Technology Tools for Your Classroom
by Donna Thomson
Grade 5/6 Haldane Elementary in Chase, BC SD73
With the world of education every changing I thought I would highlight a few of the tools I have used and discovered over the last couple years. I am into learning about technology and the ways I can use of technology in a meaningful way into my classroom. In this blog, I am going to highlight a few different programs/sites that I have found very useful this year. You may have heard of them or they may be something new to you. I would love it if people would share some of the other great sites or apps they have used to create meaningful engagement of their students. There are hundreds of great sites, videos, programs and more out there and these are just a drop in the bucket.
I am sure we have all heard of this site. It is full of great and not so great videos to help introduce numerous number of topics. Setting up and having your own account is simple and the easiest way to keep track of and find links that your students can relate. With the use of video recording and green screen assignments the ability to upload to you tube using private setting is a great way to share student work in an environment that is controlled. Taking things, a step further is to use Teacher Tube which is rich with wonderful resources and much easier to search. For more information read The Teacher's Guide to Using YouTube in the Classroom.
My favorite subject to teach is math but it also the subject where I notice that the range of students is vastly different. Last year I started to experiment with Prodigy, This is a game based math program that has many wonderful teacher features. When the students first sign on they go through an assessment process which then tells you where they are deficient in skills. This allows you to set up an assignment base to help them move forward. You can also set up and assign different grade levels to the students. The joy of all this is when each student looks at the screen of another student they look the same. This alone allows each student to grow at their own pace but not feel singled out for being low. It also allows enrichment for those students that are ahead and need challenges. This is not a stand-alone program but a great supplement to help fill in gaps and to engage students. The best part is the main program and teacher aspects are free. I do have a couple students that have purchased the enhanced program so they could access more power for the game portion but it is not needed.
Fractions on YouTube
One of my favourite finds this year is the Fraction Song by a group of grade 5 students out of Washington. It was a great way to introduce my grade 5/6 students to fractions and it was a good introduction as well as it has come in handy as we work through the fractions unit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpGtKEsuP_I
Once at this location you can easily find several other videos related to this topic so you can break down the steps of fraction s for your students. This videos can easily be added to assignments and notes in Google Classroom so that your students can access them from chrome books, computer labs, IPads and from home.
I was introduced to Remind last year. This is the best program that I have used for parent/guardian communication. This program sets up a classroom that parents sign onto or you can add them directly. You can send out class reminders, notices, test notices, assignment notices, and important events. You can send a direct question or comment to an individual parent. Parents can also contact you directly with this program without having your cell number even the messages come directly to your cell. You set the boundary hours to send and receive messages. If you have not tried the Remind program, I highly recommend you do.
If you have not heard of Kahoot you need to go check it out. You can use it to review anything. Once you set up a teacher account it is easy to use. The program is very user friendly. To use Kahoot in your classroom students need to have access to the internet and a device to work with. I have used this using chrome books and in a computer lab. Once you set up your questions you invite the students to create a user name for this round of Kahoot and then have a little friendly competition. The program is set to have accuracy as well as time towards point accumulation. Always a fun time had by all.
The Google classroom and going paperless is become more and more of a normal classroom culture. Google classroom has numerous apps to help students create rich and meaningful assignment. One that has been recommend to me and used by a fellow teacher in my school is Screenplay Formatter. In this add on you can write in exactly what is says a screenplay format. Students need to use the add on to create a setting as well as rich dialogue. A grade 4/5 student used this add on in the fall and was very excited to see the results. I am looking at it for the last term this year with my grade 5/6 and can’t wait to see how it goes.
These are a few of my go-to's and treasures that I have found extremely valuable in my teaching. I would love to hear about your treasures and go toes with technology. Until next time ....