Tech Tips

Tech Tips- I have so many things I would love to share but I thought I would stick with a few that most everyone can use.
I am joining with Tracey at The Teacher's Chair all week in this School Week Linky
Today is my favorite sharing day of the week because Technology is a love of mine. 

Have you heard of Shutterfly Share Sites?? They are free and such an incredible way to share pictures of your class with parents privately.  After spending so much time resizing photos to upload to our school website and then you could only view them as a little 3 inch size, parents could not get a nice size to print photos for themselves. (Very frustrating!!:(  ) I was in search of something better to share photos from my class with parents. I have used a Shutterfly share site for my classroom the past 3 school years and my parents love it! It is private and the only ones who can view the photos are the parents you ask to join the site.

There are lots of templates so you can create your own look. You can also add your own photos for a topper with photos you add. It is really easy to use. I input all my parents emails at the beginning of the year and they join the site with a password they create. I just add pictures after a certain class event and it automatically sends them an email to let them know I have added new pictures.  No extra work and they can print to their hearts content and I don't have to worry about kids photos exposed to the wrong people. This is what my site looks like and then at the bottom it shows albums for the different events.  When getting ready for the next school year I just delete last years parents and then add the new ones.  It does other things too but I just use it for photos.

If you have not had your students start blogging yet I highly recommend giving it a try.  I really don't think any age is to young as long as you explain what you expect and do lots of lessons before actually getting on the computer or ipad to blog. I have done Kidblog the last 3 years and parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and any other family members can get involved in yours students learning. I have had the best success with my higher students writing longer posts and really getting into it but even your lowest kids are motivated to write on a blog.  It was neat to see the comments from family members on the student's blogs. It was exciting for them to know that someone was actually reading their writing. I even had the principal respond on some of them. They loved seeing comments and even writing comments on each others blogs.  There are many ways you can set the blog up as the teacher. You can monitor all comments and only publish the ones you want. You as the teacher have full control over their blogs for deleting and monitoring.  It is very simple to set up and you can create the password you want for each student.

We did not blog as much last year as the 2 years before that because of lack of access to technology. I can't wait to see what this year brings since we will be able to blog a lot more again!!:)We only had 3 computers in the room last year and access to a mobile cart and computer lab. We didn't blog everyday and some did more than others. Blogging is a great Work on Writing activity for Daily 5 once they learn what is expected. My students loved doing it for that. I also had those begging to put things we were learning in class on their blogs when they had work done in class. Can I research my musher for the Iditarod and put it on my blog?  Can I do another dessert animal research and put it on my blog? Who can argue with that when a child is motivated to learn on their own. 

If you have not heard of Wonderopolis you are missing out. I found out about this site a few years ago and have been using it in my classroom ever since. It is a wonderful site with tons of things to learn from it. There is a wonder a day and then a bank of wonders from all the wonders they have posted in the past. There is always a short video and then some things to read and learn. 

This summer they offered a 5 week kids online learning camp for FREE. I can't wait to tell my parents about it next summer. I signed up for my own kids at home and we got some cool things in the mail. Week 1-A journal to write about our wonders each week and seeds to plant, Week 2-a tape measure and pencil because it was a building and measuring things week Week 4- a blow up globe and wonders about different places around the world. Week 5- Wonder putty because the the them was gizmos and inventions. I think our week 3 and 6 might have gotten stolen in the mail which is a bummer but I was so excited about the things that really did come through!!:)

Well I hope I haven't bored you to death with this techy post. Have you heard of any of these sites before? Have you used any of them? If so please share your ideas in a comment?  Hopefully you learned at least one new site to check out for this coming school year.  If not check out some of my labels to see my other techy posts. Lots of app ideas here.  Happy Learning!!

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