Start School in Style – Organization

Try Glogster for an amazing number of classroom-related tasks, from teacher helpers to student assignments. This post could have saved me many hours of angst!

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Let’s face it, some people are just better at being organized than others. Our students are certainly proof of that, with some taking great pleasure in writing to-do lists and others mumbling homework excuses every single morning. A lot of the time educators attempt to solve these problems by incentivizing organization, offering neon-colored week-planner notebooks and rainbow fine-line pens, in hopes that learners will become excited about color-coding their notes and keeping their files in order. For us adults however, organizational tools lose their appeal all too quickly, often leaving us knee-deep in chaos and deadlines. In the second installment to our stress-free back-to-school series, we explore how Glogster can help you lay out your lesson plans, schedule and more, with enough colour and creativity to help you get excited about planning ahead!

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* Glogster

Glogster is a cool online site that allows teachers and students to prepare multimedia presentations.  Over 5 million glogs have been created to date, and over 10,000 are available to admire in Glogpedia.  Never heard of it?  A glog is essentially a single “page,” which can be combined (if desired) into a series of glogs created by one student or an entire class.  Glogs can be created from scratch or built from copied templates.  The image below is one of many templates which can be copied and added to your teacher account.Glogster 2

From this sample, you can see some of the options available to students, which include typing text, adding photos and videos from a webcam or file, adding Glogster images, and modifying pretty much anything on the page.

I think Glogster has great potential for special needs students.  First of all, it is based online (computer or iPad), which appeals to our techies in the world of special ed.  Second, it allows students to use their creativity and divergent thinking without the limitations of fine motor skills, writing, or drawing skills.  No worries about cutting and gluing or finding poster board.  Students with disabilities can work creatively around their weaknesses.  Unable to type or write?  All information can be added via images and videos, if needed.  I would eliminate some of the visual clutter for many of my students, but others may enjoy creating a wild collage of thoughts and ideas.  Third, teachers can assign special needs students as mentors to others through this format, where peers can appreciate and explore those special interests freely.  Students are protected from unwanted internet content but their glogs may be shared via email or classroom wikis under teacher supervision.  Fourth, a glog can serve as a valuable assessment tool as students summarize their understandings about math concepts, character development, and historical timelines.  Finally, glogs can be used by teachers to present information in an alternative form.  For those students who need repetition, are riveted to computers, and/or struggle to listen in a group, glogs can provide an engaging way of introducing concepts and summarizing procedures.

For $39 a year, elementary teachers can purchase a subscription for 30 students. Secondary teachers can enroll up to 125 students for $95 a year.  It’s a great deal which has the potential to boost the confidence and interest of struggling students.