Tools to Help Teachers

index3Pinterest–Even though Pinterest is know as a platform for sharing recipes and crafts, it’s also a great platform for teachers to easily share their ideas and tools. The Education tab is a cache of great lesson plans, classroom management ideas, even tips for stretching the classroom budget. Sometimes you have to dig a bit, but there are some hidden gems!

SymballoSymbaloo–This is a fantastic bookmarking tool that puts all your favorite sites into a “Webmix.” I make a tile for the websites that I use on a regular basis (or one that I want to explore further). Users can also explore Webmixes that other users have shared and add them to his/her Symbaloo. A helpful point was brought up during a class discussion one day…make sure to back up your bookmarks somewhere! Symbaloo is a great tool, but it’s also an outside source with guarantee to save all of your work.

GoogleDocsGoogle Drive— I use Google Drive to create all of my grade books and record-keeping tools for my classroom. An especially helpful feature is the Google Form, which enables me to create surveys that I can send to my students on Edmodo, or they can interact with them on the SmartBoard in the classroom. Sometimes Google Drive can be a bit tricky to use in that is doesn’t work as fluidly as Microsoft Word (for example, it’s difficult to cut and paste material from another source).

indexEdmodo–I have fallen in love with Edmodo this past school year. It’s a fantastic way to keep the kids engaged even after they leave the classroom. Teachers can set up secure groups for all of their classes (no limit to the number of students!) and invite students to join. Once students are logged in, they can have access to anything that their teacher and classmates post on the class page. Parents can even create accounts to stay in touch (they can contact the teacher and view their students’ info, but they can’t see the other kids). The best part is, it’s completely free! Keep in mind that it can be complicated to delete accounts should you ever need to. It requires emailing the folks at Edmodo (who ausually respond pretty quickly) and having them delete it.

index2ClassDojo–It’s often difficult for teachers to track and monitor students’ behavior and participation. ClassDojo is a great (and free) online tool to help with that. Much like Edmodo, a teacher can upload his/her class lists to the website and invite students to join. From there, students can create avatars and view the behavior points that they’ve earned or lost during lessons. Teachers can even send parents their student’s behavior records as a PDF. I would never recommend having this be the only classroom management tool in any classroom. I find that it’s most affective when used in conjunction with other classroom expectations and routines. But it takes a lot of the hassle keeping behavior data.

imagesEdcanvas— I’ve just discovered this tool, so I’m not totally up on all the ins and outs, but from what I’ve seen so far, this one looks like a winner. Teachers can log in and create digital canvases of all different sorts of internet resources including Google Drive, Educreations, Flickr, etc. All of the tools are organized into tiles are are easy to navigate and student-friendly. Students can create accounts and look at what their teachers have posted and learn at their own pace. This site was designed specifically for use in schools, so there are no adds, and canvases can be made private. Students do need an email address to sign up. This could be a great option for facilitating a flipped classroom.

2imagesMentorMob— In a way, MentorMob is a bit like Edcanvas. It’s a way to compile. organize, and share different types of web-based resources. Teachers can create a “play list” on a certain topic and share it with students or colleagues. The playlist can consist of videos, websites, even PDFs. Once students access the playlist, they can work through the material at their own speed. This is another mode to flip a classroom. It’s easy to edit and collaborate on each playlist.

5indexTinyURL— Got a long URL that your students need to type into their web browser? Make it tiny! By plugging super long URLs into this free website, teachers (or anyone) can make a short URL that is easy to copy from the board or include in a Tweet.

indexImgur— This website is the perfect easy way to turn a photo into a URL instantly. It’s a great way to quickly share a photo with students via the web. Be careful of the thumbnail pictures that appear on the side of the screen!

1indexCreative Commons Search— Worried about fair use in your classroom? Try searching for video and images with Creative Commons licenses. The Creative Commons website enables you or your students to search various websites like Google Images, Flickr, etc. that are not copy righted. Even though the results are much more limited, it’s an easy way for students to get used to using non-copy righted material.

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