Today is the day that summer is officially over for me. While yes, it is sad that sleeping in every day is over, I am so excited to get back to work. Excited and terribly nervous. It strikes me again that i’ll be meeting a whole new group of kids, all of them different from the last batch and i’ll have to start from scratch. Last year this terrified me! I had had such a good first year and such an amazing group of kids my first go round. But as it turns out I had nothing to be afraid of because my second year kids were just as awesome! Now here I am, year three, and i’m still nervous but this time i’m also so excited. I won’t lie though, I was relieved to see a few of my Comedysportz kids and a few of my Tech Writing kids in my senior classes this year. A few familiar faces never hurt anyone!
Now on to the meat and potatoes of the post, online resources! Sometimes I feel like i’m hoarding resources (gotta catch ’em all!) so some I get a lot of use out of and then others just sit at the bottom of the pile waiting for me to find a way to use them. I think that’s exciting though that there are so many options for me out there as a teacher that I get to pick what works best for me and my students. So without any further adieu here are some of the things that get me through the day.
Turnitin.com: This website is the bees knees and makes what would be a cumbersome task (grading 120 essays each six weeks plus all the rough drafts and smaller writing assignments) into a fun and easy chore with lots of options. The feedback tools are amazing and it allows you to see who is an is not checking the feedback you’re handing out. There are so many reasons that is useful info as an educator. Plus the whole “you totally copied this entire paper” aspect is pretty cool. I know that your district needs to have a subscription to this service so not all will have such easy access to it but for those of you that do have this resource, please use the crap out of it!
Edmodo: It’s literally facebook for your class and it’s amazing. The interface is user friendly and in a familiar format so there is really no learning curve on this one for the kids, it’s all super accessible. I love the library feature that it has because it makes sharing resources with kids so easy from one year to the next, plus it helps keep me organized. I try really hard to give my kids access to all the resources they could possibly need, I put it all out there and then it’s up to them whether or not they want to help themselves.
Remind: Remind is a 3rd party texting system that allows you to text messages to your kids safely and securely. You know what I said about that, giving them all the resources and then letting them help themselves? Remind is great for that! My kids will complain because I remind them about EVERYTHING but then they’ll turn right around and complain when I don’t. It’s also a great accountability tool because seriously, when you put it all out there and the kids still don’t do their work on time or turn things in on due dates it’s really easy to point out allll the places you put that information and have them confront where fault really lies for their disorganization. I love these resources because they really do make kids more aware of their personal responsibility as counter intuitive as that sounds.
Class Dojo: I will point out that I teach 17-18 year olds and I use this EVERY DAY. It’s a digital “good noodle” chart in my classroom and the kids will fight like crazy to get their dojo points. Yes, 18 year olds will FIGHT to be chosen to answer a question so they can get a dojo point. This may or may not be tied to the fact that they get fun sized candies at the end of the week if they are in the top 5 of point earners. Yep. Seniors. I was asked to be a class dojo mentor this year and I get so many cool new goodies to use and i’m excited to try those out!
Pinterest: The “pin it” button is my favorite thing in the world. I have it installed on both my home and work computers because I don’t use pinterest for much other than cool internet resources for my various units. I’ve got Frankenstein, Beowulf, 1984, Brave New World, and other pin boards. The pin it button makes it so easy for me to go from “Oh this would be fun in class” to “Now I can find it again when the time for planning that unit comes” rather than just letting it die in my scatter brain.
CPS clickers: The CPS stands for Classroom Performance System and this program has eliminated my need for scantrons, ez graders, and stress over getting my grading done on time. We take A LOT of quizzes in my class. Most of them are reading check and status quizzes, just little benchmarks to make sure the kids are on track and doing what they’re supposed to do when they’re supposed to do it. The clickers have seriously made this a simple task instead of a giant event that ruins my life. They allow me to easily see what my kids aren’t getting and who isn’t doing the work on time. If I didn’t have the clickers I can’t imagine myself having to do all the grading that would be happening and I honestly think I wouldn’t have as good of an idea of where my kids are at without them. I’m so happy we have them available for use at my school.
- Writing Prompts:This tumblr is chock full of amazing writing and journaling prompts. If you teach any kind of writing class or a class where you need creative prompts that “aren’t like the other prompts” this place is a must!
- Canva: Makes making cute graphics for lessons super easy and enjoyable.
- Recite This also is an easy poster making site!
- Jeopardy Generator by Super Teacher Tools
These are just a few of my favorite sites (and programs) and I hope that some of you get some use of this list. Are there any websites you couldn’t live without as an educator? What helps y’all out the most?
For those of you going back to the classroom soon (or just starting out), I wish you all a year filled with success! Have fun!
Until next time,