Save Time Grading with GradeCam!

Grading is one of my least favorite jobs as being a teacher. If done correctly it can take hours to grade, item analysis, and be reflective on the assessment. Grading this past semester was a breeze because of GradeCam. Last week I was very excited to meet one of the co-creators of GradeCam at ISTE in San Diego, CA.

GradeCam is a WONDERFUL program that saves teachers valuable time and district resources when grading tests, projects, and essays. Students take their test, quiz, essay, or homework assignment using the specially designed GradeCam format. When grading all you have to do is hold the answer sheet up to either a webcam, document camera, or scanner. The data is uploaded, automatically graded, and can easily be imported into your gradebook.


GradeCam was developed by teachers, with the idea to minimize grading time, easily managing student performance/assessment, offering students instant feedback, and correlated to state/national standards. Students and teachers can get instant reports to monitor student progress such as item or class analysis. It is affordable, easy-to-use, and after it grades every assignment, it puts the results into your gradebook. Forms can even be copied on plain paper. GradeCam blows Scantron out of the water!

Ways you can use GradeCam in the classroom: 

  • The past spring I even had my students scan their own tests. They enjoyed the instant feedback during the same class period! I even had them go back and look at their incorrect answers. One of my students said, ” GradeCam makes grading much easier for the teacher and we get our results quickly.” Another student said, “I liked it because it showed you what you got right away so I know how my grade will be effected as soon as I’m done the test.” 
  • You can easily transfer scores from GradeCam to your electronic grade-book.
  • You can even  generate standards-based reports in order to monitor student progress.
  • You can share assessments with other teachers/administrators and even run item analysis results by question, student, or class.
  • You can even use GradeCam with essays, classroom assignments, homework, behavior analysis, etc. Just attach a GradeCam form to any assignment and then enjoy freetime without the stress of grading.

Check it out today! It will change the way you give tests and monitor student assessment.

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U.S History and AP Government Review

I started putting together my United States History review packets and thought I would share the process in which I review for a major state exam. I designed my review packets with a simple idea that my students do NOT need 400 vocabulary words or 25 pages of a review packet to study for a major assessment.  If it comes down to review let’s stress the down and dirty simple terms, concepts, and big ideas of each unit.


Review Handouts on Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s 

Here are my Review Handouts on EACH chapter of AP Government

Here are my Review Handouts and Multiple Choice Practice Questions for Regent’s US History—–>    # 1      # 2     # 3        # 4

Here are my Cartoon Review Handouts with a Short Answer Question and a Multiple Choice Question


Review Guides and Multiple Choice 

The review guides listed above are simple, visually appealing, and will be easy to review before a major exam. I also do extensive multiple choice review with both my Regent’s United States History course and my AP Government course. I go beyond the simple and straight forward multiple choice answer—> I have my students write one detail next to every multiple choice question that they know or researched beyond the question or answers. They then come to class ready to share their “detail or fact.” In essence they are creating an alternative study guide sharing facts and information beyond the simple multiple choice question.


Review Games

I also like to mix up review sessions with “game day” or “Fun Friday’s.” I play a variety of games from digital games such as Infuse Learning, Socrative, and Password; to old school games such as reviewing questions and drawing on a white board. I also have “Thematic Thursday’s” where we focus on thematic essay topics comparing  two topics in one essay.


These are just a few of the ways I review for major state exams. I hope you enjoyed reading and contribute to my blog post prompt.

How do you review for a major exam or state assessment with your students? 

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Civics Resources: Games, Videos, Lesson ideas

I have used the The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands for numerous civics videos and online books in the past but was recently introduced to the Sunnylands Civics games by @melissalindinja.  The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands is developing interactive games about the Constitution. The games seem well suited for middle school or lower high school levels.


There are games about the first amendment, branches of government, laws, executive brach, couts, being John Marshall, and the constitutional convention. This games are interactive and if you create teacher and student accounts you can use the scores for progress monitoring or a classroom competition. Check it out today!

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Great Study Guides for Any Subject

Here is another great resource from Ken Halla author of US History Teachers Blog. Ken gave his class the following outline found here for studying U.S. history created by the Sol Pass of Virginia.  While they are for VA tests, they are a great review for any subject. Here are other history resources for world history or Geography. Thanks for sharing this great resource Ken!

Citation: Sol Pass website 

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Grade Faster

One of the worst parts of teaching is the amount of time it takes to grade papers and tests. The Grade Faster App can help you grade papers faster and more efficiently. Grade Faster can be a valuable tool for any teacher looking to convert a fraction into a percentage faster than using a calculator.  It can be downloaded at the app store.

Every paper in that pile has the same number of possible points, so if they’re all out of 30 points, why type in the /30 again and again and again? You don’t have to with Grade Faster. Set the total number of possible points once, and go to it. To advance to the next entry, you only have to swipe your finger to clear the last result. This app is a simple app that can save you time. Check it out today!

