Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My Favorite: Trello #MTBoS Blogging Initiative

Warning: This post is LONG. If you hate reading & just want my favorite thing, go here and explore. Or scroll ALL the way down. Have fun. 

Time to circle back to prompt #2 from the MTBoS Blogging Initiative

Here's the prompt: Our week two blogging challenge is to simply blog about one of your favorite things.  Called a “My Favorite,” it can be something that makes teaching a specific math topic work really well.  It does not have to be a lesson, but can be anything in teaching that you love!  It can also be something that you have blogged or tweeted about before.  Some ideas of favorites that have been shared are:
  • A lesson (or part of one) that went great
  • A game your students love to play
  • A fun and/or effective way to practice facts
  • A website or app you love to use in class
  • An organizational trick or tip that has been life changing
  • A product that you use in your classroom that you can’t live without!
My favorite thing lately is Trello, and it fits #2, 3, 4, & 5 on the list above!
Trello will change your life if you let it, I promise. ;)

I'll walk you through what it is, & the amazing education potential, and then I'll share the ways I like to use it. 

What is it?
From the Trello site:
Trello is the free, flexible, and visual way to organize anything with anyone. Drop the lengthy email threads, out-of-date spreadsheets, no-longer-so-sticky notes, and clunky software for managing your projects. Trello lets you see everything about your project in a single glance.

Trello is really the ultimate organization tool. You can very visually organize projects, lesson plans, ideas, or even use it like Pinterest. It's easy to collect and organize and reorder ideas, attachments, and links. It's incredibly easy to use on any device. Sharing is easy. Updating your progress on items is easy. And it connects with IFTTT. (Can you tell I love it yet?!? haha)

Trello has 3 parts: 
  1. Boards (think like a Pinterest board - these are general topics, like Unit 1) 
  2. Lists (columns, or sub-boards, such as topics within a unit)
  3. Cards (individual pieces of information, like activities for a specific topic)
I should mention that cards can include labels, color coding, due dates, attachments, links, comments, pictures, and can be assigned to certain people. 

Trello is free as long as you're ok with solid colors for backgrounds instead of custom pictures. Here's the link to the welcome board shown so the hands on peeps can understand what I'm saying. 

Ok, so what? Why should I care?
Trello has infinite potential! 
In my personal life, I have boards for grocery lists, organizing quilt projects in different stages, keeping track of what's in the freezer (we do OAMC in my house), keeping track of chores & other good habits, gift ideas for family, and so much more. My husband is shared on several of these, so he can add/edit as needed. I'm a list girl, and Trello helps me keep all my lists electronically.

Professionally, I find new ways almost every week to use Trello. 
Here's the rundown. 
  • Professional Development Approval & Progress
    • My dept shares a board to discuss PD opportunities we will offer. We attach handouts, make to-do checklists, and communicate approval of funding all in one place. As each PD session moves through various levels of approval, its card progresses into new lists on the board, until it's finally sent to True North Logic, our county PD software.
  • Brainstorming, & To-Do Lists
    • categorized, with attachments or links as needed 
    • I use this board as my "thoughtbox." 
    • Future blog post ideas, activities or foldable ideas, etc. stay here until I get to them. 
  • I have "Resource" Boards for various math topics
    • the lists are things like "quadratics" and each card is a link or idea
    • I also have a list of places I like to look for questions, activities, etc.
  • Sorting, ordering, etc activities. 
    • Example: Exponential Equations Warmup
      • Students drag & drop matching cards together into a new list.
    • I use Trello the same way I like to use the Post It Plus app (blog post for that is here). Trello has the advantage of being possible on ANY device, including Chromebooks. Post It Plus is iPad/iPhone only.
    • I want to make some ordering activities too - FDP, integer ops, etc. 
    • This is totally graph/picture/equation compatible - you just need a screenshot for the card image. 

I also use Trello to collect my favorite things - very much like Pinterest. Here's the link to my Review Games board. Most ideas are from other MTBoS blogs. 

Trello even has inspiration boards for you to look at, to get an idea of what it's capable of, in specifically education-related ways.  There are some really cool ones - I especially like the project board & classroom newsletter. 

Have fun exploring!


  1. I have never heard of Trello and you have TOTALLY piqued my interest! Love the possibilities. Here's a question, on a board, can I save a link that has no images? I use Pinterest to organize ideas for class, and that's the only thing I struggle with!

    1. You can - just paste the link into the description or a comment. It won't show a picture description unless you add an image to the card (which saves space for boards with lots of info!). I like using it instead of Pinterest because I can add comments to myself over time, or add documents, or other links that relate to that item.