7 Popular Google Docs Add-ons for Teachers

June 23, 2017
Below is a list of some popular add-ons to use with your Google Docs.  The add-ons will empower you with a wide array of functionalities that are not readily available in Docs. Some of these include: integrate various accents into your docs, provide students with audio feedback, create and insert different types of charts and diagrams into your docs, use speech recognition to write your docs, build charts from data in your Google Sheets, and browse a large gallery of professionally designed templates. Check them out and share with us your feedback. Links to the add-ons are under the visual.

7 Popular Google Docs Add-ons for Teachers
1- Easy Accents
‘This Add-on allows users to easily insert accents for different languages directly from a sidebar in their Google Doc.’

2- Kaizena Shortcut
‘Highlight and speak instead of typing. Track skills so students know what to improve. Avoid repeating yourself with quick links.’

3- Lucidchart Diagrams
‘Quickly create and insert flowchart, UML, wireframe, mind map, and more diagrams directly into a Google document.’

4- Openclipart
‘Openclipart provides many of the best clipart images available and now you can search and insert them right into your Google Document. ’

5- Speech Recognition
‘The Speech Recognition add-on will allow you to use speech recognition to write your Google Docs documents.’

6- Template Gallery
‘Browse a large gallery of professionally designed templates, including calendars, schedules, invoices, time sheets, budgeting tools, letters, resumes, financial calculators, and more.’

7- Charts
‘Now you can build a chart from data in your Google Spreadsheet and insert that right into your document.’

9 Good Android Formative Assessment Apps for Teachers

June 22, 2017
Formative assessment as we have stated in multiple posts in the past is 'an evaluative approach that allows teachers to take quick snapshots of students learning in class. It’s an ongoing process that can happen anytime during a lesson regardless of content area. Unlike summative assessment whose goal is to assess students' overall learning outcomes at the end of an instructional unit, formative assessment aims at identifying students learning gaps and design remedial work to move learning forward. Data collected through formative assessment is usually translated into operational steps to inform instructional models and lesson planning.' After we have covered web tools and iPad apps to use to formatively assess your students, today we are sharing with you a similar list for Android users. We invite you to check it out and share with us if you have any suggestions. Links to the apps are under the visual.

9 Good Android Formative Assessment Apps for Teachers

1- Kahoot
‘Kahoot! is a free game-based learning platform that makes learning awesome. The best way to play Kahoot! is in a group, like your classroom. Questions appear on a shared screen and you answer on your own device.’

2- Verso
‘Activate student voice, gain authentic feedback and personalize learning. Use the Verso app to transform learning in your classroom. Verso’s ground-breaking peer anonymity and research-based workflows foster original thought from all students and nurture true collaboration, while leaving you in control.’

3- Socrative Teacher
‘Engage, assess and personalize your class with Socrative! Educators can initiate formative assessments through quizzes, quick question polls, exit tickets and space races all with their Socrative Teacher app. Socrative will instantly grade, aggregate and provide visuals of results to help you identify opportunities for further instruction.’

4- Zoho Forms
‘Zoho Forms is a free online form builder that lets you create mobile-ready forms. You can create customizable mobile forms, configure email notifications, and collaborate with your team. It's an easy-to-use data collection tool that helps you gather and manage data from anywhere, even offline.’

5- Nearpod
‘The Nearpod platform enables teachers, schools and districts, to use their tablets/Google Chromebooks to manage content on students' mobile devices. It seamlessly combines interactive presentation, collaboration, and real-time assessment tools into one integrated solution.’

6- iClicker Reef
‘iClicker Reef allows you to answer questions using your Android device. Tap to answer and receive instant feedback. Compare your vote to the rest of the class. After class, access the saved Reef questions to study for a quiz or exam. All data is stored to the cloud so you can access it anywhere from any device.’

7- Plickers
‘Plickers lets you poll your class for free, without the need for student devices. Just give each student a card (a “paper clicker”), and use your Android smartphone or tablet to scan them to do instant checks-for-understanding, exit tickets, and impromptu polls. Best of all, your data is automatically saved, student-by-student, at plickers.com.’

