Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tips&Tricks - Teacher Survival Lesson 2

   Today was one of those days! That day that goes 100mph from start to finish. By 3:00 you realize you haven't sat down, much less had a restroom break! I'm sure many of you are having the same issues between snow days earlier in the month and Spring Break on the horizon.

   With a class of 30 this year, I just don't have enough time in the day. Thirty different kids, thirty different levels, thirty different needs. 


   The thought can be overwhelming.  I have had to develop many time saving tips this year. The biggest one was learning that technology can be used in so many ways to help the students AND the teacher.

   Lately the best app that I have used in a variety of ways is EduCreations.



If you don't have this app, GET IT! The basic version is FREE!! It doesn't get better than that. Here are a few ways that I use it in my 1:1 classroom:

1. As a Whiteboard:

   No need to take the time to get out all the supplies! By the time all of my students found their marker and eraser, I was already 10 minutes into my lesson. My class has used this when doing a quick math facts check to locating nouns and verbs in a sentence. Have them hold the answer up on their iPads and "Voila" lesson complete!

2. Informal/Formal Assessments:

   EduCreations gives you the option to set up a class. I highly recommend you do! It is still free and it allows you to have many more uses in the classroom. It takes a few minutes to manually enter your class and set up usernames, but it is well worth it!!! The advantage of having a class is that you gain access to student videos. ANYTHING they create and save is stored under their name. All I have to do is click on their name and I can pull anything I have asked them to create!

   In Grammar students loaded a picture into EduCreations from their camera roll. They were then instructed to write a complete sentence using one color for the subject and another color for the predicate. I could quickly walk around and see who had grasped the concept or look back under their names later that night!

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  We have also used this many times in math. I absolutely LOVE being able to hear their thinking as they are working out a problem! The ability to actually hear their thought process is priceless and has saved countless time when trying to figure out why students are making mistakes!! Here are some examples of our comparing fractions lesson. As you can see from the videos, work is easily differentiated to fit student needs!


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3. Fluency Checks:

   Time...it always comes down to time. I would love to do fluency checks for all my students every week. I would love to have the time to do half a week. I don't! So...students record themselves reading on EduCreations. They can take a picture of the text, and then record as they read. This provides great opportunities: the ability for me to do a running record based on their recording during my free time, and the ability for students to then listen to their recordings and reflect on what they do well and what they need to improve.

   Does this take the place of meeting with students? Absolutely not! It does, however, let me use the time I have to work with students on interventions and skill lessons. I've learned to use my time wisely, instead of feeling like I use all my time for assessments!!

For more Tips & Tricks be sure to check out Teacher Survival Lesson 1!

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