Product Index
Teacher Needs
In Summit Reflections, educators review tools that they have seen at an EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit. Summit Reflections can only be completed onsite at the event; reviewers are incentivized to leave reviews.
Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School
Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: In an age of rubrics as an important part of our assessment, this product looks amazing! I mean, I have seen other rubric making apps/websites before, but this one tops them all! I would use this at least daily to show students what the expectations are, and what they look like. I would also let students use this to create rubrics for things that they want to work on.

Strengths: THe ease of use is unimaginable. I seriously just sat down with an idea in my head, and within a minute, maybe two, I had the PERFECT rubric. Nothing to teach me, no confusing editing tools, etc,,, It's all there! Now, if I did want to edit, I could! There is that option, too. SO not only do we have access to the awesome set of rubric data already built it, but I could add, change, edit it all on the fly. Quick and easy!

Suggestions for Improvement: It's amazing, so I guess one thing that we should add is more topics! Math, Technology, let's do it all! Maybe we could add color? Make it more cartoony because I ma sure that the lower grades would love that. It is perfect the way it is for intermediate, but the lower grades may enjoy more color!

Verdict: It's so easy! It's hard to qualify that in more words, but that is really going to be the key for the success in this product. I mean, just click a few times and you have an amazing and high quality rubric, I am floored!

Jessie, Teacher. School Type: High School, Low Income Population
Nov 14, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this tool to plan all of my lessons and collaborate with the journalism teachers at our other high schools in the district. It would make it easier to be on the same page as my colleagues and do better work.

Strengths: The rubric creation tool makes it very easy to creat straightforward, clear rubrics to ensure all students and teachers understand expectations for student work. I also love the planning tool, which prompts you to consider and include all of the elements of an effective lesson, so nothing falls through the cracks. The sharing function also helps with collaboration and would be so helpful for getting new teachers up to speed. I think I'll start using this tool today!

Suggestions for Improvement: I want to see: forums to discuss/share lessons with all English teachers, a way to put notes into my own lesson plan after I've taught it, and a scheduling function.

Verdict: This would allow our PLCs to work together more easily to build curriculum and plan lessons. We could use each others' expertise and experience to teach more effectively without spending more time on planning. As individuals we would be able to improve the quality of our individual lesson plans, and ensure they're always aligned to relevant standards.

Teacher, School Type: Middle School, High School, Low Income Population, Project Based School, 1:1 Devices, BYOD Devices
Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: For me, the nice thing about this site is the fact that I don't have to create a rubric on my own anymore. Creating a rubric from scratch is such a pain, but as most teachers know, standards-based grading is the best way to teach students. Using a ThemeSPARK rubric, assessment becomes easier.

Strengths: For me, it's critical that students get meaningful feedback. Unfortunately, this is hampered by my inability to write great rubrics and improve my turnaround time. This can be done with ThemeSPARK. I absolutely love having a time-saving resource that truly believes that great resources should be free for teachers.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would be great if (1) they added content knowledge rubrics for Washington State standards in Social Studies, (2) they had an interactive way to attach the rubric online for student use, or (3) they made a way for me to write on the rubric.

Verdict: When we look at standards-based grading and competency-based grading, it's incredibly important to remember how it helps students grow. Aligned to CCSS and 21st Century Skills, this is an EASY and FREE way for every teacher to move painlessly towards something critical for student learning.

Sped Teacher, School Type: High School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, Project Based School
Apr 25, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would definitely use this in my classroom to create common core aligned rubrics. I would probably create a rubric for each assignment given the ease of this system! I would use this to share lessons with my department as well so that our grading systems are aligned.

Strengths: I really enjoy the ease of this product. I think rubrics are often tedious to create but this product makes it common core aligned as well as flexible enough to be able to edit certain portions to fit the need.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would definitely recommend that a teacher can change the worth of the different rubric categories. I would also like to see a way to create an online rubric where you can grade the assignments by clicking a button and then have your data sync with your grade book.

Verdict: I would recommend this product because of the incredible ease! Often times, teachers do not use rubrics in the classroom for all their assignments because they are very time consuming and confusing for students. I feel that this product saves a lot of time!

