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e-Comments Writing Feedback

Google Comment Bank v. e-Comments

Save time and provide better writing feedback with the e-Comments Chrome Extension. Insert hundreds of canned comments from four different comment levels into Google docs and slides with just one click from the pop-up e-Comments menu. Each instructional comment identifies, explains, and shows your writers how to revise a specific writing issue in stories, essays, and reports. These comprehensive comments don’t simply flag errors; they help your writers learn.

Check out the FAQs:

  • Can I edit these comments and comments categories? Yes, they are completely customizable.
  • Can I add, format, and save my own writing comments to the e-Comment menu? Yes, and you can create your own e-Comment menu sets.
  • Can I record audio, video, and speech-to-text comments? Yes. Is there integration with Google Classroom? Yes. Can I add and save my own comment sets? Yes.
  • Can I try before I buy? Yes. FREE 10-Day Trial!

Google Classroom 2020 Comment Bank v. e-Comments

Google Classroom 2020 Comment Bank v. e-Comments

Writing Feedback

Writing Feedback

10 Reasons to Use the e-Comments Extension

10 Reasons to Use the e-Comments Extension

How Many Essay Comments and What Kind

How Many Essay Comments and What Kind

How to Save Time Grading Essays

How to Save Time Grading Essays

How Much and What to Mark on Essays

How Much and What to Mark on Essays

Writing Feedback Research

Writing Feedback Research

How to Write Effective Essay Comments

How to Write Effective Essay Comments

Insertable Canned Comments

Insertable Canned Comments

Google Classroom Comment Bank and e-Comments

Google Classroom Comment Bank and e-Comments

 

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Google Classroom 2020 Comment Bank v. e-Comments

In this article I’l demonstrate how to use the newest version of the Google Classroom Comment Bank to insert writing feedback into your students’ Google docs and slides. I’ll also save you some frustration by giving you a “heads up” about some of the problems you’ll encounter when setting up and using the Comment Bank. Lastly, I’ll attempt to prove why using my e-Comments Chrome Extension may be a much better option for most teachers working in Google Classroom.

Add your free 10-day trial of the e-Comments Chrome Extension after you discover how using e-Comments in Google Classroom is faster, easier, and far more functional than using the Google Comment Bank.

Creating the Google Comment Bank

After opening a student assignment in Google Classroom, click the Comment Bank icon in the upper right corner. The Google Comment Bank is empty, so teachers will need to type in their own comments or copy and paste a list of comments. Unfortunately, Google Classroom only provides one Comment Bank, so think about which comments you plan to use for all of your assignments and classes before you fill up the bank.

If you’re thinking of inserting a number of comments, take the time to organize and group the comments before you copy and paste, because the Comment Bank display won’t sort or order those comments for you. And don’t waste any of your time formatting your list. They paste as unformatted into the Google Comment Bank and Google permits only minimal formatting once the comments are entered.

Inserting Comments from the Google Comment Bank

So once you’ve got some comments stored in the Google Comment Bank, you’re ready to annotate your student’s essay. When you find a writing issue to address, double click or highlight the word or section and search up and down the comment bank for the comment you wish to insert. Click on the comment; click on “Copy to Clipboard,” click on the comment box, type Control-v to paste the comment; click outside the box; and click the comment button. Voila! The selected comment appears in the Google comment box in the right margin. If you were counting, it took eight separate clicks to insert one comment. Not great, but probably faster than red-inking the same comment on a student’s paper.

You’ll notice that scrolling up and down to find the comment you want to insert can be time-consuming and frustrating if you have more than a few comments in the bank. Google tries to solve this problem by providing an alternative method for selecting comments: a key word search in the comment box.

Here’s how you use this method: Type in a hashtag followed by a key word from the comment you are looking for, a list of comment options pops up. Of course, before you use this method, you’ve got to know which comment you want to use and what it says in order to type in the key word. Often, you’ll wind up trying a few key words to narrow down the comment choices before you find the right one, especially because your writing comments tend to use many of the same words. Playing the search for the right comment game does get old very quickly, but it works better than scrolling up and down the Comments Bank display. Unfortunately, it still takes seven clicks to insert a comment with this method.

Using e-Comments in Google Classroom

In contrast to the Google Comments Bank, the e-Comments Chrome Extension was designed by an ELA teacher for teachers and their students. It shows!

