Time. No one ever has enough. Especially teachers! But what if there was a digital tool that could help you feel like you have cloned yourself? What if there was a place where students could access differentiated learning, submit assessments, review their own data and progress toward proficiency of standards, make their thinking visible AND communicate with their teacher and peers? Good news- THERE IS! Our district LMS or Learning Management System does all that and more! Schoology is a powerful platform for hosting the entire learning cycle: Pre-assessment, differentiated learning, formative assessment, feedback and revising, summative assessment, grading and tracking mastery of standards. WHEW! All in one place. When you combine Schoology with the power of the G Suite... BAM! Superhero level! And while students are accessing all of this amazing digital learning, you can be meeting with individual students or small groups for extension or support.
Image courtesy of https://www.achievementnetwork.org/anetblog/leader-learning
But even if you only use one or two of the tools available in Schoology you can save yourself and your students time. Here are a few of our favorites:
Discussion boards: They can be used to make thinking visible so that students can learn from each other or engage in questioning to push each other. Students can post links to their writing and engage in peer editing or review. Students can share videos they made, Google slide decks, images of hands-on projects and more.
Grading Groups: Schoology allows you to create grading groups in the members list that can then be used to assign individual students or small groups different content, assessments and/or assignments. It’s a super slick feature that helps you differentiate your instruction (can be used on a page of content or links to other tools) or your demonstration of learning (can be used on discussions, assessments, and assignments). And students can be in more than one group so if they are in a lower reading group but a higher math group, no problem! If they are on an IEP or 504 but also are a strong writer, no problem!
Gradebook: Schoology’s gradebook allows teachers to have a digital gradebook even if the work isn’t digital or collected in Schoology. This way students and parents can see grades and feedback the teacher leaves. And when you align your gradebook to learning objectives and standards you can track your class or individual student’s progress toward mastery. This allows you to have conferences with students and set goals for their learning with just a few clicks.
Google Drive Assignment: This functions much like Google Classroom in that it makes a copy of your Doc for each student. (Schoology is also developing a group assignment feature to assign to multiple students so they share one copy.) But, you can also attach a rubric right to the assignment for quick grading and improved feedback to students on how to improve. It allows you to view student work in progress in one simple screen, so you don’t have to open multiple tabs or wait until a student submits their work to give feedback.
And all of this is visible to parents and guardians by logging into Schoology using their Jeffco Connect credentials. They can see their student’s work, grades, teacher feedback, and mastery tracking with no set-up required by the teacher. We’ve done the work for you!
Schoology is constantly upgrading their system and rely on user feedback to design and make changes to their platform. For example, coming soon to a Jeffco school near you is QR Code logins to Schoology! So even our littlest learners can quickly get to learning.
Looking for more information on these features or others in Schoology? Check out this Tips and Tricks document. So take a chance and try something new. Use technology to transform learning and also save some time. You can also sign up to be a Schoology Ambassador for your school to get the info on the new releases first, learn how to use tools to your advantage from your colleagues and to provide feedback to Schoology on future requested items. Click here for more information on Jeffco's Schoology Ambassador program.
For additional support with Schoology in your classroom, contact Jeffco Ed Tech!
Logic and deduction, algorithms, deconstructing problems into manageable pieces... these are integral parts of computer science, and Jeffco students are ready to investigate.
Ideas, images, and information can be translated into bits of data and processed by computers to create apps, animations, or autonomous cars. The variety of instructions that a computer can follow makes it an engine of innovation that is limited only by our imagination. Remarkably, computers can even follow instructions about instructions in the form of programming languages. More than just a tool, computers are a readily accessible medium for creative and personal expression. In our digital age, computers are both the paint and the paintbrush. Computer science education creates the artists.
--From "Defining Computer Science"-- The K-12 Computer Science Framework
How Are Jeffco Elementaries laying a Foundation for Computer Science?
Many schools have started with participating in Hour of Code. The Hour of Code is a world wide effort to provide an introduction to computer science to show that anyone can learn the basics. Held during Computer Science Education Week in December, this year's Hour of Code theme was "What will you create?" and featured a Dance Party. Schools from all over Jeffco participated in the event. At Ryan Elementary, Digital Teacher Librarian, Kelsey Shearer, co-taught with her AMP team to integrate the event into movement and music.
"My favorite part of this year's Hour of Code was to see how excited kids were to share what they had created as an end product. After kids created their final dance party, they shared the public link with their teachers, friends, and parents. For me, this demonstrated a shift from "learning to code" to "coding to learn." As I started thinking about it, I realized that our fifth graders were the first class to try Hour of Code as kinders six years ago. It is now a part of our culture here at Ryan, and we are looking forward to elevating the idea of integrating computer science as a language across our curriculum. " -- Kelsey Shearer
Some schools have extended this event to a Day of Code. Digital Teacher Librarian, Michelle McHugh, partnered with Amazon to facilitate the event at Three Creeks K-8. Students received an introduction to coding from Amazon's software engineers while hearing about their journey to gaining employment at Amazon. With her excitement from the day Michelle stated that "Computer science enables students to develop skills and competencies in problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration that will help them excel in today's increasingly digital world."
