Thursday, May 17, 2018

Post #24: Google Updates: Drive, Forms & Gmail






Another week of successful MCAS! Thank you to all teachers for your flexibility in sharing equipment. Much appreciated!





FYI - Google will be making many updates over the coming weeks. I do not have exact dates when we will see changes in our district Google Drive, Google Forms, and Gmail. If you have a personal Gmail account, you may already have access to some of the items below.


Google Drive Updates: Google announced that there's another change coming to Google Drive. That change is a cosmetic change to the Google Drive user interface that you will see when you access Google Drive through your web browser.

The changes to the browser version of Google Drive include:

  • Repositioning of the "settings" icon to be inline with the search bar.
  • A new "new" button in the upper, left corner of the screen. 
  • Changes to the fonts used for headers.
  • A white background replaces the gray background. 

The following GIF provided by Google shows an overview of the updates. 

Google Forms Updates: Do you use Google Forms to create surveys and give online quizzes? If so, Google announced six new features that are going to make Google Forms better than ever. Like most updates to G Suite, these features will be rolled out gradually so if you don't see them today, you will see them soon. You can read more about the six changes here.
  1. Quiz answer suggestions
  2. Autocomplete answers
  3. Automatically grade checkbox and multiple choice grid questions
  4. Give decimal grades
  5. Improve understanding with YouTube video feedback
  6. See the total number of points in a quiz
Gmail Updates: Google has unveiled several updates to Gmail. If you'd like to read the specifics, check out this article. In short, you can expect to see the following:
  • Fresh clean look
  • Sidebar feature that integrates several google apps like calendar, keep, & tasks
  • Ability to snooze emails
  • An expiration date for emails with sensitive information

While these new features have yet to show in our district emails, you can try many of them out now if you have a personal Gmail account. To test out the new features, click the gear icon in the top right corner, and if the update is available on your account, you will see an option to “Try the new Gmail” at the top of the drop-down menu.





Thursday, May 10, 2018

Post #23: Classroom Tech Needs, PebbleGo




Image result for mother's day
A couple of quick tech items this week. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


For those celebrating Mother's Day - wishing you a wonderful day!



Classroom Technology Needs: I am assessing technology needs for next year. If your classroom requires any technology related items, please let me know. I continue to advocate for more iPads (K-2) and Chromebooks (3-4). 


PebbleGo and PebbleGo Next: Earlier this week, I activated our subscriptions to both PebbleGo resources. Links can be found under "For Students" on the HH website.

So far students in the computer lab have found the resources easy to navigate, engaging and fun to use. 

PebbleGo Collection:




PebbleGo Next Collection:







Thursday, May 3, 2018

Post #22: Device Care, ELL, eSchool Plus, PebbleGo/PebbleGo Next




Image result for many thanks

It's been a busy week. Thank you to those who shared devices for MCAS. Your flexibility is greatly appreciated.

A few items to share. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.




Device Care - At the April Technology Committee meeting, we discussed device care. We are all responsible for seeing that our devices are taken care of. In order to do that, we are asking you to do the following:
    • assign students for plugging in devices at end of day (especially chromebook classrooms) to help prevent power cord breakage;
    • Students should NOT be snacking while using devices (iPads or laptops).

ELL: Sharing this ebook from Lexia Learning regarding EL Classroom Strategies to Support English Learners. 

eSchool Plus: Term 2 is open for grade reporting. Please let me know if you have any questions or issues.



PebbleGo and PebbleGo Next: As shared at the staff meeting, we have purchased a subscription to PebbleGo (K-2) and PebbleGo Next (3-5).

PebbleGo: We purchased the Animals and Social Studies databases. The PebbleGo databases make learning and improving reading and research skills fun, building on children’s interest. Databases are simple to navigate and offer key reading supports such as read-along audio and word-by-word highlighting. 

PebbleGo Next: We purchased Science and Social Studies databases. PebbleGo Next is carefully aligned to grades 3-6 curriculum objectives. The databases are simple to navigate and offer key reading supports such as read-along audio and word-by-word highlighting along with a variety of downloadables, including prompts to inspire critical thinking. 




Teacher resources to use with PebbleGo/Next - You can create a free teacher account @ Capstone Community. By doing so you will have access to a variety of resources.

Once logged in, click on resources. There you will find lesson plans & activities, videos... (see image to the left).












Thursday, April 12, 2018

Post #21: MCAS, PebbleGo, & Tech Committee



Hope you had a wonderful week leading into spring break. A couple of updates. Please take a few minutes to read about an online non-fiction database called PebbleGo and PebbleGo Next. We have a time-sensitive trial and would love your feedback. Colleen and I will be exploring these databases with as many classes as we can before the trial runs out! We look forward to hearing your feedback. Have a wonderful week!



MCAS: We had a successful week with 3rd Grade ELA MCAS. Thank you to everyone for your support in having the devices charged and ready to go each morning! Much appreciated by all involved!


Trial to PebbleGo and PebbleGo Next: Colleen has worked with Capstone to get us a trial for both PebbleGo (K-2) and PebbleGo Next (3-5). Our trial period is from NOW - Friday, May 4th!! Please explore these databases with your students. Great for class research as well as whole class instruction. Pricing is based on the number of databases (topics) that we purchase. If you can, please identify which databases would be most useful to your grade level (animals, science, social studies...).

