New School Year = New Toys

A new school year means an opportunity for new toys. Over the summer I have been researching all of the new and fun tech tools that are out there. While I plan on trying out a few of them, the following are the three tools that I plan on using all year long.

I’ll be the first to admit that my communication with parents could be better. Given that I work in an area that is predominantly Spanish speaking, I have always struggled to make connections with parents. I tried a blog. I tried emailing. I tried everything but texting. I heard about Remind 101 last year at ISTE 2012 but never really gave it a try due to the fear of “texting” my students and parents. The more I looked into Remind 101 though the more I liked it and the more I wanted to use it in my class. Sure there are other texting services out there but I’m choosing to use Remind 101 because I can create two different groups (1 for English speakers and 1 for Spanish speakers), schedule text updates, save all of my messages, and keep my phone number and the student’s numbers confidential. I can really see this service being a game changer in the way that I communicate with parents and students outside of the classroom.




Let’s be honest….Most Power Point presentations suck. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself then how many times in the past few months have you seen someone give a PowerPoint presentation where they just read word for word what is on their slide. Now think about how many times you zoned out because you quickly read their twenty bullet points. I’d hate to break it to everyone but slides like that make for a boring presentation. Enter Haiku Deck. Haiku Deck is an easy to use slide show creator that makes visually appealing slide shows. What I really like about Haiku Deck is that you can’t put a million bullet points on one slide. Haiku Deck instead lets your pictures tell the story. My goal in using Haiku Deck is to have my presentations enhance our class conversations not dominate them. For those not familiar with Haiku Deck I have embedded my beginning of the year presentation below.

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Ahhh Edmodo. Last year I kept telling myself that I was going to give Edmodo a try. I’d create the class group  but never share it with my students for some reason. This year I really want to push this in my class. Since I am teaching ELA I can already see Edmodo being a great way for students to connect and give each other feedback on their writing, share reading suggestions, and collaborate on group projects. I’m also hoping that by using Edmodo I can create a strong collaborative culture in my classroom that can continue even after the school day is over.

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