3 Activities for Peer Collaboration

Quick Question – Short Answer  

With a few quick clicks, you can use short answer to ask a question, then gather, visualize and discuss a whole class’ open responses.  You could even have students vote on the responses!

1. Peer editing

Peer collaboration is increasingly emphasized as an essential skill in the 21st century and simply makes a classroom more effective.  

Ask your students to share their work, such as a thesis statement. Project all their anonymous responses and then discuss as a class or discuss as pairs and then provide the constructive feedback to guide that student’s thinking in new directions.  Making the work public motivates students to take extra care and also allows them a rare opportunity to see their colleague’s ideas.  

2. Brainstorming

Asking students to brainstorm compels self-directed thought. With Socrative Short-Answer, you can brainstorm just about anything- from project ideas to essays, field trips to class rewards.  Then use our VOTE option to rank them in order.

3. Presentation Feedback

Whether your students are presenting their findings from a science experiment, performing a musical solo, or reciting a poem, using short answer is a great way to gather feedback in the moment. Once the presentation has concluded, projecting the feedback on the board allows the class to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the presentation. This allows students to document feedback at specific moments and minimizes the probability a student will forget their ideas allowing for more fluid presentations and more informative feedback.  You can print our the feedback for the student or send them a digital copy.

The Ladder of Feedback can be a great way to organize the feedback process.

The idea or plan is presented to the group. Then the group moves through the following steps (moving from one rung of the ladder to the next):

Step 1: Clarify
Ask clarifying questions to be sure you understand the idea or matter on the table. Avoid clarifying questions that are thinly disguised criticism.

Step 2: Value
Express what you like about the idea or matter at hand in specific terms. Do not offer perfunctory “good, but,” and hurry on to the negatives.

Step 3: State concerns
State your puzzles and concerns. Avoid absolutes: “What’s wrong is . . .” Use qualified terms: “I wonder if . . .” “It seems to me . . .” Avoid criticizing personal character or ability and focus on ideas, products, or particular aspects.

Step 4: Suggest
Make suggestions about how to improve things. This step is sometimes blended with step 3: people state concerns and then offer suggestions for addressing them. There is no set time limit for this process: It can be done in a few minutes or over the course of an hour.


How Socrative Quick Question – Short Answer Works:

1. From your Teacher Dashboard select “Quick Question”

2. Select the “Short Answer” on the right

3. Type a Question into the text field (optional)

4. Choose whether you would like a SINGLE or UNLIMITED responses from your Ss

5. Choose whether you would like students to be ANONYMOUS or REQUIRE their name. Either way, all responses initially display on your screen anonymously.  

6. Select start!

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2.0 User Guide and Video



3 Engaging Uses of Open Response

One of our favorite features is Quick Question – Short Answer.  With a few quick clicks, you can use short answer to ask a question, then gather, visualize and discuss a whole class’ open responses.  You could even have students VOTE on the responses!  

1. Gather Student Questions:

As students settle into their seats have them enter a question based on last night’s homework or your current unit.  You can quickly clear up any misunderstanding before moving on to that day’s agenda. By enabling each student to respond, you can see common questions that are applicable to a larger number of students. Use the VOTE feature to have them prioritize what you answer!

Remember – student questions project anonymously, but you can have a report afterward which tells who said what.  Overall, students are less fearful of asking a question anonymously.

This is also a great tool to use at the end of class. As students start to pack up, open a short answer to gather any points of confusion to incorporate into your plan for the next day, or ask a question based on that day’s content to see what your students have learned!

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2. Vocabulary

In every class, there are key vocabulary items that students need to master. Pose a vocabulary word in short answer and ask students to use that word in a sentence, or respond with the definition.

3. Foreign Language

There are multiple ways to allow students to show their understanding in a second language classroom.

- Present students with a sentence and ask them to translate

- Present students with a sentence and ask them to write a follow-on sentence

- Have students use a key vocabulary term in a sentence (verbs, nouns, adjectives etc.)


How Quick Question – Short Answer Works:

1. From your Teacher Dashboard select “Quick Question”

2. Select the “Short Answer” on the right

3. Type a Question into the text field (optional)

4. Choose whether you would like a SINGLE or UNLIMITED responses from your Students

5. Choose whether you would like students to be ANONYMOUS or REQUIRE their name. (Either way, all responses initially display on your screen anonymously)  

6. Select start!

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2.0 User Guide and Overview



New!!! Socrative by Mail

Missing that personal touch? Feeling nostalgic for snail mail? Toss all your quizzes into a manilla envelope, slap on a stamp, and mail them to us! Each quiz will be hand graded by our founder, Ben Berté, and returned to you within 4-6 weeks (weather permitting). 
In-feature purchases:
For $1.99 add fun stickers to your graded quizzes!
Choose from these engaging options:
     - smiley faces
     - kittens
     - sea creatures
     - sports


For $0.99 choose the pen color!
     - classic “You Failed” red
     - deep purple
     - sky blue
     - forest green
     - “I can’t even read this” yellow

Learn about other Socrative Innovations 

Thinking Globally and Acting Locally – Join Us

This weekend I have the pleasure to take part in the Global Education and Skills Forum, https://educationandskillsforum.org.  Please visit the site to learn more about the diverse thinkers, world leaders and most importantly the initiatives being discussed at this global event.  You can also take part as a viewer of the streamed events or engage via twitter and social media to have your questions and point of view heard. It is an opportunity to unite world citizens, you included, in pursuit of educational solutions for hundreds of millions of learners worldwide.

