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6 Great Resources for (Digital) Organization in your Classroom

INTRODUCTION:

Recently, teachers have been reaching out to Gradeable with a specific problem: they are feeling overwhelmed with the sheer number of ideas and innovations that are suggested to them for use in their classrooms. With this sentiment in mind, I wanted to compile some resources for managing information by pointing you to some fellow teachers who have built similar systems for their own rooms. Here are six stellar tools to help you organize your ideas and beyond.

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1. Together Teacher

Together Teacher is a consultancy for schools and leadership teams on school organization and time management. While this consultancy might exceed your need, they also have a great blog on organization tools, and a wealth of resources for your classroom that are available to you if you sign up for their email list serve.

2. EdSurge Instruct

Staying curent with cutting edge educational innovations can often feel overwhelming, even if you are not a busy teacher on top of this. To keep myself up to date, I subscribe to EdSurge’s weekly newsletter Instruct, which compiles information for educators on education and technology use in the field (in a brief email). They also have a newsletter on entreprenurship in the field called Innovate that you can tack on with one additional click.

3. Dropbox and Mailbox

These two organizational tools help me organize, compile, and share files and email respectively. I love the ease of having access to my files from anywhere, and freedom from the sheer amount of paper that I would compile over the course of the year, especially in light of my transition to digital grading. The bonus? Having one account to access both tools (through DropBox).

4. The Organized Classroom

Charity Preston is a master blogger. Her blog is full of strategies for organizing your resources. I am an especially big fan of her Technology page on Pinterest, where she compiles digital organizational strategies around popular tech tools for instruction.

5. Edmodo

Edmodo is a great resource for educators, and if you are not using already, I would urge you to reconsider. Connect with fellow educators on any topic in the field, from technology integration, to math and ELA. In addition to subject content, you can also post questions to fellow educators for tips on professional development and organization.

6. Gradeable

Gradeable helps you grade faster by eliminating the time it takes to evaluate and record grades in paper, digital, or project-based grading. On top of this Gradeabe is also a great tool for managing student grades and compiling a strong record of your students’ succcesses and challenges, and communicating this information to parents and fellow educators.

Learn more about Gradeable’s digital product.

Get your FREE trial of Gradeable!

Keeping your room and information organized is no easy task. I hope that in reading this, you have gained a few important resources to manage your grades, tools, and digital files. Every educator can be an organized one with a few easy steps!

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Introducing Gradeable Projects: Manage and Grade Projects through Gradeable’s Brand New Project-Based Learning Tool

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We were not satisfied with just making your grading go faster.  We weren’t even satisfied with giving teachers invaluable insights into your students’ thinking.  We wanted to give teachers more options to understand and engage students, and to that end, we are happy to announce our newest tool, Gradeable Projects. It is the perfect addition to starting and managing project-based learning in your classroom.

Gradeable Projects enables teachers to seamlessly integrate inquiry-based learning and measure standards and learning in a project format.  Project-based learning (PBL) has shown increased student engagement and motivation by encouraging students to constantly ask questions and re-evaluate what they have learned.  Research shows many important benefits of PBL: including higher student engagement, more self-reliance among students, better attendance, and a possible tool to close the achievement gap by engaging diverse students at all levels of achievement.  Check out this helpful compilation of research provided by the Buck Institute if you are interested in learning more.

How to get started with Gradeable Projects

Simply open up your Gradeable dashboard – and alongside, select a recent (or your favorite) project.  Click to create a “New Project.” (ProTip: Looking to create Gradeable’s original assessments? Just click on quiz/worksheet!)

selectproject_dashboard

accessprojects_dashboardThis is your project creation page. You can modify the name, description, tagged Common Core standards, and classes here. Most importantly, you can create your project rubric which is important to maintain the rigor of your students’ projects. To create your rubric, you can copy and paste an existing rubric or use a free online tool like Rubistar to identify the correct language and criteria. You can adjust point levels up to 100.  The beauty of our rubric setup is that Gradeable will total up all of your project points at the end, when you’re done with evaluating students.

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rubrics

After you’ve filled it out, you will be taken to your main project page. This is where you can add in different components (essays, lab write ups, posters, video, etc), print feedback you’ve left for students, and most importantly, view and grade student work.

mainpblpageOn this page, you can sort your view by components:

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Or sort by student:

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To add different components, click on Evidence Based. It will take you to your evidence creation page. Remember that evidence can be any part of your project that you would like to assess students on. The component will not show up on your main project page until you upload student work into that component. Don’t forget to add to your rubric if you add more components.

createevidenceTo upload student work, you can either 1) go to your main project page and click on Upload Evidence or 2) go to your dashboard and click on Upload. On this page, you will see that you can upload two types of documents: 1) Worksheets—these are your completed Gradeable quizzes and assessments or 2) Evidence—this is specifically for your student project components. After selecting the files to upload, don’t forget to click Submit.

