Make your life easier with Chrome extensions

I am a huge fan of chrome extensions. It makes you life so much easier with a lot of different tools. Google Chrome Extensions are “applications that run inside the Chrome browser and provide additional functionality, integration with third party websites or services, and customized browsing experiences.” While there is some grey area between Google apps, extensions, and simply shortcuts to websites, the right extensions can turn your browser into a Swiss-army knife of utility and efficiency.

I love checker plus, google calendar, print friendly, awesome screenshot, qr code, drive,  and one tab.

What Is The Benefit Of An Extension For Teachers?

They can make things simple, more accessible, more visible, more compelling, more convenient–there are dozens of potential benefits to you in your classroom. Clip a web page to Evernote with a single button push. Look up a reference. Model for students how to add a citation. Send a link to colleagues without opening another tab. Find a useful resource for a lesson? Scoop it. Tweet it. Pin It. Find a post you want to read? Don’t email it to yourself–use Pocket.

The criteria we used to choose each extension? The extension had to increase your efficiency, provide a benefit to content/curriculum, allow you to connect with other teachers/parents/students, or enhance your workflow as an educator.

Chrome extensions for teachers

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Save Time Grading with GradeCam!

Grading is one of my least favorite jobs as being a teacher. If done correctly it can take hours to grade, item analysis, and be reflective on the assessment. Grading this past semester was a breeze because of GradeCam. Last week I was very excited to meet one of the co-creators of GradeCam at ISTE in San Diego, CA.

GradeCam is a WONDERFUL program that saves teachers valuable time and district resources when grading tests, projects, and essays. Students take their test, quiz, essay, or homework assignment using the specially designed GradeCam format. When grading all you have to do is hold the answer sheet up to either a webcam, document camera, or scanner. The data is uploaded, automatically graded, and can easily be imported into your gradebook.

 

GradeCam was developed by teachers, with the idea to minimize grading time, easily managing student performance/assessment, offering students instant feedback, and correlated to state/national standards. Students and teachers can get instant reports to monitor student progress such as item or class analysis. It is affordable, easy-to-use, and after it grades every assignment, it puts the results into your gradebook. Forms can even be copied on plain paper. GradeCam blows Scantron out of the water!

Ways you can use GradeCam in the classroom: 

  • The past spring I even had my students scan their own tests. They enjoyed the instant feedback during the same class period! I even had them go back and look at their incorrect answers. One of my students said, ” GradeCam makes grading much easier for the teacher and we get our results quickly.” Another student said, “I liked it because it showed you what you got right away so I know how my grade will be effected as soon as I’m done the test.” 
  • You can easily transfer scores from GradeCam to your electronic grade-book.
  • You can even  generate standards-based reports in order to monitor student progress.
  • You can share assessments with other teachers/administrators and even run item analysis results by question, student, or class.
  • You can even use GradeCam with essays, classroom assignments, homework, behavior analysis, etc. Just attach a GradeCam form to any assignment and then enjoy freetime without the stress of grading.

Check it out today! It will change the way you give tests and monitor student assessment.

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Make your Life Easier with Google Chrome Extensions

Chrome Extensions are extra features that you can add to Google Chrome. Extensions can make your life easier and help you browse the internet. Some Benefits of Extensions: get bonus information about a page, get timely notifications, and get more accomplished with fewer clicks.  My favorite extension is Evernote Web Clipper, which allows me to save anything I find on the web or on twitter. It is so useful when you want to save an article or website for later. I no  longer use bookmarks and if you correctly tag and save your search in a notebook you can easily access your files.

Here are my Chrome Extensions.

Here are my Chrome Extensions.

