Chalk really fits under Planning and Assessment. It even has a platform for each one: Planboard and Markboard. The program allows you to organize your timetable, lesson plans and assessments according to the subjects you teach.
Also like Common Curriculum, it gives you the ability to design different lesson plan templates and assign them to different subject areas. So, you may want to use the 5E planning model for Science, but use a more standardized template for other subjects. And you can. I tried this out by copying and pasting a template I’ve used in the past, which worked well:
I then went back to the resources tab and tried to plan a lesson with my new template. I really like that you can export it as a PDF or email it right from the program:
What I don’t like so much is that you have to make your templates from scratch. I tried to copy and paste the planning template I normally use, but it has a lot of tables which didn’t transfer over very well.
What sets this program apart from Common Curriculum is it’s built in “Markboard”:
The different assessment types above allow you to create a “blank assessment” to add into the class. I tried selecting “score” and here’s what came up:
From there, you would be able to add in each student’s grade individually. You also have the ability to add in observational notes into each student’s file:
A feature I haven’t been able to test myself (because I don’t have any students right now) is the digital student portfolio feature:
Overall, I find the Markboard more conducive to secondary or post-secondary teaching as it is laid out in a semester system, and likes to attach percentages to everything. (I.e. Final essay, 15% of mark) The Planboard, however, could be used throughout all grades as a great organizational tool and a lot of elementary teacher examples are used throughout the site. Although the timetable feature has set times assigned to each subject which elementary teachers don’t normally adhere to, it can still be a great way to organize your schedule.
Planboard is free for students and educators at www.chalk.com.
Tes Teach with Blendspace is a platform used to help plan and create digital lesson plans to share with students. Watch this short video to see how the interface works:
I decided to try it out for myself and see if the program was really that simple to use. As you’ll see in my screenshots, it likes to point at things you have never used before, making it quite user-friendly 🙂 As seen below in the upper right-hand corner, it has Tips for new users too.
So I decided to try making a lesson on fractions with the search tool mentioned in the YouTube video. I really like that the program is integrated with YouTube, Dropbox and Google Drive to streamline adding parts to a lesson.
Just like the video, once you’ve found what to add, simply drag it over to the grid on the left. The same grid is where you can add text to organize the lesson, or add a quiz.
Creating quizzes is extremely straightforward too:
This is what my (very short) lesson looked like when it was all finished:
Overall, the tool seems very simple to use, but I struggle to see it working very well in a primary classroom. It would work best for an independent group of learners with frequent access to technology.
To sign up for a FREE Student Teacher account, visit www.tes.com.
Stick Pick digitizes the traditional popsicle stick questioning trick but with a twist. You can use it just to pick names for whatever purpose you need, but if you want to take it a step further, allow Stick Pick to help you design your questions.
Once you have installed the app (available for iOS and Android on their respective app stores), you can create your class and start adding in student names. To pick a student’s name at random, just shake or tap your screen. Each student can further be categorized based on their proficiency level. The nice thing is, the app individualizes questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, but if you still don’t feel comfortable with the student chosen, you can simply re-shake or tap the screen.
As seen above, you can record the student’s answer as correct or incorrect right in the app and have it store your assessment data.
The Great Behaviour Game, like ClassDojo, is a behaviour management tool which engages students and gives them positive reinforcement throughout the day. The game can be left on throughout the school day while you “referee” and reward points according to student’s behaviour.
Save up to three rosters (one roster per class). Simply type a student’s name in the white box and hit enter to add them to the roster. Check the box next to their name to mark them as present. Uncheck it to remove them from the game if they are absent.
This is what the game looks like in play:
Note: “special stars” are awarded for every 10 points a student gets.
If a student is continuously misbehaving, you can put them on a “time out” by pressing and holding their name:
And if the behaviour persists, you can press and hold it again to “freeze” them. Freezing kicks them out of the game until you press and hold it again.
Although this program doesn’t have the in-app chat feature that ClassDojo has, it does create both class and individual reports for you to share with parents.
For more information about The Great Behaviour Game, or to sign up for your free account, visit their website here.
Read&Write for Google Chrome is incredibly intuitive and easy-to-use, providing personalized support to make documents, web pages and files in Google Drive more accessible. It aims to cater to differentiate for varying learning styles.
Read&Write offers a large range of tools to support reading and writing, including:
• Text-to-speech to hear any type of writing read aloud with easy-to-follow highlighting
• Text and picture dictionaries to see the meaning of words with a visual
• Speech-to-text feature to dictate words as the computer types them
• Word prediction offers suggestions for what you type next
• Highlight text in documents or on websites for summarizing and research
• Create and listen to voice notes directly inside of Google Docs
• Simplify and summarize text on web pages
All in an easy-to-use extension, accessible by clicking the little ‘rw’ puzzle piece in your Chrome bar.
To try out Read&Write for Google Chrome, you get free access to all of their features for the first 30 days. After 30 days, your features will be limited to hover-speech and the ability to play any text back in audio. That being said, all teachers can qualify for a free premium subscription by registering and activating their google account. After installing the extension in the app store, go to texthelp.com/en-gb/products/read-write/free-for-teachers/ to register and activate your subscription.
Wikiwand is a beneficial research tool to implement in intermediate grades. It gives the old Wikipedia a new interface, provides an easy-to-use table of contents sidebar, and allows you to toggle the search language with ease. You can also research in one language while using another, as in this example where I’m researching Canadian Confederation in French but my browser is set to English.
Note that when you hover over any link in Wikiwand, a short preview of the page comes up. What a great tool for our ESD learners, who when doing research in English, can easily search for the same thing in their native language and get a brief translation of what they’re reading. See my post on Read&Write for another Google extension like this.
You can also save any Wikipedia page as a PDF.