Thursday, September 22, 2016

it(sLearning)  Moved My Cheese!! (How I Let Go of My Weebly)

Anyone who knows me knows that I can be a little zealous about things I really believe in - almost to the point of perseveration.  Additionally, anyone who stands within earshot long enough will know that I love me my weebly.  In fact, I (apparently) am was such a fanatic that this devotion was skit worthy - as in my passion about weebly's possibilities in the classroom was featured in a pep rally skit, and the phrase "It's on my weebly" became a catch phrase with my kids.   But this devotion came to an end the day I became a Vanguard fellow.  Yes, I was walking away from a tool that had become central to my classroom - a FREE tool that I even loved so much that I paid for the upgraded membership - so that I could focus my devotion on itsLearning.  I made the commitment to replace my weebly (with three months left on the membership, no less) with the itsLearning platform, fully expecting that "its" would fall far short of all of the capabilities offered by my weebly. 

And...I was wrong.

itsLearning has not only replaced my weebly.  It has surpassed it, proving itself to be a very user friendly platform, in that it meets my "click and find out" rule, which goes something like this.... "I wonder if "its" can fill in the blank with whatever I want it to do.  I'll just click here and see...", and then I just click and follow the logical progression of options.  As of now, I have:

  • Embedded a video that explains the difference in collaboration and cheating, so that my kids know what I mean when I say "work together".
  • Embedded audio files (made on my iPhone's free voice recorder app) that explain the important points of chapters the kids have to read, as well as my "lectures" (< hate that word) for kids who may be out of class that day
  • Created a Discussion Board for book clubs so that ALL 140 of my kids can discuss common texts
  • Placed hyperlinks to Amazon books (for those kids who want to own their own books) and free online pdfs of books (for those who don't) that my kids have to read
  • Placed a Google form survey for my kids to fill out that indicates which book they want to read for book club
  • Placed a Google form survey for kids to share their most troubling grammatical issues (see below for more on what I'm doing with this!).
  • Created a folder of handouts that I give the kids for those kids who miss class or misplace the one I give them
And this is just the beginning!  In the near future, kids will be participating in "mini Socratic Seminars" on their book club books, recording those conversations, and uploading those files for their peers to listen to and note additional ideas.  I'm also working on a way for kids to create their own teaching videos on the common grammatical concerns, based upon the google form mentioned above.  These videos will then be uploaded to a "Grammar Page", becoming a resource for kids to turn to when they have those troubling grammar questions. 

So, while I will forever have a soft spot in my heart for weebly, I am now an itsLearning devotee.  Who knows, maybe there will be a skit about it!


  1. Do you think that there is a way that you could replace google forms with something that is already on itsleanring? If you learn how to...could you teach me pretty please!

    1. You can embed the form in itslearning to make it easy for the students to find and take. They can actually fill out the form in itslearning - which is nice if it is part of a bigger lesson or group of activities.

  2. Do you think that there is a way that you could replace google forms with something that is already on itsleanring? If you learn how to...could you teach me pretty please!

  3. Love it! Who knew we could get you converted? Next up - permissions and handing over some of the creation power to the kids. I have ideas for those videos!

  4. Becky, I have always loved your enthusiasm and zeal for you what you believe is best for kids. I look forward to learning more about how you are having the students share their learning with others.