Friday, October 19, 2012

My FAVORITE websites and tech tools!

This year I am beyond lucky to have a netbook computer for every child.  It has changed everything in my room!   We are able to do the coolest things.   My absolute favorite website to use is  Have you tried this?   It has made my life so much easier and my kids are in LOVE.  It looks a lot like facebook and we are able to communicate in a social network atmosphere,  but I get to moderate the whole thing.  It is a free site,  you set up a teacher site,  and get a log in code.   Then you set all of your kids up on it.   BEST PART?  Quizzes and assignments!   You can write a quiz while you sit and watch Grey's Anatomy and assign it to the class - you can set it for the next day,  or really anytime in the future, assign it to the whole class or just a group of kids.  The kids take it, and you watch the scores come in.   Did you get that?  It GRADES them for you.   Then if a few kids bomb it, you can IMMEDIATELY call them back and remediate... HELLO!  This is so awesome.   Now I don't have to bring the all the papers home in my giant bag,  pretend I will grade them,  get distracted, take them back to school, bring them home the next night,  grade them,  and then take them back and try to remember who was struggling when we have already moved on to the next objective.   Freaking amazing.   The kids get their own scores and their parents can log in and log at home and see how their own child is doing.

You can also send out notes to the class, to individual students,  send badges, create polls, post pictures etc.  You can link websites you want them to go to and see if they have actually gone.    My kids write me on the weekends,  at night,  when I am out.   A few weeks back I was out for 3 days in a row with pneumonia.   I was able to communicate with them all day.  I sent out quizzes,  checked out they did and put them in my grade book.    (I usually toss out everything they do when I have a sub so this was a major bonus!).  I had one little stinker decide he was not going to take the quiz and go to another website.   I called the sub and asked her to let me speak with him.   He was a little freaked out,  but got right on it.   My kids truly believe I can see everything they do,  even when I am not there!   I kind of felt like the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz!   Edmodo works great with a full set of netbooks,  but my whole team has their classes on it using the hall computers or the traveling netcart.   Kids can take quizzes at their leisure or on your schedule so this could be used in any setting.  Give it a try!  You will not be sorry.

This year we have also been using .  This site is great for bellwork.   You can pose a  question and students get on and write a sticky note to answer the question.   It sticks to the wall so you can read all of them and they can read each other's post.  I literally took minutes to teach my second graders how to use this.   My kids now make their own walls and invite their friends to come and post on them.   We have used to for vocabulary sentences,  sharing good news,  writing story problems etc. 

My favorite gadgets this year are our Easi-Speak Microphones.  They are cute little digital microphones.   They record and playback what the kids say into them.   They have a USB port that hooks into their computers (or mine) and saves their work.   They can be used for a million things,  but so far we mostly use them to read into.   I have students do a cold read of a guided reading book on Monday into the microphone and save it,  then read it again later in the week and listen to their fluency.   We talk about how it has changed and what they can do to improve it.   It makes explicit instruction of fluency very simple.  I have also used it do to do a running record on a child I didn't have a chance to meet with.  Best of all?   I will be using their recordings at parent teacher conferences next week!  I am so excited about it. 
These a pretty spendy so I  wrote a request for them on and received them at the end of last year.   I also received the sound system to plug the microphones into ...
I am not in love with this yet.  If I had to do it again and I probably would not even bother with this thing.   Please let me know if you use this in some amazing way.  
What websites do you love?  What fun things are you using in your room?   Please comment and let me know!
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  1. Do you use the WallWisher on the Smart Board? That looks really cool.

  2. I have just had them log in on their computers and the project it from my computer, but that would be a fabulous idea! I think I will try it tomorrow. I don't have a "Smart Board" but I have a Mobi that acts like one (sort of).