Friday, October 31, 2014

Spooktacular Free Friday 'App'etizer

This week I come to you with an app, Comic Touch 2 which can be used to introduce a couple of topics.  Two which this app screams to use are dialogue and onomatopoeia.  Comics can be a great way to showcase to students how these literary devices appear as text, as in the example below.

This app could be used to make a cover for a writing piece or even just a cover for any project.

Hmmmm, I see a comic book cover for...

Math: 'The Adventures of Super Triangle and the League of Tangrams'


Science: 'The Exciting, Spectacular, Amazing Properties of Water'


Social Studies: 'Around the Community in 30 Days'


Art: 'Meet the Artist volume 7 issue 2'


The ideas are endless... or are they... To Be Continued...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tech Tuesday (October 28th)

Unlimited Drive storage for Google Apps for Education

Posted: 28 Oct 2014 10:27 AM PDT
As initially announced last month, this week we’ll be rolling out unlimited Drive storage to all Google Apps for Education schools at no charge.

Stay tuned for future updates on Google Apps Vault and enhanced auditing tools coming later this year to Google Apps for Education.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

Friday, October 24, 2014

Unconference was a Success!

Wow!  I think our first WW-P unconference was a huge success! It was wonderful to see teachers excited about learning new things and collaborating about topics and issues that had meaning for them.  I'm hoping we can use this format again in the near future. Thank you to everyone for coming and for your wonderful participation and feedback. :)

For those of you who were interested in learning more about Edmodo and Blogger after our sessions, I've included a couple of resources here.  First is a link to all of the Edmodo tutorial videos.  This is a great resource if you want to get started with Edmodo in the classroom.  Second is a basic tutorial video to help you learn what Blogger gadgets are and how to use them.  And of course, if you need help with either, just ask!

And finally, don't forget about Edcamp NJ on Saturday, November 22, 2014.  Click the photo below to learn more!

Free Friday 'App'etizer for October 24, 2014

This week's 'app'etizer is actually a 'smash' of two apps:
Pumpkin Carver Plus
YAKiT Kids

In preparation for next Friday, you can have your students 'carve' a pumpkin on the iPad, then save it to the camera roll.  From within the app, YAKiT Kids, they can place a mouth on their jack o'lantern and record themselves (30 seconds of recording time).  Afterwards they can adjust the pitch of their voice, higher or lower, and save it to the camera roll.  I recorded the one below.

How could you utilize this in your classroom???

(CMS/GMS) Update for Week of 10/20/14

We want to start out this week's update by saying how excited we were to spend the day with all of you yesterday at our first unconference!  It was great to see so many teachers sharing ideas with one another. It seems that at both middle school locations, CMS and GMS, many teachers had very productive mornings...and what is really exciting, is that those conversations will continue to carry on beyond the professional development day.

If you are interested in attending or presenting at another unconference, remember that EdcampNJ is November 22nd at Linwood Middle School in North Brunswick.  For more information about it, visit this link.  There will be 500+ educators from the area to learn with that day.  (And there are usually really great door prizes, too!)

Earlier in the week, the Teacher Resource Team got to visit some of the classes at Village School to see the 5th graders using the Chromebooks. We are excited to be visiting middle school classrooms at GMS, on Monday, next week.  Thank you very much to all the teachers who volunteered to open up their classrooms - we have a packed schedule that morning!

Here are a few links to resources we think you may find helpful.  You can save the items in Google to your own Drive so that you have access to future updates, and bookmark the other webpages.

In Google Drive:
  • Resources Folder
  • The Schedule from the unconference at GMS (contains a document from each session - check out the notes that your colleagues wrote, and add to them to keep the conversations going)
  • The general Backchannel Doc for sharing ideas, resources, etc. 
From our blog:
Please continue to reach out to us with your lesson ideas and other questions.  For the next few weeks, our weekly 1:1 trainings will occur during grade-level department meetings.  Please reach out us with the dates and times that your grade level departments can meet, if you have not already done so.

Have a great weekend!
~Allan and Melissa

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Add-ons for Google Forms

Posted: 23 Oct 2014 01:50 PM PDT
In the spirit of giving you even more flexibility and customization, we’re launching add-ons for Google Forms--new tools, created by developer partners, that bring even more features to your surveys (just like add-ons for Docs and Sheets).

Check out the growing list of available add-ons, several of which are particularly relevant for education, from the “Add-ons” menu in Forms, or by directly visiting the Forms add-ons store.

