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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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Getting started with Digital Grading: 3 Tips for Making the Transition

Despite the obvious advantages of transitioning to digital files and grading in the classroom, it can prove to be quite challenging. In my own transition, I learned a few important lessons about the challenges that come with going all-digital in your classroom assessment, and learned a lot about making the transition a successful one. Here are three suggestions for making the process seamless:

 

  • Know your students: As teachers we pride ourselves on knowing the whole child and developing every students’ academic, social, and emotional learning in the classroom and beyond. We know their favorite foods, their hobbies, and of course their strengths and weaknesses in the classroom. But when it comes to assessing our students, we are often unaware of their preferences and comfort regarding different assessment formats. To guide you in understanding your students’ needs and preferences, I would encourage you to consider the following questions with your class. This should guide your implementation of digital assessment, and provide insight into any challenges you may face in early implementation.
    1. When you take a test online, what do you like about it? What challenges you?
    2. Do you have internet and device access at home (for digital homework)?
    3. Is it helpful to you to get immediate feedback on your school work?
  • Assess the digital landscape of your classroom: When transitioning to an all digital environment, it is important to consider the digital resources in your classroom and school to guide your implementation.Answering these questions in advance will help you plan lessons around your own digital resources and help you avoid feeling constrained or overwhelmed by the digital status of your classroom. For example, if you have five students to every device, consider planning a group-based assessment of your students’ proficiency rather than stretching yourself to find a device for every student.  
    1. How many computers are available in your classroom? Your school?
    2. Are tablets or smartphones available that could be used in place of computers?
    3. Do students bring their own device?
    4. Do these devices have reliable internet access?
    5. Is your classroom 1 to 1, or some other ratio of students to devices?
  • Find an assessment platform that meets your needs: Now that your are thinking successfully about the logistics of digital assessment, it is time to find a tool that meets your needs and provides comprehensive features for all aspects of your classroom assessment. We’ve listed some important features for digital assessment, with the hope that you will find a product that works for you, your students, and your classroom.

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If you are interested in learning more about Gradeable’s new all-digital assessment tool, please click here.

Click here to get your free trial of Gradeable’s Digital Assessment tool.

 

In her time in the classroom, Ellen, or Ms. Ellen as she was known by her 5th grade students, experienced the challenge that grading presented to many teachers. Now a graduate student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, Ellen joined Gradeable to help teachers like herself overcome this challenge and be another voice in product development. Ellen will be blogging about her time at Harvard, thoughts on the field of education, stories of superstar teachers, and new information surrounding the Gradeable product. Ellen can be reached  directly by email at Ellen@gradeable.com. Please reach out with concerns, feedback, inquires, or of course, successes with the product.

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Introducing Gradeable’s Digital Formative Assessment Tool: 5 Easy Steps to Get Started!

Our digital assessment tool allows you to integrate digital formative assessment in the classroom and beyond; whether you are assessing your class for a daily quiz, semester long exams, 1:1 or 1:many assignments, or even with a quick homework assignment that you send to your students by email, Gradeable has you covered. Following our 5 easy easy steps, using our exciting new tool will save save you hours of turmoil by grading your assessments automatically!

5 Easy Steps to Get Started with Digital Assessment!

1) Add in Student Emails: You can start by opening up the Gradeable dashboard. If you have not already added a class list, please do so by clicking “Students”  on the main page. An important step to set up digital assessment, however, is to make sure that each student in your class has a corresponding email; otherwise, only the students with previously entered email addresses will receive an assignment. Once you have entered an email for each student, these will be saved for future assessments. Add an email by clicking on the students’ name in the Students tab, then click  “Edit” on the left hand side of your screen.

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2) Create an Assessment: From the Gradeable dashboard, select “Assignments” at the top of your screen. Once there, select “New Quiz” on the right side of your screen.

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Name your assessment, and choose corresponding classes by checking the boxes to the left of their names. Next, decide if you want to align your quiz with Common Core State Standards, and select the standards you would like to evaluate by clicking on “Get Standards”. Once you have chosen the correct standards, choose “Create” on the top left section of your screen, and you should be able to start adding questions to your assessment.

3) Add questions to your assessment: Add questions by navigating to the bottom of your screen, and selecting “Click here to enter question.” You then have the option of adding multiple choice or short answer questions to you assignment or assessment, just as you would for our paper assessments. You can also tag questions in alignment with CCSS to measure your students’ proficiency automatically.

(Creating your assessment)

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(Adding Questions)

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When you are done adding questions, simply select the “Done” button at the bottom right hand corner of your screen. The end result should look similar to this:

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4) Export your quiz: If you are satisfied with the end product of your quiz, its time to export your quiz by email. Instead of exporting your quiz to print on paper by choosing “Save & Quit” instead select “Share by Email” to email your assessment directly to your students (using the addresses we added earlier).

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Your students are now ready to complete their assignments, and should receive an email akin to the following.

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Each student should then click on the hyperlink, and login using their own email address (at which they received the assessment), and their unique access code. They can then complete the assignment as normal, and submit it to you for automatic grading.

