Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Reflections of EdcampNJ

This guest post is brought to you by Dayci Chivukula, a Spanish teacher at GMS, after attending her first EdcampNJ on Saturday, November 21.


When I heard that EDcamp was to happen on a Saturday, my first reaction was “no way Jose.”  However, when Kim shared her experience about these type of camps I became really interested.  I am an old dog who loves to learn new tricks so…I was game.  The idea of spending practically a whole Saturday with computers frightened me a bit.  However, I DID IT!  This was a great experience.  Initially I was going to attend sharing sessions, before I knew I was presenting with Jessica, my colleague from the Spanish department.  The way we structured the presentation was a sharing format so I “taught” and “learned” this double role was magic.  I came back with lots of resources, ideas, and enthusiasm.  Needless to say I am looking forward attending next year.  Thank you Kim, Melissa, Stacey, and all the wonderful people who make it possible for educators like me to combine my know how with technology to make learning more exciting to my students.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A couple of DYKs about Google Sheets from Nadine Dunn

This post is from Nadine Dunn, guidance secretary at High School South. 


DID YOU KNOW...that you can flip your data around in a Google Spreadsheet?

Printing a Google Response Form – Should be an easy thing but sometimes the information we collected runs very wide (longer than landscape view). This happens because your Form “Questions” become the spreadsheet’s column headers. 

Wouldn’t be great if you could swap the Column headers and the answer rows? Well I just learned you CAN!  

Once you have collected ALL your responses (I mean ALL – this won’t work if the spreadsheet is still a “LIVE” document), Go to an empty cell and type in the array formula =Transpose(A#:B#). Once you use this formula, the information you collected fills in the empty cells below it. ONLY your question “headers” are running down the side and your answer “rows” are now your columns.

Here is a screenshot of what you would see after you just used your Transpose formula:

Once the information has switched or flipped; the formula disappears and you can then HIDE (NOT Delete) the rows to make the Flipped view the only view you display.                                                                                            

DID YOU can sort multiple columns of information in Google Sheets all at once?

To sort in a  Google Spread sheet – you want to think of importance from lowest to greatest. 

For instance: You have three columns, “Names”, “Report Title”, and “Grade.” You want to see how many students in your class received a certain grade and do that alphabetically. In this case, the grade is more important than the name. You would sort the “name” column first (lowest importance), and then sort the “grade” column (highest importance).

Skywalker, Leia
Long Lost Sibling
Farris, Matt
Solo, Han
Wookies are People too
Test, Frank
IQ vs. Intuition
Smith, Joe
Cats & Dogs
(Once sorted by “Names" and then “Grades”, the sheet would look like this.)



Click here for a full list of function options for Sheets from Google. 

Want to keep the conversation going? Leave a comment below. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Drag and drop files directly into folders in Google Drive

Posted: 20 Nov 2015 11:05 AM PST
Google Drive allows you to upload files, images, and videos so you can work on them anywhere and anytime. With today’s update, if you’re using the latest versions of Chrome or Firefox on the web, you can now drag a file from your desktop directly into Drive folders or subfolders.

Launch Details
Release track:
Launching to both Rapid release and Scheduled release

Rollout pace: 
Full rollout (1-3 days for feature visibility)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Guest access to Hangouts video calls without a Google account

Posted: 19 Nov 2015 09:07 AM PST
Last year, we introduced 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. We completed the rollout of this feature across all platforms earlier this year.

Starting today, we’re making this feature even more useful by removing the requirement that guests have a Google account in order to join a Hangouts video call. Here’s how it works: guests without a Google account who have been provided with the video call link by the organizer will be asked to provide their name and then request to join the call.
Any attendee from the domain organizing the video call can then allow the guest into the meeting.
We’re also making this easier for guests who do not use Google Calendar by ensuring a link to the video call is visible in the description of the event.

