Friday, January 30, 2015

This Week at Village 1.30.15

It was another great week at Village; I am a lucky teacher to be learning alongside such wonderful and committed educators!

This week…
  • the computer lab was abuzz with Google Slide creations. Your students are learning the ins and outs of creating a presentation as well as the tools they will be using for their assessments in March and May!
  • 4th Grade Special Education teachers attended a half day workshop to learn how to incorporate Google Apps for Education into their lessons. It was a great session for everyone involved! If you feel that you could lend a hand to these teachers, who are “newer” to the Chromebook experiences and the integration of technology in the classroom, please reach out to your colleagues. We all have so much to teach each other!
  • I spent two periods with a wonderful 4th grade class as we logged into and learned the basics of Glogster! I was excited to hear that they are working on their optional assignment-an All About Me. This will allow the students the opportunity to learn about the program they are using without worrying about the content. I look forward to working with them again on Monday!
  • I explored plickers with a small group of students in 5th grade. This “exit slip” assessment tool is easy to use and I would love to explore the possibilities with a few more classes. For more information, watch this video and email me for plicker cards! If you want to see plickers in action, it may be coming to your Spanish class soon!
  • I am looking for a 4th grade teacher interested in doing a Mystery Hangout with students in Minnesota. Not sure what I’m talking about? Annie Rosenberg and I will be having a morning share in February. Please let Annie and me know if you would be interested.
Be On the Look Out (BOLO) for…
  • Google classroom training, which will begin in February. I will be working with one 5th grade teacher and two 4th grade classrooms. If you are interested in learning more about Google Classroom, email me and I will be sure to add you to the list.
  • a new Hapara platform, it will be launching in March for 5th grade teachers. I will be meeting with you during flex to review the changes. 
  • Kaizena. I am looking for teachers (4th or 5th) who may be interested in exploring Kaizena. Kaizena is a Google app/add on that allows you to give different types of feedback on a Google Doc (voice recordings, typed comments and links to more information). If you would like to explore Kaizena with me, let me know.

As always, let me know if you would like to be included in any of these endeavors or if you have any projects you would like me to help you with. 

A Day in the Life of 6th Grade Science (Week of 1/26/15)

Here’s a little look at some of the awesome things going on in the 6th grade science classes at GMS.  

Team 6T

properties of matter.JPGStudents on 6T are studying the characteristic properties of matter.  In partnerships and small groups, students travel throughout the classroom to a variety of inquiry stations.

At each station, students discuss and answer questions in order to develop theories about what they see.  As they explore the properties of matter, they apply their own understanding of volume and density to each investigation  

As true scientists do, these 6th graders also share their results and compare them with the work of others.  After each of the inquiries are completed, the partnerships and small groups enter their results in a collaborative Google Doc.  Through this shared resource, students benefit from seeing not only their own results, but the results of others as well.  This collaborative learning experience helps the students identify trends and also determine the validity of their own findings.

Team 6G and Team 6S

Students on 6G and 6S are currently learning about the plant life cycle.  

wisconsin fast plants.JPGStarting with seeds, students are working in groups and growing Wisconsin Fast Plants.  Each day of the cycle is observed and data is recorded by the group. To record the data, students are using a combination of digital resources.  

Students work together using the camera feature in the Chromebooks to take photographs of the plants and work in collaborative documents to record other data.  For example, within their Google accounts, students create and share data tables in Google Docs and slideshow presentations to showcase the plants' growth in Google Presentations.

Students on 6G are also dissecting plants.  They are taking the plants apart to get closer looks at the individual parts of a flower.  Tactile,  hands-on manipulation of the plant parts coupled with the digital note-taking in Google Drive on the Chromebooks allow for students to employ a variety of learning styles during this lesson and really understand the intricacies of the plants they are studying.

IMG_3943.JPGAdditionally, through Google Drive the teachers share copies of notes pertaining to the parts and functions of the plant parts.  

