No Red Ink: The Website to Solve Your Grammar Differentiation Woes!
Type of technology: Website
SAMR Model Rating: Modification
Grade level: K-12
Subject area: English, World Languages
Cost: Free for version with half of content, ~$3/per student for Premium version with all content
If you are a language teacher like I am, chances are that you have found yourself shaking your fist at the heavens in frustration as a direct result of attempting grammar instruction in your classroom. Grammar instruction is particularly challenging because one-size-fits-all direct instruction is neither engaging nor effective, and many teachers find that students come to them with greatly divergent levels of proficiency. Some of your students struggle to identify subjects and verbs while others diagram sentences for pleasure; how could one possibly bridge that gap? In addition, grammar instruction can be dull as a dishwater for everyone involved. I have a solution that addresses the range of abilities in the room and the sleep-inducing nature of daily oral language activities: NoRedInk.
This interactive website allows you to deliver accurate, interactive grammar instruction catered to your students’ interests. For real. It has been proven to bolster standardized test scores, and it allows students to learn at their own pace. While it may sound too good to be true, I assure you it is not. To get an overview of its rationale, check out this NoRedInk introduction video.
Once you are ready to give the free version a try, NoRedInk has numerous resources to assist you in creating your class and enrolling your students. After you create an account, you can click on your name in the upper right corner, click on resources, and access the resources it provides like a “Get Started” Guide for Free Users and a “Get Started” Guide for Students. I projected the this guide in my classroom and provided the class code that is featured prominently on my teacher home page in the upper right corner of the dashboard for each class. It took only a few minutes to get the entire class enrolled.
Once you have enrolled your students, both NoRedInk and I highly encourage you to assign a Planning Diagnostic to your class to create a baseline from which to work. After you select the grade level range you teach, it will allow you to choose from 39 pathways, varying from Adjectives to Verb Tense II: Perfect and Progressive Tenses. I appreciate that it provides an accurate time estimate for how long it will take students to complete the assignment for planning purposes. NoRedInk also provides a Common Core Map, an ACT Map, an SAT Map, and a Classroom Implementation Strategies handout to help teachers to match the instructional tool and the grouping strategy to the learning objective .
Another great feature of the assignments is the delayed start time. This allows you to set an assignment to become active after school for homework or to delay the start time of a quiz so that students don’t hop online before you are ready for them to begin the assessment. NoRedInk offers three assignment types: diagnostics to allow for pre-assessment on a range of pathways, practices to allow students to master the content at their own pace, and quizzes to compare growth directly to the unit diagnostics. As students complete the assignments, I can monitor their progress in real time, and I receive an invaluable detailed item analysis of their results.
If students need remediation, I can assign them more practice. If they have mastered the content, the practices end very quickly. They can complete the work at work or at school, and they receive an immediate tutorial if they get an answer wrong. NoRedInk also brilliantly built in a feature where students indicate their interests so personalized information appears in their sentences. This feature paired with the ability to scramble questions practically eliminates cheating on grammar quizzes.
My students and I have found NoRedInk to be a genuinely helpful and engaging tool to combat the doldrums and inefficacy of old school grammar instruction. Give it a try, and you may spy them smiling when you suggest a grammar practice. Happy clicking!