Since Socrative’s founding in 2011 we have strived to provide an intuitive technology tool that engages students, visualizes classroom thinking and welcomes all student voices in the efforts of moving whole class learning forward.  To maximize impact, we recognize the importance of reducing barriers to usage.  Thus Socrative has always been accessible on all browsers and offers apps for iOS, Windows and Android.  This allows for all web-enabled devices to engage whether in a Bring Your own Device environment, a full 1-to-1 initiative or an informal learning scenario.  Moreover, the simplicity of starting with Socrative, less than 5 minutes, is key to teachers utilizing a new technology in their classrooms without hours of pre-investment that often block even the best of intentions.  Next, we believe in fostering a safe environment for sharing ideas.  As a result student inputs to Socrative should be presented to the class anonymously to make the discussion about the “what” and not the “who”.  These core beliefs have helped with access, equity and safety while using technology.

On Sunday, I’ll be involved in a panel discussion, Leveraging mobile technology, social media and gaming to improve education. It is a great honor to share my view on education and our philosophy on connecting through technology.  We currently have over 1.2 million teachers and students actively using Socrative every month in over 150 countries.  I look forward to learning how we can improve our solution to support even more students in more locations.  My personal challenge is to find dissonance with my own thinking in efforts of expanding the lens in which I view education.

Join Us!


February Teacher Of The Month!

Introducing our first Teacher Of The Month:

Rachel Langenhorst!


School: Rock Valley Community Schools (Iowa, USA)

Role: Technology Integrationist

In this role, Rachel works with the entire school, preschool through 12th grade. Her favorite part of this job is that she gets to work with so many kids on a daily basis, bringing a great amount of variety to her daily responsibilities. She could be working on handwriting techniques on the iPad with younger students in the morning, and then lead an online physics simulation for high schoolers in the afternoon. She likes that she gets to keep track of all the new tools in technology and share this information with faculty and staff.

Rachel and Socrative: Rachel originally heard about Socrative when browsing FreeTech4Teachers, a blog that she reads frequently and has contributed to. She first tried Socrative at her previous job as a 6th grade teacher. She saw that Socrative offered a great opportunity for using what kids know to gauge understanding throughout the day or week with quick polls or quizzes, and to push their knowledge a bit further through Space Race. Rachel especially likes to use Socrative with pre-readers to show pictures and see what sounds they understand. She is also a firm believer in using exit tickets to check students’ understanding of a particular topic learned that day.

Rachel’s Students Are Big Fans Too!

“Socrative is easy to run and everyone can use it. We used it for our test, and I appreciate the immediate feedback.” – Rock Valley Freshman

“It’s a lot quicker to find out how I did. It’s easier for me to use and more fun than a paper! It is also quicker for teachers to grade.” – Rock Valley Freshman


Just in Time! – Thinking Routines Templates


While putting the “final touches” on a lesson plan, I was struck with a decision about the class ending activity. I know students will have questions and concerns about the readings and projects.  I wanted the freedom and flexibility to choose the culminating activity in the moment.  What could I do?
I imported all 3 thinking routines into Socrative, and then allowed myself to choose the culminating activity in the moment.  It was a very freeing feeling to know I was prepared for a great class, and still able to be responsive to the day’s flow and demands.


Here are the 3 Thinking Routines – Import the template using the SOC #s or click on the Thinking Routine to download the Socrative import template.  Then import it to your own room! (How-To Video on Importing/Creating Activities)

Thinking Routine: I Used to Think…, But Now I think…   SOC-17616

Purpose: “This routine helps students to reflect on their thinking about a topic or issue and explore how and why that thinking has changed. It can be useful in consolidating new learning as students identify their new understandings, opinions, and beliefs. By examining and explaining how and why their thinking has changed, students are developing their reasoning abilities and recognizing cause and effect relationships.”  (Project Zero)

Read more

Exit Tickets: Check-In on the Way Out

The precious minutes of class are quickly ticking away, as always, you have another class directly afterwards. Looking for an efficient way to gather end of class feedback and have it organized for you?

Exit Tickets are your solution!

An Exit Ticket is a quick check exercise that takes place in the last five minutes of your class.  With Socrative, you can take advantage of our Exit Ticket template, or design your own Exit Ticket activity prior to class.  Either way, you won’t end up with a pile of uncorrected paper slips that stare at you all afternoon.  You’ll get a report that you can use to tailor that night’s homework assignment or clear up a misconception. 

