Shrewsbury EdTech

Tech resources for Shrewsbury Public School educators

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Emoji Exit Slips

There are many different ways to elicit feedback from students to assess their current understanding of a topic or concept. We have Schoology and Socrative quizzes, Google forms, and more. Sometimes though, a quick check in is all that you need. Rather than worrying about a grade, you just a general sense of how students feel about your lesson.

We shared this post on Plickers, which let you quickly poll your students using cards with QR codes on them. Now, thanks to the wonders of Pinterest, Elin Dolen and her 7 Green teammates have a new idea to share with you…emojis 🤔 😳 😀 😬

This may not be very high tech, but middle school kids LOVE their emojis, so I’m sure they would love this idea! Below is a screen shot of the exit ticket Elin used to get a quick sense of how students felt after learning about natural selection. She had them choose an emoji and give an explanation for why they chose that particular emoji.

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Below is a variation I created using a Google form. Even though you cannot technically add photos to the multiple choice options, I highlighted the emojis and copied them into the boxes…and it worked! I just chose four random emojis, but you could offer more options.

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What do you think? Would you use this idea in your classroom? If so, we’d love to hear how it goes!



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Polling Your Students With Plickers

If you were at the Oak Middle School staff meeting on Tuesday, you heard Jeff LaRose talk about the new tech tool he is using to get quick formative feedback from students in gym class. You probably thought to yourself, “I want to try that!” Well, here is everything you need to know to get yourself started!

There is no shortage of formative assessment apps out there. Socrative, Poll EverywhereClass Kick*, and Kahoot are all great tools for polling students.

*Class Kick was mentioned to us by a few teachers at the high school. We will be writing a blog post about it shortly, so if you currently use it in your classroom, we would love to get your opinions/suggestions to share with others!

Plickers sets itself apart from the rest because it lets teachers get real-time formative data without the use of student devices. This makes it a great tool for all classroom settings. The teacher still must use the Plickers app on their iPhone or iPad, but the students simply hold up a card with what looks like a QR code. The teacher’s device scans all of the codes in the class and yields quick results. The bottom left image is an example of the student #1 response card. They can answer “A”, “B”, “C”, or “D” depending on how they orient the card. The bottom right image shows an example of the teacher’s results screen.

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The Cards

You can purchase a 40-card standard deck of Plinker cards on Amazon for $20. They come on durable, matte-laminated card stock and are ready to use. You can also print out your own deck for free! They provide all necessary handouts and instructions here. It is recommend that you print them on card stock and laminate them only if you have a matte laminating option. The typical glossy laminate makes it difficult for the iPad to scan the codes. (Jeff learned at his conference it’s much easier to just purchase the cards, so he bought one of the decks from Amazon.)

Happy Polling!

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Quiz Retakes with Google Forms and Flubaroo

There are always a few graded quizzes in each of my science units. I tell my students that quizzes serve two purposes, to let them know how well they are understanding the material and to let me know how well they are understanding the material. It should come as no surprise that students who earn 3’s and 4’s on quizzes tend to get 3’s and 4’s on the test. Students who earn 1’s and 2’s on quizzes, unfortunately, tend to do about the same on the unit test. I have always allowed and even encouraged students to retake a quiz, but most do not. In fact, the few quiz retakes I used to have were students who earned a 3 but wanted to bring it up to a 4.

With my new unit, I decided to change things up a bit in two major ways:

1. All students who earn below a 3 are expected to retake that quiz. It’s not mandatory, just expected. However, I’ve added it to my list of test retake requirements. Students will not be eligible to retake a test unless all quizzes have a grade of a 3 or higher BEFORE the test is taken. I’m hopeful that as students retake quizzes as needed, it forces them to address their misunderstandings throughout the unit. This is much better than waiting until the test to figure it all out, which many of them tend to do.

2. Quiz retakes are now online. Even with iPads, my graded quizzes are always on paper. Retakes were either the same exact quiz or a modified version of that quiz. Students had to come in a lunch or stay after school to retake the quiz. I’ve now created the quiz retakes using Google Forms. There are many benefits to this approach:

  • Students can take the quiz at any time, at home or at school.
  • I can add pictures to the quiz.
  • Quiz questions can be displayed randomly, so even if two students are next two each other, they will be answering questions in a different order.
  • Flubaroo is an “add-on” for Google Sheets. Not only can it automatically grade the quizzes for you, but you can set it up so students receive an email within a minute or so that tells them their grade, the questions they got right, and the questions they got wrong. You can also have the email tell students the correct answers for the ones they got wrong. I don’t use this feature though. Students can retake the online quiz as many times as necessary until they earn a score of 80% or higher.

