Teachers and Educators Unite!

Hello all,

We've been noticing quite a few educators signing up for Text Blaze. And that's great, because with such a demanding job, you people definitely need all the help you can get :wink:

So here's your very own thread on how to use Text Blaze. Feel free to ask questions, bounce ideas around, make suggestions and even share snippets!

Thank you for being a part of our community :partying_face:

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Ok, I'll start :grin:

I know many of you hand out assignments to your students, which of course requires you to set a deadline. This week, Text Blaze actually got a really cool update that allows you to get a popup calendar in your snippet.

Here's an example of how it works.

Dear students,

For today's assignment, I would like you to write an essay on the topic, "Why I think my teacher gives the best assignments ever (and what will happen to me if I dare to think otherwise)"

Deadline for submissions is: {formdate: dddd, MMMM Do, YYYY; name=myDate; start={time:YYYY-MM-DD}; end=2020-12-31}.

We've also created a tutorial video on how to use this command:

And of course a documentation page:

Hope you find it helpful. Any questions, raise your hand :yum:

It's a lot of work on the front-end, but I'm in the process of loading standardized feedback for student submissions. I've tested a few already and the speed that you can enter grading feedback is amazing! Enter the code, type any personalized feedback required, done! No more having to tab back and forth from document to browser, copying and pasting :fist_right::fist_left:

That's great.

I think you should check out the {import} command. As your snippet library starts growing, you'll find it very useful.

{import} allows you to use snippets inside each other. So you could have one main snippet with the shortcut /grade, and it could contain a dropdown menu where you choose which kind of feedback you want to insert, which in turn uses the {import} to pull the chosen feedback from the respective snippet.

You can see how it works in the tutorial video:

Documentation page:

And of course you can always add a {formparagraph} field to enter additional "non-standard" remarks.

On a final note, we're thinking of creating a video specifically for educators. What would you like to see in it?

Here's a rubric that allows you to select descriptive feedback by rubric item and a score. Then, it calculates the total and also leaves you some optional checkboxes to add more feedback. Sorry it's so long, but it's a big time saver for me.

Mike

Thanks for submitting your audio assignment. My feedback is below.

{note}Vocab {endnote}{formmenu: name=vocabfb; multiple=no; Vocabulary is inadequate for most basic aspects of the task / may show evidence of using translator.;Vocabulary is not extensive enough for the task. Frequent use of dictionary words or very repetitive;Vocabulary is usually accurate but may have dictionary words rather than words from recent unit.;default=Vocabulary is generally accurate and appropriate - minor errors may occur.}

Vocabulary: {formmenu: name=vocab; default=6;5;4;3;2;1}/6

{note}Grammar {endnote}{formmenu: name=grammarfb; multiple=no; Almost all grammatical patterns inaccurate, except for a few memorized patterns.;
Many grammatical inaccuracies may affect comprehensibility - little control of major patterns.;

Some grammatical inaccuracies may affect comprehensibility - some control of major patterns.;
default=Grammar may contain some inaccuracies, but these do not negatively affect comprehensibility.}

Grammar: {formmenu: name=Grammar; default=18;17;16;15;14;13;12;11;10;9;8;7;6;5;4;3;2;1;0}/18

{note}Pronunciation {endnote}{formmenu: name=pronunciationfb; multiple=no; Very difficult to comprehend, even to a friendly speaker.;

Comprehensible by someone who is a sympathetic listener used to listening to non-native speakers;

Generally comprehensible, but pronunciation errors may create misunderstandings.;

default=Completely or almost completely comprehensible - pronunciation errors are minimal.}

Pronunciation: {formmenu: name=Pronunciation; default=18;17;16;15;14;13;12;11;10;9;8;7;6;5;4;3;2;1;0}/18

{note}Fluency {endnote}{formmenu: name=fluencyfb; multiple=no; Response not informative - provides little or no information. Long pauses between words and phrases.;

Response lacking some information. Sounds like it is being read from a written document or has frequent pauses between words.;

Response to the task is generally informative - hesitates a little while speaking.;default=Relevant, informative response to the task. Little to no hesitation.}

Fluency: {formmenu: name=Fluency; default=18;17;16;15;14;13;12;11;10;9;8;7;6;5;4;3;2;1;0}/18

Your score: {=vocab+Grammar+Pronunciation+Fluency}/60

{formtoggle: name=Consonants; default=no}Remember that in French, final consonants are silent. The s on the end of plural nouns and the s and t in est, n'est, c'est, etc. are all silent. Same thing for the -ent verb ending. parle and parlent are pronounced exactly the same.

{endformtoggle}{formtoggle: name=Vowels; default=no}In French the vowels are very distinct and crisp. Typically as Americans, we get lazy with our vowels, but in French, they are very clearly pronounced. If you go to youtube and search for videos on French vowels, there are a number of them and as you practice saying the vowel sounds, your French pronunciation will improve.

{endformtoggle}{formtoggle: name=Improve; default=no}Good job. Your skills will continue to improve with more practice in both listening and speaking, but overall, you are doing a good job! Just practice every chance you get in listening to and speaking French.

{endformtoggle}{formtoggle: name=hesitation; default=no}You hesitate a little when you are speaking which is totally normal. That will improve with more practice and more familiarity with the vocabulary. If you are focusing a ton on the grammar and that is why you are hesitating, it's ok to make some mistakes and not focus as much on that. It will improve your fluency.

{endformtoggle}{formtoggle: name=passe; default=no}Careful with the passé composé verb tense. Remember you need both a helping verb (a form of avoir or être) and then the past participle. You can find a review of that back in the 1.2.2 Study lesson starting on the 2nd slide.

