by Lizandaa Alburg, NJEA Teacher Leader Academy (TLA) consultant, and Sharon Ortiz, TLA participant; with additional contributions made by TLA participants Charlene Gerbig and Megan King; and Shaye Brown, technology educator at Paterson’s Dr. Frank Napier Jr. School of Tech-nology

Welcome back! During the past few months, many of us scrambled to develop technology skills, identify valuable digital resources, and continue student learning remotely as our workplace moved from brick-and-mortar schools to our kitchen tables, couches, or any available space. Gone were the days of group seating arrangements and interactive white boards. Instead, platforms and resources such as Google, Zoom, BrainPOP, and Newsela became instructional staples statewide.

It’s now September and your district may have opted to begin this new school year with a hybrid or all-remote instructional model. You may need to increase your student engagement, diversify your instruction and heighten your use of 21st-century skills even more. Consider using some of the following technology gems to ensure that you have a successful 2020-2021 academic year.

TECHNOLOGY ESSENTIALS

Flip Grid
flipgrid.com

Free–Flipgrid is styled to embody popular social media sites and contains discussion starters from Wonderopolis, NearPod, Conversations about Race, Equity and Justice, The Met, Flocabulary, Skype, MSN Kids, Learning from HOME and more.

Kahoot
kahoot.com

Free/paid–Kahoot is a game-like assessment tool with high student engagement. It gives the teacher the ability to implement a formative assessment of the whole class at one time without putting students on the spot. Gimkit (gimkit.com) is a paid site similar to Kahoot that allows for differentiation.

Padlet
padlet.com

Free/paid–Padlets are user-friendly “virtual walls” that can be used for hosting introductions, posting writing prompts, questions, exit tickets, videos, links, pictures, collaborative research, literature discussions, peer critiques, presentations, project progress and more.

Nearpod
nearpod.com

Free–The only dashboard you need for interactive instruction. Nearpod offers live participation, student-paced and front-of-the-class options. You can also find lesson plans, games, videos, assessments, and more on the site.

THE ARTS

Google Arts & Culture
artsandculture.google.com

Free–Google Arts & Culture offers virtual field trips, museums, scavenger hunts and other ideas.

LANGUAGE ARTS

Storytime Online
youtube.com/user/StorylineOnline/videos

Free–Celebrities reading aloud.

Wonderopolis
wonderopolis.org

Free–A great site for inquiry, reading comprehension, vocabulary development and extension activities.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS

Talking Points
talkingpoints.org

Free–Talking Points is a two-way communication tool used with ELL students and their families. Typed messages can be translated to and from English to 100+ languages.

MATH

Didax
didax.com/math/virtual-manipulatives.html

Free–A collection of virtual math manipulatives including dice, unifix cubes, spinners, number lines, pattern blocks, geoboards, and more.

MISCELLANEOUS

Daily Caring
bit.ly/dailycaringft

Free–Virtual field trips

Conversation Starters World
conversationstartersworld.com/would-you-rather-questions-for-kids

Free–Would You Rather… and other conversation-starting questions.

SCIENCE

NGSS Phenomena
ngssphenomena.com

Free–Short GIFs of science phenomenon can be used as bell ringers or conversation starters. Virtual science education cards are also positive resources.

SPECIAL EDUCATION

Rewordify
Rewordify.com

Free–Helps with reading comprehension and vocabulary development by simplifying English to a lower reading level. It lets you reword a sentence or reword a paragraph. It will simplify English by reducing text complexity. It’s an important part of reading instruction and vocabulary instruction for ELL students, students with reading disabilities, student with a learning disability, or anyone who wants to improve reading skills!

SOCIAL STUDIES

ProCon.org
procon.org

Free–Students analyze the pros and cons of current events. Useful for rigorous discussion, debates and citing evidence.

Teachrock
teachrock.org/lesson-plan-collections

Free–This amazing resource has music-based lesson plans related to most content areas and grade levels.

 

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