One of the district provided digital tools this year is Seesaw. This is a powerful tool that allows students to demonstrate their learning through drawing, voice recording, taking videos/pictures and so much more. Teachers gain insight to student understanding instantly. Families can also see their child’s work and communicate directly to the school.
Students in this class also use the recording/video features to share their thinking and learning. Emily finds student recordings the most exciting feature of Seesaw, “I like how I can tell what students are thinking one by one. I can watch their videos at a later time and make adjustments to instruction and developing groups.I do this on an almost daily basis to pull groups for phonics differentiated lessons.”
Within Seesaw, students also share videos and comment on one another’s work. Another feature that Emily has found helpful is the Seesaw Digital Citizenship printable posters. “I teach students how to give purposeful comments that are specific to work. They can give positive feedback or comments using the sentence starters I found on Seesaw.”
Emily and her 2nd grade team will be using the Seesaw Drawing feature to Create and Reflect as a tool for their IEG in which students share their learning at a DOK 2 or above. They are currently solving math problems and verbally explaining their thinking.
When asked where teachers could start, Emily’s advice was, “Don’t be intimidated, start small with the Activity Library to get your feet wet. You can work up to creating your own activities.”
Julie Carlson (the DTL at Deane) stated, "Deane teachers are excited to utilize Seesaw in instruction with students. The built in features of video, audio, and text allow our students to demonstrate their thinking and creativity. We are excited that it allows students to be producers with an authentic audience. Emily has been using Seesaw with students to deepen their understanding of content and digital citizenship. Her willingness to support our staff in co-leading PD is an example of her collaborative nature and leadership."
extend your thoughts & learning on seesaw...
This is not just an elementary/primary tool. Secondary classroom can use Seesaw too. Checkout this video to see the possibilities! Consider getting families connected to your class and print out invites for upcoming conferences by watching this video. The Jeffco EdTech team has put together this text set to help you learn independently or feel free to reach out to your EdTech specialist for school-based learning or questions.
Check out other helpful videos on their full YouTube channel
Using read&write for google
Access the toolbar by clicking on the extension next to your Chrome address bar.
Use the PDF reader extension in a PDF.
Use the R&W extension in the GSuite or on websites.
Because Jeffco students and staff have the premium version, all of the toolbar features are functional!
jeffco multimedia text set
With "Jeffcoized" video tutorials and Tech Tips
Still want more?
Ed Tech is hosting a session on Read&Write for Google on
Tuesday October 8th from 4-5:30 pm at the Jeffco Ed Center 2A
Contact your Ed Tech Specialist
*Thanks to Susie Speigler, Deanna Duray, & Juli Thomas for all of your work with &
questions about R&W!
WeVideo is one of the core digital tools for staff and students in Jeffco this year. As a result, students and staff have access to a wide range of opportunities to engage in deeper learning activities that personalize and authenticate learning through film and multimedia. Getting started with WeVideo is fairly straight forward and there are plenty of resources such as the WeVideo MMTS to help you get started. (Click on the image below to open the MMTS and start exploring.) However, getting started with using film creation and WeVideo for authentic tasks can be a little more challenging. Here we hope to provide a few ideas and inspirations to help you get started.
Capturing and creating videos as part of instruction can seem daunting at first however, it's doesn't need to be a complicated process. One approach is to begin with photo stories. Challenging students to capture or collect photos that tell a specific story and compiling those photos together with a narrative or background music allows us to practice compiling stories and using video editing tools. Photo stories can be about academic content such as a historical time period, scientific or mathematical processes, or about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They can also be about personal things such as our daily journey to school or our family history. Everyone has different perspectives so our photo stories can be shared to deepen the learning and understandings.
One of the biggest challenges to using technology in classrooms is to ensure it is not a distraction from the larger goals of learning and content mastery. A great way to begin addressing these challenges is to empower students to lead their own learning. As students gain foundational understandings of content, they can be challenged with application of the content and creating products to share their learning and additional understandings. For example in mathematics, we often ask students to memorize key facts and processes but seldom challenge them with application and sharing of the learning. We can empower students to lead their learning by asking them to look for examples in their lives where they can apply the content they're learning and capture those applications to tell their stories. With this challenge, students gain deeper understandings of why content is needed and ways in which it fits into their worlds. Students can then share their creative stories of content application with each other, another class, or students at another school, which leads to deeper learning of the content.