The best part about these online quizzes is that they require very little work on my part. Once the quiz is published and shared, I wait for a few students to take the quiz before grading the assignment with Flubaroo. In order to do this, you need to take the quiz yourself, because It uses your responses as an answer key. You can then enable the “autograde” feature after that, then sit back and relax. Below is a screenshot of the “grades” spreadsheet that gets generated from the form. I’ve obviously blurred out student info, but you can see the total points/percent grade as as well the number of submissions needed to achieve that grade. One student took the quiz 14 times in order to get 100%!!


Here are two screenshots from the generated email that students receive. The first shows their grade, and the second shows what correct/incorrect responses look like. 

mixtures gradecorrect


Learn more about Flubaroo

Mixtures and Pure Substances quiz retake*

States of Matter quiz retake*

*The best way for you to see what the email looks like is to take one of the quizzes yourself!

Disclaimer: There is a small glitch with Flubaroo at the moment where the autograde feature stops working. You need to disable autograde, then re-enable it. It happened to one of my quizzes, but not the other. Flubaroo is aware of the problem and working hard to fix it.

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Using Padlet as a Formative Assessment Tool

Padlet (formerly known as Wallwisher) has been around for a while now. It acts as an online bulletin board where users place “digital sticky notes”. These digital stickies can contain text, web links, uploaded files, photos, and even video! They can be anonymous or students can be required to sign in. The reason why I like Padlet so much is because it is very customizable and lets teachers/students collaborate in different ways.

I used Padlet last week as a formative assessment tool to see my students’ current understanding of some important science concepts. I had students visit the Padlet wall I created on their iPad and make a new sticky note. They had to include their first name, then write definitions of volume, mass, and weight in their own words. Padlet is web-based and not an app, so it can be used in any 1-to-1 classroom, regardless of the device being used. If students did not have their iPad with them, I allowed them to team up with another student. The final Padlet wall can be seen here.

Pros to using Padlet

  • Students were able to access the wall very quickly. The website lets you “mobilize” your wall and create a QR code. Most students walked into my room, scanned the code, and were back at their table within a minute or two. I was also able to create a personalilzed web address for them to type ( for students who preferred that method.
  • Real time data! I had the Padlet wall projected on the screen so I could read their responses as they appeared on the screen. I could quickly tell, for example, that many of the students were confusing mass and volume.
  • Choose different layouts to fit your need. When I first used Padlet a few years ago, the sticky notes could be placed anywhere on the screen. It was neat to move them around, but they could get cluttered. Aside from “freeform”, there are two other layouts: stream (posts are displayed one below the other) and grid (posts are displayed in a grid-like layout). I used the stream layout while they entered their information, then switched it to a grid once the day was over.
  • Students don’t need to register for an account. This made the whole process much quicker and seamless to use.
  • The wall is permanent…until you delete it. Unlike other methods for gathering feedback or formative assessment, it’s not always easy for the students to revisit this information. I like the idea of having students revisit this Padlet wall again near the end of the unit and modify their initial definitions to (hopefully) make them more accurate.

Cons to using Padlet

  • Students could “cheat”. Even though I don’t think this happened, students could easily wait to see what other students write before submitting their own answers.
  • Students could misbehave. I did have at least one student in each class write something silly without a name, such as “I like cats.” I reminded them they needed to be responsible, and the behavior stopped. (However, it’s important to note that each student can only edit their own sticky note. If I did spot something very inappropriate, I could easily find the guilty suspect by having all students stand up and leave their iPads on the table. Whoever’s iPad was able to edit the offensive note is the one who originally wrote it.)

Additional Resources

  1. Introductory Guide to Padlet
    Great blog post by Nathan Hall that explains the features of Padlet as well as some great ideas for using it in the classroom.
  2. How to Use Padlet in the Classroom
    Here are some great suggestions direct from creators of Padlet!
  3. 32 Interesting Ways to Use Padlet in the Classroom
    Tom Barrett shares a Google Slideshow with a LOT of great ideas.
  4. Three Good Ways to Use Padlet in Your School
    Richard Byrne (FreeTech4Teachers) shares a few additional tips for using Padlet.