#1: Google classroom:
My district bought access to this program this year
so we used it because that was the big push.
(I also really searched a program called OneNote
that I also really liked but the decision was made for me in this case)
Google Classroom is a nice way to organize assignments,
post HW for kids who were absent
(especially for things we do in class like watch clips or have a handout or even a quiz) because it can just all be “on Classroom” and it’s all easy to access.
You can attach documents, links, or post it right there as text
Kids can take pictures of their work and attach them to the assignment
or take screenshots of their work
or just simply write a note that says “turned this in physically” and turn it in.
On their end, the program tells them what they have turned in,
and what has been graded already once I “return” it to them.
I LOVE THIS: At the first of the year it didn’t do this but as the year has progressed, they have done some cool things: the best thing so far is that they linked Google Classroom with Google Calendar so now when I open up my calendar, it says what is due that day (which I don’t need to know technically since I’m the teacher not the student haha) so no need to Enter the assignment, it’s all synced together. Helps to keep everything organized and together
Other Options: The Counseling dept has their own “classroom” that they post links to scholarships and such and remind kids of workshops and things.
So far I’ve seen kids have 3 or 4 “classes” on their programs (most of this all being done on their cell phones)
The gradebook is my biggest complaint I would say.
I’ve heard there is a way to sync it with your gradebook
but so far no progress on that.
So I can “grade” their stuff on Classroom
On my cell phone even
but then I still have to write down their scores
and enter them on my other program to go on their actual grade.
It makes for a lot of in between time that is irritating.
And I get a lot of “I turned this in on Classroom” claims:
some legit, (this is where the sync problem comes in)
Others not legit from kids who turn in an assignment a month later
and tell me “oh I turned that in on classroom“
My idea: I wish there was a way to set a timer on the assignment
Like if they try to turn it in after a certain time it will just be like,
“oh sorry, you have to talk to your teacher about this”
or the window would pop up and say
“thanks for turning this in, but it’s two weeks late so you’ve been docked points”
whatever those points are.
And then if that was synced to enter on my gradebook automatically?
That would be sweet
2nd Problem: The program will show you
how many people have turned in the homework
but doesn’t show you how many are already graded
So unless you remember that you already graded 16
and now it says 18
so you have two more? Or did you already grade those?
then you get a lot of kids telling you “oh I turned that in already”
see what I mean?
Lately it has started showing a “returned” amount
Which would solve the problem
It worked all the time 🙂
It says the “returned” numbers on some assignments
But then it doesn’t
The other solution is to just go through and delete them altogether
but frankly we get busy and I forget to
and then I regret it later when I’m checking back over stuff
that I “forgot” to enter supposedly.
#2: Google Calendar
We use this in our business like CRAZY
Don’t know what we ever did without it
And now Google Classroom will link all the assignments Calendar
And send you reminders for your HW (in red):
Different colors for different classes?
You can make as many “calendars” as you need
(one for each class!)
Or show them all at once
At home I use this on the computer LOTS
And it will look up addresses for you
And link it to MapQuest when you get ready to go places
(saved my life many times)
I used many different systems in the course of
And my Masters
And I WISH this would have existed
I don’t know how many hours I wasted
Just getting everything organized
And this does it for you!
This is my favorite app that we use
We use it every week to study for their vocab test
It lets you create your own flashcards
And then helps you study them:
And then there are two different games you can play
That the program plugs in the info from your cards
And puts them in a matching game
I love this program overall
1. The program signs them out: the kids complain about this all the time,
But to me, that answer is pretty simple: sign in again 🙂
2. I had a few kids get their stuff erased, but I would say there was like 2 kids all year that happened to. We do 6 Vocabulary units per quarter so by the end they have 24 sets of cards but really only need 6 at a time so most of the time it was fine.
2. There are only two games: and they are great, don’t get me wrong,
But after using it all year, I think the kids would love another option 🙂
#4: Google Drive
It used to be for many years
That at every school the kids were always encouraged to
“save on Their Drive”
Each kid had their own network account
And that was great…
Except once they went home
There was really no way to transfer info
That was where disks, flashdrives, CDs, etc
came into play
And then there were all these rules about what they could use
Because of viruses and things that the kids would come
And now the WHOLE network had some crazy virus
And it was a HUGE hassle all the time
Just trying to get a COPY of their work
File didn’t save right… computer wouldn’t read the file
All a bunch of nonsense really
And this fixes it all
They can type on their phones,
They can type on a computer
And when they finish, they can save it the Drive
And access it from home, their phone or a computer
At school or at home
No need for a flashdrive anything, they just have to log on
The doc opens us, they print
Or they share it with me
And it can all be digital!
No printers, no viruses, no hassle
#5: Google Docs
I would say this is the other most important app we use
This lets the kids type on their phones 🙂
No more computer lab time
No more computers at all
They can type their paper on their phones
During class, waiting for the bus, traveling, wherever
We had to do a few lessons to learn this program,
But it’s really not a difficult program to learn at all
In the beginning I projected my phone on the screen
And we “typed” a paper together
And showed them how to save and send and such
And most importantly, how to send to Classroom
So that they could turn in their homework
At the beginning they had several “assignments”
And I use quotes because they were kinda fake and kinda real 🙂
Mostly they were to help them practice and use the program
I had them do things like download a doc
Share it with a friend
Edit it again
And save it
And finally turn it in.
I would say this program is mostly second nature now
It’s hard to tell where the “pages” are with this program
So I started learning to say not “Write a 2 page essay”
But write a 500 word essay
Which maybe some of you already do?
I didn’t. But I do now because of this program
#8: Kobo books
#9: Goodreads (for book recommendations)
#10: Watt books
Any of the above apps
Are ones I encouraged them to use
Plus giving them links to online books
(Like when we read 1984 I found online links to the book)
If we are doing this whole “digital” revolution
Might as well include reading in that bag as well!
This way they can read their “independant reading” on their phone
And there are no excuses 🙂
There are TONS of books available for free
And then there are other programs
Where you can get SOME for free
And then buy a subscription for more
There is a subscription you can sign up for at BookBub.com
That will send you email alerts every day
And tell you when there are FREE or almost free digital books available
And I have gotten TONS of free books that way
You have to have a credit card on file
Which is fine for normal adults
And it doesn’t mean you have to buy anything
But try telling that to a parent of a teen
Who “swears they won’t buy anything”
Ya… it doesn’t work
So I have an Amazon account
Which means that even downloading FREE books
They treat it like a purchase
Even though you aren’t actually buying anything
Which is fine for me
But not for a teenager
I would say that is our biggest obstacle