Aug 132020

Jun 112019

Permalink: – Updated 5/11/19

Slide Deck:

Instead of purchasing expensive and dedicated student response systems from SMART or Promethean, here are some alternatives around for formative assessment in the area of web-based classroom ‘clickers.’ If you have access to iPads, Chromebooks, or even student cell phones, you can utilize some great (and FREE) web based student response and feedback systems – without the need to purchase additional single-purpose devices.

Here’s a rundown of some great options out there, and what it’s  “Killer Feature” is:

Platform: Killer Feature:
Socrative Great overall features, has Teacher and Student apps, but not required
Mentimeter Unlimited responses – great for school wide surveys
Poll Everywhere SMS/Text voting from student cell phones, free teacher accounts
Nearpod Presentation and assessment in one tool, app or web based presentations, same app for teachers and students
Pear Deck Similar to Nearpod in functionality, it’s a free add-on that allows you to add assessment and interactivity to ANY existing presentation you have, as long as it’s in Google Slides.
Kahoot “Gamified” assessment, great for review, colorful and fun
Quizizz Gamified review, without the time pressure of Kahoot
Plickers No student device needed – uses paper cards and a teacher cell phone or iPad camera
Google Forms Quizzes Easy to build, no additional logins for teachers or students needed

Here’s a few more new tools to investigate. More details to come!

Oct 052016


SAGE Assessment System LogoThe Utah State Board of Education (USBE) has released some new options for Utah Core-subject teachers for formative assessment to give them better data and to help prepare students for the SAGE Summative Assessments.

SAGE Benchmark exams are shorter than the Full- or Class-Period Interim assessments, consisting of approximately 20 questions. They are available for 3-11th grade Language Arts, Math and Science courses, focused on the individual standards/strands of the core. They are not adaptive, as the Summative and Interim assessments are, but 2-4 different versions or forms are available to enable the benchmarks to be used for pre- and post-assessments. Another great approach is to use your early Interim results as a baseline, and then assess students with the benchmark assessments as teachers complete instruction on each standard/strand.

Below are some additional documents with more information about the new SAGE Benchmark Assessments:

  • Accessing Benchmark Modules (PDF) – A quick guide to access the benchmark modules
  • Summary of Science Benchmark Module Assessments (PDF) – Tables that provide information about the content of each modular assessment for Science
  • Summary of ELA Benchmark Module Assessments (PDF) – Tables that provide information about the content of each modular assessment for ELA
  • Summary of Math Benchmark Module Assessments (PDF) – Tables that provide information about the content of each modular assessment for Math
  • AIR Ways Benchmarks District Guide  (PDF) – Provides help on using the new AIR Ways reporting system for accessing Benchmark results
  • AIR Ways Benchmarks School Guide  (PDF) – Provides help on using the new AIR Ways reporting system for accessing Benchmark results
  • AIR Ways Benchmarks Teacher Guide  (PDF) – Provides help on using the new AIR Ways reporting system for accessing Benchmark results
  • Template for Uploading Test Windows (PDF) – This is a sample excel file that can be used to upload Test Windows for an LEA or School. There is a tab with a full list of test names for each instrument showing the correct format for the upload process. Best practice, if you are electing to use test windows, is to upload a window for each instrument with the dates they will be delivered. To control the dates tests will be available in the TA interface, they must be in a window or their access will default to the full state window.
Jul 012016

At the ISTE 2016 Conference in Denver this week, Google announced a few new tools for teachers using Google Classroom and Chromebooks that will make life much easier and better.

First, Google has added a new Chrome app for teachers called Google Cast for Education, which allows students to broadcast their Chromebook screens to the teacher’s computer, WITHOUT the need for any extra hardware or stuff to buy. No more trying in vein to get a Chromecast or Apple TV to work in your classroom! If your computer is hooked up to your projector/interactive white board, then any student’s screen can be shared with you and the rest of the class! Alternatively, you can “cast” your screen to an individual student for some one-on-one help (if the student is running the Google Cast for Education app).

  • To get started, teachers need the Google Cast for Education Chrome app. GAFE Admins can pre-install this for all of the teachers in their domain.
  • Your students need the Google Cast extension. GAFE Admins can do the same for this student extension.
  • If you are trying this out before school starts in August/September, make sure to get the Google Cast (Beta) extension.

Second, a feature that I have been telling teachers was coming for a while (my bets have paid off!). Google has added the ability to create quizzes with grading and feedback features in Google Forms. No more messing with add-ons to do quick quizzes! It’s completely supported in Classroom, so you can now build your quizzes in Forms and assign them in Classroom. When students submit the form, it’s automatically graded and turned in. Learn how to make quizzes now (YouTube).

