Ideas and resources for parent conferences

These reviewed resources offer information so share with parents at conferences or suggested activities to share at conference time. Read "In the Classroom" ideas to display and other creative approaches for parent conferences. Parents will appreciate your sharing of educator-reviewed resources at conferences and on your TeachersFirst public page so you can work as a team in support of their child's learning.

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Easyblog - easyblog.org

Grades
K to 6
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As the title suggests, this site allows you to create and maintain a blog easily. Designed for primary classroom use, a simple set up allows you to upload student names ...more
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As the title suggests, this site allows you to create and maintain a blog easily. Designed for primary classroom use, a simple set up allows you to upload student names and quickly start adding blog posts. Click on a profile picture to add a post. Options include adding images, videos, or uploading a PDF file. Bloggers also have the choice of choosing a subject for their post to organize blogs throughout the school year easily. Privacy settings allow users approval of comments before publishing, adding passwords, and more. Parent subscription options allow parents to view class and their student's posts. At the end of the school year download individual student portfolios as a zip file.

tag(s): portfolios (33), writing (369)

In the Classroom

Use Easyblog for student portfolios in any subject. This site works especially well with younger students due to the visual design of the site and ease of using video to share information. Share images with recordings about science experiments. Create portfolios (with permission) to share younger students' work with parents and students during conferences. Use this tool to show finished projects or to show changes in a project from start to finish. Make a work prototype site and upload examples of exemplary work to share with students to set expectations for completed products before beginning a project. Create a link to this tool on your class website for students to share projects and information. (Get parent permission before posting students' work!) Have students take ownership of their own portfolios to show progress and products across the school year.

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Casa Notes - 4Teachers

Grades
K to 5
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Casa Notes is your time-saving friend when sending notes home for typical school reasons such as field trips, conferences, and student performance. This site includes 12 templates for...more
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Casa Notes is your time-saving friend when sending notes home for typical school reasons such as field trips, conferences, and student performance. This site includes 12 templates for you to customize some of the content, the color scheme, and add an image. Choose preview to view any template and see what information can be changed; click the circle button, and the red continue button at the bottom of the list to begin customizing your letter. Follow each step to change colors and add information. When complete, print from your browser.

tag(s): communication (7), field trips (12), homework (46), parents (59)

In the Classroom

Use Casa Notes to communicate quickly and easily from your classroom to parents. Print up several thank-you notes in advance, then add names as needed. Use the homework template to fill in missed work for absentee students, or to send home as a weekly notice to parents. Share with students to create notes to thank classroom speakers and helpers.

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Mic Note - Treebeard Bros.

Grades
K to 12
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Mic Note is a voice recorder and notepad available for download on most computer systems. Features include timestamps on recordings, editing, transcription, and shareable links. Once...more
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Mic Note is a voice recorder and notepad available for download on most computer systems. Features include timestamps on recordings, editing, transcription, and shareable links. Once logged in, Mic Note syncs notes across platforms making them available from anywhere. Check the download area to choose the correct version for your needs.

tag(s): fluency (24), speech (94)

In the Classroom

Have students practice spelling words orally, record speeches, practice reading fluency, and much more using Mic Note. After recording, allow students to listen to the playback and reflect upon the quality of their work. Do before and after recordings of students to share with parents during conferences to demonstrate reading progress. Have students record weekly summaries for what has happened in your class to share on your class website or blog. Record weekly or daily homework assignments and share as a voice recording on your website. Save file space by replacing old files with new ones. Mic Note would be an excellent resource for recording and sharing more complicated directions for projects and assignments (adding you voice intonation and cues!). Your weaker readers and ESL/ELL students may do better with a combination of written AND auditory directions. Provide the link on your class website for students to use at home for additional practice in spelling, reading, practicing reports, and more. Share this site with parents at Back to School Night. Have students write and record audio book reviews others can play on iPads or iTouches in the school library. If you have gifted students in your classroom, this tool is simple enough for even the youngest to be able to record audio mini-dramas portraying a historic figure or event, poetry readings, and more. Be sure to show them how to NAME and download the files to the local computer! Anything they can say out loud can become a creative project recording. Don't forget about recording musical performances or practices.

