Four Ways to Maximize Your Cell Phone In the Classroom
The exponential growth of technology has made interactions a lot less personal. I often see friends sitting next to each other and simultaneously looking at their phones. Frequently my husband and I even spend time checking Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I would say that in my personal life, my phone detracts from my relationships. However, below you will find 4 ways that your cell phone can actually help you in the classroom.
There are many ways to use your cell phone to communicate with families. I prefer to use the Remind 101 app (now just Remind). If I’m sitting at lunch and need to tell my parents about tomorrow’s assembly, it can be taken care of with a simple message in the Remind app.
I also love using Instagram in my classroom. I make sure to snap a few pictures of what we are doing during the day, and then I quickly upload them at the end of the day. It helps students talk about what we did and the parents that subscribe love seeing pictures of their children in action. You are building community and holding your students accountable for their learning at the same time!
#2 Time Management
I have alarms set on my phone to go off for a variety of things: taking my attendance, students who need to take daily medicine, behavior plans, and even bus dismissal. I love that I can set my alarm to vibrate and then even if it is across the room, when I hear it go off I automatically know what it is for. I frequently forget to take my attendance and so this trick saves me from getting into trouble. The kids were used to hearing my phone vibrate at those certain times after just a few days of implementation.
My timer also gets used when I’m teaching small groups. It is extremely easy to teach a small group lesson for way longer than 15 minutes, but unfortunately that’s all the time I have! If I don’t set my timer for each group it throws off my whole day.
#3 Classroom Management
Apps like Class Dojo can really make classroom management easy. I typically bring my phone with me when I’m walking students to PE or when I pick them up from lunch, and using Class Dojo to award/take points really helps them. If my kids see me looking at my phone for a second, it automatically reminds them to make good choices. Another trick for managing my students is the app Too Noisy. When we are doing group work or centers or inside recess, I turn it on and put it under the document camera to display on my board. My students know that if it goes into the red too many times, then the activity is over and we have to change what we are doing.(As a management tip, the first few times we use this app, I let them be loud for a second to get it out of their systems. That way they can see it go to the red part. Otherwise there is always that *one* kid.)
I use my phone to take pictures of student work, behavior charts, and other items to document for RTI and grades. I also love to have students record videos of them explaining a concept or showing off their work. Sometimes I’ll email the videos to their parents and sometimes I’ll print the picture or save it on my computer in case I need it later.
Obviously, I don’t support being on your phone/surfing social media during teaching time. However, your cell phone can be a very useful tool in your classroom. I hope this post helps you begin to think about how to maximize your time.