Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Planning Office Parties and Holiday Carry-ins

Planning a holiday party? Having an office carry-in? Just went to an event and EVERYONE brought meatballs?

Try this online Potluck tool for your next event. If the band parents are bringing in dishes for Senior Night to feed 150 students or you have a small gathering of 20 the Perfect Potluck will help you cut down on duplicates AND get the items you need.

There does need to be an administrator but you signup per event NOT to create an account.

Once you setup your event anyone with the admin password can edit the types of items needed. Then guests can visit the link and 'take' an item and post what they are bringing, they don't need to login.

You can print a schedule and email participants to remind them of the event or what they signed up to bring. It's super easy, and very accessible.

Have fun planning your next social event with Perfect Potluck.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Computer Science Education Week {BONUS TIP}

There is a huge buzz about teaching students about computer science. (see infographic)

But the thing is...many adults are intimidated by what it MIGHT take to learn the code.
Take the first step along with our students to learn basics of coding. This module is like a game and only takes an hour. For some of you it will take less. I had one 5th grade student finish the Hour of Code in 25 minutes. Take a look and have fun!

Begin to code in 1-hour

Have fun!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Weather Alerts

It's that most wonderful time of the year, when everyone's wondering...do we have school today?

There are many ways districts get out their information to students and employees using TV and radio media, social media, and all-call phone systems.

These methods beat the call chain and waiting an hour on Smiling Bob to read your school on the list. Thing is, most recently I actually was more successful with watching the TV, scanning 194 closings/delays than actually receiving the all-call 30 minutes later. I would have been cleaning my car off by the time I got the call. With all the outlets school districts contact to get the word out it's no fault of the district but...what is the best method for getting your closing and delay news?

My tech tip this week is Text Alerts. Here is the best part. Several news outlets will text you if your district contacts them. You just have to register your cell to receive the texts, and the district doesn't have to do anything extra.

This free service is available in the Ohio Miami Valley on WDTN. Simply visit the text alerts page, find your school or business...sign up for more than one even,then get texts to your cell when that district/business calls.

Enjoy the most wonderful time of the year!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Save As PDF

Often I receive emails or visit websites with Word documents as attachments. This poses a problem if I am viewing the email from an Apple device or mobile device that does not have the Microsoft Software. Even many desktop/laptop computers do not have the Microsoft Office software installed. If you are sending information AND do not need the receiver to edit the document, then I find it best to send and post PDF versions of the file.

PDF noun
1. A file format that provides an electronic image of text or text and graphics that looks like a printed document and can be viewed, printed, and electronically transmitted.
Portable document format
In Word 2010 and 2013 it’s extremely easy.

Select File -> Save As -> Browse for the location on your computer to save to.

When the dialog box opens, in the SaveAsType select PDF then click Save.

You can still save a version in Word file format for editing but the PDF is best for email, and posting links or even as a text picture on the Internet. Most flyers I create are saved in two format types; one for me, and one for sharing. You can even save Excel, and PowerPoint slides as PDF files. I like to save presentation handouts as PDF files with 6 slides per page. Saving an Excel file with a chart is nice on a one-page handout also in PDF format. Check the options in the SaveAs section when you select PDF for the file type.

If you have an older version of Microsoft Office you can search for a plugin to Print to PDF. Instead of SaveAs you will select Print and print to a PDF file format. See plugins available at www.microsoft.com. Search for other types of file formats that may have plugins to save as PDF format also.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Free Tech Courses for Ohio Teachers

Two courses FREE for you. Each of these courses are 5 contact hours. I took the first one and learned a lot and it was easy to navigate. You can set aside an hour a day for a week or 20 minutes a week and stretch it out. Sometimes you are even entered into a drawing for free stuff just for taking the free course. I took the totally online version of the course.

Learning for the Digital Age explores the role of technology in supporting critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and communication. This course gets teachers learning in an online community and show some apps students are already using.

Learning for the Mobile Age is CET’s response to the need for an introductory workshop that addresses some of the challenges brought on by mobile learning. Seems like the perfect idea for schools working with one-to-one devices.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Using Google Drive to Share/Edit Classroom Documents

I’m finding it very convenient to use Google docs for all of my classes. I can share docs with my students and edit their work. They can work on team projects, and if they don’t have access to printers, they can share their work with me and I can print their work as needed.

