Showing posts from 2018

The Best of 2018

Happy Last Friday of the 2018 School Year! Wow! It is hard to believe that we already almost have half of the School year in the books. For this weeks blog post I wanted to highlight 12 things from 2018 that I think really can impact instruction and how we can teach our kids. Some are events, some are books, and some are Technology Tools. I would love to hear your comments! Please post some of your things in the comment section of this post! These are in no particular order but I dunno. I'm a huge fan of Year End list. I'm a music buff and I always enjoy seeing what are the best albums of the year Or the best moments in Sports.

- Dot Rutherford, the Media Specialist at ECCHS, introduced me to Classhook in her blog post a month or so ago. What a great way to introduce a lesson! I am so thankful that I learned about this.  I often find myself searching all over Youtube to find that perfect lesson opener or a way to engage a class and this makes it all the more easier

- I h…

Global Collaboration

Happy Friday!
Now more than ever it is easier to connect your classroom to Speakers, other classes, Experts, and Designers.  One easy and free way to do this is through the popular tool Flipgrid.  Flipgrid is a way for all students to have a voice and a way to discuss their learning. Students can video record themselves discussing a topic or answering a question and they can easily find others on the same "Grid"  who may have an opinion or voice.  Students and Teachers from all over the world are using this and want to connect with Your classroom. One way to do this is through #Gridpals. Grid pals is part of of the Flipgrid Platform.  Teachers from across the world can collaborate and have their students share their story, opinion, knowledge with a global audience.  Below is a video of an example of a #Gridpals collaboration. 

I have curated a few more resources for you to better understand FlipGrid.  Below you will find the directions for #gridpals, a video, and some recent…

Curating Resources

I found out yesterday about a great  FREE resource called Wakelet. Wakelet is a way for Teachers and students to curate different types of digital material. Currently when I am researching or studying something on the web I often bookmark pages, like tweets so I can go back and read the article, or save things to my Google Drive. ALL are  good ways to keep up with things but it is often difficult to put all of those pieces together. Now, I am excited about tying that together using a web tool call Wakelet. Wakelt is a COLLABORATIVE way to curate resources into one place.  Here are a couple of Scenarios of ways that it can be used.

1) My students are about to research ______ in my class.  I don't want them to start off by saying, "Hey guys please Google _____"    I want to give them a head start with some good resources. I have a Google Doc, a Pdf, and a few weblinks. I then want them to ADD to that and make their own and share their collaboration with others.

2) I need …

The Thankful Friday Tech Tip Post

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope that you all have a relaxing Thanksgiving Break.  I wanted to share with you 4 Technology Tools that I am Thankful for. I'm Thankful for these tools because they can help us maximize instruction and save time for both us and our students.

1. Google Add ons -  Anytime that you open a Google Document, Google Slide, or Google Sheet you have the option to use Add ons. Addons are programs and features that are related to the Google product you are using. For example, there is an Add on For Google Documents where you can easily create a citation, or make a word cloud, or find a great layout for a Slide.  Below is a video tutorial about some great Add Ons.

Flipgrid is as FREE resource where students and teachers can record videos, tell a story, create and collaborate. Many teachers in our district are using this! It's so great to give our students voice and choice.  Please let me if you have questions about this.

Twitter -  Twitter is something tha…

New Features with Texthelp

Happy Friday!

Google Read and Write is a Chrome Extension that is pushed out to all of our Chromebooks and all students  K-12 have access to this program. When they sign into the chromebook they will see a Puzzle Piece in the tool bar. By clicking on that they have access to the  Read and Write Toolbar. Read and Write  does many things such as read text aloud, allows for word prediction, create vocabulary lists, and more!  Google Read and Write works with Google Docs, Google Slides, and also with most webpages.

