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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Improve Student Writing Skills one Quill at a Time

Writing is an essential skill for ALL students to develop to effectively communicate inside the classroom, outside the classroom, and in future careers. In the era of electronic communication, it is important for students to learn important communication skills. Modern academic standards also emphasize the importance of developing student writing skills. Quill.org is a free tool, which can be used with students to pinpoint areas of strength and weakness in the writing process.

What is Quill? 

Quill.org engages students in the writing process through web-based learning activities that teach valuable grammar, vocabulary, and writing skills. It is very similar to NoRedInk and Edmodo's Snapshot feature because you can each activity addresses, measures, and provides feedback on how students met or did not meet specific Common Core State Standards.


Why Quill? 

Quill is a non-profit organization, which has designed over 150 activities for elementary, middle, high school, and college students. Each activity takes approximately 10 - 15 minutes and is the perfect tool for warm-up exercises in 1:1 classroom environments or whole class activities. The best part is that students receive instant feedback, which is extremely helpful!


A teacher dashboard provides specific data used to pinpoint areas of strength and weakness. Want to see it in action? Check out the demo teacher dashboard to see it in action!

Need Help Getting Started? 

Quill provides numerous tools for teachers to effectively set-up and use Quill in the classroom. Check out the Teacher Resources section filled with how-to-videos, instruction manuals, and tips.

There is even a Getting Started handout for students, which is perfect because there is very little that you have to do as a teacher!



November is Click's for a Cause Month!

For the past three years, November has been "Clicks for a Cause" month. Every time that you visit my blog during the month of November, I will contribute a penny towards the medical fund of a child in need. Here are past beneficiaries of this project. 

Addison Mae Jacobs was born on January 13, 2015, 4 weeks premature. She was born at only 6 lbs 5 oz and 17.5 inches long.  On October 27, 2015, she was diagnosed with Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome (SDS), a devastating disease impacting only one in a million children. SDS is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, bone marrow dysfunction, leukemia predisposition, and skeletal abnormalities.

Addison is currently being seen by nine different medical specialists and her family is coordinating her care between Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. There are many expensive surgeries, tests, and medical costs in her future.  Due to the costly nature of her care, travel expenditures and having to take significant amounts of time off work, her family has setup a GoFundMe account for Addison, as well as a support page to show updates and her progress.

How Can I Help?

I will be donating a penny for every visit to this blog during the month of November. Are you willing to help too?
  • Visit this blog, pray, or spread the word about Addison! 
  •  Become a Coffee Partner and spare $5 to contribute to Addison’s GoFundMe page. Use the #clicks4acause in your message to the family! 
  • Become a Dinner Partner and spare $25 to contribute to Addison’s GoFundMe page. Use the #clicks4acause in your message to the family! 
  •  Become a Courageous giver and make a flat donation or match my donation  at the end of the month to Addison’s GoFundMe page. Use the #clicks4acause in your message to the family! 

4 comments:

  1. FYI, the robowriting service from Narrative Science also is called Quill. #ironic If all we're doing is teaching students formulaic and/or technical aspects of writing, their Quill exercises will make them ripe for replacement by Quill...

    http://resources.narrativescience.com/h/c/189933-quill-examples

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  2. Hi Matt, thank you for introducing Quill! As a preservice teacher interested in improving students' writing skills, I would love to give this a try! Thanks also for recommending using Quill's activities as "warm-up exercises". My students do a free-write/Bellwork question at the beginning of each lesson. Perhaps I could consider using Quill to make the free-writing better?! Also, the instant grading sounds like it's gonna make my job a lot easier.
    Though I haven't accessed the resources yet, I just wonder if Quill includes Common Core Standards from all content areas. I hope Quill doesn't just focus on ELA, because as a History teacher, I'm aware that the literacy standards for History are different. Also, if Quill has any collaborative writing features/activities. Anyhow, I'd love to find out!

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  3. I have been trying to write a 5 pg essay for a few days now and keep getting stuck. Its title is "why be normal" and there is no wrong answer, but my problem is once I get a good theory going I am getting stuck on elaborating on it more without just rambling. Any suggestions?
    Dissertation Structure

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    Replies
    1. Hi Morgan. I have recently had the same problem. I found this thesis generator extremely helpful: http://johnmcgarvey.com/apworld/student/thesiscreator.html Let me know if this helps!

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