TeachersFirst's Gifted in any Classroom: Organization for a Sane Classroom

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Start • Helpful Background • Differentiating Academic Content • Respecting Creativity• Personalized Connections • Organization for a Sane Classroom

This collection of resources includes tools for both gifted students and their teachers to use for organization and focus in the classroom. It even includes a few helpful tools for classroom management in a differentiated classroom. These include handy ways for teachers to manage the logistics of tasks, assignments and directions for their gifted students.

Many gifted students are highly creative and even highly motivated, however, some lack the skills necessary to focus on one task or to plan a longer term project without "wandering off" into other interests. If gifted students can find tools that work for THEM to stay organized and plan ahead, they are more likely to succeed in all areas of their lives both in and out of the classroom. Where possible, we have included DATs (device agnostic tools) that will work on smart phones or mobile devices so students can stay organized anywhere.

One successful strategy to help students be organized is to have a conference with the student to develop a plan. You may need to have several short check-in conferences with the student on his/her progress. Establish times for check-ins at your initial conference, so your gifted student will learn to plan and be accountable. Remember to keep parents informed, as well. Resources on the Respecting Creativity page will help with permissions, etc.

At the first conference, discuss HOW independent learning and projects will work. What tools will be used to help the student stay organized? How will the student find the resources to use? Will they (or the teacher) create shortcuts on the desktop, scan a QR code, or look on a class wiki page or other web page the student can access anywhere to find the resources? Don’t forget to create a rubric, preferably together with the student (see Respecting Creativity page).  How will students save work in progress so you can see it? How will they turn it in or share it with an authentic audience when done? 

Be sure to read the "in the Classroom" portion of the resource reviews for specific ideas to use with gifted students.

 

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Diigo - Education - Diigo, Inc. 2010

Grades
1 to 12
9 Favorites 0  Comments
   
This interactive social bookmarking and collaboration tool does so much more than any ordinary bookmarking tool. It is a research tool, knowledge-sharing community, website annotation...more
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This interactive social bookmarking and collaboration tool does so much more than any ordinary bookmarking tool. It is a research tool, knowledge-sharing community, website annotation tool, and social information network all rolled into one "cloud" package. To get started, check out the About link. You will find information and videos on the uses of Diigo. Set up an account, being sure to click the FREE education edition upgrade. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

This tool can be used as a basic bookmarking tool, simply allowing YOU to save, sort, and access your own bookmarks from ANY computer or mobile device (once you are logged in). You have the choice whether your bookmarks are public or private. You can gradually ease into more advanced and interactive features: highlight parts of sites and save or share those annotations, add sticky notes to parts of websites, pictures, screen-shots, documents, audio, and more. Do group collaborative research. Organize your bookmarks by tags. Unlike sorting bookmarks into file folders, adding tags permits you to put multiple tags or "labels" on one site. The same site you tag for book reports could also be tagged for biographies, for example. Aditional Diigo features include groups (a way to share and exchange bookmarks with a certain group of Diigo users), messaging, and search features. You can search all the public bookmarks made by others and discover other people with similar interests, already bookmarked and ready for you to mark as your own. There are many groups you can join, such as those with a specific teaching interest or hobby. See "Tools" for many helpful options, including bookmarklets to make bookmarking instant on multiple devices. Bookmarklets drag directly to the toolbars on your computer and are well worth it. It goes beyond simple bookmarking and adds options like highlight, capture, send, read later, comment, search bar and Diigo message options. You decide your own level of use and desired tools to be shown on the bar. If choosing not to install the toolbar, then there is an applet called Diigolet that will be used in its place. It is not as strong a tool as the toolbar, but will work well if the toolbar installation is not possible. Check our sample group. You can also install a widget on your blog (or class web page) that will show your bookmarks there.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): bookmarks (59), DAT device agnostic tool (192), forum (9), social networking (113)

In the Classroom

Teachers even in very early grades can use Diigo simply to share links with students and parents. To get more ideas on the potential education uses of this site, see this SlideShare powerpoint here. Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have.

