Monday, October 17, 2016

JoeZoo - Build Rubrics and Streamline Your Feedback Process in Google Docs

JoeZoo Express is a great Google Docs Add-on that lets you insert canned comments into your students' documents. You can use JoeZoo's pre-made comments or you can create a menu of your own comments to add to documents. Once you've created comments you can use them over and over again on any documents that your students share with you. Over time use JoeZoo Express can save you lots of time when you're giving your students feedback on their work.

JoeZoo Express is more than just a commenting tool. You can also use it to create rubrics for scoring your students' work. Much like the commenting feature of JoeZoo Express you can use your rubrics while looking a student's document. The following video shows you how to create a rubric in JoeZoo Express.


JoeZoo Express is the Google Docs Add-on offered by the company named JoeZoo. There is also a JoeZoo app that you can distribute domain-wide through G Suite for Education (I hate that name compared to Google Apps for Education). The JoeZoo app includes tools for students to use for peer review and includes tools for teachers to share rubrics.

5 Quick Key Features That Can Save You Tons of Time

Quick Key is a powerful and popular grading tool developed by a teacher for teachers. The service utilizes the camera on your Android phone or iPhone to help you quickly grade a series of quizzes. When it initially launched a few years ago Quick Key only worked for multiple choice or true/false questions and was only available on iPhones. While it was then a great time-saver for some teachers it has since increased in capability and availability. Here's a rundown of Quick Key's features that can save you time when scoring formative assessments.

1. Create course rosters by importing students from your Google Classroom account.

Quick Key: Sync Rosters with Google Classroom from Quick Key on Vimeo.


2. Use answer sheets that are pre-populated with student ID numbers. Doing this ensures that you won't have students enter incorrect IDs and saves students time when they are completing an answer sheet.

Pre Filled Quick Tickets Demo from Quick Key on Vimeo.


3. Add scores for open-response questions. Quick Key is great for multiple choice and true/ false, but you can also score fill-in-the-blank and open-response questions. To do this have your students complete the multiple choice section of your quiz on a Quick Key sheet. Then have them complete the fill-in-the-blank or open response questions. When you scan students' answer sheets Quick Key creates a spreadsheet of scores for you. To that spreadsheet you can add your own point values for open-response questions. So while Quick Key won't score your open-response questions for you, it does create a convenient way to tally total quiz scores in one place.

4. Distribute quizzes digitally for students to take on their laptops, phones, or tablets. Quick Key's 1-to-1 option lets you have your students take quizzes online and lets you grade them online. The great thing about Quick Key 1-to-1 is that it's not an all-or-nothing situation for you. You can use the same quizzes and answer keys for online quizzes as you do for printed quizzes that students complete on printed Quick Key answer sheets. So if you have some students that would prefer a paper option to a digital option, Quick Key can accommodate both options on the same quiz.

Quick Key 1-to-1 Tutorial from Quick Key on Vimeo.


5. Keep better records of how your students are doing on a particular standard with Quick Key. You can add standards tags to every quiz that you create in Quick Key. You can apply standards tags for an entire quiz or you can apply standards tags to individual questions within a quiz. After you have scored a quiz you will be able to quickly identify how your students did on the questions directly related to a particular standard.

Standards Tracking and Question Tagging with Quick Key: Tutorial from Quick Key on Vimeo.

Disclosure: Quick Key is currently an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Sunday, October 16, 2016

5 Ways to Use Wikis In Your Classroom

1. As a digital portfolio of student-created videos.

2. As a place for students to share notes on each unit of study in your courses.

3. As an alternative to textbooks. Work with colleagues in your school or department to create a multimedia reference site for your students. Include YouTube videos that use the "choose your own adventure" model to allow students to pursue areas of interest.

4. As an alternative to textbooks. Have students create reference pages for units of study in your course. When you do this students become responsible to each other for creating accurate and meaningful content that they can refer to when it comes time for assessment. For example, when I get to the 1920's in my US History curriculum I have each student create a page on a wiki about a theme from that decade. Some of the themes that the students cover are fashion, entertainment, and sports.

5. As a place to track, document, and manage on-going community projects. In my district every student is required to complete a community service project before graduation. As a homeroom or "common block" advisor teachers are supposed to help their students take the necessary steps to document that work. By creating a homeroom wiki you create a place where students can make weekly updates about what they have done to complete their projects.

If you're not quite sure what a wiki is or what makes it different from a traditional website or blog, watch Wikis in Plain English from Common Craft.

Magic Gopher - A Math Game

Magic Gopher is a fun little game in which students select a two digit number, add the digits together, subtract the new number from the original, then look up a symbol associated with the final number. The Magic Gopher the correctly "guesses" the final number symbol. Of course it's not actually magic, but young students will think it is.

Applications for Education
Magic Gopher could be a fun little way to get students thinking about the "magic" of mathematics. Allow them to struggle with the challenge of figuring out how the gopher gets it right every time then explain it.

The National Archives' Today's Document Offers Good Lesson Ideas

The US National Archives is a great resource for history teachers to keep in their books. I've written about some of their services in the past (here and here) and today I'd like to remind you of the National Archives Today's Document feed. On a daily basis Today's Document features a new image or document from the United States' National archives. The documents are usually accompanied by some additional research links and lesson plan resources.

One of the documents that I have used from the Today's Document feed was a petition to the US Government signed by Hopi (Moqui) Chiefs. One of the interesting things about this document is the way that the document was signed with the symbol of each family in the tribe.

Applications for Education
This document could be used with a wide range of grade levels. At the middle school or high school level the petition could be part of a lesson on the way the US Government redistributed land to Native Americans following the Dawes Act. The symbol-signature aspect of the document could be used in an elementary school lesson about cultural differences between European-Americans and Native Americans.