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5) Sit back and watch your assignments grade themselves: As students complete their assessments, and this is the totally awesome part, all multiple choice questions will be graded and analyzed automatically by Gradeable!  All you need to do is navigate to the Assignments page in your dashboard to see student progress and results.

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If you added in short answer questions, however, you have one final step!  Navigate to your Assignments page on the Gradeable dashboard, and select “Grade” on the top right. From here you’ll be prompted to grade any short answer questions by assigning corresponding credit.

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You did it! You graded your first digital assessment you superstar! Now that you have set up digital assessment, your future assessments should run quickly and smoothly. Now sit back and watch as your students absorb your wonderful instruction!

If you would like to learn if digital assessment is right for you, and how to make the transition, please click here.

At Gradeable, we strive to provide teachers with a diverse arsenal of tools for formative assessment. Learn more about our  paper-based assessment and project-based grading tools!

In her time in the classroom, Ellen, or Ms. Ellen as she was known by her 5th grade students, experienced the challenge that grading presented to many teachers. Now a graduate student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, Ellen joined Gradeable to help teachers like herself overcome this challenge and be another voice in product development on the Gradeable team. Ellen will be blogging about her time at Harvard, thoughts on the field of education, stories of superstar teachers, and new information surrounding the Gradeable product. Ellen can be reached  directly by email at Ellen@gradeable.com. Please reach out with concerns, feedback, inquires, or of course, successes with the product.

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Introducing Ellen Brandenberger: A New Teacher Voice at Gradeable

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In her time in the classroom, Ellen, or Ms. Ellen as she was known by her 5th grade students, experienced the challenge that grading presented to many teachers. After long days of actively engaging our students, fellow teachers still needed to spend hours grading student work in order to provide timely feedback and instructional adjustments for students. Now a graduate student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, Ellen joined Gradeable committed to helping teachers like herself overcome this challenge and be another (and continuing!) teacher voice in Gradeable product development and design. Ellen will be blogging about her time at Harvard, thoughts on the field of education, stories of superstar teachers, and new information surrounding the Gradeable product.

My first two weeks at Gradeable have been an incredible joy. It is fantastic to be part of a working community that is so passionate about helping my fellow teachers streamline their workflow so that instruction can truly be the central focus of teachers’ time and efforts. As an educator, I am passionate about helping other teachers be the best they can be, as I believe that teachers are at the center of successful education for students everywhere, and undervalued for the incredible amount of work that they do for their students. In the classroom, I often felt that what we needed most as educators was not an increase in effort, but rather a need for stakeholders to remember that teachers efforts, every single one, should be directed towards improving instruction and student learning opportunities.

I also bring a strong passion for personal learning, and am constantly delighted to learn new things, and discover new opportunities. This passion brought me to Harvard, where I am pursuing a Masters of Education with a focus on technologies and innovation for education. I come to this program with a fair amount of skepticism, but full of optimism: in my time in the classroom, I saw the incredible impact that technologies had on my students’ learning, yet would hesitate to say that this was the best or only way that they achieved new knowledge and skills. Instead, I believe that technology informs new opportunities for us as educators to focus on what matters most: deep and constructive student learning.

My work at Gradeable will be directly informed by this background. My role will be to support teachers and their use of the Gradeable product. This will mean responding to teacher inquiries and problems, integrating teacher feedback into the product, and being a voice for teacher needs and opinion at Gradeable, both online through social media and in person. My hope is that my role will become a portal for you to interact with Gradeable, and the each and every one of you will be comfortable reaching out to me as both a resource and a fellow educator, who, like you, understands the struggles and challenges that go along with teaching and learning. All the best.

Ellen can be reached  directly by email at Ellen@gradeable.com. Please reach out with concerns, feedback, inquires, or of course, successes with the product.

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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!)

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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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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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Announcing Gradeable and Teach for America iPad Mini Contest Winners

TFAleaderboard2We’re excited to announce the winners of our iPad Mini contest with Teach for America Corps Members and alum. Gradeable and Teach for America (TFA) established a partnership in April to bring innovative learning tools to classrooms. TFA is an educational organization that finds, trains, and supports top college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools. The TFA network includes 11,200 corps members in 48 regions across the country, with more than 32,000 alumni working in education and many other sectors to create systemic change that will impact educational inequity.

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Over a period of 24 weeks, corps members were tasked to engage with Gradeable and act on data analytics gained from everyday quizzes to help personalize students’ learning.  Winners of the contest are: Esther Kim, Houston ‘12; Amy Wagoner, Kansas City ‘13; Nyamagaga Gondwe, Delaware ‘13; Aidan Loeser, New York ‘12. With over 31 regions entered, there was significant participation in the Atlanta, Mississippi, Houston and New York regions. The iPad Minis were made available as a prize through the generous donation from an anonymous Gradeable investor.

We had:

  • Pre-K teachers assessing letter recognition
  • High school Spanish teachers testing fluency
  • Middle school Science teachers evaluating lab reports

“I think this program is really great.  Currently, I use another product and my biggest complaint is that I could never give the kids anything tangible back and I could only do multiple choice questions.  Gradeable allows me to integrate both,” Chelsea Miller, Memphis ‘13.

Looking to bring faster grading and personalized insights into your classroom?

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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.

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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.

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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!