Techy Apps that Add to Learning

If you read my last post, you already know I have a little obsession with the app Explain Everything.  No, not because they are giving me all sorts of goodies (they don't even know I've written this post, nor do they even know I exist!  Ha!), but just because I LOVE the app.  It's available on Apple devices as well as the Surface.  Here are a few other uses for the app! 

If you are fortunate enough to have iPads in the classroom, this can be so cool!  I'm thinking about downloading a few planet/space graphics and having students arrange them.  Or telling students to position the moon's orbit and position during a new moon, full moon, waxing gibbous, etc.  How about asking students to position the Earth in relation to the sun when we hit our autumnal equinox?  Or labeling parts of a plant?  Or parts of a bacteria?  Okay.  I'm stopping now.  But seriously, you guys, wouldn't you think a test is about 10 million times more exciting if you could just map it out rather than "A, B, B, D, C, C, true, false?"  Me too.   

This is one of my favorite ways to use this.  I have class blog that I update daily with assignments and links for stuff in class.  I like it because I can't have students say, "Well, I didn't know that was due."  Students like it because they HAVE to use the computer to check their homework.  (Not really, we also write this stuff down in their planners, but they sure like to tell their parents that!)  Parents like it because they can help keep their students caught up.  (I don't accept late work, and that's a blog post for another day.)  I will often post math videos on this blog for my kids as well as their parents.  I cannot tell you how many Parent-Teacher Conferences I heard, "I know my child is struggling in math, but I didn't learn it this way, so I don't know how to help them with their homework."  It was frustrating for everyone, but especially parents, and it often fueled to their reasons we shouldn't have the Common Core.  So, I started posting quick videos on the blog.  This was one of the BEST things I did for parent-teacher relations.  My principal asked me what I was doing to make parents so happy, and if I could teach other teachers how to do it as well.  I also loved that parents could now help out at home!

Where I teach, students are involved in about 20 million after school activities.  They are still in elementary school, but they usually play sports, an instrument, are involved in church activities during the week, have family night scheduled, and a lot of my students are also in charge of babysitting their younger siblings for an hour or so.  Anyway, they rack up a lot of absences, but I expect my students to also be in charge of their own learning.  I do not track them down and say, "You were absent, here's what you missed."  That's their job.  Now, a lot of times they missed something new in math, but trying to coordinate times to get them caught up gets SO messy because I also want 20 minutes of lunch where I can talk to an adult.  Or close/lock my door and just enjoy the peace.  So!  I post videos on our blog so that students can get themselves caught up on what they missed.  If they are still struggling, I am totally willing to give up my lunch (I'm not THAT mean) to make sure they understand it, but these kids are headed to junior high where their new teachers have 200 students coming through their door each day.  They HAVE to learn to be responsible and take charge, and the best time to learn is BEFORE grades count.  If they get it down early, they can more easily keep their grades up when it matters most!


  1. So would you record every lesson/concept?

    So whoever was absent can get caught up and what not?

    Anisa @ Creative Undertakings

    1. Sorry for the delay! No, I don't record everything. But if many students are gone (flu season loves to take out sooo many), I'll record one after school quickly and post it so that they don't feel super behind when they return!