DISCOUNTS! 30 Companies Which Offer Teacher Discounts in 2015-2016

How much of your own $ have you spent getting your classroom and teaching tools ready for SY 2015-2016.  Fortunately, a nice list of national businesses give teachers a discount on purchases of various types.  Some of these are quite formal and require registration – like Barnes and Noble Teacher discount.  Others seem to be like a “flash your teacher ID” and save.

In perusing this list, I discovered the International Teacher Identification Card.  It’s clearly a money making operation for someone as the base level card is $25 (plus shipping!?!).  If it truly provides as many as discounts internationally as it claims to, it might be the teacher equivalent of the well-known AAA travel discounts.

Also, check with your local library as both of the ones for which I am eligible offer Educator Cards which offer extended check-out and reduced (or eliminated) late fines.

Lists and More Lists of Apps and Tools for Teachers and Students

As promised, here’s the big post with lots and lots of lists.  I know that during this busy time of year, neither you nor I will be able to play around with more than a few of the resources accessed through these links.  Heck, you might not even be able to do more now than just read this introduction!

Please bookmark this post (and this blog in general) and return here again and again to explore a list or two.  If I can discover one or two blockbuster (or even just pretty good) apps or sites (Kahoot is an awesome one that I discovered via a list) every month or so, than I feel like perusing lists a few minutes a week is time well spent!

Note: Image above is from this link: Two Great Periodic Tables on Educational iPad Apps

6 New Ed Tech Tools for Teachers

Free Digital Formative Assessment Tools

50 Web Tools and Mobile Apps for Showcasing Student Work

21 Grab and Go Teaching Tools for Your Classroom

Free Teacher Tested Tools to Try in Your Classroom

Four Top Websites for Teaching and Learning (Tackk; PearDeck; SoundTrap; Appsbar)

Twenty Popular Apps and Web Tools Made by Students

20 Cool Tools for Creating Info Graphics

Another Great Tool for Creating Buzzfeed Style Quizzes

Literacy in the Digital Age: 5 Effective Writing Tools

Two Useful Game-Based Learning Tools for Teachers (Brainrush; ClassXP)

Some of the Best Web Tools and Mobile Apps for Taking Students on Virtual Field Trips

A List of Useful Resources on Teaching Information and Digital Literacy

A Collection of the Best Web Tools and Apps for Creating Educational Screencasts

Eleven Great Digital Homework Helpers for Your Kids

Six Must-Have Apps for Teachers’ Back to School Tool Kits

Here is a Collection of New Web Tools and Apps for Teachers

Excellent Story Writing Apps for Students

15 Free Apps for Classroom Management

Four Useful Tools for Creating Non-Traditional Quizzes

Teacher Recommended: 50 Favorite Classroom Apps

Excellent Strategy Games to Teach Kids Logical Thinking

A Collection of the Some of the Essential Web Tools for Teachers

(Part 1): Forty Educational Websites for Your Summer 2015 Toolkit

(Part 2): Forty Educational Websites for Your Summer 2015 Toolkit

(Part 3): Forty Educational Websites for Your Summer 2015 Toolkit

(Part 4): Forty Educational Websites for Your Summer 2015 Toolkit

9 Ways to Get Your Grammar Game On – A Playlist

July’s “Best Lists” – There are 1,459 of Them!

4 Good iPad Apps for Seamlessly Managing Students’ Assignments

The 37 Best Websites to Learn Something New

55 Best Free Educational Apps for the iPad

A New Collection of Educational Web Tools for Teachers

Two More Tools for Making On-line Learning Games (eQuiz Show, Teachers-Direct)

Top 25 Tech Tools for Teachers 2015

23 Tools for Students to Publish What They Learn

Lets Present! 21 Digital Poster Tools and Tips

15 Apps to Change Your Brain

Safe, Student Tested Tools to Use in Class

Best Note-Taking Apps

Educator Recommended Tools to Enhance Your Visuals

These 44 Apps Will Make You More Productive

11 Apps That Will Make You Smarter

Some Great Educational Resources From National Geographic

4 Important Apps for a Paperless Classroom (Showbie, Teacher Toolkit, Socrative Teacher, NearPod)

Top 4 Presentation Tools for Teachers (Prezi, Haiku Deck, ThinkLink, Glogster)

