Software Support Tools
The following charts outline various software support tools that I use in my 7th grade English classroom. Click each tool’s name to learn more and/or visit the tool’s website.
Description: Mimio Studio houses all of the tools available to use with my Mimio board. The Mimio board turns my whiteboard into a computer with interactive features.
Description: Google Slides is a Google Suite app that allows users to create and publish interactive presentations.
How I Use It: I use my Mimio board daily to help students navigate through activities, organize information, and general curriculum needs. My Mimio board is an essential part of classroom technology.
How I Use It: I use Google Slides to publish and present information for parents and students. However, I mainly use it as a multi-purpose tool for students to create material like interactive e-books, journals, newsletters, and other literature/writing response options.
Relative Advantage: Students can use Mimio Studio to physically interact with material. The Mimio Studio allows students to use the wand as a pen to write, organize, illustrate, and further engage with material.
Relative Advantage: Students can use Google Slides to create almost any form of media. Google Slides allows students to link easily between slides and to websites and other documents. It also allows students to publish their work and share it with peers, family, and teachers.
Data Collection and Analysis Tools
Description: Kahoot! is a game-based learning platform that allows teachers to create activities and collect data as students compete.
Description: Google Forms is a Google Suite app that allows users to create various forms, surveys, and quizzes. Google Forms collects all submitted data in a Google Sheet.
How I Use It: I use Kahoot! as a drill-and-practice tool to gauge student understanding. Kahoot! provides the teacher with data following the game, allowing me to target key areas and/or specific students that need more instruction.
How I Use It: I use Google Forms to preview student learning before a new unit or new novel. I also use it to collect and organize student information each year. Google Forms has a new feature that allow forms to function like quizzes. I have used this feature before but mainly use Forms to collect data and opinions.
Relative Advantage: Kahoot! is a game-based activity that allows students to compete against each other. As an instructional tool, it harnesses students’ competitive spirit and collects data on individual student understanding.
Relative Advantage: Students can effortlessly (and paperlessly) submit their opinions and ideas to their teacher. As a quiz, Google Forms also provides immediate feedback to students.
Testing and Grading Tools
Description: EdLine is a learning management system hosted by Blackboard.
Description: RubiStar is a rubric generating tool that allows teachers to create as well as share rubrics.
How I Use It: EdLine is my online gradebook, attendance chart, and hub for my classroom website. I use it to communicate grades, announcements, tests, and more with parents as well as organizing daily information.
How I Use It: I use RubiStar to create all of my writing rubrics. RubiStar allows me to create consistent, clear rubrics that my students can easily understand and follow as they write.
Relative Advantage: EdLine houses multiple daily management functions in one program. As a gradebook, it allows teachers to send reports to individual students/parents or to an entire class. As a class website hub, it allows teachers to create simple, user-friendly websites and calendars.
Relative Advantage: Students can easily follow and understand rubrics from RubiStar. With RubiStar, designing rubrics is simple which encourages teachers to create them for their students.
Planning and Organizing Tools
Description: Piktochart is an infographic design website that allows users to create polished, professional-looking graphics.
Description: Google Calendar is a Google Suite app that allows users to organize multiple calendars into one. Users can also share calendars.
How I Use It: I use Piktochart to help students create visual timelines. Especially during a novel study, I use Piktochart to help students map out various/parallel plot lines and create connections to historical and social contexts.
How I Use It: I use Google Calendar to organize tests, school events, and athletics. I link my personal calendar with my work calendar as well as the school’s calendar to create an all-in-one master calendar.
Relative Advantage: Students can use Piktochart to design graphics and charts. Piktochart offers several pre-made charts and graphics that students can apply their knowledge to.
Relative Advantage: Google Calendar makes it easy to combine and separate calendars. As a Google app, it also easy to share and make parents aware of events, tests, etc.
Research and Reference Tools
Description: Merriam-Webster.com is a digital dictionary and thesaurus.
Description: Google Maps is a Google Suite app that allows users to search and view locations around the world.
How I Use It: I mainly use the Merriam-Webster app in my classroom. The website works similarly to the app; however, I find it very easy to install the app on student iPads or the extension on student Chromebooks and have students use it as a reference tool while they perform other research, reading, or writing tasks.
How I Use It: I use Google Maps to show students settings important to our novel study. Particularly with distant settings that are quite foreign to student understanding, Google Maps allows us to see first hand the terrain, living conditions, and more of a place.
Relative Advantage: Students can use the website or app as a reference tool during word study, novel study, research, or writing activity. The website as well as the app offers pronunciation recordings, definitions, synonyms, antonyms, and example sentences to aid student understanding.
Relative Advantage: Students can use Google Maps to view locations around the country and around the world. Google Maps allows students to view the setting of our novel studies.