Students can access these shared resources in Drive to later compare them with their own notes, and to use as study aides as they progress through the unit.  

Team 6M

Using the workshop model of instruction, students on 6M are studying pure and composite substances.  

After a whole group mini lesson, students have the opportunity to take a closer look at actual examples of various substances that are on display in the classroom.

Through Google Drive, the teacher has shared resources for students to access, while they work independently, on explaining the process through with a pure substance is converted or manufactured into a composite substance.  As the students work, the teacher holds brief individual conferences with each student to keep track of their progress with their respective inquiries and provide them with guidance as needed.

Reflection and self-assessment through the 3-2-1 exit ticket also help students take ownership of their learning and provides valuable formative assessment that shapes the teacher's future plans.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Entering the Blogosphere

Many of us have entered the world of blogging this year with our classrooms using Google Blogger. Classroom blogs are easy to set up and can be used as a collaboration tool, a place for student reflection, an opportunity for digital citizenship and global awareness, or a place to enhance the learning and communication in your classroom.  Classroom blogs can be updated daily, weekly, or monthly depending on preference.  They can be used as a home-school connection or can be used solely for enrichment and reflection.  It is your choice!

Here is an example (All student comments have been removed):

A classroom blog will bring new motivation and excitement to your classroom.  Contact your school tech resource person to get started!

Blogging doesn't have to be limited to the classroom.  There are also many fabulous blogs out there that can used as a teacher resource.  Most of them can be followed on Twitter also so you can see any updates on your Twitter feed.
Here are a few favorites:

Free Technology for Teachers (Twitter handle is @rmbyrne)
The Daring Librarian (Twitter handle is @gwynethjones)
Read,Write, Reflect (Twitter handle is @katsok)
Two Writing Teachers (Twitter handle is @2writingteachrs)
TeachThought (Twitter handle is @teachthought)
Edutopia (Twitter handle is @edutopia)

Monday, January 26, 2015

This Week at Village 1.23.15

Hi Village Friends,

This week at Village was a productive one and there is much to be celebrated! 

Here are some of the technology integration highlights:
  • Teachers continue to join the Twitterverse. It’s not too late to to join in the learning. Check out the Tweet 10 Challenge. If you have completed the challenge, remember to send me a direct message via Twitter to claim your badge and your sticker once you’ve completed Day 5! Still not convinced that Twitter is worth it? Check out the #wwprsd hashtag and see what your colleagues have tweeted!
  • A 5th grade classroom traveled to Virginia via Google Hangouts. It was a wonderful Mystery Hangout; the students were able to guess the mystery location in 7 guesses! What a great way to build geography skills and expand your world.

Ms. Rosenberg gets her greeters set
up for their Mystery Hangout. 
Students use their Chromebooks and laminated
maps of the US to eliminate incorrect locations.
This student is recording the questions her
classmates have asked. This list was referred
to often during the Hangout

These groups of students did research to help
determine where the other class might be located
and to help ask questions.

  • The tech team met to start planning the February PD Day. Special Area Teachers, if you have an idea for content that we can facilitate and help you plan, let me know!
  • The tech team also met to develop training for the Special Ed Teachers and their new Chromebooks.
  • I met with a 4th grade teacher to discuss an upcoming Glogster activity. 
Here’s a brief look at next week:
  • Virtual Debates are coming. I’m working with a 5th grade teacher to plan a Google Hangout debate using the new Social Studies curriculum. We will be debating population growth with 5th graders from Millstone.
  • Symbaloo webmixes
  • Twitter, Twitter, and more Twitter! Let me know if you still want to take part in the challenge. 
  • YOUR project?!?!?

