Desmos Card Sorts


While at Twitter Math Camp this summer, I learned that Desmos launched a new card sort feature on the site. I love Desmos! If you have ever heard Sara Vanderwerf talk about Desmos, you will also love Desmos! Check out her blog at I took this card sort activity idea back to my school and my mentor thought that it would be awesome for all of the teachers to see and experience. I thought that I would write a blog post to show them how to create their own card sorts.

First, go to the site. We need to make sure that you have a Desmos account. Choose Create an account from the upper right corner.

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You will then either need to create an account or log in with your google account. If you do not use google, choose a user name and password and enter your email address.Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 10.56.07 PM

Once you are in, you will need to make sure that your account has access to the card sort activities. In the upper right corner, click on your name and choose Desmos Labs.

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Once in, check the box to enable card sorts. (While you’re here you can also choose to enable marble slides, more on that another time!)

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Now it’s time to start making our first card sort. On the left side of the screen under ‘Your Activities’ you want to choose custom.

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Then in the upper right corner choose New Activity.

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Start by adding a title and click “Start Building.”

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You will end up at a screen like this one.

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From here choose Labs and then choose Card Sort.

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You are now ready to create your card sort. To help expedite this posting, I have created a video of me actually creating my card sort so that you can follow along.

After you create each of your cards, you will need to make sure that you add an answer key for each card sort you create. You can see the “Add an answer key” button in blue. Once you create it, you click the done button in the upper right corner.

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Once you have created your card sorts, you will need to create a class code. Students will go to to log into the card sort and sign in to participate. (There is an option to have students skip log-in and just enter their name.) Students will need a class code. It looks like this:

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Once students are in, it’s pretty simple to follow along. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or get it touch with the people at Desmos. They are awesome at answering questions!!

Multiple Choice Grading Technology


While I do not like giving multiple choice assessments, my school requires a specific benchmark assessment be given every month. These assessments are multiple choice and I HATE GRADING THEM!!! It is painful to sit down and spend my time trying to grade these assessments and even more painful knowing that there is something else more valuable that I could be doing with my time.

I recently spent some time finding a scantron type of app that I could use to eliminate this task from my grading ritual. I found two¬†options available that I could use easily in my classroom. There are more and I know they exist, I just haven’t had a chance to explore their features yet.


Platform: Any device that connects to the internet.

Pricing: There are three options with Gradecam.

  • Insight Basic – Free – limits teachers to 10 questions per assessment and does not include standard alignment or exporting options.
  • Insight Plus – $15/month a teacher – Allows up to 100 questions per assignment. This version allows you to align to state standards or common core standards. You can also export to excel, csv, or into some gradebook software.
  • Insight School/District – $2.50/year a student – All the features of Insight Plus and you can share assignments between teachers and create custom benchmarks.

I got a three month trial of Gradecam when I signed up and when I referred several other teachers my trial was extended. The feature that I like the most about Gradecam is that I can grade on every device I own. I can use my phone, my ipad, and I can use the camera on my computer.


Platform: You can only scan from a mobile device but you can access your results on the web.

Pricing: With Zipgrade you get access to the full range of features with the free demo. The demo allows you to scan up to 100 quizzes before being charged. Otherwise it is a paid app.

  • 2 months for $1.99
  • 1 year for $6.99
  • Or the Zipgrade VPP app is $12.99 one time and vaild forever.

The advantage of Zipgrade is the ability to tag either an entire quiz or a single question as assessing a benchmark or standard. This then creates a record of everything that the benchmark is assessed and a student’s ongoing progress toward meeting that benchmark. I love this part of the program. It is a bit clumsy right now but the data is some of my favorite data that I can access. I was in the process of creating a spreadsheet that I could use to track this information and I found the program that did it for me!