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15 Tools to Help You Go Paperless

 15 Tools to Help You Go Paperless

Kelly Tenkely |

Schools are notorious for enormous copy budgets.  Between parent/home communications, student work, and staff communication, schools are drowning in a sea of paper.  Transforming the school into a paperless environment is eco-friendly, budget friendly, and can increase productivity.  With all of the free online options, going green is easier than ever.  

Paperless students and teachers:

1. Spelling City

 Spelling city is a free online environment where students can practice and study spelling words.  Instead of handing out a paper spelling list at the beginning of each week, give your students a link to Spelling City where they can find the weeks spelling words.  Sign up as a Spelling City teacher (free) and enter spelling lists.  Students can get onto Spelling City and find spelling lists by searching the teacher name.  Spelling city will teach your students the spelling words by saying the word and then using it in a sentence.  Students can practice their spelling words by playing games with the words, there are several games to choose from.  Spelling city will even give practice spelling tests to students.  For a small fee, teachers can set up record books and give the final spelling test online.  Put an end to copies of spelling lists and send your kids online.  You will save trees and students will get great practice with their words.

2. Tut Pup

 Every month teachers all over the world print out hundreds of fact practice worksheets.  Tut Pup is an outstanding free math-fact practice website.  It is a competition between students from around the world.  As students practice their math facts, they can see how they measure up with other students, motivating them to work at their math-facts and speed up.  Students are matched up with other students from around the world where they play fact games and compete in real time to see who best knows their stuff.  There is nothing more motivating than a little healthy competition!  The site doesn’t collect any personal information from students, they are provided generic login information.  Tut Pup helps students build math fact skills in the areas of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, algebra, or a mixture of those skills.  Tut Pup is highly motivating, takes into account different learning levels, and builds a variety of math-fact skills.  Each student can work on math facts at their ability level.  Lower level students are engaged and feel successful, and higher level students are challenged.  This site will have your students asking, “can I play this game at home too?”  When have you ever had a student ask to practice math facts at home?  Students truly love the competition of this site and get the added benefit of increasing their math-fact recall skills without running up the copy quotient.  

3. Popling

 Popling’s motto is “Learning without studying”.  This website allows you to create virtual flash cards that pop up on a computer screen every few minutes (teachers determine how often) while students work on the computer.  Classroom computers can be set up with Poplings about any subject.  As students are working on the computers they can also be practicing math facts, vocabulary, geography, etc.  These flash cards are a great way for students to study without creating sets and sets of 3×5 notecards.  

4. Knowtes

 Knowtes is a flash card based learning community that allows teachers and students to build flash card decks online.  The flash cards can then be studied online.  When cards are added to a Knowtes deck, it becomes due at optimized intervals.  The Knowtes ‘Adaptive Learning Engine’ adjusts how frequently cards should be studied based on how well students know them.  Knowtes decks can be easily shared between teachers, students, and peer groups.  Each student gets their own study room where they can organize their decks and study.  The study rooms include helpful tips for studying.  Cards can be created with text, images, audio, and video.  This is a great way for students to study sans 3×5 note card.  These are truly smart flash cards, if a student consistently gets an answer wrong, it requires them study it more than those that they consistently get right.  What paper note card can do that?

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