Monday, December 18, 2017

Formative Assessment Tools and Apps

Good teachers in every subject and grade level will adjust their teaching based on what their students know at each point. Valuable formative assessment holds all students accountable, engages everyone, removes the embarrassment of public hand raising, gives teachers real-time results that impact how and what they are teaching at that moment, and give students immediate feedback that impacts how they are learning.

When you are getting started with or refining formative assessment in your classroom, here are some things to think about:

  • Think about your learning cycle and determine where you would like to embed checks for understanding/formative assessment to provide you with real-time data that will allow you to adjust your instruction and provide personalized learning for individual students’ unique needs.
  • Determine in the formative assessment is formal or informal. Formal formative assessments are often documented and may or may not carry grade points (quizzes, papers, entrance slips, presentations, concept maps, written surveys, etc.) Informal formative assessments are less documented and often more performance-based (quick checks for understanding, questioning, discussions, observations, confidence indicators like thumbs up/thumbs down, interviews, etc.)
  • Formative assessments, whether formal or informal, are embedded regularly into every step of the learning process, not just administered at the end of the learning cycle/instructional period. 
  • In order to have a meaningful formative assessment, it should have three things. First, there should be proper alignment between the formative assessment and your standards (what you intend to measure. Next, there should be opportunities for “in-the-moment” feedback. Effective feedback should be relevant, include clear goals, address misconceptions, provide students with opportunities to advance, and include specific comments, not just a grade. Lastly, the formative assessment should provide opportunities for the student and the teacher to reflect on learning.
  • All formative assessments should inform teaching and learning, so when you are choosing a formative assessment tool or app you should be thinking about how the data is collected and what types of reports the teacher has access to and what feedback the students have access to.
  • The formative assessment tool you choose should provide immediate and specific feedback to students, so they can track their progress and take ownership of their learning
These are some of my favorite formative assessment tools to use in the classroom.

Teachers can create, send and grade formative/summative assessments with Google Forms. Some question types automatically award point based on correct answer (multiple choice, checkboxes, dropdown, and short answer.
When you use Google Form Quiz with Google Classroom you now have the ability to import grades from Google Form Quiz to Google Classroom!
-Creating a Google Form Quiz
-Import Grades from Google Form Quiz to Google Classroom


Socrative allows teachers to instantly connect with students as learning happens. You can quickly assess students with prepared activities or on-the-fly questions to get immediate insight into student understanding. Teachers can then view students responses and results in real-time from their teacher dashboard. These results can then be used to determine the best instructional approach for individual students or groups of students.
-Socrative Online Help Center

edpuzzle is a video platform for teachers and students. Teachers are able to make any video their lesson with really easy to use tools. With edpuzzle teachers are able to know if their students are watching the video, and even how many times per section they had to watch/rewatch as well as if they are understanding the content. Teachers can add questions with their voice or by text within the video. One of the best things about edpuzzle is that teachers can find and use existing videos from YouTube, Khan Academy, etc. or upload their own.
-edpuzzle Teacher Help Center
-edpuzzle Student Help Center

Padlet can be used by students and by teachers. Teachers can create an online post-it board that you can share with any student or teacher that you want. Just give them your unique Padlet link in order to access it. Padlet allows you to post ideas anonymously or with your name. Whoever has the Padlet board opened on their device can see what everyone is posting in real time. Padlet is easy to use and provides a great way for students to be able to post and share their ideas with one another.
-Padlet Help Center
-30 Creative Ways to Use Padlet in the Classroom

Classkick is an app (also available on Chromebooks, desktops, and laptops) for sharing assignments with students, monitoring their progress, and offering feedback. Each assignment consists of a series of "questions" which appear on the teacher's dashboard like individual slides.
-ClassKick Teacher Resources
-ClassKick Teacher Guide
-ClassKick Videos
-ClassKick Sample Assignments Library

Additional Resources:
-56 Different Ways to Gather Evidence of Student Achievement
-Formative Assessment Strategies
-The Definitive K-12 Guide to Formative Assessment
-What Are Formative Assessments and Why Should We Use Them?
-What is Formative Assessment?