Ann Rames, DTL at Coronado, has taken the next step by holding an after school coding club. Over 50 K-5 students are going through the design process using Makey Makey and Cubelets, completing challenges with Dash and Dot, and even designing their own video games with Bloxels. She frequently checks out robotic kits* from the Ed Tech Team but also uses coding games and puzzles as unplugged activities. Ann partners with her community having a parent volunteer from Lockheed Martin assist with her club.
*Check out the Coding and Robotics website for information about checking out robotic kits.
Hutchinson Elementary is getting parents involved! They held a Family Coding night in December. According to Gallup, 90% of parents want their child to study computer science.
Learning to Code, Coding TO Learn
Many schools are embedding coding and robotics into their instruction. Through a grant from CDE and a partnership with mindSpark Learning, Jeffco is offering 2-day workshops to build a foundation for computer science in elementary schools. On Day 1, participants dive into the Code.Org Computer Science Fundamentals curriculum. Teachers come back on Day 2 to apply their knowledge with hands-on applications of coding with robots. Lessons are designed cross-curricular and incorporate collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. Teachers are seeing immediate connections with Sphero and Dash particularly with their math units. Time is also spent on building a computer science implementation plan for your school. Not only do participants learn about basic computer science concepts, but they learn about using coding and robotics to demonstrate learning in any subject area.
Over 50 elementary schools have participated in the learning so far!
Although, computer science can be tied to every leaf on the Jeffco Generations tree, Critical & Creative Thinking, Self-Directed Learning, and Agility & Adaptability are at the forefront of the student experience. Using robotics provides hands-on and creative opportunities for learners to invent, solve problems, and create. Computer science can be taught in a multi-disciplinary way, with a hands-on approach which happens to be engaging and fun, while preparing students for their future.
Check out the Leadership Memo for announcements about upcoming professional learning opportunities. Questions? Contact Marnie.Roush@jeffco.k12.co.us, Computer Science Specialist, 303-982-6292
After the success of last year's inaugural Get Your Tech On event, 600 Jeffco educators joined our Ed Tech department on January 8th, at Green Mountain High School, to get their tech on this year! This annual day of learning put technology to transform learning and Jeffco Generations Skills at center stage. Educators across the district shared how technology can support our call to transform the task and learning experience for all students. Educators engaged in tasks that used technology to increase student collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking across all grade levels and subjects. The learning these 600 teachers received has the power to impact approximately 32,000 Jeffco students!
Learning is our Super Power
Are you #boldschool?
So Now What?
"I am truly inspired to be back in my classroom!"
ThankS and Appreciation
This professional learning opportunity couldn't take place without our amazing partnerships.
Thanks and appreciation to:
GOOGLE FORMS: LOCK-DOWN MODE
GOOGLE CLASSROOM: CREATE A QUIZ IN CLASSROOM
You can now create a quiz assignment directly in Google Classroom. With a quiz assignment you can lock a quiz, import grades, see student answers and return grades. To add a quiz assignment, click your Classwork tab, click the "+ Create" button, and click "Quiz Assignment." As with all assignments in Classroom, you can decide when the assignment will be posted, make edits, reuse the quiz in another class, and add class comments.
We are familiar with the buzzwords about transforming the task, and there are real merits to those. However, if every task in every class was transformed, students would be too exhausted to learn anything. Sometimes there is a real benefit to something that is worked for years: a true formative quiz that leads to differentiated instruction. This is not a pursuit of the new and shiny. I’m not advocating silver bullets. We’re educating children, not killing werewolves. I want to introduce one Google Forms add-on that does the heavy lifting of differentiating instruction for teachers.
Just to establish some credentials, I learned more last year than I ever have about transforming the task through technology. I read Bold School, 50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom, 50 Ways to Go Further With Google Classroom, The Google Infused Classroom, The Hyperdoc Handbook, listened to The Google Teacher Tribe, attended last year’s Google Summit, went to every (paid) professional development the Jeffco EdTech team offered last year and had 4 classes of willing sophomores each semester to experiment with. Inspired by a fellow teacher, I wrote a few grants, got my own cart, and I’ve tried a lot of the things. I’ve learned with mostly 10th-grade students, who ranged in abilities from Pre-AP classes to a higher-needs special education co-taught class. I’m not going to pretend they’re all successful. And my students were pretty familiar with telling me something was broken and having to fix it with a roomful of 15-year-olds staring at me. I’m not trying to brag, but I’ve learned to find what’s useful instead of what’s shiny.
Google Classroom: Grade book Beta Program
Shortly after winter break, Jeffco received access to the Google Classroom Grade Book beta program. You will now see a Grade tab at the top of Google Classroom. In the Grade tab, teachers can:
*Google Classroom Grade Book beta does not integrate with Campus.
