Schoology: Tech Tips for Back to School Success

Today, I want to introduce you to one of my new technology loves: Schoology! This is a Facebook-like program that is very intuitive and easy to use. I am using this as a primary tool to communicate with my students and parents. 

I am so excited to have the opportunity to work in a 1:1 laptop classroom this year! I love implementing Technology in my classroom but it is difficult to do so when your school is limited on technology and your students are as well. I have tried the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) but it is difficult to get everyone on the same page with multiple platforms. 

Basic Setup for Middle School

I teach 5 different classes. I am able to set up each class separately. The below picture shows you my 5th Grade Math class. I used a picture of our textbook as our class logo. Then I have a folder setup for each chapter of the book. These folders are hidden until I review them to my students. The description for each chapter lists the lessons in each chapter. 

Each day when my students come into class, they know to log into their Schoology account for information on today's lesson. When I am planning, I update my folders and schedule assignments onto the calendar. I upload all of the documents that I will pass out in class.

This system helps me track all of the resources that I use for each lesson and helps me simplify my lesson planning as well as ensure that I do not forget anything. Each class has this same basic setup.

Features of Schoology

While I use this platform for my middle school students, it can easily be adapted to any age group as you the teacher control the content.

  • Collaborative LMS - A Learning Management System (LMS) is a great tool to help you manage the ins and outs of your classrooms including assessments, discussions, and homework. 
  • App Integrations - There are many apps that you can add into Schoology to make it perfect for your class. Apps include Google Classroom and Khan Academy (two of my favorites).
  • Easy Signup - No email required! 
  • Small Groups - Create groups within your classroom. Students can be part of multiple groups. This means small group management and tracking just got easier!
  • Threaded Discussions - Ensure your students are answering those Tier 3 & 4 Essential Questions. 
  • Multimedia - Embed Video and Audio!
  • Attachments - No more extra copies laying around the room. Upload a PDF and allow your students to have access to print at their leisure. 
  • Hyperlinks - Send your students anywhere... virtual field trips, provide definitions, examples, visual aids, etc.. This is only limited by you. 
  • Attendance 
  • Grades - Import to your district's gradebook
  • Assessments - Create assessments and use a rubric to grade them. It's all built in.
  • Standards Tracking - For each assignment, I add the standards we are covering. 

Best of all... this is all FREE! Yes, your district could purchase a membership with extra features but you don't need it to have all of these great things at your finger tips. 

Back to School Guide

In preparing for a successful school year, I always take a week toward the end of summer break to review my reflections from the previous year and to prepare for the year ahead. Join me this week as I take you through my top 6 must-dos.
  1. Creating a Year Long Plan
  2. Setting up Schoology
  3. Using EdTech to Differentiate Instruction
  4. Managing Data with Student Binders
  5. Interactive Notebooks... revisited
  6. Updating Your Portfolio

I have a few more things to do over the summer but will be back at the beginning of August with more fun Back to School topics for you including: 
  1. Picking a Classroom Theme
  2. Setting Up Your Classroom
  3. Money Saving Tips for Back to School Sales
  4. Starting Your Morning Off Right
  5. Managing the I'm Done Now What-ers
  6. Homework they Love to do

What more information on Schoology? Check out these other great posts (if I do say so myself!). 

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