Sunday, December 27, 2015

NoRedInk-educational technology

For years, English teachers provided direct instruction followed by boring sentences and worksheets  for grammar practice.  Teachers continued to see mistakes in their students writing. @JScheur created NoRedInk to help provide more grammar practice, immediate, differentiated feedback, and a fun interactive way to get more practice.

Students enjoy the process of setting up their accounts. They eagerly select their interests so that their learning is personalized and relevant. Teachers can select assignments for a whole class that is differentiated at the sentence level  for each student based on their indicated interests. Students enjoy NoRedInk!  Students will ask if they can work on NoRedInk rather than another digital platform.
Teachers can track their students progress on individual assignments and skills. 

Teachers eager to provide even more practice can opt to upgrade to NoRedInk premium. Finally, this platform provides limitless practice for students.

My personal experience over 4 years convinces me that +NoRedInk is a preferable digital platform for our students to practice their grammar and mechanics. Our students consistently score better than the regional and state average. It is worth trying the program with your students!


Saturday, December 12, 2015

ReadTheory-digital reading platform

Tanner, the Founder and writer/editor of +ReadTheory discovered  "the mode of critical thought" through his Philosophy studies at @UNC. He found it "fascinating and empowering." Tanner founded +ReadTheory  with the idea "if all students were given the opportunity to make sound inferences, delineate nuance and focus, understand arguments, and recognize purpose and intent, then they, too, would learn to wield this powerful tool." 

Why do we use +ReadTheory ?  Our school  tried several reading intervention digital platforms. Most of the platforms promise significant research-based growth for intervention students. Unfortunately, their platforms often fall far short of their promise. Some are much too childish for Middle School and High School students. Some do not produce helpful data to determine true growth. Some have lessons that are WAY too long for our students.  Finally, I found ReadTheory. 

We began using ReadTheory with our Pre-AP and AP students. The passages are short, interesting and engage the students. Students regularly stop in the middle of their reading to share their delight in reading and learning. More importantly, we noticed that they happily complete their quizzes. They enjoy earning each new Reading Title, which is a "reflection of the points" they've earned. One student watched his Lexile level fall after his diagnostic. He immediately completed over 60 quizzes to prove that he was a better reader!

We continued using ReadTheory with a few of our elementary classes for Winter Break assignments.
The teachers were intrigued that they could quickly view the Lexile levels, quizzes passed, as well as their mastery of ELA Common Core Standards. Best of all, ReadTheory is FREE!

Looking forward to even more classes moving to ReadTheory after the semester break. I am thankful for this digital reading tool, as are our students. Take a moment to investigate this tool for your students!


Thursday, December 10, 2015

@SpiralEducation- educational technology

Spiral Education
I have a confession. I am often a Beta tester of new technology.  I love to try out new educational technology. I've been blessed to have administrators who supported or tolerated my use of technology,  way before it was popular. This week I tried @SpiralEducation.

@SpiralEducation. They offered  FREE access to their product. Our IT guru responded to my request to try spiral by pushing it out to all of our devices. (Thank you, Mr. Guven!)
Spiral Education Intro Video

I particularly like the QuickFire option. I preloaded questions that we would normally use for discussion. I simply started QuickFire and placed a time limit on their responses. The students were able to see their anonymous responses appear on the whiteboard. So now, rather merely COLD CALL, I can expect to receive answers from every student. We were able to see and discuss the answers as they appear.  I can easily provide feedback and adjust as needed. Quiet/shy/introverted students can now respond without fear of appearing silly. I can count QuickFire responses for a grade, or use them to help inform the direction of my teaching.

In January, one of my classes will begin a Zombie Apocalypse synthesis group project. I plan on using Spiral Team for this project. If you  use Spiral Team, please contact me so that I can learn from your experience!

Our app

Quickfire - For quick Q&As in class


Quickfire enhances question and answer activities, enabling you to get the responses of the entire class in real-time.
Discuss - For class discussions and interactive presentations


A powerful tool for creativity, exploration and deeper learning, Discuss encourages students to share ideas with each other.
Team Up - A revolutionary app for PBL

Team Up

Facilitate group work - with students sharing ideas and building team persentations.

Friday, December 4, 2015

My Christmas Wish- "We can make it better for everyone"

George Lucas's 2012 article in @Edutopia  is very relevant to the @AR_TPN, Arkansas Teacher Practice Networks. There is no more important job than supporting our colleagues in our diverse state. Our mandate is to touch 10,000 teachers through our efforts over the course of the Gates Education Grant. Fantastic idea. Lucas said, "There is no other job more important than education. It is the foundation of our democracy. By seizing on what's working, and recreating those successes from one classroom to the next, we can make it better for everyone." My Christmas wish is that we "make it better for everyone" through the collective power of our teacher leaders. We can and should.

Our "touch" will be both high and light. We will touch our colleagues through face to face meetings and through digital platforms to reach a larger audience. I know that I use Twitter to reach my Global Professional Learning Network, PLN. I have watched as my colleagues personally felt validated through their participation in Twitter chats and could count it for professional development. We can and should reach out and touch our colleagues with our knowledge.

Foundation of Democracy
Teachers have an important mandate to educate the voices of the future. By "seizing on what's working, and recreating those successes" according to Lucas "we can make it better for everyone." Democracy is involving everyone. The Arkansas Teacher Practice Networks organization will attempt to seize on what is working and help spread this information within our networks to empower our colleagues to educate better the voices of the future. We can and should empower and educate.

Better for Everyone
The teacher leaders were able to spend two days dwelling on the possibility of their personal power. We hope to harness to power of our collective and various digital platforms. It is time for our teacher leaders to step up and share their knowledge for Arkansas teachers through +Twitter  +Instagram Google+ +Blogger  +YouTube  +Pintrest and other digital platforms like 

My Christmas wish is simple "make it better for everyone."  Thank you to @GeorgeLucas and +Edutopia for this insightful and still relevant idea. We can and should do this. 


Suzanne Rogers, M.Ed
I am a parent of two college cubs, an AP English teacher, ELA Coach and PD facilitator.
I've taught 1st grade, MS, and HS in public, private, and charter schools in 3 states.