MAT Blog

GradeCam: The Closest Thing to a Paper-Grading Fairy You’ll Ever Find

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Oct 15, 2013 4:28:00 PM

paper gradingHow much would you pay for a paper-grading fairy? You know, a little winged pixie that would appear on your shoulder at the end of the week, sprinkle some magic dust on your file folder and transform everything inside into graded tests.

GradeCam is the closest thing to a paper-grading fairy we’ve come across and surprisingly, you won’t have to break the bank to use the app’s magic dust. It's free!

In a nutshell, GradeCam is an intuitive interface that allows educators to grade multiple-choice assignments with any web or document camera.

Using GradeCam’s online form generator, you print answer sheets on plain paper using any printer. After students complete the tests, simply snap a photo with your web or document camera and GradCam will evaluate and automatically enter the scores into your grade book!

In addition to this, GradeCam features a Student View feature that allows students to bring their test up to the computer and scan their own assignment, giving them immediate feedback.

GradeCam is free with limited features, but you can choose from two other pricing plans if you need more options.



15 Classroom Management Apps for Educators



Tags: evaluate student performance, paper grading, Best Apps for Educators, Assessment

A Shout Out to New Jersey for Scoring High on the Nation’s Report Card!™

Posted by Colleen Cadieux on Nov 8, 2011 4:34:00 PM

Marygrove MAT salutes New Jersey for scoring high in reading on Nation's Report CardNew Jersey goes to the head of the class in reading, according to the report out last week from The Nation’s Report Card, a communication of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) that measures student achievement in elementary and secondary education in the United States.

In an article by Jeanette Rundquist, the state is encouraged by its fourth and eighth graders posting the second highest reading scores in the country. New Jersey also ranked an impressive number three and four ranking nationally in mathematics for fourth and eighth graders, respectively. But Rundquist is quick to point out that there is a lot of work to be done, since just less than 40 percent of students nationwide were considered “proficient” in writing and math.

The NAEP results reveal an interesting insight into student habits—on the national level, fourth graders who say they “read for fun almost every day” had higher reading scores.  What’s more, this year’s survey found a higher percentage of fun-reading fourth graders than in previous years.

Reading for fun? It’s heartening to know that children are still doing that. We can thank dedicated parents and teachers—and especially the authors of the “Harry Potter” series and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” for keeping fourth graders interested in books. But the national average for fourth grade reading comprehension has not changed since 2009; even despite the NAEP data that shows approximately 47 percent of fourth-graders in the nation received 10 or more hours of language arts instruction per week in 2011, which is higher than in 2005.

While we are gratified that language arts instruction hours have increased in the school day, we still need to ask ourselves if we could be doing more to improve the flat-lined progress in reading comprehension across the nation.

Here’s what helps encourage a love for reading:

•Work together with parents to ensure there is a literacy-rich environment both in class and at home. Ask parents to have their children read out loud to them every week, if not every day. Also remind parents to keep reading to their children, too—no matter how old they are.

•Include a variety of Book Talks in your classroom, using the strategy of Think Alouds for students. (Davey, B. (1983). Think-aloud: Modeling the cognitive processes of reading comprehension. Journal of Reading, 27(1), 44-47.) Two important things teachers need to do during a Think Aloud are share their personal reading selections with the class, and model behavior during Read Alouds for interpreting text. It really works.

•For older children, start a student-driven book club. Ask students to form groups outside of school and report back to the class on their experiences.

•Make sure you are choosing age-appropriate books for your students, and send home book lists to parents and guardians, to make choosing books at the library or book store much easier. One useful site to explore is the PBS Bookfinder page, where you can find age-appropriate books through third grade for Read Alouds or independent reading, organized by subject.

To learn more about comprehension best practices, download our free guide—and help your students become the master readers they deserve to be.

Download our K-6 Reading Comprehension B

Marygrove MAT hosts booth at NJEA Convention


Tags: Marygrove MAT, Reading, Math, Assessment, NAEP, NJEA, The Nation's Report Card

Three More Reading Strategies for New K-6 Teachers, Part II.

Posted by Colleen Cadieux on Sep 27, 2011 10:35:00 AM

classroom reading strategiesAs a continuation of our discussion on Reading Strategies for new teachers, here are three more ways to prepare students for reading success. No matter what grade level or subject area you teach, we can’t emphasize enough that students must have a strong reading foundation–which includes a variety of comprehension strategies– to serve them well in middle and high school, and onward to higher education. These strategies are great for the new teacher, as well as the seasoned pro.

