Thursday, October 18, 2018

Post #7: New Google Doc Features, Google Docs Menu, PBS Education - Free Reading Webinars,

Happy Friday Everyone! I am at MassCue today with Chris, Deb D, Miriam and several other teachers from the district. 

We will be spending some time in the vendor area exploring what's new in the AV world. Our classrooms will be getting an AV refresh over the next 5 years. We will be looking to gather information on the latest interactive projectors and touchscreen panels to inform our purchases. 

Please let me know if you have any questions and enjoy your weekend!

New Features in Google Docs: Earlier this week, Google Suite released 2 new features based on customer feedback. They are:

1. Vertical Ruler to manage tables in docs

2. New controls on header and footer

When using tables in a Google doc, there is a vertical ruler along the left side of the paper. This ruler will allow you to manage the height of the rows. 

The second feature allows you to manage the margins for the header and footer. After you click in the header or footer, click on the OPTIONS button to show the Headers & Footers window. 

Google Docs Menu - Did you know that you can collapse or expand the google docs menu bar? Students maybe unintentionally collapsing the menu bar and then not sure how to get it back. 

However, by collapsing the formatting bar, you and/or your students would have a larger working space in google docs. Chromebook users may find this helpful.

Before Collapsing - the typical editing/formatting menu bar is shown. (File, Edit, View...)

By clicking the down arrow you collapse the editing/formatting menu bar.

PBS Education - Hosting 4 Free Webinars for Reading called "For the Love of Lit: Professional Learning Series". The series is designed to help ELA teachers engage their students in learning about literature. PD certificates are available after attending each webinar.

The four webinars in the series are as follows:
  • Inspiring Young Authors, with NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty
  • Including All Readers, with student activist Marley Dias
  • Encouraging Bright Thinkers
  • Cultivating Young Book Lovers

Monday, October 15, 2018

Post #6: Chromebooks, BrainPOP, and

Just a few updates this week. 

Student Chromebooks: There were a couple of Chromebook issues this past week. Please go over device care with your students. Carefully carrying, plugging and unplugging headphones, and power cords. Thank you! 

BrainPOP login accounts have been created for students in grades 4 and 5. 

Student Login:
Username: Firstname_Lastname
Password: wpsStudent ID

Here is a quick video on how to set up a class in BrainPop then your students can join your class. Great for assigning videos and such. Like last year, I will need to get parent permission to use I am in the process of organizing this information and will be emailing families this week. I will also be sending home with students the printed permission slip for families to sign. Please do not have students use this resource until I have acquired signed permission slips. Please let me know if you have any questions and THANK YOU in advance for your assistance in gathering the lists when they are returned. 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Post #5: Gmail Contacts, SplashMath, Tech Committee, Website Updates

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Here are this past week's updates!

GMAIL Updates: Don't you just love it when Google makes changes 😬. Well back in May, they rolled out a newer version of Gmail. As a district, we didn't roll it out until this fall. I just made the switch this week on my school account and here are a few things that I've noticed already. 

1. GMAIL CONTACTS has now moved. It is no longer under the Gmail drop-down triangle. If you are running the "Classic" version of Gmail then you will still see contacts as shown in the image to the side.

Under the new version of Gmail, you will now find contacts in your google apps sorter. 

Mine was at the bottom of the list. But you can drag and drop it anywhere you want in the google apps box to make it convenient for you to get to.

2. Quick Access to a few apps along the right side - you will find google calendar, google keep and tasks.

Here's a video of the above 2 updates:

SplashMath Update: SplashMath is ready for use this year!!

Student Login:
Username: wpsStudentID, example: wps1234
Password: Student ID

New Teachers:
Username: e-mail address
Password: teach2

Technology Committee: The HH Technology Committee met on Thursday, September 27th. Thank you to those that were able to attend. We had a great discussion around hardware needs, including budgeting for replacement of our current equipment. This can be challenging due to the fact that many of our tools were funded by WPSF grants. You can find our discussion notes here. All are welcome to attend our meetings. 

Website Menu Updates: In case you missed my email earlier this week, here is a VIDEO where I outlined some of the changes I made to our website menus and how to navigate to the bottom of the menu lists.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Post #4: MassCue Conference, Student Accounts, Tech Committee

A few items for this week!

MassCue: We are organizing a group to attend the MassCue conference to take advantage of the discounted rate. The dates are Thursday, October 18th and Friday, October 19th. If you are interested in attending, please let me know ASAP.

**So far I have the following responses: Beth C (Friday), Deb D (Friday)

Student Account Update: AMC Anywhere is now ready.

The following list of titles are ready for student use:

  • Lexia and Lexia Rapid
  • Symphony Math
  • AMC Anywhere
  • Track My Progress
  • Google Apps

**Online Tools That Require Student Accounts: If you wish to use a website that requires student login accounts (outside of our core titles), then please check the MSPA website to see which providers have signed our Student Data Privacy Agreement. If a title says "Legally Drafted Guardian Release", THEN please see me for the appropriate forms to send to parents for signature. FYI - I will be sending a form home for**

Technology Committee: Thank you to those that have signed up. First grade would love a representative so please let me know if anyone is interested. Be on the lookout for an email next week to set up our first meeting.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Post #3: Student Accounts, Username/Passwords, Website Update

Just a few items to share with you this week. Wishing you a wonderful weekend. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Student Accounts: Eva is plugging away at getting our curriculum accounts ready for the year. So far: Lexia, Symphony Math, Lexia Rapid and NOW Track My Progress are ready for use!!