If you have already disabled add-ons for your domain in the Admin console, Forms add-ons will be defaulted off. To change this setting, click on Google Apps -> Drive > General Settings and check/un-check the “Allow users to install Google Docs add-ons” box.

Release track:

Rapid release and Scheduled release

Friday, October 17, 2014

Free Friday 'App'etizer for October 17, 2014

This week's 'app'etizer is Pattern Shapes, by the Math Learning Center.

I like this app because in a sense it is two apps in one.  First, students can manipulate the various geometric shapes on the screen, simply be dragging and dropping (a skill needed for PARCC).  While interacting with the shapes, they can see a relationship between them;

one hexagon is composed of a triangle, a parallelogram, and a trapezoid (CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.3.G.A.2)   The second aspect of this app which I like is how it offers tangrams for the students to complete.

Challenge your students with Symmetry!  "Can you make a reflection of this shape?"

I hope you enjoy this app and add it to your collection of Math Tool Apps.

(CMS/GMS) 1:1 Update for week of 10/13

The Teacher Resource Team traveled up to High Point, NJ to attend the High Point New Jersey Summit featuring Google for Education.  There, we attended a variety of informative sessions (Dan Gallagher presented!) and connected with 389 other educators from 53 schools in 4 states, all using GAFE in their schools. You can join the conversation and connect with some of those same educators by searching the hashtag #HPGAFE14 on Twitter.

The rest of this week, we met with individual teachers and teams/departments to support your work in your respective classrooms.  Thank you to all who met with us; these types of conversations are very valuable to our work together in this 1:1 learning initiative.  Keep up the amazing work and sharing your great ideas with one another!

We've also been planning our upcoming professional development day on 10/23.  As you know, 5th and 6th grade 1:1 teachers will be attending the unconference at Grover and 7th and 8th grade teachers will be attending the unconference at CMS.  You will receive more information about the day early next week.  We know that, for many of you, this will be your first unconference experience. So, here are some basic tips for attending an unconference:

* Unconferences are driven by each person attending – there is no one “in charge”
* All attendees are invited to present or facilitate a session
* Attendees choose the sessions they’d like to attend themselves
* The “rule of mobility” gives attendees the option to leave a session and go to another one if it isn’t quite what they wanted, if there were two sessions they wanted to attend during the same time, etc.

If you'd like to get a better sense of what an unconference is all about, take a look at this video below.

We hope that you will consider leading a session on 10/23.  You don't have to be an expert in the topic -- it can be anything you are trying out in your classroom or something you are interested in learning more about!

We'll also continue visiting classrooms next week at Village School.  These non-evaluative visits are meant to give us the opportunity to showcase and highlight some of the amazing practices already happening, so that we can share them across grade levels, subject areas and buildings.  We are looking to see what the students are doing:  how they are displaying the 21st century competencies and how they are using technology.

Please continue to use the ticket system to report technology issues.

For some quick troubleshooting tips, visit this page on our blog. If you don't see the answer to your question, leave a comment at the bottom of the page.

See you at our unconference on 10/23!

Have a great weekend!
~Allan and Melissa

Friday, October 10, 2014

(CMS/GMS) 1:11 Update for week of 10/6/14

This week, the instructional technology support team began visiting classrooms.  These non-evaluative visits are meant to give us the opportunity to showcase and highlight some of the amazing practices already happening, so that we can share them across grade levels, subject areas and buildings.  We are looking to see what the students are doing:  how they are displaying the 21st century competencies and how they are using technology.

Seeing, first-hand, how the 1:1 Learning Imitative is progressing, we will be able to better plan meaningful and relevant professional development.

Our first visits took place at CMS.  Thank you to all of the teachers who invited us into their classes!

Have a great weekend,
~Allan and Melissa

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Spell check in the new Google Sheets

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 08:34 AM PDT
We have added spell check functionality to the new Google Sheets. This is a new and improved version of spell check compared to what existed in the old Sheets.

In this version, spelling is checked against the web (similar to Docs and Slides) so that the dictionary is always up-to-date. Also like in Docs and Slides, people can add words to their own dictionary so that the spell checker won't mark names or abbreviations as misspellings in the future.

You can access the functionality by selecting Tools -> Spelling. Incorrect words are featured in a window on the upper right corner of the screen, along with suggested spellings. Suggestions can be accepted or ignored.

Release track:

Rapid release and Scheduled release

Google+ Polls

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 10:47 AM PDT
Today we announced Google+ Polls, a new feature that allows people using Google+ to create interactive polls and share them with their friends and followers.