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After the progress bar is finished, you will see your files populating the bottom field. Select which files you would like to organize first and fill in the correct fields on the right-side form. Save project.

Example: Upload all your project files but select only research papers. Navigate to the drop down menu and select the Research Paper component you created. Assign the work to the correct students.

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When you’re ready to grade your components (and you can save and grade later as well!), navigate back to your main project page. Click on any image in the component you’d like to start in. This is your grading panel and where you will see a picture of the student work as well as the corresponding rubric. The rubric will stay with the same student throughout all the components. Quickly scroll through student work by going left or right.

gradeevidenceTo grade using the rubric, find the correct component/criterion and click on the proficiency level. Gradeable will automatically total up the scores at the end of the project.

evidencerubricIf you choose to add comments, all feedback and rubrics can be printed out for students via your main project page.  Managing and grading projects never was so easy!  Now you can truly Grade Everything.  Are you as excited about PBL as we are?  Let us know in the comments below!

 Don’t let the project blues get you, get started with Gradeable Projects—now!

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New Feature: Import Existing Assessment and be Gradeable Ready!

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Why should I create quizzes now?

Imagine having your ducks in a row by the first day of school—for the entire year. Gradeable aims to give you peace of mind that your quizzes are Gradeable Ready. All you would need to do is print and go and your students will benefit from the question-by-question data analysis that you can use to re-teach with.

Instead of manually rebuilding existing assessments on the Gradeable platform yourselves, simply upload your documents and the Gradeable Robots will have it ready for you to just print and go.

How does it work?

1. Use any of your existing assessments (PDF, doc, docx, excel, csv, jpg).

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2. Go to Assessment

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3. Click on Import Existing

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4. Fill out the form and upload the document

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5. Within 24 hours, you will receive email notice that your assignment is Gradeable Ready!

And all you have to do is to press Submit!

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ProTip Wednesday: 12 Ways for Teachers to Treat Themselves

 

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We’re going strong for Teacher Appreciation Month and we can’t forget an incredibly important teacher tip: treat yourself! We put together a budget-friendly list for both our female and male teachers so there’s something for everyone. The first step of Teacher Appreciation is to appreciate you, the teacher.

1. Treat Yourself tote

What better way to remind yourself to relax than to carry around a tote? Kate Spade has this reusable tote bag for just $16.

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2. Get that massage

You’ve been passing by Massage Envy everyday, so why not take the plunge? Many locations offer a teacher discount, so be sure to call and confirm. (via Thought Catalog)

3. Indulge in your favorite T.V. shows

We’ve heard of teachers catching up with their favorite shows through grading marathons but on those really bad days, turn on the Hulu and watch television in a way Olivia Pope would approve of. (via Thought Catalog)

4. Make a new gym playlist

Making time to get to the gym after a long day of tutoring and after school supervision is hard, but putting together a new playlist for a good workout is incentive to get going! Here are some resources to get your started: (via Self Magazine)

5. Go to a museum—from home

Google Art Project was created to enable viewers to virtually tour museums’ galleries where “museum-goers” could literally “walk-through” the galleries, which is powered by Google’s Street View technology. (via Self Magazine)

6. Put plants and flowers in every room

There is something calming about having nature in a concrete jungle. Even if you can’t easily frolic in the meadows, you can always smell the flowers. (via Thought Catalog)

7. Turn off your phone

It’s time to unplug. It’s great to plop down and go through your Instagram feed, but you can also just turn off your phone. You’ve been going through sensory overload all day— we promise the phantom tremors will stop soon. (via Thought Catalog)

8. Ice. Cream.

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(via Thought Catalog)

9. Make a list of all the things you’re grateful for

We can start: We’re grateful for our teachers. (That’s you!) Starting a journal or even just a list of paper of all the positive things that happened or what you are grateful for will bring a smile to your face in under 60 seconds. (via Thought Catalog)

10. Go to a coffee shop and find a nook to read a novel or two

Instead of going straight to Facebook, go straight to your favorite coffee shop and grab a latte and a book to feed your mind. (via Parenting)

11. Sit outside and just absorb

I personally liked to find a park where there’s a lot of activity and simply sit on the bench and soak in the noises that was not my classroom. Many people find that absolute calm and quiet is also helpful.

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12. Dim the lights, put on some John Mayer

Create your own quiet room by shutting the lights and closing the curtains. Turn on John Mayer (or your favorite relaxation songs) and close your eyes. Here are some favorite songs the Gradeable Team relaxes to:

Looking for more ways to treat yourself? Sign-up with Gradeable and see how much more time you can have to yourself at www.gradeable.com

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How Adaptive Learning Can Improve Your Classroom

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What is adaptive learning?