The e-Comments menu provides hundreds of customizable canned comments, written in four comment sets: Grades 3–6, 6–9, 9–12, and College/Workplace. These Common Core-aligned comments don’t just identify writing errors; they help your students learn. For example, if students are overusing “to-be” verbs in their writing, simply commenting, “Too many ‘to be’ verbs,” doesn’t help students if they don’t know what the “to-be” verbs are or the revision strategies to eliminate them. The e-Comments identify and explain the writing issues and show students how to revise.

Revise Too Many “to be” Verbs: Limit using so many “to be” verbs: is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been. To replace “to be” verbs: 1. Substitute a more active verb. 2. Convert one of the words in the sentence to a verb form. 3. Change the beginning of the sentence. 4. Combine the sentence which has the “to be” verb with the sentence before or after to use another stronger and specific verb.

Substitute Example: The child was sad.

Revision: The child felt sad.

Convert Example: Charles Schulz was the creator of the Peanuts cartoon strip.

Revision: Charles Schulz created the Peanuts cartoon strip.

Change Example: The run-away car will be stopped by the tire spikes.

Revision: The tire spikes will stop the run-away car.

Combine Example: The sensitive child is terrified. She is feeling that way because of the news story.

Revision: The news story terrified the sensitive child.

So why re-invent the wheel by writing your own comments?

Unlike the hard-to-search and unorganized Google Comments Bank, the e-Comments menu lets you see all of your comment options at a glance, neatly categorized into writing comment categories. Of course you won’t use all of these comments, but they’re there if you need them. And the e-Comments menu is completely customizable. Move it wherever you want or hide it if you wish. Add, delete, substitute, or rearrange any writing comment categories and comments.

It’s easy to differentiate instruction by switching among the four comment levels to insert remedial or advanced comments. Plus, add your own custom comment sets for different assignments and classes. Wahoo!

While inserting a comment from the Google Comment Bank takes seven or eight clicks, only two clicks are needed with e-Comments. That makes a huge difference when your grading a whole batch of assignments. Simply click once or highlight where you want to comment, and then click the abbreviated comment button to automatically insert the comment. Faster, easier, and much less physical wear and tear.

Also, it does no good to add writing feedback if your students won’t read it. You can personalize  your comments and make them stand out with e-Comments. The program permits full formatting options for any comments you choose to add and save. Plus, e-Comments allows teachers to insert speech-to-text, audio, and video comments and save to separate folders to keep your Google Drive uncluttered.

The fact that the e-Comments Chrome Extension works in and out of Google Classroom is the best reason to add and use this program. Here’s why: Good writing teachers know that while summative writing feedback, along with rubric scores, and a final grade can be instructive, it’s the formative writing feedback on rough drafts that has the most impact on teaching students how to improve their writing. And, of course, students are much more motivated to learn from your comments when doing so will improve their assignment grades.

Unfortunately, Google Classroom does not permit students to see any of your comments in their views of Google Classroom until after you enter the grades and return their assignments. This means that when students open their graded assignments, they can’t revise their work according to your suggestions. However, the e-Comments program lets you comment on rough drafts and students can see these comments and revise their work before turning it in for a grade.

Here’s how to grade student rough drafts. It only takes two extra clicks. With the student’s assignment opened in Google Classroom, click on icon in the upper right corner following the student’s name that says, “Open in new window”. You’ll get the same student assignment without the Google Classroom grading tools. Click the e-Comments icon to activate the extension and insert your comments. Students are able to view the comments as you enter them. You may wish to click “Share” when you finish commenting to alert the student.

Students read your comments and revise their writing accordingly. They can also use the “Reply” button to ask you questions about your comments and you can reply back. To hold students accountable for reading and responding specifically to your comments, I require students to make all revisions in red font and keep (not resolve) my comments. I give additional points for showing me these revisions. Of course, if you are a superstar teacher, you could add additional comments to help students polish their final drafts.

After the student turns in the assignment, you can open Google Classroom once again to grade, score the rubric, and add summative comments. One final suggestion: I would avoid typing comments in the “Private Comment” box. There’s no way to edit or delete once you post this comment.

Clearly, the Google Comment Bank will help teachers save time compared to red-inking a stack of papers. However, I think you’ll agree that e-Comments is quicker, easier to use, and much more functional. Add your free 10-day trial of the e-Comments Chrome Extension today! Simply click “Add to Chrome” and the e-Comments icon will be added to your Chrome Extension Toolbar. Make sure to take a look at the one-page Quick Start User Guide and the training video to see all the program features. Once you’re sure you want it for keeps, click the “Purchase/Activate License” page and pay the one-time fee. It’s only the cost of a few cups of coffee!