This new feature is available now for guests joining with a web browser, making it easy for Apps customers using Hangouts to meet with anyone - inside or outside their organization, with or without a Google account. Customers with Chromebox for meetings will also have an even easier method for guests to present content in meeting rooms. Check out the Help Center for more information: Hangouts | Chromebox for meetings

Launch Details
Release track:  
Launching to both Rapid release and Scheduled release

Rollout pace: 
Full rollout (1-3 days for feature visibility)

Thanksgiving Cooking Timeline from Debbie Kavanagh

Thanksgiving is just a week away!  

This special holiday post is from Debbie Kavanagh, Life Skills teacher at High School North


Happy Thanksgiving to you all,
                Here are some tricks up my sleeve:

  • Shop late Saturday so not to meet the crowds
  • Start defrosting turkey on Sunday in a roasting pan, covered, in the garage, temperature under 40’F
  • Make pies on Sunday: apple can be left out without refrigeration for 2-3 days.  When cut, cover and refrigerate(2-3 more days).  (my pies don’t last that long)
  • Pumpkin needs to be completely cooled on counter 2 hours, then refrigerate, If you cover, moisture grows on top.  Pie lasts 3-5 days in refrigerator.   It’s a custard pie so take care because of milk and eggs
  • Start your sides on Monday and Tuesday, cooked and covered in microwaveable casseroles.  
  • Refrigerate until Thursday
  • Check on turkey on Wednesday and start completing defrosting in cold water in your sink still wrapped, change every 2 hours and turn.  Prepare turkey and refrigerate.  DON’T STUFF ANYMORE.
  • Make stuffing on top or bake in oven.   
  • Take out sides ½-1 hour before turkey is done.
  • After roasting turkey, take out and cover with foil on counter.  Let it sit for 20 minutes while you are baking your buns and reheating all your sides.  This seals in the juices when you are slicing Reheat in oven 10-20 minutes or microwave anywhere from 3-5 minutes
  • Or order from Wegman’s  HAHA!

Click here for the Turkey Table -- Cooking times for different size turkeys!


Easy homemade biscuits recipe:


2 C. flour
Design your own custom word cloud like this one on
1T. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1 t. sugar
½ t. cream of tartar
¼ t. salt     

½ c. butter, margarine (1 stick)

1 c. milk

Opt.  1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
          4 T. fresh chives or 2 T. dried chives

Preheat oven to 450”
Grease a baking sheet lightly with shortening (Crisco)
Mix all dry ingredients in a flat medium bowl
Cut in fat with a pastry blender
Make a well, add all the liquids
Stir with a fork until moistened

Use the 2 spoon method to drop heaping mounds of dough on the cookie sheet

Place on sheet & Bake 10-12 minutes                           
Serves 10-12

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, 



Here are a few app ideas for some more (techy) Thanksgiving Day fun:

Apps for iOS:

This Trivia Game contains 50 free questions around Thanksgiving. This quiz is packed with surprising, historical and turkey related facts from the very beginnings of Thanksgiving celebrations until nowadays.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Supplement your viewing experience of the parade with this app. Follow live tweets about the parade, keep track of parade information, and more! (Note, this app does not offer live streaming.)
and for Chrome:

Recipes: The place to watch cooking videos, recipes and cooking tips. Learn how to cook mouth watering food like a top chef.


Do you have any holiday tips or tricks you'd like to share with our WWP community? Please leave a comment below!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Do you know SAMR?

Who's SAMR, you might be asking?

SAMR isn't a person, SAMR is a model meant to help educators integrate technology into teaching and learning. Developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, the SAMR model provides educators with a framework and understanding in order to plan, develop, and infuse digital learning experiences that utilize technology.

While the model is linear, it's important to remember that SAMR doesn't need to be used as a scale or a ladder. It is not necessarily true that technology used as a substitution (S) is inferior to technology used to modify (M), augment (A), or redefine (R) the learning experience. It will depend on the task at hand, the individual students, and the desired learning outcomes to determine the role technology plays in each lesson. 

