I am just a little excited to share that today Evernote released a new feature for Mac, iOS and Web….REMINDERS! I have always been a user of the reminders available on my iPhone so when I heard that Evernote was releasing Reminders built into the app I was super excited! Evernote already organises my life, home and work, everything I need to keep track of is in Evernote so Reminders will greatly enhance my organisation!
Evernote Reminders allow:
In-app and email Alarms
Quick note based to-do lists
Pinning notes to the top of your note list
From just playing around with Reminders today, I can tell it is quite easy and seamless to use. Just tap on the little alarm clock icon in your note (top corner in Mac and Web, bottom of note in iOS), set a date and time and you are done!
The Evernote Reminders are Notebook based (I am a stickler for having my Notebooks and Notebook Stacks organised ‘just right’ so I love this feature). In the screen shot below you can see how my Reminders are categorised in each of the Notebooks they are set for.
Why I think Evernote reminders will work for me-
In the last couple of weeks, I have gone from being in the classroom teaching three days a week to only two. On my three days outside of the classroom I am a Teaching and Learning coach within my school- spending much of my time visiting, planning with and mentoring other teachers and classes of different levels all over my school. Needless to say my job just became a little more hectic. Having to remember which classroom I am due in and at what time, as well as the planning for and teaching of my own class on the other two days- Evernote Reminders could not have come at a better time! For all of these different things I do, classroom visits, planning sessions and my own student assessment, I keep notes in Evernote. Now I can add reminders to my notes! I have just created Reminders for all I want to complete next week and feel so much more organised already!
Check out my Reminders associated with my notes-
So excited (I know I said that already!) to see my productivity continue to improve with Evernote Reminders!
Last year I wrote a post about how Evernote has dramatically improved how I report on student progress. As report writing time has now crept up again for Australian schools, I thought it was the perfect time to write about my developments in this process.
At the beginning of the school year, from the very first day, I have been collecting an array of student work quickly, efficiently and productively all within my Evernote account. The types of things I have collected about my students include-
Samples of writing
Audio recordings of reading
Videos of student explanations and answers to maths problems
Student reflections (written and recorded)
Reading group notes and assessments
Photos of students working, managing their learning and demonstrating teamwork
Learning goals and achievements
Copies of pre and posts tests and assessment tasks
Records of home reading and homework habits
As a result, when I pulled out my iPad to begin writing reports last weekend, I was again, pleasantly surprised to feel so at ease and confident in writing quality reports for my students in a fraction of the time it would have taken me two years ago (before Evernote). I didn’t have to carry tub loads of books and assessments home because I had all the data I needed at the tip of my fingers, ready to go! I love that there is no need for comment banks as all student assessment data is personal and individualised, just the way student reports should be.
Within my Evernote account I have created a Notebook Stack- ’2013 Student Assessment’, within this stack I have created a notebook for each of my students as well as notebooks to document small teacher groups for reading, writing and numeracy. Within each of these notebooks are notes filled with what my students can do, their areas for improvement, learning goals and evidence of things they have said, done and completed in class. This evidence of student learning will also form an integral role as we prepare for our mid year three way conferences.
I am not denying that writing student reports is a time consuming process, it is, but with Evernote it is much easier and takes away all of the stress! What I hope many of you reading this realise is that you can get some hours back! If you want more hours to yourself in May and November each year…it’s time to do yourself and your students a favour- download Evernote and start tomorrow. My advice? start using Evernote to do one new thing a week. Before you know it you will be amazed at the possibilities. The use of Evernote to document and analyse my student assessment data has made me a better teacher. I am so much more accountable for keeping track and I never lose anything!
How do you track student assessment in your classroom?
Today I held an Evernote Meetup at my school in Craigieburn, an outer suburb of Melbourne. It was great to see many educators come out in the cold wind and rain for the event and to share in an afternoon of ‘green’ food and Evernote stories! Being the only Australian Evernote Ambassador, most of my interactions about Evernote generally happen online through my blog and Twitter, or when people in ‘real life’ will listen to me! It was fantastic to meet so many Evernote users and people who want to get on the amazing Evernote band wagon!
It was wonderful to hear about the great ways so many teachers are already using Evernote for themselves and with their students. I shared about how Evernote has changed my teaching and assessment practices and discussed many of the wonderful Evernote Trunk partners. I loved watching and hearing about how other educators are using Evernote and I loved that these teachers were excited and eager to start using Evernote straight away.
