TeachersFirst's Teacher Utilities
Technology offers teachers many management tools for classroom procedures, communication, design of the classroom, and more. This collection highlights what we call "Teacher Utilities." These are any tools that make the job of the teacher slightly easier to manage. Some examples of tools in this collection include timers, learning management systems, lesson plan builders, classroom design tools, and many more. Remember our "In the Classroom" suggestions give you ideas about how to use these tools in your classroom.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomDiscover the many free resources to add to your technology toolbox. For example, visit the Jamboard portion of the site to find and download many organizers for posing questions, summarizing, and vocabulary development. Download any of the templates to use or modify to fit your needs. Watch the short tutorials to learn about tips and tricks on using PowerPoint and Microsoft Teams. Use the ideas found on this site to create Google Jamboard, reviewed here, templates that match the educational needs of your students. Learn how to create collections using Wakelet, reviewed here, to curate and share information with students or to use for lesson planning and student projects.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomShare WellCheq with your school counselors for possible use in monitoring the mental wellness of students. If your school doesn't want to use a program such as this, consider other possibilities for sharing wellness tips with students and parents and share resources for obtaining help when needed. Find resources at the TeachersFirst Resources for Self-Identity Special Topics Page.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomAlong makes it easy for you to implement this tool into your classroom with their many free resources. Resources include guides to introducing Along to students and fellow educators. Share the privacy information guide with parents as you begin using this tool. Begin by using the customizable calendar as a method for planning to introduce and use Along. Consider using the information found on the site to create and share a presentation about this product using Google Slides, reviewed here, or by creating a short video using Adobe Creative Cloud Express Video Maker reviewed here. Be sure to show students how to prepare for their responses. If you find some students are reluctant to use one of the modes, for instance, the video, work with that student to help them feel comfortable. Uses for this tool are only limited by your imagination! Check-in with students during long projects or reports to see where they are in the process and if they have any frustrations, check-in after a science lab to see who has questions, ask students at the end of a project or lab what they would do differently next time. Check-in with Language arts book groups to see how students are doing with the novel, their group, the project at the end, etc.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Floop to provide timely and specific feedback for any assignment. Floop is a great resource for teaching students how to provide and respond to feedback in purposeful ways and engaging them in the learning process. Floop chose to use hotspots on documents to access feedback so that students have to revisit and refer to items shared. Take advantage of this by strategically placing feedback within documents in areas where students are to focus. For example, place a hotspot on an area with grammar mistakes that need correction and guide learning by asking students to revisit that portion of the text. Allow peer feedback when working on group assignments or create rough drafts to encourage students to provide input and direction as a class. After using Floop for several assignments, encourage students to reflect upon common mistakes found in their work. Extend learning by asking students to create a tutorial using FlexClip, reviewed here, explaining how to avoid these errors. One example will be in math class if a student makes an error in several assignments, such as forgetting how to borrow and carry when subtracting. Ask them to create a video tutorial demonstrating the proper steps to reinforce the concept and share it with peers.
Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomUse Dreamscape to differentiate reading instruction for your students. Dreamscape is also an excellent option to share with ENL/ESL students to provide practice and support in English language instruction. Include a link to Dreamscape on classroom computers for use during reading centers, and provide a link on your classroom website for students to play at home, or for use in remote or blended learning. Include Dreamscape with other online reading programs using a bookmarking tool such as Symbaloo, reviewed here, for easy access for student use.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomDiscover the many free resources on this site to provide individual lessons or complete learning units for your students. As students complete assignments, use the many offerings found at Class Tools, reviewed here, to enhance learning through creating timelines, completing graphic organizers, and more. For activities that include new vocabulary, use a digital game creation site such as Baamboozle, reviewed here, to review and practice new words and terms. Have students show what they know upon completion of any of the activities using Adobe Creative Cloud Express for Education, reviewed here, to create a collage, poster, flyer, or multimedia presentation sharing their knowledge of the subject.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse the Wheel of Names to randomly call students during class discussions. Add images instead of names to make the wheel more interesting. In addition to the obvious use for calling names, use this random wheel in a variety of different ways. Add dates onto the wheel when reviewing events in history, review vocabulary, instead of student names add character names from novels for students to discuss, add books to determine the next read-aloud, the list goes on and on! Be sure to save the wheel with the names of class members so that it is ready to go at any time.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse Classkick in class, for blended learning or remote learning since you can see all students working from anywhere. Use Classkick to differentiate instruction based on students' current performance. Many students are motivated to learn at their own pace using online tools, and Classkick is an option providing lessons in a different format than currently available. If not using Classkick whole - class, it provides many options for helping and enhancing learning for individual students, use for homework, or as a temporary option for providing instruction to home-bound or remote learning students . As students learn through this type of management system, ask them to use a portfolio tool such as Majara, reviewed here, to document and reflect upon their learning process.