As a former elementary school teacher, I know just how crucial it is to set and cement classroom norms and expectations during the first part of the year. Now is the time to put into practice the daily routines that will serve you for the rest of the school year. And wouldn't it be great to integrate technology at the same time? Here are some practical ways to weave digital tools into your daily routines, streamlining practices as well as introducing your students to the evolving world of technology.
- Bell work. For your morning bell work, display a question from Free Rice. Published by the World Food Programme, Free Rice is a quiz site that donates grains of rice to needy countries when kids answer questions correctly. You'll be settling your students into the school day while also promoting social responsibility! Students can record their answers with good old paper and pencil, sticky notes, or Poll Everywhere.
- Lunch Count. Use the polling function in Edmodo to take lunch count each morning. It's much more efficient than counting hands.
- DEAR (Drop Everything and Read). Curate a collection of nonfiction articles through CNN Student News, HuffPost Teen, and The Learning Network. Give students time after lunch to digest their food and some current events.
- Parking Lot. Set a norm in class that remaining questions will be addressed in due time. Have students post their lingering questions or tangential thoughts on CorkboardMe, a virtual corkboard that allows users to create sticky notes filled with different types of information. Then, you can answer these questions individually or collectively at a more prudent time. (KWL charts is great for collecting students' "wants" too!)
- Student Portfolios. Empower students to curate and organize their own portfolios with LiveBinders. They can upload Microsoft Word documents, photos, videos, digital files (PowerPoint), and websites. (Additionally, consider using LiveBinders to create a shareable binder of missed classwork for absentee students.)