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Managing the Mayhem: 10 apps teachers need to organize their day

24 Jul 2014 by Heather Breedlove

I thought that when I finished college, I could retire the backpack.  Instead, as a teacher, my backpack grew into a rolling cart. From assignments to grade, lesson plans to make, and seating charts; I hauled them everywhere just like my fellow teachers. But the clutter isn’t only confined to the rolling cart, a teacher has to manage the mayhem everyday.

Clear the clutter, centralize your tasks and let your mobile device work for you. These apps will take you from the first bell to the last, saving you time and energy in the classroom. Engage students with new ideas for classroom management and more. Learn about apps that can help you create seating charts, manage student behavior, organize your notes and documents- everything to help you manage the mayhem!

Before students even come in the door, review your seating chart using the app, Be Seated (iOS) or Safety Attendance (Android). Desks can be arranged in partner groups, table groups or other configurations. Click on the desk to add a student name in the desk and a color as well. You no longer need to create seating chart templates with names written on stickies (and lose them) on a file folder. Picking random students is a breeze with a simple tap.

Next, check your online lesson plan book with Planbook (iOS) or access saved lesson plans from home in Dropbox (iOS and Android). This app partners with your online subscription and lets you manage your lesson plans on the go. Instead of lugging around a large plan book or trying to fit all the information in an online document, this app fits in everything you need. You can save time by not having to write or type everything. You can bump a lesson to the next day, add in Common Core standards, or share lessons with your team. If you want to look at Common Core standards more in depth, you can open up the Common Core (iOS and Android) app as well.

On your lesson plan, you see that it is Pizza Night, a fundraiser for your school this evening. You click on Remind 101 (iOS and Android), an app that lets you send out a reminder text to parents’ phones about the event. It’s a one way communication and you don’t have to worry about seeing each other’s phone numbers, the message sends through the app. The parents love it and you love the way it makes communication simple and safe. You schedule the text for later, right after school gets out.

You open up Go Task (iOS) or GoTasks (Android), a to do list app that keeps you organized with various tasks throughout the week. You add “gather science supplies” to your Science list. The task will automatically sync with your tasks in Google mail, making it easy to remember as you check your email throughout the day.

As you teach your students, they have some favorite apps that you use. Class Dojo (iOS and Android) helps them to stay on task and earn points for their monster avatar based on their behavior. They love it because it earns them small prizes but you love it because it motivates them and makes it easy on you to track behavior and share with parents.

Another one they love is Class Monster (iOS) or Noise Moderator (Android), an app that monitors their noise level. If they get too noisy, the happy face turns sad. It’s great for those visual kids who need a reminder. During quiet time you project it up onto the screen so they monitor the noise level as they work in small groups.

To monitor the students’ understanding, you will love the app Stick Pick (iOS and Android). It has replaced your physical can full of popsicle sticks because it not only keeps track of which student you have called on but also helps you to assess them quickly with question prompts and the critical thinking rubric built in. This provides great data to assess student understanding quickly but records data to use later.

During class you take pictures of student work, annotate with your notes and adding comments quickly with Skitch (iOS and Android) and upload them into Three Ring (iOS or Android), a student portfolio app. You tag the student work with “American Revolution writing” so you can easily find it later.

At the end of the day, you gather websites and resources using Evernote (iOS and Android). You are able to organize your resources into different notebooks and add tags to them so they are accessible for unit studies later. With your teaching day done, you can now scroll other fun apps like Pinterest and Facebook.

Download these apps and you can retire the rolling cart and trade it in for a simple tablet.  Managing the mayhem is just an app away!


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