Online Tools: Suggestions from TeachersFirst

This editor's choice collection offers timesavers and organizational tools for teachers. They include "utility" sites for teaching tasks such as seating charts, rubrics, and certificates. Other tools facilitate parent communication, such as text messaging or online conferencing. Our editors have also hand picked simple, timesaving, creative tools from the TeachersFirst Edge. These tools organize to-do lists (for yourself or for students), convert files, remove ads from web pages, check web site readability, write a one-time blog, generate an online signup sheet, make a simple graphic organizer or chart, create online corkboards or stickies, and much more. Mark your Favorites using your free TeachersFirst membership, so you can find them quickly!

For a full listing of reviewed "creation" tools by category, try the TeachersFirst Edge, today's hottest tools for creating teacher and student projects online. 

 

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Is It Down Right Now? - isitdownrightnow.com

Grades
4 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
Find out instantly if the problem you are having opening a web site is YOUR problem or a website that is down. Is It Down Right Now (iidrn.com for short) ...more
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Find out instantly if the problem you are having opening a web site is YOUR problem or a website that is down. Is It Down Right Now (iidrn.com for short) instantly "pings" a site so you can tell whether the site is down for everyone or just for you (perhaps due to a glitch with your Internet provider). The Internet is never a sure thing, but this tool tells you whether it's just YOU having trouble. Although it sounds geeky, it's easy. Copy/paste or type the URL you are trying to reach into the box at top right, and click "Check." The results tell you how long it takes for the site to respond and how long it has been down (if it is). What a handy tool for ANYONE using the web! What this tool will not tell you is if you are mistyping the URL, so always double check.
This site includes advertising.

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your Favorites and remind your student to use it before they call out, "The page isn't opening!" in the middle of class. Make it one of the required tools as part of "ask three before me." If you have a class web page, this is a handy way to find out if your web page service (or district-provided web page server) is having trouble "serving up" the class page. Tell savvy students who are unable to access web sites to use this tool and take a screen shot of the results if a site assigned for homework is "down" for prolonged periods. This is simple "proof" worthy of a get-out-of-homework-free card if they can show that the site was down for three hours on the night of the assignment!

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Dice Roll - S Riley Teacherled

Grades
K to 8
3 Favorites 0  Comments
Virtual dice can be addicting when trying to figure out what number will come up next, and they are quiet! You'll never have these dice roll off the table and ...more
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Virtual dice can be addicting when trying to figure out what number will come up next, and they are quiet! You'll never have these dice roll off the table and under furniture. Choose from one, two, or three virtual die at a time. Simply click Roll and start the guessing.

tag(s): game based learning (103), mental math (27), operations (126), probability (130)

In the Classroom

Have fun in your classroom with virtual dice on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this with young students just learning to count. Have students take a guess about what number will "win." Use as an incentive and allow a student to roll the dice to meet a class goal. Set a goal of a large number, and every time a small goal is achieved, roll the dice and keep adding. Keep track until the class achieves the sum given. Practice basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division facts. Have team competitions and choose winners by even/odd, the greatest/least sum, greatest/least product or quotient. Allow students to work in small groups to play the mathematical practice games. For larger digits, roll two die simultaneously and get the greater number. Do the same to get double or triple digit numbers. Encourage your students to practice at home and play against their parents. Any time you need a dice, go to your bookmarked site. In older grades study probability and chance. Use the data and create line plots or graphs in various forms. Be sure to incorporate mean, median, and mode.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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HomeRoom Mom - School Family Media

Grades
K to 8
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Homeroom Mom is an online community to share tips and tools for working with classroom teachers. Don't let the title fool you, this site contains valuable information for anyone working...more
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Homeroom Mom is an online community to share tips and tools for working with classroom teachers. Don't let the title fool you, this site contains valuable information for anyone working with students! Choose from the many categories to find ideas for decorations, crafts, holidays, and much more. Select Letters, Flyers, and Forms to find a yearly planning calendar, party sign-up sheets, and other handy forms for immediate use.

tag(s): classroom management (134), field trips (12), holidays (147), parents (56), preK (279)

In the Classroom

Share Homeroom Moms on your class website as an excellent resource for use by your homeroom mom (or dad), tutors, and other classroom helpers. Bookmark and save for use when planning class parties, finding holiday activities, and much more. Use this site to help YOU get organized!