1) Assessment: It is important to assess students in their general reading abilities on a regular basis.  Even if you do not see your students for the subject of reading, consider using the assessment strategies as outlined in the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Skills (DIBELS) one to three-minute assessment tests created by Ruth A. Kaminski, Ph.D. and Roland H. Good, Ph.D. of the Dynamic Measurement Group. Their work on DIBELS is based on previous work on Curriculum-Based Measurement conducted by Dr. Stan Deno and a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota, which began in the 1970s, and continues today. You can gain free access at

Marygrove Master in the Art of Teaching (MAT) offers Reading 510, a dynamic, case study-based course which will take Elementary and Secondary teachers through the process of learning how to use these screening instruments effectively, and what to do with the results.This distinctive course, tailored to meet the State of Michigan Reading Requirement for Professional Teaching Certificates, will provide teachers from every state with crucial information to help identify the problems of struggling readers and offer possible solutions.

2) Collaboration: Talk with your fellow teachers on a regular basis to share ideas about teaching reading.  They may be able to provide new material that covers any number of specific topics, including comprehension strategies.  If you are struggling to find strategies that pertain specifically to your unique content area, consult the Internet.  Many teachers post their ideas on discussion boards, forums, and lesson-submitting sites. Check the right-hand column of our Marygrove MAT website for content-specific information.

3) Reflection: It is important to reflect on your curriculum, specific lessons, and students' progress on a regular basis. If you don't find yourself doing this naturally, remind yourself to do it by scheduling time for it. You’ll be glad you did, and before long it will become second-nature. MAT Academic Director Diane Brown sets an alarm on her cell phone to ensure her daily reflection time. “I have an alarm that goes off every day at 2:05,” she says. “This is my ‘get your act together, you have three hours left in the day’ alarm…it started as an accident, but has proved to be incredibly valuable in getting me to fit everything in the day.”

For more ways to boost your students’ reading comprehension levels, download our Free K-6 Reading Comprehension Best Practices Guide.

Download our K-6 Reading Comprehension B


Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks

Tags: reading comprehension, reading strategies, reading across disciplines, comprehension strategies, Collaboration, Reading, Assessment, Reflection, Reading 510

Marygrove’s MAT Courses Helped Me Showcase My Assessment

Posted by Dreu Adams on Jul 3, 2011 8:36:00 AM

assessmentIn March, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) selected my district as one of its Ed Tech Visitation Sites for 2011. During this three-day event, educational leaders from around the country—and even from as far away as Australia—observed how Pascack Valley Regional High School District has transformed teaching and learning through our 1:1 Laptop eLearning Initiative. Our guests had the chance to interact with students and teachers, and even demo the digital tools that empower our students every day.

This visit was a great source of pride for the entire district. In my chemistry class, I wanted to show how we incorporated technology into a curricular standard. And naturally, I wanted to do it well.

My colleague, Natalie Macke and I developed a unit for students to create various ecosystems and then monitor each system’s health through different readings (carbon dioxide levels, relative humidity, pH levels, etc.). Using one-gallon terrarium tanks, we built ecosystems such as deserts, lakes, and brush lands. Systems were interlinked by ports in threes, allowing students to see how one system affects another over time. The project’s laptop research capability allows for a depth of material that could not have been achieved before.

The unit is an example of an authentic, hands-on learning assessment. While my students have really enjoyed it, it is interesting to note that they have been somewhat confused as to why they are not receiving a grade for so many of the assessments!

As the NSBA visitors observed this project in our classroom, I spoke to them in small groups explaining the instructional and technological components involved.  As I presented my material, I remember referring to such terms as meaningful learning activities, essential questions, anticipated misunderstandings, formative assessments and ongoing assessments.

Sure, I have used these strategies in the past, and could define a specific strategy if pressed--but the experience of my first four Marygrove Master in the Art of Teaching (MAT) courses has allowed me to speak about all of these concepts in a more coherent and organized manner. It made for a very professional presentation.

While I try to avoid sounding like the "know-it-all" college student, I do tend to introduce MAT course terms as I collaborate with colleagues. The Instructional Design and Effective Assessment courses have allowed me to create a more effective and meaningful learning experience for my students.

- Paul Henry, Pascack Valley Regional High School District, Montvale, New Jersey

Second Career, 11-year Special Education Teacher with a focus on Science and Mathematics

Tags: Current Students, Assessment

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