One of the essential skills across many content areas involves the ability to effectively conduct research and compile our findings so we can form argumentative or persuasive claims. As humans, we regularly find ourselves in situations where multiple views are represented and the need to understand and respond respectfully to others is a foundational aspect of any democracy. As students conduct research and capture evidence that supports their claims, they can put together short films with photos or video clips to support their stance. When sharing with each other, students have access to practice listening and summarizing skills that lead can lead to civic and global engagement or the continued development of communication skills necessary to succeed in settings beyond the classroom.
Teachers are experts at creating links between outcomes and learning which drives us all to the continuous search for new ideas and strategies. Here are a few tips to consider as you begin to design learning opportunities involving film and multimedia:
Back in July, Teach Thought published a short piece on 6 Powerful Strategies for Deeper Learning in Your Classroom by Dr. Monica Martinez who is one of the leading experts on deeper learning. These 6 strategies are a great way to get students engaged in learning that involves their passions and interests. Film creation can be used in a variety of ways to implement and achieve all 6 strategies. As students are challenged to create films demonstrating their knowledge and understandings, they are provided additional opportunities to share their learning. Not every film needs to be publicly shared, there might be some short films that are simple reflections allowing us to go back and revisit some of the learnings we gained. Think of them more as selfie videos that are for the purpose of journaling or compiling a personal narrative. Ultimately, remembering the last strategy of "Making Technology the Servant, Not the Master" will help us leverage the power of film in more ways. As we use technology to capture and tell stories rather than consume them, we will be the masters of the digital tools we use and the time in front of a screen will have far greater purpose and outcomes.
Looking for more ideas on how to use film in your instruction? The WeVideo blog is a great place to find ideas and examples.
Hangouts Chats: Tips and Tricks
Google has delayed their full transition to Google Hangouts Chat. For now, both Hangouts and Hangouts Chat are available in Jeffco. Below are a few helpful tips and tricks to help you navigate the change.
Hangouts Chats vs. Classic Hangouts
Hangouts Chat: Chat Rooms vs. Direct Messages (DM's)
YouTube Brand Accounts
YouTube has suspended Brand Accounts for educational environments. Brand Accounts allowed users to use certain Google services, like YouTube, with a separate, potentially anonymous identity. Staff brand accounts can be temporarily un-suspended so that videos may be downloaded and saved. Student brand accounts cannot be reactivated. For more information on how to preserve brand account data, and for support on what do do if your account is suspended, please see this support document. Action regarding brand accounts must be taken by October 31st.
YouTube Live to YouTube Webcam Record
Many schools used YouTube Live streaming through Google Hangouts to stream their news broadcasts and other learning opportunities. This functionality has been changed by Google and is no longer available in Jeffco. The current solution is to use YouTube's Webcam Live Stream. You can quickly go live using your computer or Chromebook's built-in webcam. YouTube Webcam also allows the user to schedule future live stream events. Unfortunately, the ability to share your screen, or allow participants to speak in the recording, is no longer an option. But there is a text chat feature.
Coming to Jeffco: G Suite for Education Summit
The Colorado EdTechTeam Summit featuring G Suite for Education is coming to Jeffco November 2nd & 3rd at Arvada West High School! See schedule here. "With two action-packed days featuring keynote speakers, a mix of 90 and 60-minute sessions, a playground, and a demo slam, you'll have a chance to create and explore new ideas and topics while connecting with other teachers, school, leaders, and world-class speakers. " - EdTechTeam Inc.
Because Jeffco is hosting the event, we receive special pricing of $249, which includes breakfast and lunch (standard registration is $349)! If registering with a Jeffco accounting string, please use this form. If registering using personal funds, please use this form and connect with your school's 1:1 lead for the promotional code.
Google Level 2 Bootcamp
For those considering their Google Certified Educator Level 2 Certificate, the EdTechTeam Inc. is bringing the Level 2 boot camp to Jeffco on Nov. 1st.
"Google’s Certified Educator Level 2 focuses on meaningful and creative ways to integrate the 4Cs in the classroom. Level 2 teaches the advanced features of G Suite including HyperDocs using Google Docs, Maps and MyMaps for geo-instruction and virtual field trips; digital portfolios with Google Sites; and using screen-casting techniques for developing learning libraries in YouTube and more. Level 2 is the perfect place for teachers who are ready to try something new and engaging in their classrooms all while preparing them for Google’s Certified Educator Level 2 exam." - EdTechTeam Inc.
