Quill: Writing Tools For Students

WHO: Teachers looking for an easy-to-use tool to help students become better writers.
HOW: Head over to https://www.quill.org/, sign-up as an educator using Google, Clever, or manual entry, and get started.  Teachers can import classes from Google Classroom or create their own in the system.  Once a class is in place, a diagnostic test can be assigned.  Information from this assessment will give recommendations on activities for each student. There are four main options for student use in Quill:
Connect – Practice combining fragments into complex and well-structured sentences.
Diagnostic – Allows teachers to find out where students need to focus.
Proofreader – Students learn editing skills.  Passages are supplied with errors allowing students to practice grammar.
Grammar – Sentence writing activities for students to practice grammar.
WHEN: The majority of these activities are 5-10 min so they function well as bell-ringers or closing reinforcements.  These could also be used for enrichment work for students to extend their learning when they have finished regular classwork.

No Red Ink: Grammar and Punctuation Practice


WHO: Teachers looking to save on red pens and markers (just kidding). Teachers who are looking for digital practice for grammar, punctuation, and more.

HOW: Teachers sign up for an account, create a class, have students join class via code, and assign “diagnostic, practice, or quiz”.  There is a plethora of content for grades K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12.  Students are able to identify pop culture icons that they are interested in, No Red Ink will then use those names in questions to help keep students interested.  When a student answers a question incorrectly, they are given a hint, another incorrect answer will give them a break down of their mistake.  After this tutorial, students will then be given another question to apply what they were just refreshed on.  Premium membership is also available here.

WHEN: This tool is great for in class, formative assessment, supplemental work, or differentiation. The assignments on No Red Ink are interactive and more engaging when compared to the same work on pen and paper.

Curriculet – Embedding Assessment Into Reading Assignments


Who: Teachers looking to create interactive lessons with online books.

How: Teachers create an account on Curriculet, search for a book in the library, and assign readings to their classes. After adding a book to their library, the teacher can use “Available Curriculets” which are assessments that have already been created. Teacher have the option to edit those existing assessments, or create their own. To create an assessment in the writing, the teacher just holds down the mouse button to highlight a part of the text. After the text has been highlighted, the choice is given for: “Annotate”, “Add Question”, or “Add Quiz”. Annotate allows teachers to place in thinking points for students. Add question allows teachers to add in either multiple choice or open-ended questions. Quiz allows teachers to make a multiple question section for students to answer a series. These questions also have the option to be tagged to Common Core standards. Once an assessment has been made the teacher can assign it to their classes. Students will need to have an account created as well.

When students view the curriculet, they view a plain text version as like any eBook they may use. Throughout the text, they will see icons on the side where questions, annotations, and quizzes are located for them to take. Students can also hold down and select a difficult word to be given a definition.

When: Great for language arts classrooms! Use it for reading public domain books or the option to purchase/rent books is available. Teachers also have the option of creating curriculets from online news articles or uploaded files of their own. This is a great option for online news sources as the text is displayed in a clean format without advertisements and other distractions.  A short news article could be a great way to start class while the teacher takes attendance and does other necessary administrative tasks.

This tool is easy to use. In a matter of a few minutes, a teacher can have a lesson based off a classic book ready for students to view. The system tracks student progress and also records reading time. While it is nice to read aloud as a class and ask questions during class-time, this allows the teacher to see where each student is at with key parts of the text.


Below is an introductory video from Curriculet:


*Special thanks to www.wickedgoodtech.net for sharing this tool on their page.  Great resources are there for teachers!  I found out about the page at EdCamp Ohio.  I highly recommend checking out an Ed Camp if there is one in your area!  For more information on Ed Camps, check out http://edcamp.org/

Hemingway App – Drafting tool for any writing assignment

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WHO: Teachers looking to have students pre-draft writing before sending to peer/teacher edits.
HOW: HemingwayApp.com is a website designed to help with editing writing assignments. After pasting in their writing sample, HemingwayApp identifies areas for potential improvement. Examples of these areas are hard to read sentences, use of adverbs and use of passive voice. It also identifies the number of paragraphs, sentences, words and character. Identified areas for correction are color coded for easy recognition. By moving your cursor over there error, the program gives suggestions for revision to the user. The program also gives the user an identified grade level readability to assist with your target audience.
When: Regardless of the assignment type, this free tool helps students to build their writing skills.

I have used this tool many times and found it to be useful. Hemingway App may not pick up on spelling mistakes and incorrect uses of words (their, there, they’re). However, it is still a powerful tool for teachers and students both. Use it yourself for classroom communications, or checking readability of assignments.

LINK: http://www.hemingwayapp.com/

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