  • Autocopy – Automatically copies text or links when they are selected. Imagine how many times a day you click Control or Command + C. Now, you don’t have to!
  • Awesome Screen Shot – Capture a whole page or just a portion. It also ncludes annotating tools.
  • Clea.nr – Removes YouTube add-ons and related videos from the screen, showing only the video and the search bar. Great for removing questionable ads and related videos that pop up.
  • Docs Quickly – Allows you to quickly create a new Google Document, Presentation, Spreadsheet or Drawing.
  • Dropbox – Provides easy access to your Dropbox account and files as well.
  • Evernote Web Clipper – Lets you send any link or site to Evernote.
  • goo.gl URL Shortener – Shortens a URL and also provides the option to create a QR code and additional details.
  • Google Voice – Allows you to keep up with Google Voice from your computer. You can even send text messages back and forth.
  • Pinterest – Pin from any website to your Pinterest boards.
  • Printliminator – (not an extension) Use this bookmarklet to remove unnecessary or unwanted aspects of a web page before printing.
  • Send to Google Docs – You can take any webpage and turn it into PDF that you can send straight to Google Docs.
  • Sound Gecko – Creates an mp3 of the text of a web page and allows you to save it to Google Drive or listen on the mobile app. You can also read along with the text.
  • Yellow Highlighter – You can highlight webpages and share them through Twitter and Facebook for others to read. It also creates a unique URL to share your highlighted annotations with anyone.
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5 Ways for Teachers to Make Learning More Interactive

One of the biggest challenges that many teachers face is trying to get students to participate, and it’s a problem that seems to grow as students get older and become more concerned about the judgment of their peers. Of course, there will always be a select few students that raise their hands for every question and delight in answering correctly. But the goal within any classroom setting is to ensure that all of the kids are engaged and that each one is receiving a solid Attentive-Classeducation. This is no easy feat these days, especially with limited resources and growing class sizes. But when teachers can find ways to make lessons interactive, then students have no choice but to play their role, enhancing the educational experience not only for themselves, but for the entire class. So here are just a few ideas that should help to get every student involved in the learning process.

  1. Cut back on lectures. Whenever you lecture a class full of students and allow them to sit by passively, taking notes, you are doing them a disservice. Although there are certainly occasions where you have to deliver a passel of data, consider how much of what you’re telling them may be garnered from reading or online research that you could give as homework. This should help you to temper your rote data dumps in the classroom setting and instead focus on interactive lessons designed to see if the kids are actually doing their reading assignments. Only by talking with them, instead of at them, can you figure out what they’re actually taking in.
  2. Test understanding rather than memorization. Nearly every child can memorize and regurgitate facts on command. This is the basic tenet of standardized testing. But as an involved educator you want to make sure that the kids in your classroom are learning not only how to absorb information, but how to put it to good use. In other words, you’re training them to think for themselves. So when you quiz your students in class, try to come up with questions that force them to think about what they have learned, approach it from different angles, and come up with a unique response. The brain is a muscle and we have to use it in order to make it strong.
  3. Put students in groups. If you question students one at a time you’re forcing the rest of the class to remain idle in the meantime. By creating small groups you can pose questions or problems for the entire class and allow the groups to discuss and answer them as a unit. This not only allows each student to interact with every question, but it also lets the students learn from and teach each other, potentially helping to solidify their own understanding of the materials covered.
  4. Electronic response system. Technology has allowed for a slew of new ways to make the classroom interactive, and one method that many teachers favor is the electronic response system. It’s a quick way to take a “vote” from the class and see how students are stacking up. For example, you can ask a question, offer three possible responses, and immediately see the percentage of students who got it right, helping you to determine where you should focus your teaching efforts. You might also use this gadget as a way to engineer lively debates on topics covered in class by taking polls of student opinions on a subject.
  5. Unorthodox seating. The way a classroom is laid out can definitely have an impact on the level of interactivity. For example, in a class that requires a lot of discussion, you might consider forming the desks into a large circle so that all of the students can see whoever is speaking. This face-to-face configuration encourages interaction and turns a discussion between teacher and students into an interactive experience that includes the entire class. Of course, there are certain settings where this strategy won’t work, like in a lecture hall with immovable seating or a program for a master of science in accounting online. But the creative teacher can find ways to make any setting more interactive.

 

Guest Post: Leon Harris is a freelance writer and editor based in sunny Southern California. In his spare time, Harris enjoys living a healthy lifestyle and exercising with his two Golden Retrievers. 

