Monday, February 18, 2013

Super Teacher Tools-Tools I Use!

Previously, I posted about the website Super Teacher Tools. I use this site in my classroom regularly, but not daily. I decided to show you some of the tools that I use from the site more frequently. So look below to see some of the tools I use to help manage my classroom!

The tool I use most frequently is the countdown timer. As you know, students need a lot of classroom structure to be successful. Often when we are doing writing, I tell the students how many minutes they have to complete their work. I might say "Look at the clock, when the big hand is on the 9 then we are going to be finished". This helped guide the students, but they still have a difficult time conceptualizing how long time really is. Using the countdown timer helps them visually see how much time they have left and keep track of their work.
It has also helped with my new student intern. This is my first time being a mentor teacher and my intern has had some difficulty with the timing and pacing of the lessons she is teaching. Having this countdown timer has helped her in the classroom as well!

I also use the Instant Classroom feature of Super Teacher Tools to help manage my classroom. You can create several groups (I'm not sure how many) and can manipulate the groups several ways to help plan your classroom.

The first thing you want to do is create your group/class list. You can add up to 100 students in a group! This would be ideal if you were doing a whole grade activity. All you have to do is type your student names and click save! Then you will be able to use those names to do any of the other features on the site. You can also upload a class list if you have several names to type.

You can also upload pictures to your class lists and match them to student names. This would be great in the beginning of the year, especially if you are a middle or high school teacher, and have a lot of student names and faces to learn! I tried doing this with my first group and found it less than ideal. It took a LONG time to even upload one picture-so long, in fact, that I only uploaded two pictures. Once the pictures were uploaded they were very small. Many of the features won't even let you use the pictures. Since I only work with about 20 students, this feature isn't necessary for me.

I use the group maker a lot during content and math games when materials are more limited. All you have to do is select how many students you want in each group and the site groups them for you. IF you have any remainders, you can distribute them to other groups. I wish that you could also tell the site how many groups you want versus how many students in each group. When I teach science I know I have four kits and therefore need four groups, since my personal math facts are not the quickest, it can be hard for me to figure out how many students would be in each group quickly. Other than that, this is a very useful feature since we do a lot of cooperative group activities in first grade.

I also use the random name generator in my classroom. We use this a lot in writing when we brainstorm lists together and each student has the job to write about one thing. Then we create a class book. We do a lot of Alpha-Charts when we are learning a new topic and this tool helps me to assign students to each letter. It's also useful when picking students to sign up for Clubs on Club Friday. All you do is hit the arrows and it goes through your class list. At the end, you have the option to start again!

This is an example of one of the names in the random name generator. I also wanted to include this so you could see the size of the photo after you upload it.

One feature I wanted to dive into a little bit more was the seating chart. Sam had asked me about this in my previous post, so I wanted to learn a little more. This feature is ok, but there could be improvements. You can change the size of the desks, which is nice because the default ones are huge and difficult to manipulate on one screen. The movement is an easy click and drag option. I wish you could rotate the desks as well, so it's easier to visualize your classroom set up. What is nice is that you can include empty desks to help arrange the classrooms, but the empty desks disappear even after you click "save changes". It's also nice to be able to print your set-up. I change my desks every quarter and I like having the paper plans in my hand as I'm moving all the desks around the room so I don't have to keep running back to my computer.

I hope you enjoyed learning about some of the Super Teacher Tools and I hope that you find something "super" to help you in your classroom!!


  1. This looks like it offers lots of great tools. It reminds me of the that I have been using this year. It looks like it makes tasks really simple for teachers. I like the seating chart and random name generator.
    There is an app that I have seen called the Groupinator app and it looks similar to the group maker. The groupinator does the same features, randomly picks names, and randomly (or not randomly if you select students) assigns students to groups and selects groups, but it is very visually appealing. I believe there is a paid version and free version, but you should check it out!

  2. I love this tool! It makes our lives as teachers so much easier, don't you think? It's so easy to make up small groups, especially being able to pick how many students go in each group. I also like the random name generator, which I use all the time.