Assign students a research topic and allow them to use Diigo collaboratively to collect and share resources. Share teacher-selected options (complete with comments or directions) easily using Diigo. The research and conversations created through highlighting and annotating what they read can greatly enhance both their research skills and their online interaction on academic level skills. Or use Diigo to post discussion assignments on specific articles or even parts of articles using the highlighting tool. Find a relevant article for your subject, highlight the part that you want students to read. (If students are younger, keep it short to reduce the intimidating reality of too much information for kids.) Attach a sticky note with a discussion question for the students. Have them comment on the link in a "class discussion" as a homework assignment. If you are fortunate enough to have all students with computer access in your class and at home, such as in one to one laptop program schools, you can organize many assignments using Diigo. Use this site to help all of your students stay organized. Share this resource with your (not so organized) gifted students to help them manage projects and not "lose" the information they "found somewhere." Post assignments, readings, online interactive labs, and more. The site even allows students to submit responses by adding a comment. Of course others will see what they said, so you may not want the comments to be the only thing they do! If you assign gifted students to do projects beyond the regular curriculum, consider having them curate and annotate a collection of resources on a higher level topic. For example, extend your study of World War II by having them collect web-based primary sources showing the propaganda leading up to the war, political cartoons during the war, and advertisements from the time. Have them annotate the collection explaining each artifact and how it reflects the sentiments and biases of certain groups. That same collection could provide other students a class opportunity to interact with "objects" from the time. If you have contact with other teachers of gifted students, they could collaborate across different schools or classrooms.

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Nine Do's and Dont's for Cultivating Student Autonomy - Sandy Merz

Grades
7 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Discover classroom-tested techniques for building autonomy in the classroom with tips learned by a National Board Certified teacher of engineering and algebra. Each piece of advice...more
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Discover classroom-tested techniques for building autonomy in the classroom with tips learned by a National Board Certified teacher of engineering and algebra. Each piece of advice offers specific information on why and how specific components contribute toward building student success. Within the article, find references that also offer suggestions on how to build student autonomy within the classroom. Click the X to get to the article and away from the many advertisements.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): professional development (123)

In the Classroom

Be sure to click the X when opening this site to view the article. Sign up for a free membership to receive additional education stories, newsletters, and more. Print using the printer friendly link and save this article as a resource for building student autonomy within your classroom. Include suggestions from this article as part of professional development sessions. Take one tip to explore further each month before beginning to implement student autonomy in your classroom.

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Readability - Arc90

Grades
K to 12
14 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This simple but powerful tool allows you to view ANY web page as simple, clear text. It removes all of the flashing, moving, distracting elements that interrupt concentration and understanding....more
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This simple but powerful tool allows you to view ANY web page as simple, clear text. It removes all of the flashing, moving, distracting elements that interrupt concentration and understanding. Visit the Apps and Add-ons page before making an account. Readability will recognize most browsers to download a Readability add-on or extension for your browser so you can "clean up" the pages you're viewing with a single click. You can also install a "bookmarklet," a simple mini-program that runs inside Internet Explorer, Firefox, or other web browsing software on your computer. "Installing" is then as simple as dragging the Readability button to the Favorites bar of your browser, a one-click button to scrub webpages clean of distractions. No Favorites or links bar to which to drag? Go to the View menu on your browser and click to turn on your Favorites or links bar. Once you have the Readability button, go to ANY web page and click "Readability" to see the page magically change to simple text passages, ready for your interactive whiteboard, easier for your young readers, or enlarged for tired eyes. Share your Readability links through email or Flipboard. There are also Readability Twitter clients as well as many other features offered on the Apps and Add-ons page of the Readability site. Note: Pages with content created in FLASH will not work in Readability, since FLASH text is actually an image to a computer. Test it first before planning to use it in class. Readability delivers a great reading experience on every platform and provides an avenue for connecting readers and publishers on the Web. iOS and Android apps for Readability are available to use on mobile devices.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (192), media literacy (56), reading comprehension (114)