This one-day event will be held at 581 Conference Place (cost $199, includes lunch). If registering with a Jeffco accounting string, please use this form. If registering using personal funds, please use this form.
Google Certified Educator Clock-Hour Credit
Considering getting your Google Level 1, 2 or Trainer certificate? We offer ESS clock-hour credit for these certifications!
To get your credit, follow these instructions:
Make any Google Slide Presentation Interactive with Pear Deck
Pear Deck is an online tool that provides formative assessment in real time. It's web-based so it works on any device. Teachers are able to check for understanding in their classroom through a variety of question types. When teachers use Pear Deck they are able to adapt instruction based on student understanding and students can receive feedback in real time.
How Does Pear Deck Work?
Pear Deck is an Add-on that works with Google Slides so it is easy to use! We have automatically added it for you in Google Slides! To utilize Pear Deck, you can create a new Google Slides presentation or add Pear Deck to an existing presentation. Once you've opened the Pear Deck Add-on, you can create your own questions or use the Template Library.
Pear Deck Math Templates
Get Started with Pear Deck
Here are some great ways to start using Pear Deck in your classroom:
Formative Assessment with Pear Deck
Pear Deck is designed so that all students are engaged in the learning. Students answer questions in real time and teachers are able to give quick, immediate feedback to the students. Teachers can see who is answering and able to project student responses that are anonymous. Through the teacher dashboard, teachers can see each student's responses. Teachers can even add a question on the fly to help alleviate misconceptions or get additional information from the class. At the end of the session, teachers are able to publish student takeaways. These takeaways are sent to the students and the teachers.
Present With Pear Deck
After creating your slides or adding your questions, it's time to present. Make sure to use the green present with Pear Deck Button. When you Present with Pear Deck, your students will join your class with a code and your lesson can get underway. Pear Deck is a great tool to get students and staff engaged in their learning. Being a Google Add-on allows anyone to create a Pear Deck slide presentation. Contact your Ed Tech Specialist or your Digital Teach Librarian to get started using Pear Deck.
One of the Eight Core Tools Jeffco EdTech is supporting this year is Soundtrap, a robust yet simple-to-use audio recording and editing app for grades 3-5. This post will explore why podcasting is a great project to pursue with your students, regardless of content area, and how to get started with your first project! We’ll also check in with a couple teachers in Jeffco already using podcasting to great effect in their own classrooms.
Podcasts have exploded in popularity over the past few years. Everyone from media conglomerates to best-selling authors to stand up comedians to news outlets have found a new voice through podcasting. Interested in History? There are podcasts for that! True crime? News? Music? Trivia? There are podcasts for all that too! Simply put: a podcast is an audio file covering a given topic. More established podcasts are published on a regular schedule such as weekly, monthly, etc. But often, podcasts are created and published as a stand-alone/one-time event.
“What do I need in order to get started?” - Less than you think! Most podcasts can be made with only a quiet space and a Chromebook. A good-quality microphone and some headphones are nice additions, but not necessary.
“How many people do I need to create a podcast?” - It is absolutely possible to have students create individual podcasts, however, the workflow and format of a podcast lends itself to a small group as well. NPR has a great “Getting Started with Podcasts” page that describes some of the roles students may play in podcasting. Keep in mind you can combine these or assign more than one person to the same role, depending on your assignment or class format.
Helpful hint: Being mindful in how you assign students to roles (perhaps your producer is also your editor on a project) may save you some headaches around classroom management down the line! For instance, some roles might be busier during the beginning of the project. How can the editor be helpful during that point in the workflow? Can they assist in research?
“OK, what do we talk about?” - Anything that is genuine to your content area! In math class, it may revolve around how students solved a difficult problem. In Science, perhaps it’s a debrief of an experiment they recently completed. In English, maybe it’s an opportunity to practice storytelling or creating a skit.
NPR offers a variety of prompts for podcast topics that can work in different content areas…
But how does it connect to content?
ALL of the Jeffco Generations Skills can be grown and practiced with a student-created podcasting project!
