Teacher Takeaways from the 2022 NCTE Annual Convention

Entrance of Anaheim Convention Center (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

We spoke with hundreds of teachers during the 2022 NCTE Annual Convention about all things ELA education, including what they had learned about NoRedInk.

A cohort of NoRedInkers recently attended the 2022 NCTE Annual Convention in Anaheim, California. While we were there, we got the opportunity to talk to hundreds of teachers during interactive sessions, at lunches, at our booth in the exhibit hall, and while walking around the grounds of the massive Anaheim Convention Center. These conversations were both highly informative and incredibly invigorating—despite the many challenges of the past several years, we couldn’t help but notice attendees’ unshakable passion for educating young people.

What’s more, many teachers told us that their perception of how NoRedInk can support this passion shifted after speaking with us. We invited these teachers to formulate and share “I used to think . . . Now I think . . .” statements as a way to crystalize these shifts. Here are a few of the most powerful statements we gathered, as well as some brief thoughts about why they ring true:

“I used to think NoRedInk was mostly for grammar instruction. Now I think I can use it to guide students’ writing and revising.”

NoRedInk started out as a grammar-focused company, but over the course of the last decade, we’ve evolved into a comprehensive writing platform that simplifies the process of building strong writers.

Not only do our Practice exercises cover writing skills like using claims, evidence, and reasoning and matching the formality of language to the context, but our extensive writing features provide a variety of opportunities for students to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard):

  • Quick Writes provide a lightweight way to get students writing frequently, and help teachers achieve objectives like developing writing fluency and stamina and assessing understanding of course content.
  • Guided Drafts provide scaffolding to students as they write long-form essays. As they work, students are reminded of important concepts and have access to genre-specific lessons, tutorials, and exemplars.
  • Self Review and Peer Review activities emphasize the importance of revision. During Self Review, students answer a series of questions about their work then make revisions with the support of exemplars and tips. Mastery-based Peer Review guides students through providing actionable feedback on each other’s work.

Beyond these individual features, we’re always thinking about how each aspect of NoRedInk supports the entire writing cycle, from pre-writing through the final copyedit. Distinct skills are important, of course, but in the big picture, we’re working with teachers to develop well-rounded thinkers and communicators.

“I used to think NoRedInk was formulaic and difficult to differentiate. Now I think there are ways within NoRedInk to support my advanced writers.”

NoRedInk includes a range of features that support differentiation in the classroom, ensuring that all students, regardless of their skill-levels, are able to benefit from our writing curriculum. For instance, NoRedInk Diagnostics help teachers understand each student’s areas of strength and areas for improvement. Based on this diagnostic data, a teacher can quickly and easily differentiate the types and difficulty of work they assign to each student.

Further, our Practice exercises utilize an adaptive mastery system that adjusts the difficulty of questions a student sees based on the student’s answers. When a student gets stuck during an assignment, they’ll automatically receive hints or a more limited range of answer options. Conversely, if a student is excelling on an assignment, NoRedInk will let them progress to more challenging content rather than showing them a fixed number of questions on a topic they’ve already mastered.

When assigning Guided Drafts, teachers have the option to require different parts of an essay for different students, enabling them to tailor assignments to individual student skill-levels. They can also customize rubrics and add or remove reference texts for different groups of students as needed.

“I used to think that NoRedInk wouldn’t benefit our high school students, but now I know it will.”

NoRedInk is designed to be used in grades 5-12, though teachers in lower elementary grades and professors in institutions of higher education have found our writing curriculum helpful as well.

A number of our resources and activities are tailored to high school students specifically, including dedicated material for ACT®SAT®AP® English Language, and AP® English Literature prep. We also offer chapter-based literary analysis prompts for challenging works like The CrucibleThe House on Mango StreetNight, and Their Eyes Were Watching God, as well as Practice exercises for advanced skills like MLA citation and building compound and complex sentences.

“I used to think that NoRedInk was too much work for me as a teacher. Now I hope my district gets NoRedInk Premium.”

Our robust library of resources and activities wouldn’t be effective if teachers struggled to put it into practice. That’s why we’re constantly making updates to the NoRedInk platform to ensure it fits naturally alongside the tools and processes teachers are already using.

Modules are one of the most exciting updates we’ve made this school year. These sequenced collections of NoRedInk activities address a specific writing or grammar skill and make it easy for teachers to construct well-rounded units that include interactive tutorials, Practice exercises, Quick Writes, Quizzes, and passaged-based activities or text sets.

Our expanded Google Classroom integration is another recent addition. It gives teachers an efficient way to create NoRedInk classes and roster students directly from the information in their Google Classroom account. Instead of having to manually enroll each student in a NoRedInk class, teachers are able to sync enrollment data with Google Classroom in just a few clicks.

Another NCTE Annual Convention in the books

Thanks again to all the teachers who took the time to chat with us at NCTE. We look forward to having even more conversations with educators at events around the country in 2023.

If you’ve never used NoRedInk before and want to dig deeper into our comprehensive writing platform, sign up for free today!

Thomas collaborates with colleagues from across NoRedInk to craft stories that illustrate how NoRedInk ​​builds stronger writers. He holds a BA in Religious Studies from Occidental College.