MiddSouth Innovates

Issue #5

Digital Study Guides Using Thinglink

Anyone who has taken a Biology class has studied the parts of the cell. Remember? Nucleus, DNA, organelles, cell membrane. Mrs. Bach had developed a colorful study guide for her students that helped them compare plant and animal cells side by side. Using the image she created, the students filled in the information for the various parts using their textbook. At the end, the students would turn in their completed study guides to be graded on their accuracy. There were 2 problems for Mrs. Bach: the students needed their study guides for the test so she had to grade them extremely fast and because she returned them quickly there was little opportunity for quality feedback. Enter Thinglink.


Thinglink is technically a digital storytelling tool. It allows you to take an image and embed interactive material (images, videos, websites, text) as hidden hotspots on the image. Mrs. Bach didn't want her students to copy definitions from the textbook, but rather find the material on their own and explain it in their own words. She gave the students a list of the various organelles (cell parts) and they used the web to find explanations for their uses in terms they would understand. As you will see in the following picture, the student would insert a dot where an important organelle was and that linked to the web that would help them understand it.

Big image
Here is a link to the above interactive Thinglink. When you move your mouse to various points, different sites appear. Students were required to add their a summary of what a site would show them to make it easier for them to study from later. Through her education account, Mrs. Bach could collect all of her students' thinglinks, offer meaningful feedback, and the students would still have access to them while they were studying for the test.

How To Grade For Learning

Quarterlies, and assessments in general, have been a hot topic at the teacher lunch tables around the school. In the book How to Grade for Learning, K-12, Ken O'Connor highlights ideas from a variety of research and educators (Marzano, Stiggins, McTighe, Guskey, Brookhart, Kohn, Danielson) about the purpose and design of assessments in school. Here are a few of his key points to think about as we discuss the nature of assessments this school year:


  • "The primary purpose of grading should be to communicate with students and parents about their achievement of learning goals."
  • The 3 C's of motivation: Content (things worth knowing) Choice (autonomy), Collaboration. Educators must emphasize that learners are responsible for learning.
  • Assignments need to be the sum of objective completion rather than points given to answering questions or following procedures.
  • "the teacher must stop thinking in terms of assignments, tests, and activities to which points are assigned, and start thinking in terms of levels of performance"
  • Students can contribute to the summative assessment by answering questions about their growth: What was expected of me? In this assignment, what did I do well? If I had to do this task over again, what would I do differently? What help did I need from the teacher?
  • "For grades to have meaning, they must be relatively pure measures of each student's achievement of the learning goals." Effort, participation, attitude, and other behaviors should be reported separately.

Let's Get Those 2018 Resolutions Started

Have you made some resolutions for 2018 about using more technology in the classroom? FANTASTIC! Marc Seigel is ready to help. Maybe you want to...

  • declutter your Google Drive.
  • learn how to use Google Classroom.
  • find out why Remind is an awesome method of communicating with parents.
  • go paperless.
  • take your students on a virtual field trip using Google Expeditions.
  • figure out where that thing you just downloaded went to.
  • setup a Google Sheet to analyze your data for your SGO.


No resolution is too big, no innovation is too small. Just book a session with Marc, send him an email, or find him in the Media Center.