A New Year Awaits

The start of a new school year is always exciting and exhilarating.  Teachers are filled with new ideas.  Goals are being determined.  Plans and activities are being formulated to achieve the goals and dreams that every teacher has spent the summer dwelling on.

Students & parents have goals and dreams for the school year just as teachers do.  Parents may want to be more involved in school activities. Students may want to make better grades or have more friends or investigate a new interest.

We all, teachers, students, and parents arrive at the beginning of a new school year with success as the ultimate goal.

There are so many wonderful additions to education.  Changes and innovations occur daily.  The advent of 1:1 technology in my district brings many new ways to achieve the success in which we are all invested.  Online student portfolios, digital assessments, Hyperdocs, blogs, Google Classroom, learning management systems, YouTube channels, iTunes U, Twitter, Instagram, and the list of tools available for success goes on and on.

Some of my favorite tools for my elementary classroom are:  Seesaw, Common Sense Media, and Epic Books.

Seesaw  is a learning portfolio that is student driven.  Students can showcase their learning in a variety of ways with Seesaw.  They can use and annotate photos.  Students can create video, take notes, upload files, create a drawing, and add links.  Learning journals for each student allows work to be shared not only with teachers, but family members.  Seesaw also has a blog feature.  As a new Seesaw ambassador, I have learned so much more about Seesaw and I can’t wait to use what I’ve learned to empower my students with skills that will transform their learning experience.

I am also a new Common Sense Media ambassador, as well as a Common Sense Media Certified Educator – Digital Citizenship.  Common Sense Media is free to teachers and parents.  The K-12 Scope and Sequence enables me to teach Digital Citizenship to my students in ways they can relate to and embrace.  For teachers, Common Sense Media offers tech reviews, professional development, and lessons to enhance the multifaceted role we facilitate daily in our classrooms.  For parents, Common Sense Media offers a variety of book and movie reviews, as well as tech reviews.  Common Sense Media should be a trusted and go to resource for every teacher and parent.

Epic books is a favorite with my students year after year.  Epic is free for educators.  There are literally thousands of books, videos, and quizzes available for grades K-6.  Epic also allows teachers to create groups and assign books.  My students always enjoy Epic just for the sake of reading.  I enjoy the love of reading that begins for many of them with Epic books.  I love the fact that I can assign books and use Epic in reading groups.  Epic is not free for parents, but well worth the investment to have 25,000 books at your child’s fingertips.

These are some of my favorite technology tools with which to begin each school year.  These tools allow myself, my students, and their families to begin accomplishing our goals right away.  As I look forward to all this year holds I know we will find the success we are all committed to for our young learners.