{endformtoggle}{formtoggle: name=pronounce; default=no}If you are having a hard time pronouncing certain sounds, I have a few suggestions.

  1. Don't skip any of the listening assignments in the course. They will actually help your pronunciation.

  2. Look up YouTube videos on pronunciation and practice along with them. Start with vowels and then move to some of the more difficult consonants such as R. Here's a few to get you started:

Vowel Sounds in French (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mC2zRtx8h8)

How to Pronounce R in French (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrjMJ_PAlB8)

  1. If it's just a few words you are curious about, you can look up almost any word in the French language on forvo.com. On this website, they have native speakers pronouncing the words for you. For example, here is the link for the word portfeuille: https://forvo.com/word/portfeuille/#fr

{endformtoggle}{formtoggle: name=soundQuality; default=no}I had a hard time understanding some of your sentences because of the microphone quality. Make sure you are speaking right into the microphone, or if you are using a laptop, you may want to get a headset so the microphone is closer to your mouth. Play back your recordings before submitting them so you know the quality is good.

{endformtoggle}{formtoggle: name=greatJob; default=no}You're doing great! Keep up the good work!

{endformtoggle}{formtoggle: name=niceAccent; default=no}You have a very good accent! Great job!
{endformtoggle}

Let me know if you have any questions.

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@Michael_Wood, wow that's a pretty wicked snippet!

Small tweak for you:

You can add the width setting to control how wide the fields will be.

Original version:
{formmenu: name=Fluency; default=18;17;16;15;14;13;12;11;10;9;8;7;6;5;4;3;2;1;0}/18

Version with width setting:
{formmenu: width=5; name=Fluency; default=18;17;16;15;14;13;12;11;10;9;8;7;6;5;4;3;2;1;0}/18

It's not a big deal, but makes it a bit easier on the eyes. My mum is a retired teacher, so I know that it helps hehehe.

Good improvement.

thanks,

Mike

@Michael_Wood,

Another thing. If you think that you might be re-using certain parts of this rubric in other snippets, you can use the {import} command.

I use it a lot to keep my snippets short and easy to understand. When snippets start getting on the longer side (like the one you made) they become harder to manage, especially if you haven't looked at the snippet itself for a few weeks and you decide to change something.

Also, consider using the {note} command to leave notes to yourself inside your snippet. Here's a bit of a power user tip:

You can set a note to not-appear in the preview, but appear when the snippet is inserted. Here's an example:

{formtoggle: name=Consonants; default=no}{note: insert=yes; preview=no}Remember that in French, final consonants are silent. The s on the end of plural nouns and the s and t in est, n'est, c'est, etc. are all silent. Same thing for the -ent verb ending. parle and parlent are pronounced exactly the same.{endnote}
{endformtoggle}

In this case, the text will not show up in the snippet preview. But once you insert the snippet, the text will also be inserted. It's definitely not a mainstream use, but can be really handy when you want to keep your snippet preview minimalistic.

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While we're on the topic of languages, here's a little snippet I use a lot in my Russian studies to insert an acute accent on any letter.

{clipboard}́{note: preview=no; trim=yes}In Character Map choose «Character Set : Unicode» → «Group by : Unicode Subrange > Combining Diacritical Marks»{endnote}

To use it:

  1. write the letter on which you want to put the acute accent
  2. highlight the letter and cut (or copy and delete) it into your clipboard
  3. Run the snippet

The snippet will reproduce the letter (which is in your clipboard) with an acute accent on it.

Here's the result:

я́, ю́, Я́, Ю́

The best thing about it is that the accent is applied regardless of what the letter is and whether it's capitalized.

Here's a tutorial video with some other tips:

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I do have other snippets using {import}. In fact, this one gets triggered from another one that has multiple rubrics so I have one snippet I need to remember to open all feedback for that class and then for speaking assignments, I trigger this one from the other one. Also, I do like using notes. This particular one will not change often at all unless I add other "checkbox" options at the bottom. But those are both good tips.

Thanks for the preview tip ... I'll play with that one.

Mike

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Since the languages I work (French and German) are both languages that use a very similar alphabet to English, I find the US-International Keyboard is faster for me to do the multiple accented characters I have to type, but I'm sure this one comes in handy for the Cyrillic alphabet and other non-standard alphabets...

:slight_smile:

Mike

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Oh, and another quick tip for you, for creating the scoring dropdown without having to write all of the numbers.

{rating=seq(10,1)}{note: preview=no}Here I'm creating a sequence from 10 to 1 and attributing it to the variable "rating"{endnote}
{formmenu: width=5; values={=rating}}{note: preview=no}Here I'm creating a dropdown menu, and then assigning it values from the variable "rating"{endnote}

And here I'm gonna add two formtext fields with labels, and then using those variables to determine the first and second value of the range, just to show you what's possible.

{formtext: width=5; name=min; default=1} << Try changing this
{formtext: width=5; name=max; default=1} << Try changing this
{rating=seq({=min},{=max})}
{formmenu: width=5; values={=rating}} << Not how changing the values above changes the range here

Thanks. Those are nice shortcuts and the 2nd one is a classic use of a variable. I didn't realize you could use an input box (ie. the formtext) to establish the variable and then immediately use it. I'm guessing there are some good uses for that. I'll keep it in mind.

Mike

Yep, there's a ton of stuff you can do. For instance, you can link a formmenu to an if command.

{formmenu: name=choice; option 1; option 2; option 3}

{if: choice=="option 1"}You chose the first option{elseif: choice=="option 2"}You chose the second option{else}You chose the third option{endif}

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