In the Classroom

Install Readability at the beginning of the year on any computer you use with interactive whiteboards so students can highlight key words from any web page and practice notetaking, main idea, summarizing or other comprehension skills to improve web literacy and overall reading skills. If your school computers are locked down, show it to tech staff and special ed/reading department chairs to convince them it is worth installing! Use Readability as you project any advertising-laden site or to help attention-deficit students stay focused on the words. Resource and ESL/ELL teachers will appreciate the ability to focus on the words without other distractions, allowing you to determine how much students are actually reading words vs. using images as context clues. Use this site to help your unfocused gifted students pay better attention! Try turning Readability on and off to show students how they can use images to help in comprehension once they find some meaning from the words on a page. All readers would benefit from stopping to compare how they construct meaning from words and text. Advanced art and design or media literacy students will enjoy examining the advertising techniques on a web page by stripping them away, then turning them back on. This tool also provides a clean way to make printable versions of web page text, even adjusting text size to your preferred option. Please consider the trees before getting carried away, though!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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My Study Life - Virblue

Grades
7 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
My Study Life is a web-based and mobile app for a student to manage classes, tasks, and assignments. Features include tracking tasks, adding exam dates, managing classes, and notification...more
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My Study Life is a web-based and mobile app for a student to manage classes, tasks, and assignments. Features include tracking tasks, adding exam dates, managing classes, and notification reminders of upcoming events. Enroll through email, Facebook, or Google. Once enrolled, add course schedules to set up a schedule. After entering courses, add tasks with due dates or exam dates. All tasks and information displays on the homepage along with approaching due dates. My Study Life shows both tasks completed and unfinished.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (192), organizational skills (120)

In the Classroom

Start the school year off by sharing this tool with students for planning homework assignments, tasks, and exam dates. Create an account to share with your learning support teacher and specialists to collaborate and know upcoming events in each other's classrooms. Share with parents as an option for student use. Use this site personally to keep yourself organized! If you have students aged 13 and up, encourage them to choose a consistent planning tool like this one to stay organized. Share this site with gifted secondary students to help them stay organized and manage their life. Promote organizational skills with your learning support or gifted learners.

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Quietube - STML

Grades
K to 12
14 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Remove all the clutter and "stuff" from YouTube, Vimeo, and Viddler videos. Check out the "Quick Tutorial" link to learn more! Drag the button on this page to your bookmark ...more
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Remove all the clutter and "stuff" from YouTube, Vimeo, and Viddler videos. Check out the "Quick Tutorial" link to learn more! Drag the button on this page to your bookmark bar. When you choose a video, click the bookmark button. A new page opens that shows the video without all the comments and advertisements. Send the URL of this page to friend, families, or for access for your students.

tag(s): classroom management (129), video (251)

In the Classroom

Share "distraction-free" videos on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). Share the URL for the clearer video on your class website or in assignments. Removing the comments and advertisements can make for a much better viewing experience. This is especially true of your ADD, autistic, unfocused gifted, or other special needs students. Less distraction = better learning experience for all.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Trello - Fog Creek Software

Grades
2 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Trello organizes your projects into boards. It tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process. Updates are shown in real time, ...more
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Trello organizes your projects into boards. It tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process. Updates are shown in real time, so refreshing the site isn't necessary. The two main items used on boards are cards and lists. Cards are tasks; create a card for each task and drag it to the list. Attachments such as videos, due dates, user notes, and more can be attached to cards. Then pull each card into a list and place in any order necessary to complete the tasks. You can be identified with an @symbol and receive instant notifications.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (192), graphic organizers (42), organizational skills (120)

In the Classroom

Use this site in the classroom for organizing any long term project such as a research report or collaborative projects. Create a board for each group with a timeline and assign parts for each project. Gradually release the responsibility from one project to the next, asking students to create their own task lists so they learn time management. Teachers of learning support and gifted will love this tool as a way to teach organizational skills. Share it with parents to support their organizationally challenged students. Yearbook or school newspaper advisors may want to consider this site for organizing and assigning tasks. Share this site with your school's PTA as a resource for organizing and planning school events.

