Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What the Tech: Classroom 2016

What the Tech: GoGuardian

Digital Portfolios and Centers Using Seesaw

The use of Seesaw has begun to blossom in our K-3 schools.  What is Seesaw?  According to the website, Seesaw combines student driven digital portfolios and simple parent communication, but it is so much more.  

Check out the video below to get a quick glimpse of how Seesaw works:

Seesaw is perfect for using in center activities, whether it be a problem of the day station, or for math workshop.  It is also a fabulous way to have students collect pieces they are proud of. Some of the activities I've observed include:

  1. Students creating symmetrical designs using pattern blocks, taking a picture of their creation in Seesaw and using the recording and drawing features to show lines of symmetry and explain their thinking.
  2. During a place value unit, creating numbers in the hundreds with base ten blocks, taking a picture and then app smashing with Popplet to write the standard, expanded, and word forms of a number.
  3. Completing a math problem as a unit assessment and recording the process of their work
  4. Taking a photo of a page in a book and recording their reading for fluency
  5. Reflecting on work they are proud of by taking a photo and recording their thoughts.
Students can like and comment on each other's work if the teacher chooses and also have the option of inviting parents to see what their child has accomplished.  Parents may have the option to like and comment as well.

Want to learn more? Check out the resources below and contact your technology resource specialist!

Seesaw YouTube Channel
Seesaw Resources on Pinterest
28 Ways to Use Seesaw in the Classroom
Connect and share Seesaw ideas on Twitter

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Modern Day Odyssey from Beth Pandolpho

This post is from Beth Pandolpho, Language Arts teacher at High School South


A Modern Day Odyssey

The Project
Students choose the setting
for their chapters by
spinning a globe!
LA I Honors students worked on a collaborative writing project as a culminating assignment after reading Homer’s The Odyssey

Each student wrote a chapter for our class book that included elements related to The Odyssey as well as modern day contemporary details. Students attempted to remain true to the character of Odysseus as he struggled through 21st century conflicts. 

Students worked independently to write their chapter, and then collaborated with peers to align and edit our narrative. We created a shared folder in Google Docs to organize our chapters, and students had viewing and commenting privileges on other students’ chapters.  

Students collaborate online
using Google apps.
We used Google Forms to vote on our chapter title, and other overall stylistic and formatting issues.  Our books were then hand sewn by Gabe Randazzo’s art students to create our final books.  


One of the goals that fueled this endeavor was to enable students to feel more connected to The Odyssey, and to make it more relatable.  Recreating Odysseus in a modern day setting gave students a deeper understanding of his character, his journey, as well the text itself. Students were also able to work on their narrative writing skills, and edit multiple drafts in preparation for publication.  

Another important piece was that students had to work with many different classmates as they crafted their chapters to ensure continuity and cohesiveness.


The Final Product
Check out our process and our final books.  I’m looking forward to next year to enrich this assignment and streamline this process to make it even more effective!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Edcamp Experience from Matthew Warren

Edcamp Garden State is this Saturday, April 30th!

It will be a full-day, unconference where educators choose the topics, choose the format, and spend the day learning with and from other educators. You can click this link for more information about the event and this link to register.

Never been to an Edcamp before? Take a look at the post below to learn a little bit more about what you can expect at an Edcamp.

The post below is from Matthew Warren, social studies teacher at High School South. 
The post first appeared on Matt's blog, WWP Historians

My Experience @EdCampNJ 2015

On Saturday, November 21, I spent the day at an EdCampNJ "un-conference." It was awesome!

