Hey, friends! Happy October! It’s been quite some time since my last post, but as you can probably imagine, I’VE BEEN BUSY! I’m coaching two volleyball teams (my 5th-grade daughter and my 7th-grade daughter), taxiing them to their numerous after-school activities, drinking all the coffee, running all the miles, and … did I mention that my husband started a new career?! All of that coupled with teaching high school (how is this my 16th year?!) and teaching college is keeping me quite busy! Before we start the new week, I wanted to share 5 of my MUST-HAVE tools for my classroom this year. Let’s go!
I feel like at this point in my career, I don’t even think about adding Google Classroom to this list because it’s such an integral part of our classroom workflow! Announcements, student work, our Daily Agenda Slides, resources, and discussion forums are all housed on Google Classroom. When students miss a day, they know to check Google Classroom to catch up. When students walk into the classroom, they know their work is on Google Classroom. If they have a reading or assignment on another website (Edulastic, Quizizz, Edpuzzle, etc.) they know they can use the same log-in credentials they use to access Google Classroom. Classroom has also made some fantastic updates … most recently, giving teachers the option to turn assignments “off” after the due date has passed. One of my favorite Classroom updates is the ability to schedule assignments to multiple classes at once – Classroom will automatically schedule the post for the next day, so be sure to check the date before you schedule!
Oh, Edpuzzle, how I love thee 🙂 I’ve been an Edpuzzle user since the tool debuted, and it’s an absolute MUST in my in-class flip classroom. If you’re unfamiliar with Edpuzzle … Edpuzzle is a digital tool that allows teachers to create video lessons for their students. Edpuzzle has a WEALTH of existing lessons that teachers can simply modify and assign to their classes. However, I prefer to create my own videos (using Screencastify) and upload them to YouTube (an option in Screencastify), then use Edpuzzle to embed questions and assign them to students. A new feature that Edpuzzle recently unveiled is the ability to embed AI-generated questions in the video – a huge time-saver for teachers!
Game-Based Learning Tools
Okay … maybe I cheated a little in this section, but I can’t choose JUST ONE game-based learning tool to share! Goodness, it’s amazing to think about how far game-based learning has come in a relatively short time. I remember when Kahoot was a brand-spanking new tool that my students wanted to play EVERY SINGLE DAY. Now, we have so many fantastic options like Quizizz, Gimkit, Blooket, Quizlet, and MORE. In my classroom, we tend to gravitate to Quizizz, Gimkit, Blooket, and Quizlet – we alternate frequently to keep it interesting for my students – and I love the new AI capabilities! In Quizlet, for example, students can upload their notes and use the new “Magic Notes” feature which will summarize their notes, create flashcards, develop an outline of the content, and create possible essay questions related to the content. It’s amazing!
If you’ve followed my blog for a while (thanks!), you know how much I love Google Slides. Whether it’s building a Nearpod lesson in Slides using the add-on, updating our daily agenda slide, or creating a reflection assignment for my students to complete as we proceed through our unit, Google Slides is a MUST in my classroom! I love how I can manipulate the master slide of the presentation to create a drag-and-drop activity to help my students classify, connect, and reflect on what they’ve learned! AND, since it’s assigned in Classroom, I can easily provide “in the moment” feedback on their progress and help clear up any misunderstandings! Check out this post about how to create “Interactive Self-Checks” for your students!
AI Teacher Tools
Ok … I KNOW AI is THE topic of conversation in education today – heck, it’s the topic of conversation everywhere in the world today. Do we use AI in the classroom? How should we use AI in the classroom? Should teachers use AI? Should students use AI? Is AI safe? Will it eliminate the need for teachers? ARGHHHHH! While there are many unanswered (and unasked) questions about AI in the classroom, I’m choosing to take the same perspective with AI that I took waaaay back in January of 2014 about technology when I started this blog: I can either say, “oh my gosh, AI in the classroom…” or, I can say, “oh my gosh!! AI in the classroom!” As you can probably guess, I’m taking the latter path. Just like we did when Chromebooks, interactive projectors, overhead projectors, scantrons, desktop computers, and the OG Oregon Trail entered the classroom, we’ll learn about AI and figure out how it can help us increase our effectiveness as educators. Currently, I’m geeking out about the possibilities of AI in the classroom for curriculum creation, lesson ideas, and as a “teacher assistant” who can take something off of my plate! Here are a few of my favorites …
- Diffit – for any teacher like me who is always looking for leveled, non-fiction texts, you must try Diffit! This tool can generate reading passages AND provide teachers with a variety of multiple-choice and open-ended questions, as well as essay prompts, a summary, and key vocabulary terms. My department is SO excited about this tool!
- MagicSchool – check out this ever-growing platform that can help you do everything from creating reading passages to generating teacher jokes, and everything in between – it’s fantastic!
- Quizlet – OH MY GOODNESS. If you haven’t tried Magic Notes from Quizlet, yet, please do yourself a favor and add it to your list – SO AWESOME!
- Question Well – create questions for any topic that can be easily imported to Google Forms or your favorite assessment platform
So, what’s on your list for this year? I hope your school year is off to a fantastic start!
Thanks for reading 🙂