Student CB Issues and how YOU can help! by Kay Davidson

Welcome to an “Above The Line” year at Broomfield High School!  We are in our 3rd year of deploying Chromebooks and are getting closer to every student in the building having a device.  Our tech team has started to meet and work on continued technology training for our staff and digital citizenship lessons for our students.

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1:Web Information can be found here.

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More and more, we are seeing students who have Chromebook issues such as the device not turning on even though it’s charged, the mouse is frozen, half the keyboard won’t work, etc.  Even before we send the Chromebooks to IT, Jeff Leonard and I troubleshoot issues by resetting the device.  We are going to share the instructions with you so you can help our students!  If you need IT specifically, you can dial their extension “HELP” or x4357.

CB Troubleshooting Screencastcb screen

You can reset their computer with the following steps and/or watch the screencast above!

  • Step 1: Press the Esc + refresh + power button at the same time.
  • Step 2: You will see a white screen.  Press Ctrl + d
  • Step 3: You will be prompted to press Enter
  • Step 4: Pick a wireless network to sign in.
  • Step 5: Sign in with your teacher log in to enroll the device.
  • Step 6: Sign in again with your teacher log in to make sure students can log in.
  • At this point, the CB should be fully functional.  You can log yourself out of the CB and remove yourself from the CB.

If you find the CB is still having issues, please send the student and the device down to 208.

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PhET for Mathies by Kay Davidson

phetCU-Boulder has been pushing out PhET Interactive Simulations for years and they haven’t always been Chromebook-compatible.  The science department knows this well as we have been moving our students all over the building the past 5+ years or so looking for a computer lab that would run these simulations.

PhET now has changed over most of their simulations to run on Chromebooks!  It’s great news, but if you don’t know what a PhET is, you don’t know what you’re really missing out on.

These simulations, more specifically for Math, cover different topics and applications.  I recorded a Screencast so that you could take a quick look at what they offer.  You can also head right over to their site: http://phet.colorado.edu.  It may not be for all levels of math, but it will certainly add to some classroom experiences with fun activities.  Lesson plans are included in case you didn’t want to create something from scratch.  It’s worth checking out!

 

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Clearing Browsing History: Another tool for fixing CB related issues by Kay Davidson

erase imageUsually, when I call IT and explain my problem, they ask me two questions:

  1. Did you power your CB all the way down?
  2. Did you clear your browsing history?

Honestly, I don’t know why clearing your browsing history works with some CB issues……but it does.  I recently had one with Schoology where it wouldn’t let me log in. Weird.  So, I cleared my browser and that took care of the problem.  Even weirder.

I created a Screencast to show you how to do this on your own CB.  I hope this helps and will only add another tool to your Chromebook tool belt.

Screenshot 2017-05-18 at 1.50.23 PM

IPEVO Document Cameras and your Chromebook

IPEVO document cameras make presenting worksheets, student work, or 3D models with your Chromebook simple. IPEVO document cameras are nondescript pieces of hardware that blend in nicely with any desk. They contain a weighted base, articulating arm with various positions, and camera. Additionally, the device folds into a compact package to make transporting the camera from room to room hassle-free.

There are currently two models of the IPEVO Presenter that work with your Chromebook: the Point 2 View (P2V) and the Ziggi-HD. The P2V camera is a slightly cheaper solution, but the pricier Ziggi-HD has a few distinct advantages. First, the camera resolution of the Ziggi-HD is much higher (8MP on the Ziggi-HD versus the 2MP of the P2V). This means that the projected image is sharper and shows more detail. Second, the Ziggi-HD comes with an integrated light to illuminate the document that you are projecting. The P2V camera does not have a light, which can make presenting a document challenging in a classroom that is not well-lit.

The setup is extremely simple:

  1. Download the IPEVO Chrome app
  2. Plug in the USB cable on the IPEVO camera to your Chromebook
  3. Launch the app
  4. Adjust the camera as necessary

PresenterThe IPEVO Chrome app interface.