Adaptive learning refers to instruction that is based on a student’s progress. It is educational technology that adjusts the type and difficulty of instructional material to make it specific to a student’s performance level. For example, a reading program may give different tracks for students based on each individual’s lexile level. Students with lower lexiles would get easier text with simpler vocabulary and less complex wording. Students with higher lexile ratings get exposed to more advanced vocabulary and text. The benefit for teachers is that no matter what lexile level, students of the same class are reading the same text.

The concept is based on the fact that most students don’t learn at the same pace. With adaptive technologies, students of the same class can all learn the same content at a level that is appropriate for them. Adaptive learning is a possible remedy for students getting bored or overwhelmed.

How does adaptive learning help our classrooms?

With adaptive educational technology, programs can compile statistics on individual students’ learning styles and progress so teachers can take action. For instance, if a student achieves all his learning goals for the week, the teacher could see in the analysis that the student is due for positive feedback. On the flip side, if another student is struggling with fractions, specifically dividing fractions, then the teacher will know exactly where to intervene with fraction support. What’s more is that a teacher will know this without hovering over a student while she works.

In short, adaptive learning helps because it serves as a teacher’s assistant. Like Gradeable, adaptive learning is technology that assists teachers by compiling statistics of students that can provide a guide of the teacher to take action. For example, let’s say it takes 30 minutes to provide effective feedback for each students. Now even with that conservative time estimate per student, it would take a teacher 30 hours each week to provide the necessary feedback for just 10 students.

What adaptive tools are out there?

Testive

testive logoTestive is an online SAT prep service. Practice questions for each student are generated based on a student’s ability, whether the student has seen the question before, how many times the student has seen the question, how much time a student has, etc. Testive also makes use of metadata on their questions, so when a student answers a question, Testive can derive information on the type of learner that student is. The service also predicts real-time ability of the student and makes recommendations on what he/she should study.

The behavioral science suite takes the human aspect of studying into account to help students stay on tasks. Within the platform, students are encouraged to make commitments, set up a tracking system, and have the option of developing a system for accountability via a coach.

Books that Grow

books that growBooks that Grow is an adaptive reading program that allows students of the same class to read the same text at multiple levels of complexity. Regardless of reading ability, “each student can be challenged wherever they are and not be held back or lost in their class,” said co-founder and head of product, Jason Buhle.
Since students are all reading the same text, the teacher can teach one lesson for a shared, social, learning experience. “Through the experience of social learning, a lot of what [students] learn, they learn from each other and through interactions,” explained Buhle.

iReady

ireadyiReady is an adaptive learning platform for K12 that offers diagnostic, personalized online instruction built around the Common Core. The solution can pinpoint where a student is struggling so intervention can be done on a granular level. For instance, if a student struggles with geometry, iReady helps spot the exact concepts he/she hasn’t grasped, whether it’s algebra, exponents, multiplication, etc.

In addition, iReady gives teachers the ability to act on instantaneous feedback by compiling student progress in one place, making spotting trends and differentiation much more efficient. For students, they are able to see where they stand so they are able to take ownership of their learning. Did we mention iReady is gamified for added student engagement?

In conclusion

Adaptive learning puts vital information in a teacher’s’ hands without most of the tedious number crunching often associated with it. This allows teachers to make necessary interventions—both positive and negative—in a timely fashion. Adaptive learning generally gives students insight on where they stand and how they’re doing with learning objectives. Putting a student in the drivers’ seat of their own learning always ups the engagement factor.

For more adaptive learning platforms, check out EdSurge’s round-up.

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Friday Bulletin Board: Extra! Extra! We Launched Our Mobile App!

Gradeable Inbox

On Wednesday, we launched our mobile app. Now it’s even easier for teachers to scan and upload paper-based student assignments without having to leave their desk. With our launch, came coverage from the press, and we’d like to take a moment to thank everyone involved in getting our name out there. Thank you for everyone’s support from retweets to feedback to just good, old fashion company—your support means so much to us. And as always, thank you to the teachers for getting up in the morning to help shape the future. There would be no Gradeable without teachers.

Now, without further ado, here’s how our mobile app launch was covered this week:

BostInno: MIT-Spun Startup Puts the Power into Teachers’ Hands With New Mobile Grading App

Teachers can spend a third of their time just grading. Yet, with the free, new iPhone app, they can scan and upload quizzes, worksheets and tests, and allow Gradeable to do the work. Once assessments are in the system, the company can analyze how students are performing against Common Core standards and provide charts that help highlight individual students’ strengths and weaknesses. Once armed with the data, all it takes is one quick glance for educators to know what they need to reteach.

