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10 Classroom Management Apps for Tech-Savvy Teachers

10 Classroom Management Apps for Tech-Savvy Teachers


 

10 Classroom Management Apps for Tech-Savvy Teachers

Here are some classroom management apps teachers can use to make running their class easier!

Behavioral Management Apps:

Classcraft (Apple, Android, Web)

Pros

  • This is a fantastic, gamified behavioral and learning management system designed for use in the classroom.  The system lets you award student-created avatars for desirable behavior and provide discouragement for undesirable behavior using a rich game-inspired interface that allows the avatars to maintain health, gold, experience and magical power.  
  • The platform comes with detailed presets so you can hit the ground running, but is also highly customizable if you want to make it just right for your classroom.
  • The Quest feature allows you to turn your lessons into gamified journeys to further engage and reward your students through their avatars.

Cons

  • It is a complex system with multiple layers, for both teachers and students, and therefore requires tackling a steep learning curve on everybody's part to be utilized to its full potential.  

Class Dojo (Apple, Android, Web)


Pros

·         This system also lets you award student-created avatars with points for desirable behavior and take away points for undesirable behavior, but with more of a silly and cutsie feel geared towards lower and mid elementary.  

·         Also comes with presets that can later be customized.

Cons

·         There is significantly less functionality compared to its robust counterpart Classcraft, but the simpler platform is better suited for use by both younger students and less technologically inclined teachers. 


Note: Both Classcraft and Class Dojo also let you connect parent accounts so they can see exactly how their students are acting when in school and allow for private messaging between the teacher and individual parents.  You can also use class-wide parent announcements to keep parents in the loop and upload attachments with your messages, such as handouts, worksheets, or permission slips.


Too Noisy (Apple)

Noise Detector (Android)

Bouncy Balls (Web)

Pros

·         Helps both you and the class objectively ascertain and visualize whether or not they are working quietly.  


Cons

  • High noise levels aren’t necessarily a symptom of inattention, so overuse of this method can be frustrating for everyone.


Stop Go (Apple)

Traffic Light (Android)

Pros

·         If you like the traffic light behavioral management system for your classroom, these provide ways to implement it digitally.  This system lets you clearly show your students if the class is meeting your behavioral expectations.

·         If you are 1:1, these apps can also be used by students to quietly indicate if they need further guidance (red/yellow) or are already comfortable (green) working on their current project.

Cons

·         Neither app is specifically designed for classroom management, so the functionality is a bit limited.

Engagement Tools:

Engaged students are usually well-behaved students! 

Nearpod (Apple, Android, Web)

Plickers (Apple, Android, Web)

Kahoot (Apple, Android, Web)

Socrative (Apple, Android, Web)

Pros

  • These apps provide engaging ways to review with and assess your students in real time.  

  • They also record and store assessment data to help inform your teaching.

Cons

  • Your students have to be 1:1 to use these apps.

  • Students who don’t respond well to timed assessments may struggle.

  • The more casual nature of these types of assessments may produce less accurate results.

Here are some classroom management apps teachers can use to make running their class easier!


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Brittany Washburn
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16 Tech Tools to Teach History

16 Tech Tools to Teach History


16 Tech Tools to Teach History

Many students find learning history to be boring, but it doesn't have to be!  Here are some tech tools that teachers and students alike can use to make learning history fun. 

Websites for History

Big History Project

A free introductory history course that establishes an interdisciplinary foundation of historical thinking practices, and a free standards-based world history course that builds upon those foundational skills in preparation for AP, college, and beyond.


Hippocampus  

Free educational videos and resources for middle school through college social sciences.  Your students can study independently, you can use content for your lessons or you can create playlists for your students to review.


Khan Academy

Incredibly helpful, straightforward, standards-aligned videos, practice exercises and articles.  Topics for 7-12 include various history topics under the arts & humanities umbrella.  Teachers can assign work and track student progress with a teacher account.


Google Arts And Culture

Your students can explore and interact with art and architecture around the world, with new picks featured every day.


Games for History 

Oregon Trail 

This classic game is a fun way to get elementary students invested in learning about Westward Expansion.


Playing History 

There are tons of free historical games, interactives and simulations on the web. Playing History aggregates info on these resources in a simple, searchable database making it easy to find, rate, and review historical games. This site currently connects you to 126 shared games.


Gaming the Past

These pages provide overviews of (and links to) a variety of freeware games on US History, World History and global issues.  The collection also includes commercial and online simulation games, so pay close attention to the categories and descriptions.


