Provide Instant & More Effective Feedback With Classkick

Posted on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 @ 15:06 PM

effective feedbackOne of the biggest challenges teachers face is reaching a wide range of ability levels in the classroom, while ensuring all students are challenged and mastering required content. The task of differentiating to meet the needs of multiple intelligences can be overwhelming, but I recently came across a new application designed specifically with these challenges in mind.

Classkick is a free new iPad application that eliminates paper and pencils and essentially transforms students’ iPads into an electronic whiteboards. That in itself is cool, but even more impressive is the fact that Classkick gives teachers real-time access to screenshots of each student’s workspace. Want to give private feedback to a student or offer a helpful “hint” to the entire class? Classkick gives you these options.




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Topics: Best Apps for Educators, effective feedback, apps for educators, history teachers, math teachers, STEM

15 Ways for Principals to Show Teachers Their Appreciation

Posted on Wed, Oct 02, 2013 @ 11:10 AM

teacher appreciationNational Teacher Day isn’t until May, but in our experience, trying to cram all of our appreciation into a single day can feel slightly disingenuous to teachers. Rather than wait for May to roll around, we’re sharing 15 simple ways principals can recognize teachers throughout the year. We owe the principals over at Education World a big thank you for sharing their ideas. Should you find that the tips we’ve listed below aren’t enough, you’ll find 50 more by visiting the original article here.

15 Ways for Principals to Show Teachers Their Appreciation

  • Host a "Thank You Breakfast" during Teacher Appreciation Week, or during another time of the year when teachers least expect and most need it.

  • Recognize special contributions by putting "Cookie Coupons" in teachers' mailboxes. Arrange with the cafeteria for teachers to redeem those coupons for a special treat.

  • Whenever you are able, send a personally written—preferably, handwritten—note of thanks or appreciation to teachers "caught" caring or pulling off terrific classroom projects. Send at least a dozen of those notes each week. Keep a copy for the teacher's file; later in the school year you will be able to draw on those positive moments as you compose teachers' evaluations.

  • At each faculty meeting, hold a lottery drawing for a "free" two-hour break during which time you will cover a teacher's class. The break can be redeemed at any time, but it needs to be arranged at least a week in advance.

  • Each month, hold a party to recognize staff members who will celebrate birthdays that month.

  • Provide a duty-free week during scheduled state-test times. Arrange to have PTA parents or others cover those duties.

  • Purchase fresh flowers for teachers' desks during parent-teacher conference week.

  • In your public address announcements remind students to show appreciation for their teachers in all kinds of ways.

  • At the end of each grading period—when teachers have spent hours agonizing over student performance—send special notes of appreciation.

  • If you have lost part of your school vacation to snow days, provide some special treats on those makeup days to recognize the extra stress that goes with losing valuable R&R time or planning days.

  • If it starts snowing a couple hours before school lets out, go outside and scrape or brush off teachers' cars so they can get on the road soon after the bell rings.

  • Provide dinner between school and an evening PTA meeting.

  • Purchase a special book for the school library to recognize a teacher or honor a special occasion (for example, a retirement, a 20th teaching anniversary, or the completion of a master's degree). You might even give the teacher the choice of what book to purchase. Include inside the book a special bookplate to commemorate the teacher, the landmark occasion, and the date.

  • To recognize the start of spring, add fresh flowers to the teacher's room and provide each teacher with a flowering plant to brighten his or her desk. Serve up a snack of spring rolls—homemade, or ordered hot from a local Chinese restaurant—to accompany lunch.

  • At each faculty meeting, hold a random drawing for a "lunch of the month." On a specific day, those teachers will get to order-in from the restaurant-of-choice's menu.
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Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, effective principal, educational leaders, effective feedback, faculty meetings, Teacher Appreciation

iAnnotate: A greener, simpler way to provide effective feedback

Posted on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 @ 10:04 AM

effective feedbackProviding our students with effective feedback is a challenge not only due to the sheer volume of essays we have to read, but also because it can be so tedious—and heavy. Like most teachers, we’ve been toting around back-breaking file folders and stacks of student essays for years. But the alternatives weren’t much more appealing. We tried having students email us their work or submit it via Dropbox. Then we’d open the document in MS Word, type up marginal comments, and email it back to the student. This worked, but frankly, we missed being able to physically write out our thoughts. Instead of going back to toting around hardcopies, we decided to give iAnnotate a shot and it hasn’t let us down.

iAnnotate: A greener, simpler way to provide effective feedback

For a mere $9.99, iAnnotate allows users to read and physically annotate Word/PowerPoint files on their iPad. 

Want to provide effective feedback? Simply touch a blank area of a document, choose your tool—pen, highlighter, note, strike through or voice recorder—and go for it. Confused about a student’s word choice? Tap on the word in question and make your note. iAnnotate will also sync documents with Dropbox, which makes it easy to stay organized.

To learn more about iAnnotate, check out the video below.

If you’re looking for a few more tips to help you provide effective feedback, check out three of our recent blog posts:


Download our FREE guide:  50 No-Nonsense, No Fluff Apps for Teachers

Topics: Educational Technology, Educational Technology Master's Degree, Educational Technology Programs, classroom technology, writing strategies, effective feedback, writing skills, apps for educators

Effective feedback made easy—or at least easier—with GradeMark

Posted on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 @ 16:03 PM

Providing our seffective feedbacktudents with effective feedback is a challenge not only due to the sheer volume of essays many of us have to read, but also because it can be so tedious. Often there are so many things we want to address that we wonder where or how we should begin. We recently offered a few tips for giving effective feedback and thought a discussion about GradeMark, a new online tool for grading papers, would make a nice companion piece.

Effective feedback made easy—or at least easier—with GradeMark

Instead of submitting hard copies of their work, students simply upload their essay to GradeMark. This not only frees you from having to lug around stacks of essays, you’ll also save printing ink and never again will you chase down hard copy papers (that may or may not have been submitted to your mailbox). “But I can already do this through email and Microsoft Word,” you say.  Not so fast.

Once you open a document in GradeMark, you are free to:

  • Add comments within the body of the paper
  • Point out grammar and punctuation mistakes
  • Evaluate the paper against qualitative or quantitative rubrics
  • Assess the student’s performance within the class
  • Reduce plagiarism by running an originality report
  • Enter a grade for the paper that is automatically saved into GradeBook.

Here’s the best part: Grademark combines several methods of evaluation which makes providing effective feedback infinitely easier than working with hard copies or within Microsoft Word:

  • Drag and drop fully-customizable comments. Say, for example, that your student commonly misuses the comma. Instead of inserting all of the commas for the student, simply drag and drop the “missing comma” icon onto the page and type up a short explanation about why the comma is necessary.
  • Add marginal comments by typing directly on the draft or drag and drop quick marks. You can also attach lengthier comments to the essay.
  • Add voice messages. There are times when it’s easier to just say what you mean instead of writing it. Now you can. 
  • Use rubric scoring. Set up rubrics and attach them to the assignments so you can illustrate what specific improvements need to be made.

We’re sorry to say that we can’t tell you how much the program costs, but GradeMark will provide you with a quote if you fill out their short request form—which will only take you a minute.

If you’re looking for more ways to offer your students’ effective feedback, check out one of our recent blogs, “Are you providing effective feedback? Or are your students just ignoring you?”


Download our FREE guide:  50 No-Nonsense, No Fluff Apps for Teachers

Topics: Educational Technology, Educational Technology Master's Degree, Educational Technology Programs, Instructional Technology Graduate Programs, Best Apps for Educators, Technology in the Classroom, classroom technology, writing strategies, effective feedback, writing skills

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