10 On-line Tools to Engage Students in the Studying Process

7 Free Tools for Anyone Who Wants to Become a Better Writer

10 New Educational Web Tools for Teachers and Educators

10 On-Line Tools to Upgrade Students’ Writing Skills

21 Essential Data Visualization Tools

Some Good Educational Web Tools Recommended by Teachers for Teachers

5 Great Apps Students Can Use to Display Their Learning

10 Great Classroom Management Apps for Teachers

6 of the Best iPad Apps for Digital Storytelling

7 Great iPad Apps for Digital Whiteboarding

Special thanks to Educational Technology and Mobile Learning as many of these links were from that excellent site.







5 Best Times to Use Technology in Class

Before posting a list of links to many ed tech tools, I share this post as a refresher on the instructional opportunities which are enhanced via the use of technology.

This list comes from a blogger at MiddleWeb:

Technology is the right tool when:

  1. It helps students visualize concepts
  2. It allows students to be creative, innovative and personalize their work
  3. It makes work easier for students (and often teachers)
  4. It promotes collaboration, provides students with a larger audience for their work, or connects them to peers or experts in a new way
  5. It enables more students to participate, better engages them, and makes learning FUN

7 Deadly Sins – Of Teaching

As I plan my Religion 10 class, one of the first things we’ll study is the list of The Seven Deadly Sins.  Per the USCCB “framework” for Religion classes, the course is focused on soteriology and christology.  We start with why God created everything and how/why sin tarnished God’s creation.  One of the ways we approach the 7 Deadly is by careful examination of Bosch’s remarkable painting:

Bosch Sins

As we think about how we’ll create the environment of our classrooms this coming school year, I think it’s helpful to reflect upon how we can fall into these same sins in our professional lives as educators.

I think this is a great list and a valuable time to engage in an examination of conscience to discover how we can be guilty of these.  And how we can ask for help and support in avoiding them in 2015-2016!

10 1st Week Mistakes to Avoid in Religion Class

Today was the first in-service for where Rachel, Tera and I teach.  It was a valuable, focused session on key classroom technology that all of use.  Tomorrow is our full day, full faculty in-service on The Big Picture for the year. Monday has the faculty/staff business meetings.  I see my freshmen briefly on Tuesday and Wed is the first full day of school.

So, I need to get focused on the technology I plan to use in my classes this year.  I’ve gathered lots of links which will help me with this.  As I hope they’ll be helpful for you as well, I’ll make a number of posts today.

For the Religion teachers out there, here’s a great list courtesy of Jared Dees and his excellent The Religion Teacher blog.

10 First Week Mistakes to Avoid in Religion Class:

  1. Not sharing why you became a teacher/catechist
  2. Teaching on the first day
  3. Only talking about what you will teach and how they will be graded (In other words, just sharing your syllabus)
  4. Explaining how a class will run (rules & procedures), but not why they are there.
  5. Not praying
  6. Ignoring what the students want out of your class
  7. Forgetting the students’ names
  8. Not smiling
  9. Not reaching out to parents
  10. Teaching your lessons without a purpose

A good list, I must say.  Compare it to the other “don’t” list I posted recently and you’ll see some clear similarities.

If you’re still getting ready for 2015-2016 – Blessings on your preparation!

If you’re already rolling with students in 2015-2016 – Blessings on today and every day of this school year!

6 Must Have Back to School Apps

You’ve likely noticed that I like sharing lists of educational apps and websites.  There’s been these types of lists from the early days of this blog and I’ll be posting some new ones soon.  Most of these come from blogs and publications geared specifically to educators.

When general publications, such as the venerable Time Magazine, list “must have” educational apps, I’m especially interested.  Lists like this one give valuable insight into what the “media taste makers” deem as important.

Here’s what Time thinks American parents and students need for Back to School 2015:





Khan Academy

Here Comes the Bus

Note: I’ve not hyperlinked these apps as the Time article does this for iOS and Android versions.

The last app made my eyebrows rise as it sounds like a great pacifier for over anxious parents like me who wonder “where’s the bus?”

