0

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.

url

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!

Continue reading

0

4 Common Grading Problems, Solved by Gradeable

Assessment can be so annoying!  Whether you’re a new or veteran teacher, you can relate to the frustration.  Gradeable offers solutions that teachers can use to solve the following grading issues have withstood the test of time:

#1: “My students keep losing their assessments!”

As teachers, we know the feeling of handing a paper back and having the student lose said paper—in minutes. Using Gradeable to scan in all student papers or upload digital assessments ensures that every single paper will be accounted for in their individual digital portfolios.portfolioss

With no manual sorting or paper organization system required on your part, it’s easy to pull up assignments, quizzes, and projects in one click for easy parent conferences and meetings with students.


#2: “It’s hard for me to identify where my students need help.”

Just by looking at our students, teachers already know if their students “get it.” But sometimes, even your super spidey teacher senses cannot be sure why students didn’t do well on a test, despite well-thought lesson plans and remediation. Gradeable’s data break downs created after grading will layout a clear, evidence-backed picture of exactly which questions and problems students struggle with.

SS5All data break downs come with beautifully visualized graphs and charts that make it easy to present insights at Professional Development or staff meetings— or even to your classes! Students love to know their own progress.

Watch and listen to how Colin, a Gradeable super user, uses Gradeable to pinpoint exact learning gaps.

#3: “I’m unable to give deeper feedback.”

Feedback is absolutely essential to student growth— teachers already know that and students look for these comments. However, time doesn’t always allow teachers to give in-depth feedback in a timely manner. The comment bank in the Gradeable grading panel allows teachers to type in feedback (so it’s completely legible!) and even keeps common comments to be easily dropped onto the students’ paper instead of rewriting it—35 times.

blog_commentbank

Watch and learn how Debbie, a high school math teacher uses Gradeable’s efficiency to give better feedback and cut down on the paper load.

 

#4: “I don’t know how to link current lessons to the Common Core.”

Planning for Common Core lessons will already be a large task. Gradeable makes one of those parts easier by ensuring that you’re tracking students’ progress by each Common Core standard so you can celebrate mastery and move on or reteach missed standards with laser-like focus.

SS4

If you feel that Gradeable might be helpful for your classroom get a GRADEABLE FREE TRIAL or LEARN MORE ABOUT GRADEABLE!  Feel free to contact our community manager Kavita with any questions: kavita@gradeable.com. She’s really nice and would love you to hear from you!

0

Beyond the Red Pen: Meet Yousuf, Middle School Math

BRP_Yousuf

Meet Yousuf, a 7th and 8th grade Algebra teacher from Las Vegas, NV. He heavily uses digital assessments to measure student growth from both formative and summative assessments, and also loves student lunches. Read on to learn more about how he’s built relationships that create classroom motivation.

banner_routine

What is your current location?
Von Tobel Middle School.

What subject and grade (s) do you teach?
8th grade Pre-Algebra, 7th grade Accelerated Math

What is your favorite teaching accessory?
My iPad

Tips and tricks on making the best “teacher lunch?”
This might be controversial, but I think the student lunch is improving and teachers ought to try; plus, it’s so cheap!

banner_grading

What’s your favorite time to grade and why?
I like to leverage my iPad to do my assessments and grading.  Students take the assessment online (majority of them—both formative and summative).  This gives me a lot of data to properly assess the mastery and growth of students through curriculum and within standards.

What is your must have grading tool/utensil?
Microsoft Excel

How do you find grading “zen?”
I don’t try to get too lost in the mastery results.  It’s very important to keep in perspective how much the students have grown throughout a standard.

What is your super secret tip to grade faster that you wish all teachers knew?
Informal assessments are as important as formal assessments; plus, they can be done as your observe a student on the spot.  Have two to three simple criteria to grade all students.  You can use the grades for either tests or classwork grade.

banner_silo

What is one strategy that has worked to increase student motivation?
I greet every single student by name before they enter the class.  This creates a rapport between the teacher and the student, and not surprisingly, often the relationship becomes the motivation for the student to try harder.  There is no better feeling than knowing that a struggling student is willing to work harder just because of the relationship he/she has with you.

What is the best teaching advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t take it personally!

banner_fun

Do you have specific teaching shoes? If so, what are they?
Skechers Soft Sole—my shins don’t hurt!

What’s the last thing you bought for your classroom?
Jolly Ranchers!

0

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!

0

Friday Bulletin Board: Awesome Vines on #TeacherProblems

Have you ever searched #TeacherProblems in Vine? Well we did and we were not disappointed. Here are some of our favorites that made us wonder, #TeacherProblems or #TeacherAwesome? Here’s some reasons we went with the latter:

You ignore the noise to be as efficient as possible

You have your priorities straight

You perservere through distractions

You got it all figured out

Best of all, you’re a boss

Have a great weekend, folks. Keep up the amazing work!

0

Beyond the Red Pen: Meet Kevin, High School Science

BRP_Kevin

Meet today’s grading expert, Kevin. He teaches several different types of science in Charlotte, North Carolina. Read on to find out how he uses Pandora, timers, class points to increase engagement and achievement!

banner_routine

What is your current location?
I teach at the LIFT Academy, an alternative school that is a part of West Charlotte High School in Charlotte, NC

What subject and grade (s) do you teach?
All science subjects.  This includes Earth/Environmental Science, Biology, Physical Science, and Forensic Science this semester.