 

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Simplify your Life with Rubrics

“Rubrics” are standards for grading students on various tasks. Jackie McGrath discovered this wonderful website of rubrics created my Mr. Jones and I thought I would pass it on to others looking to simplify grading. These rubrics have been developing since 2004 and most have been very much refined. Here are two scales on each rubric: a scale from 1 to 5 and a scale from 0 to 100. The former refers to NYS Standards and the latter is the school grading scale. The rubrics are sorted into different catagories and seem like they can be easily adapted for any grade level or subject.

 

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My Big Campus User (FREE) Conference

Last year I had the unique privilege to attend My Big Campus (MBC) Summer Academy in San Diego, California. I learned from amazing educators across the country, learned to train others using MBC, and creative ways I can implement MBC into my classroom. I left the training motivated and excited to share My Big Campus with my professional learning community. Since then I have spread MBC to several teachers at my school who are using it with their students. I am hopeful the rollout will continue to spread within my district.

 

What is My Big Campus?

My Big Campus is an online learning environment where teachers and students can have online discussion and online learning for all students. It is a secure social network that is designed to be used inside and outside of the classroom. My Big Campus is carefully monitored and has specific settings that are designed for you class and student population. Anything that is uploaded, created, or posted can be seen and printed by teachers, administrators, or My Big Campus administrators.  Students will learn that they are members of a community and are expected to be responsible digital citizen.All My Big Campus groups are “Private” meaning that only students and teachers that are invited to be a part of the group or class can see comments, assignments, discussions, or shared resources.

 

Here are some ways you can use My Big Campus in your class:

  • Students can get directions and resources for assignments given in class
  • Students can participate in and create discussions related to the topics we are covering.
  • Students can access to our classroom calendar and receive announcements about upcoming events and important dates.
  • Students can have online storage space so they can easily access digital projects and assignments they are working on for class.
  • Students can communicate with me and their classmates about assignments and projects we are doing in class.

 

My Big Campus Conference  

Any MBC user can attend our first-ever MBC User Conference–there are no conference fees! Teachers, tech coordinators, and admins will be coming together to share best practices for engaging students, improving learning outcomes, managing online behavior, collaborating on PD, rolling out MBC and 1:1 initiatives, and more. Users teaching and learning from each other–because together we do amazing things!

Register today — the conference is free!

Submit your proposal to present — this conference is all about users sharing best practices. Strands include:

  • Student Engagement (e.g., course delivery, global connections)
  • Content Curation (e.g., curating content in MBC, cross-district collaboration, course bundle best practices)
  • Innovative Learning Models (e.g, PBL, flipped, differentiated instruction)
  • Virtual/Distance Education
  • Digital Citizenship and Managing Online Behavior
  • Mobile Implementations (e.g., 1:1, BYOD)
  • Professional Learning Networks (e.g., PD, book studies, district rollouts)

Apply for a scholarship to offset travel expenses.

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My Big Campus is Amazing!!!

I have used Edmodo the past year and a half with my classes. I love Edmodo because it’s a free social learning network for teachers, parents, students, and administrators. It provides a way to connect, collaborate, and so much more.

Michelle Krill, a technology coordinator @mmkrill at my former school, introduced me to new course management resource called My Big Campus. My Big Campus is a wonderful resource that allows teachers to create a virtual classroom with their students. My Big Campus has so many features and endless opportunities to collaborate and teach your student’s 21st century skills!

My Big Campus has a resource library for websites, wiki’s, handouts, power-points, and videos, etc. Once you create an account, you can create separate classes or groups. As a teacher you can create a blog, classroom calendar, post assignments, and even grade assignments right in My Big Campus. Last semester I used the blog to have a virtual discussion before and after classroom debates. I also used the classroom “chat” feature to Back-Channel while my class watched videos.

 

MBC is by far one of my favorite programs. It has replaced a lot of other programs and allowed my students to go to one place to access all our classroom information. Two teachers in my department have already rolled it out, one with an honors program and another with the AP US history course. My wonderful department chair, Mrs. McGrath has actually encouraged our department to start using it for a department resource sharing. I have two trainings scheduled for this spring to teach teachers about MBC in my district. I am excited to share my passion for MBC.