8- Poll Everywhere
‘This mobile app complements the Poll Everywhere presentation experience. Use it to...
1.) Respond to polls: Audience members can respond to the presenter's questions in real time. 2.) Poll an audience: Presenters can ask spontaneous on-the-fly questions and display poll responses live using the web or Poll Everywhere desktop apps…’

9- Recap
‘This student capability includes the ability to ask questions in assignments and record video responses for assessment and social learning. It also includes the ability to gather student questions and discuss them in a feed. Students can also receive Journeys in response to their questions. Actions are prompted within the app from the teacher account, accessed through the web.’

8 Great Books on Formative Assessment

June 22, 2017
Today as we were working on formative assessment apps to use on Android, we thought of reposting this collection of books to help teachers learn everything related to formative assessment. Links together with short descriptions of these books are under the visual. Check them out and share with us if you have other suggestions to add to the list.
  8 Great Books on Formative Assessment

1- The Formative Assessment Action Plan: Practical Steps to More Successful Teaching and Learning (Professional Development), by Douglas Fisher (Author), Nancy Frey  (Author)
‘Join Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher as they outline a clear-cut, realistic, and rewarding approach to formative assessment. They explain how four discrete steps work in tandem to create a seamless, comprehensive formative assessment system one that has no beginning and no end. This ongoing approach enhances an active give-and-take relationship between teachers and students to promote learning.’

2- 25 Quick Formative Assessments for a Differentiated Classroom: Easy, Low-Prep Assessments That Help You Pinpoint Students' Needs and Reach All Learners, by Judith Dodge (Author)
‘This collection of quick, flexible, informal assessments helps teachers take a snapshot of student learning—at any time during a lesson or unit of study, in any curriculum area. Students' responses give teachers a clear picture of what students know and what they need help with, what material to reteach or extend, and how to pace instruction. Designed to engage a range of learning styles and skills, the assessments come with an easy step-by-step plan, grade-level modifications, tiering tips, and student samples! For use with Grades 3-8.’

3-Embedding Formative Assessment: Practical Techniques for K-12 Classrooms, by Siobhan Leahy Dylan Wiliam (Author)
‘Effective classroom formative assessment helps educators make minute-by-minute, day-by-day instructional decisions. This clear, practical guide for teachers centers on five key instructional strategies, along with an overview of each strategy and practical formative assessment techniques for implementing it in K-12 classrooms.’

4- Formative Assessment: Making It Happen in the Classroom, by H. Margaret Heritage  (Editor)
‘Formative assessment allows teachers to identify and close gaps in student understanding and move learning forward. This research-based book walks readers through every step of the process and offers illustrative examples across a range of subject areas and grade levels. This book explains how to: Clearly articulate learning progressions, learning goals, and success criteria; Select strategies for assessment and provide quality feedback; engage students in self-assessment and self-management; create a classroom environment that values feedback as part of the learning process.’

5- Formative Assessment and Standards-Based Grading: The Classroom Strategies Series (Designing an Effective System of Assessment and Grading to Enhance ... Learning) (Classroom Strategies That Work), by Robert J. Marzano (Author)
‘This book details the specific benefits of formative assessment. The author explains how to design and interpret three different types of formative assessments, how to track student progress, and how to assign meaningful grades, even if a school or district continues to use a traditional grading system.’

6- What Teachers Really Need to Know About Formative Assessment, by Laura Greenstein  (Author)
'In this volume, author Laura Greenstein has gathered what you really need to know in order to make formative assessment a seamless part of your everyday practice. Emphasizing formative assessment application in secondary schools but applicable to teachers of all grade levels and all subject areas, this book provides: Straightforward answers to teachers most frequently asked questions; dozens of strategies for measuring student understanding and diagnosing learning needs before, during, and after instruction; illustrations of formative assessment across the content areas, from math to language arts to science to social studies to health and physical education; guidance on making data-informed instructional adjustments…etc’.'

