Charlotte's Web ThingLink

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Global Read Aloud/EduWin from Dianna Talley

Looking for a project to connect your students to students in another geographic area? The Global Read Aloud project may be something you'd like to consider.

The project has chosen four books you can either have your students read, or you can share it with them as a read aloud. You then decide how your students will connect with another class - you can Skype, use a Google Hangout, or even communicate asynchronously through Edmodo or a blog.

One of my favorite books, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is on this year's list. This year, Peter Reynolds has been chosen for the author study. 

The project begins October 6th and ends November 14th. There is a weekly reading schedule,making it easy for everyone to share projects and discussions.

While I didn't participate in Global Read Aloud, I did an number of collaborative projects over the years with my students and students in other geographic locations. It was always a fun and enriching experience.

If you decide to participate, I'd love to hear about it.

EduWin/YouCanBookMe from Dianna Talley

For many of you, it is time to think about scheduling Parent-Teacher Conferences. Dianna Talley found a great web app that works well with Google Calendar. YouCanBookMe is a free service. They have a special account for teachers, specifically designed for you to book Parent-Teacher conferences.

It is pretty easy to set up, but first, make sure you apply for the non-profit status. Since our USD e-mail addresses don't end in .edu, it might take a few days for them to approve it, but once they do, you will have access to some of the premium features. I used the "sign in with Google" feature from my USD GAFE account.

There are a lot of features you can customize, including the theme of the calendar choices the parents will see. 

You decide which days and times are available to book, as well as the length of the appointment. 

Once a parent signs up, they and you get an automatically generated confirmation e-mail with all of the details.

Here is a video you can watch to walk you through the set-up. It is a bit long, but covers all of the features.

There is a word of caution from their website worth pointing out to Middle School teachers who have a number of students. Copied here from the website, just so you don't miss it:

"When setting up a schedule for Parent/Teacher conferences, we strongly advise you to disable the two "Google guest" features on the Afterwards tab > 'google'.
Google may need to send emails on your behalf to manage the invitations for these guests. In that situation, Google Calendar strictly regulates how many messages it sends out to anyone associated with your event. The result could be that not everyone is able to complete their booking through the system, as the Google system is set to prevent any 'volume' notifications that could be seen as spammy.
Parent/Teacher conferences are one example where this can happen - since hundreds of bookings are likely on the day the bookings open, you can easily pass the Google limits. Keeping these two options set off will completely avoid the problem."
If you or one of your colleagues are doing something in your class that uses edtech tools, please let me know. I'd love to share it with other teachers.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Two USD Tech Websites/Screenshots/EduWin At Union Middle School

The MacBooks are coming. And to help you prepare, we have been building a website with information on how to get files transferred, how to sign on to your new MacBook, and a few how tos to help you. Click on the link below the photo to take you to the website.

As teachers ask questions, and as I gather website ideas, I have been building a website of USD Technology Resources. It has the How To videos I have been making, as well as a number of websites organized by curricular area. You'll notice that the first page of the website has a Google Form. If you have a website you and your students love, please share it with other teachers. If you submit it by form, I'll add it to the site.


Have you noticed that I make many screenshots? As we all know, "a picture speaks a thousand words," so I add lots of images to the documents and slides I make. Here's how to do it.

On a Mac

To make a screenshot of the entire screen, press shift + command + 3

To make a screen shot of a portion of the screen, press shift + command + 4

When you do, a small crosshair pointer will appear. Use the mouse to position the crosshair pointer to select the area you'd like to capture. When you let go, the computer will capture the that part of the screen and put it on your desktop. If you've not positioned the crosshair correctly, you can always press esc (escape) to cancel.

On a Chromebook

To capture the entire screen, press ctrl +  the copy key above the 6

To  capture a portion of the screen, press ctrl + shift + the copy key above the 6. Just as on a Mac, use the mouse to position the crosshair pointer to select the area you'd like to capture. When you let go, the computer will capture the that part of the screen and put it on your desktop. If you've not positioned the crosshair correctly, you can always press esc (escape) to cancel.

When you have taken a screenshot on a Chromebook, you will get a popup box in the lower right-hand corner. You can copy the image to your clipboard right then and paste it into your document. However, you can also find your screenshots by going to the three line drop down in the upper right hand corner of the screen, clicking on it, and going to Downloads.

There you will find a list of your screenshots.

If you Open the image, you have the option of editing your screenshot or printing it. You will also be able to insert the image into a Doc or Presentation/Slide in Google Drive.

