Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Instant Classroom

If you've ever been to Super Teacher Tools, you might have noticed a section called "Instant Classroom."

I love it and wanted to share it with you today!

Instant Classroom has 3 cool options:
  1. Make a seating chart
  2. Generate a name randomly
  3. Generate random groups
I've never used the seating chart generator, so I don't know how well it works or if it's worth your time. I have, however, used the name and group generators, and I can't get enough of them.

You create an account for FREE and type in your students' names once. {I recommend bookmarking the login page you get after you sign up. It makes it much faster and easier to quickly see your class lists.}The program saves the class list so you never have to type in the kids' names again. I see over 20 classes a week, and I was able to create separate classes for all of them without problem. As far as I know, there is no limit to the number of classes you can create.

Here's a look at some of my classes:

The blacked out portions are the homeroom teachers' names
{I also like how it tells me how many students are in each class. That's such a simple but useful bit of info!}

Under the "tools" section, you can click the desk icon to generate a seating chart, the question mark to generate a student's name randomly, and people silhouette to generate groups. You can also edit or delete the class list at any time, and you can add pictures to each of the students' names.

Here's some more information about the tools I use:

Generate a name randomly

Remember in the "olden" days when teachers used to create a Popsicle stick with each kid's name on it, and she would randomly draw out a stick when she needed to pick a kid? This name generator reminds me of a virtual version of that. I like it because it's with you all the time, as long as you have an internet connection.

Anyway, to use it, just click on the question mark icon on your home screen. You see this:

The first time I used this, I explained to the kids that I typed their names into the computer, and the computer was going to be responsible for picking people. The kids totally went with it, no questions asked. They knew they were unable to get mad at me for not picking them because this is all the computer's doing. That was a beautiful thing. :)

From there, click the arrow on the right to scroll to a new name. It appears pretty simply and is large enough for the students to read:

Continue clicking the right arrow to get more names, one at a time. Clicking the left arrow lets you scroll to the previous slide. Once you reach the end of the class list, you can start over and re-randomize their names by clicking the "return to groups" button at the bottom of the display and then clicking the question mark icon again.

Generate random groups 

A lot of teachers at my school group their students by ability, but in the Science Lab, that's not usually necessary. Sometimes I just want to group students quickly and evenly.

If I click on the silhouette icon, I see a screen like this:

You can choose how many people you want in each group -- from two people each to ten people each.

And don't worry if you have an uneven number of students. Instant Classroom will recognize that and ask if you want to put them in a group by themselves or distribute them to another group.

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