If you have any questions or would like help with setup, please email me (stephen.kelly@bvsd.org) or stop by room 303!

No more “Put your phone away” for the Science Department with their new policy for 2017/2018.

The phone battle is over.  Way over.

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After years of mostly losing the attention battle of student cell phones vs. teachers, the Science Department has adopted a strategy that will be enforced in all classes beginning in the Fall of 2017:

Check your phone in at the beginning of the period and pick it up at the end.  

Setting this clear classroom expectation has worked well in both Jim Davidson’s 9th grade English classes and Eliza Rayner’s 10th grade + Science classes.  It is simple.  It is effective.  It is class climate changing.

Here’s a video example of Jim’s class checking their phones in at the beginning of the period.  No complaints…..it just gets done.  There is a list of student names and slot numbers by the cell phone holder so they know whose phone goes in the correct slot.  You can see this being done in the video.

Here’s a link to the cell phone holders Jim and Eliza have in their classrooms from Amazon.  Additional slots for up to 42 phones allow for extra slips of paper to be put in the corresponding student slot number when they don’t have their device that day but need to be counted for attendance.  That’s the deal.  Phone = attendance.  If a student in Eliza’s class is caught with their phone, she does one of two things:

  • confiscates it and returns it at the end of the school day or
  • gives it to Mr. Barnes to deal with the issue.

I honestly can’t wait for the next school year to start JUST to implement this classroom and Science Department policy.  I am tired of the phone battle and knowing it works in other classrooms gives me some peace.  Maybe I’ll even get to see their adorable faces instead of the tops of their heads!!!!

Wish us luck!

 

WeVideo for We The People by Kay Davidson

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As the struggle continues to make it to the end of the school year, I thought I’d share something I recently (and proudly) learned how to do, forced me to think out of the box, and accomplished with my Chromebook.

I am/was a Mac person.  I *loved* iMovie and it made all my presentations look very professional and I knew how to use it.  Recently, my MacBook Pro has been acting up and I needed to find another video editor for a project.  WeVideo has been in my toolbox for quite a while, but I chose not to use it because iMovie was more familiar to me.

The day came where I had no choice and had to learn WeVideo.  It was awesome!

WeVideo is an online video editor, much like iMovie. WeVideo is cloud based which made it convenient to work on my project in different locations – supporting the idea of anytime, anywhere. The other great thing about WeVideo is that you can work collaboratively on the same project in the cloud!

wevideo

WeVideo Overview

Support for WeVideo is very helpful and can be found on their Academy page which includes tutorials, lessons, and tips.  You can upload media from your computer, Google Drive, or even Facebook and include images, documents, video, and audio.  Logging into WeVideo is easy as well.  Use your Google account to get you started!  WeVideo can be used at all levels and subject areas.

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1:Web Agreement Video (all recorded on iPhone)

I made a couple of videos (see one above) and I have 27,850 hours and 140,000 GB of storage remaining.  Let’s just say I am not worried about running out of cloud space.

If you’d like to find out more information about using WeVideo in your classroom with your students or for personal use, please don’t hesitate to let me know!  It’s worth the effort!

 

 

Literacy Resources to Help All Teachers by Nathan Spencer

As a teacher of students who are many times reluctant readers, I try to find new and different ways to get them to become better readers. I am constantly on the lookout for what’s new, what’s engaging, what contains as much variety as possible, what features texts for students who are at different reading abilities, and what’s web based. In my years of looking, here are the best options I have found so far. Some of these you may have heard of, some you may not have heard of, but hopefully, I can introduce you to at least one new resource:

 

Newsela – Great for all teachers. This site has many stories, on all different kinds of subjects, and new stories are added every day. When you first sign up you will be given a free trial to the full site which allows you to set up students and classes, and allows students to submit answers to questions within the site.

The bad: Once the free trial is over, the site will no longer accept electronic student submissions. They won’t let you buy it for your classes, not even your department, they will only let you purchase it for the school. (At least in my experience.)

