Saturday, July 18, 2015

Best Apps for Teachers

Hey friends - Catherine from The Brown Bag Teacher. Today I'm sharing 9 apps that all teachers - regardless of grade - should have on their iDevices. As a 5th grade teacher, I was a 1:1 classroom and sharing about technology and now, in 1st grade I have 8 devices...and am working my way to a class set. You can read more about technology in my room here.

The apps I'm sharing today are not content-specific apps, so they aren't apps you can 'put' kids on and pull small groups. These are fabulous references, creation, and assessment apps for teachers; they have multiple uses in different content areas and ages. So, here we go!
Of the apps I used most on my phone are the Mastery Connect CCSS and NGSS apps. They are quick and easy to use (they don't even require internet access), and they have ALL the standards on them K-12. I love having easy access to other grades as a reference to see where my 1st graders will be going and what they should have already learned. Plus, you can add notes to each standards so as you're planning or out-and-about and have ideas, it's easy to add them. 
Along the lines of curriculum, I love Common Core ConceptBANK which offers sample questions for each of the Common Core Reading and Math standards K-12. The primary questions are weaker than the intermediate questions, but still, a great reference. Below is an example of a 3rd grade question for main idea. Don't you love the real newspaper provided? ConceptBank does a fabulous job of providing articles and passages!
AppsGone Free is a fabulous free app that complies all the FREE apps for a day under one umbrella. Everyday I quickly check this app and download anything that sounds interesting. Even if I don't have time to check it out, I download it and check it out later. Sometimes I find great educational apps, and other times I find apps I want for my personal device.
For management, StickPick is an easy, material-free way to call on students. You can set-up multiple classes which is perfect for older grades or anyone who switches students throughout the day. When pulling a stick, you have the option to put it in a 'used' can or replace it in the class can. Additionally, if you want, you can set-up a 'Blooms' mode where you're given questions stems from Blooms Taxonomy to help with questioning when calling on students!
EVERY device in this world needs a QR Code scanner. I prefer I-nigma because it's a no frills app. It scans and takes students to the website/video/audio...and nothing else. For me and our 1st grade lives, that is a big win! Below you see a friend scanning a QR Code from our Polar Bear and Penguin Research Mat.
If you are not in a 1:1 classroom and looking for an easy way to assess all the students in your class quickly and get instant data back, you should definitely check-out Plickers. Plickers are paper clickers that only require 1 device (iPhone or iPad) to scan the 'clickers'. Each student is assigned a specific number 'clicker' so it's easy to track data. If you want to learn more, Katie at Simply Creative in Kentucky has a great blog post about Plickers.
Audioboom is a fantastic app that records student voices, saves them in your teacher file, and then offers teachers the ability to embed them in a website for create a QR Code directly from the website. I love using AudioBoom for student voices recording a book, directions for a center, or a book for listening center. (Note of Caution - for big learners, AudioBoom can be used independently...but for smaller learners, there are LOTS of adds/feeds that may not be appropriate. So, when students need to record themselves, I put them directly on the recording device, so we can bypass all the feeds.)
Last, but not least, I love using a classroom Twitter account to keep families in the loop, to record our learning, and to connect with 1st grade classrooms all around the country! Keeping the app on my phone makes it easy to send a quick tweet during transitions or during planning/lunch. Read more about how I communicate here.
This is what my Teacher App dashboard looks like. I can quickly reference and tap these apps whenever I need them - PLC, small groups, or even Sunday-night planning.
Friends, thanks so much for stopping by! These are 9 of my favorite content-free, use-with-anything-and-everything apps. Are there any apps you would add to the list? I'd love to hear your ideas! :) Until then, join me on Facebook and Pinterest for other awesome technology resources!

