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Simplify with These 12 Lesson Planning Tools

Ditch paper planners and have your most productive year to date!

New year = new lesson planner. Why not ditch your paper planners and go digital this year? With these apps and websites, you can bring lesson planning and design into the 21st century. Specifically, these tools make it easier to: Collaborate with students, parents, and fellow teachers (ChalkUp, Common Curriculum) Differentiate learning (Gooru, LearnZillion) Develop lesson templates (PlanbookEdu) Align to Common Core State Standards (BetterLesson, ReadWriteThink) Invest in professional development (Schoology) Track student outcomes (Goalbook Toolkit)  Click Here for Our Full List of Lesson Planning Tools If you’ve got a favorite we missed, let us know in the comments below! ....read more


Electrify Student Writing with Technology

4 Tools to Inspire and Scaffold Genre-Specific Writing

Writing is no longer only the act of putting pen to paper. Nearly all of my professional and personal correspondence, including this very blog, takes shape thanks to a keyboard and screen. I may not have owned my first computer when I started college 20-some years ago, but I can hardly imagine making it through a work day now without one. While I ensure my kindergarten students take pencil to paper multiple times per day to build fine motor skills, I simultaneously use technology to enhance their understanding of writing styles. With the arrival of Common Core, a notable change in English Language Arts is the increased emphasis on genre-specific writing beginning in kindergarten and increasing in sophistication each year. Through the use....read more


Webinar Spotlight: The Art of Procurement -- Balancing Price and Performance

Do you think of procurement in the same way you think of purchasing? Join Jeff Mao and Steve Garton in our monthly webinar series focused on strategies and practical advice about 1-to-1 learning programs. In this webinar, Jeff and Steve explore procurement strategies in today’s world of transparency and accountability, coupled with public funds in a school setting. Discover why the way you shop for solutions can be as important as how you buy. Is leasing computer equipment a good idea? Is price the most important factor? Find out this and more in our discussion on project management and implementation. Webinar Highlights: 10:01 -- "Usually, at least 50 percent or more of the cost of a computer ....read more


New! Professional Growth Features on Graphite

At this year’s ISTE conference, we launched three new features in Graphite’s Teacher Center: What’s New pages, Teaching with Tech, and Graphite Community. These new resources join our existing suite of videos, monthly webinars, teacher-submitted Lesson Flows, and our Graphite Certification program. Let’s take a look at how our new resources can help you advance your practice. What’s New Want to know what the latest and greatest resources on Graphite are? Check out our What’s New pages. There you’ll find hand-picked resources from our editorial team as well as trending Top Picks lists, reviews, and Lesson Flows from fellow teachers. Right now we have pages for ELA and Math, but there are more....read more


Motivate Young Writers with These 15 Community-Driven Tools

No matter which way you slice it, students are more engaged when the "real world" is the focus of their learning. Getting kids to write for an authentic audience is one of the best ways to make this connection. To get them started, websites like Youth Voices and Tween Tribune provide vibrant online communities to make meaningful connections with fellow young writers. Kids can also get some direct experience in critiquing and receiving feedback with TeenInk and LitPick. For those especially interested in real-world topics and current events, The Learning Network and KQED: Do Now are chock full of activities and prompts to get kids reacting and writing. With any of these tool....read more


5 Comic Strip Activities for Writing on the First Day of School

Are you looking for a fun way to get kids writing from the very start of the school year? Getting your students to write meaningful responses isn't always easy. Writing, and the many layers of the writing process -- thinking of an idea, writing it down, fixing spelling and adding punctuation, using voice to make it interesting, and making sure it is written in a logical order -- can be difficult or intimidating, especially for students who struggle with writing. Creating stories with comic strips can be a great solution! It's fun and motivating. It allows students to use voice and creativity in their writing. And the layout of comic strips is a useful tool to help students plan a beginning, middle, and end to their story. These five....read more


Webinar Spotlight: Do's and Don'ts of Integrating Tech in Schools

Learn valuable tips on implementing a technology plan and incorporating digital citizenship.

Have you faced challenges in bringing 21st-century tools into your school? Are your students prepared for an increasingly digital world? In our June webinar, Jeff Downing, an elementary computer specialist in California's Fremont Unified School District, shared valuable lessons he learned as he implemented a technology plan at his school site, including some "do's" and "don'ts" learned from incorporating digital citizenship throughout the curriculum. Webinar Highlights 16:35 -- "Do lower the barrier to use. What I try to do at the beginning of every year is train [students] on the technology they're going to be using in the classroom for a full month before we even use that technology....read more


Graphite Boards: Share Great Graphite Resources with Your Colleagues

A new design makes it even easier to save, organize, and share great content.

Are you the go-to person in your school or district for edtech recommendations? Our newly revamped Boards feature will make it easier to collect the best stuff you find on Graphite, and to share it with your colleagues and networks. We recently updated the entire site with a more polished, user-friendly theme. This gave us a great opportunity to rethink several of Graphite's signature features, including Graphite Boards. Now, when you find cool resources on Graphite -- from reviews to blog posts to Top Picks lists and beyond -- you can click "Save Page." This will store that resource in your profile. You can later curate that into a Board -- think a Pinterest board but for Graphite resources -- or you can click....read more


Webinar Spotlight: Are You Ready for BYOD?

This webinar offers excellent tips on BYOD for teachers, administrators, librarians, and other technology specialists.

Are you interested in implementing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program in your classroom or school? In our June webinar, Rachelle Wooten, a digital learning specialist at Fort Bend Independent School District in Texas and a Graphite certified educator, provided a primer on BYOD, including digital tool recommendations, classroom management tips, lesson planning, teaching tips, and more.  Rachelle, who oversaw the BYOD training in her district, developed her own model: R.E.A.D.I.E.E (Research, Explore, Access, Develop, Inform, Execute, and Evaluate) for BYOD. Whether you already have a BYOD initiative or want to start one, this webinar offers excellent tips for teachers, administrators, librarians, and other tec....read more


20 Fun Creation Tools for a Summer of Making

Learn by doing with these creativity-boosting apps, games, and websites.

Know any kids who light up at the thought of taking apart electronics, building an app, or making their own video game? Summer is the perfect time to focus on creating, rather than consuming. Naturally curious kids can take risks freely, learn from mistakes, and solve problems -- without the pressure of deadlines or grades. Making use of tutorials and how-to guides, kids can easily create cool stuff with these nifty apps, games, and websites. Try out Scratch or Minecraft for open-ended, limitless digital creation geared toward younger makers. Kids a little older can dive into Gamestar Mechanic or LittleBigPlanet 2, two captivating game-making platforms that will expand their minds and involve them in a vibrant community of....read more


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