 

 

 

Video  Citation 

 

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How technology has helped me cope with a tragedy?

Anyone who knows me knows I am completely dedicated to my family, friends, students, and this blog. The past month I have been so busy with a new job in a new district, moving out of our apartment, and closing on a house. To say the last month has been stressful, is an understatement!

 

My Best Friend Gets Sick

Last week my college best friend and maid of honor, Cassie Davies has what she thought was a cold turned much more serious. She woke up Friday without any feeling in her legs and was rushed to the hospital. She went into a coma on Saturday and finally woke up this past Thursday. She is making small steps everyday but the recovery process is going to be a very long. Doctors are not still 100% sure of what she has but they are thinking its ADEM with other complications.

 

Feeling Helpless 

For most of the week I felt very helpless and hopeless. I couldn’t visit her and I couldn’t help her. I dove into a household project: I  reupholstered my entire dining room set as well as out outdoor patio. I kept myself occupied but could not escape the fact that she was sick and needed help. I moped around the house and avoided all types of schoolwork and housework. I told my students that she was sick and they offered to make cards and have a bake sale to raise money for her family (see the cards on the right).

 

How Technology Saved Me and Gave Me a Purpose?

When I got home from school on Tuesday I thought of a wonderful project to help Cassie. I thought I could use my love of technology to help her and in the process it gave me a way to cope in a positive way. Cassie’s high school friends created a facebook group to get the word out and give people a way to voice their love and support. Cassie’s support group now has 563 members!

 

Raising Money 

The first thing I did was create a video (see below) and a website to raise funds for her family. Cassie’s family is one of the most giving families you will ever meet and I know the medical, travel, and hotel expenses are going to be a lot. I created the video through iMovie and the website through  Indiegogo. So far we have raised over $6,700 with a 108 funders in the past four days. It’s amazing when a community comes together. I even tweeted it out and a few of my twitter friends have donated. Thank you for your support it means so much to me!


 

Photobook and Voicethread 

I created a Voicethread to share memories and stories to help Cassie while she is recovering. I think its so important for our friends who live across the US to be involved in the recovery process and this was one way we could send our support and memories through a touching project using our voices.

 

I also created a Shutterfly photo-book about Cassie using all the photos, memories, and good luck wishes. I fiqured it would be something she could treasure during her time in the hospital.

Click here to view this photo book larger

Build your own high-quality photo books at Shutterfly.com.

 

Bracelets

One of Cassie’s friends Monica ordered bracelets that are pink and white that say “Cassie’s Army” on them. They are $5 a piece and all proceeds will go towards the Davies family. She even used a google form to keep track or the orders, addresses, and payments.

 

This week I have shed more tears than I ever have, but technology has given me a positive outlet to contribute my skills and truly make a difference. I have realized that life is too short and we need to live each day like it is our last. Technology has brought friends together to help, support, comfort, and pray for our friend. Please send positive thoughts and prayers to Cassie.  She still has a long way to go but I am happy technology is helping to make that gap just a little bit smaller.

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Part 4: Lesson Planning with Evernote

Lesson planning is a huge component of any educator’s classroom.  We have to breakdown the instruction into several considerations to give our students the best means of learning the objective–i.e. what is the objective of this lesson, what resources will I/students use, what activities will be incorporated, etc.  Once it is all said and done, a lesson plan can be bursting with content and resources–which can be quite overwhelming for the teacher.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a “central hub” to gather all of our resources for quick and easy access?  Enter Evernote.

 

The more I get hands on with Evernote, the more I’m finding out about the extensive ways in which Evernote can be used in education.  One way that Evernote is making a teacher’s life easier is by making lesson planning much easier and streamlined.  Two educators that are apart of my PLN on Twitter, Melissa Seideman and David Andrade, are also huge fans of Evernote.  I recently asked if I could share their experiences with using Evernote and they agreed.  Here’s their testimonies:

Melissa Seideman:

Lesson Plans

The first set are screen shots are of my lesson plans. I got the idea of lesson plans using Evernote from twitter and I will never go back to any other type. I organized each class into a separate notebook and I created notes for each unit. The hardest part was setting up the lesson plans but once it was set up it’s so easy to just enter information.