What's an un-conference? Let me explain.
  • The first thing that makes and un-conference an un-conference is that almost nothing is planned. Sounds strange for a conference, I know, even disorienting. But my experience was organic and dynamic, fluid and free (even the conference price was free!). During the first hour (or so), participants who wanted to share something with their peers added their names, topics, and twitter handles to a shared Google Sheet. Before I knew it, there were dozens of sessions that I could choose to attend. (This sheet was blank at the start of the conference; within the first hour, it was full.) Subjects ranged from incorporating technology in the classroom to formative assessment strategies, from new PD opportunities to helping students cope with stress. Conference attendees viewed this sheet and selected the session(s) that they want to attend, and then headed to their first session.
  • The second thing that makes an un-conference an un-conference is a rule that governs the entire event: "the rule of two feet." At any moment, if you want to head to another session, you are free to leave your current session and enter one of your choosing. Attendees freely moved in and out of sessions, and because everyone was on the same page, including presenters, somehow, the process worked. Through this emergent process, a combination of small, individual, and freely made choices developed into an amazing conference that meet my needs and did not bore (cf. your usual conference experience).
Sessions I Attended
  • Session I - Student Stress: My first session addressed the topic of student stress at the district level. My district superintendent, Dr. David Aderhold, led this session. This topic has been an important one in my district recently, but I was interested by the fact that so many teachers and administrators from other districts echoed similar concerns. It made me think about my own classroom (AP US History) and how to balance academic rigor and student stress. I do not have the answer, but this session confirmed for me the necessity and seriousness of this conversation.
  • Session II - Standards-Based/Referenced Assessment & Grading: It appears that my district may be moving in the direction of Standards-Based/Referenced Grading. Tovi Spero, one of my co-workers led this session. He has been using this system for the past couple years, so shoot him a line (or tweet) if you are interested; the talk was really helpful.
  • Lunch - Free pizza & I won a raffle - 1st time ever! I won access to a great strength assessment resource from Thrively.
  • Session III - Digital Portfolio: This was My Biggest Takeaway; the conference was worth this one session. Sean Hackbarth of Westwood Regional Middle School led a session on the creation and uses of digital portfolios (see his website here). I learned that with Google tools, I can help my students to create portfolios of their best work. I hope to incorporate such portfolios into my courses next year, and will begin experimenting with them this year. If experimenting with portfolio creation in my own classes is successful, I can imagine moving toward the development of digital portfolios that travel with students across grade-levels. Not only would this help students and teachers to track progress across grades, but students could present such portfolios as part of their college applications, showcasing their best work across their academic careers.
  • I highly recommend this un-conference. I left it feeling empowered, equipped, and eager to engage my students with the resources and techniques that I learned. I especially enjoyed the emergent structure, the freedom of choice, and the collaboration I experienced with my peers. The price tag was nice too ($0.00). I hope to see you at the next one!
~Matthew Warren

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Kids Safe Online Poster Contest

This post is shared with you by Nicole Haynes, Computer Science teacher at Grover Middle School

Thomas Grover Middle School has some great news to share!  During 6th grade computer cycle, students completed an online module The Viral World using everfi.com.  This interactive module covers the consequences of computer viruses & how to protect against them, how to recognize, protect and resolve identity theft, how to set up secure online profiles, digital addiction & technology overuse.  Students also watched videos and discussed situations presented on netsmartz.org in covering the 6th Grade Cyber Safety curriculum.  We were informed of the 2015-2016 NJ K-12 Kids Safe Online Poster Contest during cycle 3.  Our 6th and 7th grade students created original posters illustrating safe use of the Internet and /or mobile devices.  Students had the option to submit a hand drawn or electronically created poster. 

Our very own 6th grade TGMS student, Faith F. has WON! 

Faith’s poster made the cut here thanks to our judges, Ms. Alley, Mrs. Kessler, Ms. Lowden, Ms. Radwanski and Mr. Coppola et al.  We were only allowed to submit 3 per grade level to the state.  The competition included 314 amazing posters from 69 New Jersey K-12 schools.  In recognition of her efforts, she will be presented with a certificate of achievement from the State of New Jersey.  Way to go, Faith! This is a very proud moment for Faith and all of those around her!

~ Ms. Haynes,
6th Grade Computer Cycle Teacher @TGMS

In addition to Faith’s winning poster above, follow this link to view all of New Jersey’s winning posters from each grade level, K-12. Each winning poster will now be submitted to the national Multi-State Cyber Security Awareness poster contest.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Students create "memes" for the French Revolution from Betsy Gray

This post is from Betsy Gray, Language Arts teacher at High School South

Ninth graders at High School South, who are reading Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities spent time in the computer lab designing buttons, bumper stickers, posters, and billboards, which would be popular items in the shops during the French Revolution.  

Students had their choice of creation tools. Popular choices were Google Drawings, Paint, and Pixlr. 

Each of their designs represents a viewpoint in A Tale of Two Cities.

Here are some examples from students who volunteered to share their work online:





~Betsy Gray 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Gale Reference Library shared by Jessica Verrault

This post is from Jessica Verrault, World Language Teacher at High School North

Check out the Gale Reference Library!