Brianna, Classroom Support. School Type: Elementary School, Low Income Population, College Prep School
Apr 25, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: The reason I chose weekly usage, is that after sampling this product, it seems that lesson plans would be less time consuming and would therefore only need to be done weekly. In addition it would be much easier to write out concise and usable substitute plans for days I have to be out.

Strengths: First the layout is extremely user friendly. Next, I really appreciate the fact that this product gives you an overview to more easily find your plans. Finally, I like that the program links the plans to the standards it is based in.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like to see it made so that my lesson plans could be accessed through a guest sign in making it more easily available for substitutes, a read only version perhaps.

Verdict: The program would save hours a week in time spent planning, which could be well utilized in other aspects of classroom productivity. I would advocate to other teachers the use for substitute plans, and to keep on track with district pacing schedules.

Jessie, Teacher. School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices
Apr 25, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use ThemeSPARK to create meaningful, real life lessons for my students. This program allows you to pull information together to create lessons with a hook, an introduction/way to introduce material, an assessment, and some way to apply what the students learned.

Strengths: This product solves the problem of free-floating pieces of lessons that you find online all the time. It allows you to set up a complete lesson, from hook to application.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would maybe set up a peer-review rubric instead of just a teacher-graded one. Also, find a way to link ThemeSpark with other products (Otus, etc.). One last thing I would want to improve the product is a way to incoroproate multiple hooks, multiple assessments, or multiple ways to apply knowledge in one lesson.

Verdict: I would recommend ThemeSPARK because it is a way to make meaningful lessons, not just find random tidbits around the internet. Lessons are standards-based, and are graded on a rubric.

Special Education Teacher, School Type: High School
Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: This tool is absolutely amazing! Being able to download and customize rubrics for my classroom using common core is a huge time saver!

Strengths: It solves the problem of spending hours and hours and hours creating Standard specific rubrics. Thank you!

Suggestions for Improvement: I teach Math, so it would be so great to have a Math version. I know it is on the way, though! My school teaches the BAME model, as well as a Not Yet (only for students who have an incomplete or missing assessment or project). I would really love an additional beginning column. Lastly, some of the language is focused around what is lacking or missing from the standard. I like to focus on what students can do. I would like to make the language all positive to demonstrate where students are at and what they need to do next.

Verdict: Every teacher needs rubrics. This would free up time to plan support services for students.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School
Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Themespark is a program with endless supports for teachers, students and families! I can see myself creating tons of rubrics to support student learning, and sharing these with famililes. Someone finally found a way to create rubrics seamlessly and easily!

Strengths: Seriously- this product will save me hours of work. Teachers slave away over rubrics- yet ThemeSpark makes it as easy as the touch of a button! I can see this being used to evaluate daily assignments or large products. It is clear, concrete, and usable data for teachers and students alike.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. Change font/size to fit on one page 2. Color options! 3. More publicity- teachers need to see this!

Verdict: 1. Free! 2. Supportive- makes a task teachers are already doing easier and more concrete 3. Quick and easy!

Teacher, School Type: High School
Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Definitely would use this for unit planning and assessment scoring. This would also be beneficial for students to undetstand the Common Core Standards and what the expecations of the unit, and grade level.

Strengths: Scales are already set up with the Common Core Standards. Eas to edit, share and download.

Suggestions for Improvement: Touchscreen and pick the scoring categories online, rather than just download. Would love to be able to write comments, like a live document. would love to have more than one standard on a scale.

Verdict: Based on what I have seen, this is definitely something I would recommend to my district. It is exactly what we are spending time on during our District PD days. I like the idea that the work is done, but if I want to edit, I can do so.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School
Nov 14, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would provide an I service and share with my staff. Feel is quicker than others I have seen.. The editing seems si,ple amd friendly.

Strengths: I like that the standards are connected o the lessons. I like how quickly the interface works. I like hat it is customizable.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like to have a data base of lessons and rubrics to search instead of creating all of them myself. I would like to see if there are video suggestions for watching. I would like to see statewide collaboration for those who are a department of one as is a big issue.

Verdict: I feel the biggest Hong is letting the public word of mouth put. I know tha I will be sharing art the RPDC where they are working with districts currently working on writing rubrics.

Get our email newsletterSign me up
Keep up to date with our email newsletterSign me up