Citation: Grade Faster 




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Help your students study and encourage collaboration with ThinkBinder

As a teacher I rarely hear “that was so cool,” “my mom loved seeing me study,” “I wish we could study online with every test.” The night before my class took the World War I test I offered an interesting opportunity  my students to study together with a program called ThinkBinder, which is truly revolutionizing the way our student’s study.

I called the session “office hours” and from 6-8 PM 35 of my students optionally logged into  Think Binder to collaboratively study. 63% of my students said ThinkBinder was “Pretty Cool” and 36% said it was “Amazing.” Students answered each other’s questions and truly studied together in a controlled environment. I was there to be a moderator and I was actually able to step back and watch students study together online.

Here is a previous blog post about ThinkBinder

Here are some examples:






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GradeCam- the new way to grade

I learned about GradeCam from the Technology Tidbits blog and it is probably the newest test innovation since the Scantron Machine. Camscan is a wonderful way for teachers/students to quickly grade their multiple choice tests/quizzes. Teachers can get instant reports to monitor student progress.You can even have students scan (grade) their own test. You can transfer scores form the GradeCam to an electronic grade-book. You can even link questions to state standards and generate standards-based reports in order to monitor student progress towards meeting them. You can share assessments with other teachers/administrators and even run item analysis results.

How it works?

Students take their test using the GradeCam scantron sheet to take a quiz or test. When you would like to grade the test all you have to do is hold the sheet up to either a web cam, document camera, or scanner. The data is uploaded and automatically graded.

Check it out today! It will change the way you give tests and monitor student assessment.

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Create an Online Study Group with ThinkBinder

I was in a Panera the other day and I saw four students studying for a high school exam. Students had their notes, books, computers, and food all over the table. I thought to myself what a great group of students who decided to study together and take ownership of their own learning. Unfortunately, students can not always study together and that’s where technology comes in.

ThinkBinder is a revolutionary way to change the way our student’s study. The new study group is focused around an idea to help students work more efficiently and collaboratively. ThinkBinder provides students with an opportunity for group discussions, shared notes, and real time interactions online. Students can discuss any topic they are studying, share videos or websites or other resources that would be useful. ThinkBinder also has a built in text or video chat feature as well as an collaborative Whiteboard to work on problems together. Check it today!

Meet ThinkBinder from ThinkBinder on Vimeo.



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Rubrics for Assessment

I love using rubrics for assessment. I am constantly looking to improve my own teaching practice through authentic assessments. I recently discovered a website organized by University of Wisconsin, Stout Campus for organizing a variety of different multimedia based rubrics. Check out the rubrics today and save yourself some valuable time. Don’t recreate the wheel, just modify it!

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I learned about TableQuiz from Technology Tidbits.  TableQuiz is very simple to use and would be great to use in a 1 to 1 environment.  Tabletquiz is an application that enables anybody to make personalized quiz and survey apps. First you create the quiz/survey on our website and then you run your app on an iPad, iPhone or Android tablet.  Tabletquiz is designed to take advantage of the mobile device screen size, ease-of-use and multimedia capabilities (pictures, audio and video). This allows to create visually appealing apps in a short time, without programming.  

The application is very simple to use. The quiz can be 20 multiple choice questions per quiz including images and videos. In order for students to access the quiz they need to either download the application on their mobile device or bookmark the website. Teachers can access the quiz results online and download them to an excel spreadsheet. This application seems very simple to implement in the classroom for a informative assessment or review activity.

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Socrative- Smart FREE Student Response System

A technology specialist at my school @mkrill suggested to try Socrative. Within ten minutes of receiving her email I had quiz created for my students.

Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers by engaging their classrooms with a series of educational exercises and games. Our apps are super simple and take seconds to login. Socrative runs on tablets, smartphones, and laptops. 

Teachers login through their device and select an activity which controls the flow of questions and games. Students simply login with their device and interact real time with the content.

Student responses are visually represented for multiple choice, true/false and Short Answer questions. For pre-planned activities a teacher can view reports online as a google spreadsheet or as an emailed Excel file.

After trying Socrative with my AP class I am planning on having them use their smart phones. This is such a positive way to use cell phones in the classroom and it is VERY simple/practical to use. Thanks @mkrill. I hope you check it out today.



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Grade Chart

Grade Chart is a simple grading tool for teachers and professors. Enter in the number of questions for the assignment you’re grading, and this will generate a quick reference chart to help you determine the grade percentage and letter grade for all possible numbers of missed questions. Here is the link 

Bonus Feature: Tap the rows as you grade your students and you can generate a graph that gives you a snapshot of how your class did on the assignment.

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The PocketMod- Easy Paper Study Tool

The PocketMod is a new way to keep yourself organized. Lets face it, PDAs are too expensive and cumbersome, and organizers are bulky and hard to carry around. Nothing beats a folded up piece of paper. That is until now. With the PocketMod, you can carry around the days notes, keep them organized in any way you wish, then easily transfer the notes to your PDA, spreadsheet, or planner. 

