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  • Writer's pictureLauren Misquitta

New Year, New Confidence!

If you are like me, this past school was one for the books. We were truly tested and then some as educators. I absolutely know one thing to be true and that is if we can pull together to make it through 2020, we can make it through ANYTHING! I am definitely coming away with some unexpected positives. I have set up some new boundaries for myself and my little family. Evening time is now my time and I won't be over working myself. I also have found so many new ways to accomplish tasks that are way more efficient and student friendly. Here are some of those!

Google Forms

•Google Forms are so convenient, but I’m sure you already knew that! Google has created a form that will take data it receives from people who fill out the forms and turn it into a sheets page where you can aggregate the data so quickly. I knew as a teacher during a pandemic I was going to use that feature, but post pandemic - this is one tool I will be keeping around.

•I absolutely love using Google Forms for a behavior log. I have the students fill it out themselves. This helps students to show ownership of their actions and can give you real data on number of incidents, time of the day they are happening in, and which classes they are happening in. This could be a game changer for parent teacher conferences. If you assign homework, this could work as well.

•You could also use Google Forms for students checking out books from your classroom library or any time they leave the classroom. Students could fill out which books they check out and you could create a column for when they check it in that you can mark off as well.

•If a student leaves your classroom they can mark why and the time of day. For a middle school or high school teacher, you’d never have to wonder if they are leaving the same time of day or asking to leave for the same reason because it would be recorded for you.

•Overall, this tool can help you in so many ways and you should give it a try if you haven’t already!

Google Slides/Docs

•Another tool I will be keeping around post-pandemic is the collaborative side of Google Slides and Google Docs apps.

•I absolutely love the ability to track all the work each student does. It makes grading group work so much easier because you can see what each group member did to contribute. Each group member can also contribute anywhere. So, gone are the days of “my group mate is absent, so what should I do?”. They can work on it whenever you’d like them to. You can use this app for question parking lots and exit tickets virtually from each student too! The possibilities are endless.

•Google docs works great as well for peer and teacher editing, especially when it comes to getting feedback on an essay. As an ELA teacher, the commenting tool makes my heart so happy! You and the peer editor can both make marks/corrections and comments. It’s the ultimate collaborative editing tool!

Virtual Classroom Library

•Last, but certainly not least in my post pandemic toolbox, is the virtual classroom library. My students absolutely adored being able to read any one of my books at home or on the go. One thing they hated was having a super popular book be checked out and having to wait to read it! But this avoids all that, plus it’s extremely sanitary. All I did was get a picture of the title and link the picture to a free PDF version of the book (there are so many free PDFs of kids books out there just waiting to be googled!). Then students could click and read a book whenever they wanted! I added this to my virtual classroom I made, and it was so easy to tell early finishers to “grab a book” because it was all right there at the tip of their fingers!

Now, by no means, do I want to keep all the pandemic gave us. But sometimes, out of a difficult situation, comes a huge lesson (or many). As teachers, we persevered, and I say why not take away some of the genius hacks that made our life easier!

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