Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Creating a Formative Assessment on Google Forms

Google Forms

Many school districts have launched or are rolling out Google Apps for Education. The tools that this suite offers are amazing, from docs to spreadsheets, video and sites, the possibilities are endless. This post is going to touch on one of the tools called Google Forms. A form can be created and when it is submitted it generates a spreadsheet that is instantaneous. This data can be displayed visually in a graph for instant feedback.

A formative assessment is a way to check for understanding. Teachers can use this information to modify their teaching or lesson.

You can use a form as a quick quiz, ticket out, to check for understanding or in place of a worksheet. This especially works well for students that BYOD.


 In the classroom

·   Ticket out/Check Out
·   Check for understanding
·   To Replace a worksheet
·   Student or Parent Survey/Poll
·   Student Reflections
·   Student Questions for the teacher
·   Quiz/Test
·   Homework
·   Pre-Test
·   Getting to Know You
·   End of Year Feedback

For Administration

·   Parent/Teacher/Student Surveys
·   Teacher Feedback
·   Collect Information
·   PD Feedback
·   Classroom Walkthroughs
·   Discipline Reporting

How to Create a Form

  1.  Navigate to Drive
  2. Click on Create>Form
  3.  Choose a Title and a Theme
  4. Choose Your School Settings

         *For a school setting it is recommended that you check off both check boxes in order to track who responses are from and to require a login to fill out the form.
    If you are doing an external survey to parents or community, leave these boxes unchecked. 
  5. Add a Form Description
  6. Create your Question Title and Help Text
  7.  Choose the Question Type
  8. Check the box if you want the question to be required
  9.  Continue adding Question items until you are finished.
  10.  Include what you want the Confirmation Page to say
  11.  Customize actions of this form. These will change based on what you are using the form for.-Show link to submit another response-Publish and show a link to the results of this form-Allow users to edit responses after submitting
  12.  Click Send Form and there are multiple options for sharing.

a.       Web Link
b.      Embed Code (with size customization)
c.       Google+
d.      Facebook
e.      Twitter
f.        Email

Example Form

Here are some great resources if you would like to further explore forms!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Summer Reading for Students Entering 6th Grade

In collaboration with the 6th grade English teacher, Mr. DiSalle and the district librarian, Nanci Bell, the 5th graders have a new way to decide which books they want to read for the summer! I put together this website with links to GoodReads Reviews, Book Trailers, Author Websites and more. Students in computer class this week will have the opportunity to research the books they are interested in reading and make educated choices!

Check out the web page here.

If you have a 5th grader, they might mention Overdrive to you. OverDrive Media Console is an app that you can use on tablets, phones or even the computer to access digital books from the Beaman library. All your child needs is a library card!

Monday, May 6, 2013

SmartBoard in Kindergarten

The Kindergarten in Mrs. Morse's class has been using a SmartBoard all year.
I asked Mrs. Morse to share with us how she has been using it:

"The Smart board has been such an asset to my classroom and my teaching this year. I use it  for my daily calendar, weather, and day-count activities. Students  take turns adding a weather picture to the monthly chart, showing the day of the week, and adding a cube, long, or flat to count the days we have been in school. 

I also use the Smart Board as a center.  Depending on what we are studying, I can shop on a special website that has pre-made activities for many skills, and at every grade level. For example, while learning about the life cycle of the apple tree  I was able to download a pre-made activity that allowed students to manipulate the life cycle stages, do math activities related to counting apple seeds, and also learn a little about Johnny Appleseed. In addition to the activities I can find on the SmartExchange website, we also play learning games from websites like
Students enjoy using the Smart Board each day and it's interactive nature makes it fun and user-friendly for students of all ages and ranges of academic levels."

Thanks Mrs. Morse! 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Chromebooks in the Classroom

30 Chromebooks have found their way into a high school English teacher's room. When Google Apps for Education has been deployed, Chromebooks are easily introduced.

Read what Mrs. Montuori, HS English Teacher at West Boylston Middle/High School had to say.
"In AP Language and Composition, students read three different articles on the topic of TORTURE: is it a moral imperative? After reading all three articles, students chose one on which to focus. Students conducted an analysis on their chosen article, using the acronym SMELLO (Sender/receiver relationship, Message, Evidence, Language, Logic, and Organization). Next, students assembled in small groups with each article represented in the group.

Using the Chrome Books, students collaborated to come up with the following:

I. The author/article that relied the most heavily on ETHOS, on PATHOS, on LOGOS--prove choices
II. The BEST piece of evidence in each article--provide rationale
III. At least one LOGICAL FALLACY per article--prove it

With the Chrome Books, students could access their classmates' work, take notes, and record their group responses very easily. The groups will present their findings, using the document they collaborated on.

In Comp9, students are writing a series of essays (Writing for Different Purposes) and they need to follow the writing process. The essays with which we worked were their first try at DESCRIPTIVE writing. The Chrome Books allow students to share their first drafts with me and a peer editor. I can watch students peer-edit one another's essays; also, I can respond to their peer-editing comments. Students can ask each other questions, can ask me questions, and all of this work is completed online, in real-time. While our first run with the process was a little clunky, students were excited and eager to write the next essay (which is EXPOSITORY), just so they could use the editing and share capabilities the Chrome Books provide.