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bulb - Bulb, Inc.

Grades
2 to 12
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Use bulb as a portfolio tool to showcase your work, share ideas, and ask for feedback. Sign up with your Google account or enter your email. Choose to keep your ...more
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Use bulb as a portfolio tool to showcase your work, share ideas, and ask for feedback. Sign up with your Google account or enter your email. Choose to keep your page public or private. After creating your account, click on the little question mark on the top menu to see how to set up a page, collections (multiple pages), groups (with or without Google), and lots more. Click on Explore, on the home page in the top menu bar, and look at projects students and teachers have created. bulb is easy to use due to its drag and drop interface. The free account includes one GB storage, one Group (class), unlimited pages, and collections. Besides creating text, you can embed images and videos, and integrate with your Google Drive.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): multimedia (63), portfolios (33), writing (369)

In the Classroom

Use bulb for student portfolios in any subject. Set up an account with your teacher name, email, password, and some basic information. Once your account is set up, create a group, to invite students to join the group, type in their bulb username, email address or their Google account name. Share how to get around bulb on an interactive whiteboard or with a projector to get students started. Anyone you invite can publish to the group. However, students will also have their own account and can keep pages private. Science teachers could have students write up their lab reports in a portfolio, and history teachers could set up portfolios for student report writing. Have teens and older students upload work throughout the year to create their own "me-portfolios." Create portfolios (with permission) to share younger students' work with parents and students during conferences. Use this tool to show finished projects or to show changes in a project from start to finish. Make a work prototype site and upload examples of exemplary work to share with students to set expectations for completed products before beginning a project. Create a link to this tool on your class website for students to share projects and information. (Get parent permission before posting students' work!) Have students take ownership of their own portfolios to show progress and products across several years. Have older students build portfolios to share as part of career and college preparation. Art teachers will want to share this as a portfolio option for their students.

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Google Forms - Google

Grades
K to 12
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Create forms for virtually any need using Google Forms, part of Google's online suite of document tools. Begin with included templates, or start with a blank form to create polls, ...more
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Create forms for virtually any need using Google Forms, part of Google's online suite of document tools. Begin with included templates, or start with a blank form to create polls, sign-ups, registrations, and much more. Choose from multiple response options including short answer, multiple choice, and check boxes. Options also allow users to incorporate images and YouTube videos directly into any form. You have the ability to make questions required or optional. Once shared, receive responses in real-time within the "Responses" tab or link to a Google Sheets spreadsheet.

tag(s): polls and surveys (54), spreadsheets (18)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the flexibility of Google Forms to create surveys for parents and students at the beginning of the year to learn about student interests, create parent volunteer lists, and much more. Create sign in and sign out sheets for classroom library materials including books and digital equipment. Use Google Forms to set up and collaborate on lesson plans, include check boxes to standards, materials needed, and covered content. Google Forms is perfect to use for assessment purposes - create online quizzes and exit tickets. Have students use Google Forms to prepare and submit reading logs, brainstorm and collaborate with fellow students, create choose your own adventure stories, or schedule reading and writing conference times. Use Google Forms to set up and share rubrics for any project, have students complete the rubric and turn in with any completed assignment. The uses for Google Forms are as unlimited as your imagination; this is a must-have tool for all classrooms!

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OurStickys - Fabrizio Parrella

Grades
4 to 12
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OurStickys is a Chrome extension that allows users to add a sticky note to any web page or PDF and has some unique features not found on most sticky note ...more
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OurStickys is a Chrome extension that allows users to add a sticky note to any web page or PDF and has some unique features not found on most sticky note tools. Your sticky note appears each time you open that page, even on another machine! Once installed, right-click on any page to add a note. Personalize notes by color, font, size, and position. Add YouTube videos that will play directly in the sticky. Drag and drop text from any program. Even convert a sticky to a "to-do" list! Follow directions to install the extension on your Chrome browser. Plans for the future of this tool include adding the ability to have a simple chat per sticky and to have reminders with notifications.

tag(s): brainstorming (25), note taking (39), organizational skills (128)

In the Classroom

Make notes for conferences, lab materials, books needed, or even parent conferences on any web page. Add sticky notes to any webpage or PDF shared with students on your interactive whiteboard to remind them of important information or as a list of important items to watch for when viewing a page. Create a list of vocabulary words from any website as you view it together. Share this extension for students to use on their personal device for note-taking.