19 comments:

  1. Great post! So many good suggestions of apps to use! Thanks!

    Melissa
    Mrs. Reed's Resource Room

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    1. Thank you, Melissa! So glad you stopped by. :)

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  2. I've never heard of audio boom. That sounds wonderful!!! This post is sooo helpful!!!
    Mrs. Christy’s Leaping Loopers

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    1. Yay! I'm so glad you think so. I love, love AudioBoom. It's so easy to create links and QR Codes directly from the recording. I love cutting out the middle step of of QR Code creator. :)

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  3. I can't wait to try audioboom!! You always know so much; thanks, Catherine!!!

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  4. Thank you! We are going 1:1 this year and these apps all look great.

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    1. That's fabulous, Nicole! You will absolutely love it. It was a fantastic challenge and we (my students and I) all learned SO much!

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  5. Love those apps!!! I definitely want to try out StickPick this year! I always use real popsicle sticks, but this app looks like it can do all that and more!! Fabulous post as always!!! :)

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  6. There are several apps I'm going to look at more closely, but I started a class Twitter account just at the end of last year for the purpose of connecting with other classrooms. I can't see your twitter handle clearly, but I'd love to follow you. Maybe we can have our classes connect during the school year. We are @MrsGFirsties. Next time you're on, come find us. Sue

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  7. Technology is my weak point, so thanks for the tips. The StickPick app is going to be great :) I also like the CCS and NGSS apps so that I have the info at my finger tips. THANKS!!

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  8. These are great!! Can't wait to share them with my peeps when we go back to work next week!

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  9. Thanks Nicole-great list! I believe the Scootpad one should be spelled "Concept Bank" instead of "Conept Bank". Not trying to be picky but it would make it easier to find. Thanks again!

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  10. I had never heard of most of these until I read your post. Thank you. Definitely worth checking out. I love the CCSS app wherein you can note what you've done that falls under the standard, and the idea of a class twitter account so families can see what's we've been doing in class. Not being very tech savvy, I appreciate reading how others use iPad apps.

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  11. Seesaw is awnderful app for students to journal their work. Parents are also allowed to see the journals after teacher approves them. They can then comment via microphone or type to comment. The kids love that. Classroom set up is easy and each student is assigned an animal so they can easily find their name. Thank you for sharing your faves!

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    1. Dear The Brown-Bag Teacher,

      Great list of apps here! Thank you for taking the time to compile this helpful list AND provide it for us.

      Some of your good readers might also be interested in knowing about the Reading Focus Cards desktop app (Patent 8,360,779) for Macs & Win PCs. It is helpful for students of all ages, especially individuals w/ ADHD, dyslexia & other reading issues:

      Macs: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read-and-focus/id920617853?mt=12

      PCs: https://gumroad.com/l/ReadingFocusCards

      For more information that includes the links above, please visit the "Teachers With Apps" website and read the blog article there about this innovative and customizable desktop app: http://www.teacherswithapps.com/research-based-literacy-tool-evolves-helpful-app-struggling-readers/

      Thanks again for the wonderful list of apps for teachers---AND for ALL you do to help teachers, parents and their families discover great educational resources!

      Happy Reading!

      Joan M. Brennan
      Reading Specialist
      Brennan Innovators, LLC
      www.FocusandRead.com

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  13. Great post, I love using Plickers in my 4th grade class- and the students do too!! I also love using apps to be more efficient as a teacher. :) An app that I LOVE for grading assignments is called Grade Ez. You can quickly compute scores based on the number correct or number incorrect. Saves me so much time and it's so much better than the old school Ez Grader sliding scale! It's available for both Apple and Android devices:
    for Apple-
    https://appsto.re/us/XBalbb.i

    for Android-
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.novak.gradeez

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  14. Wonderful list! I already know about some of the applications: AppsGone Free and I-nigma. But a lot of apps were new to me and I definitely will try them. I also suggest taking a look at toggl app. It's an effective time management app.
    Thanks for your hard work!

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  15. Yeah, i am a student, doing self study. I use 9apps store to find apps of different subject. I got plenty of tutorial apps. I am studying using those apps.

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