The SAMR model is meant to help teachers see what the technology can do or what it is doing at a given time and implementation. However, when the intention is to modify, augment, or redefine the learning experience, the model also shows teachers how it is possible to do so through the use of technology.

I like this particular SAMR model, which illustrates the depth of thinking possible when we use technology to transform learning experiences. This image and more info about SAMR was found here: 

Here's another example using a newspaper as our subject. Watch how various applications of technology change the experience of "reading" the news.

Original: Newspaper is printed and purchased at a newsstand or delivered to the doorstep.

Substitution: Newspaper is now available in electronic format online.

Augmentation: In addition to being available online, there are now hyperlinks embedded in the news articles which take the reader to further information about the subjects in the news.

Modification: In addition to additional resources hyperlinked in the online news articles, audio clips and videos are embedded to accompany the news stories.

Redefinition: Events and news stories can be streamed live online. (No need to wait until the next day to read all about it!)

As you become more familiar with the SAMR model, you can use it when reflecting on your existing lessons, and when planning new ones. You will find more and more applications of technology and become more comfortable with where and when you will want to implement them most.

Please reach out to the teacher resource specialist in your building to learn more about working with the SAMR model and your own curriculum.

Some further reading about the SAMR model:

This post originally written for the blog, TODAY IN SCHOOL.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A simpler, better Google+

Posted: 17 Nov 2015 02:05 PM PST
Today we’re rolling out a few updates to Google+ that make it easier to focus on the features our Apps customers tell us they find the most useful. There’s a new homestream to quickly browse through content, Communities that make it easy to safely share ideas and Collections that enable organizations to curate their work and keep it in one easy-to-find place.

The fully redesigned homestream is built to be fast and simple. The new design makes it easier to use whether you’re at your desk browsing through posts or sharing an update on the go from a smaller mobile device screen.

Domain-restricted Communities are a popular way for organizations to share content and ideas amongst teammates, with the peace of mind that they’ll stay private. We’ve already seen how a global fashion brand uses Communities to inspire conversation about products and branding among employees across the world and how a Japanese startup is keeping their staff up-to-date as they build a vaccine.

Collections let you keep all your related content in one spot and make it easier to discover and browse. For example, earlier this year we dedicated a week on the Google for Work G+ page to our awesome System Admins. In order to keep all that content together, we put it into a Collection.
For more information on the launch check out the Official Google Blog. The new-look Google+ is available on the web today and is coming to iOS and Android later this week.

Launch Details
Release track:
Launching to both Rapid release and Scheduled release today on the web and on iOS and Android later this week

Rollout pace:
Full rollout (1-3 days for feature visibility)

A User Guide for Google Classroom from Tovi Spero

This post is coming to us from Mr. Tovi Spero, physics teacher at High School North.


In the recent PD on the use of Google Classroom I have put together a simple user guide to setting up and using Google Classroom.

What is in there now is the basics of setting up. If you are currently using Google Classroom and have anything to add all WWPRSD users have editing rights. Please add!

I have also included a section for questions that people have that I or anyone on the document can respond to.  


Friday, November 13, 2015

Storyboarding in Seventh Grade Language Arts: A Google Drawing Exploration!

This week we have a guest post from Brittany Rivera, 7th Grade IRLA at CMS. 

To be frank, the 1-to-1 initiative intimidated me. Even as a third-year teacher, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I could possibly change from the way I was “used” to teaching. How could I consistently incorporate this much amazing technology in the classroom? How would I get there? How could I use these devices in the best way possible?

I started thinking about my visual learners and the goals I wanted my kids to reach. I wanted them to feel like close reading was a natural practice as opposed to something they “had” to do. It wasn’t enough to model and practice close reading on paper. I needed to do something else.

The New York Times Ed Blog opened a lot of doors for me and inspired me to try Storyboarding as a way to practice Close Reading. Students were placed into three groups with a different short story per group. The focus of the lesson was using a Storyboard to gather relevant evidence as well as choose visuals to increase their understanding of each piece of evidence. In the day’s experience, I found that my students felt more empowered in terms of understanding their stories, and their inferences and claims were so much stronger.