Here are Melissa’s screen shots for lesson planning:

Example 1:

Example 2:

Example 3:

Example 4:

I find Evernote for lesson plans to be one of the most time saving technologies I have implemented into my classroom. I have my lesson plans on every device thanks to Evernote. I can make a change with a simple click on my phone, ipad, or computer. Every change syncs and keeps me organized. I am also making notes in each lesson to change if I teach the same course next year.  I have also shared my lesson plans with members of my department as well as my principal. I highly recommend using Evernote for lesson plans.

 

Using Evernote for Student Portfolios

My seniors are doing a final portfolio project using Evernote. The project is very detailed with each step of the project. It took a few days of getting students adjusted to working in Evernote rather than opening word, but the progress is beautiful. They shared their project notebook with me and I can see every change as well as the progress each student makes.   I attached a few student projects. I also created a shared notebook that I shared with them such as my how to guide, what if I am absent, and a sample portfolio layout. This project is truly digital in every sense including the directions for each project work day.

Here’s Melissa’s screen shots for student portfolios:

Example 1:

Example 2:

Example 3:

 Example 4:

 

Example 5:

Evernote is a great way to teach our students to be digitally responsible, organized, and literate. My hope using Evernote they will find other uses for cloud computing as well as ways to successfully use technology outside of school in the real world.

 

David Andrade

Evernote is my main lesson and resource organizational tool. I have notebooks setup for lesson plans and lesson resources, along with notebooks for things to do, things to research, and things to share. My lesson plan notes are set up by unit and have the objectives, links, resources, and attached files (like handouts and lab packets). I also have notes setup by week that I use to keep track of where each class is and to schedule my plans out. I can easily share resources and information with my students or colleagues. I have notebooks for faculty meeting notes, ideas for future lessons, Android tips and resources, technology support, and personal notebooks for financial notes and account information, recipes, travel plans, and much more.

In the image below, you can see my lesson plan notebook. It has my schedule for each week with what I am going to do in each class, each day. I also have notes with my unit and lesson plans, links to other resources, notes, and I have attached the files I use with each class.

Lesson Plan objectives:

David’s post on winning Evernote premium for himself and his classes for a entire year:

I just won a very cool contest Evernote hosted for educators. Along with 9 other teachers, I won a year of Evernote premium for me and all of my students, along with training and support to implement it with my class.

I have been using Evernote myself for years and always share it with my students, but this will be my first year really using it with them. I’m learning more about sharing notebooks and setting up groups and classes with Evernote. The first webinar from Evernote was great and we have a Yammer group for support, as well as more training from Evernote throughout the year.

Students have already been using Evernote to take notes and upload files from me and attach them to their class notes. Many are also taking pictures of notes on the board and uploading them to Evernote. I’m also having them submit assignments to me via Evernote. Each class has a notebook and the students tag anything they send me with their name for easy sorting. This will become their online portfolio. Students can share notes with me or email me files right into Evernote.

They are getting so used to it already, that when I say “where should you save this?” they automatically answer Evernote.

You can follow David on Twitter or his blog (Twitter: @Daveandcori, Blog: Educationaltechnologyguy)

I highly recommend you follow Melissa and David, they have shared some great things involving a vast area of education.

What do you think?  Give Evernote a try!

More resources for using Evernote:

Evernote for Educators Livebinder

Evernote for the Social Studies:

Part 1: What is Evernote?

Part 2: Evernote in the History Class

Part 3: Evernote & Skitch for the Social Studies

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Use Glassboard for group discussions

I learned about Glassboard at EdCamp Hudson Valley. I must say it’s a pretty neat program in order to have a discussion with a group of people that can remain private. It is considered a private social network that is simular to facebook but uses email and instant response. Once you create an account you can create or access a “board,” which is basically a group of people who can share messages, comments, phone, videos, files, etc.

