Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Reflecting on CS Ed Week and the Hour of Code (for credit!)

Two girls engaged in Scalable Game Design and mobile computing at Mrachek Middle during Computer Science Education Week. Photo by Joe Dillon 
For teachers who engaged students in any kind of coding activity during the week of December 8-14, your reflections on what went well, and what you would do differently are important for you to consider and for the Ed Tech department to know. By sharing your thinking you'll help us be smarter as a system about how we introduce computational thinking skills and strategies to students in order to provide more equitable education in APS. With equity in mind, it is also important that we think together about the equity issues that drive Computer Science Education week and the Hour of Code.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Beyond the Face-to-Face

After having just left a stimulating and productive meeting/professional development/conference, you come away with a list of ideas to implement, follow-up meetings with colleagues to schedule, situations to troubleshoot and not enough time in a day to get from point A to point B.

Q. Which adventure do you choose?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Meet the New Google Drive

Although Google launched the New Drive in June, many people have chosen to stay with old Google Drive. Therefore, I wanted to introduce the New Google Drive so you are prepared to use it when the Old Drive is no longer available.

If you are just introducing your students to Google Drive, I recommend having them use the New Google Drive so they do not have to learn one and then switch.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Using Primary Sources in a Digital Classroom

Blending the Old and the New

Technology moves us into the future at a breakneck speed.  In our rush to move forward, we may forget where we have been.  Use technology to show your students history and interact with it in ways that were not possible just a generation ago.
How can you bring valuable and sometimes rare objects into the eyes and minds of your students? Look no further than your fingertips. Browsing through the Library of Congress can make history real. It is one thing to read a speech given by past orators, such as Martin Luther King Jr. but wouldn’t it be better to invite his voice into the room?

A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study.  Sources present during an experience offer an inside view of an event.

Go to to begin your search.

In a few short clicks you can read Dr. King's Nobel Prize acceptance speech, listen to him as he spoke in Oslo, and then see the telegram sent by Senator Edward Kennedy congratulating him on his award.  Share these documents with your class for a writing assignment, discussion, or to build background knowledge.  With the Internet, these amazing artifacts of history are literally at your fingertips.

Follow this link to see for yourself:

From the Library of Congress homepage, follow the education links ( for full lesson plans that align with the CCSS and thematic unites.  They even have free e-books for iPad classrooms here.

If you just don't know where to begin, start following the Library of Congress on twitter @teach with LC.  They have quick facts, documents or links to spark your class discussions.

As As we head into the fast-paced future, the Library of Congress lets us keep our past in the rear-view mirror.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Purify Your Videos in 2015

Tired of videos filled with ads and related links? Want to use YouTube videos in your instruction but concerned that students will get distracted by all the related video options or be exposed to inappropriate content?  Purify your videos in seconds to use them in your instruction on a daily basis.

Monday, January 5, 2015 Online PARCC Practice, Aligned to CCSS

Looking for a way to incorporate the PARCC technology skills of drag and drop, highlighting, manipulating graphs, and writing free response answers?

What if there was a free, web-based option that will do all that AND said option was aligned to Common Core Standards?