EduWin at Union Middle School

Every Thursday morning, from 7:30 until 8:10, Carla Dunavan, Mary Martin, Gena Pacada, and Nicole van Wilgen hold a Tech open office. They sit and share what they've been doing with tech in their classrooms, and offer help to any UMS teacher who has a question. When I visited, one teacher had stopped by to ask a question about a feature of Google Classroom. Gena and Mary explored Infuse Learning, a website that allows teachers to push content to a student device and have the student answer, sending the responses to appear on the teacher dashboard for him/her to evaluate in real time. Have an ELL student? Infuse Learning can push translated text and audio to that student as well.

Here is a short video showing Infuse Learning with iPads, however, you'll be able to use it with Chromebooks, as well as MacBooks.

If you or one of your colleagues are doing something in your class that uses edtech tools, please let me know. I'd love to share it with other teachers.

Friday, September 12, 2014

More Gmail/EduFun with Chris Asaro and Christine Barbera

Ever click send on an email and just then notice that you have a mistake or could have said something differently? I do it ALL the time. Luckily for me (and you), Gmail has Undo capability. Here's how to find it.

First, go the the gear on the upper right hand corner of your gmail page. Click on it and choose Settings.

Next,  make sure you a in the General tab. Then, find Undo Send. You can then chose the amount of time you'd like the delay to be after you press Send before your Gmail wings its way to your recipient.

And speaking of recipients, one of the teachers asked me how to send an email to a group while maintaining the privacy of the other group members' names and email addresses. Here is a short video to show you how to do it.

This week's Edu(Fun)Win

Chris Asaro and Christine Barbera both know the value of exercise and fun in education. They keep things moving in their classrooms with GoNoodle.  GoNoodle is a free online program which provides three different types of breaks for you to use with your students. Breaks are 3-5 minutes long and primarily appeal to younger students.

MovetoLearn is another free online program you might like to check out. It's upbeat, hip-hop music helps it to appeal to upper grade students.

Finally, if you are like me (and let's hope not), you may spend too much time in front of a computer. There is a Chrome Extension to help you remember to MoveIt. Find it in the Chrome Web Store and install it onto your Chrome Browser. At random times, the screen will tell you it is time to MoveIt, and suggest a random movement. Your screen then returns to let you get back to work.

If you or one of your colleagues are doing something in your class that uses edtech tools, please let me know. I'd love to share it with other teachers.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Get it Done Faster/Lisa Mata's EduWin

Whenever I'm working in Google Drive, there are a few actions I do over and over again. Luckily, there are a few shortcuts that I have learned over the years that help make me more efficient. While I love shortcuts, there are a lot of them. So many, that I can't possibly remember them all. But over the years, I have a few that I have come to make so much a part of my work flow, that they come automatically. I thought I'd share of few of them with you. And once you are comfortable with them, you can share them with your students.

You'll start most shortcuts by first, highlighting the text you would like to perform the task on. When pasting, place your cursor where you would like the pasted text or image to appear.

On your Mac
On your Chromebook
command + c
ctrl + c
command + v
ctrl + v
Select All
command + a
ctrl + a
command + z
ctrl + z
command + p
ctrl + p
Find on a Page
command + f
ctrl + f

command + x

command + k
ctrl + x

ctrl + k

Many of these actions can also be accessed by right clicking. To right click, on a Mac, hold down the control key and  the mouse/mouse pad. To right click on a Chromebook, press the alt key and click the mouse.

A full list of Keyboard shortcuts can be found in the drop down menu under Help.

This Week's EduWin

Formative assessment can take many forms. In Lisa Mata's class, one of the tools she uses is Kahoot! a game-based response system that can be accessed from the web. Lisa is a Tech 1, with a full set of Chromebooks. I have also seen Kahoot used with just a few devices and shared in groups, with students taking turns responding.

Kahoot! awards points based on the correct answer and the speed with which the answer was entered. The leading scorers are shown at the end of each question, and the player gets personalized feedback informing them of their standing.

In some classes, students may not want their scores to be public. That is why Lisa allows students to make up a user name when they sign into her Kahoot!. This way, individual students are able to remain anonymous while playing but still get their personal feedback.

Lisa recently used Kahoot! to review the unit on California regions that students had just finished. It can be found at  (only available if you are signed in). 

Here's one I made just for fun. You should be able to take it for a test drive in single player mode. You will, however, need to open up two screens, one that will show you teacher /presenter mode, and the other for student/participant mode.

Kahoot! is free. It is simple to create a quiz, and you can add pictures and video to the questions. Students quickly sign in using a "game pin," no sign ups or accounts are needed. The data you receive can help you tailor your lessons to target those areas your students need more instruction in. 

Be warned, this is not a quiet class activity. The excitement Kahoot! generates will convince you the students are engaged and having fun, while reinforcing content.

Watch this video tutorial to learn about how to set up Kahoot! to use in your class.

If you or one of your colleagues are doing something in your class that uses edtech tools, please let me know. I'd love to share it with other teachers.