 

I used Glassboard to have a post Edcamp Hudson Valley discussion. Rather than communicating through multiple emails (like we did to set up #EdcampHV) we were on Glassboard posting questions, comments, and images. It is easy to set up and can be used for so many purposes in education. I imagine it being useful with a group of students working on a project together or sharing ideas to study for a test.

Email Invitation – now what? from Glassboard on Vimeo.

 

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Part 2: Evernote for the Social Studies

Last week, I posted at what you can do with Evernote.  Hopefully you’ve had a chance to get hands-on with Evernote in the last few days and got a feel for how awesome it really is.  Once you do get started with Evernote, you’ll wonder what you did without it.

Evernote in History Class

(Photo courtesy: Library of Congress)

Continuing on in the “Evernote for the Social Studies” series, today I wanted to take a look at how Evernote can help students in History class.  For this post, I contacted a former student of mine and asked if she would be willing to take a few minutes with me and take a look at what Evernote could do for her in her History class.

Digitize and Organize your notes

As I sat down with her and we began to discuss what she was doing in her classes, she showed me some of the notes that she had taken in her class.  Currently, she’s in 8th grade and taking a United States History class from Colonization period to the end of Reconstruction of the American Civil War.  The notes had been done on loose-leaf notebook paper and she kept them in a folder specifically for that class.  As we discussed the positives and negatives of taking and retaining notes that way, the one thing that concerned her was loosing her notes.  Here’s where I showed her where Evernote could step in and take care of that problem.  To start off with, we created a new notebook “US History Notes” in her Evernote account (age requirement is 13 yrs old for any users of Evernote, see the privacy policy).  Using the Evernote app on her Ipod Touch, we took a snapshot of her notes:

She like the idea of creating a “notebook” specially for her US History class for quick and easy organization.  What I also showed her as well was how Evernote can help her refresh on her notes and prepare for a test.  On the notes above, we looked at Evernote’s search feature to quickly find needed notes.  Once she took the snapshot of her notes, she would title them–i.e. Jamestown notes:

Notice how performing a search of “jamestown” in her Evernote notes came up with her Jamestown notes and how Evernote highlighted the searched term in yellow.  As a side note, if you are a premium user you can also search for text in the image themselves.

At the end of our discussion of Evernote, she said she was going to try using Evernote for the next couple of weeks and see how it will help her.  I’ll be updating everyone as she continues to use Evernote over the next few days.  In her words, she classified Evernote as “cool”.  Yes my fellow educators, Evernote will make your students say “cool”.

 

Staying up-to-date on current events with Evernote

The interesting part of history is that it does’t stop, history happens every day.  If you plan on having your students keep up with current events throughout the school year, why not have them clip articles with Evernote?  As my former student did for her history notes, have your students create a notebook in their Evernote account and name it something like “Current Events”.  If they have the Evernote Webclipper installed on their internet browsers (weather it be at home or at school) they can clip a article that they like or over a topic that you choose for them.  Here’s an example of article I clipped and also added a short response, the article is over the events in Libya.  What’s good about this is that students can email you the article they clipped or share in on Facebook, Twitter, or copy the note URL and put it in their Livebinder.

 

How does this help the teacher?

When I was student teaching, I had students who lost their notes, forgot to bring them to class, and everything in between.  As we discussed in the first post of this series, students can access their notes from their computer, tablet, or mobile device.  When a student scans their notes into their Evernote account, they won’t be able to say “I lost them” or “I forgot them”.  Of course, as the teacher, you might consider typing or scanning your notes into your Evernote yourself.  This way, if you do want to share your notes with your students, you can share them the same way your students can.  Here’s how to share notes and notebooks.

 

Conclusion:

Hopefully this gave you some ideas on how you might use Evernote in your History class.  As with any technology tool that is used in the classroom, the main goal of it is to use it to engage the students and nurture them to become life-long learners.  Once I showed Evernote to my former student, she automatically started to see things that she could do with it.

 

Next week, we’ll look at how Evernote can help in the Geography class.  Looking forward to sharing more ideas for using Evernote the Social Studies classroom!

 

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Part 1: What is Evernote?