The good: you will still have access to all of the amazing content! You and the students can still access the stories, the students just can’t answer any of the comprehension questions unless you print the stories off with the question included, which is really easy to do. The writing prompt won’t be included in what you print off. But what I do to get past this problem is just copy and paste the writing prompt into a Google Doc, print it off, and add it to the packet. The best part about Newsela, in my opinion, is that it offers different reading levels for every story! For example, this story about the California drought being over, offers a 12th, 8th, 6th, 5th, and 3rd-grade reading level! Your whole class, no matter what their reading level, will now be able to read the same article! (This is HUGE for special education teachers.)

 

CommonLit – Again, great for all teachers, just because of its extensive library. You might not find as many articles related to physical education related topics, for example, as you might find in Newsela, due to the fact that the number of articles in Newsela is seemingly never ending. I love CommonLit because everything’s free. It will allow you to set up students and classes, assign texts, allows students to read and submit responses electronically, allows you to grade those responses electronically, and they don’t take any of it away like Newsela does!

Another cool feature of CommonLit is that it will allow you to discover paired texts of like topics within the site. Let’s say you are doing a unit on poetry, you find a poem you like, you are looking for more poems like the one you found, click the ‘paired texts’ tab, and voila, there that are! My other favorite feature is the ‘related media’ tab. Talking about President Lyndon Johnson in social studies class? Well, his ‘We Shall Overcome’ speech is available to read. But if you want to watch the speech, click on the ‘related media’ tab, and there it is! Also, as a bonus, there’s a clip of Martin Luther King’s ‘We Shall Overcome’ speech too! Finally, if you love a good class discussion, every lesson has a lot of great discussion questions.

 

ReadTheory – In my opinion, this site is best for language arts teachers, special education teachers, literacy coaches, and the like. The best feature of ReadTheory is that it contains leveled texts from 1st through 12th grade. The worst feature of ReadTheory is that it will only let you have free access to one of those texts every week. You can always browse the full inventory, but they all cost money. The next best feature of is that each ‘assessment’ (that’s what they call each text) comes with the text, some comprehension questions, a writing prompt, and then answers and explanations at the bottom. The next worst feature is that you have to print each text out in order for students to be able to submit anything more than an oral answer.

NoRedInk – “NoRedInk is on a mission to build better writers,” which is their company slogan. Therefore, it is different from the previous three sites I have mentioned and is geared more toward language arts, and reading and writing intervention classes. The first aspect of NoRedInk I appreciate is the fact that they try to keep students engaged with their interest-based curriculum. When a student first ‘logs’ into NoRedInk they will tell the program what books, television shows, movies, and entertainers they are interested in. So when they take the diagnostic test next, all of the questions will contain names of characters from their favorite books, shows, and movies.

The just mentioned diagnostic test is created by the teacher after they set up their students and classes into the program. There are so many categories from the world of language arts that teachers can choose from to put into the diagnostic test. Do your kids struggle with SWABIs, FANBOYS, and THAMOs? (And, I mean, what good teacher doesn’t know what all of those are?) If so, throw them into the diagnostic. My personal favorites are the commonly confused words and identifying sentences and fragments. The program even features diagnosis and practice with MLA citation.

Once the diagnostic has concluded, it’s the teacher’s job to find out how their students did, and decide what content their students need to practice. Everyone ace active and passive voice? Then why practice it? The class didn’t do so well on vague pronouns? You’d better add it as an assignment. You can even set up quizzes after you feel they’ve practiced a topic long enough. Want to know what the student version of NoRedInk looks like? They’ll even let you do that too!

