My new best friend

Weebly is a teacher’s best friend.

Or at the very least, it is my new best friend.

As a new teacher, I am constantly striving to find ways to make my life easier, less complicated, and more sane. I’m not always successful with this pursuit (see the above part about being a new teacher), but one tool has made a significant impact on my, and my students’, lives.

If you have not already experimented with Weebly, I highly recommend it. I’ve made websites on Google and iWeb, but I chose to use Weebly in my classroom because it is so straightforward and simple for students to learn. I am presently teaching grade 6, and without any exaggeration, I allowed the students some time to explore the platform and within 30 minutes of playing around, many of the students feel like empowered experts when creating their own websites.

My students are using this website building tool to create their learning portfolios through the year (more on this later), but my teaching practice has become so much easier by using this tool in my classroom instruction.

My spelling program is inspired by the Words Their Way program and so I have four different spelling groups based on where my students are developmentally. With four different groups, I found at the onset of the year, I was spending excessive amounts of time just reading out words and in the back of my head, I was asking myself “I earned a Masters degree so I could read lists of words out loud? There has to be a better way!”

To solve this problem, I just recorded myself reading the words out loud (I recorded on my phone, but you could also use a computer) and upload the recordings to my own Weebly page. When it is spelling quiz day, my students just log in to my Weebly page (on our iPads, but you could also use computers), plug in their headphones, and complete their quiz. While one small group is completing a quiz, I have now been freed up to teach a small group a mini-lesson, periodically checking in with the quiz takers.

It’s just a little step, and a tiny bit more prep work, but it means that my precious classroom time is more wisely and thoughtfully used. Sometimes it’s the small victories that can make the biggest impact.

About the Author
Passionate and curious about technology, smiles, special education, differentiated instruction, forests, graphic novels, accessibility, anti-oppression, and warm beverages. Can often be found laughing with young people and improvising songs on the spot. @teach_tomorrow

One comment on “My new best friend

  1. It seems that you are leveraging this tool very effectively. Your use of pre-recorded audio to free up class time to work with other students is, in essence, the beginning of “flipping” the classroom. I have worked extensively with the flipped classroom approach.

    It might be a bit overwhelming, but the “Flipped Classroom Ning” is a very useful tool to explore and understand the different ways a classroom can be flipped: http://flippedclassroom.org/

    Also, there is always a great discussion on Twitter at #flippedclassroom. This discussion thread usually posts some great links and ideas, as well as teachers who have successfully flipped lesson, units, and their entire year!

    It’s a great avenue to explore, and to bring to our next F2F session too!

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