Apps for History

  • Genius World History Quiz

A trivia game app that lets students test their knowledge, share questions and answers with friends and level up.  Answer the questions correctly and discover the most important periods and civilizations in the history of mankind. For each question, there is a clear and comprehensive explanation rich in information that will allow you to learn history while having fun. (Android

  • The History of Everything

A vertical timeline that allows you to navigate, explore, and compare events from the Big Bang to the birth of the Internet. Events are beautifully illustrated and animated. (Android & Apple)

  • Today In History

Quote of the day, images, headlines and more for each day in history.  This is a great source for daily warm-ups! (Apple)

  • Civilisations AR

This app comes with the ability to superimpose ancient artifacts onto the real world. That allows you to inspect their various intricate details and learn how they came into existence.  There is also a photo mode so you can snap a picture of yourself with the objects to share elsewhere. (Android & Apple)


Podcasts for History

Listening to, dissecting, and responding to topics via podcasts can be a great way to get kids to engage in important discussions.  As an audio-only medium, podcasts also foster listening skills.  You can have a class-wide discussion about the selection, and/or whip up some reflection sheets to help focus your students and get them thinking critically about what they heard.  In addition to listening to podcasts whole-class, they can also be added in as an independent choice station.  

Many students find learning history to be boring, but it doesn't have to be!  Here are some tech tools that teachers and students alike can use to make learning history fun.


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Brittany Washburn
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10 Science Online Game Collections Kids Can Play in Their Free Time

10 Science Online Game Collections Kids Can Play in Their Free Time


10 Science Online Game Collections Kids Can Play in Their Free Time

Science in particular has a great many subjects which benefit from visual models and animated examples.  Furthermore, kids of nearly all ages naturally gravitate to things that resemble games since they understand and respect their mechanics and rules.  Take advantage of this match made in heaven and look over these curated collections of web-based science games that kids can play at school and at home to reinforce what they are learning in class.  Since science often gets less time in the limelight than subjects such as language arts and math, these games are also a great way to get in some extra practice that you may not have freedom to devote direct teaching time to.


Use the grade level categories below as a loose guide, as many of the collections also include games for adjacent grade levels!


Primary Science Websites

Turtle Diary 

Over eighty games, the vast majority of which are for students pre-k through grade 2, on a surprisingly wide variety of science topics appropriate to the age group.


PBS Kids 

Character themed science games about weather, gardening, ecosystems, basic physics and more.


Middle Elementary

Science Kids 

Almost thirty games subdivided into three sections: living things, physical processes & solids, liquids and gases.  


Sheppard Software 

Twelve chemical element games, six nutrition games and fifteen more science games on various subjects.


Upper Elementary

Mr. Nussbaum 

Over thirty different science-themed games, along with instructional activities and/or videos for each one.


Middle School

NASA's Space Place 

Space, weather and tech themed games, with some videos and craft ideas in the educator section.


Legends of Learning 

Earth and space science, life science and physical science games. Legends of Learning games align to national Common Core and NGSS standards for Math and Science, with thousands of games and assessment items for middle and elementary school.  


Game On Learning - Middle School Science 

Energy management, microbiology, physics and more can be explored in seven games and links to three more websites that host multiple games.


Early High School

Game On Learning - High School Science 

Chemistry, biology, physics, ecology, and more feature in this list of nine games.


Late High School

Science Game Center

Botany, biology, ecology, meteorology and more!  The game mechanics also offer enough complexity to engage older students.  Some of these games have to actually be downloaded onto your computer, so be sure to check the “Available on” part of the game profile if you only want to use web-based games.


If you’re having trouble finding what you need to support your teaching on one of these lists, try opening up Google and typing in “[[subject] or [standard]] game for [grade level]“ to find something aligned more closely to your unit. 


10 Science Online Game Collections Kids Can Play in Their Free Time


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Brittany Washburn
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8 Ways Non-Techie Teachers Can Incorporate Technology in the Classroom

8 Ways Non-Techie Teachers Can Incorporate Technology in the Classroom


 8 Ways Non-Techie Teachers Can Incorporate Technology in the Classroom



Here are some user-friendly, innovative ways that even non-techie teachers can integrate technology in the classroom. These things that don't have a big learning curve, and that can be implemented without adding stress.

But first, survival tips when trying any new technology:
  • Don’t worry about mastering everything. Pick one or two things to focus on getting better at this year.
  • Don’t compare yourself to the teacher down the hall. There will always be someone who is doing more with technology, or doing it “better”. So what?
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If there isn’t someone at school, get connected with an online community like my Facebook Group.
  • Expect to work some bugs out. I don’t know about you, but most new things I try need some polishing.
  • Don’t be afraid to stop using something that doesn’t work for your classroom (just be sure you’ve given it a fair chance).

Some easy-to-use tech you can try:

Canva



An amazing tool packed with templates for non-designers to create graphics, presentations, flyers and more. Both you and your students can find a myriad of uses for this eye-catching technology. It is free to use, though they do also have a paid option with additional features.

Google Slides



A little more updated than PowerPoint, cloud-based and ideal for collaboration. Convert a lesson or two per week that you would normally present in a less visually appealing way to Slides, or have your students use them to create their next report.

Prezi



Another presentation platform, but non-linear and with some serious pizzazz. If your kids aren’t paying attention during the presentation of creation of one of these, no visual technology is going to engage them.