PebbleGo: PebbleGo is a PreK-3 database for reading and research. The PebbleGo databases make learning and improving reading and research skills fun, building on children’s interest. Databases are simple to navigate and offer key reading supports such as read-along audio and word-by-word highlighting. They offer the following databases:





PebbleGo Next: PebbleGo Next is the next step in research for students grades 3-6. PebbleGo Next is carefully aligned to grades 3-6 curriculum objectives. The databases are simple to navigate and offer key reading supports such as read-along audio and word-by-word highlighting along with a variety of downloadables, including prompts to inspire critical thinking. They offer the following databases:





Looking for resources to use with PebbleGo/Next? Then create a free teacher account @ Capstone Community. By doing so you will have access to a variety of resources.

Once logged in, click on resources. There you will find lesson plans & activities, videos...






Technology Committee: The HH Technology Committee met this week. As always, we had a great discussion about technology use and device needs. Notes from our meeting can be found on our agenda. If you have any questions, please let me know. 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Post #20: MCAS, Printing, Tech Committee, Tumblebooks,






Wanted to say THANK YOU for all that you do to explore and share technology with each other and your students on a daily basis. I see many strong and confident technology users and that comes from all the thoughtful support you provide each other and the students. Enjoy your weekend.



MCAS: With MCAS starting next week, please remember to have all students in Grades 3-5 log out of their laptop each day and charge overnight. This will help to ensure the laptops are ready for use on MCAS mornings. 


I heard from a teacher that some Chromebooks froze during the practice sessions while accessing TestNav. To help prevent issues during testing, I suggest that students restart the Chromebook in the morning BEFORE accessing TestNav. 

Printing: As we look at what's left in our budgets, we have noticed that our printing budget is low with several months to go. In light of that, I ask everyone to be mindful of what you and your students are printing. Thank you for your help in this matter.


Tech Committee: The next HH Technology Committee meeting is Wednesday, April 11th at 2:30 in the Computer Lab. All are welcome to join our discussion. If you are not able to attend and have a question for us to address, please pass any information along to your grade level rep or email me directly.

TumbleBooks for April: Looking for ways to incorporate TumbleBooks? Check out their calendar with book title suggestions for various holidays and events coming up in April.







Thursday, March 22, 2018

Post #19: iPads, MCAS, Printers, Projectors, Summer Workshops, TextHelp Read&Write



Several updates this week, please be sure to read information regarding iPads as you may be affected by this technical glitch. As always, if you have any questions or need technical support, please let me know. Enjoy the weekend! 😀


iPads: If you received new iPads back in December, we discovered a technical glitch this week. Unbeknownst to any of us, the Raz-Kids app was deleted from these iPads. Joe has put Raz-Kids back on the new iPads. I'm letting you know this as this is not an expected behavior. If you see other apps missing from your iPads, please let us know so we can redeploy the app to your iPads. Sorry for any inconvenience this has caused. (Always good to have a plan B just in case...)

MCAS Website: I have updated the HH MCAS website to reflect 2018 information. Please let me know if you'd like me to add further details or if you see any errors. You may wish to bookmark the site for easy access.




Printers: I continue to see lots of black and white printouts at the color printer. Please take a moment to change to a black/white printer if you do not need to print in color. Thank you for helping to care for our environment and equipment.






Projectors: Joe cleaned all of the projector filters last week. Please remember to turn off the projectors when you are not using them (especially during long periods of time, lunch, recess...). This will help to increase the life of the projector! Thank you.



Summer Workshops: For their 16th year, Edtechteacher is offering technology-related workshops in Boston from June 25-29. There are 26 different workshop choices. Check them out.

TextHelp Update for Read&Write Google Chrome: For those using Read&Write with their students, there have been a few updates in 2018. Check them out below. 

New translation languages - support for over 60 additional languages for single word translation (including Arabic & Dutch) and text-to-speech 

Talk&Type for Google Slides - available for use in the notes area

PDF Reader integration with Google Classroom - assign, annotate and “turn in” PDFs through Google Classroom 

Smoother PDF Reader installation process - visit pdf.texthelp.com to install and select options.





Thursday, March 15, 2018

Post #18: Chromebooks, iPads, Tumblebooks, WPS Social Media Guidelines,




Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend. Please let me know if you need any tech assistance or have any questions.




Chromebooks: Please remind your students to be gentle when plugging and unplugging the Chromebooks to the chargers. We are seeing many charging plugs breaking on the new HP Chromebooks. Thank you for your help.


iPads: I wanted to share a couple of items regarding iPad practices. 


  • I've noticed that many iPads have lots of apps open at the end of the day/week. It's good practice to close up all apps when you are done using the iPad. 
  • Many students are not logging out of their accounts (Symphony Math, Lexia...) when using the apps. Please remind them to do so. 
Here's a quick video on how to close up apps in case anyone needs a refresher. 



Tumblebooks: This is a little bit late...TumbleBooks has prepared a calendar of March events to give you a heads up on how you can use the TumbleBookLibrary collection to help teach your students about events and holidays happening this month!




WPS Social Media Guidelines: This past week a colleague asked about guidelines staff should follow when posting what's happening in the classroom using social media. Social media does provide a quick and easy way for parents to have a window into our classrooms. The link above will take you to the District's Social Media Guidelines which are part of the Mandated Trainings.