19 Pencils

Here’s a great pick from AASL’s “Best Websites for Teaching and Learning 2014” list. 19 Pencils is a one-stop lesson plan organizer, where teachers can find great lesson plans, save the ones they like, add their own lesson plans, and provide easy access of classroom resources to students. Phew!

19 Pencils features

Once you sign up, you have a Teacher Dashboard where you can save all of your lesson plans, add new ones, and save the online resources that go along with the lessons (all those links that you keep in your bookmarks folder!). Create a Class Page, and upload the resource to it with one click to share it with your students.

Class pages

If you want to spring for the premium version, you can also create quizzes and educational games (like word searches) and track student progress.

What Tech Am I Using Today: Padlet

I thought it might be fun for me to share with you what I’m using today in my classes, and how. That way, you can not only learn about a cool website, but you can see how it can be used to enhance your lessons.

In a recent #EdTechChat on Twitter, teachers were asked what their favorite Web 2.0 sites were. Listed in the top 30 or so was Padlet, a site that functions a bit like an online whiteboard/bulletin board. A teacher can create a wall, and students can sign in and add postings to it. It could not be easier to use, and allows for a fun way to collaborate and comment. Even better, the comments show up as boxes on the wall, and can be moved and organized. Posts can also be Tweeted, Pinned, Tumbled, and posted on several other forms of social media.

How can a teacher use it? Well, a teacher could post a discussion question and ask students to leave comments for homework. Or, a teacher could create their own “magnetic poetry” and students could rearrange words into poems. It could be a very simple project guide site, with each box containing a photo, file, or link to a helpful website.

I decided to use it today on a whim. My second graders have been learning all about alphabetical order, and as we approach Thanksgiving, we’re reading the book I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Pie by Allison Jackson. In order to tie the two together, I thought it would be fun to have the kids work together to put in alphabetical order all the food the old lady swallowed!

For older kids (3rd or 4th grade), this would be a center where they work independently or in pairs, but for 2nd grade, it seemed like a good idea to work together as a class. That means that I needed a way to move words around on a screen, and Padlet fit the bill perfectly. Its flexibility means that, once all the words from the book have been put in order, we can add our own favorite foods to the list, and alphabetize those as well. The possibilities really are endless.

Want to play with my Padlet wall and put the food in alphabetical order? Give it a try here.



Series: Connected Educator Month

To help you prepare for Connected Educator Month next month, over the next few weeks we’ll be featuring a series by tech director superstar Mike Grant on the many different tools you can use to create a Professional Learning Network (PLN). 

October is Connected Educator Month, so if you are interested in becoming more connected to other educators, I will be sending out links for the next few weeks with tips on doing so.

G+

This week’s link is to a video showing how to set up an account on Google+, and how to connect to others in Google+ communities. It was through my account on Google+ that I learned about Connected Educator Month.

If you join Google+, I am on there and will even “friend” you or as they say on Google+, I will “circle” you.

Go ahead and try it– you might like it.

Mike

Graphite

If you bookmark one site I recommend all year, let this be the one. Seriously.

Graphite

You all know by now how much I rely on CommonSense Media. I use their reviews to help me purchase books, I use their curriculum to teach digital citizenship, and now, I use Graphite. Created in collaboration with the Bill Gates Foundation, CommonSense Media created Graphite to be a resource for teachers who are trying to find the best websites and apps to use in the classroom. It’s visually attractive, and easy to search by subject, grade, price, or platform (app, PC Game, website). The site is like mine, only way, way better! There’s tons of content to explore, including a blog with great ed tech ideas. You can also create “boards,” or collections of apps you use or want to use, and add your own “field notes” based on your experiences.

Go Here: Library Girl’s Picks for Best Digital Tools for Formative Assessment

The fantastic Library Girl has put together a stellar list of digital tools you can use in your classroom to measure the learning being done in your class. She includes exit tickets, graphic organizers, and polls. If you’re looking for new and interesting ways to check in with your students, this is a perfect place to start. Take a look here.