Share with students.
This works for students that do and don't have Google accounts. I like to share files with my elementary students on my class webpage. Uploading files to Google Drive allows you to easily share files with students. You can upload pictures, pdfs, docs, spreadsheets, even videos to your 15GB of Google Drive space. Then you can select File->Share
you will get a link you can copy and share one your class webpage or in an email or even on ProgressBook attached to an assignment. Make sure you change your permissions, I usually share with anyone with the link. Once students visit the link they can download the file to their local computer view it, read it, or…do it!

Students share their work.
For students that have Google accounts they can share work with you too. Students will type their document once signed into Google Drive. (Select Create -> Document) Then students will save their work (it also saves automatically). I can view their work when they share it with me. Students will select File -> Share type your email address and the doc will appear in your google docs. You can create a folder to save all of that class/project and go through and grade them. You can elect to print them as is OR you can select Insert ->comment throughout the document to add comments. The comments are on the document and you can save the file and the student still has access to see your individualized comments.

Want something to send home after you made comments??? Select File->download as -> word document then you can print the document with your comments from Word.

I like the share method because for me I can have my laptop with me (must have Internet access), go through and grade the assignments, and save the changes and print only as needed. So if the assignment is a formative assessment I can see where the student stands without printing but I can still provide feedback this is awesome for rough drafts! They can even share with each other for peer editing.

Of course at any time you can print and add your comments in handwriting if you prefer. :-)

Google Docs and Schoology
All of my students now have their Schoology accounts linked to their Google account. Any document they worked on in Schoology can now easily be submitted to a Schoology assignment dropbox by selecting Resources. From resources they will select Google Docs. Connect their account (may have to enter Google username/password), then they can select any of their Google docs to submit to an assignment.

I really like this because we can comment back and forth for editing in Google Docs then the final submission can be turned in to the assignment’s dropbox for me to grade. (See past blog for putting Schoology grades into ProgressBook.)

I also like the Google Drive connection to Schoology as a teacher because files I already have in my drive can be added to assignments, or shared resources. Easily!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Improving Your Tech Skills

There are often many opportunities to direct our students to online learning options. There are also plenty of sites providing teachers with lesson plans, ideas, and strategies.

I found a site that provides awesome lessons for students but also opportunities for educators to pick up knowledge on a new skill. For schools moving toward using Chromebooks there are lessons on Google forms, Google Drive, etc. For schools using Microsoft Office there are tutorials on different versions of the Microsoft Office Products. As a teacher this site does allow you to create an account to save and track your progress however it does not allow teachers to monitor their students or have any form of learning management system (LMS).

So, the site already?? GCFLearnFree.org

GCFLearnFree.org is a service provided by Goodwill Industries of Eastern, NC providing 750 different lessons to improve technolgoy, literacy, and math skills for everyday and educational purposes.

Google Tutorials
Microsoft Office 2013
Windows 7

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Websites for Your Classroom

There are so many resources that it's hard to know where to start. Who has time to wade through them ALL?!

I've posted my 3 favorite "non-tech" per grade. I say "non-tech" because it's difficult to differentiate tech skills versus tech use for enrichment of ELA/Math/Science etc. Although these sites may have lessons for teachers these are my picks for students to use, not for the teacher to get lesson plan ideas (although that may be a side bonus).

Please take the time to look at the ones for your grade and give me feedback for your students/grade level. Are the skills aligned to your group? Bookmark the ones you like, let me know what I should add to future teacher web pages.

Trek's Travels an Infohio resource
Computer Lab Favorites

Trek's Travels an Infohio resource
Fun for the Brain - addition practice
Illuminations - Math

Welcome to Reading an Infohio resource
Know it an Infohio resource
Fun for the Brain - addition practice

Welcome to Reading and Infohio resource
Know it an Infohio resource
Book Flix an Infohio resource

4th - 5th
Discovery Portal an Infohio resource
Math & Language Arts Games
Computer Lab Favorites

6th - 8th
Discovery Portal an Infohio resource
Illuminations - Math
Create a Graph

9th - 12th
Illuminations - Math
Khan Academy I like Khan Academy because my students can sign up with a Google account they already have, I can be signed in with my Google account and I can coach them, see the lessons they complete and their quiz scores and I can assign different videos for different levels for enrichment or to reteach.
Learning Express Library

Don't forget we have licenses for Raz-kids, Sumdog, and MobiMax too!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How I FIP My Classroom: Google Forms

I got a message shortly after receiving my license to FIP my classroom. A new module series from Battelle for Kids – Ohio. As more and more of the buzz words/phrases centered on FIP I decided to take a look at my own practice and determine how I incorporate these techniques. I watch a very good module on FIP at http://portal.battelleforkids.org/FIPOhio/. You can create a login and complete professional development courses online.