I am excited to have the opportunity to expand my repertoire!"

I peeked into her class today and took a few pictures and talked to the students. One student said to me, "I really like it because when I log in, I feel like its my own personal computer." 

Why does she feel this way? For those of you wondering who have never seen the Chrome Books, to be able to use them you need to enter in a google account and they are into their account. Docs, drive, gmail, everything is right there. 

Thanks Mrs. Montuori and students! I can't wait to see what else you come up with!

projecting student collaboration

(by the way, these photos were edited in about 30 seconds each on a Chrome App "BeFunky")

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Google Docs Journals

Google has so many great apps for education. Miss Utley, Middle School Special Education teacher explains how she uses Google Docs for journals, "Every day, the students in my 7th grade small-group language arts class begin by writing in their journal. I found it difficult to lug home notebooks every weekend to grade and comment on, and it was difficult to read some of their handwriting. Now, I use Google docs. I have a document called "Daily Announcements" that I have "shared" with each of them that includes the daily objective, the agenda, and the journal writing prompt. As soon as students come in the room, they log in, read the daily announcements, and write in their journal, which is "shared" with me on Google docs as well (it's one document that they add to each time they write). It is so much easier to grade them now! Plus, since I come from the other end of the hallway for that period, it means students can get started right away even if it takes me an extra minute to get there."

Here is an example.

I love that Miss Utley is using this piece of technology to streamline instruction that is already happening. I have found that the most successful ways to integrate technology is to take something that you already do and then apply some sort of technology that makes it easier, more efficient or that enhances it. 

If you have a lesson you would like to share, I would love to post it! 

Using Finale & Sound Cloud for Music Instruction

Mrs. Benschneider, middle and high school music teacher creates piano accompaniments for her singing groups using a software called Finale.  She explains, "From the Finale file I can create a MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) file which I then play on my new digital piano.  I am then able to hook a microphone up to the piano and record the students' parts to the songs onto a flash drive.  I then post  all audio files to a web based music sharing site called SoundCloud.  The kids can go to this site any time from any computer and listen to my singing their parts for them.  Its a great way to practice their music when they are at home."

Thank you so much to Mrs. Benschneider for sharing this with us. I think it is a great to see how other teachers are using technology to enhance instruction. So many students have smartphones, tablets, iPods and Mp3 players and this is an excellent way to get the music to them to study. SoundCloud can be used online or downloaded as an app on both Apple and Android devices. This would work nicely with a foreign language classroom, the teacher could record speaking and then upload it for students to listen to using a simple microphone.

Mrs. Benschneider explains that this process has definitely helped them learn their music faster and better than ever before! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

5th Grade Book Trailers

So proud of our 5th Graders who made Book Trailers as a part of Language Arts with Mrs. Welch and my computer class. View our prezi that was presented to school committee a few weeks ago about our project.

Here is a playlist of the trailers.

PowToon - a new presentation tool!

This fun new presentation tool. PowToon allows you to login with your google account which is great for districts who subscribe to Google Apps for Ed. Users can create animated presentations with provided images. Looks like a lot of fun. I haven't tried it yet, but will soon!

In the classroom: Teachers can create a video to introduce or reinforce a subject. Students can create a PowToon for a project. An alternative to PowerPoint and Prezi!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Alternative Assessment Choices in Algebra 2 Honors

Giving students choices for assessments often results in work that goes above and beyond our expectations. Ms. DeRosa gave her Algebra 2 Honors students a choice to show how they understand Linear Functions from Algebra 1. She was thrilled with the work the students passed in, they went above and beyond her expectations.

The Assignment

Linear Function Project

Honors Algebra 2 and Advanced Algebra and Trig

In this project, you must demonstrate to me that you know the following topics:

1. Graphing linear equations on a coordinate plane

  • Given Slope-Intercept form
  • Given standard form
  • By finding x and y-intercepts

2. Graphing linear inequalities on a coordinate plane
3. Graphing piecewise functions
4. Graphing absolute value functions on a coordinate plane
5. Finding Linear equations:

  • given a slope and a y-intercept
  • given a slope and a point
  • given two points
  • given a point and a parallel line
  • given slope and a perpendicular line

6. Solving systems of equations by graphing
7. Solving systems of inequalities by graphing
8. Solving systems of equations by substitution
9. Solving systems of equations by elimination
10. Writing linear equations into Standard Form

You can demonstrate your knowledge in whatever way you prefer.

You can write a term type paper, and give examples to support your writing.
You can use an app such as “ShowMe”, or “explain everything” to demonstrate your knowledge.
You can make a YouTube Video explaining your knowledge
You can make a song to show your knowledge and support it with examples.
You can make a Power Point Presentation or a Prezi to demonstrate your knowledge.
You can make an illustrated children’s book on the topics
You can create an animated video on the topics at
You can make a poster.

