Review by James Denby, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2017

NoRedInk

Legit grammar practice plus pop culture is a novel mix

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts

Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • College & Career Prep
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
2–11
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (13 Reviews)
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Indicates that the service meets the minimum criteria and more research should be completed prior to use.

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Not Recommended

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Pros: Grammar practice incorporates student interests, upping engagement without detracting from concepts.

Cons: Assignments and quizzes are didactic; paid version offers much more.

Bottom Line: The easy assigning and tracking features for teachers -- matched with the interest-based questions for students -- take some of the grief out of grammar practice.

It's hard to make grammar and punctuation stick. For teachers, it's also time-consuming and sometimes grueling to grade students' grammar assignments. NoRedInk allows teachers to give students extra practice with commas, capitalization, and run-on sentences, while also being able to track whether students have completed assignments and whether they have mastered the topic. Teachers will likely want to start by issuing students a diagnostic exam, making sure to customize it to students' specific areas of need. After that, teachers could assign students practice for homework, focusing either on the whole class or adjusting assignments to students' specific needs based on the diagnostic results. Note that NoRedInk is not a replacement for grammar instruction, but could be helpful in conjunction with writing assignments or classroom grammar instruction, as well as ACT/SAT preparation.

If your school uses the paid version, it offers over 50 customized learning pathways and over 500 topics for students to practice with. There are also over 50 multiple-paragraph challenge assessments, which can help students with the nitty-gritty details of grammar practice. 

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NoRedInk is a free and paid website (and Chrome app) that lets students practice their grammar and punctuation skills using a pop-culture interest profile they choose and build themselves. Teachers can assess students on up to 20 different skills at a time and view student progress/mastery in areas such as Apostrophes, Possessive Pronouns, and Commonly Confused Words. When students log in, they can see which assignments and quizzes they've been assigned, and work through the material, getting feedback on how they did. To help teachers better tune the experience to students' needs, NoRedInk also offers pre-made or custom diagnostics to gauge where students are at any given time. 

Once students start an assignment, NoRedInk will ask them to identify their interests or input the names of friends or pets so that the website can incorporate that info into activities. For example, if a student tells the site she loves Harry Potter, familiar characters and concepts from the series may appear in the text she's asked to review. Assignments and quizzes are fill-in-the-blank sentences or involve dragging and dropping punctuation, capitalization correction, and finding specific grammatical concepts. 

Since NoRedInk incorporates tween interests, it has an edge when it comes to engaging students in the often tedious experience of perfecting grammar. Students will, initially, find their favorite stars appearing in assignments hilarious and fun. Adding the correct punctuation to a sentence like "Jim Carrey wasn't pleased I'd broken into his home, letting his Labrador loose" gives exercises a Mad Libs vibe and can elicit a much-needed chuckle from struggling students. But let's be honest: The thrill won't last forever. In that way, the interest-based questions offer a great hook, but maybe not a complete answer to student engagement. NoRedInk has a bit more going for it, though. For instance, the light interactivity of the questions provides an alternative to stale multiple-choice quizzes found in most other grammar tools. Students either type in their answers or drag punctuation into the right spot. Like the interest-based questions, it's not the answer to engagement, but it helps. 

On the teacher side, NoRedInk offers an efficient way to track student progress and assign students practice in problem areas. Teachers can easily assign diagnostic quizzes and choose topics quickly. Once students take a quiz or complete an assignment, their score shows up in a gradebook-like display, with each box color-coded to indicate the their mastery of each topic. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The embedding of pop culture icons and students' own interests into assessments and assignments helps make grammar practice more palatable.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

While the activities have a worksheet-like feel, students type or input their answers into the site (as opposed to multiple choice); this helps them cement their knowledge.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

There's an initial tour of the key features. The teacher dashboard is well-designed and helps teachers pinpoint students' issues. There's no live help, but teachers can browse a FAQ or submit a support ticket.


Common Sense Reviewer
James Denby Educator/Curriculum Developer

Teacher Reviews

(See all 13 reviews) (13 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Tara H. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Gretna Middle School
Gretna, United States
Best tool I've seen for getting students excited about grammar!
I love using NoRedInk in my classroom. It engages students in grammar lessons far better than other resources I have tried. It also allows students who already have a strong grasp of a concept to move quickly through a lesson and move on to other activities, while automatically providing students who are struggling with a concept with the additional practice they need.
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