Have you taken advantage of the Gale Reference Library yet? 

If you have, go you! You are wayyy more in the know than I was just a few months ago! I found out about the Gale Reference Library through a colleague while searching for a book for one of my graduate courses. I found not one, but two of the books I needed available and ready to download straight into my Google drive. Thanks, Gale! 

So far, I’ve only read 3 of 56 books available, but I’m excited to read more.  

Here are are a few of the titles you’ll find available:

  • Looking to do some curriculum writing/revision?  Read this first! Understanding by Design (2005) by Grant Wiggins & James McTighe

  • Confused about formative assessment?  This book describes the entire process! Transformative Assessment (2008) by W.James Popham

  • Wondering what highly effective teaching looks like?  Read about it straight from the source! Enhancing Professional Practice (2007) by Charlotte Danielson

Don’t have the time to read? 
Amen, sister! (or brother!)
Luckily, on the Gale Reference Library all books are available to download as Mp3s.  Why not get some PD during your drive to/from work?

Thinking of starting a professional book club with your colleagues? 
Choose a book from the Gale Reference Library, start a Google Classroom, and download the book’s chapters right into your Google Classroom folder for all to share.  It couldn’t be easier!

The Gale Reference library can be accessed via our WW-P Staff Resource Site under District Resources.

 Happy reading!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Scroll quickly through Google Docs on your iPhone or iPad

Posted: 06 Apr 2016 01:03 PM PDT
In March, we introduced the ability to quickly and easily scroll through Google Docs files on your Android phone or tablet. We’re excited to announce that we’re now launching that same functionality for your iOS device. Starting today, when you begin scrolling in Google Docs on your iPhone or iPad, a small navigation handle will automatically appear on the side of the screen. Touching that handle will display any headers you’ve created or—if you haven’t manually applied them—headers that we’ve intelligently detected. This will allow you to quickly skip from section to section, instead of slowly swiping up and down.

Check out the Help Center for more information on using this feature.

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

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

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Launch of Reminders for Google Calendar on the web

Posted: 05 Apr 2016 09:01 AM PDT
Last year, we launched Reminders in the Google Calendar app for iOS and Android. We’re now happy to announce that Reminders are coming to Google Calendar on the web.

Key features:
§ Set a reminder for a specific time and date and get notified when it’s time. To create a reminder, tap on a time in the calendar grid, then select “Reminder.”

§ Reminders carry forward to the next day, until you mark them done. To mark a reminder as done, simply click on the reminder, and click ‘Mark as done’.
§ Reminders created in the Google app, Keep, and Inbox will also show in Google Calendar.
§ Reminders on the web will sync to your Google Calendar Android and iOS apps.

Please note:
§ Reminders are private to calendar owners and are not viewable, even if your calendar is shared with others.
§ Google Tasks users will not be prompted to use the Reminders feature. It can be enabled from the drop down menu on the Tasks calendar.

Check out the Help Center for more information.

Launch Details
Release track:
Launching to Rapid release, with Scheduled release coming in 2 weeks

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

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Google Sheets - Sparkline Function

While attending a great presentation on Standards Based Grading presented by WW-P HSN's Tovi Spero, I noticed Tovi's use of a minichart within Google Sheets. A little research unveiled a powerful data analysis function called SPARKLINE.

In general, charts in Google Sheets are really useful when you want to visualize data sets. Usually these charts contain legends/keys, titles, axis labels, and descriptions with them. The Sparkline function is a bit different as it only allows for a quick look at data trends via a mini-chart within a single cell. For a quick idea of what they look like see the bottom two cells in the screenshot below.

Here's a quick video tutorial by the Google Guru:

Here's a link to Google's own whitepaper on Sparkline.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Posted: 29 Mar 2016 01:01 PM PDT
Google Drive allows users to easily share files with collaborators through access control permissions and sharable links. With today’s launch, we are making it even easier to turn on file sharing in Drive on the web. Just select a file and click on the “Get sharable link” icon on the top right-hand side menu. The sharing link will be copied to the clipboard for easy distribution and will provide view access to anyone in your domain who receives the link.
Launch Details
Release track:
Launching to Rapid release, with Scheduled release coming in two weeks

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

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Change your filters, themes, and layouts in the Google Sheets and Slides apps for iOS

Posted: 24 Mar 2016 04:55 AM PDT
New versions of the Google Sheets and Slides apps for iOS are available in the App Store. With these updates, you can now:
§ View and modify existing filters in the Google Sheets iOS app.


