Getting Organized: Go Digital!

Hi friends!  It's Jamie from 2nd Grade Stuff.  I'm hoppin' over here today to share a few tips on organization with you - the digital way!  I hope you find them useful!


First, let me just explain that one of my favorite all-time tools to use to stay organized is my iPad.  I literally take it everywhere I go.  I actually was able to coordinate this entire blog post on the iPad with the use of screenshots, photo apps, and such.  The iPad is one fabulous tool!  So let me share with you how my iPad keeps me organized in the classroom!  Please note: I am not getting paid to endorse any of these apps or products.  I just think they are super useful and wanted to share!

Awesome Tip #1:

I can't tell you enough how much I LOVE this app.  I originally found this app when the sweet girl behind Ladybug's Teacher Files blogged about it {HERE}.  Her post is extremely detailed and helpful.  I purchased the app and couldn't be more pleased.  It houses all of my students' grades, attendance and anecdotal records.  It is FABULOUS and secure because it backs up to your Dropbox, which I will talk about later!  Here are some screenshots.  You can add custom color-coding, percentage scores, text scores, icons, symbols, anecdotal notes, and more!  But it's also simple enough to be used as a simple gradebook with student scores only.  Check it out below to get an idea of what it looks like.  If there's anything you want to do on this app in regards to student records, it CAN be done!

Attendance:

Awesome Tip #2:

I've went back and forth between this online lesson planning format and another, but I have decided this one is my favorite.  It is completely compatible with the iPad.  While there's not an app for it, it can easily be opened in Safari and you can edit your lesson plans from anywhere!  I literally worked on my lesson plans in the waiting room of the doctor's office the other day!  My favorite part of this online lesson planner is the ability to tag the Common Core Standards or state standards you are using right from the website.  Brilliant!  Check it out below.

This is my basic template/skeleton.  You click on each box and just fill in the details for that week.  This is what the lesson planner looks like on my iPad.  This is my template for the week.  I fill in activities, assessments, and CCSS each week.

This is what it looks like on the iPad whenever you click on one of the boxes above to edit:
This ability to "Bump" lessons to the next day is brilliant!  It also allows you to attach files and hyperlinks to your lesson plans.  Check this awesome online lesson planner out {HERE}.  It makes it easy to collaborate with teammates as you work on plans together.  You can also print out your plans as a pdf or email them to administration or co-workers.

Awesome Tip #3:
Organizing Your Files with Dropbox!

I've had lots of questions about how I organize all of my TPT files and school files on my devices.  One word: Dropbox!  It is seriously the BEST online file management system I have found.  I can add something to my Dropbox and it syncs to my home computer, laptop, iPad, and iPhone - amazing!  It's free for a great deal of space, then if you want more, you have to pay for it, but it will take a LOT to fill up the free amount of space.

I organize my files in several ways.  First, I organize in folders by subject: Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies, etc.  You can see that below on the iPad app:


I also have folders for monthly themes.  Because of this, I sometimes have things double-saved, once in my Reading folder and another time in my August/Back to School folder.  But this way, I don't get lost in a sea of files and forget what I have!  I also named my monthly theme folders with a number in the front so that they are in order.  Otherwise, they would be in alphabetical order and April would be first on the list and my OCD I couldn't handle that.  This way they're in order of months of the school year!  So easy that way!  See what I mean below:


Awesome Tip #4:

This one is good y'all!  In combination with Dropbox (above), this app turns your classroom into AMAZING!  I normally use a stylus, but it was at school tonight, so please excuse the terrible writing with my finger.  But here's how it works.  I open up the pdf file I want to display on the ActivBoard in Dropbox.  Then I touch the little arrow in the top right corner and touch Open In... then I choose Notability.   This opens up the entire pdf file in an app that lets you write, highlight, type, circle, draw, etc. on the actual pdf document.  The best part is that I can walk around my classroom and display it from my iPad and let the students hold the iPad and stylus and work on things in collaboration using an Apple TV or other mirroring application on your computer attached to the ActivBoard.  It's amazing!  I can literally walk around and model writing or let students pass around the iPad in the classroom and display it for all to see.  It has really changed the way I teach!  Love being able to have that proximity, but still teach at the same time right from my iPad.  This is what the students see displayed on the board (you can see I can write, highlight, and type):



Awesome Tip #5:

Talk about having curriculum right at your fingertips!  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this app and it's FREE!  I am a content/curriculum freak (self-proclaimed) and I love being able to have the standards right there at my fingertips anytime I need them.  This app is for the iPhone or iPad, so while you're lesson planning, hop on over to the Common Core app to make sure you're covering all your standards!  Love it!  Here are some screenshots:



Using all 5 of these awesome techy tips helps me stay super organized in my teaching.  I can literally work from my iPad anywhere!  With the Common Core app, my online lesson plans, my grade book app, and Dropbox, I don't have to go anywhere else to work!  Then when I get to school, I can teach right from it too in Notability!  It's all right here for me on the iPad - NICE and ORGANIZED!  I hope you find some of these techy organizational tools helpful for you!  :)

44 comments

  1. Thanks - these apps will definitely come in handy! I can't wait to check out the Notability.

    Jamie
    teachingtidbit.blogspot.com

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  2. Great organization tips!

    I love Dropbox and am off to check out notability!

    Journey Of A Substitute Teacher

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    1. Thanks so much! You will FALL IN LOVE with Notability! :)

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  3. This post is a great share!! I love planbook.com and I have wonderful news...they now have an App for it!! Check it out!