Podcasting in action
There are a number of teachers in Jeffco already working with students to create podcasts about the world around them. Here are a couple teachers making podcasts work for their content!
Andrea Pless at Kyffin Elementary has successfully integrated podcasting into a few different standards-aligned projects over the past two years.
Her students practiced reading fluency by creating short podcasts for younger students at Kyffin, reading picture books and creating their own turn-the-page tone. Students in other classrooms can then read along with their own book at a later time. Talk about a 21st Century book buddy system!
A group project she’s used involves students reading short stories (before creating the podcast) and using the podcast to discuss their personal connections to the stories. She houses all these student achievements on her website, The Plessroom. On her website, you’ll also find notecatchers and rubrics she’s used with her students.
In addition, each year, Ms. Pless works with a small group of students to serve as her website and Soundtrap experts. They support other students in their learning and teach their classmates about the features and uses of Soundtrap.
When asked about her biggest piece of advice for teachers who are thinking about diving in, she says “Go for it!” She explains most students are more native to technology in some form or another and besides the Soundtrap Intro video (linked below) and some basics of where to find which capabilities, students are quick to latch on to the workings of Soundtrap, as long as they have a product they are working toward. Don’t worry that you need all the answers!
John Swartz at Moore Middle School regularly publishes a Podcast with his 6th graders. This podcast is entering its second year and discusses upcoming community events and features interviews with teachers, students and other community members from the Pomona articulation area.
Here's a link to the Pomona Area Podcast page! Happy listening!
There are countless resources available for teachers to get their students started. As Soundtrap is the supported audio recording app for Jeffco, here are a couple links to get you going!
Soundtrap Crash Course
Soundtrap Lesson Plans
Other websites and resources...
NPR’s A Guide for Students (Getting Started with Podcasting)
Lesson plan to create a podcast from Rosen Digital
Project Audio: Teaching Students How to Produce Their Own Products
Summer Reading UPdate & New Resources...
Did you know…that Jefferson County is comprised of 773 square miles (or 494,588 acres) and has approximately 580,000 residents across the county?
With such a large county we have some amazing resources that are available to all of our residents and in our case, all of our students and staff. Jefferson County Public Library and Jeffco Schools have historically had a supportive partnership, over the last few years this parternship has grown dynamically and continues today. The collaboration supports a variety of experiences, from the Summer Reading program to the Jeffco/JCPL newsletter that supports our DTLs and teachers to STEM Clubs (and upcoming MS EPIC STEM program) as well as Speed Dating with a Book and other literacy based ventures in schools.
Our Jeffco Squared team (comprised of Jeffco’s Library Services Coordinator & a mix of JCPL teams) meet monthly to collaborate and find more ways to bridge our work in order to support our community. Beyond the summer reading challenge, one of the other topics we discuss on a regular basis is the collection online tools and databases that are available for use. Listed below is the 2019 Summer Reading Challenge update along with a small selection of tools available through JCPL.
Summer Reading Contest
The JCPL Summer Reading Contest concluded in August and now the results are in! Each of the following schools will be receiving a trophy and each of their libraries will be receiving a check for $800. To read more about the contest and to see where other schools ranked, visit the JCPL website.
The resources mentioned below are all available through JCPL, and can be accessed with a JCPL library card. These tools have been vetted by the district and approved for use. However, they are not district supported - meaning that staff need to contact the vendor or JCPL to work through potential issues, as Jeffco IT does not manage the technical side of these tools. Kanopy has been vetted by Jeffco, however the platform is best used by teachers, as it is not filtered and contains adult content.
Mango Languages describes themselves as, “the only single solution that combines quality content, intelligent technology, and an adaptive algorithm that delivers practical phrases from real situations”. Just recently, Mango Languages increased the total number of languages they support to 71 different & unique languages!
They offer engaging interactive lessons in everything from the most common languages studied, such as Spanish, English, French, and Chinese to unique languages such as Bengali, Dutch and even Pirate! Participants can easily access Mango by visiting the JCPL site and entering their library card number. There is no need to create an account, as users can particpate by selecting guest user at the Mango login screen.
CreativeBug is a new addition to JCPLs collection of resources this year. It has been vetted by Jeffco and is an approved resource that like Mango Languages, is not district supported. Creativebug does offer online video arts and crafts workshops and techniques. Particpants can learn how to paint, knit, crochet, sew, screen print, and more. Their topics range from Art and Design to Furniture Refinishing to Cake decorating and Canning.