Google Classroom: Organize Assignments
G Suite: Activity Dashboard
Many of you probably know that you can use Google's Revision History feature to see who has modified or edited one of your Google files. You can also use Revision History to restore an old version of a file. However, Google has released the Activity Dashboard feature that allows users to see who has last viewed a file. At the top of your file, click the Activity Dashboard icon (zig-zag arrow in the top, right-hand corner). You can also access the Activity Dashboard by clicking the Tools menu at the top of your document. The Activity Dashboard allows the user to see the most recent date and time that collaborators viewed the document, in addition to being able to check viewer trends over time. Users can turn off this feature by individual documents, or on all documents, at any time within the Activity Dashboard settings.
Tip of the Month:
Creation of Putt Putt Course
Indian Mehendi Body Art
Keppler’s Mighty Mission
Super Spectacular Sphero’s Station
Valmont Bike Park
Notions of Potions
Picnic Table Palooza
What the Day Looks Like
Impact on Kids & Learning
The impact on the student experience cannot be underestimated. During this opportunity, all students had the chance to either dig further into a passion or be exposed to something new. Students rate their experience at their innovations station and if it did not receive top marks, students include what can be improved before the next session. The overwhelming score students give their stations is 5 out 5 stars. When students share their learning at Radical Robotics they discuss coding in color with a Sphero, coding an Ozobot to follow their hand, and wanting to learn more about the Ozobot and coding. Another student who attends digital photography, shares the images he took and manipulated using software. He shows the three shots of the day to a teacher, and explains why the landscape photo he took is his best work. As he describes his photo, he critiques the shot, explains the process to enhance the image, and his excitement to use the new skills in the future. He’s using the Jeffco Generation Skills of critical thinking, communication, and self-directed learning .These conversations can be heard by students at every station and the enjoyment is palpable.
Even kindergarteners get in on the act. Several of them attend a vlogging or a “video blogging” session and create their own videos and messages using Classroom Dojo. The student’s joy and newly developed skills create a new way for kindergarteners to demonstrate their learning. These students can now create vlogs to communicate their ideas to their classmates and teachers. Across the board from kindergarten through eighth grade, students found meaning and connections during their innovation time.
Possible Resources to Learn More
Below are additional resources that share more inforamtion about passion projects, genius hour, and 20 percent time.
- Ed Tech Blog: Passionate about Student Directed Learning
- Innovation Class https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/innovation-class/
- Kevin Brookhouser TedX 20% Project Don’t Call it a Classroom
- John Spencer Video What is Genius Hour?
BY GUEST BLOGGER Christopher Brannon Church
How do I get access? - I am extremely fortunate to have 1:1 chromebooks in all of my Robotics classes, and nowadays there are hundreds of reputable websites that are available at no cost. Many of the hands on materials that I rely on have come from my own pocket, or were funded through the Donors Choose website. Any student can learn to code!
Funding is out there - After borrowing Makey Makey kits from Jeffco Ed Tech I decided that I had to have a set for my class to take our scratch lessons to the next level. Believe it or not, it was fairly simple to acquire the funds needed for a Makey Makey kit. Donors Choose and Google’s CS First are practically giving away money to teachers that complete a few simple activities with their class.
One of the favorite parts of my job is giving students an opportunity to show off what they have learned in Robotics/Coding and using those skills in other content areas. An example this year is a 6th grader who decided to retell the entire story of Maniac Magee using Scratch by taking her character on a journey through the story. It was amazing! This clearly demonstrates proficiency in computer science as well as a deep meaningful comprehension of a novel in literacy.
Below are just a few activities where application of the following Jeffco Generations Skills were imperative to complete the activity. As students completed these activities, they developed these Jeffco Generations Skills:
- Self Direction and Personal Responsibility
- Critical and Creative Thinking
- Collaboration and Leading by Influence
- Agility and Adaptability
New: CLOSED CAPTIONING IN GOOGLE SLIDES
Need to make a recording of your entire mini lesson or direct instruction while teaching? Enable the closed captioning feature and use a screencasting tool, wuch as Screencast-o-matic or Screencastify, to record the progression and pacing of the slides WITH the words you are speaking. This video can be distributed to students via Google Classroom or embedded on a website so that students who missed instruction or need reteaching can watch the video on an as-needed basis.
For directions on using automated captions visit the Google Help Center
Tip of the Month: Create Smarter DOcuments With The Explore Feature
Google Docs: Find and add suggested content to documents in Google Docs. The suggested content is related to what’s in your document. You can also search your docs and the web from within a document. It will do a web search, suggest images and recommend files in your Drive related to the topics within the document you are typing! You can even cite related articles and add them to a footnote in your document - imagine the possibilities of supporting students with citing sources appropriately as they are researching and writing!
Google Slides: Do your students (or you) struggle with making content on a Slides look visually appealing? The Explore button in slides will make suggestions for quick and easy slide layouts, based on the content you have added to your slide. Additionally, it allows the user to search for web images and google files related to what's on your slide deck.
Google Sheets: Do you or your students have questions about data sets but struggle with using the proper function to determine their answer? Highlighting a set of data and then clicking the Explore button will suggest functions, formatting and more! Users can type in a question they have about their data and Google will use machine intelligence to answer their question. The Explore button will also suggest questions they might want to ask, as well as different formatting options to make their sheet easier to read and use.
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