Images can be added to the polls from one’s device or Google+ photos, making them interesting and engaging. Followers can then vote on the polls and results are visible to them after they vote.


Polls will become available over the next few days on Android and the web, and are coming soon to iOS. Look for the new poll icon when creating a post to create a poll.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

New Hangouts Chrome app

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 05:19 PM PDT
A new Hangouts Chrome app was launched today with an updated UI. The app is available for Windows and Chrome OS platforms and brings the best of Hangouts to your desktop.

Improvements include:

· Streamlined design that keeps your chats accessible without getting in the way of everything else. Your contact list and all your chats are condensed into one easy to toggle window.
· Works outside of your browser so your chats are always available, not tucked away inside a window. You’ll get all your messages as long as you have the app running, and your chats will sync across Hangouts on all your devices.
· Includes all the video and voice features you’re used to in Hangouts. We recently announced you can make phone calls to any number in the world (via Hangouts dialer) and now you can do this right from your desktop.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Using Google Search to Optimize Self-Directed Learning

This is the presentation that attendees at this weeks' training sessions received.  It contains many helpful links to resources including Search Operators, Google Advanced Search, and Search Tools.

Feel free to use some or all of the presentation itself when instructing the students in your classes about searching and researching skills.

~Allan and Melissa

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Helpful Apps and Extensions for Teachers and Students

In your Apps menu, select the Chrome Web Store to search for apps, extensions, and themes.
Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 10.43.44 AM.png


  1. Think Wave Educator: Free, web-based gradebook that manages assignments and creates reports.

  1. Evernote Web: Save all of your ideas and experiences in Evernote, then access them from every computer and phone you use. Great for keeping conferring notes and saving useful teacher websites.

  1. Cacoo: Cacoo is a user friendly online drawing tool. Multiple users editing the same diagram means Real-Time Collaboration. Great for use with the projector for whole class or for kids to work in groups.

  1. Class Dojo: ClassDojo helps teachers improve behavior in their classrooms quickly and easily. It captures and generates data on behavior that teachers can share with parents and administrators.

  1. Quizlet: Learning/study tool for students.  Use in-app study sets or create your own, take quizzes and check, and play games to help you study.

  1. Powtoon: PowToon lets you create awesome animated presentations and animated video. PowToon is great for teachers and students.  

Browser Extensions:

  1. Evernote Clearly - gets rid of ads on webpages. Can highlight text.
  2. Save to Google Drive - save webpages as a .pdf in your drive
  3. Symbaloo Bookmarker - send websites to your Symbaloo
  4. Web Page Sticky Notes: Put sticky notes on webpages to take notes
  5. Nimbus Screenshot: Take screenshots and edit
  6. Webcam Screenshot: Take screenshots and edit
  7. TechSmith Snagit: Take screenshots or video and record. Great for tutorials!
  8. Screencastify: Also used for recording tutorials on the web.
  9. Shorten Me: Shorten URL’s and create matching QR codes
   10. TLDR: Will summarize long pieces of text on the web:

Tech Tuesday (October 7th)

Friday, October 3, 2014

(CMS/GMS) Update for week of 9/29

This week, we ran training sessions on Ways to Use Google Calendar to Enhance Instruction and Empower Student Self-Directed Learning.  The resource handout that we shared with attendees can also be found through this link.  (This handout, and all other training resources, can be found in this shared folder in Google Drive.)

Thank you to everyone who has already provided feedback on the first few weeks of the 1:1 Learning Initiative.  The feedback is extremely helpful.  If you have not already done so, please take a minute to fill out this brief form:

Next week, our training focus will be on Using Google Search to Optimize Self-Directed Learning. Training times and locations are as followed:

CMS - Google Search
Tuesday, 10/7
9:34 -10:14
Lab 619
Lab 619
Wednesday, 10/8
8:27 - 9:07
1:54 - 2:34
Lab 619
Lab 619
Thursday, 10/9
9:34 -10:14
Lab 619
Lab 619

GMS - Google Search

Tuesday, 10/7
9:34 -10:14
Media Center (Fishbowl)
Media Center (Fishbowl)
Wednesday, 10/8
8:27 - 9:07
1:54 - 2:34
Media Center (Fishbowl)
Media Center (BYOD - Smartboard area)
Thursday, 10/9
9:34 -10:14
Media Center (Fishbowl)
Media Center (Fishbowl)

Remember, that if you are ever unable to attend a posted training session, you can contact us to set up a time to meet and go over the material -- or any other topic you would like to work on.

Have a great weekend,
~Allan and Melissa