Monica Burns shared a free resource this past week that she has created. "This book is for educators working with students of all ages, especially those in a Chromebook classroom. This free ebook is called Using Book Creator for Formative Assessment: 15 Tips for Checking for Understanding." Read more about it and download this free resource on her blog, then head right over to Book Creator and read more about using Book Creator and Adobe Spark
We are reminded that this week is Assistive Technology Awareness Month by Leslie DiChiara. She shared a great intro to AT video by Chris Bugaj on herblog. Just a reminder, CTD has an excellent library of Assistive Tech resources, including Quick Takes.
It would be hard for me to decide which one of the new-to-me tools I learned about this week is the coolest.
I really loved Jen Giffen's quick post about PDF Candy. I have the full version of Adobe Acrobat at home, but not at school. It drives me crazy when I need/want to make changes to a pdf and cannot do it right away. This tool may solve that problem. It's called PDF Candy. Just head over to the site, choose what you need/want to do with the pdf and click on it. You upload your PDF, make changes and download it. If you don't want to wait, there is also a free downloadable program for Windows. Check it out here.
Another cool tool I learned about is actually software called Pepakura Designer. It is used to take a 3D file, for example a file from Tinkercad, and"unfold" it to make a 2D paper design which can then be printed and folded. I see this as a great way to do some rapid prototyping vs the much slower and more costly 3D printing. I haven't tried it out yet, but check out Stu Lowe's Tweet.
Merge Cube-Co-Spaces Add-on
This new add-on has been released and so far, it is getting great reviews. I tried Co-Spaces back when it first came out, but it took forever to load for me. Partially because I have pokey internet, but it seemed cool, but clunky. It has come a long way. I am not a huge Merge Cube fan, but I know some teachers- and some students love them and have found great value in using them to demonstrate learning. This new combo sounds great- and easy to do. However, the caveat is that you need a Pro license. This is for a minimum of 30 students and will cost $105/year. Check out the video below and see what you think.
A few years ago, I backed the Neuron on Kickstarter. It's still in the box. But, after watching this little guy programming with Neuron and Swift playground, it's got to come out of the box, even if I just bring it to school and let some brilliant students give it a go. If you're wondering- Neuron is a lot like Little Bits- but it seems sturdier to me.
Articles to Ponder
Last week I noticed an article by George Couros about balance. I first met George back when Beth Still brought him to ISTE (it may have still been NECC), as the "newbie". Little did I know that Alec's little brother was going to go on to become a rock star educator. But, Balance: This is a goal of mine, so I was interested to see what George said. I was struck by his first paragraph: “Balance is stupid.”
Of course, he goes on to talk more about this and about how he now views balance today. Then I saw another article by John Spencer who delved into this same topic. Take the time to read his whole article. Or... just watch the video below- then go read the whole article, it's worth your time.
I wrote a week or so ago about Google Keep, as well as here, and here. I went to #EdCampNQ this past weekend and in a session about chrome extensions, once again Google Keep came up. This time an AT from a neighboring district (@OsborneAllegra) demo'd how she uses Keep in her job. Because she goes from school to school, her Google Keep for work is arranged with a note for each school-but the cool thing for all you visual learners was the way she used a different photo for each note. Using her phone, she could see by quickly scrolling thru the notes exactly what she needed to accomplish at each school- with color coded notes and checkboxes. She also has a Google Keep extension that she uses for her personal account and is quite literally using it as a planning and organization tool for her summer trips. Another participant, @jrowebbrsd, also uses it for its OCR capabilities. If you've never tried to pop an image into Google Keep and then pull the text out of it... check it out in this short video. Imagine having a student who may struggle to get all the assignments written down. A quick image with a phone or other device, pop it into Google Keep, grab the text, pop it into a Google Doc and have it read to you by Read and Write for Google Chrome. If you haven't checked out Google Keep, you're missing out. It just keeps getting better.
I love the versatility of Google Forms. They can be used for so much more than surveys! I use them all the time when I am making digital breakouts for students to use. Data validation turns a form into a way to require the "secret password" or gives feedback with additional clues. Today I was reading/listening to Matt Miller and Kasey Bell's podcast and blog posts about using Google Forms for differentiation.
What I really liked about Kasey and Matt's podcast/posts was that it reminded me of 2 things. One: Use forms as a learning tool. By using branching you can give a formative assessment with the learning reinforcement built in. When a student gets a question wrong, he moves on to a video or other lesson material to reteach/reinforce the concept vs. just getting it wrong. If the student is correct, he moves to the next question. Here's the link to Kasey's post with some great step by step directions for you to try out. Just in case you don't have time to read her whole post, buried way down at the bottom is alink to (French teacher) Sylvia Duckworth's blog post on using forms for a choose your own adventure story. Check it out...it's fun to do a story this way.
Here's the podcast if you'd rather just listen along...