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ClassDojo - Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don

Grades
K to 8
17 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Manage behavior and boost involvement in class quickly and easily. ClassDojo allows you to recognize desirable behaviors and accomplishments in real time. Use it on any Internet connected...more
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Manage behavior and boost involvement in class quickly and easily. ClassDojo allows you to recognize desirable behaviors and accomplishments in real time. Use it on any Internet connected device in your classroom: computer, smartphone, iPod Touch, iPad, or tablet. There are app versions for both iOS and Android. You can choose an avatar for each student. Student behavior records are automatically created, updated, and reports generated with just one click by you. You can even write comments to parents about why a student lost a point. Weekly summaries are automatically emailed to parents. The wording on their site indicates that ClassDojo is free and will stay free for "early adopters," so start your account (and parent accounts) before they change their minds! Please be aware that ClassDojo falls under the FERPA laws for "directory information" and "educational records." Any school getting funds from the Department of Education (public schools) is required to disclose to parents and get written consent to use ClassDojo with their child. Be sure to click the Privacy Center or Terms of Service link at the bottom of any page and read more about FERPA and ClassDojo.

tag(s): behavior (46), classroom management (129), DAT device agnostic tool (192), game based learning (101), gamification (63)

In the Classroom

Consider using this program to reward a group of the week. Award points for positive behaviors such as participation, helping others, creativity, hard work, or create your own categories. Using ClassDojo for group behaviors will give immediate feedback to students if projected on your whiteboard or your projector. Use this tool to help your unfocused students stay on task. Share this site with students on the first day of school as you go over class expectations and your behavior plan for your classroom. Use ClassDojo to offer both negative and positive feedback to parents and students.

Are you a regular education teacher with special education students mainstreamed into your classroom? Use Class Dojo to privately keep track of student behaviors and send a report to special education teachers or parents. This could be invaluable to a life skills, autistic support, gifted, or emotional support teacher who needs to track the behavior of each of the students as part of an IEP/GIEP. Alternative ed programs may find this tool very useful, as well, even up through high school.

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Strike - Zurb

Grades
K to 12
5 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Create and collaborate on to-do lists with this easy-to-use tool. You can create an account or not. If you do not create an account, be sure to SAVE the URL ...more
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Create and collaborate on to-do lists with this easy-to-use tool. You can create an account or not. If you do not create an account, be sure to SAVE the URL of your list to return later. Mark list items as completed by dragging them to the left or right of the list window or simply check them off. Double click the list item to edit it as needed then click off of it to save. Send the url for your list to collaborate with others. See what others have done by clicking on the small person icon across the top. When making changes, enter your name, and the site keeps track of who completed specific items. What a great twist on your "to do" list.

tag(s): organizational skills (120)

In the Classroom

Use this simple tool to create "to do" lists for group projects or research. Be sure to spend time breaking down complex tasks into smaller, manageable pieces. Help students organize the specific tasks necessary to finish a project. This is a great tool to help students learn time management when organizing a project. Use class discussion to decide what needs to be known and the best steps to take to complete the project. Organize tasks and set due dates to assist students in being timely completing projects. Use the tool together a few times on a projector or interactive whiteboard, returning to check off items, then have student groups try it as they do projects. Teachers of both gifted and learning support students can use this tool together with students to build organizational skills. Teachers at all levels will appreciate this tool for professional organization of their own tasks, especially during busy times like report cards!

Comments

Excellent for time management, long term projects, even personal projects! Melissa, , Grades: 0 - 5

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Dropbox - Dropbox

Grades
9 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Save files to the cloud and access on a variety of computers and devices. Download Dropbox on the computers and devices you wish to use. Save a document in Dropbox ...more
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Save files to the cloud and access on a variety of computers and devices. Download Dropbox on the computers and devices you wish to use. Save a document in Dropbox and it is accessible everywhere you use it. Simply copy, save, or move the document into Dropbox. Easily sync and share. Revert to previous versions of the document for up to 30 days (for the free version.) No access to Internet at one of your locations? No problem as your Dropbox file stays in Dropbox and the next time you are online it will upload it for you. Share Dropbox files with other users for easy collaboration. Apps for Dropbox are available (at the time of this review) for iPod touch, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, and Droid. Now share files and folders with others by clicking on "Get Link." Share the link with others even if they do not have a Dropbox account. What could be better? You can continue to add to the folder and those you share with will see every new addition! This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (192), writing (356)

In the Classroom

Use for any work students may wish to collaborate on. They can easily make documents public or private and share with others. Though not a complete back up of all your documents, Dropbox can be used to collaborate and to finish work easily when on different computers. Any item you can work with using word can be used with Dropbox. Use this site to help all of your students (gifted, learning support, ADD) stay organized. Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Share whole files and folders with students easily!