 One new feature  for writing that has recently rolled out is "Check it"  Checkit is a way to check for common grammar mistakes.  This feature can be turned on or off.  By Clicking the checkit icon in the Read and Write for Google Toolbar you can instantly check your Google Document for common grammar errors.  I used Checkit for the first time writing this blogpost and it is very enlightening to see all of my grammar miscues.  Below is a video that also explains check…

Teaching with YouTube

Happy Friday!
I know you are asking yourself what are some stats about Youtube?
A recent  study  from Emarkater states the following. . . "Roughly 1.58 billion individuals will watch YouTube at least once a month in 2018, representing two-thirds of digital video viewers. The share of digital video viewers watching the platform reaches nearly 90% if one excludes the population in China, where YouTube is blocked by the government." 
Youtube is powerful.. Youtube is the 2nd most used site in the United State after  How many of you reading this have figured out how to fix something or learn something  thanks to Youtube?  Last weekend my family went camping and I watched this video a few times before setting up our new tent. We were star gazing and my daughter asked me which stars were were and I said I had to "get up for a minute" and pulled this up (so much for being unplugged) and could do a better job pointing out constellations. . . Thanks to the Indian…

Teaching your students about Computer Science

Happy Friday!

This week I have had the chance to participate in some great Professional Learning about Computer Science. On Monday Will Dodd from GYSTC came to the Elementary school and led Professional Learning on robotics in the classroom. I was able to share what I know about letting students know how to code using the free resources on  Also, I was able to learn about how Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality are changing the way Professional Athletes train.  Bottom line, I believe that this is a skill that all students need to have knowledge about. There will be jobs that will be available for our students that do not even exist yet.  I'm the father of six year old twins and I sometimes have to take a minute for that to sync in. It just makes me sit back and think about how I need to teach and preach my two to be open to new things, be open to change, and apply the skills  and think creatively.  The world is wide open to innovators.  So, there are a few easy w…

Help Your Students Become Better Searchers

Happy Friday!

Our Elbert Innovates class (Teachers who are going through the Google Level 1 Certification) this past week had a great discussion about how our students access information through searches. In my experience in my 7th grade  middle school  classroom a few years ago I would take my students to the computer lab to do research and  my Middle Schoolers often struggled with trying to filter through the amount of information a Google search would populate on their topic. For example, we would search "cells" and bring up a good zillion (I'm estimating here) links about cells.  Some would be ads, some would be blogs, the top search would be a wikipedia article. .. etc. .. I'm sure you may have experienced this as well. My students had the technical knowledge to search but often would get stuck on finding the pertinent information they needed for their topic.

Google has created Search lesson lesson plans on how to teach our students to be better searchers.  Did y…

New Features in Gmail

Happy Friday,
 You may have noticed that Google has rolled out some new features in Gmail.  This is a global rollout to everyone in the world who uses Gmail.  I wanted to highlight a few of the new features.

Google Calendar, Google Keep and Tasks are now on the right side of your E-mail. You can now quickly access your Calendar. Just the other day I got an email about a meeting and without opening another window I just clicked on the calendar and put the meeting on the calendar.Google Keep is  a great way to keep up with tasks, assign due dates to tasks, and is also collaborative. Tasklist is just an easy way to create a task and then mark it off the list
Another new feature is "Smart compose" or  predictive text - You can choose to turn this on or off. As you are typing an email it will automatically predict words and you can press the tab button to insert this word. If you do not like this feature you can turn it on or off.

There are a few others that I will cover later but…

Exploring the World with the Google Suite

Happy Friday!

Our Google Suite for Education is now available to ALL students in our district. Our Elementary and Primary students are logging in with  Clever Badges.  Students scan a QR code with their name and that logs them into the Chromebook. It also logs them into all Google Products (Google Docs, Google Slides. etc..) They are logged in without ever having to type in their username or password.  Here are a few of my favorite ways for students to be able to explore the world using their chromebook.

Google Tour Builder -  Google Tour Builder is a way for students to tell stories incorporating Google Maps.  Students can insert Pictures, maps, and text to tell their story.   This would be a fabulous way to incoroprate writing, story telling and multi-media into the classroom. Here is a short video tutoral about Google Tour Builder 

Google My Maps -  Google MyMaps is where students can create, share, and collaborate by making their own maps.  Students can add and drop Pins, Insert lin…

Digital Formative Assessment

Happy Friday!