Reshare of Google Forms Teacher Tips... this is updated every Tuesday
#GAFEchat on Forms
This evening I participated in a #GAFEchat and the topic was Google Forms. So, it's not just me who loves Google Forms. So many interesting resources were shared...
Here's thelink to the collection of links from this #gafechat or the curated collection is listed below (use Participate.com to quickly gather all links from fast moving chats)
Google Forms Ninja Moves and Secret Passwords
Using Tables in Forms
One word I've been hearing over and over again is FEEDBACK. Students need/want feedback on their work. Not grades- but feedback to help them improve their work, increase their skills, add to their tool belts...So, how do we do that?
There are as many ways to give feedback as there are teachers. If we keep in mind that grades in and of themselves, are relatively meaningless (IMHO), then our job is to help our students learn to think, learn to learn. We need to help them understand how to do things differently, how to correct mistakes, etc. Formative assessment is helpful, not punitive. In order to be effective, feedback must be timely and constructive. If you use Google Docs in the classroom, you have a whole variety of formative assessment tools at your fingertips, from Kaizena voice notes to inserting comments.
Richard Byrne recently had a post about 5 assessment tools that you should check out.
There are lots of rubric creators online. The one I learned about most recently is called Orange Slice. This was created by a teacher, Matt Buchanan. He was inspired to create this add-on to speed up grading time and to create more time to provide students with constructive feedback. He has an excellent Google+ site and is always ready to answer questions. One thing I liked about this rubric is that it is a Google Docs add-on. It is designed to show student progress across general areas, although you can get more specific. It can help you document where the student began on a project, and how he/she changed, improved over time. It can be a simple document or a whole term project. You can incorporate peer review. It is not simply a check list: do these 5 things and get an A, do 4 and get a B... You can learn more by visiting the LiveBinder link here. Check it out in the video below.
I've written a bit about Joe Zoo before, but they have made a lot of improvements since it first came out and it is well worth revisiting. JoeZoo is a rubric creator, as well as a feedback and a grading tool. It is both an app and an Google Doc add-on. It is free for both teachers and students.
Joe Zoo also features a "Monkey Checker" to check for grammar errors, writing mechanics, etc and offer suggestions.
They have a whole playlist of tutorials, but this is the one for creating rubrics.
Roobrix is a web site I have used a lot in the past to convert my rubric score into a percentile grade. I remember the first time I made a rubric, a basic 4 point rubric... the students could get up to 20 points with the 5 criteria I used. I thought I could simply add up the numbers and divide it out. Not quite so simple, as I found out. Check out Roobrix to see help correct this all too common mistake.
Rubistar has been around forever. It is a free tool to help teachers create rubrics. You can find a rubric for just about anything, use it as is or modify it. Easy peasy. Now that we have had rubrics in classrooms for years, my question would be- is this the best way to provide a rubric for formative assessment? I know the way I have used these in the past was more for summative assessments. I dug down and got really picky on them, especially when I used them for InDesign projects. I thought it was to make me be less subjective. That may have worked, but it did not give my students the constructive feedback that another type of rubric could.
As the school year draws to a close, I would like to share a few of the many vendor emails I get on a daily basis. These actually have something to offer busy teachers. Check out new developments at ReadWorks, Symbaloo, JoeZoo and EasyBib.
There are 2 new, exciting updates from ReadWorks coming next fall. There will be a new digital website and a new K-5 Article-A-Day program.
The new ReadWorks Digital website will be available for all teachers and students.
Read Works - Article a Day
"ReadWorks Introduces Article-A-Day for Kindergarten - 5th grade
In just 10-15 minutes each day you can dramatically improve your students’ reading comprehension by systematically building their background knowledge and vocabulary with Article-A-Day.
Learn more about Article-A-Day"
Symbaloo Edu Lesson Plans
Symbaloo, which we use at HES for a start page for students ( with a separate start page for teachers), recently rolled out a new service using their platform- Lesson Plans for students. Essentially this is like a pathfinder. Here's their promo:
Engage your students with truly personalized learning by creating your own lesson plans and fully customizing the look and feel. Simply add videos, documents, quizzes and educational games that guide students through custom learning paths from start to finish. View the progress of your students in real time, chat with them to help them with the assignment and utilize the built-in grading tool to make your life easier. You can now get started with creating your first lesson plan. How? By taking your first lesson: A lesson plan explaining Symbaloo Lesson Plans. See what we did there? ;-)
Joe Zoo is a Google Add On, built for teachers to help with rubrics, grading and feedback. It is relatively new and has made some good upgrades recently. It is integrated with Google Classroom.
