Tech Tuesdays: GradeProof–An Add-On Supporting Revision

by Kathryn Nieves

When it comes to integrating technology into the classroom, it’s best to give students a variety of options. You want to have several tools to accomplish similar tasks in order to give students a choice of which they like the best. If a student dislikes a particular app or tool, which happens frequently in my classes, they are less likely to use it. As a result, having a few back-ups for them to try is helpful until they find their favorite.

GradeProof, a Google Docs add-on, provides another option for students when it comes to revising and editing their work. It uses artificial intelligence to generate feedback on writing. Similar to other revision tools, it focuses on several key areas and users are able to look through the comments and make corrections.

Once GradeProof has been installed, it can be accessed from within a Google Doc. You should open a Doc you want to revise and click “Add-Ons” from the toolbar. Then select “GradeProof” and “Start.”


A sidebar will appear and GradeProof will run through the entire Doc, tallying the number of errors or areas for feedback. GradeProof will immediately give you the number of errors in each of the categories, including spelling, grammar, phrasing, and eloquence.

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In addition to the areas of improvement, GradeProof also considers readability of your Doc, where the higher the score, the easier it is to read your work, and grade level, which lists the number of years of education a person would need to understand your work. Basic statistics like syllables per word, word count, character count, and words per sentence are also listed. Another interesting factor is reading time, where GradeProof averages how long it would take a person to read the Doc in its entirety. Speaking time is also listed for those looking into how long it would take the average person to read the Doc aloud.

When you are ready to start making corrections, return to GradeProof’s sidebar and select “View Suggestions.” A pop-up window will appear, requiring you to create an account or sign in. Once signed in, you will be able to move through the categories and find areas GradeProof considers as an error.


By clicking on each of the underlined words and phrases, you can see the suggestion GradeProof is making. Then, you can choose to ignore it or make the change. In most cases, GradeProof will also provide a brief explanation of why the change is necessary.

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You can also opt to have GradeProof automatically fix all the errors in the Doc. If you select “Apply Changes,” the changes will automatically populate within the document.

The nice part about using GradeProof in the classroom is that it separates the different types of errors, so students can focus on one piece at a time for revision, and it gives them a little description so they can avoid these errors in future writing pieces. GradeProof is an easy tool for students to use and can serve as another option for the revising and editing part of the writing process.

New Jersey Council of Teachers of English, the New Jersey state affiliate of NCTE, the National Council of Teachers of English

Tech Tuesdays: GradeProof–An Add-On Supporting Revision

Tech Tuesdays: WriteWell Online

by Kathryn Nieves

For struggling students in English classes, writing can be a daunting task. Even getting started with an outline can be challenging. WriteWell Online is a resource that can be of assistance to these students or any students looking for a little extra guidance in writing.

WriteWell Online is an app from the Chrome Web Store. It is also accessible through the website. It is a freemium app, so there is a free option for classrooms, but there is also a paid version with more features. If you are on a Chrome browser, the app can be found after downloading by either using the website URL or clicking on the “Apps” tab in the browser.

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WriteWell requires an account to be created before using. Once an account has been created, you will have access to different writing templates to help guide you through the writing process. Click on the “Create New Document” to begin the process.


You will enter the template library, where a variety of resources are available to use for writing. The left sidebar shows categories to filter the template options. WriteWell offers templates geared toward middle and secondary courses, as well as college applications. Hovering over the templates will cause a pop-up window to appear which provides more details about that option. You can also preview a template before selecting it.


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Once you choose a template, a space to begin your written piece will appear. It has steps on the left side for you to follow. Each step is met with sentence starters and ideas provided by WriteWell. These ideas can help form each stage of the writing process. It includes tips and tricks for composing the section.


You can actually delete the sentence starters and type your own answer in that text box in order to compose your essay. Formatting tools, similar to ones available in Google Docs and Microsoft Word. You can also edit the section tip on the left side if you want to include specific notes. This space could be edited by students to include tips that you provide as the teacher.

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The templates are completely customizable. The order can be dragged around to support the student’s needs or the requirements of the teacher. Extra sections can be added based off of student ideas if needed.

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Once you have moved through all the steps in the left sidebar, there are two additional options. You can add Grammarly to provide a grammar-checking feature. You can also preview all of the work you have written. Once the sentence starters are replaced by your writing, the preview will place all of the writing together.

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When you are finished writing your piece, it can be exported as a Google Doc, Microsoft Word document, or email attachment. It can also be shared directly with emails.


WriteWell Online allows for five free documents to be created. This number decreases if a document is deleted, so students can delete their draft once they have submitted an assignment. While it may not be a tool that every student would need to use in an English Language Arts classroom, WriteWell Online could help struggling students organize their ideas and begin the writing process. It’s a good website to keep in the technology toolbox to provide students, if needed.

