This is a short week so it will be a short-ish share.
A couple weeks ago I shared a great Google add on for giving feedback to your students, Joe Zoo Express. Well last week they launched their new platform making it even easier for you and your students. They have a great YouTube channel of videos and tutorials that I encourage you to check out and subscribe to so you can get the most out of this tool. Here is the list of new and improved features that they sent in their announcement:
- New Add-on Design – we’ve redesigned our add-on to improve its usability
- New JoeZoo App – to bypass some of the design and functionality limitations inside Google Apps, we’ve built JoeZoo App to house our new Rubric Builder and more great tools to come
- New Rubric Builder – it is now faster and easier to use and includes the following improvements:
- Customizable Grading Scale – you can now input NAME, IB or any other scale you’d like to use
- Fractional Grading – you can now give B+/- Weighted Points Scoring – you’ll be able to give points, as an alternative to %, when grading a doc
- Rubric Sharing – if your school or district installs JoeZoo, you’ll be able to instantly share rubrics with anyone
- Redesigned Feedback & Grading – we’ve redesigned both to reflect what you’ve told us:
- Multiple Assessors – now multiple teachers and students can add feedback and grading to each doc
- Feedback & Grading History – now all of the comments, messages and grades added to a doc are grouped by Date and can be scrolled in our add-on
- Self/Peer/Teacher Feedback – based on who assessed whom, we group and label their comments, messages and grades in our add-on
- Less Clicks – we’ve reduce the number of clicks to give feedback or grade by 75%, here’s how:
- No More Steps – we got rid of all those steps so you can add a comment, message or grade from 1 screen in 1 step
- No More Menus – to add a comment you simply search and save, no more menus to click through
- New Comment Features – here are the requested features we added:
- Point Scoring – you can now indicate if your comment is corrective or praise by give it a score between 1 – 5 points
- Fix Tip Control – you now control when you want to show a “How to Fix” tip with your comments
- Resource Links – you can now add links to comments if you wish students to explore helpful resources
- New Monkey Checkers – if your school or district installs JoeZoo, you’ll get the following improvements:
- Teacher Monkey Checker – users with ‘educator’ accounts will get this version
- Student Monkey Checker – users with ‘student’ accounts will get this version, perfect for Self Assessment
- Multiple Uses per Doc – now you can use each Monkey Checker multiple times per doc
- Increased Student Privacy – we take privacy seriously and have made these improvements:
- No Personal Information – we will no longer ask for student Names or Gender during the set up of JoeZoo
- Deleting Personal Information – for existing students, we will be deleting any Names and Gender information they gave us when setting up JoeZoo
While stepping in at the last minute to cover a 6th grade English class, I found The Teacher’s Corner. I was looking for daily writing prompts for middle school students and this one incorporates historical events and people in each day’s prompt. This link is for the month of October. While Teacher’s Corner’s prompts came up in my query for prompts for middle school, they could easily be tweaked for use in elementary classes as well.
I enjoy thoughtful articles that prompt discussion amongst other educators and this one on homework practice from Eric Sheninger is one such post as it was tweeted and retweeted several times. In it he reminisces about how he and his brother spent after school afternoons playing outside until dinner, participating in school sports, and the like. He then went on to talk about how our students are spending their time after school – often on “obscene” hours of homework. Sheninger reminds us of the purpose of homework and asks us to look critically at the kind of homework we are assigning and at how it is affecting our students.
“If your homework practices make kids dislike school and/or learning that alone should tell you something has to change.”
Last, but certainly not least, is a teaching and learning tool I learned about again from last night’s Edchat Interactive webinar with Kathy Perret. It’s called Class Flow and it’s completely FREE tool to create engaging, interactive, differentiated lessons for your class. I first mentioned in this post along with 9 other formative assessment tools. You can create your own lessons (compatible with Smart, Promethean, and more), find lessons that other teachers have shared, differentiate what your students do by sending questions to small groups of students, give badges, check for understanding, and work together in class or out of class. They have lessons for students from pre-k through post-secondary that you can filter by grade, subject, rating, language- yes- I said language as they have lessons in languages from Arabic to Vietnamese and 22 in between. There is so much more to know (I only just learned about it last night) and you can learn more about it by looking at their information and short video introductions here. And by the way, as I mentioned, it is completely FREE to sign up and use!