Want to see this article as a video? Check it out: The Video

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Google Classroom Comment Bank and e-Comments

For years, teachers have been looking for ways to streamline the grading and annotation of student essays, stories, and reports. And now, add slide presentations, photographs, videos, and more! Teachers want to assign more of this work, but more student work means more grading time. Teachers also want to provide quality writing feedback to help students improve their work, but again this takes time.

Enter Google. Google’s investment in education has been a gradual and sometimes frustrating evolution. The comments feature added into Google docs and slides in 2014 was a prime reason why teachers started using Google docs and Google Drive for student writing submissions. And now, with the 2018 update of Google Classroom and the additions of a comment bank and the beta version of a rubric creator, teachers finally have the beginnings of tools that will both improve the efficiency of their workflow and improve writing feedback to students.

With these steps, Google has put other learning management systems on notice that the company is in education for the long haul. As of this writing, the number of Google Classroom users (both teachers and students) has passed 40,000,000. Much like what Jobs and Wozniak accomplished with their free Apple IIe computer to every school in California in 1982, Google’s free Google Suite for Educators, including Google Classroom, has largely cornered the educational market. The bottom line for teachers? Don’t fight; give in to Google.

However, the problem for teachers is that Google is a tech (and advertising) company, and its product leads and developers are techies, not teachers. Google does listen to what teachers say, and much of the improvement in Google Classroom has been credited to teacher suggestions. Hence, revisions tend to be piecemeal, not comprehensive. What Google has done is to permit Chrome extensions, which integrate seamlessly with Google Classroom.

e-Comments Options

e-Comments Menu

Enter e-Comments. Teachers can significantly improve the efficiency and quality of the Google Classroom comment bank by adding the e-Comments Chrome Extension. Which features make e-Comments significantly better than the Google Comment Bank?

  1. While the Google Comment Bank (GCB) has no canned comments (teachers have to type in their own), e-Comments (e-C) has hundreds of customizable comments from which to choose at four grade levels: Grades 3–6, 6–9, 9–12, and College/Workplace. Why re-invent the wheel?
  2. The GCB permits minimal formatting for adding comments, while e-C provides full formatting for any comments you choose to add and save. Plus, e-C allows teachers to insert speech-to-text, audio, and video comments and save to separate folders to keep your Google Drive uncluttered. Your comments should stand out if you want students to read them.
  3. The GCB comments are stored in the order in which you added them and so are in random order, but the e-C comments are neatly organized into 11 categories, making the comments much easier to choose. Writing comment categories just make sense.
  4. To access the GCB comments, teachers have to scroll up and down the GCB or enter a hashtag # followed by a key word to bring up the desired comment. Once a teacher adds in more than a dozen comments, it often takes several tries or additional key words to find the desired comment. Frustrating and time-consuming! To access e-C, teachers simply click the comment button once on the movable and editable e-Comments Menu. Unlike GCB, teachers can see all of their comment choices before inserting a comment. It’s easy to add and save your own comments to the menu, edit the canned comments, create or re-name writing comment categories, hide or rearrange the categories.
  5. The GCB provides only one comment bank. Clearly, all your comments for a story are not applicable for an essay or a multi-media project. Plus, many teachers would like to have different comments for different students, classes, and assignments. With e-C, teachers can easily switch among the comment levels to differentiate their annotations. Add a remedial comment for X, but an advanced comment for Y. Teachers can add and save their own comment banks with e-C for different classes and assignments. GCB provides a one size fits all approach; e-C permits far more flexible options to meet the needs of students and their teachers.
  6. Clearly, once teachers insert all their comments into the GCB, they will save time compared to red-inking a stack of papers. As detailed above and in side-by-side timings, e-C will save significantly more time than using the GCB while providing students comments that identify, explain, and show how to revise. If all you want to do is error mark, GCB will do nicely; if you want your students to learn from your comments, e-C is for you. Plus, e-C provides the Common Core-aligned comments that you will want to copy and paste into your Google Classroom rubrics and Grading Tool commentsAdd your free 10-day trial of the e-Comments Chrome Extension today! You can both save time and provide better writing feedback with Google Classroom.

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How to Take Notes

Note-taking

How to Take Notes

Taking effective notes can certainly improve comprehension of the information presented in class or found in textbooks. Note-taking can also help organize for test study. However, many students have never learned how to take notes effectively. Indeed, many teachers seem to think that note-taking is a skill learned only by osmosis, and not by direct instruction. A few effective note-taking strategies will help remedy this misconception and enable teachers to teach how to take notes to their students.