Check it out here. The video below is just a short promo video, but there is a complete playlist of how to videos on YouTube
Easy Bib Edu
I got this from Easy Bib recently. Easy Bib is an easy to use citation service and has a Google Docs add on. Click on the link to the form to get this for free if you would like to be able to view and manage student accounts. They also have a helpful resource for educators- with articles like Teaching Students How To Summarize and Paraphrase in their Own Words, or How to Conquer the Dreaded Blank Page with Writing Prompts
Questions? Check the FAQ page
To get right to it: we heard you when you said that your students loved using EasyBib, so we’re excited to let you know that you and your students can have FULL ACCESS to EasyBib EDU for free, starting with the 2016-2017 school year and beyond! This means:
We’ll keep improving EasyBib throughout the upcoming school year, adding enhancements such as a new and improved notebook, an annotation tool to help your students find and capture important information, and an improved Google Docs add-on with notes and outline support to assist students throughout the writing process.
Stay tuned for more updates and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let us know, and don’t forget to sign up for EasyBib EDU here.
Thanks and we will be in touch!
The Imagine Easy Team
Google introduced voice typing over the summer and has made some big improvements. If you haven’t tried it out, it’s worth the time to check. Located right in Google Docs- top navigation bar- Tools, you can now use your voice to format your document. Is it perfect? No… but it can be very helpful for both teachers and students to quickly get some notes down, as well as for students who are articulate, but struggle to put their pen to paper. Even though it’s still a blank white space, I have seen it help kids who think they “can’t write”.
These are the basic punctuation commands, but you can access the full list here, including lots of ways to format your document simply using your voice.
· Exclamation point
· Question mark
· New line
· New paragraph
Google Forms for Quizzes
I spent Saturday morning over at Mahar in Orange, at edcamp North Quabbin. I was really impressed with how well the teachers at Mahar are integrating technology into their day to day work with students and how much they love using Google Forms with flubaroo, integrated into Google Classroom. If you 've never tried flubaroo, here's the quick overview.
If you are not using Google Forms for multiple choice or short answer quizzes, you’re missing out on a quick and easy way to collect student data, to teach and give formative assessments and more. Google Forms has changed recently, so it may look different to you. The icon- accessed from your google drive> more> forms is now purple.
Here’s an overview video for the new version of Google Forms:
Forms to Teach and Assess
Tom Mullaney recently posted about using google forms for remediation and review, featuring his Impossible to Fail Quiz. What, pray tell, is an impossible to fail quiz? Here are 2 examples- Tom’s French Revolution Quiz and a Quiz on Google Classroom. Essentially, if you get the question wrong you are directed to a video or website or document to help you, then you get to answer the question again.
If you want to give this a try yourself.. check out his tutorial here
By the way he also embedded this into a Thinglink… pretty cool idea. We have a thinglink account that can be used at the elementary school for HES classes.
Most of us are familiar with Google Forms as we have seen them as surveys for PD and more. Over the weekend I was listening to Monica Burns, an educator who was giving a short webinar on SimpleK12 on Google Forms for Assessment. Just an FYI- SimpleK12 offers tons of webinars- sometimes a free batch on a weekend, but it's a subscription site. They have hundreds of short webinars on topics that you can use in the classroom, mostly delivered by educators in the classroom. I have had a subscription for years, so if you would like to see a sampling of what is available let me know.
Monica had some great ideas, some of which I will share with you here, but got me thinking about all the ways we could use Google forms every day. If you haven't seen the "new" Google forms, you may be a little surprised when you go to https://docs.google.com/forms/ or go to your Google Drive, click new, more and choose Forms. The icon is purple now and they have made a lot of cosmetic changes, and a few functional ones. If you've never tried forms- it's easy...and here's a series of 6 quick how-to videos (using the new forms) from Lori Alighieri.
Tracy Watanabe put together a terrific Google Form to show examples of various Google Forms for Assessment. Click on the image below to go the form to see these examples. She has 5 separate forms linked to this one and each one has tons of great examples K-12.
Monica Burns' examples- just a slideshow with screenshots from the webinar to give you some more ideas. She preloads the student names on some forms and by using the dropdown list has a quick and easy way to collect data as she observes the students.
More Great Examples
Examples from Kern Kelley
Examples from Tammy Worcester
King of Interesting Ways: Tom Barrett
Queen of Google Classroom and more... Alice Keeler has a good tutorial on how to create a formative quiz
Eric Curts has a really nice tutorial ( Just a note: the images are not working on it tonight... perhaps they will be there when you click thru) Online Assessments with Google Forms
And last, but certainly not least- I found a really cool Google Add-on for forms.
Doc to Form AddOn
If you have assessments created in Google Docs, this can help you quickly and easily convert them to forms. Why, pray tell, would you want to do that? Well, you can automatically grade a lot of the multiple choice type quizzes and much, much more if you use forms. Unless you like to carry those bundles of papers back and forth...
"Doc to Form allows you to quickly and easily create a form from text within a Google Doc.
