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6 Great Resources for (Digital) Organization in your Classroom

INTRODUCTION:

Recently, teachers have been reaching out to Gradeable with a specific problem: they are feeling overwhelmed with the sheer number of ideas and innovations that are suggested to them for use in their classrooms. With this sentiment in mind, I wanted to compile some resources for managing information by pointing you to some fellow teachers who have built similar systems for their own rooms. Here are six stellar tools to help you organize your ideas and beyond.

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1. Together Teacher

Together Teacher is a consultancy for schools and leadership teams on school organization and time management. While this consultancy might exceed your need, they also have a great blog on organization tools, and a wealth of resources for your classroom that are available to you if you sign up for their email list serve.

2. EdSurge Instruct

Staying curent with cutting edge educational innovations can often feel overwhelming, even if you are not a busy teacher on top of this. To keep myself up to date, I subscribe to EdSurge’s weekly newsletter Instruct, which compiles information for educators on education and technology use in the field (in a brief email). They also have a newsletter on entreprenurship in the field called Innovate that you can tack on with one additional click.

3. Dropbox and Mailbox

These two organizational tools help me organize, compile, and share files and email respectively. I love the ease of having access to my files from anywhere, and freedom from the sheer amount of paper that I would compile over the course of the year, especially in light of my transition to digital grading. The bonus? Having one account to access both tools (through DropBox).

4. The Organized Classroom

Charity Preston is a master blogger. Her blog is full of strategies for organizing your resources. I am an especially big fan of her Technology page on Pinterest, where she compiles digital organizational strategies around popular tech tools for instruction.

5. Edmodo

Edmodo is a great resource for educators, and if you are not using already, I would urge you to reconsider. Connect with fellow educators on any topic in the field, from technology integration, to math and ELA. In addition to subject content, you can also post questions to fellow educators for tips on professional development and organization.

6. Gradeable

Gradeable helps you grade faster by eliminating the time it takes to evaluate and record grades in paper, digital, or project-based grading. On top of this Gradeabe is also a great tool for managing student grades and compiling a strong record of your students’ succcesses and challenges, and communicating this information to parents and fellow educators.

Learn more about Gradeable’s digital product.

Get your FREE trial of Gradeable!

Keeping your room and information organized is no easy task. I hope that in reading this, you have gained a few important resources to manage your grades, tools, and digital files. Every educator can be an organized one with a few easy steps!

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ProTip Wednesday: 7 Things to Toss When Decluttering Your Classroom

tossout

The largest dilemma I had at the end of the year was not my impending summer plans, but whether I should keep the Valentine’s Day teddy bear or #1 Teacher mug from students. Or how my set of emergency beakers for on-the-fly demos suddenly grew to 20 beakers (and growing…). We now know what to keep—so what should we toss?

To Toss: (May be most helpful with good music and a friend)

1. If it looks like it went through battle

Markers, crayons, colored pencils, construction paper, binders—if it looks like a truck ran it over twice, then it’s probably best to throw it out. (via Responsive Classroom)

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2. Things with missing parts

Board games, lab equipment, math activities, books — if the reason it’s missing a part is due to your class size, be sure to put that into the “donate” pile for a teacher who has different class sizes than yours. (via Responsive Classroom)

Image via Learning Things

Image via Learning Things

3. Unread books

I brought in my entire childhood library when I started teaching, but unfortunately, some of my middle schoolers didn’t share the same enthusiasm for them as I did. You can pass on those books to another teacher or donation center to clear out the way for books with greater circulation. (Cue: tears) (via Responsive Classroom)

Image via New York Times

Image via New York Times

4. If it can be found online

I’m all for binders and paper resources because I’m still attached to my highlighter and pen. However, if it can be digitized or stored online, then it’s a good time to transition into online storage.

Gradeable is incredibly helpful in helping you transition to a paperless classroom and storing paper assignments online easily – just scan and it’s saved!

Image via McKay Alumni

Image via McKay Alumni

5. Things that do not fit into conventional student storage

You know those extra bendable rulers or emergency name tags you keep for the “one day” situations— just toss it. According to Liam at Teaching with a Twist of Liam, if it doesn’t fit into a student’s pencil box, tool box, or a back pack, then it’s not necessary to keep.

6. The growing pile of student gifts

Although my collection of stuffed animals has grown since teaching, I realized that they were starting to take over bed space, shelf space, and overall home space. But we all remember who gave it to us and what it meant so it’s a hard decision to toss these sentimental items— then again, the #1 Teacher mug can’t live forever on your desk. (via Teaching with a Twist of Liam)

Image via Travelasaurus

Image via Travelasaurus

7. Things that were not touched in 2 years

I think I still have a life-sized Christmas stocking from Student Council days (Are my StuCo advisors out there? You feel the pain of hoarding resources.), but I haven’t touched it recently. Anything that falls under this category should be soundly tossed.

Don’t forget that there is some first year teacher out there that would love your old things, especially if you transitioned grade levels. Other donation options include:

  • local day care centers
  • after-school programs
  • homeless shelters
  • Goodwill
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Start here.  What #technology do you plan to use in your classroom next year?

Here are 10 questions to help you navigate all the new #edtech out there.

Fostering Critical Thinking With Technology – Ken Bain

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Awesome link!

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The Potential of Your Classroom

Potential. As a teacher, you see it every day: in your students, in your fellow teachers, in your school. There is another place, though, that may not come to mind when you think of potential: your classroom environment.

A new study by Stalford University in Manchester, England found that the classroom environment can affect student learning by as much as a full year’s worth of learning material. Some factors are out of your control, like being dependent on the way the building was constructed, but there are some small changes you can make that have a big impact on your students and your success:

Idea 1: Switch it up! Put up new wall material (lots of colors, new imagery, even just moving things around from one side of the room to the other helps change things up). Students definitely like to be heard. Put up an opinions board to let them know you’re listening! It’s an easy way to change up the content on the walls.

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(Image Source: The Trendy Teacher)

Idea 2: Hang things on the wall in picture frames to make your classroom look more classy! (We’ll do a post on making your class a more familiar space next!)

(Image Source: Pinterest)

Idea 3. Have kids take photos of subject and topic related matter. High school students are definitely using Instagram, and will love the idea of getting their work on the wall!

(Image Source: Goodwillionaire)

Tap into the potential of the classroom. More ideas next week!

—Mikaila

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More on one of our themes this week: project-based learning.  We’re big fans!

get-educated:

From Edudemic: Project-Based Learning is a fluid technique to enhance learning that really looks nothing like projects as they’re described below. For example, in a PBL scenario, the teacher’s work is typically done prior to the start of the project, it’s graded on a clearly defined rubric, and has driving questions that keep the learning going.

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Very cool stuff.  Would you ever consider this in your classroom?  Why or why not?

get-educated:

From Blogging About the Web 2.0: For many teachers the traditional textbook just doesn’t cut it any more. Between the rapid pace at which information changes and rising cost, many are looking for alternatives. Believe it or not, there are lots of options out there, if you know where to look and you are willing to get your hands dirty. The best part? Kids can create these using any of the tools below.