How teachers Can Leverage More Time?

As a social studies teacher I feel strongly that students need to acquire facts, but we want our students to move beyond routine memorization to analyze and make connections with the new information. With the new demands of Common Core standards teachers will be faced with an educational decision to teach content that leads to a deeper understanding, comprehension, and application.

Incorporating technology into daily instruction is one way in which teachers can leverage more time, restructure learning activities so they become more meaningful, and provide opportunities for more rigorous  instruction. Digital tools can be seamlessly integrated into the curriculum to save teachers time and enhance learning time. Some teachers have a hard time envisioning how digital products can be enhanced into classroom instruction. Here are a few ways I integrate technology into my classroom:



I use a program called Infuse learning as a formative assessment with my students. Students can electronically through their cell phones, tablets, or laptops send responses immediately to an electronic spreadsheet that can allow me assess whole-group or individual feedback.


I can then use this information to guide my teaching and instruction. For example, students may answer a critical thinking question from the previous night’s homework. If the spreadsheet or graph reveals a majority of students did not comprehend a concept the assignment I can then reteach or review a particular concept or question. Students send immediate responses to my teacher account which can place responses into an electronic spreadsheet, which allows me assess the whole class or give individual feedback. Through infuse learning, I can send my class a multiple-choice question. The website instantly graphs my students responses, which reveals if my students did not comprehend a concept


For example, students may answer a critical comprehension question applying a historical topic to modern day. Another way I have my student’s use this program is with the draw feature. In pairs they are assigned four vocabulary words. They then need to draw the vocabulary words. They then send the words to the board and as a class we guess the word and review the definition.  This makes for a particularly useful review activity in any class (yes even AP).

Image by: Krista Moroder


Google Forms for Data Collection

I simplified my life with Google Forms.  Google forms can help you plan an event, send a survey, give a quiz, or collect information in an easy way. Through Google Forms responses are automatically collected in a spreadsheet. Responses can be shown in a graph or sorted by spreadsheet column.


I use Google Forms on the first day of school to collect student information, back to school night data, rubrics for projects, and so much more. My students even asked me to make a Google form for a debate evaluation so that no one knew their handwriting with the evaluation.

Evernote for Lesson Plans, Notes, or Assignments 

Evernote is an easy-to-use, free application or website that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. Evernote lets your take notes, sync files across your devices, save webpages, capture inspiration, and share your ideas with friends and colleagues.  There are so many wonderful ways to use Evernote for file sharing, lesson plans, digital portfolios writing submission. The ideas are endless! Here is a great Livebinder created by Justin Stallings on all the wonderful features of Evernote.



Online Discussions

Back channeling during class can encourage your students to make comments, ask questions, and provide feedback.  I have used Today’s Meet, Twitter, or My Big Campus as a back channel during class such as with a debate, video, or resource sharing session when I do not want “verbal” discussion. My students enjoy back channeling during videos. My students ask questions, answer questions, and share links/quotes about the topic of the video. I find I can have a more engaging discussion after the video because all of the initial questions were already answered.







Part 1: What is 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.


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.

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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
Evernote on all of your devices
After creating a free account at, 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.


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 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!