Animoto



A way for you or your students to make video slideshows. The advantage of this type of “presentation” is that you set the timing and then it plays automatically, without the need to click through each slide as you go.

Google Classroom



An online learning management system may seem like a big step, but Classroom is a great place to get started even if you just want to begin posting announcements, assignments, grade-able quizzes, etc.

Kahoot



Host live events where students answer timed questions or give student-paced challenges. You can create a quiz from scratch, use their question bank to mix and match questions, edit a template, or reuse existing games. Visual reports help you assess how the class performed, and identify difficult questions. This is the most fun your kids can possibly have reviewing for a quiz.

ClassDojo



This online behavioral management system lets you award student-created avatars with points for desirable behavior and take away points for undesirable behavior. It also lets you connect parent accounts which allow for private messaging between the teacher and individual parents, or class-wide parent announcements that can include uploaded attachments such as handouts, worksheets, or permission slips. If the platform seems too cutsie for your students, there is Classcraft for older students but it has a lot more features so it may be a bit overwhelming when you first get started.

Learning Games (such as Arcademics or Sheppard Software)

Flash cards, but in a game format that students will want to practice with.  What’s not to like?  Set aside ten minutes at the beginning or end of class, or let early finishers put their time to good use.




One final thought…


You don’t have to be the master of a technology to have your students benefit from it. Introduce something and let your kids do the integrating. Seeing you trying to figure it out alongside them can be a great opportunity to model learning as an adult.

Here are some user-friendly, innovative ways that even non-techie teachers can integrate technology in the classroom. These things that don't have a big learning curve, and that can be implemented without adding stress.    But first, survival tips when trying any new technology:  Don’t worry about mastering everything.  Pick one or two things to focus on getting better at this year.  Don’t compare yourself to the teacher down the hall.  There will always be someone who is doing more with technology, or doing it “better”.  So what?  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  If there isn’t someone at school, get connected with an online community like my Facebook Group.  Expect to work some bugs out.  I don’t know about you, but most new things I try need some polishing.  Don’t be afraid to stop using something that doesn’t work for your classroom (just be sure you’ve given it a fair chance).



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Brittany Washburn
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7 New Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom

7 New Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom


 

Skype is a communication tool that allows you to video chat with people all over the world. In the classroom it can be put to many uses, such as practicing foreign language skills, touring a different part of the world, seeing animals you wouldn't normally see, interviewing notable figures, watching presentations and experiments, teaching on-the-go and more.

Skype is a communication tool that allows you to video chat with people all over the world. In the classroom it can be put to many uses, such as practicing foreign language skills, touring a different part of the world, seeing animals you wouldn't normally see, interviewing notable figures, watching presentations and experiments, teaching on-the-go and more.  


Practicing Foreign Language Skills

Help your students get hooked up with a pen pal who is a native speaker of the language they are learning.   Students of the World is designed specifically for connecting students, and there are also websites like Conversation Exchange, Language Exchange Community, PenPal World, or Speaky which focus on connecting people who speak different languages.


Touring a Different Part of the World

Video chat with someone from another place lets your students see sights and animals they wouldn't normally see.  Another fun idea is the “mystery call”, where you link up to a classroom in another region then have them offer up hints as to their true location, challenging students to guess where in the world their new friends live.  Virtual field trips are easily enabled using Skype too.


Interviewing Notable Figures

Find an industry expert through a website like Nepris or the Digital Human Library.  If you already have a subject matter expert in mind, you can just go ahead and contact them to set up a meeting!  


Watching Presentations and Experiments

You can use Skype to have your class tag along to any demonstration it isn't practical to take them to in person.  You can also plug into standard local presentations, like story hour at the library.  Skype in the Classroom is a free community that connects teachers with other educators and guest speakers from around the world.  Teachers have already created thousands of lessons on Skype in the classroom. Taking part in one of these is a nice way to start using Skype as part of your lesson plan.  Once you’ve found a lesson you like, simply click the ‘Register for this lesson’ button.  The community will notify the person running the lesson and you should hear from them soon.  


Collaborate

Hold a debate, build a band comprised of musicians who play and practice together over video, host a book club either as part of a classroom project or organized as an extracurricular, or even encourage your older students to use Skype for study groups.  


Teaching On-the-Go

Use Skype to teach from wherever you are.  Professional development through Skype lets educators themselves keep their career skills sharpened and broadened from anywhere too.


Parent-Teacher Conferences

Save time and energy by holding parent teacher conferences via video chat instead of in person.  This can be useful both at the regularly scheduled events and for issues that arise at other times.  You can also set up tutoring and office hours to help students who need help with their assignments. Special education classrooms might find this particularly valuable.


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Skype is a communication tool that allows you to video chat with people all over the world. In the classroom it can be put to many uses, such as practicing foreign language skills, touring a different part of the world, seeing animals you wouldn't normally see, interviewing notable figures, watching presentations and experiments, teaching on-the-go and more.



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Brittany Washburn
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