Track My Progress: 
Student Login:
Username: Student ID
Password: Student ID

Username: e-mail address
Password: activation e-mail was sent to teachers

Usernames and Passwords: I have updated the teacher and student username cheat sheets (Thank you Ally for the reminder). Please use as needed. If anything is missing, please let me know and I will add it to the list.

Website Update: Yesterday I updated the "For Students" menu on the HH website so that the list is not so terribly long. You will now see ELA, Information Literacy and Mathematics as categories in the list. Please hover over the category title to see the sub-menu of website links. Some links may appear in several categories.

**I will be showing students as I see them for technology class. Until I see your class, you may need to show students the change to the "For Students" menu.**

Friday, September 7, 2018

Post #2: Curriculum Subscription, Instructional Tools Policy, & Tech Support

A few updates this week. Please let me know if you have any questions or need assistance. 
Curriculum Subscription Update: Just in case you missed my emails this week - 

Lexia is ready for the 2018/2019 school year.
Student Login:
Username: Student ID
Password: Student ID

Username: e-mail address
Password: Wayland21

Symphony Math is ready for the 2018/2019 school year.
Student Login:
Username: Student ID
Password: Student ID

New Teacher:
Username: Firstname_Lastname
Password: Wayland21

Instructional Tools Policy Update: As you plan out the tools you will be using with your students this year, please refer to the Instructional Tools Policy for guidance on selecting tools that require student accounts. This spring the district worked with surrounding towns to update the Student Data Privacy Agreement. The agreement was finalized over the summer and Ramah has been sending out the new agreement to vendors for signature. Ramah will continue to update our MSPA software list as new agreements come in.

**XTRAMATH has signed our agreement whereas last year they declined. So you are all set to use that tool.**

Tech Support: We are fortunate to have Joe and Ruth provide tech support. Their schedule is as follows:

Joe - Monday and Thursday AM
Ruth - Tuesday AM

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Post #1 2018-19 - Classroom Devices, Device Care, Lexia App, TA Laptops, TumbleBooks Math, Online Subscriptions, Instructional Tools Policy

Hope everyone had a wonderful summer. I wanted to share several items with before the students arrive next week.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Classroom Devices: 

iPad/Laptop Carts:
  • Joe reimaged all iPads. They are all set for use.
  • If your classroom cart has a few student MacBooks, they have also been reimaged and are set to go. 
  • I distributed carts to 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th & Library. I will continue to distribute carts tomorrow and Thursday. However, feel free to swing by the ARC Room to grab your classroom cart.
  • Be sure to plug in your carts and make sure the devices are charging.
Document Cameras: If you need assistance setting up your document camera, please let me know.

ChromeBooks: Joe reset all of the settings and wiped all previous users from the devices. All charging ports are working so no issues there!! They are set to go for the new school year. 3rd and 4th grade Chromebooks and carts have arrived. Joe will work on their setup on Friday. They should be all set for the start of the school year.

Device Care: It's important to set up routines for taking care of your classroom carts - returning devices to the cart, logging off when done, plugging them in for charging, cleaning... A reminder that ALL charging ports and cords are delicate. Please show students how to handle them with care. 

Lexia App Icon - The Lexia app has a new icon. Lexia is still located on the dock of your iPads but it has a new look - be on the lookout and introduce the new icon to your students. Students in the summer program may already be familiar with the new icon.

TA Laptops: I have 12 TA Macbook laptops to distribute.

  • If you are a TA working in grades 2nd-5th grade, please swing by the lab to sign out your laptop for the school year. Same procedure as in the past. 
  • If you are a TA in K or 1st and would like a laptop, please let me know. I believe I will have 3 left after distribution to the upper-grade level TAs. 

TumbleBooks Math - TumbleBooks has launched a brand new tool called TumbleBooks Math. TumbleBooks Math is the most comprehensive collection of math story and picture books available online & in the same format our students are already comfortable with! 

  • Also featuring a large selection of non-fiction math books from Encyclopedia Britannica and Rosen
  • Lesson Plans & quizzes aligned to Common Core & State Standards
  • Math Tracker program to follow student progress
  • Free trial until November 30th - the link is under "For Students"
  • Large selection of math topics

Online Software Subscriptions: Eva is diligently working on getting our online subscriptions ready (Lexia, Symphony Math...). DO NOT let your students log in to our online subscriptions until we tell you it's OK to do so. I will keep you informed as I learn more.

Online Instructional Tools Policy: Just a reminder to review the Online Instructional Tools Policy for using tools that require student login accounts. The Google Doc includes:

  • link to the Wayland MSPA site (shows which titles are approved/declined for use)
  • link to the software request form
  • ALL DECLINED apps would need parent sign-off for use. (Sample letter and documentation is linked in the policy) It is the teacher's responsibility to obtain the parent sign-off and send proof to Leisha Simon.