So…to the point. FIP (Formative instructional practices)is something good teachers are already doing. FIP is part of OTES. i.e. The teacher uses assessment data to identify students’ strengths and needs and modifies and differentiates instruction accordingly, as well as examines classroom assessment results to reveal trends and patterns in individual and group progress and to anticipate learning obstacles.

Two huge things I do to inform my instruction are journal entries and fill-in-the-blank questions. Quick questions that can be delivered via a Google form.

FIP with Google

1) In Google select Drive

2) Then select create -> form

3) Select a form.

4) Type a question

5) Choose a question type -> Select done

6) Then send form and copy the link.

7) Select Done (again).

Paste your link on your class webpage for students to select and answer. Paste the link in a Word document to be shared on the computers. Paste the link into the browser of your classroom computers and have students take turns answering…or during computer lab time have them all answer at the same time.
Teacher Options:
You can choose to send responses to a spreadsheet or keep them in the form, then you can view responses from each student. Add a name field so you know who it belongs to OR have them sign-in and collect their username when they submit the form.

Watch the video of the process. (coming soon)

How I FIP My Classroom: Schoology

I got a message shortly after receiving my license to FIP my classroom. A new module series from Battelle for Kids – Ohio. As more and more of the buzz words/phrases centered on FIP I decided to take a look at my own practice and determine how I incorporate these techniques. I watch a very good module on FIP at http://portal.battelleforkids.org/FIPOhio/. You can create a login and complete professional development courses online.

So…to the point. FIP (Formative instructional practices)is something good teachers are already doing. FIP is part of OTES. i.e. The teacher uses assessment data to identify students’ strengths and needs and modifies and differentiates instruction accordingly, as well as examines classroom assessment results to reveal trends and patterns in individual and group progress and to anticipate learning obstacles.

Two huge things I do to inform my instruction are journal entries and fill-in-the-blank questions. Quick questions that can be delivered via a quiz or discussion post.

FIP Schoology
You may also choose to collect formative responses in Schoology. My favorite ways are journal responses with a rubric and fill-in-the-blank test questions.
From the materials section of the course select discussions. Then on the discussion page select Add Discussion.
Title your discussion, post the discussion question, assign a due date and point value. I check enable grading. This doesn’t mean you have to put the grade in your Progress Book Gradebook but does allow you to give feedback to the student about their response. I set expectations for the response by using a rubric.

You can create a new rubric or use one already created. The rubric can be specifically tied to standards.

I don’t count the answer to the question right or wrong but do gain information from the response. Then I grade the response on completeness. You can choose alignment rubric with standards OR create custom criteria. i.e. Completeness – The journal response will have at least 4 sentences including a topic sentence and details. The journal response will use proper punctuation with no text talk or slang. (see +Criteria)
Sample includes CCSS.ELA alignment

The rubric displays for the student before they post their response. There are no questions about expectations.

Watch video…grading a discussion post. (coming soon)

The other way to quickly assess student understanding is the Fill-in-the-blank question. Choose one question, add a few blanks with the answers, and even throw in some nonsense words…allow students to type in or select the correct answers for a quick understanding check. Schoology grades it for you!!!
Go to tests/quizzes -> Add Test/Quiz -> fill out the dialog box (name the quiz, assign a point value (or don’t).

Press create.

Then + Add Question. -> choose fill-in-the-blank
Type your statement with ONE underscore line for each blank. Each time you select an underscore the system creates a blank. Type the answer…if you will accept more than one response as the answer then add an answer and the system will accept any answer as correct.

Finally, determine if you will provide a word bank, allow partial credit, add save question. One question is all you need to do a quick check of understanding but the question can have as many blanks as you choose. Schoology will allow you to run a report on the test stats so you can see what was frequently missed.

Watch the video of creating a Fill-In-The-Blank Quiz Question. (coming soon)

What the student sees.

Watch a video -- Answering Fill-In-The-Blank Quiz.(coming soon)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

ProgressBook: Run Report Cards

Enter Report Card Grades by Class
The Report Card forms sent to students' parents are custom designed by the GradeBook system
manager, but teachers enter the grades that appear on these forms. You can enter grades by class or
individual student. If your report card has a large number of assessments, you may want to select
students individually to enter grades. 