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Classmill - Tariq Rauf

Grades
6 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Classmill allows you to create your own online classes by uploading videos, links, files, and images. Create your account to start your own class or explore classes already online....more
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Classmill allows you to create your own online classes by uploading videos, links, files, and images. Create your account to start your own class or explore classes already online. When creating a class choose from privacy options such as invite only for attendees. Add content within modules for each class using tabs to upload or embed information. Once your content is complete, use the "Ready" toggle switch to make it accessible to users. Use the "Invite" button to invite users using their email address.

tag(s): classroom management (134)

In the Classroom

Create your course and offer it to your students for greater interaction and learning through community building. Find great ideas from other existing courses. Teachers of gifted can use courses to challenge students in their areas of interest. You can also have gifted students create or collaborate on a student-made "course." Explore the topics yourself for some new, engaging topics to round out your own expertise. Allow students to enroll in a course that would fit into their career goals as an exploratory opportunity in that field.

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GraphFree - Donovan Harshbarger

Grades
8 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
GraphFree is an online graphing tool built by a high school math teacher to meet the needs he didn't find in other online tools. Choose the User's Guide to get ...more
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GraphFree is an online graphing tool built by a high school math teacher to meet the needs he didn't find in other online tools. Choose the User's Guide to get started. The Quick Start feature provides basic information on using the graphing features. Short videos explain other options for drawing and labeling graphs. When finished, follow instructions for saving graphs to your computer or into popular office software programs.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): calculators (41), charts and graphs (195)

In the Classroom

Use GraphFree in place of expensive graphing calculators that many students may not have. Be sure to provide the link on your teacher page or blog for easy access. This is a wonderful tool for use in the 1:1 classrooms.

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Random.org - Dr. Mads Haahr

Grades
K to 12
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Do you need to choose items in a truly random way? If so, this site is for you! Random.org offers many different categories for receiving randomized information. Choose from the ...more
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Do you need to choose items in a truly random way? If so, this site is for you! Random.org offers many different categories for receiving randomized information. Choose from the links for random lists, coin flippers, dates, passwords, dice rolls, and much more. Follow directions on each page to set the form and receive results. There is also an app for both Android and iOs devices.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (196), gamification (65), probability (130), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Use Random.org to generate any kind of list you need such as groups for field trips, random dates for history research, and random places on a map. Use the name generator to select a student to do an activity or to answer a question. Allow students to use the name generator to choose the classmate who comes next. Use the generator tools as part of your probability unit to chart how often names or coins appear with random selections.

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Success Certificates - 2012 Certificate Web Design by Us

Grades
1 to 12
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Here is the solution to all your certificate needs. Find free printable certificates for school, sports, family, or fun. Change color schemes or formats, select and add your text, and...more
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Here is the solution to all your certificate needs. Find free printable certificates for school, sports, family, or fun. Change color schemes or formats, select and add your text, and be ready in seconds. Print or download to save.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): worksheets (59)

