Quick Wins

One of our vendors (Clarity BrightBytes) calls strategies "Quick Wins" and "Game Changers,"  and my teammates and I enjoy using those same phrases in our work. Colleagues request my go-to tools, so I started a list of my own quick wins. These ideas require only one-click, little set-up, or very low prep.

You can use four out of five of these quick wins for feedback or formative assessment. Three of these tools allow you to include video responses in your work.


I shared this strategy in an earlier post, and now I discovered that using this non-verbal assessment is as effective with adults. As shared in this video, educators can use fist-to-five for both social and academic check-ins, pre-assessments, quick exit polls, etc. My usual questions are:

  • How are you feeling today? (0 - 5 = worst day ever --> lovin' life!)
  • How do you feel about technology in general? (what's a smartphone --> I love all gadgets)
  • For Google training: How do you feel about Google apps?
  • What do you know about differentiated instruction?
When using fist-to-five with my students, 5 = I can teach someone else. After a few uses of this strategy, the kids start using the same language to assess themselves. Win!

As with all formative assessments, the key is to use the "data" to make instructional decisions. When my training session consists of participants who rate themselves as 4-5 with technology, I can move a little more quickly with the tech. The session attendees are more likely to click and experiment with the tools with very little prompting.

First-to-five is a quick win because it requires no prep, it can be used at any time, it's low risk, and it provides me with good information.

Google Docs Quick Create

This Chrome Extension allows you to create a new Google Doc, Sheet, Presentation, Drawing, or Form with a single click. I don't need to go to my Drive or type anything in the Omnibox...simply click and start a new document. One click is definitely a quick win!

WebCam Record

Alice Keeler shares a lot of information about the importance of immediate, specific feedback. She created this Chrome Extension for video feedback, and her tools are so efficient! Click the extension, click start, and the video immediately begins recording. You may record up to 90-seconds. Once you stop recording, the video saves in a folder in your Google Drive, and the video's shortened URL is automatically copied to your clipboard. Here's my sample video, and here are Alice's posts and suggestions about using her Webcam Record Chrome Extension. One-click + an efficient feedback tool = quick win! 


If you need longer videos, check out Loom. There are a lot of screencasting tools available, but this (new-to-me) Chrome Extension takes one click to start and stop, requires very little set-up, and includes these extra features:
  • You can add timestamps.
  • There is a text box underneath your video.
  • You can add comments that are time stamped.
  • You can set permissions for viewing the video (with a password or with a link).
  • You can choose where to position your webcam "circle," the size of the video-cam, or to have no video at all!
I used Loom for this quick screencast about another tool, but if you watch on Loom (click the icon in the upper right corner) you can see the video, comments, and text box.


Last year's tool with the most buzz was Flipgrid. With their amount of social media interactions and responses to this product, the company built an enthusiastic community of educators. There are now more features and options for set-up, but Flipgrid is definitely a quick win because it is so easy for the user; click the green button and start recording! Flipgrid has a large number of possibilities for classroom and school use, such as introductions, reflections, and formative assessments. A colleague has used Flipgrid with the littles (PK-K students) and I ask even the most tech-timid to try Flipgrid...and all groups experience success with this tool.

Time is a precious resource for educators, so I'm always eager to share ways we can save even a few seconds. When a simple strategy or tool provides a lot of bang for your buck, it definitely needs to be shared! What are your favorite quick-wins?

Always learning...