Some fantastic apps I've found for using within the elementary classroom
Free, safe communication tool for teachers to instantly connect with students and parents without having to exchange phone numbers.
Students and parents opt in to join via a unique class code. Teachers can instantly message the entire class of parents or use a chat for safe two way conversations.
Messages can be scheduled for certain dates (exam reminders) and content can be attached with knowledge of who had viewed the content.
Students and parents can instantly respond to announcements through stamps.
Class Dojo contributes to the gamification of the classroom, teachers are able to instantly award points and badges based on students behaviour and participation, students are able to work for level ups and games.Teachers are able to decide the criteria and point value of rewards and add notes. Parents are able to access their child's data at any time to be constantly aware of how their child is doing in class. Class Dojo also is able to create data analysis of student's progress and participation, which is great come report card season!
A problem with class dojo is that if all students progress is made public and visible to the class, it can lead to public shaming and creates extrinsic motivation rather than intrinsic motivation in students. Extrinsic motivation can certainly work in the short term and is a necessary motivation, but intrinsic motivation is certainly more important. If the students progress is only visible to them, their parents and the teacher, it is going to be more productive. It is up to the teacher to decide how to use the tool
Volunteer spot is a great tool for organizing classroom volunteers and field trips.The teacher creates a calendar signup sheet with the dates and times of the events and then can add to do tasks or to bring tasks, which are then able to be signed up for by parents. For tasks with due dates, automated email reminders will be sent out by the service. Volunteer Spot can be accessed by app, online and can have information printed out as well. It is designed for the less tech savvy parent, but is accessible to all. It can also sync the due dates to parent's calendar apps and is incredibly streamlined.
ExitTicket is designed to give students quick quizzes on the information at the beginning or end of class to gauge the student's understanding of the information. It can also be used halfway through the lesson to see what information is being understood and what needs to be clarified. By giving teachers access to realtime feedback from the entire class, the teacher is able to greater understand where the class is at. Exit Ticket creates graphs and visuals to show where the class is at. It certainly works better than asking the class if they understand and being answered by blank nods and low percentages on exams later on. By being a BYOD app, the students are less likely to feel like they're having a pop quiz and the quizzes do not necessarily have to be for grades as their greatest strength is providing the teacher with information. Teachers are able to customize the quizzes to be a large variety of formats, including simply polls that can be displayed to the class at large.
Front Row is an app for differentiated math instruction.The students first choose the specific strand of math they are working in and then take a diagnostic quiz to see what level they are working at, regardless of grade. If a student is not understanding a concept, they can click on a video link to explain any concept. The program also uses virtual manipulatives and scratch paper so visual or kinaesthetic learners aren't completely lost. Students also are able to earn coins and points to get on the daily leader board. Teachers are able to see an analysis of their class to see where the class at large is, as well as where individual students are in terms of their relation to the curriculum standard, teachers can see if the student has acheived mastery of the standard with difficulty and with what level of difficulty. There are also printables available. Weekly, you as the teacher receive a diagnostic email telling you where your students are at and how they are doing overall. Parents are also able to sign up to see how their students are doing. The Questions are also able to be read allowed to help students with lower reading levels.
HOWEVER. Front Row is aligned with US common core standards and not the Alberta Curriculum, so the standards have to be carefully looked at in order to see which align best with the Alberta curriculum, and can not be used with as much ease in Alberta as in the United States.
Front Row is available on any device with internet and a web browser. There is a free app for Android and iOS. However, oddly, the Android app is designed for students while the iOS app is designed for teachers.