Common Comments

Common Comments

classroom management Google tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 2-22-2015

Every day our curriculum and collaborative work are moving to an online venue, and we are encouraging our students to create and submit their work in digital form. Here is a tip we picked up at METC 2015 in the session, “Become a Google Ninja” presented by Michael McCann and Greg Lawrence . This was a new one to us, and we couldn’t wait to share it with you. Continue reading to find out how you can quickly add one of those common comments we all use when assessing student work.

We’ve seen and used the “canned comments” our grading programs provide, but most of us like to add our own comments that reflect our personal “voice”. Google Docs provides that option under “preferences”.

Common Comments 1

Just access that option under “Tools” where you can find the shortcuts that are there for you, and delete and add to personalize it even more.

Common Comments 2
Make sure you choose characters and combinations that you wouldn’t normally use, such as “qa”.

Stay warm, enjoy your Sunday, and hopefully the sun is shining in your corner of the world!

[Tweet “A tip from an #METC15 session: Google Docs allows us to personalize shortcut “keystrokes” to add “common comments” and symbols to our work.”]


classroom management

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 2-19-2012

GradeCam + Your Document Camera

Sometimes you want and need a multiple-choice assessment.

Without discussing the merits of grading, or not grading student work,
most of us can agree that at some point, our students need to practice using multiple-choice assessment forms.

I can’t tell you how many times a student has come up to my desk to ask me what “All of the above” meant.

In a perfect world teachers could teach, students would learn, and it will all be done without hours of grading.

As a student, I can remember, after days of hard work, turning in a paper and enduring the long wait to receive the results.

As a teacher, I can’t deny that grading the little multiple-choice assessment was a lot easier to endure than the 5-paragraph essay.

Just sayin’…

One of the benefits of the multiple-choice is the quick feed-back.

If you have a document camera, that feed-back just got quicker.

GradeCam is a website that will provide even faster results, and is easy to use.
Although there is a package that costs, they do have a free option that includes:

  • quizzes with ten multiple-choice questions,
  • instant item analysis, and
  • class reports.

GradeCam’s “Home Page” includes a little video to help explain its merits,
but I’ve also embedded another video that will help you understand how teachers are using this program.

The plug-in is free to download, and creating an account is quick, easy, and free.

This page includes a confirmed/compatible list of cameras that work with this program.

We would love to read in the comments, how you use this program, how it works for you, and whether or not you would recommend it.

Grade Essays Faster?!

classroom management tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 1-15-2012

There it was.
In BIG, BOLD font.

“Grade Essays Faster”.

“Look, we can’t grade the essays for you, but we can reduce the repetitive, inefficient manual labor involved — and in doing so we open up a new world of invaluable student data.

Welcome to the future.”


I have friends who are English teachers.
I know how much time they spend grading papers.

Rough drafts.
Revised copies.
Final copies.

I don’t claim to know much more beyond fifth grade essays,
and what I had to write as a student, myself.

(Please don’t judge them. They tried.)

I do know that my teachers,
those who guided me, taught me, and encouraged me,
had to have put in countless hours reading and suggesting and correcting what I had written.

When I discovered this website, I thought it surely would be a tool that, as an English teacher, could be as valuable and indispensable as a calculator must be for a Math teacher. is free during their “Beta Period”,
and that ends on February 1st. is developed by Keith Mukai, M.Ed., a high school English teacher who is now the founder and CEO of

Once the “Beta Period” ends, there will be a cost that is described here, in the FAQ Section.
Early adopters during this period will be “rewarded”.

Here are some quick links to videos that describe the program in more detail.

So, those of you who teach English,
or those of you who know English teachers,
I encourage you to check out this site and “share the love”.

Wouldn’t it be nice if more of us could “have a life”?

FREE Online Grading

classroom management tips

Monday Morning Message ~ 9-19-2011

We have just been introduced to a new website that offers a multitude of classroom management options!

The best part of it is the word “FREE”!


could very well be exactly what you have been looking for.

It offers free gradebook accounts to allow teachers to manage their classrooms in one place by keeping track of student grades and attendance, maintaining schedules, importing Google calendars, creating and managing lesson plans and curriculum, tagging standards to assignments and lesson plans, and much more.

Learn Boost offers a safe and secure platform where you can also share student progress with both your students and their parents.

Once again, it is FREE!

In the past we have struggled with grading programs that were installed on your computer at school and all of the work had to be completed at school.

We all know how much work is done at home, and now you can have an online program that can be accessed from any computer with just a login.

If you want to save time with parent/teacher conferences, communication, and grade reporting, this might be a perfect FREE solution.

It’s not too late to enter those grades for the first mid-term reports.

If you are interested, and would like to learn more about Learn Boost,
visit their “Tour Page” where you can view a short video.
We would love to hear how this works if you choose to sample it, and what your opinions are.

Have a great week,
and remember to spend some time outside with your students as we begin to move into the fall season.