Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Superintendent's Conference Day: January 28, 2019

The next Superintendent's Conference Day is scheduled for January 28, 2019. Please take a moment to review the agenda and register for any professional development sessions appropriate for your role.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Reflecting on the Past and Looking to the Future

Happy New Year! I love this time of year as it offers us an opportunity to reflect on the past and resolve to make changes for a better future. This shouldn't really come as much of a surprise, but the next generation of students that are entering our classrooms will have access to more information than any other generation in history. My godson, pictured at left, is only 17 months old and is mesmerized by the warm glow of his parent's phone. He knows how to swipe through the various apps and open the ones he likes. He also knows how to take a selfie. So how will we as educators meet his needs when he is of school age in just 3 more years? Will we continue to teach as we have always done with the same materials and pedagogical strategies? Or will we accept the fact that access to information is virtually ubiquitous and our role as educators will have to shift to help him and his cohort of students understand how to process all of the information they will have at their fingertips? The infographic below does a nice job articulating some of the generational changes that have taken shape over the years--food for thought as we ponder how teaching and learning will change in Digital Age...

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Texting to Demonstrate Learning

Fun Fact: According to the Center of Innovative Public Health Research, the average teen sends approximately 3,500 text messages per month (3,952 for girls; 2,815 for boys). While texting in the classroom can certainly be a distraction, there may be instances where we as teachers can engage our students with something they enjoy to allow them to demonstrate learning in a creative way.

The same folks that created Fakebook have another fun learning tool, the SMS Generator, for just that purpose. With the SMS generator, students can create conversations between two historical or literary figures to demonstrate what they have learned about them.

See the video below to learn how the SMS generator works and how student work can be shared.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

"Fakebook"--Simulating Social Media for Student Learning

Have you ever wondered what historical or literary figures like George Washington or Lady Macbeth would have posted to Facebook if it was available in their day and age? As a history teacher, I think it would be fun to have students demonstrate their learning by setting up a social media profile for a historical character to help them analyze "point of view" and bias in historical documents. However, I don't have a Facebook profile and definitely wouldn't encourage my students to set one up. Fortunately, the folks at Classtools created a tool called Fakebook that allows students to mimic the Facebook experience for educational purposes by creating a fictional social media profile. Check out the video below to learn how your students can demonstrate their learning by taking creative liberties with historical and literary characters in a familiar platform.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Computer Science Education Week: December 3 - 9

December 3rd marks the beginning of Computer Science Education Week, the perfect time to schedule the Hour of Code in your classroom. You don't have to be a computer programmer to introduce STEM activities to your students. In fact, the Hour of Code website is full of activities for any grade level that support coding and design thinking. So how will you unleash your students' creativity through coding?

What is Creativity?

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Google Docs Formatting Tips

Compared to the Microsoft Office "ribbon", Google Docs offers far fewer text editing features. Nonetheless, there are some pretty useful tools to make word processing efficient.

Clear Formatting

Have you ever copied/pasted text from a Word document into a Google Doc? You may have noticed that the fonts are not the same. The default font in Word is usually set to Calibri 11; whereas in Google Docs, it is set to Arial 11. To quickly make the fonts consistent, users can select text in Google Docs and click on the Clear Formatting icon located on the far right of the toolbar. In doing so, the selected text will be stripped of its formatting and will be set to the document's default setting.

Paint Format
In contrast to clearing text formatting, Paint Format allows users to copy the font style of selected text and apply it to another bit of selected text. Select some text whose format you'd like to replicate, click the "paint roller" icon, then select the text you'd like to change.

Stay up-to-date on the latest product updates from Google--check out the Keyword's Google Product blog.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Don't Print! But if you must...

Let me start by saying that I AM NOT A FAN OF PRINTING STUDENT WORK TO PROVIDE THEM WITH FEEDBACK! Feedback is much more useful when it is timely--students can make revisions as they work when you provide them with constructive comments in Google Docs rather than waiting for you to print their work, take it home, make suggestions, and return it to them...a process that can take up to a week or more. Nonetheless, several teachers have asked how to print student work that is submitted via Google Classroom without having to open and print each file individually. Fortunately, there's an app for that--PDF Mergy. With PDF Mergy, you can select several files from your computer or from Google Drive and merge them into a single file for one-click printing. See the video tutorial below to learn more.