.

These weekly emails show me that eSpark is always keeping an eye on my classroom, acting as a supportive partner by paying close attention to my students’ needs and offering helpful insights to better support them. To me, eSpark is an amazing differentiation tool that guides my students on appropriate material at their level, while also allowing me the ability to adjust this level and personalize assignments as necessary.

Q: How did you make eSpark a routine in your classroom?

Christine Flowers: When I first started eSpark, I decided to go all in with it so that I could really determine its effectiveness in my classroom. My students use eSpark during morning work time, or independent free time. They are given a variety of tasks they can choose to work on, including eSpark, which help to foster their autonomy and time management skills.

Developing independence in the classroom is a huge leap for third grade students, and eSpark really supports this independence with productivity and ease. We spend the first month of school getting students adjusted to the program by training them on how it works, which gives them a solid foundation for how they should be using their time effectively with eSpark throughout the rest of the year. This has been a really effective method for us.

Q: What motivates you to use eSpark every week?

Christine Flowers: I’m motivated to use eSpark in my classroom every week because it’s so easy to use. I love the feedback and suggestions that eSpark provides, it allows me to meet every student in my class at their level and adjust these levels if I see fit. You find some programs that have a couple good features, but I have to say eSpark has a lot of great features.


“[...] eSpark acts as a valuable partner on this journey to implementing effective personalized learning in the classroom that works to meet the needs of different learners, different teachers, and different teaching styles.”

Q: How have you seen students grow while using eSpark?

Christine Flowers: When I see that my students have finished a quest, I take a look at that specific common core strand they were working on and pay special attention to that skill when I am giving them any formal or informal assessment. I’m looking to see if they are successfully applying that skill outside of the program, and the majority of my students are. Oftentimes, skills are left unmastered as we move from unit to unit, preventing application and growth beyond this skill.

I love all of the different ways that eSpark engages students with one standard, whether it be watching an instructional video, completing practice problems, or applying the skill using a game, eSpark provides students with well-rounded exposure and practice. As a result, students are more accountable for their learning, which increases their retention ability necessary for mastering that skill. eSpark allows students’ to be more involved and aware of their progress, creating a more productive and deeper learning experience for my students.

Q: Why would you recommend eSpark to other teachers?

Christine Flowers: I would absolutely recommend eSpark to other teachers! I think this program would be especially helpful for new teachers in particular. When you first start teaching, you are so overwhelmed by all of the curriculum and the various implementation methods necessary to meet the needs of each student and eSpark acts as a valuable partner on this journey to implementing effective personalized learning in the classroom that works to meet the needs of different learners, different teachers, and different teaching styles.

With all of the products out there for teachers, it’s very rare to feel like you have a real partnership with them, so I have to say thank you to eSpark for being such a valuable partner in my classroom.


Berwyn, IL


73% free or reduced lunch


1:1 iPads


eSpark used in grades K-5 for math

Ready to see what eSpark could look like in your classroom?