Some ideas for curriculum connections with CreativeBug, include using the videos as
Kanopy (Teacher REsource)
An additional resource that is great for teachers is Kanopy. Kanopy is a tool similar to that of YouTube, in that it offers a wide variety of videos. In Kanopy Kids, they offer popular book titles as videos including documentaries, Global Studies, Education, Instructional Films and Lessons. Kanopy also offers an elementary based collection for preschool and up. Kanopy Kids categories include Learning Languages, Animated Storybooks and Classic Films. The Animated Storybooks category in Kanopy Kids is a great resource for our elementary teachers, when connecting literacy to learning.
These are just a few of the many tools JCPL offers their patrons. If you have questions about the resources and databases available please connect with your schools' Digital Teacher Librarian to find out what resources might support your next unit.
Curious about using robotics with your students? Robotics are a tangible way to introduce students to computer science while providing learning experiences that foster creativity, problem-solving, and perseverance. Beyond the fact that robots are fun and highly engaging for students, the depth of learning and the application of Jeffco Generation Skills that are possible when using them in instruction provides for transferable opportunities for students.
“When students program physical robots, it’s easier for them to see what goes wrong as they learn what robots can and cannot do. They learn the skills needed to create precise and accurate instructions and have fun while learning valuable lessons. Teaching robotics in schools gives students the opportunity to address the growing demand of teaching STEM subjects while learning how science, engineering, math, and technology work together and interact.”
- Matthew Lynch, "Five Reasons to Teach Robotics in Schools", The Edvocate
Jeffco Ed Tech has the following robotics available for teachers to borrow for 3-week checkout periods. To check availablity and access the check out form, click on the Ed Tech Robotics website. All kits are picked up and returned through Jeffcat at 809 Quail.
The Dash robot can be programmed to respond to voice, record voice, and navigate objects. The challenge cards are aligned by grade level to the Code.org curriculum. There a 6 different apps that students can progress through while learning to code. With Wonder software, kids can also program the robot to do multiple tasks in parallel. Blockly introduces fundamental and advanced coding concepts through playful projects and puzzles. Kids learn about coding by exploring variables, events, conditionals, and more.
An ozobot identifies lines, colors, and codes on paper or digital surfaces. Bots can be coded online using OzoBlockly or on paper using markers. The bots will trace the path and react based on the colored patterns--changing speed, direction, timing, and even performing "cool moves".
The Bee-Bot is an easy to learn entry point into coding for young learners. These can be used for teaching directionality, counting, sequencing, estimation, and problem-solving. Students can code Bee-Bot to remember up to 40 instructions/steps at a time.
Learning to code, coding to learn...
Robots can be used to create learning experiences using design thinking, collaboration, and inquiry. Students can create models to demonstrate abstract and complex thinking, solve problems using data, and learn from the iterative process.
“This opportunity helps students develop a respect for their own abilities. As students develop strategies to facilitate the learning process, they experienced growth in their meta-cognitive skills, too. Introduction to coding and robotics is as relevant to our world as learning to write. Today’s learner should experience opportunities to practice coding and robotics in the classroom from an early age. This foundation will serve them as learners, digital citizens and world leaders,”
- Julie Dweck, How Robotics is Transforming STEM in Elementary Schools
To check availablity and access the check out form, click on the Ed Tech Robotics website. All kits are picked up and returned through Jeffcat at 809 Quail.
When I was asked to write a post for Jeffco Ed Tech blog, I was stymied. Education technology is a huge topic. It’s complicated, demonized, canonized, hotly debated, and full of strife & potential. Finally, after six or seven digital wads of paper, I’ve settled on discussing how I rolled out 1:web Chromebooks for my freshman classes this year. It’s timely, and I hope it proves helpful.
First of all, mad props to Pomona’s administration and our campus IT staff. It all starts there. Without a clear and shared vision of what technology will look like and a commitment to goals we set out to achieve by using it, the results would be confusing to everyone involved. Our tech gurus, Matt Daniels and Judy Sims, have been great at keeping our campus focused and practical about everything from how to track each device to which apps make the most sense for teachers to use. They are absolutely central to the success of the roll-out of over 700 (!) Chromebooks (and chargers and cords and screen protectors and id tags and Velcro strips and screen cleaner cloths and styluses and...et al) for our 9th & 10th grade Panthers. I shudder to think how absolutely chaotic this initiative could have turned out, and I’m so appreciative of their strong leadership from the beginning.