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Drop It To Me - JAJAdesign

Grades
6 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
DropItToMe is a nifty tool that complements DropBox (reviewed here). It allows you to create a secure email address that is password protected so...more
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DropItToMe is a nifty tool that complements DropBox (reviewed here). It allows you to create a secure email address that is password protected so that anyone you provide with this information can send you files. The files go to your Dropbox account. This is bigger and better than regular email. DropItToMe can accommodate files that are too large to be sent through regular email. This can also help when you may not be able to access email accounts because of filtering software and firewalls. Dropittome makes the need for access to email for sending documents obsolete. Note: Some schools block Dropbox, so check first!

tag(s): homework (43)

In the Classroom

This tool would be mighty handy for online assignments and anything that is completed digitally. Best of all, as the teacher you can set up one email account, share the password with all of your students, and they can send you files. They never need to access anything but this website. This is extremely handy for those who are conducting or pushing towards paperless classrooms.

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Todoist - Todoist

Grades
4 to 12
13 Favorites 1  Comments
   
Todoist is a simple, free, task manager. Your students need to know about time management skills. Todoist will help you teach them and give them practice. It has a built ...more
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Todoist is a simple, free, task manager. Your students need to know about time management skills. Todoist will help you teach them and give them practice. It has a built in calendar, and you can create sub-projects and sub-tasks easily. Set up free accounts in minutes.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): calendars (44), DAT device agnostic tool (192), organizational skills (120)

In the Classroom

Any student would appreciate having an online time management account, but learning support students and disorganized gifted students need one. You may want to model using this online tool to help middle and high school students learn better personal organization. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector the first week of school to help students set-up their own accounts. Parents may appreciate learning about this site also. Use this site professionally to keep yourself organized! Make a demo account for a mythical student and organize his/hers together so students can see how it works.

Comments

What a fabulous organizational tool for teachers and students! Melissa, , Grades: 0 - 5

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Symbaloo EDU - Symbaloo BV

Grades
K to 12
16 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create, find, and share visually appealing Webmixes (web based screens of link "tiles") to share web resources. Choose EDU Teachers site tour (a blue tile) to learn more about Symbaloo...more
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Create, find, and share visually appealing Webmixes (web based screens of link "tiles") to share web resources. Choose EDU Teachers site tour (a blue tile) to learn more about Symbaloo EDU or begin exploring color-coded links on your own. Choose the EDU Tools WebMix to find links to classroom resources for social networking, video and image tools, and much more. Other WebMixes designed specifically for educators include widgets for classroom use, educational headlines, and much more. Tailor web resources to your individual need by creating your own WebMixes. Add tiles to instantly connect students with the resources you choose. Accounts are free but require a password (and email verification). Click "Edit WebMix" to change the background, rename the webmix, and edit the tiles. Link tiles to website URL's or RSS feed links. Hover over a tile to bring up a simple menu. Click "edit" to paste the URL of the resource, enter a title, and change icons and colors. Select any name to be displayed on the tile. Be sure to click "Done editing" when finished, and then "Share" to choose publicly or privately with friends. Use the embed code to embed directly into your class website or blog. Download the free iPhone or Android apps for use on mobile phones or use Symbaloo in your tablet browser as it has been maximized for use on these devices.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): bookmarks (59), DAT device agnostic tool (192), gamification (63)

In the Classroom

Be sure to know the URL's of the resources you are planning to share or have them open in other tabs to copy/paste. To share you must be able to copy/paste URLs (web addresses). Have older students create their own webmixes, but this resource is best used as a teacher sharing tool for sharing links, RSS feeds, and other resources for students to use in specific projects or as general course links. If shared with the world, the webmix can be viewed by others and is public.