Notes are summaries of the main ideas and key details that the teacher wants you to understand and remember. Effective note-taking organizes these summaries so that they can easily be reviewed and practiced. Here are a few key ingredients to effective note-taking:

1. Listen to or read the complete thought. Don’t write something down until you understand it.

2. Learn the signals that your teacher and textbook use to stress main ideas and key details. Some of these signals may be the following:

  • repeating key points
  • raising the voice to emphasize key points
  • spelling key terms
  • speaking slowly
  • writing key points down
  • using phrases such as “key to” “most importantly” “main idea” “in conclusion”
  • using transition words such as “first” “next” “finally”

3. Don’t write down everything that the teacher or textbook says. Be selective. If you already know it, don’t write it down.

4. Use your own “shorthand” symbols and abbreviations. Think text messaging!

5. Ask questions about main ideas and key details that you don’t understand.

6. Use a note-taking organizational pattern that fits with the information being presented. A one-size-fits-all note-taking format is not the best approach. Use different formats for different organizational patterns and purposes.

Note-taking Formats

All note-taking formats order information summaries into main ideas, major details, and support details. Each format has advantages and disadvantages depending upon its application and organizational pattern. It is important to know how to use all three of the formats and when each is appropriate. The four most common note-taking formats include formal outline, webbing, Cornell Notes, and margin notes (annotations).

Formal Outline Notes use Roman numerals for main ideas, capital letters for major details, Arabic numerals (1,2,3) for minor details, and even lower case letters for examples. This style of note-taking is well-organized for test study and works well with linear organizational patterns such as chronological, cause-effect, and reasons-for presentations. This style does not fit spatial organizational patterns such as comparison-contrast, relational hierarchies, or recursive (cyclical) patterns.

Webbing is a note-taking style that uses labeled geometric shapes to show relationships between main ideas, major details, and minor details. Usually, the main idea begins the webbing process as a geometric shape in the middle of the notepaper and webs off into different directions for different ideas. Different ideas in outlying webs can be connected to other webs to show relationships. This style of note-taking is not conducive to study because it is messy. However, it does show spatial relationships such as comparison-contrast, relational hierarchies, or recursive (cyclical) patterns that the Formal Outline method can not. Webbing is a wonderful form of brainstorming for essays and narratives.

Cornell Notes is a linear note-taking style that avoids some of the hierarchical organization of the Formal Outline method. It does not use the symbols, but relies on categorization to organize main ideas and supporting details. The notepaper is divided into two columns. The left side serves to list main ideas or ask questions. The right side provides the support details or answers to the questions posed. At the bottom of the notepaper is a horizontal row reserved for personal comments, questions, and analysis.

Margin Notes (also known as annotations or highlighting) have now made their way down into K-12 education from the universities. Thanks to the Common Core State Standards authors’ re-discovery of the Close Reading Method and the re-focus on expository text, most teachers are reducing the amount of short story and novel reading and substituting articles from online sources. Coupled with a renewed interest in Reading Response Theory, teachers are helping students engage and interact with expository text by practicing marginal annotations. This two-way dialogue between reader and author builds comprehension and prepares the student for class discussion. Check out the author’s article, “How Margin Notes are Better than the Yellow Highlighter,” for a nicely-argued rationale for written annotations and suggestions for simple margin symbols. Note: Mark Pennington, the author of this article, has his master’s degree as a reading specialist.

For more practical teaching strategy tips and free teaching resources, please visit penningtonpublishing.com.

The author’s Essential Study Skills is the study skill curriculum that teaches what students need to know to succeed and thrive in schoolOften, the reason why

Essential Study Skills Program

Essential Study Skills

students fail to achieve their academic potential is not because of laziness or lack of effort, but because they have never learned the basic study skills necessary for success.

The 56 lessons in Essential Study Skills will teach your students to “work smarter, not harder.” Students who master these skills will spend less time, and accomplish more during homework and study time. Their test study will be more productive and they will get better grades. Reading comprehension and vocabulary will improve. Their writing will make more sense and essays will be easier to plan and complete. They will memorize better and forget less. Their schoolwork will seem easier and will be much more enjoyable. Lastly, students will feel better about themselves as learners and will be more motivated to succeed. Essential Study Skills is the ideal curriculum for study skill, life skill, Advocacy/Advisory, Opportunity Program classes. The easy-to-follow lesson format of 1. Personal Assessment 2. Study Skill Tips and 3. Reflection is ideal for self-guided learning and practice. Contact the publisher for affordable site licenses.

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