So that’s the Big Picture. As for incorporating this technology into our daily classroom environment, I am still a novice. I still ask the Annoying Question of the Day to Matt and Judy and have impractical requests that are met with “You really don’t want to do that, Clint”. “Why not?” And then he patiently explains the Why Not. I’m moving in the right direction, though, and zealously embracing the feel-good-It’s-OK cliche of our times: failing forward. A LOT. My students laugh at me when my “app-tempts” explode. We all laugh together, though, because I’ve found that true humility and vulnerability sometimes creates powerful community. It’s better than the option of playing the immutable sage on the stage, a role that would last, at most, a few measly seconds, and quickly scuttle any vestige of ethos I do have. They teach me more than I could ever figure out myself, and at 1/10 of the time, and they feel powerful when they teach the teacher. I like that. Empowering kids is fun. It’s a rush. Often, when you give That One Troublemaker a Chromebook and a purpose, they are transformed...just like the task they’re working on.
One last thing. At the end of the year, Nick Steinmetz, who I’m sure you know or, if you don’t, you should, challenged us to write a letter about how it went--the inaugural mass Chromebooking. I did that, then ended up writing an alternate version addressed to this year’s students. The letter is friendly yet informative, and includes memes, hyperlinks, footnotes, and other elements that they will run into on digital platforms. Joining our Google Classroom and reading and responding to that letter was their first assignment of the year. Once they join the Classroom, they also have access to the GDoc that I use everyday in class. Even if they’re absent, they get a good idea of what went on during their absence. Here’s a screenshot of (a portion of) that document:
Regarding technology, it’s going well. The kids are excited and potentially a bit intimidated. They see the potential inherent in the system. Even if they are not used to seeing it that way, they recognize their tech as a catalyst to learning and maybe even prosperity. The responsibility they have with that makes them feel like an adult.
Twenty-six years ago, when I first started teaching, “technology” meant the new-fangled electric pencil sharpener that was bolted to a desk. It’s safe to say a few things have changed since then. Heck, we don’t even really need pencil sharpeners. But I still have one. My students still use it. If you need it, it’s right over there by the door, next to the Chromebook cart and the Cell Hotel phone holder.
Happy teaching, everyone!
Teacher, Pomona High School
Bridge to Curriculum has some NEW dynamic changes, based on teacher feedback, that have been added to enhance the teaching and learning cycle.
NEW!!! Professional LEARNING Library in the Bridge to Curriculum!
We are so excited to announce a brand new module in the Bridge to Curriculum. The Professional Learning Library has over 500 just-in-time learning opportunities. You can find articles, videos of Jeffco teachers, and even face-to-face and virtual professional learning opportunities throughout the district. You will find all of your professional learning needs and wants located here in the Bridge to Curriculum. Anyone can contribute to the Professional Learning Library. Just use the "Create a Professional Learning Button" from the Professional Learning Library page.
REARRANGING UNits of Study
Horizontal Movement of Year at a Glance (YAAGs): You now have the ability to move your Units of Study horizontally. After you have loaded all of your YAAGs, go to the home page and use the arrows to move units.
Please consider the following when reordering of Units of Study:
Vertical Movement of YAAGs
Vertical movement of YAAGs: You now have the ability to drag and drop your YAAGs vertically. This allows teachers to customize YAAGs to better align with how they plan. Some users might want the units of study to follow the students’ daily schedule while others appreciate grouping like contents. After you have loaded all of your YAAGs, go to the home page and use the arrows to move units.
Evidence Outcome Map
This map can help examine how often Desired Results appear in each unit over the entire year. You can examine individual units in order to verify and streamline Evidence Outcomes and Desired Results. This map will support planning on the unit level exponentially.
You can drill down to see Knows, Understands, Dos and Essential Questions that are attached to this Evidence Outcome within this Unit of Study
Link to The Digital Tools Website
We have added a link to the Digital Tools Website! You can now access this database straight from the Bridge to Curriculum!