Evernote

Hello, my name is Justin Stallings.  Melissa and I met through our Professional Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter and I recently became a guest blogger on this blog.  Before I go into my posts, I wanted to give a big THANK YOU to Melissa for allowing me to post on her blog.

Introduction

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a big fan of Evernote.  I discuss it a lot at my blog and I put together a Evernote Livebinder a few months ago that received a “Top 10 Livebinder of 2012” nomination.

When I started to look at the content I had for Evernote, I realized that there wasn’t much material that was “content specific”.  Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss ways Social Studies teachers can use Evernote, beginning a series titled “Evernote for the Social Studies Teacher”.  Over the next few weeks, I would like to discuss ways in which Social Studies teachers (History, Government, Economics, etc) can utilize this great and free tool.

What is Evernote?

Before we begin to look at how Social Studies teachers can use Evernote, we need to first understand what Evernote is and what you can do with it in general.

Screen Shot 2013-03-28 at 10.50.37 PM

Need better organization?  Need a tool that you can create notes, clip articles, and have access to your uploaded documents from your computer, tablet, or mobile device 24/7?  With Evernote, all of this is now a reality.

Of course, the first thing that you’re thinking of is “How much does it cost?”  This is the best part of Evernote…it’s free!  With that being said, there is a paid version as well.  Here’s what you’ll get with the free version:

  • 100,000 Notes; each note can be a maximum of 25 megabytes (mb) for free users and 50mb for Premium users.
  • 250 Synchronized Notebooks (including Notebook Stacks). All 250 notebooks can be shared. There is no limit to the number of Local Notebooks (which aren’t synced) you can have.
  • 10,000 Tags.
  • 100 Saved Searches
(Source: Evernote.com)
Evernote on all of your devices
After creating a free account at www.evernote.com, you’ll want to gear up your devices to use Evernote to it’s full potential.  You can download Evernote onto your PC or Mac for easier access and install the mobile app for your smartphone or tablet.
Evernote Web Clipper
If you do a lot of research on the web, you’ll want to get the Evernote Web Clipper:

The web clipper can be installed on internet browsers Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer.  Once you find a article that you like like, you can “clip” it into your Evernote account for future reference.  The cool thing about this is that it clips the article itself and not just the url of the page.

Evernote Mobile Apps

With technology becoming a integrated part of the classroom, it’s important to have a tool that goes with you, on any device you have.  Evernote provides apps for your IOS devices, Android devices, and Blackberry devices.  With the Evernote app, you can quickly create notes from your mobile device, access web clippings, and everything else you have in your Evernote account.

Conclusion

All this is just a start of what you can do with Evernote.  Next week, we’ll be looking at different ways a History teacher could use Evernote in the classroom.

I recommend to browse around at evernote.com in the next few days.  The Evernote Trunk provides a exhaustive list of other applications that integrates Evernote with theirs, so Evernote provides a ton more uses.

Of course, if there is anything anyone would like to share, I’m always happy to learn new things myself!

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Use Pinterest to Spice up your Teaching

Hello blogosphere!  My friend Melissa invited me to compose a few guest posts on her blog, and I am delighted to share a few thoughts with you!

You may recall from earlier posts that Twitter is a wonderful tool for teachers to connect with and share ideas and experiences with each other.  From reading feeds such as #sschat, teachers can share strategies and tips to improve their abilities in the classroom.  Gone are the days of staring at your plan book, searching for ideas on general search engines, and struggling to come up with a way to make the content engaging.  Now, help is just a few keystrokes away.  Let me share with you another great resource that I promise you will be fun, and more than a little addicting.

Pinterest

www.pinterest.com

You may have heard of it.  If you have not used it and are not familiar with it, Pinterest is like a giant bulletin board.  Basically, when you log into the main page, you will see pictures (called “pins”) that other people have posted to their own boards (organized by theme or topic).  What people do is when they are browsing websites, if they see a picture of something that they really like, they click on the button to “pin” it, and then are redirected to Pinterest, where they pin the picture to the board of their choice.  Then, when they visit their pinboards later, and click on the “pinned” picture, they are redirected to the site where the picture originated.  I have pinned pictures of scarfs from knitting websites for future reference, then, months later, gone back and clicked on the pin to go to the website to get the pattern.  It’s like bookmarking pages using pictures.