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WeLearned.It - eduClipper

Grades
K to 12
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WeLearned.It is a digital portfolio and classroom management tool for students and educators. The free pricing plan allows users to create student portfolios, manage unlimited classes,...more
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WeLearned.It is a digital portfolio and classroom management tool for students and educators. The free pricing plan allows users to create student portfolios, manage unlimited classes, provide feedback in several different formats, and distribute class assignments. Attach documents or websites to tasks from Google Drive, your computer, and more. Students receive a digital code to join, and then their work saves to their personalized portfolio.

tag(s): classroom management (150), portfolios (33)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of WeLearned.It's features in your 1:1 classroom for project-based learning assignments. Motivate students through feedback provided on this site in the form of badges, video or audio recordings, or text. Encourage students to support classmates through providing feedback to peers on the site. Science teachers could have students write up their lab reports, take photos of their labs and label them in a portfolio. History teachers could set up portfolios for student report writing or digital storytelling projects. WeLearned.It is a perfect tool to use during parent conferences.

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Mahara - New Zealand's Tertiary Education Commission

Grades
8 to 12
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Mahara is an open source e-portfolio creator. Download the Mahara software to begin creating your e-portfolio including journals, social media resources, and uploading files. Once created,...more
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Mahara is an open source e-portfolio creator. Download the Mahara software to begin creating your e-portfolio including journals, social media resources, and uploading files. Once created, share your portfolio using access permissions, allowing members to determine who can view their work. Other features include a resume builder and social networking system connecting members to online learning communities. Scroll to the bottom to find Mahara Support which includes links to a User Manual and Wiki. There is even a demo for you to use for the day to preview Mahara.

tag(s): assessment (107), classroom management (150), portfolios (33)

In the Classroom

Record classroom activities and student learning with photos or videos. Show students how to create a portfolio, then document their learning and make comments in their portfolio. Share portfolios with parents, not just at conference time, but any time the student portfolio is updated to keep parents in the loop.

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ClassTag - Vlada Lotkina and Jason Olim

Grades
K to 12
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ClassTag is a cloud-based management system for teachers to engage parents in their classroom community. Instead of parents signing up, teachers add emails to send out invitations to...more
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ClassTag is a cloud-based management system for teachers to engage parents in their classroom community. Instead of parents signing up, teachers add emails to send out invitations to participate. All included emails receive notice of updates and information even without signing up. ClassTag allows teachers to view who has read announcements and other pertinent information. Another option allows teachers to send out a weekly newsletter including personal notes and updates.

tag(s): chat (53), classroom management (150), communication (7), DAT device agnostic tool (170), parent conferences (24), parents (59)

In the Classroom

Create a free account to use for all your classes, and even your extracurricular activities. Use this tool to send homework, project, and supply reminders. Remind parents of upcoming events, practices, or items students need to bring to class or practice. Remind parents of big tests, report cards, field trips, deadlines, back to school night, sneaker days, conferences, and more. Set up a faculty reminder group within your school for emergency closures and more.

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Updwn - Nathan Bashaw & Connor Montgomery

Grades
K to 12
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Create simple, real-time polls using Updwn without having to register. Type your question and add answer options. If you wish, users can also add their own response. Click the "send...more
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Create simple, real-time polls using Updwn without having to register. Type your question and add answer options. If you wish, users can also add their own response. Click the "send to" icon on your poll to find the URL for your poll. View feedback as users use green and red arrows to choose answers; their initials show next to the chosen response.

tag(s): polls and surveys (54), quizzes (100)

In the Classroom

Use Updwn for quick feedback in your 1:1 classroom. Ask students to choose from book options for independent reading, type of class project, provide a short response for an exit ticket, or choose the correct answer to a math problem. Allow students to create polls for use with presentations. Create a quick Updwn poll for use during back-to-school night or parent conferences; have parents vote on suggested field trips or preferred communication methods. Create a link to a survey on your class website to ask a question of the day. Updwn is perfect for use in virtually any situation requiring quick and simple feedback.

