Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Some Tech I Love

I was thinking today about some things I really love that I use either in or for my classroom. Here are some of those things.

*Disclaimer: These are not in any particular order. The first one is not my most favorite, nor is the last one my least favorite. I'm tired and overly caffeinated, so these are truly appearing in random order.

#1) Twitter
I don't use Twitter *in* my classroom, but I use it to connect to other educators across the globe. That rocks, my friends. I have learned so much from other people and gotten so many great ideas. Read all the way to the bottom of this post to see some of my newest Twitter faves.

You may wonder what on earth I could possibly have learned from Twitter. Well, I follow some ah-may-zing teachers, principals, and other educators who share their fabulous ideas often. I've found useful websites, interesting classroom management ideas, great activities to use with the students, books to read for professional development, and sometimes most importantly, someone who has the same struggles and love for teaching with whom I can share a story and just simply relate! We all need to rely on other educators as a sounding board and as a community to improve ourselves and better our classrooms. So basically, yeah - Twitter rules.

#2) Socrative
I've blogged about this before (read about it here), but Socrative is a website that allows me to give assessments to my students online, therefore helping me out on my quest for a paperless classroom. Once students complete the test, either on a computer or a mobile device, Socrative lets me download their results and I get my grades in a snap. Saving the earth, my precious time, and money from copies all at once? Triple threat, my friends.

#3) Edmodo
Holy guacamole. I LOVE Edmodo. It's a safe social media for kids to use in the classroom. The only people who can access it are me, the kids, their parents, and school administrators. It's free for K-12 educators and students.

 I post assignments (we use Scholastic News Online articles, articles from Tween Tribune, and other websites and materials for their assignments), polls about activities in the classroom or opinions that the students might have about topics we are covering, videos that relate to content we are covering, etc. Students post articles that they find interesting, they give book reviews, they ask for book recommendations, they give each other reminders about homework... Oh, it's just glorious!

I use Edmodo ALL the time. However, here's why I especially loved Edmodo this afternoon: I was sitting at my son's karate practice after school with just my iPhone. In 10 minutes, I had graded about 10 assignments on Edmodo. All from my phone. Super quick. No papers or gradebooks to lug around with me. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. I was able to give a student feedback about a project of hers and share another student's work with the rest of the class. LOVE.

So that's what I'm currently loving. There are lots of other things I love too, but right now, these are at the top of my love list!

As promised, here are some folks I'm following on Twitter and why: (again, no particular order, folks)

  • @kellydkennedy Because she's my fellow Nerdy teacher and the other half of my brain!
  • @stumpteacher Very motivating, to the point, great teacher and a parent as well (so he can give both points of view to education topics), and he isn't afraid to tell you like it is. He's also the Illinois Teacher of the Year.
  • @coolcatteacher She has an awesome daily newsletter, and she retweets lots of relevant education stuff. She posts regularly and about a variety of ed topics.
  • @donalynbooks She's the author of the book that has shaped our reading program, The Book Whisperer (buy it here) I read and reread her book all the time. She's just a reading teacher sharing her story of how she puts books in the hands of her students and helps them learn a love of reading. Love everything she writes! 
  • @frankisibberson She's an amazing reading teacher and the co-author of one of my favorite professional learning books, Day to Day Assessment in the Reading Workshop (buy it here). I use a ton of her ideas in my classroom!
  • @mbteach She's amazing with technology and always asks insightful questions on Twitter; she has her students do amazing tech projects in grades K-6. I've found many cool new projects from following her Tweets!
  • @edu180atl This is a group from GA with a new blogger and post every day. The question is always the same - "What did I learn today?" The posts are great and it's so interesting to read what people of all ages and backgrounds learn in their day-to-day lives. It's important for our students, too, to know that learning can occur anywhere and that it never stops. [Shameless plug: I'll be the guest blogger on April 19th!)
  • @thereadingzone She posts about books she's read or her students have read, her thoughts about teaching English, and asks some questions about teaching that really make you think. Tonight, we had a conversation about integrating all subjects into English to make learning more authentic!
  • @sjunkins This guy is connected to all kinds of educators and chat groups. I have been able to connect to other educators by following all the chats in which he participates. He's always involved in some interesting educational chat somewhere on Twitter!
  • @GTConsultant She's the author of professional development books for teachers, specifically about using menus with students in the classroom. She's already published several, and she's sending me a copy of her newest book to review. I'm so excited!
  • @mrsd5107 She's a fellow 5th grade teacher in GA, and that makes her worth following just to begin with! ;) She's got loads of great ideas and always shares things she does with her students.
  • @FlyontheCWall Another 5th grade teacher! Great sense of humor, has amazing ideas and retweets other amazing ideas she finds on Twitter, and moderates one of my favorite Twitter chats, #5thchat
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