Mrs. Chung decided to browse Quill Lessons because her students often struggled with transition words. She chose a lesson on conjunctions of time to encourage students to better represent the order of their ideas. Here's a step by step guide for how Mrs. Chung implemented her first lesson.
Skip to the Getting Started Checklist
Skip to Questions to Guide Discussion
Skip to Teacher Stories

Step by Step Guide

Setting Up The Lesson 

Finding the Lesson 

Mrs. Chung went to the explore all activities page and typed "conjunctions" into the search bar. She decided to preview Lesson 1: Conjunctions of Time (After, Until, Before, etc.), so she clicked on the name, and read through the slides and Step-By-Step Guide. Since the objective and content aligned with her goal, she assigned the lesson to her 4th period class. Here's a guide on how to assign Quill Lessons.

Reviewing the PDF Lesson Plan

As soon as Mrs. Chung assigned the lesson, she received an email in her inbox that contained a PDF of the lesson plan. The lesson plan listed each of the prompts and suggested discussion topics. She printed out the PDF and annotated the discussion questions to use during the lesson. Here's a sample lesson plan PDF.

Using the Projector 

As her class was walking in the door, Mrs. Chung pressed the “launch lesson” button from teacher dashboard. She noticed that both the slides and the interactive teacher guide were showing up on her board. By clicking on the projector view button at the top of the page, she launched a new window that showed only the student display. She dragged this new window off to the right-hand side of the screen, so it would appear on her projected screen, but her desktop still showed the teacher view. Here's a guide on how to project Quill Lessons in your classroom.

Getting the Class Started

Each student signed into their Quill account on their laptop at the beginning of class. Mrs. Chung watched as each student joined the class, and populated the "0 students connected to this lesson" field on the right of her screen.

Using the Lesson 

Unlocking the Lesson 

If Mrs. Chung did not get her lesson open before students login to their Quill account, the lesson would show up as locked on their profiles until the teacher pressed the “launch lesson” button. It would then unlock on their profile and display on the dashboard. The students could then click on "start lesson."

Using the Guide to Model Skills

Mrs. Chung started her lesson, and used her step-by-step guide to prompt student responses and involvement. She came to a Teacher Model slide, and decided to demonstrate how to connect two ideas together. She used the “watch teacher” button, which paused student screens, and instructed students to partially close their laptops. She then typed out her answers on her laptop, and thought aloud for her students as they saw her changes live.

Completing a Question 

When they came to the first question, each student entered an answer. Mrs. Chung selected a few strong answers to project to the students. She used the questions she had annotated in her PDF to guide discussion around the student answers.

Retrying Questions to Demonstrate Mastery 

For each individual practice slide, Mrs. Chung projected strong student answers to help the students discuss and understand the material. After sharing a few strong answers, she used the "retry question" button, which allowed all students to start over and submit a new, improved answer.

Completing the Lesson & Follow-Up

Flagging Struggling Students 

During the lesson, Mrs. Chung noticed that a few students were consistently struggling to apply the new material in Individual Practice. She used the flag button to mark these students. As she progressed through the slides, some of flagged students demonstrated mastery and others did not. At the end of the lesson, she was presented with options - she could either send all students to independent practice now, or send some to independent practice and pull others aside for small group instruction. Mrs. Chung assigned 25 of 30 students to start the independent practice, and prompted the remaining 5 students to join her at her small group table.

Small Group Instruction 

She asked her small group to write down a few of the prompts from her PDF in their notebooks and walked through the process with them once again. She engaged each student in a discussion around improving one another's answers. As her small group worked, she provided personalized feedback based on their responses. During the small group instruction, the rest of the class worked independently on their follow-up activity.

Ready to Jump In? Check out the checklist for completing your first lesson.  

Getting Started Checklist

Before the Lesson

Determining Class Structure:

  • Decide if you will use Quill Lessons with a small group or the whole class. 

Selecting a Lesson:

  • Consult the diagnostic recommendations for whole class lessons. 
  • Filter by Quill Lessons tool tab under Explore All Activities. Have questions about which grade Quill Lessons is suitable for? Here's a guide.

Setting Up a Lesson:

  • Preview lesson for alignment to objective
  • Assign lesson. Here's a guide on how to assign Quill Lessons
  • Review Lesson
  • Download and print lesson plan. Here's an example lesson plan.
  • Practice projecting student view, and using teacher view. Here's a guide.
  • Test out locking and unlocking lesson for students

During the Lesson


  • Personalize prompt
  • Model incorrect response
  • Model correct response

Engaging in Discussion:

  • Share best student response
  • Share responses that require revision
  • Check to see that all students are submitting answers

Addressing Student Needs:

  • Skim student answers as they arrive for the strength of response, effort, points of discussion
  • Send response for a student to retry if the response is unacceptable or a student asks to improve response
  • Flag if student’s response shows misunderstanding of the skill

Wrapping up/Debrief:

  • Use final response to check for understanding
  • Flag and unflag based on final responses
  • Select next steps for all students

After the Lesson

Following Up: 

  • Assign practice
  • Create opportunity for enrichment
  • Students revise one another’s writing for correlating skill
  • Remediate
  • Return to student response slides to review in more detail
  • Work through a Quill activity collaboratively
  • Create sentences in writers’ notebooks with which to practice

Returning to Reports:

  • Find great examples of student responses to post
  • Review flagged students to analyze comprehension issues

Sharing Your Feedback With Quill:

  • Ask us questions
  • Let us know what you loved
  • Let us know what you’d like us to improve

Questions to Guide Discussion


  • What is the relationship between the parts of this sentence?
  • What are all the joining words we could use to connect these ideas?
  • How are the sentences you can see different from one another? How are they the same?

For analyzing strong responses:

  • Which of these responses would you use in your writing? Why?
  • What might change your choice?
  • How does the sentence structure change the meaning?

For revising responses:

  • How could I correct this response?
  • How could I improve this response?
  • What rule could we write to prevent this writer from making this error again?

For discussion of style:

  • Which of these responses sounds better when you read it out loud?
  • What vocabulary would you change to make this sentence your own?
  • What is the writer communicating with their word choices?

Teacher Stories

Over the past month of beta testing, we’ve seen teachers in action and gathered their stories of making Quill Lessons work for them and their students. Here’s how we gathered these ideas and best practices.

“Eighth-grade students were literally begging me to project their answers or asking me to allow them to re-submit an answer because they’d just gotten a better idea from another student’s example. An excited class learning grammar from each other, now that’s a good day in ELA class! One other huge bonus is that in my lessons throughout the week, I was able to refer to the Quill lesson when kids were giving me fragmented answers on written homework in my regular unit. They caught on so much faster thanks to the experience gained from just one lesson. I can’t wait till Friday to do it again.”

Kim Hinderlie, Elma Elementary School

“The kids are really enjoying the new lessons! As far as prepping for lessons, I start with the diagnostic first thing. I am anxious to see where the kids start at the beginning of the year and where the finish by the end of the year. We started with the most basic lessons, and are working our way up. One thing that the students love is when we put the wrong answers up on the board. They see that they aren’t the only ones who struggle, and it helps them build more confidence. We share a few laughs and then go on to find the correct answer.Once lessons are complete, we either move on or practice individually. If the students did really well and seem to understand the topic, we’ll go on. However, if they struggled with the information, we’ll spend an extra day working on the material.”

Britney Wilson, Morgan Co. R I Middle

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