Let’s just say that when I discovered that there were educational themed pin boards out there that I went a little crazy.  Over the course of a few days, I pinned over 75 different educational ideas to my “school ideas” board.  I got these pins both from educational blogs that I visited, websites, and of course, other peoples boards.  I learned several interesting things from Pinterest that I hope to use in my future classroom.

 

Interesting Ideas to Apply to Your Classroom

1.  Did you know that plastic plates (the throw-away kind) can double as little dry erase boards?  Glue one to a big popsicle stick and you have an instant response paddle.  (not a people paddle…make sure you set guidelines with your class for proper use, especially if you teach the lower grades 🙂 )   

2.  Home Depot sells dry erase paint.  And chalkboard paint.  You can now paint any surface and create chalk/dry erase boards.

3.  Using salt-dough clay and a little paint,  you can have students study geography by creating a land mass with various landforms.  Make a connection with world history by having students design the ideal land area to sustain a civilization.  What do people need to survive?  How do civilizations grow and prosper?  What area would be best suited to help people thrive?

 

4.  Remember playing “Guess Who” as a kid?  Well, if you can find one of the old game boards (and if you have the time and patience) you can cut out and glue pictures of historical people onto the flip cards, and you have a fun and interactive review game!

All told, I have over 100 pins on my “school ideas” board, and the 4 above ideas don’t even scratch the surface of the wonderful sources that I have found.  From classroom management strategies, to hands-on learning, to links for teaching to the Common Core, to classroom organization, to writing prompts and technology, the ideas (and pins!) are endless.  Simply browse pins in the Education category and be prepared to spend at least an hour glued to your computer, reading up on a ton of wonderful resources.

Finally, one last pin for the road.  I found a pin that links up to a blog, that lists over 200 pinboards full of education ideas.  If those pinboards are anything like mine, and have about 100 pins on them each, then you are looking at potentially 20,000 different educational pins to browse and repin to your own board for you to reference later.

Enjoy and happy pinning!

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This post was written by Guest Blogger- Mandi Morningstar. You can follow Mandi @Mandiamstar Mandi is a New York State certified 7-12 social studies teacher.  She worked for 4 years teaching 9th and 10th grade Global History and Geography before being laid off.  Mandi is currently looking for a classroom to call her own, and working as a substitute teacher in the meantime.  She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ithaca College in 2007 with her BA in Social Studies Education, and from SUNY New Paltz in 2011 with her MS in Adolescent Education with a history concentration.  Mandi and her fiance live in Beacon, NY with their cat, Yao-Man.

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Teacher Kit can help you stay organized

Often teachers have little time during the school year and any app that can save you time is well worth the money. Fortunatly for you, Teacher Kit is a FREE application. It is a personal organizer to help you organize classes and students. It is very simple to use and it can help you with attendance, grades, and student behavior.

 

After playing with it a little it seems like it would be a very useful application to use in the classroom. As a teacher you can set up your classroom, seating assignments, grades, and save student information such as their names, emails, parent contact information. Everything is stored in one place! From the app you can even email students or parents with a simple click…. You can take attendance and monitor student behavior.

Not sure if this is creepy… but you can even take a picture of the whole class and the app recognizes faces and asks you to identify them and it can help you build a roster with names and pictures for attendance purposes.

 

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Need Volunteers in your Classroom!

I am always looking for ways to make my classroom more  efficient. I discovered VolunteerSpot and wish I was an elementary school teacher so I could use this awesome program. VolunteerSpot is a free online volunteer coordination tool that even has an app for your mobile device. It can simplify busy parents into a list of easy to access parent volunteers for your classroom.

 

Schools across the country are always looking for ways to encourage volunteers in the classroom, fundraise needed funds, and improve their community. VolunteerSpot’s has actually updated the old paper and pen sign up sheet and increased parent participation!

It is also a wonderful resource for teachers and parents with “how to guides” and resource sharing materials for teachers. VolunteerSpot can save you time and improve your classroom.

 

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