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Top 10 Technology Tips for New Teachers

Yet another article that I wrote for http://theapple.com This article has been a popular one, it had the most views EVER on TheApple in one day! I wrote these tips for new teachers but the tips are valid for those of us who have been teaching for years as well. Enjoy! Kelly Tenkely | TheApple.com Being a first year teacher can be overwhelming to say the least. There is new curriculum to learn, unfamiliar school policies, classroom management challenges, and new teammates. Technology can help to ease some of these first year growing pains. 1. Develop a Personal Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter. Twitter is an excellent place for new teachers to connect, collaborate, share ideas, and struggles with educators around the world. When joining Twitter, make sure to fill out your profile with information related to education. This will help others in education find you. Visit http://twitter.com to create an account. Visit http://twitter4teachers.pbworks.com to find other educators that teach in the same content area(s). Be sure to add your Twitter name to the appropriate list so that other educators can find you. 2. Keep students engaged. Always have engaging activities on hand to keep your students on task and learning. Students will misbehave if they have nothing to do, don’t give them the opportunity to be bored. Technology is a great way to fill those extra minutes with critical thinking and problem solving activities. Keep a list or bookmark folder full of great online logic puzzle and problem solving websites for students to refer to when they have extra minutes. List ideas on 3×5 notecards that are kept next to the classroom computers. Students can select a card for an engaging activity any time they have a few extra minutes. Here are some suggestions for great engaging websites: Fantastic Contraption- http://fantasticcontraption.com/ Super Thinkers- http://www.enlightenme.com/enlightenme/superthinkers/pages/index.html Toy Theater- http://www.toytheater.com/index.php Science Museum Launch Ball- http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/launchpad/launchball/ I Know That Thinking Games- http://iknowthat.com Zoops Games that make you think- http://www.zoopz.com/zoopz/zoopz2.html Light Up Your Brain- http://lightupyourbrain.com/ 3. Take charge of professional development. Just because you have a degree doesn’t mean that you are finished learning. A good teacher is continually learning. Technology makes it easy to extend your learning by offering professional development on demand. Professional development will keep your teaching fresh, current, and will remind you of what it is like to learn something new. Teachers who are continually learning make empathetic teachers, they understand how frustrating it can be to learn something for the first time. These are great places to continue your learning: Learner.org – http://learner.org Thinkfinity- http://thinkfinity.org Tapped in- http://tappedin.com/tappedin Teacher Tap- http://eduscapes.com/tap Edutopia Instructional Modules- http://www.edutopia.org/instructional-modules 4. Involve parents by creating a link between home and school. It is essential to build a strong connection between what happens at school with what happens at home. Students shouldn’t stop learning when they leave your classroom. Keep parents informed so they can be advocates for their kids education at home. There are a few ways to keep parents involved and informed: Build a simple website to share classroom policies, unit overviews, homework, newsletters, calendars, and links to helpful websites. These websites are as easy as 1-2-3 to create and will keep your parents in the know. Check out the following free website creators: Wix www.wix.com Weebly www.weebly.com Bloust www.bloust.com Yola www.yola.com Lunar Pages http://wiki.lunarpages.com/Free_Education_Account Create a classroom Twitter account (http://twitter.com) and invite parents to follow the class on Twitter. Throughout the class day invite students to post short updates about learning on the classroom Twitter account. Examples would be: “Yikes, about to take a pop math quiz!” or “Reading chapter 3 of Wayside School, can’t wait to hear what happens next.” This keeps parents updated with exactly what is happening in your classroom throughout the school day. When students get home parents can ask about specific activities that happened throughout the school day instead of getting the standard “nothing” answer when they ask what they did that day. This is also a great place to post homework. It is fast and gets students and teachers thinking about and reflecting on the learning of the day. 5. Keep yourself organized. During the first year of teaching you will find a lot of new great resources, keep track of all these great finds in one easy to manage location. Delicious.com is a bookmarking website that allows you to bookmark and organize websites and webtools as you find them. Bookmarks can be collected and shared with others educators through Delicious. Be sure to install the Internet browser plugin so that you can easily bookmark a site with the click of a button. 6. Find educational blogs to discover new ideas, encouragement, and educational news. I have found some educational blogs written by other educators that make me laugh, keep me current, and encourage me on tough days of teaching. Below are some of my favorite blogs, you can find other great blogs by clicking on the links in each bloggers ‘blog roll’. These are the blogs that the blogger is reading. NCS-Tech- http://www.ncs-tech.org Three Old Farts- http://threeoldfarts.com/ Cal Teacher Blog- http://calteacherblog.blogspot.com/ Always Learning- http://mscofino.edublogs.org/ Once Upon a Teacher- http://onceuponateacher.blogspot.com/ Regurgitated Alpha Bits- http://regurgitatedalphabits.blogspot.com/ Smart Education 1 to 1- http://smart1to1.blogspot.com/ The Cornerstone Blog- http://thecornerstoneforteachers.blogspot.com/ The Strength of Weak Ties- http://strengthofweakties.org/ Bestest PE- http://bestestpe.blogspot.com/ Confident Teacher- http://confidentteacher.blogspot.com/ iLearn Technology- http://ilearntechnology.com 7. Get to know your students. Nothing means more to a child than getting to know them individually. Find out about their likes, dislikes, family, pets, friends, and hobbies. Technology can make it easier to get to know your students. Sign up for a classroom http://think.com account. Each student will get a protected web space. Here they can create school related web pages, and interact with you and other students in the form of debates, votes, blog posts, and online collaborative projects. Pose questions on your think.com space for students to answer. In my experience, even shy students are willing to share with you in this type of environment. 8. Work smarter not harder. Use websites like Scholastic’s Book Wizard that will help you work smart and maximize your time. Scholastic Book Wizard helps you to find just the right books for your students. Level your books, find booktalks, author information and lesson plans. Search books by level, author, title or keywords, or find similar books at the reading level you need. http://bookwizard.scholastic.com/tbw/homePage.do?ESP=TBW/ib/20081222/eng/tbw_logo///thlp/img//// 9. Don’t reinvent the wheel. There are a number of free lesson plans available online for every topic and grade level. These can be excellent, creative supplements for school curriculum. Scholastic Lesson Plans- http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/lessonplans.jsp LessonPlanz- http://www.lessonplanz.com/ Hot Chalk’s Lesson Plans Page- http://www.lessonplanspage.com/ Teachers.net – http://teachers.net/lessons/ Lesson Plan Central – http://lessonplancentral.com/ teach-nology- http://www.teach-nology.com/teachers/lesson_plans/ A to Z Teacher Stuff- http://atozteacherstuff.com 10. Always be prepared. Plan out lessons, and keep them organized. Discovery School has a great online lesson planner where you can create and store your lesson plans. Lesson Planner lets you edit, print or download your lesson plans while linking to puzzles, worksheets, and quizzes that you have created with the teacher tools on DiscoverySchool.com. http://school.discoveryeducation.com/teachingtools/lessonplanner/index.html