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Gooru to differentiate instruction based on students' current performance. Many students are motivated to learn at their own pace using online tools, and Gooru is an option providing lessons in a different format than currently available. If not using Gooru whole -class, it provides many options for helping and enhancing learning for individual students, use for homework, or as a temporary option for providing instruction to home-bound students. Enhance classsroom technology and provide additional support to student learning by asking them to use Pathbrite, reviewed here, to build a digital portfolio of their learning process. Include images, videos, and written work within the portfolio.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTake advantage of this free online tool to guide your district toward planning and implementing your technology plan. Share with administrators as an option for use with your technology committee. As you gather and share information with your community and staff to use in your guide, consider using a collaboration tool like Padlet, reviewed here. Use Padlet to share technology options with the community and gather comments. Create another Padlet to gather comments and ideas from staff. When considering more complex ideas during your planning, use Flip, reviewed here, to create and share video discussions. Use Flip's MixTape feature to build a "mix" of responses to highlight and share. Help build community support for your technology plan by creating ongoing podcasts using Anchor, reviewed here. Share podcasts with your community throughout the planning process to discuss ideas, update listeners on your goals and progress, and to compare and contrast options considered for your plan.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse Deck.Toys to create gamified learning activities for all students. Deck.Toys is perfect for creating mini-lessons for students to explore during center time or as a flipped classroom activity. Use to remediate and enrich lessons for struggling learners or as an enrichment activity for gifted learners.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse the lesson planner to plan Common Core-aligned lessons digitally, and as a resource for finding teaching material for your lessons. Take advantage of the collaborative features of this tool to lesson plan with peers and coordinate schedules. Choose the video tutorials found under your profile to learn more about the lesson planner and how to take advantage of its many features.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomUse this tool to communicate specific behaviors with parents - both positive and negative feedback. Share this site with students on the first day of school as you go over class expectations and your behavior plan for your classroom. Take advantage of the other tools to take attendance or rearrange your seating chart quickly and easily.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomCreate 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.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the many lessons and activities on Edore to motivate reluctant learners through information that interests them. Even if you don't teach using Common Core Standards, activities on the site can be modified to match any curriculum. Use activities on this site as a model for creating lessons featuring pop culture that relates to your students. Assign sets found on Edore to your class as practice and review of concepts taught in class.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse 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.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomWatch the short videos on the landing page to see how Cloudschool works; once signed up, you will have access to the very complete Help section. Within each course, create and distribute text-based or multimedia lessons containing a variety of formats which may be embedded, including audio, video, PDFs, and worksheets. Add discussion questions to all Lessons for students to reply to within your course environment. Use toolbars at the top as main controls for each page for easy navigation and creation. The left-side navigation menu links to Courses, Lessons, Curriculum Lists, and Files. Helpful tips appear by hovering over buttons. Click into a Course to add a new Lesson, then choose a Template, or use the Create New Lesson button. A Plus button at the top center of the page adds text, images, audio, and video to your lesson. Include homework, student discussion, assignments, and assessments which students submit outside of the Cloudschool environment. Notifications are available. After creating lessons, use your Teaching Space to give large or small group in-class presentations. Consider putting a bookmark on classroom computers to the lesson the students are to work on. You could also share the lessons on your class website. Share lesson plans with colleagues and administrators. Cloudschool is useful for any teacher to organize content and deliver it easily to individual students in class or at home as part of blended or flipped classroom environments. No classroom management tools are available since students do not register.
In the ClassroomYou will want to use Symbaloo Learning Paths for many different types of classroom instruction! Create lesson plans to differentiate learning and assign based on student needs and interests. Embed a lesson on your class website for students to complete at home. Using this site allows you to create a clear and concise learning path for any lesson. Share it on an interactive whiteboard with students as you follow through any learning path. Be sure also to include a link to the lesson on your class website for students to use throughout the unit and as a review. Use Symbaloo Lesson Plans as enrichment for independent learning for advanced students, or for remediation with students needing additional help. This site is perfect for use with ENL/ESL students - include links and activities to resources in their native language or add tools for practicing English. There are too many uses for Symbaloo Lesson Plans to include here, be sure to take the time to learn how to create and use this wonderful tool with your students!
Grades4 to 12
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In the ClassroomThe Smithsonian Learning Lab is a must-add to your list of classroom bookmarks! Search for collections and information throughout the year on all topics. Add a link to classroom computers for the entire site or specific collections. Be sure to take advantage of the many features of this site to create customized collections, then have students add additional resources. Have students create quizzes for review of topics. Enhance student learning by challenging them to create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Canva Infographic Maker, reviewed here.
GradesK to 10
In the ClassroomSign up for Seesaw, and after students have parental permission, 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.
I love using Seesaw with my elementary school students. It's great that parents can comment also.Katy, , Grades: 0 - 12