The PocketMod is a small book with guides on each page. These guides or templates, combined with a unique folding style, enable a normal piece of paper to become the ultimate note card. It is hard to describe just how incredibly useful the PocketMod is. It’s best that you just dive in and create one. Build a PocketMod now!



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Online Exams- the new way to test

It is that special time of the year when teachers have the privilege of grading final exams. Grading is one of my least favorite parts of my job. I gave a few online tests during first semester. During my second semester, I was determined to not “hand grade” a single test.
I am proud to say that I did not give ONE paper test this semester. Most of my students have What do you think of online tests?commented that they enjoyed taking their tests online, like typing their responses, and getting instant feedback on multiple choice, true false, and matching questions. Short answer and essay take a little longer to grade because I have to go in and grade each section like you would on a paper test.

Some of the reasons I enjoy using online exams are:
  • Save time
  • Easily manage student performance
  • Offer students a better testing environment
  • Instant feedback
  • Correlation to state standards
    Comments from my students about online tests:
    • “I liked them because they showed you what you got right away so I know how my grade will be effected as soon as I’m done the test. I also liked how they were on the computer to because it  doesn’t use paper.”
    • “Taking online tests is great. It helps us save paper for other things, and is also more organized then paper tests. I would absolutely recommend it again.”
    • “It is faster to type and answer questions and students can go back to the question later on. the only downside is the fact that you can’t write on the computer like you could on paper.”
    • “I liked it a lot better. It was faster and easier than doing a test on paper, i thought it was a great idea and i think it should definitely be used again.”
    • “Yes i would suggest it again because you got your grade right after you were done. and it kept you more interested than staring at a piece of paper.”
    • “Well that’s what technology is coming to and its much easier for the teacher to grade and we get our results quickly”
    • “I didn’t overly enjoy taking tests online, i am more accustomed to taking it with pencil and paper. However i liked being able to see my grade right then and there and knowing roughly what my final grade would be on the test.”
Here are some online testing programs:
Quizstar– One of my personal favorites. Best of all it’s FREE and easy to use. Please refer to a previous blog post.
Google Docs– Here is a blog post, called Making Online Quizzes with Google Docs written by Quiz Creator. How to create a google form and online test with this blog post, called Google Forms: How to create a quiz or test that automatically grades itself with Google Docs written by Planet of the Web.
ClassMarker- Here is another online program for testing.
ExamGeneral– Teachers now have an easy to use online exam platform to make creating, administering, and grading exams an efficient and effective process through this website.
Zohowebsite makes creating tests and grading a paperless and simple affair
Proprofswebsite offers teachers more features than you might expect. Advanced options like security, scoring, time limits & more make this online quiz software perfect for corporations, educational institutions and just for fun.  If you are looking for a test generator, exam maker or a causal quiz creator,
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Help your students study for finals with Quizlet

This weekend I started looking for ways to help my students on their final exams when I came across Quizlet.  Quizlet is a wonderful resource to help students study and review vocabulary.

I found vocab words for every unit of US history and AP Government, already organized and created on Quizlet. Rather than recreating the wheel, I used flash cards already on the the site and modified them to fit my students needs.

Another wonderful feature is that the flash cards can be sent to students digital devices, vocabulary games played on the computer, and even quizzes can be adapted for teachers. The website has a new feature of adding images to the vocabulary cards to all types of learners. The flashcards can be embedded into a blog, website, or wiki. The best part is that it is FREE.

According to Quizlet’s website, “Quizlet is a free flash cards and study games website. It was created by high school sophomore Andrew Sutherland in 2005 and now contains over 170 million flashcards. All of the material is user-generated.”


Make your own flashcards or search the millions already created. You can even share your flashcards with friends and classmates.

Study Modes

Next study your material study and track your progress.

Flashcard Mode—This mode is similar to traditional paper flash cards. Quickly review your material, make it full screen, shuffle/randomize, or listen with audio.

Learn Mode—A powerful study mode that tracks your correct/incorrect answers and retests you on what you’ve missed.

Test Mode—Generate a test based on your flashcards and pick the type of questions: write-in, multiple choice, matching, or true/false.

Game Modes

Have a little fun while you study and track your high scores.

Scatter—A matching game where you race against the clock. Your terms and definitions are randomly scattered on the page and you must drag and drop them.

Space Race—Terms scroll across the screen and you must enter in the correct definition before they reach the other side. The speed of the terms increases over time.


Quizlet’s advanced text-to-speech software lets you hear your flashcard content. We currently support English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. More languages are coming soon.


Study your material anywhere. There are over 40 Quizlet-powered mobile apps available on iOS (iPhone, iPad), Android, Windows Phone, and HP webOS.


Make your classroom interactive! Create and share Quizlets with your students and host a group just for your class so students can study, share, and discuss their material.

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