7- How to Create and Use Rubrics for Formative Assessment and Grading, by Susan M. Brookhart  (Author)
‘ In this comprehensive guide, author Susan M. Brookhart identifies two essential components of effective rubrics: (1) criteria that relate to the learning (not the tasks ) that students are being asked to demonstrate and (2) clear descriptions of performance across a continuum of quality. She outlines the difference between various kinds of rubrics (for example, general versus task-specific, and analytic versus holistic), explains when using each type of rubric is appropriate, and highlights examples from all grade levels and assorted content areas.’

8- How to Give Effective Feedback to Your Students, by Susan M. Brookhart  (Author)
‘Here at last is a guide that helps you always know how to give the right feedback for all kinds of assignments, in every grade level and subject area. Susan M. Brookhart covers every possible aspect of the topic, from what kinds of feedback work best, to when and how often to give feedback, to how to use oral, written, and visual feedback. Lots of examples of good feedback help you choose the right feedback strategy and help you tailor your feedback to different kinds of learners, including successful students, struggling students, and English language learners.’

12 Great Drawing and Sketching Apps for Middle School Students

June 22, 2017
Unleash your students creativity with this collection of awesome iPad apps. These are drawing apps we curated from iTunes App Store specifically for middle school students.  You can use these applications with your students to engage them in a wide variety of creative and multimodal activities that include drawing, sketching, painting, doodling and many more. We invite you to check them out and share with us your feedback. For more apps for middle school students check out this page.

productivity tips

1- Let's Learn How To Draw
‘Let's Learn How to Draw! is a fun way to practice drawing without having to hunt around for a pen and paper. It's the perfect app if you've always wanted to learn to draw and it's great fun for long-time artists interested in exploring a new canvas. ’

2- How to Draw
‘Like a personal art teacher, it will teach you how to draw cartoons, animals, nature, anime and other different images and create amazing pictures.’

3- Art Authority K-12
‘All Art Authority's works are beautifully framed and hung on textured walls, accompanied by title, date and other details. Works are displayed chronologically, with previews of related items providing added context. Kids can learn about an artist's life and works, or take a trip beyond the bounds of a traditional museum and view and compare works in a full-screen slideshow or scrolling thumbnail display.’

4- Art Set
‘This stunningly beautiful app is like having a virtual art set right inside your iPad. Paint and draw via the photo realistic interface with tools that look and feel like the real thing.’

5- Zoodle Pad
‘This app is amazing! Use it to paint, draw, or just doodle crazy designs, and then play them back as a movie. You can even control the color, width, and direction of your line while you are painting without lifting up your brush. Let your creativity flow like a glowing neon rainbow waterfall, with Zoodle Pad!’

6- Zen Brush 2
‘Zen Brush 2 is a drawing app focused on the strong yet beautiful feel of the East Asian ink brush. With a new drawing engine that brings to life a feeling of silky fluent painting and the delicacy of an ink brush, providing a simple and intuitive user interface imbued with the Zen spirit, this app is designed to be optimal for performing Zen art.’

7- Asketch
‘Asketch is a unique and versatile sketch pad that fits in your pocket. It allows creativity on the go, anytime, anywhere.’

8- Auryn Ink
‘Auryn Ink (pronounced "orin") is the only true watercoloring app on iOs. It is a "no mess water color mobile studio" that creates authentic watercolor simulation. It allows for wet on wet, wet on dry and glazing effects. Based on the tilt of your device, colors run down the surface, bleed and spread out to create darker edges just like real watercolor.’

9- Sketch Club
‘SketchClub let's you not just draw and paint, but also share what you create right in the app to a fun and encouraging community of fellow mobile artists! Join creative people from all over the world, practice your art, and bring your imagination to life!’

10- OmniSketch
‘OmniSketch is a procedural drawing tool that allows you to create stunning sketches with very little effort. A procedural brush is a brush that uses a mathematical algorithm to draw patterns. These patterns can interact with lines that have already been drawn to produce amazing effects.’

11- ArtStudio
‘ArtStudio is the most comprehensive, sketching, painting and photo editing tool in the App Store. Completely re-designed from the ground up the new ArtStudio features a beautiful new user interface and a powerful new graphics engine to make creating works of art faster, easier, and more fun! Using advanced drawing algorithms this is the fastest and most precise version of ArtStudio to date.’

