5 Apps You Need in Your Classroom

I'm really missing the excitement of planning for the new school year. I just love the excited anticipation of a new beginning. I can't help but pin awesome tips for the classroom. So I thought I'd share some of my favorite must haves for the classroom over the next few weeks.

Today I thought I'd start with my 5 must-have apps for the classroom. Most of them are available cross-platform (android or iOS) and on the web. Click on the image below for links. :)

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1. Remind

This app is AWESOME for quick parent contact (think text or email) without compromising your personal information. It’s perfect for updating the homework assignment, reminding them to wear blue and pack a lunch for the field trip tomorrow, or even to specifically 'chat' with a parent or group of parents (or even students in the upper grades). I love the ease of use and the privacy settings they have in place. Personal phone numbers are NEVER shared with anyone, your families sign up with a code that is specific to you- you don't see their numbers and they can’t see yours. The app even keeps a log of all conversations, should you need it. There's even you can add to your class website to show the most recent announcements. It makes communication so easy! Best part it is completely free for teachers!

 2. ClassDojo

What wouldn't a kid love about cute little personalized avatars? This has to be the cutest app for tracking behavior tracking and reporting it to families. Basically each student receives an avatar which all appear on the screen as a class. By clicking their avatar you can add or remove points, by choosing a behavior. For instance say Micah showed great teamwork, click his avatar, and choose teamwork. Ding! He gets a point. Say all the kids at table five are chatting when they should be working quietly, click multiple avatars, and take a point. Parents can check in online or on the app to see how their child is doing in real time. The app will even send automated weekly reports, which you can download and print for "non-tech" parents. You can even customize your reports by date for use at parent teacher conferences. My students favorite part was to end the day by checking the overall progress of the class, they always wanted to beat their class score from the previous day. :)

To see how I used ClassDojo in my classroom as a part of my overall Classroom Management Plan, check out this post. This is also a free app!

3. GradeCam

This little app saved me soooooo much time on grading. Much of the testing I had to do with my students was bubble sheet based. After teaching my students how to properly use a bubble sheet, we were good to go. Believe me if my second graders could do it- your kids can too! After setting up your test, you get INSTANT results by scanning their bubble sheets using a webcam, smartphone, tablet or document camera. You immediately see trends in student errors and successes. You can even take the time to match standards with each question and get a report of their progress with each standard. The free version of this app allows for only 10 questions per assignment, but the upgrade has many great features. You automatically receive a free trial of the upgraded version when you signup, after that can pay to upgrade or refer others to receive 3 free months per signup.

I did a full video review of GradeCam here.
4. GoNoodle

This one is a web only app, but even so this site is so much fun! If you're a fan of brain breaks, this is definitely the site for you! To get the most out of this app you'll need to project it so that all your students can see it at the same time. GoNoodle is a site filled with a variety of brain breaks, many of which take only about 5 minutes each. They range from stretching exercises, to sport competitions (like pretend races and high jumping), guided dancing, breathing exercises, indoor recess playlists, content aligned activities and more! My kids absolutely adored this site. They would do practically anything to earn GoNoodle time. And honestly I loved playing along with them. It was such a great tool to re-energize and refocus my class.  Now I only ever used the free version, which was plenty, but they do have a paid version as well. I do know that the paid version includes more core-aligned activities. Both versions are definitely worth a look!

5. Dropbox

This is a cross-platform app, that's usefulness reaches beyond the classroom. It is a great cloud storage app, and I absolutely love the extra storage it provides me. The best part is that I can easily access my uploaded files from anywhere: my phone, tablet, work station, personal laptop, teacher's workroom computers, etc. Anywhere you have internet access you can reach your files. The best part is that it automatically syncs all your devices. I hated when I'd walk down to the printer (all the way across campus) and my print job had failed. I'd have to walk all the way back to my classroom to reprint. So annoying! But after I got dropbox, i could just open the Dropbox website on the workroom laptop and print from there. So much easier!! Currently I have it set to back up all of the precious photos I take of my twins. I love not having to worry about losing all my photos if my hard drive or phone dies. This is also a great app for transferring large files to other people (even those who aren't using Dropbox), just by sending a personalized link. So much faster than sending a huge email that takes forever to download! I definitely encourage you to check it out! And if you're feeling generous you can sign up with this link and we'll both get 500 MB of extra free space. If you'd rather not, I still like you. :) 

So there you have it, my top 5 apps for the classroom. I'd love to hear your favorite apps, just comment below!


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