1. On the Teacher Home Page or the Class Dashboard, click Enter Report Cards.

2. On the Report Card Entry screen, select the appropriate class or class group in the Class list. If
you accessed this screen from the Class Dashboard, you do not have to select the appropriate
class or class group.

3. Click Show All Students under the Class list or select the student you wish to enter grades.

4. Select the correct report card in the Rpt list. {should be automatically selected, but confirm}
Only the report card(s) associated with the students in the class or in the classes included in the
class group display in the list.

5. Click the check box above the current quarter.

6. Click to automatically calculate and populate the grade using the marks previously entered in the
grade book. (= sign)

You can click on a student's name to open the Student Progress window, which displays
assignments grouped by assessment or assignment type, individual assignment weights, marks,
missing, late or excluded assignments, if any, and comments. This information can help you in
assigning/adjusting grades as needed.

For standards-based report cards (aka skills-based), GradeBook automatically populates the grade
for each assessment. If an assessment grade remains blank, no assignments were mapped to
that assessment during the grading period. You will need to manually input those grades.

7. To override the automatically calculated report card grade, select the grade and change it.

8. If you have to manually enter assessments for each student, click the Assessment name to view
a list of valid codes and respective descriptions.

9. Close the Valid Marks window.

Elementary teachers can only add comments on the ATTENDANCE section. Find the icon to enter
comments up to 3,000 characters.
10. Click Save.
A red outline appears around the field if the grade has not been saved.

Progress Book: Codes

Throughout the first quarter I was asked several times to define codes, colors, and terms being issued by ProgressBook and well…I just didn’t know. I was using deductive reasoning to determine when you got a blue and when you got a w or a W. Really?! Two different red w’s and let’s face it, even if it’s supposed to be orange it still looks red.

So these two pictures should help a lot.

This first picture is the class dashboard codes.
If you select a class and see these codes next to a student’s name or next to assignments in the assignment list you can decipher what they are trying to tell you. A W next to a student name means withdrawn while a w next to an assignment name means the assignments are posted to the web. Look at the codes if you get stuck while preparing grade cards. Checkmarks let you know grades are entered for all students.
This is a nice quick glance when you are wrapping up the quarter.

The next picture set is grade book grid symbols.
If the grid is highlighted one of these colors it’s indicating that you marked it late, missing, etc.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

SmartBoard Resources

If your smart goals or goals in general are related to technology or using the SmartBoard you may want to start with online tutorials. These videos are really very good at stepping you through the creation of lessons and activities.

SMART Technologies Videos

Want to start with something already created?
Visit the Smart Exchange from within your Smart Notebook.

Introduction to SmartNotebook: Video

Enhanced Skills SmartNotebook: Video

Math Tools SmartNotebook: Video

Additionally, there are online tutorials. I suggest you use your laptop right next to your desktop. Follow along with your desktop computer as you watch the tutorial on your laptop. This way you don't have to remember the steps you can follow along and pause the video tutorial as needed.Visit the link, go a quarter of the way down the page, find the getting started section, open the more link, select the tutorial that interests you.

Getting Started Self-paced Tutorials

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Import ExamView Tests into Schoology -- Let Schoology auto grade!

Did you know you can use ExamView tests and upload them into Schoology? I created a test using the ExamView disk from a book, saved the test in BlackboardCT format, then uploaded the BlackboardCT test using the test upload feature in Schoology. Schoology imports the test and grades it for you if its multiple choice for extended response and short answer you can go through, grade and have the points directly added to your grade book.

Best part…you assign the value for the test and after its graded Schoology grade book adjusts the grade. Then follow a previous tech tip to import your marks from Schoology into Progress Book.

Open Computer Lab Times

I used youcanbook.me and synced it to my ccliff.net google calendar to post available lab times. You may want to use a calendar like this for parent/teacher conferences OR simply log in to my calendar to reserve a spot.
Cedar Cliff Elementary Computer Lab

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Importing Grades From Schoology Into Progress Book

Download the grade file from Schoology.

Go to Gradebook ->select the options dropdown box -> select export from the list.

Export Gradebook as CSV (select first radio button) -> press Next

Select a location to save.

In a separate file compile a list of student ids

Save that file!

Insert a blank column to the right of the student id and open the CSV file that was downloaded from Schoology in Microsoft Excel. Arrange the windows to be side-by-side.

