Tuesday, September 17, 2013

4 Apps 4 Teachers

I am so excited that I recently acquired an iPad to use in my classroom! I immediately began to search for apps to enhance my teaching. Since I only have one iPad, I began by looking for apps that will assist with administrative tasks. In addition to the obvious must-have apps like Dropbox, Splashtop, and Evernote, I have found several other apps that any teacher is sure to love.

Planbook

Planbook is an awesome app that can be accessed from a computer, as well as other devices like the iPad. Although there is an annual fee of about $12, you can try it free for 30 days. Believe me - after thirty days, you'll want to purchase the annual subscription!

As a music teacher, the trickiest part was deciding how to set up classes and schedule them. I finally decided to set up a couple of grades on each day, so I can see the entire week's plans at a glance. I have several grades twice a week, which is why they are listed on two different days. Here is a sample week, just to show how I arranged my classes:

Not only does it provide a great format for keeping up with lessons plans, it makes it very simple to note standards for each plan. You simply select the source of your standards (it even includes state standards), and then click on the standards addressed in the plan.
There are plenty of useful features, which include extending lessons, bumping lessons, attaching files, and adding notes and events. Use a computer to start your online Planbook today. You can set up your classes and begin planning in minutes. There are video tutorials to help you start. Visit Planbook.com to begin!

Teacher Kit

I LOVE this app, which is totally free! Using Teacher Kit, I can set up classes (with photos of students), arrange their seating chart, track behavior and attendance, enter grades, and set up any additional fields of information I want.

As an elementary music teacher in a school with approximately 800 students, I have a lot of names to learn. After finding this app, I was able to import my class rosters, take pictures of the students, and arrange their "desks" in the exact way they sit on the carpet in my room. I can study classes (especially kindergarten) to make sure I know all of my students' names.

The behavior tracking tool allows me to enter behavior as positive or negative, and also lets me add notes about the specific behavior. It keeps track of the date and behavior for each student.

The trickiest part was importing my student rosters for each class using a CSV file. Refer to the Teacher Kit Support Center for clear directions and answers to other questions you may have. (My first attempt failed, since I didn't use the right headings for the spreadsheet.) If you are a classroom teacher, you can simply enter your students individually. However, with 40+ classes in our school, I needed to utilize the import feature.

Set up classrooms for each class you teach.

Arrange seating charts by touching the desk and dragging it wherever you want. (This is a sample photo from the app store. My students sit in a semi-circle on the floor.

Track behavior and attendance, as well as keep up with grades.

Pick Me!

Although the Pick Me! app doesn't have as many bells and whistles as Teacher Kit, it may suit your needs. You can enter students by classroom, add pictures and other information (like parent e-mail address or other notes you want to add). The main purpose of the app is to randomly select students and keep track of their answers (via a thumbs up/down). You can reset the scores whenever you want to, but the limitation is that there is no way to record what skill has been assessed.

Class Dojo

Class Dojo is a free, fabulous, fun app that allows you to track student behavior using a computer or mobile device. I have been using it for a couple of years, and I highly recommend it. The iPad app (or app for phones) allows mobility while running the program. You can read more about Class Dojo in my previous post, Behavior Boosters.
Several of these apps can be run through a computer, so don't worry if you do not have a mobile device. I hope you'll try some of these teacher tools. I predict that you will find them as useful as I do!

I decided to join Steph's 2/4 Tuesday Linky Party at Stay Tuned, since I had 4 apps to share. Be sure to check out her party for ideas from other music ed bloggers. 

8 comments :

  1. Thanks for the link up Laura! I am always looking for new apps!

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    1. You're welcome. Thanks for hosting the party. :) It is so helpful to learn what is working for other music teachers!

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  2. I'm always looking for new music ipad apps...thanks! I'm especially interested in "Pick Me." Very cool!

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  3. Teacher Kit sounds really cool. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I know a lot of the teachers at my school are using the Dojo to keep track of expected and unexpected behavior. I have thought about using it, but haven't really gotten to it yet. I am glad you posted these apps to help teachers. I have the same issue. I have an iPad that I would like to use, but it is only one, so it is hard to use with a large group of students.

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  5. I’ve created lots of free resources for sharing multicultural music with children.  Please stop by and check out my site.  Especially the contests and freebies at: http://www.dariamusic.com/monthly_song.php
     
    All The Best,
    DARIA

    ReplyDelete