Here’s their promotional video:

Back to School With Vintage “Calvin and Hobbes”

Today was Back to School Day for my son and daughter.  After an anxious and restless night for all of us, it was the earliest morning we’ve seen around here for a couple of months.  Once the kids were launched (and I went back to sleep as it’s still summer where I teach), I checked my email and smiled upon discovering a link to a collection of vintage “Calvin and Hobbes” comics with a back to school theme.

Here’s a couple of my favorites:

Calvin and Hobbes-2


Calvin and Hobbes - 3


I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately about 1980’s comics as Berkeley Breathed is publishing brand new “Bloom County” strips on his facebook page.  There’s speculation that Donald Trump’s presidential bid spurred Breathed’s return.  Note the circa mid-1980’s Bloom County and Bloom County 2015:

Bloom County - 2

Bloom County - 1

And don’t get me started with my nostalgia around the Vacation reboot and my sadness at it’s poor reviews (Rotten Tomatoes – 25%) Ouch!

13 Common Sayings to Avoid in the Classroom and at Home

It might make me Captain Obvious to say that the language we use in the classroom is integral to the environment we seek to create.  This is so important that I believe that this is the theme of our first in-service a week from this Friday.

This list, from the esteemed Edutopia blog, reminds teachers and parents alike of a baker’s dozen of really unhelpful and downright toxic statements to make to our students or children:

  1. “You have potential, but don’t use it.”
  2. “I’m disappointed in you.”
  3. “What did you say?”
  4. “If I do that for you, I’ll have to do it for everyone”
  5. “It’s against the rules.”
  6. “Your brother/sister was better than you.”
  7. “I like the way n is sitting”
  8. “You’ll never amount to anything”
  9. “Who do you think you are?”
  10. “Don’t you ever stop talking?”
  11. “I’m busy now.”
  12. “The whole class will miss unless someone admits to y
  13. “What is wrong with you?”

The author’s conclusion is thoughtful:

If a teacher loses his [or her] temper or gets frustrated and says one of these things once or even twice during the year, it’s understandable. For most students, a rare mishap makes no difference with a teacher who they respect and like. But if trust hasn’t been established, students are less forgiving when they feel insulted or wronged. On the other hand, we can say something nice or neutral that might be heard by a student as an insult. These instances are hard to avoid. What we can avoid is saying things that we know in advance are hurtful.

14 Things Teachers Should Never Do on the First Day of School

Some times the “don’t” lists for back-to-school are more valuable than the positive “do” lists.  Here’s the first of a pair – this one is from the blogger at “Brilliant or Insane.”  Before you disagree with some (or all) of these, do take a look at the link to read the rationale behind each one.

  1. Read from the student handbook
  2. Discuss classroom rules
  3. Distribute a syllabus
  4. Assign seats
  5. Seat students in rows
  6. Hand out textbooks
  7. Talk about “The Test”
  8. Say you’ll need weeks to learn your students’ names
  9. Use sarcasm
  10. Denigrate a colleague
  11. Make students introduce themselves
  12. Talk too much
  13. Assign homework
  14. Frown

I like the sentiment which concludes the post:

The first day of school should be dedicated to rapport-building and to joy.

Your goal should be that students go home that night and tell their parents: “I’m going to love (insert your subject) because Mrs. (insert your name) is awesome!”

Accomplish this goal, and you’ve had one truly great first day of school

19 Back to School Classroom Ideas

I’ll be honest with you, I don’t put a tremendous amount of effort into creating decorations or art in my classroom.  I do believe in having art – especially student created art – on the walls and elsewhere in the room.  Having attractive, inspiring and thought-provoking images for my students to view goes a long way in creating the vibe and spirit of my classroom.

I also use the “plug-in” type of fragrance dispensers to create olfactory feeling in my students.  I rotate the scents seasonally throughout the school year.  Not only do my students gain a scent memory of my room, but this helps counter the inevitable “funk” which develops during the times of the year when we can’t open the windows.  It’s a high value for me to have my room smell good for my students (and for me as I have to be in there all day!)

From the surprisingly robust HuffPost Education, here’s some ideas for the crafty folks out there to make your classroom more attractive and inviting.  Some of the ones on the list are clearly for younger students.  But I think many could be easily modified for older students instead.

Here’s a few of my favorites:


What a cool way to inspire and challenge your students as they see the outside of your classroom door!



A+ for engaging creativity.  C- for near copyright violation.



I like this one for classrooms where pencils are frequently used.