Please let me know if you would like to be included in any of these endeavors or if you have any projects you would like me to help you with. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

New versions of the Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps on Android and IOS

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 02:05 PM PST
New versions of the Google Docs, Sheets and Slides apps are now available on Google Play and the App Store. New features include real-time spell-checking in documents (new for iOS only), inserting links (Android only) and hiding rows/columns in spreadsheets, and grouping shapes in presentations. We’ve also added support for Touch ID on iOS, so you can unlock Docs, Sheets and Slides with your unique fingerprint.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Protected sheets and ranges improvements in Google Sheets

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 02:50 PM PST
We’re launching several improvements to the protected sheets and ranges functionality in Google Sheets, providing faster and more granular control when locking down sections of content in spreadsheets.

Key changes include:
§ Ability to lock down all content in a sheet except a particular cell or range
§ Faster set up with the ability to re-use the same permissions you previously chose on a different set of cells
§ Ability to quickly lock down a sheet or range to only a single person, a small number of people or a domain
Release track:
Rapid release, with Scheduled release coming in two weeks

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tweet 10 Challenge Wrap-up

This past week, we facilitated the Tweet 10 Challenge.  We felt it was a big success and thank all those who tweeted.  Click here to read some of what our WWP community has been sharing out this last week with the hashtag #wwprsd. You don't need to have a Twitter account yet in order to read the tweets.  If you would like to follow fellow WWP Twitter users, here is a spreadsheet.

Twitter can become a powerful tool in any teacher's toolbox for professional development.  For some, it is their number one resource for PD!  Not only can you follow colleagues in the district, you can follow educators and educational resource sites from all over the world.  What can you find?  Links to educational articles and blog posts, lesson ideas, and inspiration.  What can you Tweet? Links to resources you find helpful, successes, challenges, questions, photos, etc.

Here are some other ideas for you to try now that the Tweet 10 Challenge is complete:
  • Get the Chrome extension, “Classic retweet" which will allow you to edit your retweets
  • Do some lurking.  Find something you like and “Favorite” it by clicking on the star
  • Try using TweetDeck, Tweetchat, or HootSuite to set up and follow different chats such as:

#edchat (Tuesdays at 7:00)
#whatisschool (Thursdays at 6:00)
#Tlap (Mondays at 9:00)

Friday, January 16, 2015

This Week at Village 1.16.15

This second week of 2015 the Tech Team introduced the Tweet 10 Challenge. It was nice to see so many new faces in the Twitterverse. If you missed the Tweet 10 Challenge, it’s not too late to join in the fun and grow your Professional Learning Network (PLN). Remember to send me a direct message via Twitter to claim you badge and you sticker once you’ve completed Day 5! Still not convinced that Twitter is worth it? Check out this article MJ Mucciarone sent me; she found it on Twitter!

Here’s a look at some of the awesome technology integration that took place at Village this week:
  • Special area teachers are continuing their work on their blogs and Cheryl Glitz has created a stunning blog to keep her students up to date in all things music. Be sure to check it out!
  • I met with wonderful teachers during 4th grade flex to continue working on their blogs. This week we added poll questions. If you are interested in creating a blog for or with your class, let me know and we can make that happen.
  • Dan Gallagher and I spent several hours updating the iPad cart. All 14 iPads have the most recent operating system and all apps are currently up to date. In an effort to get Glogster out to everyone, we also installed the Glogster app on each device. Let me know if there are any apps you would like installed on the iPads.
  • Karen Orlovsky and I met to discuss using Google Docs in lieu of My Lesson Planner. She and I created a template capturing the standards and she hopes to start using the template next week. If you have a template that you would like to share with the building, please do; we have so much to learn from one another!
  • Eileen Beam and I co-taught a lesson about bibliographies using the digital tool easybib. For more information, here is a link to the doc I created with other digital bibliography tools.
  • Mariel Richter and I participated in week two of our Twitter chat/book club for the book Teach Like a Pirate. 
  • Holly Shemitz and I met to discuss her upcoming Colonial Billboard Project using Glogster. Be sure to take advantage of the school license of this amazing tool.
  • On Tuesday the Teach Team gathered with educators from Maine to hear about their 1:1 initiative and there is much that we are looking forward to sharing during the February PD Day!
  • Mariel Richter invited me into her class to see the great tech projects her students created! While I was unable to attend due to a conflict in schedule, I TRULY appreciate the invite. I love seeing what you are doing in the classroom. It helps me share ideas with our colleagues.
Once again, I can’t be everywhere and see everything, but I hope you will invite me into your classroom and I can spread the word or share the great things you are doing with your students.

