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Time Management Tips for Teachers

September 16, 2014

alarmclockonbooksRemember that time you felt overwhelmed by that huge pile of essays on your desk? Sometimes, we feel that there is not enough time to get everything done. (Don’t you wish we have a 25 hour day instead of 24?)  If you’re a teacher, you know that you need to have good time management skills. So we put together a quick guide for you that you can use to help manage your time!

Create a to-do list.

Having a to-do list is can save you a lot of time. Start off by writing down the different tasks you need to do that day and organize them based on priorities. Try to tackle what you can do to day. If you still have some tasks left over, add it to tomorrow’s to-do list! By writing down your tasks, it can give you a clear idea on what you need to get done for the day. Also, it can help you focus on what are the most important tasks for the day.

Don’t take your work home!

Don’t you just hate it when you have to carry that HUGE bag of papers and reports home to grade? Home the place where you can relax and forget about grading. When at home, you should spend time doing the things you enjoy. When you are tired from grading, it will make you less effective in class. So take this time to relax at home and stay refreshed! Also, if you have a long commute home (like me), use that time on the train or bus to grade those papers! (It’s a great way to multi-task too!)

Saying “no”.

Are you the type of teacher who is constantly involved in school activities? Sure, it is important to be involved with school activities. If you feel like you have too much work to do, it is OK to say no. You don’t need to be involved with ALL the school activities but you can try to help out at one or two events each semester!

Have a clean desk.

If your desk looks like a pack of rhino just ran through it, maybe it’s a sign that you should clean it up! When we have a cluttered desk, it can be hard to work effectively. Don’t spend 5 minutes trying to look for a new piece of chalk, or that stapler that used to be under that pile of yellow paper. A cluttered desk can take time away from what’s important. Keep the top of your desk clean with only the materials you need. Everything else should be stored away in drawers!

Different teachers have different ways of managing their time. You are not limited to the tips we provided. It is important for you to find your style of time management. Let us know how you manage your time!

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

Things to Do at the Beginning of the School Year

September 4, 2014

keep calmWe all remember that Back-to-School anxiety on the first day of school: trouble sleeping before the first day of school; double-checking (maybe triple- or even quadruple-checking) your book bag for all the materials you need; headaches and stomachaches. After a few days of school, these anxieties will fade away (at least, for some student). As a teacher, you have to respond to these anxieties and help your students try to re-adapt to the new school year. So what can you do to help students ease back into school? There are activities that you can do with your students! So let’s take a look:

Learn each other’s name.

Yes! This is a must-do for teachers and students. Play a name game with your students so they have a chance to know each other. After all, a game is always a good icebreaker! If you need tips on how to remember your students’ names, check out our last post here! Or you can set up a buddy system so students can contact each other outside of school.

Do a fun survey.

Another way that you can help students drive out their Back-to-School anxiety is to have a quick fun survey. Students can work in a small group and college responses. This fun activity can get students out of their seat and start to talk to each other. It can facilitate conversations and allow students find out how similar they are to other students. Some questions that you might ask are:

  1. What is your favorite snack?
  2. My hidden talent is:
  3. What is your favorite school subject?
  4. How do you spend your free time?
  5. What is your favorite food?

Play a word game.

What better way to get students comfortable with new school year other than a word game. Create a word search or a crossword puzzle for your students to solve! They can even work in a group. Discovery Education offers a Puzzlemaker and allows you to create different kinds of puzzles.

Welcome back and wishing you have a great year!

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

How to Provide Students with Feedback

September 2, 2014
tags:

feedback6Providing feedback is one of the most powerful tools that you can use to transform your students’ learning. But as we all know, sometimes feedback can be negative, causing it to be counterproductive. So how can educators provide effect feedback to students and encourage them to work harder?

Even though there’s no easy way for providing feedback, we generated a list of 4 different ways that you, as an educator, can use with your students.

  1. Be specific with your feedback.

You many think that “Good job!” is a good feedback. But this doesn’t tell your students what they are doing correctly or what they are doing incorrectly. What we suggest to do is try to be specific with your feedback by either focusing on one part of the work or provide your students with information on what they did correctly or incorrectly.

 

  1. Provide feedback in a timely manner.

The most effective feedback is usually given immediately.  Students who receive feedback immediately respond positively (i.e., better grades). Also, if you give feedback weeks or months later, your students will not remember what they wrote about! Your feedback can be written (i.e., post-it note), verbally or non-verbally (i.e., frown, smile).

 

  1. Alternate due dates.

If you have a lot of students or classes, this is a great method for you to provide feedback on research projects or tests. By alternating due dates for each students/classes, you can spend more quality time to provide feedback.

 

  1. Ask students to give YOU feedback.

 That’s right. Have your students give you feedback and be sure to read them! Let them know that they can provide feedback anonymously. Create surveys that allow students to take at home at the end of the school year or semester.  Ask them what they like or dislike about your class, what would they do differently, etc. If you are planning to use a survey for feedback, there are free survey tools, online like SurveyMonkey or SurveyPlanet.

Do you have other methods for providing feedback? Share it with the rest of the Voki community!