Create a webmix of the most used sites for your class and first demonstrate how the webmix works on a projector or interactive whiteboard if you have special instructions or color coding for its use. Some examples include links to copyright free images, online textbooks, or online tools such as Google Docss, ThingLink, Glogster, and more. Link to teacher web pages, webquests, resource sites for your subject, and any other resource that is helpful for students. Consider creating a login for the whole class to update with suggestions from class members. Use this AS your class website. Color code the tiles on a webmix for younger, non-reader, or ESL/ELL students. For example, color each subject differently from the others. Differentiate by color coding varying levels of skills practice at a classroom computer center or to distinguish homework practice sites from in-class sites. Differentiate difficulty levels using the various colors enabling you to list resources for both your learning support students and gifted students and all in between. Use color to organize tools for different projects or individual students. You may want to share this resource with parents at Back to School Night and the color-coding system for differentiation. This will help parents (and students) find what sites are ideal for their levels. Be sure to link or embed your webmix on a computer center in your room for easy access. Share a review site webmix for parents and students to access at home before tests, as well. Team up with other teachers in your subject/grade to create chapter by chapter webmixes for all your students.

Challenge you gifted students to curate and collaborate on their own webmixes as a curriculum extension activity on topics such as climate change or pros and cons of genetically engineered food. They can use color coding to sort sites by bias (or neutrality) as well as to group subtopics under the overall theme. Use the student-made webmixes with other students to raise the overall level of discussion in your class or as an extra credit challenge. If you embed the webmix in a class wiki, all students can respond with questions and comments for the gifted students to moderate and reply, creating a student-led community of learners.

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Evernote - Evernote

Grades
9 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this fantastic application for note-taking and idea collecting from ANY device. Think of Evernote as a ubiquitous set of notebooks ready for you to add and read from ANY ...more
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Use this fantastic application for note-taking and idea collecting from ANY device. Think of Evernote as a ubiquitous set of notebooks ready for you to add and read from ANY computer or web-connected device. Evernote is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly. Take snapshots of whiteboards, products, or whatever you like and upload them to Evernote. Search your uploads through the search function which will also search handwritten or printed text sections in photos and images. Sync everything through Evernote across all the platforms. Use Evernote to create notes and to-do lists and even clip entire Web pages. Use to manage passwords or even record audio. Everything added to Evernote is automatically synchronized across platforms and devices and made searchable. Evernote offers a free account as well as a premium paid version. If you use it a LOT, you may max out the free allotments for data, but try it to see! Our editors use it and have never hit the max. Categorize and organize information using tags, note titles, and notebooks. Keep track of several projects with the "Notebooks" feature. Use the web version or downloadable version of Evernote to share read-only notebooks with others. Download Evernote to add an extension to your browser to do web clipping with a click of a button. Click "New" to create a new document in your notebook. Use the search function at the top and even save searches for later use. Safety/security tip: If you have sensitive information (such as passwords, etc.) on your Evernote notebook but want to share other parts? Simply highlight and right click to choose "Encrypt Selected Text" to remove from the page to be shared.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (192), images (261), organizational skills (120)

In the Classroom

Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Consider creating a class account that can be used by all students. Spell out the use of the site and what is allowed, not allowed, and the penalties. Even though all students have the same login, create different notebooks for different tasks that students can use to upload information that can be shared by all. Create separate notebooks for student groups who can then share their notebook with other groups. Use Evernote to snapshot and share links, documents, files, and pictures for any group project or class work. Whole class accounts can be used by a class scribe during class and accessed from home for review, etc. If your students are permitted individual accounts, they can collect notes in Evernote and share their research notebooks with you as evidence of completion of that phase of long term projects. Encourage creativity with your gifted students (or any students) by having them set up individual Evernote notebooks to use as "idea bins." Idea bins are a place to collect quotes, snippets of writing or poems they have started, questions and thoughts, artistic project ideas, images they like, or even voice memos to remember creative inspirations. It is important for students to know that idea bins (by whatever name) are an important part of the creative process, even for engineers!