Using Google Drawing, students were able to develop their Storyboards. They could share their work with partners within the classroom and participate in a gallery walk where they had the opportunity to see other students work and how they incorporated visuals into their analytical reading work.  It was truly an awesome experience and gave kids the opportunity to interact with texts in a more creative way!

My Model
Students participating in our Gallery Walk
Students were given the option of using paper storyboards over the Chromebook; Chromebooks were used most often!

A student’s work on the short story “The Stolen Party”

A student’s work on the short story “Thirteen and a Half”

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Enhanced commenting, charts, and font functionality in the Google Docs and Sheets apps for Android

Posted: 12 Nov 2015 02:31 PM PST
Commenting is crucial to collaboration amongst your employees. This launch makes it easier for them to work together—even from their mobile devices. In the latest version of the Google Sheets app for Android, users can now add new and reply to existing comments. In the newest Google Docs app for Android, they can now see comments and suggestions in Print Layout view—and then resolve, close, accept, or reject those comments and suggestions—making it simpler to move between their desktop and mobile devices.

This launch also helps users better create and edit charts in the Sheets app for Android. For instance, if a user a selects a single cell and inserts a chart, we’ll automatically expand that data selection to include the immediately surrounding cells. This will make it easier for users to create robust charts with relevant information. In addition, when an employee creates a new chart, they’ll now see three recommended chart types, which we’ll suggest based on the data they’ve selected.


As a bonus, when your employees download the latest version of the Sheets app for Android, they’ll be able to view the more than 400 new fonts added to Sheets on the web earlier this week.

For more information on these new features, check out the Help Center articles below.

Launch Details
Release track:
Launching to both Rapid release and Scheduled release

Rollout pace:
Gradual rollout (potentially longer than 3 days for feature visibility)

All end users

Smarter sorting in Google Drive ‘Recent’ view on the web

Posted: 12 Nov 2015 01:38 PM PST
Google Drive lets people organize and access their content in a single, secure location. To make it easier for people to find and interact with that content on the web, today’s launch introduces a smarter sorting experience for the ‘Recent’ view in Drive.
The new sorting experience removes the existing sorting dropdown options (‘Last modified,’ ‘Last modified by me,’ and ‘Last opened by me’) and replaces them with a dynamically-generated view based on the actions of the person using Drive. Items will continue to be segmented into time-based sections (‘Today,’ ‘Earlier this week,’ etc), and will now indicate whether each item was opened, modified, or uploaded by the user directly in the UI. The smarter sorting ensures that items acted upon by the user are more likely to be shown than items acted upon by other collaborators.

Launch Details
Release track:
Launching to Rapid release, with Scheduled release coming in two weeks

Rollout pace: 
Full rollout (1-3 days for feature visibility)

All end users

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Posted: 05 Nov 2015 09:15 AM PST
Ever deleted a calendar event by mistake and wanted to get it back - just like you can in Gmail and Drive? Now you can: today we’re adding Trash functionality to Google Calendar on the web, providing an easy way for users to view, permanently delete, or restore individual and recurring deleted calendar events. Trash puts calendar users in control by letting them quickly reverse any event mishaps, and limits escalations to Google Apps admins.
Trash is accessible from the calendar's dropdown menu in the "My calendars" section as well as from Calendar Settings. This functionality is available for both primary calendars and secondary calendars for which people have edit rights.

Admins can track events restored or removed from Trash within their domain using Calendar Audit logs in the Admin console.

Check out the Help Center for more information.

Note: The first time a user deletes an event from a shared calendar after the launch, a one-time email notification will be sent to them from Google Calendar, explaining the Trash options and details around sharing settings.

Launch Details
Release track:
Launching to both Rapid release and Scheduled release

Rollout pace:
Full rollout (1-3 days for feature visibility)

All end users
Change management suggested/FYI