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_n

Bio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

Ed-Tech Checklist for the New School Year

August 28, 2014

checklist2The new school year will be here before you know it. Do you have all the items you need for your classroom? Don’t panic if you don’t! We put together a quick ed-tech checklist for you so you can be fully prepared for the upcoming school year! So let’s get started with the list:

  1. Ed-tech budget. Set up a quick meeting with the school administrators to confirm the budget for classroom technologies. Then order all the tech/equipment you need so you can have it all set up and ready to go for the new school year!
  2. Update devices. If you use computers, laptops, and tablets in class, you should double check to see if the devices need to be updated. Double check and see if any program needs to be updated or re-installed. Make sure that all the equipment you are planning to use is fully functional. Now, we don’t want to have a broken SMART board in the classroom, right?
  3. Update class website. For the upcoming school year, you should update your class website with new content (new announcement, new page color/theme, etc.). Create a new welcome message for your students and a short announcement to parents about your plan for using ed-tech in class this school year.
  4. Plan your ed-tech lessons. It is never too early to plan your lessons. Be prepared and plan your ed-tech lessons ahead. Plan your first three (or more) ed-tech lessons with your new students. It’s better to be prepared than sorry!
  5. Useful ed-tech blogs. Find a great blog that will help you with your ed-tech adventures. A good ed-tech blog should include new tools, tips, and techniques that you can use in class. For a list of top ed-tech blogs, check it out on EdTech Magazine.

Hopefully that this is a good list for teachers to follow! But there are other items that can be added to the checklist. If you have any other suggests for teachers to prepare for the new school year, let us know!

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

Tips on Remembering Your Students’ Names

August 26, 2014

School is starting soon and that means a new group of students will be coming into your class! Unfortunately, some teachers might have problems remember names and faces. Let’s face it, if you’re a teacher with 50 (or more) students, you’ll probably have some trouble remembering all their names!

But don’t worry; we have tricks that you use to remember their names! Let’s get started!

Assign seats

On the first day of class, assign your students to seats. Have them sit in the same seats for the first few weeks of school until you are able to remember their names. You can seat them alphabetically; or, you can create a seating chart and post it up on the board.

Make name cards

Making name cards is the easiest way to remember your students’ names. Have your students create name cards and place it on their desk during class. They can also decorate the name cards to make the activity more fun! Before the class ends, collect the name cards. Test yourself the next day by handing out the name cards to you students.

Play a name game

Playing a game is a great icebreaker for a new class. Not only that it is a good way for your new students to get comfortable with the class, it gives them a chance to know each other! Students can come up with an adjective (have to be the same letter as their name) to describe themselves, i.e. Funny Fanny, Silly Sally, Crazy Craig. Each student will have a chance to participate. The first student will give his/her name (along with the adjective. Then the second person will repeat the first person’s student and give his/her name. The third student will recite each name from the beginning and adding their own. The last person to go should be you, the teacher!

What other tricks do you have for remember students’ names? Let us know!

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

Upcoming Events

August 22, 2014

Yes! Voki have some upcoming events that you may want to join! We will be hosting our very first Voki Demo on August 28th, 2014.

The Voki Demo would be great for new Voki users to learn more about Voki Classroom and Voki Presenter. Also, you’ll have a chance to talk to the Voki Team and ask questions!

To view all the upcoming events, check out our calendar below:

calendar

 

We have more events scheduled in the future! So don’t forget to check back!

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at feedback@voki.com!

Until next time,

The Voki Team

Ways to use Twitter in Class

August 21, 2014

2a1c1d8If you use Twitter in class, raise your hand! Last week, we have a post on the ways to engage students with technology and one of the ways is to use Twitter in class. So today, we will be expanding this topic a little more!

As you know, many educators found innovative ways to use Twitter with their students. For those you use it, it is a very useful (and powerful) tool. If you don’t use it, here are some ways that you can use Twitter in class.

 Twitter discussions after class.

Do you ever feel like there’s not enough hours in a day to teach a lesson? The lesson doesn’t have to end just because class is over. You can hold Twitter discussions online with your students. Tweet out discussions questions and encourage your students to participate!

Class announcements on Twitter.

Quiz next Monday? Class trip to the local art museum is cancelled? Or to remind them that school is closed on Wednesday? Twitter is the perfect place to make these announcements. It keeps students up-to-date with the latest classroom news. If you’re using Twitter with younger students, it can also keep parents informed about upcoming classroom events!

Share useful information.

Don’t limit your students’ knowledge with just the readings assigned for homework. If you find a relevant article or an interesting video, tweet it out to them. Or, if you find some materials that can help them clarify some topics or questions, tweet it out too! It can be articles, videos, pictures, anything!

 Practice writing skills on Twitter.

Even though Twitter offers a 140-character limit, this doesn’t mean students can’t practice their writing skills. What’s even better is that you can encourage students to write creatively while staying within the character limit. TeachThought offers some writing activities that you can use with students, which includes vocabulary building and grammar review.

We are interested in learning how you use Twitter in class! Tweet it to us @officialvoki!

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

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