Here’s a brief look at our shortened week ahead and beyond:
  • Mystery Hangouts with another state
  • Virtual Debates
  • Twitter, Twitter, and more Twitter! Let me know if you still want to take part in the challenge. 
  • Glogster
  • Flex
  • Google Classroom
  • YOUR project?!?!?

Please let me know if you would like to be included in any of these endeavors or if you have any projects you would like me to help you with. 

This Week at Village 1.9.15

Hi Village Friends,

It’s been busy this first week back at Village. I am excited that 2015 has started with such enthusiasm and excitement! Here is quick look at some of the technology happenings this week:
  • Special area teachers met to discuss blogs and Google drive. Look for some amazing content from Art, Spanish, PE, Music, the Media Center and World Language!
  • Karen Stroczynski and Alisha Tricarico’s 4th graders presented their Glogs convincing colonial settlers to move to their colonies; my sights are set on Maryland!
  • Karen Orlovsky discovered a wonderful site a " FREE Platform for Driving Personalized Instruction and Self-Directed Learning: Activities in All K-12 Subjects, Aligned to the Common Core."
  • Karen Cane discovered and shared a wonderful symbaloo web mix containing virtual tours and field trips. It was the week of the Karens!
  • Classroom teachers continue to focus on their blogs; let me know if you need assistance!
  • I held a morning share on Glogster. With a schedule conflict, you may have missed it. Please let me know if you would like me to help your students set up their accounts or want to plan a project. Check out the Glog I created about Village!
  • Dana Kercheval and Alyssa Petrino used a wonderful site to graph data in science.
  • Eileen Beam explored digital bibliography options. Here is a link to the doc I created. 
  • Mariel Richter and I participated in a Twitter chat/book club for the book Teach Like a Pirate. Ask her about her pirate inspired lesson and look for a picture of Lisa Bremer on Twitter under the hash tag #tlap
  • Annie Rosenberg had me in to discuss online etiquette with Edmodo book clubs.
I know there is much that I missed. But I look forward to showcasing the amazing things happening at Village. Here are some of the things I am working on next week:
  • Pearson/Envision
  • Blogger/blogs
  • Glogster (let me know if you would be interested in a repeat share after school).
  • Dan Gallagher and I will be working on the Village iPad cart
  • Mystery Hangouts
  • Virtual Debates
  • Twitter
Please let me know if you would like to be included in any of these endeavors or if you have any projects you would like me to help you with. 

Finally, the tech department has created a Tweet 10 - 5 Day Challenge!  Participating in this challenge is optional, but will help you become more familiar with Twitter.  Each day’s activity will take less than 10 minutes. At the end of the challenge, there are digital badges and/or stickers for all who participate.

The challenge will be sent out this coming Monday morning, so if you haven’t signed up for Twitter, you still have this weekend to register! Let me know if you want any assistance getting set up.  (There are also Twitter resources in our shared Resources folder in Google Drive-the link is included in my signature.)

This challenge is for all staff, included administrators!  
All K-8 educators in our district have been challenged. 

Let’s show them what being part of the PACK means!

Friday 'App'itizer

Recently, I was in a 2nd grade classroom assisting with designing their non-fiction research presentations.  I had one group approach me on the day we discussed adding images and ask if there was a way to get a picture of themselves in a volcano (one guess what they researched).  I said yes!

Using an iPad, green cloth, and the Green Screen app we created this image:

Of course "monkey see, monkey do!"  Once the volcano group inserted their image and started to show their friends, I had others ask to do one.  But I had one rule, they must have an idea of what they would like to do.  Here are some of the others:

Green Screen works with photos and videos; plus its easy!