So it is only a couple of weeks before Australian schools return for the 2013 school year and I have had lots of keen teachers contact me in relation to getting organised with Evernote.
Here are my top tips for preparing for your new school year with Evernote-
1. Set up a notebook for each of your students. I like to do this because as the year goes by you will collect evidence of student learning and it is kept all in the one spot, easily accessible and extremely handy when writing mid year and end of year student reports. It is also handy when you have parent-teacher interviews.
5. Keep Track of your professional development. A great way to organise and keep track of the professional development you undertake throughout the year.
6. Go paperless with your lesson plans and work program. Last year I went paperless with my work program in Evernote. All of my lesson plans from Term 2 onwards were created in Evernote. This allowed me to have access to my lesson plans wherever I was, when ever I wanted!
7. Tag. I must admit, I think I am the worst ‘tagger’ out but when I do tag, I am grateful I have done so. As an example, I always make sure I tag when working with small groups and am trying hard to ensure I do this when working with individual students as well. In reading sessions, I like to tag the strategy I was working on with students so when I want to check on how my students are going with a particular strategy, I can easily search for it.
8. Use the audio feature. Record your students reading, explaining maths problems or discussing their reflections. What ever you record is a great reminder of what your students have achieved and you can continually come back to to inform future teaching.
9. Take pictures. The best thing about about taking snapshots with Evernote is that it automatically digitizes the content and makes it searchable! Take pictures of student work samples, handouts you are given and more!
10. If you can afford $45 a year…go premium. The premium Evernote features give teachers many more opportunities for sharing and collaboration. Not only can you share notes with others, you can invite them to edit and collaborate on notes and notebooks with you. A great option, especially if you are team teaching or work in a large team of teachers.
Join my shared Notebook- Evernote Examples to give yourself some ideas and see how I use Evernote-
In September and October last year I wrote a few posts about assessing student reading on the iPad by taking running records using the GoodReader app and then saving the assessments in Evernote to have everything in the one spot. This process has worked well for me for more than a year but recently I was reminded of a Record of Reading app (thanks to @richielambert) which I had previously dismissed due to not being able to export the completed record to Evernote. Rich suggested taking a screen shot and saving it to Evernote that way, which would work and is a great suggestion but I found it to be a little clunky and fiddly when in the classroom and on the go. After playing around with the app a little more, I found that you are able to email a completed record as either a .jpeg or .pdf file. By doing this I was able to email it directly to my Evernote account in less clicks (or taps) than taking a screen shot, just a little more efficient.
The Record of Reading app is a nifty idea and unlike annotating a .pdf using GoodReader, it allows the teacher to complete a miscue analysis by simply tapping instead of spending time writing more. I would still suggest using a stylus rather than your finger to complete the annotations.
Another good feature of the app is being able to add all the data- words read, errors and self corrections and then it automatically calculates the accuracy rate. Very handy in a busy classroom!
Ok, after the pros, there must come some cons…I still prefer to record the audio of my students reading in Evernote, that way I can access all of my data the one place and the emailing part is a little annoying but no more annoying than what it was saving an annotated .pdf from GoodReader.
Between this app, Kustomnote and Evernote, paperless assessment in my classroom is getting even easier and more efficient!
Many teachers might look at the poster above and relate to the last photograph…especially at report writing time. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
The time of year is here again to write student reports. For many teachers this time of year can cause much stress, anxiety and worry! Not to mention finding the time before and after school and on the weekends to write a detailed snapshot of student learning for a whole semester.
This year, I am not worried, I am not stressed, I am not anxious. I know that I have plenty of time to get my reports completed because I already have so much information already typed, personalised and ready to go about my students. I have Evernote.
Using Evernote everyday in the classroom has allowed to me to capture student learning on a personalised and detailed level. At any point throughout the day when I am working with small groups or conferencing with individual students I am adding information to student notebooks in Evernote. I also have my report comments from last semester included in the notebooks so I can easily compare and acknowledge student growth, all at the tip of my fingers.
Using this process has also made me realise I do not need comment banks. Using comment banks can become repetitive and at times individual student reports can end up sounding mundane and boring. By having personalised, detailed notes on each students readily available in Evernote, I can simply cut and paste what I have written and change the wording slightly to suit the professional reporting format.
Yes, it still can be time consuming but no longer do I need to carry student work books home or piles of paper and assessment records! At the click of a button, or the tap of a finger I have everything I need in one spot! Easy!