BetaBoston: Gradeable launches mobile grading app as ed tech heats up

The Greadeable app uses a mobile device’s camera to scan and instantly grade student assessments, whether they are fill-in-the-blank or short answer. Scores are then compiled, and data from the tests are analyzed to give immediate insight to classroom teacher’s on a student’s success or difficulty on a certain test or a specific type of assessment question.

EdSurge: Gradeable Adds Free Mobile App for Teachers

While the freestanding Gradeable website allows for educators to easily scan paper-based quizzes and work with a QR code, the app allows for students to directly submit assignments to a teacher’s Gradeable Inbox—without teachers touching physical paper or taking work home.

Boston Herald: New Apple app 
makes the grade

“If we can score it automatically, we will,” Parul Singh, the company’s founder and CEO, said yesterday. “If it’s more in-depth, teachers can review it and grade it more quickly than they normally would by looking at all of the answers for each question one at a time and creating a comment bank to save their remarks about mistakes that are the same. Teachers should be able to go over to their iPad 10 minutes later and see exactly which areas they need to re-teach.”

Press release: Gradeable Launches Digital Grading Mobile App

Colin, a middle school reading teacher says, “The best thing about Gradeable is that it automatically grades, so that I don’t have to do that—but it also gives me data. I can actually click and look to see how my students did on each question and then use that data the next class—immediately.”

Current Gradeable users can download the free Gradeable app in the iTunes App Store at http://bit.ly/GradeableApp. New users can sign up for a free trial at http://www.gradeable.com.

Thanks for tuning in. Have a great weekend, folks!

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ProTip Wednesday: 10 Tips on Using Data for New Teachers

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Being a new teacher is never easy when you have classroom management and routine to strengthen— use these tips to start slowly using data in your classroom. Knowing is half the battle; back it up with data! But don’t take our word for it—listen to Gradeable users and education experts on how they use data in their classrooms.

1. Don’t re-invent the wheel

Don’t try to tackle data by creating an immense Excel or Google spreadsheet all by yourself. Chances are, the teacher next door or in your Twitter PLN already has a tracker they’d be happy to share with you! (If not – we do!)

2. Use tools you have to visualize the data

Take advantage of built-in tools, already in your hands. Many grade books, such as Easy Grade Pro, have summaries and reports that visualize student scores for an easy, at-a-glance analysis.

3. Make sure your data has context

Don’t take data for its face value — be sure to evaluate the data for authenticity and possible skewness. Were there students absent? Were there enough students? And then — How were planning to make the data actionable?

Our power user and middle school reading teacher, Colin T., wants to make sure new teachers started with these nuggets of wisdom:

4. Start small and use the data you already have

Begin with an exit ticket that just has 2-3 questions on it, assessing one objective.  At the end, your data should tell you which students mastered the objective, and which still need practice. By counting the number who got it, you will know whether to re-teach the objective to the whole class, just do a short review, or pull a few students for tutoring.

5. Get a buddy

Find a veteran teacher who is a wiz with data, and have her/him show you the spreadsheets s/he uses, and how to use them.

6. Plan ahead

Set up the assessment so it’s easy to analyze the data.  Organize it by objectives, and put a key at the end for yourself. Start with lower-rigor questions that all students can get right, then build to higher-difficulties that only a few will master.  That way, you can chart exactly where student understanding breaks down by looking at which questions were most frequently missed.

Gradeable user Rik Rowe is the #SBLchat moderator and math learning facilitator. These are some great tips for new high school teachers on how to use data in the classroom:

7. Compare pre-test and post-test grades

Teachers often forget to pre-test and jump into a unit before know exactly where students are before learning a new concept. Tracking their growth from pre-test to post-test allows both teachers and students to celebrate growth!

8. Analyze Summative Assessments to pinpoint weaknesses

Teachers should analyze Summative Assessment grades and determine what that tells them about what weaknesses their students have and how to close that gap with the next unit.

Jennifer S. is a high school math teacher and a recent Gradeable Social panelist. She’d like new teachers to keep these things in mind when analyzing data for the first time:

9. Purpose of the paper

Are you using the ticket to leave to figure out if students know how to do a skill?  Make it easily correctable, correct them quickly, incorporate into your next day’s do now/class materials and return them to students to correct errors.  Then, toss.  To correct, I often know the answers by heart, stand at the door and collect the (Ticket to Leave) TTL and give students an immediate yes or now or quick tip as they walk out.

10. Get the wide view

How are students generally doing on a group of standards?  Use data to get the big picture with programs like Gradeable.  Take the time to correlate questions to standards so you can track these.

Looking for more thoughts on data in the classroom? Check out this video from our recent panel on assessment and the importance of data.