In the Classroom

Make your students' day by recognizing their hard work and efforts! Use this tool to recognize students in seconds in a fun, free way. Ideas for student use include having students choose characters from a book and create a certificate for them. Next have students elaborate and describe the reasons why this certificate is awarded. During Thanksgiving, let students become more aware of all the people that help them and nurture them. Use with younger buddies to give them the idea of thankfulness and appreciation. During a study of communities, have students choose a community worker and send a certificate of thanks. For older students help them set the sites high, and create the certificate they want to receive in the future. What goals do they need to set to achieve this?
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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OK2Ask'®: Online Tools to save you time and your sanity - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from March 2015, opens in Adobe Connect. Discover all of the "ready to go" resources available at TeachersFirst....more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from March 2015, opens in Adobe Connect. Discover all of the "ready to go" resources available at TeachersFirst. Explore the timesaving (and easy to use) online tools. Find inspiration and timesaving tools in this fast-paced session! This session for teachers at ALL technology comfort levels. As a result of this session and through individual follow-up, teachers will: Explore the various online tools available at TeachersFirst; Find more ways to save time using TeachersFirst for planning lessons; Have free exploration time to find materials relevant to his/her classroom needs; (Follow-up) Plan and implement a student-centered, curriculum-related use of the resource(s) of choice as part of an upcoming teaching unit. Or plan how to use an online tool to save time in his/her classroom. Applicable NETS-T standards (2008)*: 1b, 2a and b, 3d. ISTE's standards page.

In the Classroom

Looking for some time-saving and easy to use tools? View this webinar archive to find tools to create seating charts, free printable paper, online timers, polls and quizzes, and much more. Take a look at the resource page full of excellent resources to explore! Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Free Online Stopwatch - Ummay

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Free Online Stopwatch offers an assortment of popular clock tools - all ad free, simple, and easy to share! Choose from the Stopwatch, Alarm Clock, Current Time, Timer, or Date ...more
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Free Online Stopwatch offers an assortment of popular clock tools - all ad free, simple, and easy to share! Choose from the Stopwatch, Alarm Clock, Current Time, Timer, or Date Countdown. Also, find emoticons for social media and email at the bottom of the page. Click on any of the social media links at the top to easily share your countdown.

tag(s): classroom management (134), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

There are many uses for this practical online tool. At the beginning of the school year, display on your interactive whiteboard or projector to time or count down any classroom activity. This will get the students in the habit of checking how much time they have left. Project the Stopwatch or Timer while students take a test, solve a drag and drop, practice speeches, rotate between learning centers, or join cooperative learning groups. When rotating between centers or taking turns in a cooperative learning group, schedule the time sequence to keep everyone on track. Use the Date Countdown to share days until any important event via social media. Share this tool on your class website for students to use at home (to practice taking timed math practice tests, practice for a speech, and more).

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Otus - Mobile Learning Environment - Pete Helfers, Chris Hull, and Andrew Bluhm

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Otus is a simple, powerful online classroom management and learning tool. The teacher version offers a dashboard with whiteboard capabilities and split screens. Create assignments,...more
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Otus is a simple, powerful online classroom management and learning tool. The teacher version offers a dashboard with whiteboard capabilities and split screens. Create assignments, polls, bookshelves, reading material, and quizzes with immediate feedback when complete. Work in real-time to take attendance, assess students, and get poll results. Do all of this from your computer or mobile device. Students join with a class code either on the web or from the app on their mobile. There are eleven tutorials accessible from the home page. These are YouTube videos. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): assessment (99), blogs (88), classroom management (134), DAT device agnostic tool (196), microblogging (44)

In the Classroom

Once you set up your account and classes, this could be your classroom online! Teach anything here that you can teach in a physical classroom with a lot less hassle and prep time! Choose to have the parent portal active or not. Save all resources by using the bookshelf, so you can use them again in the future. You have a central bookshelf, and you can share anything from there to your classes (each class has its own bookshelf), other members of Otus, and more. Use the calendar for scheduling assignments, tests, field trips and anything else for your classes. On the class home page there are two different type posts: they are the Side Bar and Main Bar, both of which can be renamed to make them pertinent to your class. Title the posts and add media if appropriate. Students can comment on posts.

Sharing via the bookshelf is one reason Otus is such a powerful tool. Be sure to watch the video tutorial about it. The Assessment section is another powerful tool that can include short answer, multiple choice, and true/false questions. Add a photo (such as a graph, map, cell, etc.). The ability to randomize questions and answers, assign Common Core standards, create tags to make it easier to find in the future, and grade online all make the assessment section very teacher friendly.