What strategies do you use to help with report writing?
Its been too long between posts about Evernote so alas, here I am again.
I tweeted my Evernote page again this morning as I hope that each time I do, someone new accesses it.
As a teacher, I really don’t understand why other teachers are not using it. If you have all student notes and work samples in one spot imagine how less stressful report writing will be. Yes it still takes a lot of time, but it is MUCH easier having everything in one spot and so easily accessible. In the last couple of weeks at school I have started a ‘Brekkie with a Techie’ morning and I am slowly winning by getting all staff on board and using Evernote.
I am often getting questions from various teachers asking how I set up my Evernote notebooks and notes. As a result I thought I would give you an inside look or tour of my Evernote account. This spiralled into me making a few screencasts, so if you can stand the sound of my voice for longer than 5 minutes, they could be short informative videos to help you, especially for new users.
Evernote has transformed the way I keep notes on students in my class. I type notes, record audio and video and take photos of their worksamples. All this information is then stored in individual student notebooks within Evernote.
I first began using Evernote for individual reading conferences and since then just about all of my organisastional data and student anecdotal notes are taken using Evernote. I love that it allows me to keep everything in one place, it keeps me organised and able to track students and information easily with the tap of a button.
Although Evernote has become a necessity for me in my classroom, I have never been one hundred percent happy with the formating tools. I am a very visual person so not only do I want my information accessible I want it to look good too.
Today I stumbled upon a web app called KustomNote. KustomNote was originally designed for the Evernote Dev Cup. Think Google Forms and Evernote all mixed into one! I like it as it takes out all the need for formatting and produces professional looking, neat notes.
Below I have included a little story of how my notes have changed since I began using Evernote-
At this stage I can not see a way to record audio or video through KustomNote but once your note has been saved you can go in and add audio and attachments as you usually would.
I like the fact that once I have my templates made all I need to do is edit and the information is easily saved in my desired notebook in Evernote.
I have created the following templates and have made them public for other users to copy.
At the beginning of the year, I blogged about the launch of my first classroom blog. The last six months has proven to be a myriad of things; challenging, exciting, stimulating, inspiring,worthwhile, fulfiling, interesting but above all one of the most rewarding things I have done in my teaching career to date.
There is nothing better as a teacher to witness your students become responsible and independent learners who are able to reflect on what and how they learn. I believe that having our class blog has encouraged my students to become thought provoked, interested learners who take pride in their work and thrive on sharing their successes with an authentic audience.
Last week my students and I discussed why we blog and how it helps their learning. This is what we came up with:
It was great to be able to hear their thoughts and ideas on whay blogging is important and discuss the ways it helps their learning.
During Term 2 students in my class participated in a ‘Blog Challenge‘- Students had to try and get as many of their friends and family to comment on our blog as possible. I implemented this challenge as an effort to encourage more of a connection between school and home. It was great to see the enthusiasm of students and many of their family members! With the announcement of our winners last week, my students have already asked if we will be having another challenge during the year.
The next step in my journey will be having some student bloggers. I have about three students in my grade who I think are nearly ready to embark on their own blogging adventure and can’t wait to help them begin. I am sure this will be another learning curve but one that will be rewarding all the same.
Some pictures of students blogging in my class-
Do you blog with your students?
How has blogging improved student learning in your class?
Kathleen Morris has blogged a lot about educational blogging here. If you are thinking about starting a class blog I would highly recommend visiting her site, there is lots of great ideas and advice!
Tonight I discovered Pearltrees.com, another exciting content curation tool to help you organise the web! A place where you are able to collect and share places of interest and sites from the internet. The tool allows you to share your ‘pearls’ with the Pearltrees community as well as enrich your own Pearltrees with content already saved on the site.
What makes Pearltrees unique ?
have everything you like on the web organized in one place
play with pearls, they are made to be manipulated
share great content instantly, everything is public
join +250.000 other users who are sharing + 10 millions pearls
As many of my readers already know, I am such a visual learner and love the way I can organise and curate content in a visual and pictorial way.
You can begin your Pearltree journey by using the search feature or clicking on the related interest button, which will bring up hundreds of pearls ready for you to add to your own trees. You can also create teams so multiple users can contribute to the one Pearltree, a great way to collaborate on multi-user projects!
I can already see so many possibilities for use in the classroom and can’t wait to explore more, especially with my students.
Here is the Pearltree I created- The beginning of what I think will be a very beautiful friendship!