Friday, July 4, 2008

Free Classroom Management Tools for Teachers

Whatever subject you're teaching, whether it is chemistry, algebra or grammar, you know that classroom management is no easy task. There are assignments to check, attendance to record and scores to compute. Instead of spending more time to prepare for the next day's lesson, the "administrative" part of being a teacher takes up a lot of your time. Surely, you deserve a reliable tool that would make managing classes more efficient. A good friend has inspired me to look for a free Internet tool that would help her, along with everyone who are into the "noblest profession of all" that is, teaching.

Engrade is a website dedicated to helping teachers with classroom management online. Its features include free online posting of the grades and attendance of your students, the assignments, and upcoming projects for your class. It is easy to use so teachers who are technically-challenged will be able to set up their own account and use the website's features with ease. As mentioned in its video demo, the website can be used by any teacher from any country and language.

To start with the class creation page, enter your class information such as the class name, school year and grading period. Set up the grading scale you want. The site has a pre-grading option which allows Engrade to automatically calculate the grades. Or, you can customize it depending on your needs.

Next, you can create assignment categories like tests, quizzes and homeworks. You may choose to include if the assignments weigh in the total grades of your students. For quizzes, for example, you can choose to say that they constitute 30% of the total grade. After that, you may start typing in the name of your students where you assign a unique number for them, which they will use as code to log in and view their grades on the website. You may use their student ID number as their code. You can always edit your classroom settings even after you've created the class page.

As mentioned, aside from the gradebook, Engrade also features an online calendar where you can display upcoming activities, projects and deadlines. You can also upload files for up to 50 MB. Now, your students do not have anymore excuse for not knowing when an assignment is due since the online calendar is accessible 24/7.

One of the great things about the website is it aids in improving communication between you and the parents of your students. Oftentimes, parents are busy with their work and do not have time to drop by the school to talk to you. With the website, you can allow parents to send you messages and let them view the grades of their children, see their progress and be up-to-date with what's going on.

Since we know that students always refer to the Internet for their research, it helps to let them know that their teacher also reaches to them online and gives them access to view their grades. If you haven't done so, it's time to bring your classroom on cyberspace through Engrade.
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