Saturday, August 8, 2015

My Favorites

Our school went 1:1 this past spring with each student at our middle school getting a MacBook. Teachers have iPads as well as Macs. Needless to say this technology in the hands of staff and students has changed how teachers teach and students learn. As a teacher and instructional coach my year was busy experimenting with a wide variety of technology for the classroom. Here are a few of my favorites:

Google Classroom- We are a Google School and Google Classroom makes it so easy to share information with students about your class. I have the students' online textbook links, our school's Google Homework Calendar link, Desmos, Geogebra and many other interactive math tools depending on the topic being taught. Teachers can create assignments and add attachments. Flipping your classroom using sites such as Explain Everything, Show Me, and Educreations is easy to do. Explain Everything is my favorite of these three- and I have tried out several! This is what I plan on using for my lesson presentations in class. Teachers can add videos, pictures, files, powerpoints, (both Google Presentations and MSPowerpoint)- record your voice, etc. - making it possible for absent students to know exactly what went on in class that day. I also plan on creating lessons to leave using Explain Everything in my Google Classroom site when I have a sub.

Formative Assessment Tools- There are so many fun tools to use in the classroom these days. Students love Kahoot. The competition to get your answer in before your classmates really gets students excited. If you haven't heard about Kahoot you need to check it out for sure. Your students will love you for it! If you don't feel like creating your own Kahoot game there are ready made games created by other teachers to use. Socrative is really nice- and helps with variety in the classroom. Plickers is an assessment tool that teachers were talking about a lot last year. I myself thought it was a lot of work to create the multiple choice review activity and I could not justify the time it took for me to scan their cards for their answers. I actually prefer to have students show their work on a whiteboard and just hold it up instead of using Plickers. Went much faster- plus I saw student work instead of just a possible guess. A tool that I am so excited to try out this year is Formative. Teachers can create bell work, exit slips, tests and more. What I love most about it as a math teacher is you can give your students their own drawing tool to answer a question. Best of all you can view students' work as they are answering the questions. Another awesome thing that you can do with Formative is upload a PDF document and make the PDF interactive by adding videos, multiple choice, drawing, true/false right on top of the PDF document! This is so cool and relatively easy to do. The best part is that you can share the link with students. I tried it out in my Google Classroom. With just a simple click on the link students could access the assignment.  As a teacher I could see every student working on the assignment on my computer desktop- and even project their answers or drawings up on the board! (Teachers can hide student names from their work if so desired.) Students love seeing their work as well as their classmates thinking on the screen. You can also give students immediate feedback while they are working. If you have the technology capability at your school this is a tool that you should put on your list of things to try. Your students will thank you for it! Have a great school year!

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