Tearra K. Bobula
NR21 Professional Development Strategist
Carson City, NV

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Claps for Canva

Sometimes when I am out at schools, and I get to witness students creating products like infographics, menus, posters, or photo collages in their classroom I like to see what tool(s) they are using. One web tool that I've seen used to create the aforementioned products is Canva. I like it so much that I often use it myself for flyers to professional learning workshops I have held.

So, what is Canva? It is a free designing tool that makes creating items like flyers, ID cards, and invitations SIMPLE.  You can use the amazing templates and photographs already available in Canva or upload your own to make unique and creative creations.  
Here’s a list of some products that you can create on
  • Programs
  • Labels
  • Coupons
  • Certificates
  • Tickets
  • Newsletters
  • Postcards
  • Letterheads
  • Calendars
  • Business cards
  • Brochures
Try it and see what you and your students can create.
Here are links to additional resources.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

G Suite Workhorse Series: Keep

Keep is an awesome productivity tool from Google. Because Keep integrates its reminders between Calendar and Inbox, I think this tool can be a game-changer. Keep also incorporates a powerful optical character recognition tool you can use to grab text from an image. 

First, take a look at how you can use Keep in your classroom by watching the embedded video. Then, complete the Task List below and set yourself up for Keep-success! Need a little extra help? Be sure to click on the help links for quick on-screen demos!

Task List

Task 1 — Install the Dualless screen splitting extension to Chrome (HELP!)

Task 2 — Open Keep in a new window. Using Dualless, split your screen so you have both this task list and Keep open in two side-by-side windows. (HELP!)

Task 3 — Create a new label in Keep titled Work. (HELP!)

Task 4 — Create a new note. Add your Work label to the note and change the color to blue. Add a reminder for tomorrow morning. Click Done. (HELP!)

Task 5 — Download this image to your Drive or computer. Create a new note and upload the image to it. Click on the  symbol then Grab image text. (HELP!)

Task 6 — Create a new list and type 2 or 3 sample tasks. Try adding a collaborator. (HELP!)

Chris Justus
Las Vegas
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Friday, December 8, 2017

Resources for Mathematics!

Hello Math Teachers –

Do you ever find that there is so much digital content available for teaching mathematics that you don’t have time to review every new digital resource? The National Council of Supervisors of mathematics suggests that all mathematical technology tools be evaluated to determine the extent to which they:

·         Integrate technology tools and software in ways to engage students with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice
·         Provide opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate and communicate with each other
·         Include opportunities to assess conceptual understanding and skill fluency through worthwhile mathematical tasks
·         Provide guidance for teacher use of tools and technology that supports and enhances student learning
(Van De Walle, Karp, & Bay-Williams, 2016, p. 136).

Below is a list of some recommended online mathematics resources to get you started:

Illustrative Mathematics

This resource includes vetted resources linked to standards through tasks, videos, and lesson plans.

Illuminations (NCTM)

            This resource includes learning resources, lesson plans and digital tools. There are also multimedia investigations for students and video vignettes to promote professional reflection. Additionally, Calculation Nation allows student to play mathematics games with each other over the Web.

Updates to Chrome might affect some resources. This link includes a list of interactives that are optimized using HTML5:

- Heather Crawford-Ferre, Ph.D.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Exciting New Blended PD Opportunity - Transformative Teaching

Are you interested in how to use differentiated instruction to design transformative, student-centered learning opportunities? 

Well, we are inviting all Nevada Ready 21 middle school teachers and digital coaches to a special blended learning opportunity that will change the way you teach with Chromebooks!