12- Drawing Pad
‘Drawing Pad is a mobile art studio for all ages! Create your own art using photo-realistic crayons, markers, paint brushes, colored pencils, stickers, roller pens and more!’

Some Good Music Apps for Middle School Students

June 21, 2017
Looking for some good music apps to use with your students? The list below has you covered. This is a collection of some useful apps we curated from iTunes App Store specifically for middle school students. Some of the things students can do with these apps include: learn how to play guitar,  access tons of music theory lessons, learn to read music, make your own music using a wide variety of instruments...and many more. We invite you to check them out and share with us your feedback.

productivity tips
1- Tabs & Chords HD
‘Play your favorite songs on guitar, bass or ukulele right from your iPad. Choose from 1,200,000+ tabs and chords with lyrics, learn how to play riffs and solos with interactive Tab Pro tabs.’

2- Theory Lessons
‘Theory Lessons features 39 music theory lessons from musictheory.net, presented in their original animated versions.’

3- Yousician
‘Yousician is your personal music tutor for the digital age. Learn at your own pace, whenever and wherever you want. The app listens to you play and gives instant feedback on your accuracy and timing.’

4- Coach Guitar
‘Guitar Lessons : Get visual teaching guitar app with colors - We show you how to play popular songs without music theory.*The easy way to learn to play guitar without guitar tabs information.’

5- Jamn Multi-tool
‘The app is the perfect companion to visualize a song’s hidden structure and chord progressions. The Jamn wheel that confers the app its uniqueness, reveals the relationships between keys, chords and scales for guitar (electronic guitar and acoustic guitar), bass, ukulele and piano. Re-discover the circle of fifths with Jamn multi-tool.’

6- ScaleBank
‘ScaleBank puts scales in your pocket. Major, minor, pentatonic. Play guitar better, design new riffs and practice anywhere.’

7- Fretello
‘Fretello provides the most efficient practice routine to learn guitar and to improve your guitar playing skills. The app will teach you how to play solos professionally. Hence you become the guitar player you have always wanted to be.’

8- Drum Guru
‘ Drum Guru is an educational app for drummers of all ability levels - beginner to pro - which delivers the highest quality educational content from some of the world’s best known drummers. You will broaden your skills by learning new grooves, fills, and other concepts, taught in easily digestible, short lessons.’

9- GarageBand
‘GarageBand turns your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch into a collection of Touch Instruments and a full-featured recording studio — so you can make music anywhere you go.’

10- Scales and Modes
‘Scales & Modes is an interactive visual and audio reference for the diatonic scales and modes that are fundamental in music theory. View major and minor modes on the musical staff, see fingerings for both keyboard and guitar, and listen to the scales note by note, in any key’

11- Learn The Orchestra
‘Follow the conductor’s lead as you learn about all the instruments in the orchestra and some great musicians who played them. Then step up to the conductor’s podium and choose one of the included classic orchestral pieces to interact with the whole orchestra, or take control and play the instruments on your own.’

12- PianoHead
‘ This popular program has helped thousands of students learn to read music. PianoHead is a simple, elegant solution for mastering the fundamentals of music theory -- and having fun while you do it.’

A Must Have Notepad App for Android Users

June 21, 2017
If you are looking for a good Google Keep  alternative to use on your Android ColorNote is definitely worth trying. This is a free notepad  app that provides you with a simple notepad editing experience to write down your notes, to-do lists, reminders, emails and memos. ColorNote has two note taking formats: a lined-paper styled text options and a checklist option. The text option allows you to add as many notes as you want. You can easily edit your saved notes, share them with others or delete them.

You can also use ColorNote checklist mode to create to-dos. You can add unlimited number of items to your list and once it is saved, you can check or uncheck your items with a single tap. Other interesting features provided by this app include: organize notes by color, protect your notes with a password, write a diary and journal in calendar, search notes and memos, organize your schedule by note in calendar, share notes via SMS or email…and many more.