If you’d like to keep up with what Google is doing for Education, make sure to follow the Google for Education blog.

Let me know @sedcclint on Twitter, or leave a comment below, if you have tried either of these new tools and how they are (or will be) helping you in your Google-ified classroom. I’ve been using both of these tools today, and they are terrific!

Jul 072015
Thank you so much for joining me for one (or more) of my sessions at the 2015 URSA Conference. All of the presentation information, links and resources for my sessions are linked from this page (and from the URSA tab above). If you have any questions or comments during or after the conference, you can connect with me @sedcclint on Twitter or on my Facebook Page. Use the #ursa15 hashtag on Twitter to join the Conference conversation.

Wednesday, July 8
Thursday, July 9
Friday, July 10
Dec 112014

With Utah’s new SAGE Assessments and the SAGE Formative system, formative assessment has been on my mind quite a bit this year. Since it’s not always easy (or even possible some days) to get your students into a computer lab, you can’t always use these online tools to gauge your student’s learning and comprehension.

Thanks to Kim Rathke for sharing this great checklist/document (PDF) for formative assessment, you now have a wealth of ideas for getting that feedback in the classroom. This goes hand in hand with my presentation on Classroom Assessment Techniques that I’ve shared earlier.

Yea low-tech solutions!

Dec 032014

Access at

Default Logins for teachers: TCactusID
Default PW’s for teachers: Birthday mmddyyyy

Student Login: State Student ID# (7 digits)
Student PW’s: SSID (same as login): Students will be prompted to pick a new password on their first login

Utah Compose is a tool. It’s not a replacement for good teaching and writing instruction. It’s a Formative process.

Goals for Utah Compose Writing:

  • Increase the amount of writing in all classrooms by all students
  • Improve the quality of writing in all classrooms by all students
  • Increase the Career and College Readiness level among students graduating from high school

Purpose of Utah Compose:

  • Allow educators across all content areas to administer writing assessments using pre-built prompts and educator-created prompts that can be shared within/school and/or LEA
  • Ability for districts/LEAs/teachers to upload and control created prompts that will be scored immediately
  • Students track writing progress using online writing portfolios with tracking sheets that show incremental writing improvement
  • Reports showing individual student progress allow teachers to target and differentiate writing instruction
  • Reports allow teachers and administrators to disaggregate writing proficiency within content areas, across content areas, and across grade levels.

Helpful Thoughts:

  • It’s time to train students that passwords are private and confidential. Their world will be full of logins to keep track of – it’s never too soon to teach them how to manage and remember them.
  • Manage your lab time effectively. If you only have 30 minutes in the lab a week, focus that time on actual writing. Use the graphic organizers on paper, pre-writing, etc.

Helpful links from a Course Home Page:

  • Rubrics and How-To’s can be found on the Course Home page – links on the left. Text Evidence and Content Rubrics are the only ones that do not self-score. These are on a scale of 3-1.
  • Example Essays from grades 3-12 as well as Graphic Organizers – black line masters that teachers can copy and use as much as they’d like. Can also be used directly by students when writing in Compose.

‘Prompts’ tab: Teachers can add their own prompts – In a course, click on the ‘Prompts’ tab. Then click the ‘+ Add’ button and fill in the information. Teachers may NOT upload pre-created prompts for copyright issues. Teachers do not need to attach a pre-made Compose graphic organizer to a prompt if they want students to use them. Just let students know which one to use and they can write in them during the writing process. Most prompts are not enabled/unpublished by default – teachers must publish a prompt in order for students to use them. Use the filters at the top to quickly find the prompt you want students to use. The ‘Paperclip’ icon indicates a stimulus is attached. Links are included, and some could be filtered at school because of comments on posts. Make sure to show the ‘Advanced Options +’ at the bottom of any prompt. Great options here – Time, number of submissions, feedback options, & peer review.

‘Lessons’ Tab: Tutorials are here. Tutorials are recommended to students once their writing has been assessed (which can vary each day) – great way to differentiate instruction. Also great for remediation.

‘Students’ tab: Lists your students and classes. The ‘Print’ button will give you a roster with usernames and passwords to quickly print and distribute to students.

‘Reports’ tab: Can show growth and improvement easily. Students should submit all writing to be scored every single time in a lab, even if they are not done. Students can re-access an incomplete prompt. This way the reports will be more complete and meaningful.

Setting up Peer-Edit Groups:
Go into Class Lists under ‘Students’ tab. Click the ‘Groups’ button (top left). +Add or Randomize will remove your existing groups (if any) and will create new random groups with 2-5 students in each (depending on your choice). When editing groups, just click in the names field and a drop-down will show up with any unassigned students.
This is sort of an advanced feature. Get up to speed on the basics, and then add in peer review.