Daisy’s Favs Part 2

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Students teaching teachers at WISD Tech Camp

I started writing Daisy’s Favs Part 1 as a way to reflect on what worked last year in my class. When I realized how many apps and Web 2.0 tools that I loved and planned on utilizing again I quickly decided to split the post in half. These are all tools that really worked for my class. My students loved them and were actively engaged. I seriously suggest that you try some of them out. They are all easy to work, or I would not be doing them. I look really techy…..but seriously it has to be a pretty easy tool to integrate into my class, or I am moving on to something else!

1.Explain Everything – This is my new best friend. This is an interactive whiteboard that you can record on. The reason I love it so much is because it gives me the power to save any video I make to my camera roll. You know what that means? I can easily make a lesson for my students or for other teachers and embed it into an Aurasma. With Explain Everything if you mess up while you are recording you can go back to the exact point where you messed up instead of starting all the way over. This is such a powerful tool for teachers and students. Have students record how they are working out math problems, e-mail it to you, and BOOM….you see exactly where they mess up at and where they need help. Doesn’t get much better than that!

2. ThingLink – ThingLink can be utilized in several different ways but my favorite way is whole group. I would stream the app on my SMART board using my Apple TV and we would all sit together in front of it. We would then discuss whatever topic or concept that we were working on. I would pass my iPad around to the kids allowing them to add their own “target” on to whatever picture we were using. Another cool thing about ThingLink is that we were able to post our finished products on the school Facebook page for all of our parents to enjoy. This app can be used for assessment, projects, reflection and a whole lot more. 

3. Socrative – This app made my life as a mom, grad student, busy teacher and campus tech mentor so much easier. Plus, the students enjoyed it. Socrative allows you to upload quizzes through a shared room where students can access them. The teacher pushes the quiz out to the class, the students take the quiz, Socrative grades the quiz for you and then emails you the results. Not only does it e-mail you their grade, but it also e-mails you the ones they missed. How is that for immediate data? In all actuality Socrative is just like a worksheet; however, because it was on the iPad the students were extremely engaged and grades went up. They tried harder. They loved the fact that I could watch them on my iPad and see where each student was. I love this tool, and I will absolutely be using it this year.

4. GoNoodle – After starting grad school this year I realized just how important it is to walk away from the “work” for a little bit and let your brain relax. With that being said I started doing brain breaks with my 4th graders this year. GoNoodle, in my opinion, is the absolute best. They are fun, creative, bright colored and they do the trick. My students would beg for a brain break, and trust me I needed them, too! GoNoodle videos gave us exactly what we needed. We would take a quick break and head right back to work. GoNoodle was exceptionally helpful on rainy days where we could not get outside. When I started seeing how much fun they were I quickly spread the word to the teachers on my campus. Several of our teachers stared using them daily with their kids. I am pretty sure that 2nd grade teacher Robyn Glosson loved them the most!

5. Kahoot! – If you like to have fun with your students this is the tool for you. Dr. Steven Cox and his two sons have even been playing around with Kahoot! this summer. It is not an app. It is web-based; however, students can just go to safari on their iPad and access Kahoot! through there. Now, I did not use this one in my class last year, but Angela Moses and Robyn Glosson did. Their second graders loved it. I sat in a professional development session with Cori Coburn this summer, and she walked us through it. It’s absolutely awesome. You create different reviews for your students, and Kahoot! turns it into a fun, interactive game. Our superintendent, Brad McEachern, even introduced this awesome tool to teachers at our Warren ISD Tech Camp last week. I can not wait to use it with my students. 

I hope that you will try out some of the apps and tools that I have written about in Daisy’s Favs Part 1 and Part 2. These have all been “tested” out and worked extremely well for myself and other teachers that I know. As teachers in the 21st century we have to prepare students for their future jobs, not ours. We are quickly moving into a culture that is so immersed with technology that not exposing our students to it would be an injustice. Talk about no child left behind. My tip would be to not get overwhelmed. Start slow by using one or two things that you know will work for you and go from there. 




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