Saturday, June 1, 2013

Today's Meet

I used Today's Meet in my classroom this year for brainstorming.  I teach 5th Grade, and the kids often struggle coming up with ideas, whether it be for a writing project, research project, etc.  It's a really quick and easy way to have all the kids put their ideas in one place that can then be easily printed off for everyone to share and use.  It's a great tool for any subject.  It can be used in math for solving problems.  I simply have them type their answer before clicking "Say," and then have them all show their answers at the same time (to avoid kids just using others' answers).  It would be a great tool for Writing to Explain in math also, but unfortunately, they are limited to only 140 characters.  I have occasionally used Today's Meet in an anonymous manner, because some kids aren't comfortable with their ideas or answers being shown to the whole class; just have them pick a number to use as their name.  They will know who they are, but nobody else will.  If it's an assignment that you want to print off and use for your own records, just have the kids put their name and number on a piece of paper and turn it in so you know which responses belong to which student.

New apps

I am always looking for new apps that will help me deliver information in interesting ways.  I am a special education teacher and I teach a pull out math class.  Screenchomp will give me the ability to demonstrate a concept and also send it home so the students can watch it again while they are doing homework or studying for a test.  I think that it will also be helpful for parents.  Many of my students go home and can't get help from their parents.  This could be their help.


This is a great website to use to organize all your favorite webpages into one spot. You can create public tabs or private tabs.  I use the private tabs for my own personal use and then have public tabs for student use.  For 4th graders it is hard for them to remember all the different webpages we use and they do not type very fast.  I was able to copy a link to my Symbaloo page on my webpage so that they can access our commonly used webpages easier.

Animoto for Education

Animoto for Education now offers free "Animoto Plus"accounts, but the user must apply for a promo code.  In order to obtain an Educator account go to Getting Started with Animoto Education and complete the following steps:

I am a substitute teacher (aspiring to be a regular teacher) constantly looking and listening for different apps that other teachers have tried and tested, stumbled upon, or heard about with rave reviews to keep me a top of the technology they're delivering to their students and that I will be comfortable to use when I am requested to work for particular teachers that are going techno. And once I get that elusive teaching job I will have a repertoire of go to apps, just hope that they will not be obsolete by then. I would love to have this particular session to be longer and have more sharing time, so much to talk about and play with.
The screen chomp app looks like a great tool to use, especially since I will be doing a Flipped Classroom, perfect for explanation, grading, and my A HA moment, reteaching parents those forgotten fragments, YES! So helpful.

Jing-helping parents understand how to help their child with the weekly reading log

I teach two half day sections of kindergarten and there is never enough time to practice and review ELA skills that students must be proficient in before the end of the school year.  The past few years we have had to develop a weekly reading log that has students practice their reading and writing skills at home.  Parents are asked to have their child work on a couple skills  (5 out of the 7 days) for 10-15 minutes per day.  However, my colleague and I notice that parents are having their student cram in all the skills in one or two days.  I think that Jing would be very useful for introducing the weekly reading log (other than using parent teacher conference time to do this) to the parent by pointing to specific skills and how their child should perform the skill.  Then I would post the link on the Kindergarten website for parents to access.   


I am extremely excited to use Jing this year.  I think that it would be nice to use if you are absent.  You can create a video of the lesson you wanted to teach that day and have the substitute show the video.  I am also eager to use Jing for Flipped Classroom.

Class Dojo!

I am taking a para professional position in a special education class. I noticed during my observation of the student-teacher interaction that the teacher likes to reward the behavior struggling students with "points" for good behavior. She has charts for each student on her wall that she constantly has to walk across the room to get to to award points. Class Dojo seems like a wonderful alternative for my class and would motivate the students even more! Once students improve motivation for external reasons, students can begin working on motivation for internal reasons.


I am getting a classroom set of iPads in my middle school library this next fall, and I am excited about discovering apps that will increase student productivity as well as creativity. I'm interested in exploring Jing and Screen Chomp, but I would also love to hear from you about outstanding (and cheap, but mostly FREE) apps that you are using and loving. Also, any ideas on how you are using and why you are loving these apps would be extra super helpful!


Feel free to use this blog to post your thoughts and comments on applications you use and have learned about during RI.