One of the great things about using Chromebooks in the classroom is that we are able to get immiediate results on how our students are understanding.  There are many ways to do digital pulse checks, tickets out the door, and personalized learning with our digtial devices.  Here are 3  tools for Digital Formative Assessment. 
3.  Make it a Game Quizziz is a fun way for students to interact with the curriculum. You can play a quiz game.  You as the teacher sign up for an account and then create or beg,borrow, and steal from the quizziz bank.  When students are finished you get immiediate results of how your students are performing. Below is a video tutorial about Quziz

2.  DIGITAL TICKET OUT THE DOOR  Google Classroom is a great way for students to leave written response or to crowd source or post resoucres for others.  Here is a great article about 6 ways that you can use the "Ask a Question" feature in Google Classroom

1.  Google Forms
Google Forms is getting bett…

Google Updates

Happy Friday!

In honor of it's 10th Anniversary Google has updated Chrome to a brand new version. Chrome automatically  updates so you may already have it if you do not turn off your computer and turn it back on and it should update.

What are some of the main differences?

Chrome looks a little different. It looks much cleanerChrome can now make  your passwords and store them as well. When you create a new account Chrome will suggest a password for you (you don't have to use it but it will make and store a password for youChrome can be your personal assistant -  You can type in common phrases such as (What is the weather?) and you don't have to hit enter and go to another page. It will show right up for youHere is the official release announcement

Another update that has been pushed out to students and teachers in the district is Gsuite Training.  For teachers to receive this they must log into Chrome. For students it will automatically show up in their browser. When you a…

Starting the Year with a Professional Learning Network

Happy Friday!

How do you grow professionally? Read books? Talk to colleagues?  Build and improve upon others ideas?  You can do all of this at your own pace using Twitter.

By now you probably know about twitter. It's in the news a good bit.   But, it's also a great way to build a PLN (Professional Learning Network) Educators from across the globe are using Twitter to share their ideas. For me personally, this has been a great way to interact with Tech leaders across the world.  Twitter is a professional learning network where you read and share ideas. Twitter is not a place to post pictures of your beach trip.  It is  one of the leading ways that Teachers are giving and receiving Professional Learning. Twitter is a little different than other social media sites because  tweets can only be 280 (Recently it changed from 140 characters.) Many people use twitter to share their experiences in the classroom,  share links to educational blogs or articles, or to take part intwitter ch…

The Blue Way on Display

Happy Friday!

I'm very excited about this new initiative this year with our school district.  We have adopted #BluewayonDisplay  this year as our campaign. We would love for you to show off the amazing things that are happening in your classroom or school.  We have launched   to be able to show off your good work.  This is a place where you can submit short videos that can be up to around 2 minutes  of what is going on in your building! For example, you have a great learning activity going on in your classroom (Sidenote: I saw this on ESPN the other day and this is the most epic game of rock paper scissors of all time).  You can go to and upload the video, tag your school, and it will be on display for all to see. (Please be mindful that  if there are  students in your video they have a media release form). I have created this short video tutorial to show you how the submission activity works. You can watch the tutorial or check out the…

New Features Coming to Google Classroom

Happy Friday!

I hope that you all have had a good full week with your students!

If you are using Google Classroom you may have noticed that it looked a little different this week.  For example, the about page is located in the bottom right and not in the stream.   For the last few years Google Classroom has released  some great new features in August that have been helpful. This year is no different.  There are several changes that have been rolled out or is currently rolling out that I think that you will find useful.  Here is some information from the Google Classroom page

New Classwork page— Teachers and students have a new Classwork page. Teachers can post assignments and questions on the page, and also group them into modules or units with topics.
New grading tool in Classroom—Teachers have a new grading tool where they toggle between student submissions while grading, and save common feedback in a comment bank to use later.
New People page—Teachers can view class member information

Welcome Back!

Happy Friday,

I hope that you all had a good beginning of the school year!  If you are new to the Elbert County School District then Welcome!  This the Friday Tech Tip and you will receive this email on, (you guessed it) this Friday.