What is your favorite teaching accessory?
My favorite teaching accessory would have to be Pandora and a timer.  I love chunking my class and various parts of a lesson into 3 minute/5 minute/10 minute sections and these two items in partnership with one another make this very simple and effective!

Tips and tricks on making the best “teacher lunch?”
Pack it the night before.  Other than that, it doesn’t even matter for me! But I know that no one wants to get up at 5:30 and make a lunch.

banner_grading

grading

Kevin likes to keep all of grading all in one, centralized place.

image

He uses Google Drive for students to turn in assignments.

What’s your favorite time to grade and why?
My favorite time to grade is right after school or even during the day if I have a chance.  It’s even better if you can also manage to get it into the grade book at that same time!  Then you can get home and not worry about grading or getting behind.  Grading assignments are like dishes in a kitchen sink.  Once you get a little behind, all is lost for that week!

What is your must have grading tool/utensil? (Can we have the brand and color if it’s a pen/marker?)
Definitely a wet erase Vis-a-vis marker.  Any color! But these are clutch for grading!

How do you find grading “zen?”
Pandora – Vitamin String Quartet station and peace and quiet away from students!

What is your super secret tip to grade faster that you wish all teachers knew?
Flubaroo with a Google Doc exit ticket.  Automated grading and no paper!  I don’t use it nearly as much as I should!  But I’ve seen it been done well and it’s super legit!

banner_silo

What is one strategy that has worked to increase student motivation?
Visible public display of class points with a competition among all blocks.  They love it!

What is the best teaching advice you’ve ever received?
Have fun and be yourself.  Kids feed off of your energy and if you’re not enjoying yourself, they won’t either.  Furthermore, kids can read a disingenuous teacher, you’ve got to know yourself and be yourself.

banner_fun

Do you have specific teaching shoes? If so, what are they?
Rockport – brown dress shoes? Totally worn out but they have support like no other!  If only I could find another pair somewhere!

shoes

Kevin’s sturdy teacher shoes – you know how important comfortable, stylish ones are.

What’s the last thing you bought for your classroom?
Christmas lights!  Easy way to create a calm, cool, and collected culture in your classroom.  That was unintentional alliteration!

kevin2

Kevin, in his natural habitat.

0

Beyond the Red Pen: Joel, Middle School Math

BRP_Joel

Introducing our newest blog feature, Beyond the Red Pen. Every Thursday, we’ll showcase awesome teachers, doing amazing things— and most importantly, their grading secrets so we can grow from each other. This is an effort to demystify teacher lifestyle and to pull us teachers out of silos and share trade tips and tricks!

Meet Joel, a veteran any first-year teacher would love to have as a mentor. From how to increase student motivation (hint: the candy man can!) and best places to find grading “zen,” Joel shares tips that all teachers can benefit from. Learn more about his classroom grading success! 

banner_routine

What is your current location?
I currently work at an at-risk, Title I school in Las Vegas, Nevada.

What subject and grade (s) do you teach?
I teach Math 7.

What is your favorite teaching accessory?
I love all types of technology, including iPads, SMARTBoards, and responders.

Tips and tricks on making the best “teacher lunch?”
My lunch usually consists of something that I could eat or drink fast.  Maybe a sandwich, smoothie, or some days just a sugar-free Red Bull to keep going!

banner_grading

joel2

Joel’s grading storage area. Students turn in their homework in their specific class bin.

joel3

After assignments are graded, Joel stores student work in a filing cabinet for the grading period, just in case a student claims he/she turned it in.

What’s your favorite time to grade and why?
I find that I can generally grade the best in a nice comfortable chair or couch, or outside with a glass of wine!

What is your must have grading tool/utensil?
I like to use a pen that differs from the color that students use.  For math, students generally use pencils, so any pen is fine, though I prefer blue because my markings stand out.   A brand of pen that I really enjoy (though I am not opposed to any other cheap ballpoint) is the PaperMate Flair.

How do you find grading “zen?”
I will find a comfortable space, turn on background noise (TV or music from my phone), and keep something in my mouth to keep my senses occupied.  This may be gum or candy, fruit, or even some wine!

What is your super secret tip to grade faster that you wish all teachers knew?
Pick and choose items to grade, rather than feeling that ALL items need to be graded.  Also, don’t feel the need to grade ALL assignments that come across a student’s desk.   Teachers can save time by simply grading materials that they will use the data to base their planning and future lessons, or exams.  Assignments like homework that may be used for practice only can and should be graded or completion only. Students do not know that not everything is graded, and will still work hard!

banner_silo

What is one strategy that has worked to increase student motivation?
The most valuable concept that has worked to increase student motivation is student self-accountability.   The students at my current site are able to access their grades, progress, and assignment scores from the tap of their iPads or smartphones.  Allowing students to access their own scores and progress helps them take more responsibility for their own learning.

What is the best teaching advice you’ve ever received?
Allow students time to practice!  Don’t lecture too much.  Engage students with colors, sounds, communication, and projects.

banner_fun

Do you have specific teaching shoes? If so, what are they?
Ha ha!  Yes.  I like wearing Skechers shoes, from work shoes to fun colored running shoes.  Also, I usually wear funny socks to help build another fun bond with students who are into funny trendy socks this school year.

What’s the last thing you bought for your classroom?
The last thing I bought for my classroom were probably Jolly Ranchers as small, immediate rewards, or fun-sized bags of M&Ms for a math activity.  I have been told by my students that I am “The Candy Man.”  Ha ha!