Dig deeper into your school’s learning management system (LMS). While many schools train teachers to take attendance, enter grades, or even post assignments on an LMS, they may not train them on using its other functions. For example, many LMSs have a communication tool that allows regular, accessible communication with students and families. The more you use it, the more it becomes the “bulletin board” for your class. Many LMSs also include a place to post and share lessons and curriculum. Sharing with colleagues, students, parents, and other members of the community helps you collaborate effectively and strengthens your classroom’s culture.

Incorporate devices into your lesson planning. Using tech can enhance many aspects of direct instruction and independent practice and can either be done whole-class or in stations. This frees you up to circulate and give one-on-one support or pull a small group. For example, instead of giving a presentation in class and having students take notes, publish the presentation in Google Docs and include directions for students to take notes. Then they can go through it at their own pace. Another idea is to have students take a practice quiz using your LMS or another assessment app while you circulate.

Use a classroom-management app. While the eventual goal is for students to be intrinsically motivated to treat each other well and be productive collaborators, those behaviors must often start with daily practice. One way to get students practicing the behaviors for a positive classroom culture is to use a classroom-management app. Consider this an enhancement to the tried-and-true strategy of positive narration, where verbal feedback focuses on students who are exhibiting the behaviors you want to see. Using this type of app allows you to award points for participation, active listening, showing empathy, or whatever categories you create. Points can be awarded to individuals, groups, or—my personal favorite—the whole class. Using an app gives the added benefit of real-time accumulation of points, so students get immediate feedback on their participation and behavior. You can also tie rewards to the accumulation of points as a class, so that students encourage each other to exhibit positive behavior.

3 ways to build students' digital fluency

 [Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Common Sense Education.]

About the Author:

Jamie Knowles is senior manager, educator professional learning programs, for Common Sense Education.