You will be graded on how well you explain the topics, the thoroughness of your explanations, and
on your creativity. I will be looking for you to cover all of the topics listed above. If you would like to
get my feedback on your project, you can bring it to me after school on Tuesday, March 5 and I will be
happy to give my input.

This was Ms. DeRosa's Example for the students:

Some finished products!

Website:  Http://

Some students made scrapbooks, Power Point presentations, essays, posters; whatever they felt comfortable doing.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

If you love to read... or are trying to get students to love it!

Tools for  teachers or those who love to read...

Updated Thursday, March 14, 2013
Overdrive just changed their format and books are available on more platforms including your computer web browser. Watching this video will describe their new features better than I could! Here is the link CWMars site which works for most Massachusetts libraries including Beaman and Worcester. If you have a library card, login and start reading! If not, go get one today!

Original Post 1/11/13

Libraries are rediscovering themselves and adapting to changing technology. There are ways to access books free through libraries right from your classroom or from home. I went to the Beaman Library website to pull the link for TumbleBooks and I am so excited to write that they have done some rebranding and have added some excellent upgrades. TumbleBooks is now TumbleBooks Cloud (grades 7-12) and TumbleBooks Cloud Jr. (grades 2-6) There are audio books, graphic novels, ebooks, videos and read along books. The reader is able to change the color, font size and type, bookmark and take notes. In the classroom: Direct reluctant readers to these sites to preview books, listen to books or have books read to them.

OverDrive Media Console is probably my absolute favorite tool (if I had to choose)! It is a free app/software available on Windows/Mac computers, android devices, iOS (apple devices), blackberry and windows phones. You need a library card (Free) from your local library. I might have blogged about this before, but it is worth a second post. Since I discovered OverDrive I have calculated that I have saved over $800 in books that I might have purchased. Its easier than going to your local library because you just need to download, read and delete. You have 14 days to read the book and can check out up to 7 books at a time. I hate to point out the downside to anything that is free, but I should warn you that not every book you want to read is going to be in OverDrive due to certain publisher's restrictions. Also, on new releases, there is usually a waiting list.With OverDrive you can also check out books from Project Gutenberg which boasts a holding of over 40,000 free books like Les Misérables by Victor HugoPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (892), and  The Iliad by Homer. Check out their list of the 100 most popular books. (I wish this was available when I was an undergrad as a classics major, imagine the money I could have saved!) In the classroom: Install it on your computer and pull up a book that you are studying, highlight and discuss the text. Tell students about it and have them download books onto their own devices for classroom or free reading.

Goodreads is a social networking site where you can sign up and enter in the books that you have read and rate them. The site allows you to keep track of what you have read, what you are reading and what you want to read. It will then give you recommendations for other books that you may like. I use it a lot to find books that I like, then I hop over to my Overdrive app on my iPad and see if the library has it. You can follow friends or people who have similar interests to your own to see what they are reading and what they have reviewed. If you are like me and you read a book or two a week, you will love this site.

In the classroom: Goodreads can be used as a tool for any grade. In the elementary grades, the teacher can create an account with a school email and set up a page and have the students discuss the book and you can write a review together, the class can take a vote and rate a book together. In the middle and high school kids can create their own accounts and write their own reviews. There are also author lectures (the 4th grades watched a live webinar with author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid books Jeff Kinney in December). Goodreads is available online and there are also apple and android apps.

The Library Thing is a similar type of site to goodreads, but I love it because you can put a widget on your website. In the classroom: see how our middle school ELA tacher, Mrs. Carter added a Library Thing widget to her blog. You can do this with your current reading or recommended readings for class.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Infographics as Assessment

I have done a bunch of posts about  infographics. In 4th grade students at Major Edwards are assigned a research project that they need to create an infographic as the finished product. An infographic is more than just an online poster. It is a visual representation of information displayed graphically. More and more businesses, non profits and agencies are using infographics for marketing and disseminating information.

I like these infographics about infographics.

The beauty of these is that they can be a really simple project for the younger students or something very complicated for high school students.

Example of a 4th Grade Infographic made with Pixie3

Here are some resources

Student Examples
Fun Infographic

There are many new web 2.0 tools out there to create infographics, here are a few.
  • – themes and you can add text and images.
  • – similar to, but has more tools for creating graphs.
  • – the create tool is is not very robust on this one, but it has huge amounts of infographics from all topics.
  • Piktochart

You can also use professional tools like Photoshop, Illustrator or inDesign or basic software like Publisher or Word. The students at Edwards use Pixie3 to create theirs.

Kathy Shrock has an entire web page dedicated to Infographics as an Assessment with videos, tutorials, examples and more.

As always, if you are interested in trying this in your classroom, contact me to help!


I just came across this website LearnZillion, There are 2000+ videos created by teachers all built from the Common Core Standards.  You can sign in with your google account (@wbschools)

It kind of works like Khan Academy, but you can also use the videos in the classroom like these: 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Oldies, but Goodies

Remember these? 

One of my favorites: Conjunction Junction


Love this Remix: Reading Rainbow