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MediaFire - MediaFire

Grades
6 to 12
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Get organized with Media Fire. Store and sync files, folders, and media (photos, music, video). Access them from any computer or mobile device. Download the program to your computer...more
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Get organized with Media Fire. Store and sync files, folders, and media (photos, music, video). Access them from any computer or mobile device. Download the program to your computer for times when there is no Internet access. MediaFire Desktop keeps your online and locally stored files safe and in sync. View and edit all files and folders privately or share them to collaborate. Find a comprehensive Getting Started PDF manual on the left side menu. Signing up is as easy as typing in your email. MediaFire claims to be "the only online storage solution to offer unlimited downloads, download resuming, zero wait times and more, all for free."
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (196)

In the Classroom

Use MediaFire to transfer files and images between devices quickly in your BYOD or 1:1 classroom. Student groups working on projects in class can gather and share data easily from anywhere. Use for any work students may wish to collaborate on. They can easily make documents public or private and share with others. What a great way for students to turn their work into you when completed on their devices! During curriculum development and other professional development activities, members of a department (or even school-wide) can share resources and documents easily with each other.

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Random Name Generator Tool - Instant Classroom

Grades
K to 12
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Call on a different student every time with the Random Name Generator tool. Each class can have up to 100 names. First, type a new group name to check availability. ...more
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Call on a different student every time with the Random Name Generator tool. Each class can have up to 100 names. First, type a new group name to check availability. Next, enter a password, display name, and your email address. Either copy and paste the information that comes next or save the email you are sent to retrieve the group and list of names quickly. The Random Name Generator will work with iPads or on any Internet browser.

tag(s): classroom management (134), probability (130)

In the Classroom

Use the Random Name Generator to select a student to do an activity or to answer a question. Allow students to use the name generator to choose the classmate who comes next. Create your list at the beginning of the year and SAVE it to use throughout the year. Use the Random Name Generator as part of your probability unit to chart how often names appear with random spins.

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Comment Bubble - Vivek Agrawal and Jean-Sebastien Legare

Grades
4 to 12
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Get explicit feedback for any video you want to share with others. Comment Bubble has a feedback feature that allows viewers to react to your video using five "Quick Comment" ...more
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Get explicit feedback for any video you want to share with others. Comment Bubble has a feedback feature that allows viewers to react to your video using five "Quick Comment" colored buttons (without pausing the video). Type in the information you want to know on the button. Viewers click on that button when they see it in the video. Viewers can also comment via text, audio, or video. Share the video with the URL provided or make it public for anyone to see. Comment Bubble will record and graph where in the video the audience reacted. See viewers' names with each comment. The demo video is hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, it may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): assessment (99), video (253)

In the Classroom

Introduce Comment Bubble on an interactive whiteboard or projector with a video you have prepared. It could be a video you use in conjunction with your lesson or a video of you actually giving the lesson. Show students how they can click on the Quick Comment buttons and also make text or verbal comments. Use Comment Bubble for flipping your class lectures. Have buttons for students to click when things are unclear or when they strongly disagree. Record student presentations and upload for self-evaluation or peer and teacher comments and questions. Use this tool for formative assessment. ESL/ELL and resource teachers could record students reading or conversing with a group and create a Comment Bubble for the students to self score their activity.

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30 Hands - Cloud - Eric Braun & Carmen Ferrara

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
30 Hands offers both social learning and a Learning Management System. They call it a learning studio. Use this tool to present all your lessons and store all the materials ...more
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30 Hands offers both social learning and a Learning Management System. They call it a learning studio. Use this tool to present all your lessons and store all the materials you will use for the lesson. In order to see all 30 Hands offers, click on "Take the Tour." Sign up for this tool with your email and create a course. Be sure to look on the right menu to find the course code to give to students when they sign up. In the creation of your course, you can include presentations, videos, assignments, a blog, student portfolios, surveys, discussion forums, groups within a class roster, and more. There are plenty of step by step directions for every aspect of setting up your course. Students can access 30 Hands on any device.

tag(s): assessment (99), classroom management (134), multimedia (57)

In the Classroom

Once you create the course you will have access to a home page that can include multimedia. Your courses can also include a calendar, digital bookshelves to organize content, a presentation showcase, a timeline and forum for discussions, a blog for students, student portfolios, small group collaboration, and interactive assignments. This tool can easily be your classroom online!