So what can you capture?

Exit Tickets provide you an opportunity to take a snap shot of students’:

  • Current understanding of key concepts
  • Feelings about their understanding, i.e. critical evaluation of their own learning
  • Lingering questions
  • Preference for methods of content delivery, eg group discovery, videos, teacher led presentation
  • Requests for support exercises
  • Attitude towards class
What does our Template Capture? – 4 questions
  1. Please enter your last name, first name (ex. West, Michael):
  2. How well did you understand today’s material? (Multiple Choice)
  3. What did you learn today? (Open Response)
  4. Please solve the problem on the board (Your opportunity to ask and capture any question you’d like)
Want to Design Your Own Exit Ticket Template?

If you want to make your own Exit Ticket template just design it as a Quiz and save it as an Exit Ticket.


  • Log in to Socrative -> Click “Manage Quiz” -> “Create Quiz”.
  • Name the “Quiz” (e.g. Exit Ticket – History)
  • Design your Template 
  • Save 
  • The “Quiz” will now be available on your Teacher Dashboard under Start Quiz
  • Execute it as frequently as you’d like as a Student Paced or Teacher Paced activity

What Next?

  • Adjust your following day’s lesson
  • Form study groups
  • Differentiate homework assignments
  • Design a new Entrance Ticket

These are a just a few ways to use the data to support your progress towards increased student understanding.  With Socrative all your students’ information will be gathered and presented to you in easy to interpret and understand formats.

Create Virtual Time Capsules in 2014

In third grade, my classmates and I brought a wide range of items to school that signified the time in which we were living.  There was a black Sony walkman with padded headphones, a GI Joe figure, a Hartford Courant newspaper, a copy of Shel Silverstein’s poem “Messy Room” and a video cassette of Goonies. Yes, 1986 was a glorious time. At the end of the school year we all stood around a big hole behind school and buried our keepsakes so that they might be unearthed by a future generation.
My daydreaming about this fond memory sparked an idea.

Weekly VIRTUAL Time Capules

The process of selecting an item to put in a class time capsule helps students to form an idea of the overarching thought or feeling of the time, it necessitates decision-making and it creates an indelible memory (as my experience at Martin Elementary did!)
Read more

Review and Co-Construct Class Rules of Conduct

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Every classroom and every teacher has different rules about acceptable behaviors. These can range from technology usage and hand raising to in class chatter. At the beginning of a semester you have an opportunity to review current rules and introduce new ones!

Socrative Short Answer is a great way to ask:

When should you raise your hand?

What do you do when you need to use the bathroom?

What should you do when other students are speaking?

What should you do when the teacher is speaking?

When are you allowed to speak to the person next to you?

When is it okay to use technology?

Let students work in pairs to reflect on acceptable behaviors.

Project the answers onto the board anonymously, so that everyone feels free to participate. Highlight themes and build a collective responsibility to meet everyone’s goals. With Socrative Short Answer,  you can even download a report of the rules at the end of the activity.


With some extra time left in class, you can group students into teams, assigning a rule to each. Every group makes a poster that represents the rule using diagrams, words, or pictures. Each student then presents their poster and hangs them on the wall to refer to for the next few weeks.

Helping Students Explore Ideas and Make a Stance – Compass Points

Thinking Routines are a constant source of interest and excitement as I explore  Socrative use cases.  In this particular occasion I was seeking a routine to help students evaluate current events, political decisions and school policies.  How could we structure a way to help students explore the topic and then eventually formulate arguments for making decisions or choosing a pathway?

For example, the school may be considering the idea of banning food in class, a character in a book might be confronted with a difficult personal decision, or a politician might be suggesting a change to a town policy.

Use these four directions from Project Zero’s Compass Points:

E = Excited

What excites you about this idea or proposition? What’s the upside?

W = Worrisome

What do you find worrisome about this idea or proposition? What’s the downside?

N = Need to Know

What else do you need to know or find out about this idea or proposition? What additional information would help you to evaluate things?

S = Stance or Suggestion for Moving Forward

What is your current stance or opinion on the idea or proposition? How might you move forward in your evaluation of this idea or proposition?

How to use with Socrative?

Socrative Short Answer – Ask one of the questions and have students respond at the same time.  Project all the responses and lead a discussion.  It’s your choice if you’d like to have it be anonymous or show their names.

Exit Ticket – End the class by asking students to work their way through all four points as they head out the door.  Review them after class to see how the students’ thinking has progressed.

Extension – Put the activity report on your class blog or website for all to see and offer feedback.  Once again, it’s your choice if it’s anonymous or not.

If you’d like to use this routine, import the below SOC #s and it’s yours!

Version 1 – SOC-2594055

Beta 2.0 – SOC-7262053

Learn more at www.visiblethinkingpz.org