§ Change the theme or layout of a presentation in the Google Slides iOS app.

Check out the Help Center articles below for more information.

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

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

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Support for more file formats in the Google Sheets and Slides Android apps

Posted: 23 Mar 2016 12:50 PM PDT
Updated versions of the Google Sheets and Slides apps for Android are now available on Google Play. Check out what’s new below:

In the Sheets Android app, you can now:
§ Send a copy of or save a spreadsheet as an HTML web page file (provided in a .ZIP folder) from the Share & export menu.
§ Save the sheet you’re currently viewing as a .CSV or .TSV file from the Share & export menu.
§ View Google Drawings in spreadsheets (note that Drawings will not be visible in frozen rows and columns).

In the Slides Android app, you can now:
§ Send a copy of or download the slide you’re currently viewing as a .JPEG, .PNG, or .SVG file from the Share & export menu.

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

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

Monday, March 21, 2016

Reverse sort and instantly edit with your favorite apps in the new Google Drive for Android app

Posted: 21 Mar 2016 09:37 AM PDT
A new version of the Google Drive for Android app is available in Google Play. New features include:
§ Reverse Sort: We’ve heard feedback that you want more flexibility in how files are sorted. We’re adding the popular request to allow reverse sorting. Simply tap the sort column at the top of Drive to swap the sort order.
§ Instantly edit with your favorite apps: If you have an editor app installed on your device, you can now jump into the editor directly from the file preview in Google Drive. This is great if you want to make changes on the fly and have those changes saved back to Google Drive. Some common editor apps include Google Photos, Google Docs, and more.

Launch Details

Release track:

Launching to both Rapid release and Scheduled release

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

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Connect with more people using Google Hangouts video calls

Posted: 16 Mar 2016 10:06 AM PDT
Google Hangouts video calls make it easy to connect and interact to get things done. With today’s update, to make it easier to connect with more people, we’re raising the participant limit for Hangouts video calls from 15 to 25 for Google Apps customers.

To help ensure a high quality experience on a variety of computers, only the 10 most active video call participants will have their video feeds visible at the bottom of the screen at any given time.

No action is required to make use of this new participant limit. Check out the Help Center for more information on Hangouts video calls.

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

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

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Set expiration dates for access to Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides files

Posted: 15 Mar 2016 12:05 PM PDT
We know that businesses today don’t operate in isolation; employees work not only with one another, but with third-party vendors, clients, customers, and other businesses as well—and often on a temporary basis. To keep your organization’s information safe in these situations, we’re introducing the ability to set an “expiration date” for specific user access to files in Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

For instance, imagine your business hires an outside contractor for a project lasting three months. To complete the job, that contractor needs to view a spreadsheet containing the contact information of your employees. Following this launch, you’ll be able to share your employee list in Sheets with the contractor, give them view access only, and set that access to expire when their contract does (in three months). If the contractor attempts to open the spreadsheet after the expiration date has passed, they’ll be denied access.

This functionality, coupled with the Information Rights Management (IRM) features we launched last July, should significantly increase the security of your organization’s documents and information.

Please note that you’ll only be able to set expiration dates for users with comment or view access; you will not be able to set expiration dates for file owners or users with edit access.

IMPORTANT: This feature will roll out gradually over the course of two to three months; please note that you may not see the feature in your domains until mid- to late Q2 2016.

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

Rollout pace:
Gradual rollout (2–3 months for feature visibility)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Create better presentations and collaborate more easily on documents with the latest Google Slides and Docs apps for Android

Posted: 10 Mar 2016 09:51 AM PST
New versions of the Google Slides and Docs apps for Android are now available on Google Play.

In the Slides Android app, you can now create and edit presentations that read from right to left, a necessity when presenting in languages such as Hebrew and Arabic.

In the Docs Android app, you can now select, copy, and comment on content in Print Layout view.


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

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

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Improved Trash support and folder colors in the Google Drive for iOS app

Posted: 09 Mar 2016 11:48 AM PST
An update to the Google Drive for iOS app is coming to the App Store. New features will include:
§ Trash View: You’ll now have the ability to view, restore and delete items in your trash from within the iOS app.
§ Folder Colors: You can now view and modify your Google Drive folder colors on the fly.

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

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