Doc to Form allows you to quickly and easily create a Google Form from within a Doc. Simply select text and click a button to add your questions. You can choose from a variety of question types - ideal for converting traditional worksheets to Google Forms."
Digital portfolios are an excellent way to collect, and display student work, as well as a way to offer an opportunity for student reflection on their work. Dr. Helen Barrett has done an enormous amount of work on this over the years.
There are various types of student portfolios, but basically can be distilled down to process or product. Many times the process evolves over time from collection of a digital archive to more of a reflective journal or blog to a portfolio used for assessment or display of student work.
Do you want to create a portfolio for student reflection, for formative assessment, giving and receiving feedback or for collaboration? These are process portfolios. They are not limited to the humanities. One can easily create process type portfolios for STEM courses as well.
Do you want to create a portfolio to display student work, for accountability? These are generally categorized as product portfolios. This is not just for artwork. Technology can help students document their thinking in all domains. A student can use screencasting and an online whiteboard, or an app like Explain Everything to walk through how to solve an equation.
After the decision about what kind of portfolio will be created, and this is not an all or nothing choice- think of a portfolio of art work (display) complete with student reflection on the work (process), the next step is to find the right tool. Is this portfolio going to be private, public, or have limited sharing? Is it going to be arranged chronologically or by topic/subject? Is this a portfolio that the student will keep and will follow him/her K-12 or some part of or is it course/year specific? Will the student be able to keep this work and take ownership at graduation?
Tools you may want to look at may include:
For the younger students- SeeSaw Journal is free and has gotten rave reviews from elementary teachers. This is from the Chrome Web Store:
Easily Capture Student Learning in Any Form
∙ Students can use photos, videos, drawings, text notes, links to show what they know.
∙ When students add to their Seesaw journal, content is uploaded, organized by student, and immediately accessible to teachers from any device.
∙ Teachers can browse work from the entire class or for a single student. Optionally, use folders to organize work by subject area or project.
∙ Teachers can flag items for follow up or to review at parent-teacher conferences.
Sign In Options that Work for All Ages
∙ Younger learners or classrooms with shared devices can sign in with a QR code. Older students can sign in with their existing Google Account.
Encourage Reflection and Provide an Authentic Audience
∙ Seesaw helps capture the learning process not just the end result. Students can use Seesaw’s built-in audio recording and drawing tools to reflect on what they’ve learned or explain how they got their answer.
∙ Seesaw gives students an authentic audience of their peers and parents, encouraging better work and real feedback. Teachers can control who can see what, and what feedback options are available, such as likes and comments.
Strengthen Connections Between School and Home
∙ Include families in the learning process by inviting them to view updates to their child’s Seesaw journal. Seesaw’s immediate, visual updates actually get seen by parents, provide encouragement for students, and cross language barriers.
∙ Teachers approve all new additions and comments before anything is shared with parents.
Weebly: Weebly for education offers an easy to use, drag and drop interface which we have had students from 4th grade up use for projects. Weebly sites can be set up as blogs or websites. We have a set of accounts to use at HES- so please don't set up more for the younger students.
The first video is over an hour long... "complete guide". The second one is 15 minutes and may answer most of your questions.
Wikispaces: A wiki can make an excellent place to store and display work. Wikispaces is free for education and offers a simple, fairly intuitive editing system. You can also set up your own wikispaces classroom.
Kidblogs, Edublogs or Blogger all offer various ways to both display and reflect on work. Edublogs and Kidblogs have teacher dashboards for more control. Blogger is currently not available for HES or HA.
Voice Thread is a great way to make a digital portfolio, offering a way to combine images, videos, or just about any type of document and an easy to use comment system
Try it out! Digital portfolios offer a wonderful way to give feedback, formative and summative assessment, a time and place for reflection and can be saved as a digital record of student work.
I started to use Kahoot! with students last year as the 3rd grade was finishing up some work on the Solar System. The students in 3B were thrilled to take this quiz, very engaged, and begged to take it again. They even decided to go home and create their own quizzes for their peers to try. Kahoot is simply a way to do a very engaging online quiz, discussion or survey. So, what's a Kahoot? Online quizzes, discussions or surveys. They are simple to create or you can probably find one in the thousands shared by teachers online and simply modify it to fit your topic or age group. You can use this as an assessment, since the data from all students will come into your teacher dashboard, or assign it to your students to come up with a way to help themselves or their peers review for an exam.
Here's a tutorial to check it out.
Another similar assessment tool is Socrative. Socrative is less "game show" like, but still engaging for your students and a fun way to do a quick assessment.
From the web site:
" Socrative empowers you to engage and assess your students as learning happens. Through the use of real-time questioning, result aggregation, and visualization, you have instant insight into levels of understanding so you can use class time to better collaborate and grow as a community of learners."
Looking for More Ideas?
Check out the video below with other tools you may enjoy using in your classroom for assessment.