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Screencast-o-matic - Big Nerd Software

Grades
4 to 12
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Use this simple and free tool to create a video recording of your screen to upload and share on a teacher web page, wiki. blog, etc.. This is an easy ...more
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Use this simple and free tool to create a video recording of your screen to upload and share on a teacher web page, wiki. blog, etc.. This is an easy way to create a tutorial from your own computer screen. When you visit sites that have tutorials on how to use their software, you are looking at a screencast. Use this site to give specific directions on how to use different applications in and out of the classroom. Audio is not necessary for the screencasts but may be beneficial, depending upon the tutorial. An example can be found here.
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tag(s): tutorials (47)

In the Classroom

Users will need to know how to use whatever computer software, website, or skill they are demonstrating. Following basic directions and managing browser windows or tabs are a must, as well as the managing settings of the computer being used. The site demonstrates how to troubleshoot problems on both PC's and Mac's.

Click "create" to start. As the screencast is being created, files will need to be written temporarily to the desktop. A security screen will pop up that asks to run the application. You will be asked to "trust" or "not trust" the security certificate. Depending upon your school's Acceptable Use Policy and computer security settings, you may not be able to complete these steps. Choose the screen size when played and whether audio will be needed (audio can be tested here as well, which is recommended: settings may need to be adjusted for different microphones.) Open a new tab or browser window and enter the web address of the site (or software) that will be the subject of your screencast. Drag the black frame by clicking the line and dragging it in order to choose what will be recorded during the screencast. The microphone icon has a green bar that shows recording levels. A green arrow showing instead of a green bar denotes that sound is not being captured. The red button is used to start recording while the black "X" stops the recording. Once you stop recording, click on your screencast tab or browser window and preview your recording. You can then either upload or discard your screencast. At this point you can create an account easily. Save your screencast to a channel of your own. Use the embed code to place your screencast into a blog, wiki, or other site. You can also use a widget code to embed the screencast player into a website. Screencasts can then be made from your other site and will save directly to your screencast channel. Screencasts can be set to different levels of privacy and comments can be turned on or off.

Teachers who must request certificate approval by tech staff may want to try this tool at home and create some sample projects to convince administration of its educational value. Unless checked to turn off comments, this site will allow comments on your work. Many districts prohibit such interaction and steps should be taken to prohibit commenting from others. When using the widget, the tool does not attribute work to specific students. You may wish to have the students identify their work while creating the screencast. Screencasts will only be able to be viewed when using an embed code in a site, wiki, or blog. By marking the screencast "searchable," it can be available to the public. Recently created screencasts do not appear on the home page of screencast-o-matic. Students are able to self-register, but you may want to keep a record of logins and passwords for students who forget.

Make how-to demos for instructions on using and navigating your class home page, class wiki or blog, or other applications you wish the students to use in creation of classroom content. By narrating how you want students to navigate through a certain site or section, you can eliminate confusion, provide an opportunity for students to use the information as a refresher for the future, and maintain a record for absent students. Software demonstrations add an increased flexibility with helping students who need it while allowing students to begin and work at their own pace. Added audio is a great asset for many students including learning support and those who might need to access the material in smaller "chunks." Use this site for students to give "tours" of their own wiki or blog page. The presentation of their web-based projects and resources can be more engaging. Use screencasts to critique or show the validity of websites, identify a resource site they believe is most valuable, or explain how to navigate an online game. Challenge your gifted students to create a screencast as a final project rather than a more traditional project. Social studies teachers could assign students to critique a political candidate's web page using a screencast. Reading/language arts teachers could have student teams analyze a web site to show biased language, etc. For a powerful writing experience, have students "think aloud" their writing choices as the record a screencast of a revision or writing session. You will probably need to model this process, but writing will NEVER be the same! Math teachers using software such as Geometer's Sketchpad could have students create their own narrated demonstrations of geometry concepts as review (and to save as future learning aids). Teachers at any level can create screencasts to demonstrate a computer skill or assignment, such as for a center in your classroom or in a computer lab. Students can replay the "tutorial" on their own from your class web page and follow the directions.

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