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Group Maker Tool - Instant Classroom

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create random groups quickly with the Group Maker Tool. Click "Create a Group Now" to begin and follow prompts to set up your groups. You will need to provide an ...more
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Create random groups quickly with the Group Maker Tool. Click "Create a Group Now" to begin and follow prompts to set up your groups. You will need to provide an email and create a password for your group. Add up to 100 names to your class list. Choose the number of groups to make. You can even choose to make pairs!

In the Classroom

Although a bit awkward and slow to get started, this tool is helpful for creating random groups for many purposes. It is best to create your class list ahead of time then you can easily create groups anytime on the fly! Use this tool to create groups for cooperative learning, class plays, presentations, computer centers, field trips, and much more.

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Dowce - Dowce

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Looking for an easy to use way to take a screenshot in Windows? Look no further! Download this tool. Once installed, a button appears along the top in your toolbar ...more
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Looking for an easy to use way to take a screenshot in Windows? Look no further! Download this tool. Once installed, a button appears along the top in your toolbar (look for the red "d"). When you wish to take a screenshot of something, click on the "d" button, then "Make new selection." Use your mouse to highlight the portion on your screen. Choose from one of the saving options available in a pop-up window: Save to dowce, save to the clipboard, or save to your computer. Note: This is for Windows computer only. Mac users can easily take a screenshot by holding down the Command-Shift-4 buttons then using the mouse to drag the cross hair over the items to be saved as a screenshot.

tag(s): images (265)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to copy items to share on your blog or site. Use to copy graphs, images, specific text, or other items useful to share either with your students or with colleagues. Remember to follow copyright and always cite your source when sharing the item in the screenshot.
 

Edge Features:

Products can be embedded

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TrackStar - 4Teachers.org

Grades
2 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Build scavenger hunts, treasure hunts, webquests, or extend learning using Trackstar. To make a track, think of a descriptive title, and write a description. Select from creating a...more
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Build scavenger hunts, treasure hunts, webquests, or extend learning using Trackstar. To make a track, think of a descriptive title, and write a description. Select from creating a Resource list, Worksheet, Extended learning, or Demo. Collect up to 15 websites (know the page title and URL) and create annotations or directions. Viewing the track in frames will have the titles of pages in the left menu bar. Click on the title and the text of the page appears in the center. Any links that are on the page in the center will open in a new tab. Search ready-made Tracks to get an idea of how they work. Viewing tracks in Chrome is possible, but this tool does not seem to work with Chrome to create tracks.

tag(s): bookmarks (60), gamification (65), webquests (29)

In the Classroom

Create an Internet activity that is useful for students and allows them to work independently or with a partner in class or at home. Demonstrate on an interactive whiteboard or projector how to use the track. Be sure to put the URL for the track on your class website. This tool would be great for flipping your classroom. Students could read and view the sites at home and come to class with their work and their questions ready for a discussion. Create a bank of resources for each content unit within your subject or classroom. Use for web treasure hunts to learn or introduce any topic within your content area. Use for directed research. Search the ready-made tracks by subject, grade level, theme, track number, etc. to find one to use with your class. Collect links to informational texts for students to read "closely" a la CCSS. Students or student groups can create Trackstars of the resources they use for a project. Use with faculty and staff to showcase a variety of tools for professional development. Create Tracks you can share with other teachers in your building or district. If you would like to know more about webquests see TeachersFirst Webquest 101