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FreshGrade - Lane Merrifield and Steve Wandler

Grades
K to 12
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FreshGrade is more than a classroom management system; it also creates eportfolios for all students. Easily capture, provide feedback, and share student work with this tool. Use FreshGrade...more
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FreshGrade is more than a classroom management system; it also creates eportfolios for all students. Easily capture, provide feedback, and share student work with this tool. Use FreshGrade to post lessons, assignments, and due dates. Keep track of grades and allow students to contribute video, audio, images, and comments to their eportfolios. Easily share with parents who can also comment. Create an account using your email and start setting up your classes. Click the drop-down arrow next to your name for support. The support is extensive: find a Quick Start Guide, Walkthrough Video, comprehensive Product Guide, FAQ's, Knowledge Base, and a Video Library. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): assessment (107), classroom management (150), multimedia (63), portfolios (33)

In the Classroom

Use FreshGrade to manage and organize any classroom. Maintain a classroom calendar so students can easily find due dates and deadlines for homework and projects. Share information with parents to keep them up to date. Even if your school or district already has a learning management system for tracking grades, use FreshGrade for the student portfolios and easy parent inclusion. Record classroom activities and student learning with photos or videos using your mobile device. Show students how to document their learning and make comments in their portfolio. Share portfolios with parents, not just at conference time, but any time the student portfolio is updated to keep parents in the loop. Share student accounts with other teachers they may have.

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Splash - Ben Hindman and Brett Boskoff

Grades
K to 12
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Create and share custom online event invitations using Splash. Choose from the many templates to design and add information, RSVP questions, confirmations, and event settings. Splash...more
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Create and share custom online event invitations using Splash. Choose from the many templates to design and add information, RSVP questions, confirmations, and event settings. Splash even automatically creates a custom hashtag for use with your event. Be sure to follow the tutorials to get a good overview of Splash's capabilities.
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tag(s): classroom management (150), organizational skills (128), parent conferences (24)

In the Classroom

The possibilities for using Splash seem endless. Use this for planning parties, bringing in materials for projects, and any other activity that requires coordination. If you have limited technology availability, this is a great way for teachers or students to sign up for time slots to use laptops, iPads, cameras, or a podcast recording station. Go paperless with signups! Organize your parent/teacher conferences. Plan student research of class projects using this resource. Help students build organizational skills by having them "plan" a mythical (or actual) event such as a museum opening for their Famous Americans exhibit. Use this tool for any middle or high school club, career day, or sports team to organize their own events. Share with your school's parent organization to help them plan the next school event.

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LivingTree - livingtree.com

Grades
K to 12
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LivingTree is an online collaborative tool for teachers, parents, and students. Share messages, photos, files, and more in 41 languages instantly. Create a shared calendar for all members...more
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LivingTree is an online collaborative tool for teachers, parents, and students. Share messages, photos, files, and more in 41 languages instantly. Create a shared calendar for all members to access and contribute information. Calendars offer the ability for parents and volunteers to easily sign up for events such as conferences and field trips. There are introductory videos, and video guides for teachers, parents, administrators, and organizations. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): classroom management (150), DAT device agnostic tool (170), organizational skills (128)

In the Classroom

Use LivingTree to manage and organize any classroom. Maintain a classroom calendar, with automatic reminders, so students can easily find due dates and deadlines for homework and projects. Share information with parents to keep them up to date. Use the discussion feature as a resource for keeping students involved over long holidays or on a snow day.