(CMS/GMS) Update for the Week of 1/12/15

First order of business is the Tweet 10 Twitter Challenge!  We are so excited at the level of participation for this first challenge.  Click this link for a blog post with more details about the challenge.

Clicking this link for our #wwprsd hashtag -- even if you don't have a Twitter account yet -- will show you some of the tweets that our WWP community have been sharing this week.

Please remember to sign up for the February 19th PD day.  Here is the link for registration:

Have a great (long) weekend,
~Allan and Melissa

Upcoming changes to NPAPI support in Chrome, impact on audio dialing in Google Talk

Posted: 16 Jan 2015 11:14 AM PST
In September 2013, we announced our plan to remove NPAPI support from Chrome, a change that will improve Chrome’s security, speed and stability. We gave some more details on timing and expected changes last November. The first of those changes will take place with the launch of Chrome 40 to the stable channel, currently planned for next week.

Currently Chrome supports NPAPI plugins, but with the exception of a small number of whitelisted extensions―including Google Talk―they are blocked by default unless the user chooses to allow them. With the launch of Chrome 40 to the stable channel, we’ll no longer use the whitelist to allow certain NPAPI plugins to run without requiring user approval. As a result, people using Google Talk on Chrome 40 will see a ‘Plug-in blocked’ notification in their browser bar, requiring a one-time approval in order for the Talk service, specifically audio calls, to function. The approval will be recorded and remembered.
If this approval is not granted, users will also be prompted to run the plugin within the Talk UI when attempting to make or receive calls.

When we launch Chrome 41 to the stable channel in March, this approval will be required every time the browser is loaded and with the launch of Chrome 42 in April, NPAPI support will be disabled by default in Chrome. At that time, audio calls in Talk will start operating through the Hangouts dialer (and will require Google Voice to be enabled for standard telephone calls. Hangouts Chat does not need to be enabled for the Hangouts dialer to work).

In preparation for these upcoming changes, Apps admins from domains using Google Talk on Chrome 40 should inform their users to expect to see the ‘Plug-in blocked’ notifications. Longer term, this is a useful opportunity for admins to consider switching from Talk to Hangouts Chat, which does not require a plugin on Chrome.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Using Google Hangouts to Connect to Classrooms Around the World

I first read about the idea of the "Mystery Skype" or "Mystery Hangout" on Twitter when a fellow educator posted a Tweet about a global collaboration project.  After further reading, I realized that there are a ton of teachers participating these mystery location calls all over the world.  What a great way to connect classrooms and learn about different places!

After finding interested teachers at both Millstone and Village, Our experiment in global collaboration began by testing Google Hangouts out across schools. This first Hangout is what sold one 5th grade teacher on the idea and she started looking on Twitter for possible connections. So far, her class has connected with Iowa and Alabama and the class is loving it!  With each new Skype/Hangout, the class learns more about different places in the country/world and then reflects on the hangout itself so they can make the next one better.  Each student has a role and they use Google Maps and Google Forms/Docs to collect their data.  The students are also building on curriculum and competencies by:
  • Using and reinforcing map and geography skills
  • Practicing being effective communicators as they work together and share information
  • Problem-solving as they analyze clues and create questions to figure out where the Mystery Skype/Hangout class is located
  • Comparing and contrasting as they look at the differences and similarities between locations
Take a look at some of the pictures from the first few connections. Who knows where the next mystery location will be!

Here are some resources if you are interested in learning more.  Let us know if you would like to try a mystery location call in your class!

Mystery Hangout
Mystery Skype
Sample Notes Page
Student Doc

A Classroom mobile app and new desktop options for teachers

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 09:40 AM PST
Today we’re launching a native Classroom mobile app for both Android and iOS to help teachers and students be more collaborative in the classroom and save even more paper and time:
New with the mobile app, students and teachers can:
§ Snap a photo: Right from the assignment page in the mobile app, students can snap a photo and attach it to their assignment.
§ Share from other apps: Students can also easily attach images, PDFs and web pages from other apps to their assignments. 
§ Offline caching: Class streams and assignment information are automatically cached every time you open the app with an Internet connection, so that you can see them when you don’t have a connection. 