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A catalog of apps sorted by Bloom’s Taxonomy #standagain

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Blooms Taxonomy, Create, Evaluate, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain) | Posted on 17-01-2012

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What it is:   This week Apple is all set to make a BIG announcement about education.  I always tune in when Apple has something to say, but this week I am particularly interested in what they are going to do with education.  The announcement has been connected to some of the big 6 (publishers).  This worries me a little bit because I find that the 6 are pretty traditional and in-the-box kind of thinkers.  It will be interesting to see how (or if) Apple has managed to convince some of them to break free a little bit.  What I am not excited for: a re-invention of the old way. Been there, seen that. We need something that will let students be creative and innovative, NOT rearrange their textbooks!  I digress.
In honor of Apple’s announcement, I thought I would do an early release of a catalog of apps I have been working on organized by Bloom’s Taxonomy.  I’ve been putting off publishing it because frankly, there are ALWAYS more to add. I just keep chipping away at it as I find it.  To be honest, I have a large collection on my iPad that are ready to be added but haven’t yet. So…bear in mind this is incomplete and will continue to grow!  For those of you who have iDevices in your classroom or at home, I hope it is helpful!
How to integrate Bloom’s Taxonomy of apps into the classroom: Bloom’s Taxonomy is by no means the best or only way to categorize websites, apps or other educational tools.  However, I often find that for my purposes, it is a really nice way to organize tools so that I can find them later.  It also keeps me (and my students) thinking about the learning process and keeps us all from getting stuck in a one-type-of-learning rut.  Bloom’s is also extraordinarily handy for categorizing apps that don’t fit neatly into a subject matter or that fall into several different subject categories.
In the apps, I have given you a little guide.  If an app cost money, I’ve added a $$ on the app.  The others are free.  The free apps are just as wonderful as some of the paid!
Keep the guide of apps handy for those parents who ask for your best app recommendations!
Tips:   Use the Bloom’s Taxonomy app guide with my Bloomin’ posters!  Stay tuned for BIG versions of the posters coming soon with my launch of the Learning Genome project on Kickstarter! Woot!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Bloom’s Taxonomy of Apps in  your classroom!

Comments (5)

Wow, what a great idea! This will be such a handy resource for teachers. I am glad I wandered over here and saw this. Keep up the good work.

Andrea Nichols
@andreajnichols

Kelly- this is such an amazing resource! You released it at the start of this year, next year in 2013 you can come out with the next version. I know what it’s like to build these resources and worry about something new coming out- but Jane Hart doesn’t wait and neither should you.

You also need a nice cover on this thing- girl! Plant your Web link on it with ’2012 edition’ and it’s good to go. So many instructors ask me for something like this all the time. It’s awesome that you put it together!

:) Thanks Leah! I left it undone looking so I will be FORCED to upload newest as it comes!

This old grouch would like to point out that Bloom (1956) posited three domains. The affective and psycho-motor domains are consistently over-looked by those less-versed in educational learning theory.

Geography, as an example subject, contributes to both with some significance:
- values and attitudes (feelings)
- spatial awareness, use of fieldwork devices etc.

There are apps for those.

#justsaying

This is a really cool way of looking at these apps, and a fantastic resource for teachers!

Just a suggestion, you should include lesson plan creation apps into this as well. One great example is the ShowMe app. It is an interactive whiteboard where teachers and students can khan academy style lessons and share them on a learning network.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/showme-interactive-whiteboard/id445066279?mt=8

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