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Zoom - Eric Yuan

Grades
K to 12
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Collaborate with up to 50 participants from anywhere and at any time with Zoom's free online video conferencing options. Features include screen sharing, scheduled or instant meeting...more
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Collaborate with up to 50 participants from anywhere and at any time with Zoom's free online video conferencing options. Features include screen sharing, scheduled or instant meeting times, and private or group chat. Up to 40 minutes of meeting time is included with the free meeting plans. Sign up using your email or social network account to begin hosting a meeting. The step by step instructions make it easy to quickly begin video conferencing at your convenience.

tag(s): chat (53), DAT device agnostic tool (170), parent conferences (24), video (276)

In the Classroom

Use Zoom to set up virtual parent/teacher conferences with participants located anywhere in the world. This is especially useful when multiple teachers are involved or when parents may not reside in the same location. Share your screen as needed to provide information on assessments and student work. Connect whole classrooms across the country for book clubs. Collaborate with experts such as authors and scientists with classrooms of children. Create connected learning experiences with other students, especially those in older grades. Connect world language classes to classes in other countries. Teachers can hold "office hours" for homework help and asking questions. Create a collaborative space for homework help before or after school or on snow days. Students can meet whenever help is needed or teachers can create a session that can be accessed on any device easily by those who need it. Consider using a tool such as Remind, reviewed here, to alert parents and students when your sessions are open. Use Zoom for group work - no more excuses about not being able to meet for cooperative learning projects! Buildings can collaborate and share professional development with others in their own district and beyond!

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Flock - Cookies Riva FZC

Grades
8 to 12
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Flock is a free chat service. Start by signing up for an account and begin chatting. Communicate one on one or create a group using text or video conference. Add ...more
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Flock is a free chat service. Start by signing up for an account and begin chatting. Communicate one on one or create a group using text or video conference. Add attachments, polls, a code snippet, or an emoticon. Create a to-do list for the group or project. With the free account, chat records are kept for 30 days. Be mindful of the laws and regulations. Use the web version or download the software.

tag(s): chat (53), microblogging (40), polls and surveys (54)

In the Classroom

Teachers can use the chat feature to communicate with parents or students. Collaborate with other educators on lesson plans and activities. Create groups of students during group projects for collaboration. Attach the directions to the chat and monitor the conversation by including yourself in the group and promoting good digital citizenship. Use the poll feature to check for understanding or use the chat as an exit ticket.

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Do Your Homework Arizona - Stand for Children Arizona

Grades
K to 8
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Do Your Homework Arizona is a free tool for helping parents understand Common Core Math and English Standards in grades K-8. Search by keyword or explore by grade level and ...more
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Do Your Homework Arizona is a free tool for helping parents understand Common Core Math and English Standards in grades K-8. Search by keyword or explore by grade level and content. Links provide a definition and explanation of each standard and most include an additional link to a practice activity or suggestions for practicing the standard at home. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): commoncore (95), parent conferences (24), parents (59)

In the Classroom

Although created for Arizona parents, all content is aligned to Common Core Standards. Share a link to the site on your class webpage for parents to access on their own. Share information from the site during parent conferences or Meet the Teacher Events to help parents understand standards.
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Woot Math - Woot Math Inc

Grades
4 to 8
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Woot Math is an online math program specifically developed for pre-algebra readiness through targeted lessons in decimals and fractions. Register to create and set up a classroom account...more
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Woot Math is an online math program specifically developed for pre-algebra readiness through targeted lessons in decimals and fractions. Register to create and set up a classroom account for students to independently work on Woot Math activities. Although the teacher creates a starting point, this tool then suggests and unlocks activities based on student performance. Lessons include an explanation of concepts and interactive practice. The teacher dashboard provides information on individual and class progress through the lessons. Sign up for Woot Math for 2015-2016 is free.

tag(s): decimals (131), fractions (234)

In the Classroom

Woot Math is perfect for use as a classroom center that adapts to individual student needs and skills. Create your account and demonstrate to students on your interactive whiteboard or projector how to log on and use this site. Be sure to share a link on your class web page for use at home. Share Woot Math with parents during Meet the Teacher Night or during student conferences as a resource for practicing fractions and decimals at home. Although the site is for pre-algebra students, lessons provide excellent practice for any student needing additional help with decimals and fractions.

