I'm left handed and have always found it very awkward to write on a marker board. How do I hold the marker... do I write normally or cursive seems to look better but kids cannot read that. So I've always dreaded writing directions for my classroom on the board. This past year I was introduced to a very simple edu tech tool called ClassroomScreen. And it has forever changed how I will manage my classroom.
How It Works
ClassroomScreen is a webpage that you can customize. Add note pads for text information like; today's agenda, a quick write or directions for an activity. There are many other great tools; a stoplight to manage classroom behavior, a volume level chart or a tool that can use your computer's microphone to literally show the noise level in the room. I use the timer a lot myself to display how much time is left for my students to complete the current activity. One very interesting tool I haven't had a chance to test out yet is a QR code generator so you can copy a URL paste it there and then students only have to point their tablet or computer at the screen to travel right to where you are. These are just some of the tools and there are many great backgrounds to choose from including Gifs! There is also the option to upload an image of your own if you want a more personal touch.
I may not ever use all of the tools on ClassroomScreen but it will be a tool that I use for many years to come because it has so many little things all packed into one workspace. I don't need to flip between tabs or change my screen every few seconds to pull up the next "Doc" for the kids it all in one place. The only thing I would love to see added is a profile feature for a teacher to have presents saved.
Creating lesson plans can be very time consuming and I often found myself creating long lists on paper or a google doc only to feel overwhelmed and start over on a clean sheet after I'd become frustrated enough. When I was at Kent Innovation I was shown a very visual and user friendly way of organizing my thoughts with a google spreadsheet. A link can be found below. But this format does have it's draw backs. Every week you need to copy a new blank sheet and if you have multiple classes you need to have multiple google docs for each class.
That's where Common Curriculum (CC) comes in. After a quick initial set up of telling CC your daily schedule and the layout you would like for each class it generates every day of the school year into a template. You can add days that your school has off or other reminders to show those within the schedule. If a lesson goes slow and will require another day lesson's can easily push one day back to make room for a rap up session.
Lastly the best part for me is all of the standards that are in the CC library. If you have a standard's card in your daily schedule you can look up a list of all the standards that are required for your course and select the standards you are hitting each day. On the flip side then there is the option of looking at the standard list and seeing when each one was covered and if you missed anything you were hoping to hit.
There are many other features like a classroom website for parents, collaboration with a co-teacher, attaching documents or handouts to lessons, printer friendly PDF's and so much more that make this tool one that will be using for a long time to come. If you are interested in checking it out just to see if it's the right planning tool for you all of the pro features are available for one month free but even without those CC is an amazing tool for planning your classroom activities!