In my opinion, the best part about NoRedInk is the data. I really don’t want to go into it, because I might be writing for a long time, but when you get in and play around, you’ll discover some new data pieces you’ve never seen before, almost every time you log into the program. I know I did for the first few months or so! Almost everything is ‘clickable’ and interactive, individualized and customizable. I like this site a lot! Check out NoRedInk right now! (Shout out to one of my favorite people in the world, Tim Ferriss, for letting me know that a website like NoRedInk even exists. [He is an investor.] If you don’t know who Tim Ferriss is, check him out too! [Mr. Ferriss is not an educator, more like a ‘Jack of all trades’ who has one of the most read blogs, and most listened to podcasts in the world.] By the way, I do not endorse everything he promotes.)

*** BONUS ***

The Kids Should See This – I have no idea where I found this website, but they send me an email every week showing the five most-watched videos of the week. A lot of them are really cool, like my favorite one from this week, Immunity and Vaccines Explained. If you played on the teacher basketball team, I already sent you video from this site entitled How to practice effectively…for just about anything. Just add your email address at the top of the homepage, push subscribe, and you’re good to go!

Class Dojo adds Community and Accountability to Classrooms by Lena Carroll

Classroom management. Easily one of the most challenging parts of teaching. I found that now in my eleventh year, it still is something that I have to factor into my daily instruction. However, I have found that it now looks a bit different than it did when I first started teaching and the purpose has changed as well. To me, classroom management isn’t just about keeping kids from putting gum in another kids hair (true story), screaming inappropriate things across the room, not being quiet and not staying in their seat when asked. To me, classroom management is keeping the flow of the class go a way that meets my goals for the class and makes it the best possible learning environment as well hold the students accountable to be an active part of the classroom culture and their learning.

Enter, ClassDojo. I have used this classroom app this year and it has completely changed my Level 4 Spanish class. This class is made up of mostly Juniors with a sprinkling of Sophomores and Seniors. As you can imagine, Classroom Management for them isn’t about behavior. It’s about purpose. By Level 4, my expectation for the students is that they are actively participating in the class, present (not using their phones) and… using only Spanish with me and their classmates. This, at the beginning, was a challenge for them to say the least, but this app changed the feel of my class. I never lack participation, my students are mentally present and they are now an accountable community of learners. 


File_000 (3)The way the app works is you enter the kids names under a class. You then enter what are called skills, which are considered either negative or positive. You then assign a point value to the skills. Each week, my students have to earn 5 points.  They have lots of ways they can earn their points, from me hearing them just conversing in Spanish, answering a question voluntarily, writing me an email, responding to my Twitter posts, writing a movie review, anything that gets them using unprompted Spanish . There are only two ways they can lose points. Having their phone out and using English. They have to work really hard to earn those 5 points so they are left to decide if taking their phone out is worth losing a point. I now have nearly zero phone use in this class and nearly 100% Spanish spoken. 

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Skills

Yes, they are motivated by the grade. They work hard to get their points for the week but you now what? My goal for my classroom management, and how I want my classroom to feel is being met. They aren’t stuck on their phones, they encourage each other to stay in Spanish, participation is overwhelming and they are using Spanish in and outside the classroom. Since I offer lots of ways for them to earn points, they are often approaching me with ideas to earn points. They are now posting their Instagram captions in Spanish, texting each other in Spanish and finding as many ways as they can incorporate the language into their lives to get those puntos. They are creating their own learning experiences. 

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During class time, I use the free ClassDojo app on my phone to track the points. It can also be done online. The students also download the app or go online and they can see their points throughout the week. It will also show them how they earned the point or how they lost it. You can also add a note or a picture to points given or taken away. On my end, I can select kids and apply points in groups or to individuals.

I have mentioned how I have used this in my content area but it really can apply to any content and any skill or behavior you want to encourage or discourage.

Their website has lots of ideas and also showcases other features of the app.

I can see using this app for Classroom Management in the traditional sense: positive and negative behavior, staying on task… but also for encouraging content learning, participation in their own learning, creating a positive classroom environment or whatever management looks like for you. You can decide what your classroom goals are and how this can help support those. I have only used this with my Level 4 class but now that I am used to it, I will likely incorporate it into my other classes next year. The skills for a lower level class will be different but the goal is the same; for the class to run in a way that meets my expectations and creates an enriching classroom experience with accountability, encouragement and community. 

