The purpose of this post is to share with you this helpful collection of back to school resources to use with your students in class. I tried to cover as much ground as possible and offer you the best educational technology tools to help you optimize your teaching and enhance students learning throughout the whole new school year.
I arranged these tools into different categories including tools to create class website, tools to manage students noise, teacher-parent communication tools, formative assessment tools, first day of school books, back to school activities and worksheets, and more.
1. Tools to create a class website
Creating a virtual space for your classroom is one of the best pedagogical investment you can do for your students. While you can create a classroom website/ blog any time during the year the ideal time to do so, in my view, is during the first weeks of the school year. In this way, you will be able to simultaneously document your students learning as well as your teaching.
There are various ways to use a classroom website with your students: It can act as a portfolio platform where students share their learning artifacts and upload their work projects. An online class can also provide students with a learning-friendly discussion hub and a collaborative space where they can share ideas, exchange resources, and engage in fruitful conversations.
Teachers can also use the class website to share resources with students, post important dates and class announcements, and establish communication channels with parents. Check out this list to learn more about the best platforms to use to create classroom websites and blogs.
2. Tools to manage classroom noise
The transition from vacation mode with all its boisterous and exuberant character to a more focused and engrossed mode required for classroom learning usually takes time and effort. The first back-to-school weeks are usually challenging for teachers at many levels especially at the level of classroom management which is where noise meters come in handy.
These are tools that help you monitor and reduce noise levels in classroom by making noise visible. Enabling students to visualize their noise raises awareness to their sound levels and makes them noise conscious. There are several noise meter tools and apps to use in your classroom to bring down students noise and therefore help in creating optimal learning experiences. This list features some of the best classroom noise meters to try out in your class.
3. Teacher parent communication tools
Parental involvement in students learning is an important element in the learning/teaching process. Studies have clearly demonstrated the pedagogic benefits of establishing communication channels with parents. Indeed, there are several web tools and apps that you can use to communicate with parents, two of my favourite ones are ClassDojo and Seesaw.
4. Formative Assessment tools
Formative assessment is teachers’ friend. It is an assessment for learning and is one of the activities you will be doing repeatedly throughout the whole school year. Formative assessment helps you identify learning gaps, discover what works and what didn’t work with your teaching, and gauge students understanding.
Information collected through formative assessment can be used operationally to inform your teaching methodology and to design remedial and differentiated instructional strategies going forward. There is a wide variety of tools you can use to conduct quick formative assessments in your class some of which include:
5. Printable Back to school worksheets
This is a collection of resources that offer access to various printable back to school worksheets to use with your students in class. These worksheets offer tons of first week of school ideas and activities from getting to know me activities to find a friend games, you will definitely not run short of ideas to employ during those first days of the new school year.
6. Back to school activities
This is a collection of practical back to school activities to use with your students in class. For each of these activities I come up with web tools and apps that can help you best attain your teaching goals. The activities include Time Capsule (helps students outline their goals for the whole school year), Learn to Say Students Names Correctly (e.g., through the use of Edpuzzle and Wevideo), Classroom Agreement activity, and many more.
7. First day of school books
This is a collection of some of the best books for the first day of school. The books cover numerous topics and stories relevant for group discussion in class. These include the importance of correctly pronouncing students names as illustrated in Yangsook’s book The Name Jar, the importance of creating diverse and inclusive learning environments in class, stories of kids who successfully overcome crippling back to school anxieties, and more.
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