This is the first year that all of our students in grades K-12 have a Google account. This means that all of our students can log into chromebooks and have access to unlimited storage. Your building technicians have really worked hard over the summer getting Chromebooks up and going this school year. K-4 students will log into chromebooks using a QR code (more on that later) but all students now have a tab in campus with their username and password. If you have a student who does not know or remember their username or password then you can go to campus click on the ST email tab

and there you will see the students username, email address and password

One of the greatest things in the EdTech world that happened over the summer is that FlipGrid is FREE for e…

The Last Post of the School Year

Haaaaaaaaapppppppyyyy Friday!

I can't believe we are at the end.  I really don't have a Technology Tip this week. What I would like to do is give you all a  high five for taking a giant step with technology this year.  I was able to run a few numbers and wanted to share these with you all.

In the Elbert County School system we have 3,502 Active users. That means that 3,502 Teachers, staff, and students have logged into a Google account or created a Google Document.   Our goal is to add more once we activate accounts for students in Kindergarten and First Grade.  Our Primary kids will have Google Accounts to login into their Chromebooks.  Potentially they could create their first Google Doc and have it with them all the way through their career in Elbert County School System. 
On May 15, we had 1,028 Active users using Google Classroom. That means that we had 1,028 students and teachers working collaboratively together, giving and receiving instant feedback, and potentially workin…

New Features with Google Forms

Happy Friday!

Google Forms is a great tool to be able to get instant feedback.  Many teachers here in Elbert Co. have used forms for Formative and Summative Assessments.  We also use it to create surveys, create signups. I love it because it can make a quiz go to the next level. You can insert videos, pictures, graphs, equations, etc. . . into Google Forms. 
   This week Google has announced some new updates to Google Forms that will make creating forms even easier. These will be rolling out in the coming weeks

1 - Answer Suggestions -  It will give you answer choices as you create multiple choice questions! How crazy is that?    So if I create a multiple choice question  for example "What are the parts of a cell?" It will auto populate multiple choices based on your questions. You choose the correct answer.

2 - Grade Grid responses -  One of the options when you create an item in Google Forms you have the ability to create "choose from a grid" now you can choose t…

Experiments with Google

Happy Friday!

I have recently been reading up on AI Machine Learning (Artificial Intelligence) machine learning in the classroom.  Artificial Intelligence is becoming more and more common place in our lives. Here are a few examples.

  This weekend my family and I are taking a good road trip and I'm sure that we will use the "Waze" app or Google Maps to help get us to our destination. These programs will predict traffic patterns and will guide us the quickest way to get where we are going.   When you checked your email this morning you didn't receive all of your Email because some went to the "spam" folder. Your email program is predicting and filtering out unwanted or dangerous E-mails. Your Email program is deciding for you what is important and what is not important.  Google Mail also has smart response and predicts what you are going to say in your Email ResponseYou may have deposited a check this week using your mobile phone. When you take a picture of t…

End of the Year Technology Opportunites

Happy Friday!

I wanted to highlight 5 things that you may want to consider to do with your students as the year closes out

Create a Class Flipgrid Board for your students to give advice for students who will enter your class in the Fall!  This could be beneficial for both your students now and your students of the future. Your students can reflect and grow collaboratively.

Have students create a Google Site that highlights their best work that they have done throughout the year.  This could even be something that they could share with their family and future teachers.  All of our students have access to create a Google Site with their school Google account. Here is a video that describes the process of creating a Google Site.
Students can collaboratively create and share Google Slides or Google Docs together to highlight some of their successes and challenges during the year.

Same idea as above but you could also give students the opportunity to create a Comic that highlights some of th…

End of the year Technology Tips and Opportunities

Happy Friday!
Congrats to our Middle and Elementary School students and teachers as they wind up testing.  As we start to move into the final stretch there are several things that I would encourage you to start thinking about as we move to the end of the year.

If you haven't already start moving your documents from the P: Drive to Google Drive - Remember that by doing this you will be able to access your documents outside of the school building. If you have questions please talk to your Building Technician or myself.

When you finish using Google Classroom for the year Archive your classes. This will not delete Student work or your work or assignments. This will remove the Google Classroom from your start page. You can still reuse assignments next year from this year. Myself or our Technicians can help you with this.

If you are leaving us you can  take your Google Drive Files with you -- There are two ways that you can take your Google Drive Files with you. 1) Use Google Takeout - Th…