Replace your classroom desktop with your Chromebook by Steve Kelly

Are you a traveling teacher? Would you like to keep your work on one device? Do you suffer from device fatigue, stressed out by logging into multiple computers during the work day? Consider using your Chromebook as a presentation device!

Before you start furiously ripping out cables from the tangled mess behind your desktop, take a deep breath and decide whether you are up for a bit of a technology challenge. If yes, continue reading! If no, maybe revisit this post after talking with more experienced colleagues.


Materials needed:

  • Chromebook
  • HDMI adapter (this is the device that was placed in your mailbox at the beginning of the year)
  • Classroom desktop computer that you want to replace

Time requirement: 5 minutes


 

Step 1: locate the VGA cable from the back of your computer. The cable is the widest connector on the back of your computer. It looks like this:

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Step 2: Unplug this cable and connect your VGA to HDMI adapter, like so:

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Step 3: Plug this adapter into the HDMI port on your Chromebook.

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Step 4: Finally, if you need audio, locate the audio cable that is plugged into the back of your desktop and plug it into the headphone jack on the Chromebook.

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Now power on your Chromebook. Congratulations! You now can present from your Chromebook. Now that your Chromebook is connected to your projector, here are a few things to try:

  • Save time during student presentations by having the students plug their Chromebook in to present:

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  • Check out the Cast for Education extension here.
  • Try connecting an IPEVO document camera to your Chromebook to project worksheets for students.
  • Plug in your USB presenter remote to control your Google Slides presentations when you are lecturing to your class.

 

If you have any questions about this procedure or need help please contact Steve Kelly (stephen.kelly@bvsd.org)! 

Using Infographics in the Classroom by Kate Watson

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How I feel after I’ve seen the same poster for the 57th time.

It’s about half-way through second semester and if you are anything like me, your desk/classroom is filled with random student projects and your inbox is filled with various Google Slide presentations.  After reviewing what feels like 200 different projects that all look pretty similar, I began wondering what I could do to make my job and the student’s projects less boring — so naturally, I went on Pinterest to explore!

After scrolling through random Memes and cute Elementary School projects, I began noticing a lot of Infographics explaining various topics relating to school.  Now, I’ve seen these around before, but I started wondering how I could make a project off of these where the students could show information they know in a fun and innovative way.  If you don’t know, here are a few examples of Infographics.  As you can see they are usually long, poster-like objects that provide a wealth of information quickly with pictures, graphs, and other visuals.

 

I was looking at these posters and thought they would be a great way for students to engage with technology and class content in a new and creative way.  So I perused around the internet and came up with a project for my students in Psychology.  Since we were finishing our unit on Consciousness and Altered States, I assigned students to make an Infographic about the Effects of Drugs on the Brain and in Life.  Students were allowed to chose from  a variety of topics, but had to include specific facts about drugs and their effects on consciousness.  I gave students 2 class days to work on research and creating the graphic before they presented it to the class.  I graded students like I grade posters, on their research, content provided on the poster, and the general aesthetic of their Infographic.  Here are a few Example of their final Infographics.

 

I was so pleased with how their projects turned out, and how interested the kids seemed in the process.  When I questioned them about their experience, they said that they liked the creativity of the project, but wished that they had a third day to work in class so I could be there to help with the info graphic websites.  Now these are mainly seniors, so if you would like to do a similar project with younger kids, you might want to give them three days, including a Block day, to work.

 

I found 2 major websites that help students make Infographics for free, but most students used the first one more.  The websites I had my students use were:

  • https://piktochart.com/
    • Students liked this one the most.  The interface was easy to understand and you could make your graphic as long or as short as you wanted
  • https://venngage.com/
    • Students liked the templates and pictures available on this one, but didn’t like that the length of your graphic was restricted.