New Jersey Council of Teachers of English, the New Jersey state affiliate of NCTE, the National Council of Teachers of English

Tech Tuesdays: WriteWell Online

The Supreme Court’s Janus Decision Will Impact Schools

[Editor’s note: This post by NJCTE Executive Board Member Dr. Patricia L. Schall originally appeared on the NCTE Policy blog.]

State: New Jersey
Level: Higher Education
Analyst: Patricia L. Schall

On June 27, 2018, the United States Supreme Court ruled on the Janus v. American Federation of County, State Municipal Employees. In a 5-4 decision, the court limited the collective bargaining rights of public-sector unions by declaring they will no longer be able to collect “fair share” or “agency fees” from employees who do not join the union but who still benefit from union-negotiated protections. These fees are used to cover the cost of collective bargaining that benefits all workers.

This decision stands to affect the power of public school teachers, professional support staff, faculty in higher education, and other public workers to determine the terms and conditions of their employment and the quality of the educational experience for their students. Educators have used collective bargaining to combat budget cuts in school districts and to demand that students receive the resources they deserve.

This decision has the potential to negatively impact recruitment of teachers and students in teacher education programs, which already have been experiencing lower enrollment for a host of reasonsincluding cost of higher education, attitudes toward the teaching profession, and increased accountability measures like the edTPA.

Educators at the P-12 and higher education levels would be wise to follow the news about this Supreme Court decision to become more aware of the impact it will have on their professional lives.

The Supreme Court’s Janus Decision Will Impact Schools

Tech Tuesdays: Using Fluany to Practice Vocabulary

Successful integration of vocabulary into the curriculum is always a difficult area for teachers. In past weeks, I’ve reviewed Google Dictionary and Flashcards, as well as PearDeck, for vocabulary instruction. This week’s technology tool also focuses on vocabulary. Fluany, a Chrome extension, provides a way for students to practice learning different vocabulary words while browsing online. Fluany takes user-created lists of vocabulary terms and, as people are working on their Internet browser, creates a pop-up that asks them to correctly identify the term. While not forcing the idea of repetition to memorize, the extension allows for frequent exposure to vocabulary words to increase usage in the student’s life.

Once Fluany has been downloaded from the Chrome Web Store, it can be seen in the Chrome browser toolbar. Its icon is a pink octopus.


Clicking on the octopus icon will bring you to a pop-up window. Initially, there will be sample vocabulary decks already included. You can delete them to make room for your own sets. In a purple framed box, there will be an option for you to create your first list. You would type the name into the box and then select “Create List.”


Now, whenever you click on Fluany’s icon, your newly created list will appear. From there, you have several options on how to proceed. The first option is to begin adding the terms to the list. You would click on the list you just created to open the editing window.

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You can add as many terms as you would like. They can be Tier 3 or domain specific vocabulary words associated with different texts being read or other vocabulary words you want to recall easily to apply in writing. You would add the term as the question and the definition as the answer.

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Vocabulary words can also be removed at any time by hovering over the word and selecting the trash can. So, once a word is mastered, that single term can be deleted without removing an entire study set.

Once all of the vocabulary terms have been added, you are able to select how often you would like the terms to appear for practice. The time frame is customizable. It ranges from one term appearing per minute to one every hour. This setting determines how frequently the extension will ask questions about the vocabulary terms.

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In order to activate the extension to ask vocabulary questions, you need to open the extension and hover over the vocabulary set you would like to use. Then select “Play.”


Based on whatever time interval was selected, Fluany will have vocabulary question pop-ups appear on your current page to help refresh your memory of different terms. As long as you are using the Chrome browser, it does not matter what page you are using.


Fluany will provide immediate feedback on your response and tell you the correct definition if you are wrong. To stop the extension from asking questions, just click on the Fluany logo, hover over the set you are currently using, and press “Stop.”  

For students working with difficult terminology in their whole class novels, learning domain-specific vocabulary words, or just looking to enrich their writing with higher level vocabulary, Fluany would be a great tool for them to use. Since it appears on any screen currently in-use in the Chrome browser, students could receive vocabulary questions while they are on social media or streaming television shows. It embeds the practice into their daily life and is customizable to their timeframe and their needs.

New Jersey Council of Teachers of English, the New Jersey state affiliate of NCTE, the National Council of Teachers of English

Tech Tuesdays: Using Fluany to Practice Vocabulary

Tech Tuesdays: VoiceIn Voice Typing

by Kathryn Nieves

Google Docs’ Voice Typing feature has been a staple of student modifications for awhile. Students and educators alike use the feature in order to use their voice to dictate their responses within a Google Doc. The updates from the past year, which expanded the speech recognition software and opened up more possibilities of voice command, have only cemented the tool as a must-use in classrooms. However, one of the biggest downfalls of Voice Typing is that it is only accessible within Google Docs.

