Common Sense Review
Updated October 2013

NoRedInk

Legit grammar practice plus pop culture is a novel mix
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Common Sense Rating 3
  • Assignments and Quizzes incorporate student interests.
  • Track student progress in each category.
  • Access each area of the website from the Teacher Dashboard.
  • This is what students see when they log in.
Pros
Grammar practice incorporates student interests, upping engagement without detracting from concepts.
Cons
Assignments and quizzes are didactic and resemble typical grammar worksheets.
Bottom Line
Kids will be tickled and empowered by adding their own interests to an otherwise boring lesson; this site can take the grief out of grammar for both students and teachers.
Mary Beth Hertz
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Kids will be tickled by NoRedInk's incorporation of their own interests into assignments and quizzes. However, the activities themselves are still pretty worksheet-like.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

While NoRedInk is still essentially drill practice with a worksheet-like feel, students do need to type their answers into the site, which helps them cement their knowledge (as opposed to multiple-choice).

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

NoRedInk provides a tour of its features through a series of pop-up windows on each screen that explain how to use the site. However, there's no official "help" button, only a link to submit a support ticket to the site. 

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How Can Teachers Use It?

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 provide 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. You could assign students practice for homework, and either assign practice to the whole class or specify certain assignments only for specific students. NoRedInk is not a replacement for grammar instruction, but could be helpful in conjunction with writing assignments or classroom grammar instruction.

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What's It Like?

NoRedInk is a free website (and Chrome app) that lets kids practice their grammar and punctuation skills using pop-culture terms they choose themselves. You can assess students on up to 20 different skills at a time and view student progress 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.

Once they start an assignment, NoRedInk will ask students to identify their interests or input the names of friends or pets so the website can incorporate that info into activities. For example, if a student tells the site she loves Justin Bieber, his name and antics 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; the site's creators feel that multiple choice questions aren't active enough. There's also a blog featuring grammar bloopers (like a used-car dealership advertising that they "bye used cars") that kids are encouraged to submit to by finding grammar mistakes in their own world.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Since NoRedInk incorporates tween interests, it has an edge when it comes to engaging students in the often tedious experience of perfecting grammar. Kids will initially find their favorite stars appearing in assigments hilarious and fun; the thrill may not last forever, but it's a great hook. The interactivity of the questions, which require students to either type in their answers or drag punctuation into the right spot, also helps kids feel more involved. Adding the correct punctuation to a sentence like "Jim Carrey wasn't pleased I'd broken into his home, letting his Labrador loose" give exercises a Mad Libs vibe and can elicit a much-needed chuckle from struggling students.

On the teacher side, NoRedInk is an easy way to track student progress and assign students practice in problem areas. Once a student takes a quiz or completes an assignment, their score shows up in a gradebook-like display, with each box color-coded to indicate the student's mastery of each topic. 

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See how teachers are using NoRedInk

Lesson Plans