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Pros: Since exercises get students writing, they feel authentic and help to cement skills. Seeing strong sentence examples after completing your own is a nice touch.
Cons: The resource library could be deeper. Activities can become rote if not tailored to students' needs.
Bottom Line: This tool offers excellent opportunities for grammar and writing practice, well-tailored to students' abilities and needs.
Using Quill Diagnostic is a great place to begin, especially with the recent additions of leveled ELL assessments and pre-AP and AP English surveys. Once students' needs are determined, mix and match Quill Connect (sentence combining) with Quill Grammar (writing mechanics) to support daily warm-ups, whole-class instruction, small-group work, or independent practice. The activity packs in Quill Lessons (writing collaboratively) and Quill Proofreader (editing passages) can serve as mini-lessons for whole-class writing workshops, particularly for older and more proficient students. Create your own activity packs to integrate into your curriculum or use the ones provided. Either way, the experience can be individualized. Students can log in at any time to see what you've assigned. Also, if your students have consistent access outside of school, consider assigning lessons as homework.
Quill is a website for interactive grammar and writing practice and development. It features hundreds of activities organized into five separate "tools":
- Quill Diagnostic: Activities designed to assess students' skills and help guide them toward activities at their level
- Quill Lessons: Slides designed for whole-class and small-group instruction featuring writing prompts, discussion topics, and independent practice
- Quill Connect: Sentence writing activities that help students form more complex sentences
- Quill Grammar: Sentence writing activities focused on developing key grammar skills
- Quill Proofreader: Expository passages that students proofread and fix
All of the tools align to Common Core skills and often offer differentiation for ELL, pre-AP, and AP English students. In the teacher dashboard, teachers can create a classroom, add students, and then assign diagnostics, single activities, or entire units/activity packs to individual students, small groups, or a whole class. An optional Premium upgrade adds more detailed reporting.
Quill gives teachers instant access to the kinds of grammar and writing lessons they've usually had to create: authentic writing activities targeting Common Core-aligned concepts. With Quill, the icing on top is that the lessons are adaptive, and students get immediate, instructive feedback as they work through the application. Feedback alerts students to both correct and incorrect examples of usage, and sentence activities include multiple examples of good answers. This helps to alleviate the frustration of simplistic (correct or incorrect) feedback found in other tools, and effectively models success. Paired with the diagnostics, Quill can place students in a good spot for their development and then put them on a path to building their skills. And given the range of grade-level lessons, your students can grow into these exercises as they become more proficient with reading and typing. Of course, it'd always be nice to have more, and there's room for a larger library of activities.
While Quill's tools for assessing good writing are sound in general, the fact that accurate spelling and capitalization factor into students' scores could be good or bad. While these are important foundational skills, this specificity could obscure more important reasons why a particular student is struggling, especially at lower grade levels. Using Quill's dashboard, however, will help. Teachers can view color-coded mastery indicators for students' work -- green for proficient, orange for nearly proficient, red for not yet proficient -- and then click through to see their responses in detail.