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Milestones - GreatKids

Grades
K to 8
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Milestones offers a collection of videos demonstrating grade-level expectations for Kindergarten through middle school. Choose a grade to start. Select a video from the different categories...more
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Milestones offers a collection of videos demonstrating grade-level expectations for Kindergarten through middle school. Choose a grade to start. Select a video from the different categories offered, including reading, math, and writing. These short videos run about a minute in length and provide an excellent look at the successful accomplishment of grade level goals. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): parent conferences (24), parents (59), professional development (156), video (276)

In the Classroom

Milestones is perfect for sharing with parents to explain grade-level goals and expectations. Share a link on your class web page or blog for parents to access at any time. Share one or two videos during your meet the teacher night or with individual parents during conferences.

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Boomerang for Gmail - Bavdin

Grades
1 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Download Boomerang to organize your Gmail! Schedule when to send messages, remind yourself to follow up if you do not get a reply email, and mark emails that you need ...more
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Download Boomerang to organize your Gmail! Schedule when to send messages, remind yourself to follow up if you do not get a reply email, and mark emails that you need to read at a later time. The basic plan is free and includes most features.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): organizational skills (128)

In the Classroom

Let Boomerrang simplify your email life. Start the beginning of school with welcoming emails to each student/family. Schedule emails with newsletters, timely events, or parent conference reminders in exactly the right time! Design unit newsletters to coincide with your lessons time periods. Schedule birthday wishes or even schedule emails to remind yourself of an important event. You will never forget to collect all responses or assignments with a reminder email. Manage daily or weekly parent reports with ease and timeliness. Share at Meet the Teacher Nights or Curriculum Chats to help parents improve organizational skills for their student.

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Seesaw - Charles Lin, Carl Sjogreen , Adrian Graham

Grades
K to 10
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Seesaw is a digital portfolio that is totally free for all devices and on the web. Students can showcase their work, videos, text, drawings, and images, and get feedback from ...more
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Seesaw is a digital portfolio that is totally free for all devices and on the web. Students can showcase their work, videos, text, drawings, and images, and get feedback from teachers and parents. Create a class blog in your Seesaw for students to write blog posts. Teachers create an account with email and then start creating as many classes as needed. There is no limit on the number of students a class can have. Give students a "join" code for their class, and they sign up from there, choosing to access their account through a Seesaw generated QR code or their email. Teachers can enable or disable student likes, comments, and editing. Blog post and comments must have teacher approval before becoming public. Students will be able to reflect on their work with a voice recording or text, and can share artifacts from their portfolio by clicking the red button at the bottom of the screen and then either print or get the item QR code. Once you have an account, click Help & Teacher Resources to find Getting Started Tips, Tutorial Videos, FAQs, and Activity Ideas grouped by grade level. If your district blocks YouTube, the tutorials may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): blogs (90), DAT device agnostic tool (170), digital storytelling (153), portfolios (33)

In the Classroom

Sign up for Seesaw and generate a join code for the class from the menu at the upper right corner or by clicking your name or initials in the left corner to get a drop down menu. The join code expires in 15 minutes, so it is best to do this in your classroom or computer lab. Teachers can add photos, drawings, links, notes, and upload a file from this same menu by clicking the + symbol. You can even add a co-teacher! See Seesaw's FAQs for ways for parents to sign up and letters to send home. Use Seesaw portfolios for any subject or grade level. Once your account is set up, create a simple project or borrow one from the Activities on the Help and Teacher Resources page. Share the project on your interactive whiteboard or projector to get your students started. The teacher portal allows you to access and comment on student work. View the work of an individual or the entire class. The ability to import work from many creation apps to Seesaw makes this a perfect portfolio tool. Don't forget to watch the video about setting up blogs for your students. Remember, this is all free! Science teachers could have students write up their lab reports, take photos of their labs and label them in a portfolio. History teachers could set up portfolios for student report writing or digital storytelling projects. Seesaw is the perfect tool to use during parent conferences.

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