Find the column containing the assignment you wish to copy. Select the column from the Schoology .csv file you downloaded, select copy,
then select column B of your Excel file containing userid numbers. Paste the grades into column B.
Save the file with student IDs as file type .CSV. I save my file {assignment_name.CSV}.

MUST save as CSV.

I do several assignments at a time copy the column with the scores into column B (next to the ids) save as {assignment_name.CSV}. When you are ready to import the marks into Progress Book login to progress book. Create the assignment if it’s not already created (my assignments are generally already created so I can post them to the homework page), after the assignment is created and points are assigned and it is saved you can select the Marks tab.

From the marks tab, select the Import the Marks link.

Choose the file that contains your marks (you just saved it .CSV -> select Yes to the first row contains headers questions -> Press Import the marks button. Once Marks import select save. If there are no values for a student in Schoology fill-in with Missing/Excluded/or a 0 after saving. Repeat as much as needed!

Guided Notes

Lectures can be such a bore, yet sometimes lectures are the simplest way to get initial information to a large group of students or participants in a professional audience. Guided notes are tools for teachers and lecturers to maintain interest in the material being delivered. Instead of expecting individuals to pull out important information from a lecture, the notes are provided in advance and key words are given. So how do I make this happen, easily?
First open your PowerPoint presentation. Click on the outline view in the slide panel. Now you can see your entire presentation in a concise (or not so much) Outlined list. Click anywhere in the list. Now, the next step is dependent on your PowerPoint version. Screen shot of Office 2011 for Mac shows that you will go to the Edit menu, then select all. On Windows version you will find select all on the Home ribbon to the far right. Either way, find select all. This action will select all text in the outline panel. Copy the highlighted text: take your pick of methods…Edit->copy, right-click->copy, ctrl+c (Windows) or command+c (Mac) Then open your word processing software. Paste the text into the word processor. You should have an outline of your entire presentation.
Read through the entire presentation and underline the words you want lecture participants to fill-in. Once everything is underlined, save your notes. Now you will use the replace feature of your word processor.
An easy way to get the replace dialog box to open in Windows is ctrl+f, for the Mac select edit->find->advanced find and replace. Next is the hidden secret of find/replace. With your cursor in the first text box Select format button->font-> then select underline in the format dialog box. Click OK

Select the next dialog box, press the space key 10 – 25 times depending on the size of the text string you are replacing, Select format button->font-> then select underline in the format dialog box. Click OK
Click replace all, and allow the program to replace all your underlined words with black underlines.

Save As this document, I usually add _student to the current name. and viola. Quickly turn your presentation into guided notes for your audience.

Why Guided Notes? Even by the college level a 1985 study found that only 50% of the main ideas were captured in traditional note taking. Throughout the years, educators looked for ways to make taking notes more effective and guided notes is one way of getting the notes delivered to students. The guided notes techniques are especially popular with differentiating learning within the concepts of inclusion learning. As instructors started to see the benefits of guided note taking with students in special education they found there were benefits for all students as well. Of course, to some individuals they believe there are negatives as well. Positives Main ideas are obvious. Absent students are easily able to obtain notes. Students are more engaged in note taking exercise. Almost entire lecture is available to the student to review. Negatives Students are not finding the main ideas within the lecture on their own. Higher cost in paper and materials in preparation of the lecture. Students may only focus on key words instead of the entire message. Students do not have their own words to make the lectures meaningful to them. Takes more time to prepare. The negatives highlighted point to the lack of student accountability in the learning process and preparation on the lecturer. With these simple steps, if you are going to prepare a presentation anyway, the additional preparation time for guided notes is almost non-existent. If this is the sole form of note taking we are not balancing skills from an educator point-of-view, however if used as a model of picking out key terms and mixed with other note taking skills, guided notes could lead to students being more prepared to take notes independently after the modeling is completed. Students: Skills for the 21st Century Ask students to prepare guided notes for their classmates on a chapter in the book. Maybe even have them work in teams. After you model a couple chapters you pass the prep-time to the student, you evaluate their understanding of the material, you teach students 21st century skills, and you allow them the opportunity to take notes independently selecting the main ideas and supporting details. It's a win-win.

Resources: http://www.interventioncentral.org/academic-interventions/study-organization/guided-notes-increasing-student-engagement-during-lecture- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1389604/ http://ada.osu.edu/resources/fastfacts/Guided-Notes-Fact-Sheet.pdf