We’re also launching two new desktop features to help teachers stay organized as they head into the second half of the year: 
§ Teacher Assignments Page: On Classroom for desktop, we’re launching a teacher assignments page, where teachers will be able to get quick access to any assignment, see how many students are done and mark assignments as reviewed.
§ Archive Classes: We also know that classes don’t go on forever —that’s why today we’re launching the ability to archive classes. Archiving a class will remove it from the home page and make it read-only — teachers and class members can still view valuable information in archived classes, but can’t make any changes or turn in assignments.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

New status menu, bandwidth control for Google Drive for Mac/PC

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 12:20 PM PST
Google Drive for Mac/PC syncs any or all of your files to Google Drive on the web, making them available anywhere, at any time, on any device. It also provides secure cloud-based storage for your files.

A new version of Google Drive for Mac/PC is rolling out this week, featuring a new, more visually rich status menu. The menu allows people using Google Drive for Mac/PC to more clearly follow their sync status, including guidance on already synced files, files currently syncing and files yet to be synced. When you hover over a recently synced file, you’ll see an icon that saves you steps by letting you share it right from the menu:

You can also now choose to limit how much bandwidth Drive consumes while syncing your files for those times when you need extra bandwidth for something else. You can do that in the Advanced section of the Preferences menu.

Release track:

Rapid release and Scheduled release (gradual rollout)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Docs, Sheets, and Slides added to the App Launcher

Posted: 13 Jan 2015 02:56 PM PST
As announced last month, the Docs editors―Docs, Sheets, and Slides―have now been added to the App Launcher. The editors icons are on the first screen of the App Launcher, along with your other Google Apps products:
Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 5.00.43 PM.png
Groups and Contacts were moved to the ‘More’ screen to make room.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

Friday, January 9, 2015

First Friday 'App'etizer for 2015!

Welcome to the new year!  The app I have to recommend is one which allows you to take any photo from your camera roll or picture you want to take with the camera and convert it to appear as a painting.  Brushstroke is quick and simple.  They have several different artistic styles to choose from and allows you to even sign your 'work'.  Take a look at the before and after:

This would be a nice touch for student presentations!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

“Last seen” indication in Hangouts

Posted: 07 Jan 2015 04:48 PM PST
To make it easier to know when people using Hangouts are available to chat, we’ve added timestamps as part of status (e.g. ‘last seen 2h ago’), indicating when one was last using Hangouts:
Individuals can control whether this info is shared from Hangouts chat settings.

This feature is now available on Hangouts in Gmail (gradual rollout), as well as on the latest versions of the Hangouts Android and iOS apps.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Easier guest access to Hangouts video calls on iOS

Posted: 06 Jan 2015 11:38 AM PST
Last year, we announced a new feature for Hangouts on the web allowing Google Apps customers to share links to Hangouts video calls so that external meeting guests may request to join if not explicitly invited. This feature helps external guests avoid errors when joining with alternate Google accounts.

The latest release of the Hangouts iOS app now has the same functionality, allowing external guests using the app to join Hangouts video calls from their mobile device with a meeting link provided by the organizer.

§ Anyone in the same domain as the Hangout can make a video call externally accessible with the link
§ Video calls that are shared with the link require someone in the Apps domain of the Hangout video call to accept those requesting access on the web

This feature will be coming soon to the Hangouts Android app.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

Custom status messages on the Hangouts iOS app

Posted: 06 Jan 2015 12:23 PM PST
As launched recently for Hangouts in Gmail, the latest version of the Google Hangouts iOS app now includes the ability to add custom status messages and see the status messages of others in the Contacts view. Status messages can be added via the settings menu.

Note: status messages shared on one device will also apply to other devices on which one is signed in with their Hangouts account.

This feature is coming soon for the Hangouts Android app.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release