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Nearpod - Nearpod

Grades
5 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Use this free slide-based multimedia app to put lessons and other material on any web browser OR iOs and Android devices. Build your own presentations using pre-made templates. The...more
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Use this free slide-based multimedia app to put lessons and other material on any web browser OR iOs and Android devices. Build your own presentations using pre-made templates. The site does offer some ready-made presentations (some free). Many of the video and text presentations are from Khan Academy and include questions to answer as you work through the presentations. What is the best part of Nearpod? Teachers control the pace of the lesson, and students do not move to the next screen until advanced by the teacher. Use the teacher version of the app to push out the presentation to your students. Every student uses their own student app to follow the screens and answer the questions. This provides immediate feedback about every student. The feedback can be emailed to the teacher for later review. This formative assessment tool is invaluable and a unique part of the app. The tool also includes drawing for students to work out problems. Teachers are able to identify students who are not "on task" and not working within the app when a little red light pops up. Absent students are able to complete the assignment at home.

tag(s): assessment (99), classroom management (134), DAT device agnostic tool (196), multimedia (57), slides (63)

In the Classroom

This is an exciting way to begin an iPad (or BYOD) integration into the classroom. Though it may be difficult to determine the best pacing of the lesson, the ability to slow down the advancement of the next screen allows more time to digest the information. Be aware that students needing more time may be very frustrated as the screen may advance before they are able to finish. Start small by uploading presentations and using JPEG and other images. Add interactive elements such as polls and videos. Grab students attention by using the first slide to deliver a piece of humorous information. Create guided learning stations and push out several presentations to different devices as students move through the various lessons to be learned. This technique can be helpful for struggling learners. Use this tool to help reinforce the most difficult parts of the lesson. Use the app to create schedules for training, clubs, and more. For English, learn about grammar rules, sentence structure, and other elements necessary for good writing. For ESL/ELL classes and world languages, practice various vocabulary words and learn tenses of verbs. Learn vocabulary and basic scientific concepts in any science class or facts about historical periods in history classes. This app is a valuable tool in any classroom.

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Copy Paste Character - Konst & Teknik & Martin

Grades
K to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
Copy Paste Character offers a large assortment of characters to use with any text. Choose from characters within a favorite set such as music notes, smiley faces, or mathematical symbols....more
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Copy Paste Character offers a large assortment of characters to use with any text. Choose from characters within a favorite set such as music notes, smiley faces, or mathematical symbols. Click on any symbol then paste into your document. View other sets such as graphic shapes, punctuation, and emojis using the drop-down box. Registration is not required, but it is an option if you want to create and save sets for future use.

tag(s): images (265), symbols (19)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site to easily find symbols for use on your class webpage, newsletters, and lessons. Share with students as a resource for finding characters and symbols for use on any project. Add this link to your class website for students (and families) to access at home.

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Crumbles - Thirty Labs

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Why just record your voice or send a message the same old boring way? Use cartoon and movie characters to speak your message instead! Type your message in the box. ...more
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Why just record your voice or send a message the same old boring way? Use cartoon and movie characters to speak your message instead! Type your message in the box. There is a 25 word limit. The site takes clips from TV and movies to create a short video. Each word uses a different clip. If a clip is not available for a word you pick, Crumbles uses a computerized voice instead. A silly tool, but a fun one to enjoy. Click create link to share or share via Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to monitor students carefully as clips can be found from ANY word that they type into the message. It would be a good practice to approve messages students want to create before sharing the tool with them.

In the Classroom

Use this engaging (and fun) tool to create an announcement for the start of a student presentation. Create one to share the writing prompt for the day. Students may be inspired by the movie/TV clips that generate the message. Create a "6 degrees of" type assignment where the video/TV clips generated must have something in common. Students can take time to look at the clips to identify items in the background, characteristics of the actors/actresses, etc. Create a similar type of message from video clips of students taken throughout the year. Or, create your own by taping students saying words and splicing them together to create a similar end result. Use a tool such as StepUp reviewed here.

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