VoiceIn Voice Typing, a Google Chrome extension, brings the accessibility of Voice Typing to any webpage. Accessible within the Chrome browser, users are able to use their voice to type responses. It even uses the same speech recognition as traditional Google Docs Voice Typing. Once added from the Chrome Web Store, the extension logo will appear in the browser’s toolbar in the right corner of the page. The logo appears as a black microphone.


Before using VoiceIn Voice Typing, you have to make sure the microphone in your computer is activated. Click on the extension’s logo in your toolbar. A popup will appear on the screen asking you to approve the microphone’s usage. You would click “Allow” and the microphone would be activated. Your Chrome browser may restart the first time you select this option.

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One the microphone is activated, the extension is able to be used on any website where a typed answer is required. Some examples include social media sites and Google Forms short and long response questions.

When you are ready to begin writing with your voice, place your mouse cursor in the place where you want the typing to begin. Then, you right click with your mousepad. A pop up will appear and you will select “Start Recording.”

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You can also activate the recording by clicking on the logo of the black microphone in your browser’s toolbar.

You will know the VoiceIn Voice Typing extension is recording because the logo in your browser toolbar will turn red. Then, simply begin speaking and the extension will pick up your words. You will have to indicate punctuation, as the extension does not automatically insert it.

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When you are finished, you can stop the recording the same way in which it was started. You can either click on the now red microphone logo on the toolbar or right click and select “Stop Recording.” You can go back and physically edit any capitalization or add any punctuation when you are finished.

This extension is great for struggling students who need assistance with their writing. It opens up the speech-to-text possibilities beyond just typing in Google Docs. Now, their short answers on Google Forms can be verbally written and submitted or their responses on any website that requires a short or long answer. For blended or online learning environments, this tool would be an easy way to modify discussion post assignments for students. Even though it would be really beneficial for students who may struggle with writing, the tool could be useful for anyone.

New Jersey Council of Teachers of English, the New Jersey state affiliate of NCTE, the National Council of Teachers of English

Tech Tuesdays: VoiceIn Voice Typing

Tech Tuesdays: PDF Mergy–Making Printing Easier

by Kathryn Nieves

Most educators are moving toward using Google Classroom or other learning management systems to accept and distribute their classwork. Despite the switch, there are many educators who still prefer to write physical comments on papers and like the pen-to-paper feedback. However, once assignments are uploaded by the students, it can be difficult for teachers to open and print all of the files they need to grade.

PDF Mergy is a Chrome extension, which means it works within the Google Chrome browser. Its function is to open all assignments within one PDF for easy printing. Once added from the Chrome Web Store, it is immediately available for your use. It can be found at the top of your browser and can be easily identified by the red and orange logo.


In order to use PDF Mergy to print copies of an assignment for all of the students in the class, click on the newly installed logo. A new tab will appear that will guide you through using PDF Mergy. Users have two options: selecting files from Google Drive or their device. Choose the option that best represents the way your assignments are stored, whether in a folder on your device or a Google Drive folder.


If you choose “Select Files from your Computer,” a popup window will appear that will allow you to find and select the files you have saved. If you have all of your student files saved in a folder, for example, you could choose the folder and select “Open.”

If you choose “Select Files from Google Drive,” the popup window will appear differently. You will be asked to sign into the appropriate Google account. You would select the account that you used to create your Google Classroom or other learning management system. Your entire contents of your Google Drive will appear once you have signed into your account.

You have the option to either browse through the folders in your Drive or search for a specific assignment. The easiest way to grab an assignment from your Google Classroom is to find the folder labeled “Classroom.” Then, you scroll through the assignments and find the one you want to have printed. Each assignment you have created will have its own separate folder.

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Double click on the assignment folder to open all of the student responses. If you want all of your student assignments to be printed, you should select Ctrl + A on your keyboard. This shortcut will highlight all student files in blue. If you only want to choose a select few student files, you would hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard and click each student file you want to have printed. Then choose the blue “Select button at the bottom of the popup window.

All of the selected files will appear on one page. If you find you have accidentally selected a file that you do not want to be included in the printing, you can hover over the file name and click the trash can.


Once the list is finalized, select the blue “Merge” button at the top of the page. While your computer is processing the files to make one, you will receive the following loading message from the extension.

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You will receive a new message from the extension on the webpage when your PDF is ready. Then, you have the option to either save the PDF to your Google Drive or open it for printing.


If you wanted to share the files as examples for your students, saving your merged file to your Google Drive would be beneficial because you could then post it on Google Classroom as a reference for your students. There are a variety of possibilities that could come from saving the PDF to Google Drive as opposed to simply printing it.

For teachers that prefer handwritten feedback on essays and assignments but still appreciate the students typing their work, PDF Mergy is an excellent tool to make the printing process easier. No longer do teachers have to open each file and print it individually, so a lot of time can be saved. It’s a simple tool, but can be really helpful in the grading process.

New Jersey Council of Teachers of English, the New Jersey state affiliate of NCTE, the National Council of Teachers of English

Tech Tuesdays: PDF Mergy–Making Printing Easier