Learn more about this special opportunity by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Flipping Out Over Flipgrid

Our students live in a world surrounded by video and social media. They prefer to watch a youtube video to learn how to do something new and to communicate with their friends over video. Hence the popularity of Facetime, Kik, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. among our youth. (Gen Z Media Consumption: It's a Lifestyle, Not Just Entertainment by Nelson Granados)

Flipgrid is one of my newest favorite video apps for the classroom!♥ Inside and outside of the classroom Flipgrid allows students voices to be amplified and heard. Flipgrid teachers are able to create a digital community for their classes. These communities are known as "grids." Teachers post topics, videos, or links for discussions and students respond to the prompt and to each other with short video reflections. Flipgrid is meant to provide a digital space for students to reflect on topics with their teacher and peers. It is an awesome way to get students participating equally in discussions and for students to hear their peers voices and insights.

Flipgrid is available as both an iOS and Android app, and teachers and students can login through any browser as well. Flipgrid offers a free version (Flipgrid One) and a paid version (Flipgrid Classroom) which offers additional features and possibilities. More information about pricing can be found here.

I would recommend that a first time user of Flipgrid sign up for a free account. As a Flipgrid One (free plan) user, you can create 1 grid (with unlimited topics and unlimited students), so this is a great place to start to see if you like integrating Flipgrid into your classroom before paying for a year subscription for Flipgrid Classroom.

When teachers create their grid they have the ability to decide on notifications, and also if they want the grid to be password protected and have moderated responses. It is reassuring to know that I have the ability to moderate responses considering that Flipgrid is all video based. This allows teachers to have complete control over what gets posted on their grid and what doesn't.

The other nice feature is that students don't have to login to an account and doesn't require student authentication. Students just need to know the grid "code" or the URL link to your grid. By default, all grids are private (plus, don't forget that you can also add additional security by requiring a password). You don't need to worry about someone online accidentally finding your grid(s) without being given the link or code.

With the full paid Flipgrid Classroom version ($65.00/year) teachers have access to the full version of powerful tools. Teachers can easily manage activity across classrooms with the management tools, customize the length of students' videos, an unlimited number of student response videos and replies-to-responses, individualize student-video assessment and scoring rubrics, integrate custom LMS and website embedding, and much more...

If you want to learn more about Flipgrid, have access to some awesome resources, and gather ideas for how it can be integrated into various content areas, you can make your own copy of this "Get the 411 on Flipgrid" HyperDoc to facilitate your own professional learning. The 45 day FREE trial of Flipgrid Classroom code at the top of the HyperDoc is good through the end of the year.

I also received a special code that can be used through Cyber Monday (Monday, November 27, 2017) for $25.00 off your Flipgrid Classroom subscription. I wanted to share this code with anyone who has begun to flipping out over Flipgrid in their classroom. This would make your year-long Flipgrid Classroom subscription only $40.00!

Additional Resources to Get You Started:
The Educator's Guide to Flipgrid e-book
Getting Started: Educators
Flipgrid Privacy Principles
Privacy and Security Settings
Moderate or Hide Videos
Lock Grids with a Password
How to Delete or Hide a Video

Tearra K. Bobula
NR21 Professional Development Strategist
Carson City, NV

Monday, November 13, 2017

Keep Up with Google Keep
Although I may love having students take traditional notes analyzing the dark depths of Iago in Othello or identifying the stages of the hero’s journey with Odysseus in The Odyssey, all those notes can become an organizational nightmare.  Often times, students lose their notes, or they get mixed in with other work.  One way to ensure those notes never get misplaced is to store them in one area.  I recommend Google Keep.   With Google Keep, students can take notes that they can share, and export to a Google Doc.  But wait, Google Keep offers much more than the ability to take notes. Students can set reminders, add images, color code, create lists, collaborate with others and it’s all tied to their Google Drive.  In the classroom, teachers can use Google Keep as a virtual word wall, a feedback tool, and as a one-stop shop for videos, links, etc. of information.  Students can even transcribe printed notes into text as well as keep voice notes.  So the question that remains is--How will you use Google Keep in your classroom?  Here are some resources for inspiration.

G suite.jpg
Las Vegas