    Caralee
    Confessionsteachanista.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh wow! I'm off to check it out now! Thanks for sharing that Caralee!!! :)

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  4. I love all of these apps! I use planbook.com and absolutely love it! They recently came out with an app for it so you should check it out! Planbook.com iPad app
    I love the app!

    Emily
    Confessions of a 3rd Grade Teacher

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    1. EEK! So excited to see an app! I'm off to download it now!!

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  5. I love planbook.com! I've used it for years now...nothing makes me happier than just clicking "bump" on a snow day :) I can't wait to check out the other apps.

    Becky
    Lesson Plans & Lattes

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    1. I live for those snow days in the winter! ;) The "bump" function is perfect for that happy occasion!

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  6. I couldn't function without all 5 of these!!

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  7. I had to laugh when I saw this. We were literally just talking about this during our in service today. And how some items are in two or more locations. I've got things organized pretty close to your system but added files for my favorite sellers/bloggers so I don't have to hunt around.

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  8. Thanks! I am excited to try some of these as I try to become more tech savvy!

    Question: I know you mentioned it, but how do I use my iPad around the room while it is displayed on the Smart Board? I would love to use Notability, but love even more being able to interact with the iPad from anywhere in the room! So all the help you could give would be great!

    Thanks!

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    1. You can mirror with Airplay if you have an Apple TV in your classroom connected to your projector/computer. There are other mirroring apps out there for cheaper. Try google searching mirroring an iPad to a computer and you should find what you need. I'm thinking AirServer. Try searching for that. I think I remember hearing about that being an alternative to having an Apple TV.

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  9. Amazing post, Jamie! Thanks for sharing all your iPad secrets!
    Nicole

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  10. I love my Dropbox and the CommonCore app. I have yet to use my notability, but it sounds awesome. I have heard good thinks about the grade book too...it would be nice if we get it school or district-wide for sharing, but I doubt that will happen. :-/ at least not the whole district.

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    1. I love the iDoceo grade book app! It's fairly inexpensive too, along with Notability. :)

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  11. A wonderful post, I love learning about such new technology!
    ~Fern

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  12. I will be substituting in a new district this year, so I don't know what kinds of AV equipment will be available at each school. Like Jenny, I could use a tutorial on how to connect my iPad wirelessly to use in the classroom. Thanks.

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    1. Hi Terri, please see my comment above regarding how to mirror your iPad to your computer/projector. I think an alternative to Apple TV is called AirServer. Good luck!

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  13. Wow! What a great list!! Now... I need an iPad!! BTW... I love that you number your month folders - you and I would get along famously! ;)

    ~Erin
    Mrs. Beattie's Classroom

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  14. Thank you so much for sharing the planbook.com program. I just played with it for a bit, and it looks like a fabulous way to keep track of which standards I've taught and which still need to be planned. What a great tool!

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    1. Thanks Debbie! I just found out in the comments above that there is a planbook.com app now! Just installed it on my iPad! So handy!! :)

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  15. Thank you so much for posting this information. I just signed up for Planbook.com. Love it! This will help me stay organized this year.

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    1. I just found in the comments above that there is a planbook.com app now in the App Store! I downloaded, signed in, and am in love!! :)

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  16. Love your suggestions! I'm very intrigued by planbook.com and will have to check it out today.

    I equally love Dropbox. I also love that you can share folders. My teamies and I share a folder because it's annoying to search your emails for that important thing they emailed you that you can't find now. Our district curriculum director also created a Dropbox shared folder for each grade level in the district so we can share things with other 2nd grade teachers in the district. That has been SUPER helpful. Each school in our district also has a Dropbox shared folder that the administrator can post schedules, handbooks, procedures, etc. in.

    I already have notability, but you've shown me that I need to play with it more and become more familiar with it. I don't have an ActivBoard or Apple TV, but our district uses the Reflection App to project from our iPads to the screen.

    I also love the Common Core App. No need to carry around paper flip charts with me.

    Love the tech suggestions! Thanks!
    Mrs. Jones Teaches :o)

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    1. Thanks for your sweet comments! The Reflection app should work with notability! Just downloaded the planbook.com app that someone informed me about above! Awesome! :)

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  17. Wonderful post, Jamie! Thanks for all of the great details and screenshots. Can't wait to try out Notability!

    Kate
    EduKate and Inspire

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    1. Thank you Rachel! Hope you found it useful! :)

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  20. I LOVED reading this Jamie!!! I've been working really hard to go as digital as possible with my iPad and this is a huge help...I have to get Notability next, that's awesome! I think Planbook.com just got an app because my sister found it the other day and I know there wasn't one when I looked last year--I'm so excited about it!

    Thanks for all of this and thanks for the sweet words :)

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  21. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This post was so helpful to me in extending my reach to new technology. Love your blog!

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  22. Good job on organizing your files, Jamie! Having your paper files converted to digital files will really help you in sorting them out, especially on your case. You're handling a lot of files, and it's quite easy to lose track of some of them.

    Ruby Badcoe @ Williams Data Management

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  23. Hello! I had one more quick question! I was hoping to find a way to reflect my mac computer screen on my ipad so when I am using a lesson on my computer I can move around the room with it on my ipad too... is there any way to do that? It seems to be the opposite of the AirServer and Reflector... Thoughts?

    Thanks!!

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  24. Thank you for sharing some of your apps with us! I am trying to incorporate more technology into my classroom every year, and these organizational apps sound amazing!! I was wondering, for the Notability app, can you display the Ipad screen onto a Smart Board? I have three Generation 1 Ipads and a Smartboard currently in my classroom and we have wifi access, but am not sure about trying to see the screen on the smartboard. I will be asking my tech department Monday!

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