TOP TEACHER TOOL: One reason iPads make me giddy is because of the usability for both students and TEACHERS. I use my personal iPad throughout the day to keep me sane and simplify the exhaustive list of housekeeping and management tasks we do constantly. (I need a nap just thinking about it during the summer months!) Does it replace me reading real books aloud? No. Is it my best buddy throughout the day? Y-E-S
// Heavy Hitters //
What It Is: ClassDojo is a classroom tool that helps teachers improve behavior in their classrooms quickly and easily. It also captures and generates data on behavior that teachers can share with parents and administrators. Better learning behaviors, smoother lessons and hassle-free data — and its free! Class Dojo website
How I Use It: Dojo points are doled out daily in our class. See my blog post on using a classroom economy to see the role Dojo points play in our daily routines. Parents of my students have the ability to view their child’s accumulated points for positive and negative behaviors any time they wish, or I am able to email a weekly report. With new messaging and student/class sharing capabilities, I can’t even IMAGINE how much more I’ll utilize this app this year (....I’m guessing nearly 24/7!!) To see how I use this app specifically for grade cards and conferences, read more on my Scholastic Top Teaching blog post!
What It Is: “OpenSchool ePortfolio allows a teacher to easily create and maintain digital portfolios for an entire class or multiple classes. This FREE app incorporates multimedia tools built into mobile digital devices and has an inviting interface that motivates students to participate in the process of creating an authentic record of their academic, artistic and social growth.” –OpenSchool app description
How I Use It: This is my favorite new digital find! In our classroom, we participate in tons of project-based learning, creative ways to demonstrate our understanding, and a variety of cumulating student products. Such work requires rubric scoring, and is often difficult to physically put into a portfolio and equally problematic to share with parents. OpenSchool allows me to assign tasks and projects to individuals or the entire class. Students (or I) then upload photos, videos, voice recordings, or other documents as evidence of work completed. Using the built-in rubric system, I am able to instantly grade the submitted projects. To see how I use this app specifically for grade cards and conferences, read more on my Scholastic Top Teaching blog post!
What It Is: iDoceo is an app-based gradebook for the iPad. No Internet access is required to use it. This app will calculate averages in real time, includes features for seating, lesson plans, checklists, icon/text/number grading, and more. You may import and export information to and from this app, to make record keeping and communicating data simple and efficient. iDoceo is a not-free, but inexpensive app.
How I Use It: I ADORE iDoceo for numerous reasons! It’s my first year using this app, and I can’t wait to learn more functions as I further explore. Recently iDoceo made some major upgrades to their app, which will enable me to use the program even more than I already do! Currently, I’m using iDoceo to track standards taught and practiced, checklists for school forms, and behavior. It’s most useful for recording scores on non-percentage-based assignments (like projects and/or interactive student notebooks) using the 1-4 scale from our report cards and Marzano’s Levels of Thinking/Understanding. To see how I use this app specifically for grade cards and conferences, read more on my Scholastic Top Teaching blog post!
// Quick -but- Quality //
Class Messenger, powered by Scholastic, has enhanced my home-school communication in the most positive ways. I’m able to send updates, reminders, photos, surveys, requests, and more instantly throughout the day. Since messages are available via phone text, app push notification, and email, there’s a way to reach every parent. Try Class Messenger to make home-school connections today!
This all-in-one, iPad keyboard, case, and stand has totally and completely changed the way I use my iPad. If I had to guess, I’d say I use it five times more while in the classroom than I previously did. Check this product out if you want to maximize the use of your tech device, both as a tablet, and a mini-laptop. It’s a bit expensive, but totally worth it. My recommendation: Don’t leave for school without it!
Book Wizard Mobile:
The Scholastic Book Wizard offers a searchable database of over 50,000 books from all publishers as well as a huge selection of teaching resources to help you match the right books to your students. Plus, you can search, create, and save book lists and purchase books through the Teacher Store.
Now that Book Wizard has gone mobile, the possibilities for being more effective and efficient in managing your classroom library and creating customized book lists are endless! See the information below for specifics on this new app and start imagining all of the ways you will benefit from using it. For me, the ability to SCAN barcodes on the backs of books and instantly use my iPad or iPhone to get text information and make book lists is PRICELESS! Get Scholastic's Free Book Wizard Mobile in the App Store. To see how I use this app specifically for grade cards and conferences, read more on my Scholastic Top Teaching blog post!