Technology for the WHOLE teacher

Technology tools that help a teacher in all areas of life.

New Year, New Goals, New Adventures....and how technology can help you reach a better you!

I love the beginning of a new year! It is a fresh start to all the great things that come during a year. Possibilities are endless and a sense of excitement fills the air! I often make both career and personal goals however in trying to accomplish these goals I end up exhausted and feel worn out. This was true back when I was in college and now 9 years into my career I still find myself struggling to get things organized and stay balanced in all areas.


This past year was no exception. 2015 left me exhausted and defeated. Several things did not get accomplished and by the end of December I was struggling to keep my head above water.


Over winter break I slept...and slept some more....and then took a few dozen naps in between sleeping and I feel like a human being once again. Between naps I would frequent Facebook and youtube and as a friends husband often says "would reach the end of the internet" and would find myself reflecting on the things I watched. Silly things would make me laugh, some would make me feel inspired and others would make me dread falling back into routines and habits that I have tried to break year after year.


Through all of this I had this SMORE assignment in the back of my brain...taunting me...flashbacks of summer reading assignments flashed before my eyes. In my search to find the end of the internet I stumbled upon a facebook article and got lost in the many apps and websites it offered to help organize a person's life....more importantly my life! They had everything on this list - finance, grocery store, lesson plans, health, social life, and so much more and then it hit me - I WILL MAKE A SMORE THAT WILL SHOW HOW TECHNOLOGY CAN HELP IN ALL AREAS OF A TEACHERS LIFE! Unfortunately, it hit me at 2:00 am so this should be a fun all nighter ahead of me!


Below you will find technology tools that will help you the teacher, the student, the parents, and the teacher out of the classroom - the person who is reading this!


I hope it helps. Some things I have tried and use regularly and others I have just discovered and will learn throughout this next month/year. I also welcome others to give me other technology tools that help them in their everyday life. I am also looking for new things.


Happy New Year!

Andrea

***** For the teacher *****

Planbookedu.com

About six years ago I decided I was done writing out my lesson plans. I couldn't write small enough and would have to erase and fix things all the time. My plans looked messy and often didn't make sense as a reference guide the next year.


I then started typing my lessons. This helped a lot but it still was hard to find the materials I used year after year. If I was missing a piece to a game for a center I would have to try and find where I downloaded the game from or try to figure out what I named that file.


I then came across Planbookedu.com and have fallen in love with it. There are several online planbooks and down the line I might change to a different one however this has been an AMAZING tool for me as a teacher and has made lesson planning and prep time reduced by half. My favorite feature is the ability to attach any documents to a certain lesson that can be accessed from any computer. This will help for next year, when printing in the lab, and while working from home. I have all my files electronically where ever I go! It saves me so much time when I need to find a activity I used last year....no more paper cuts as I look through files.


This website includes the following tools. To get all the wonderful features it will cost $25 per year but it is totally worth it.

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PlanbookEdu Intro
PlanbookEdu Tour

Planbookedu.com and what it can offer to you as a teacher.

So you have looked it over but you want to see more. Here is a great article that gives the more details and tools that are available when you use Planbookedu.com. Check it out!

Different Online Planbooks

Planbookedu.com might not be the right fit for you. Just with any other technology, some people are drawn to different interfaces. Below is a link that will show you other online plan books that might fit your style better.

QUESTIONS FOR YOU!

Now you know a little more about online planning - please answer the GoogleDoc questions below to let me know your thoughts.

***** FOR THE STUDENTS *****

Twitter in the Classroom

I have been back and forth on twitter. I sometimes spend an hour on twitter and other times I don't touch the app for months. Lately, I have seen several classrooms including Twitter into their classrooms.


After attending a conference last month I saw just how amazing Twitter could be in a classroom - especially a KINDERGARTEN classroom!


I think this would be a great tool that would teach the students so much about internet safety, taking pictures, posts, using technology in a purposeful and positive way, connecting with our community and with the world!


Twitter would also help teachers and students master various writing and technology TEKS. The students will write basic information and share their writing with others. They would also be able master the research TEKS provided in the Kindergarten curriculum.


Below are great resources that will show how amazing Twitter can be in a classroom.

Twitter in the Classroom
Twitter in a D44 Kindergarten Classroom

QUESTIONS FOR YOU!

Do you tweet? Answer the questions below to tell me more about your experience with Twitter.

Other Resources

Here is a list of other great article about technology resources for the Early Childhood classroom.

***** FOR THE PARENTS *****

How to Connect with Parents

I have tried several webpages, online newsletters and other avenues to help communicate with parents. I think it one of the most important things to do as a teacher. If parents and teachers are a unified team - mountains can be moved in a short period of time.


After several failed online webpages mostly because I didn't keep it updated or parents didn't visit the webpage. I understand - everyone is busy - no one has time to visit several webpages to get information. The world is instant information. With this knowledge I decided to try a text based format.


At first I thought I would just give them my cell phone and create a large group text but after reading several articles I found that several problems can come from this way of communicating with parents especially for someone like me who has trouble with creating and keep boundaries when it comes to parents.


I tried Remind 101 but did not care that it was one way communication at the time and then I received an advertisement for Scholastic's Classroom Messenger and decided to try it out. I loved it and more importantly my classroom parents LOVED it and I got great feedback.


I am able to send quick reminders, text individual parents, ask for volunteers, and send real time pictures to all the parents in my classroom. The texts are all kept within the app on my phone and does not mix with my personal text messages - which I love!


Check out more information below.

Class Messenger Introduction

COMPARE AND CONTRAST

Below is a great article that compares different parent communication apps. There are several I have not tried on here before and will be looking more into those.

Other Ways to Connect

Kindergarten Round Up is a time when incoming kindergarteners and their parents come to take a tour of our school before they start in the fall. This is a great tradition that allows students (and parents) to settle worried nerves and to be familiar with their new school however this often leads to additional questions throughout the summer.


Each year kindergarten teachers are asked what incoming students should be practicing over the summer, what do they need to know, what does their schedule look like and so many more questions.


Last year, Kiker Kinder and administration decided to utilize WEEBLY.COM and make a web page that could answer some of those questions. Below is the site.


I also found an amazing site of great tools for parents and kids that is linked below as well.

Welcome to Weebly

QUESTIONS FOR YOU!

Now you have explored the various ways you can use technology to communicate with your parents. Please answer the questions below.

***** FOR THE TEACHER OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM *****

THE HARDEST THING

This is the part that I fail at the most! I forget to make time to take care of myself. I get up, get ready, go to school, stay until 10:30, go home, go to bed, repeat. Life passes me by and this saddens me in the moments when I have a moment to myself. This year I am taking to technology to help me schedule in time for family, friends and fun!


The article below started the idea for this entire SMORE! I read it on facebook and my mind started turning and I came up with a plan. I am the type of person to jump in and work for hours to get something done (this is hour 6 on this SMORE assignment....hey it's not going to change over night). I have come up with a plan to utilize my Google Calendar and Reminders Apps to help me break things down into smaller manageable tasks. This will allow me to get things done over the course of time and still have time to go home and cook dinner and be a normal person - not a robot.


This will be the hardest challenge for me but I feel like if I can stick with a plan, utilize these technology tools that will lay out a plan and a certain amount of tasks per given day that I might be able to change my ways.

QUESTIONS FOR YOU!

Have a great system that works for you? Answer the questions below to share out what works for you!

Andrea Bredl - Kindergarten Teacher