This year, I needed a solution to help my second graders find and use all of the websites I wanted them to use.
I knew that they were coming from little to no exposure to technology in the classroom and would need a lot of support to use all the sites I had in mind. There are a few options for this organization that I considered.
Symbaloo – This is the education specific version (there’s one for the regular people too) This is a very easy way to gather and bookmark or save websites. They save as buttons within a larger grid. Once you’re on that main grid, you can click on the site you want and be directed there immediately. I used this for my fifth grade student weekly word lists on SpellingCity. You can see how I embedded the spelling Symbaloo here. This is on a simple Google Site. The possibilities for organization and uses of Symbaloo are endless. The trick is just getting students to that symbaloo. You can embed it as I did or you can go directly to the Symbaloo on the web. A quick scan of a linked QR code is a great way to quickly direct students. The only problem here is that students still need a place to remember their passwords for the sites you’ve linked to.
Password Saver Websites – There are several websites where you or students can input their passwords for each site they visit. You set up an account, enter in the information for each website and then protect all of this information with one main password you use for this third party rememberer. I haven’t used this type of a system with my students. I didn’t like the idea for my young students, but those with older students might really like this option. On a simple Google search, I found this one, Speedy Password, but I know nothing about it so I’d encourage you to do some research into what’s available before choosing one for your students.
Good Old Paper, The Option I Chose – Ultimately, I decided a reference sheet for my second graders would be the best option. I created a template in PowerPoint and a slide for each student. It took just a little bit of time up front to input the passwords for each student, but that bit of time up front has saved me hours of time helping students and reminding students of their passwords. I printed the pages on bright yellow paper and inserted into a page protector and put that into a three prong folder. I didn’t laminate them so I could add to or make changes as needed. I created QR code cards for each of the websites or make sure apps were loaded on their tablets. (Need help with QR codes? Click here.) Next year, I plan to just put the QR code for each of the sites right there on the page with their information. I LOVE these reference sheets. I’m happy to share the template with you. You can find it here and make a copy for yourself. Of course adjust it to fit the needs of your school and students.