A trend on the rise as we go 1:1
making the why tangible
Planning and hosting the event
The tech committee met and created a plan for offering a variety of sessions in an evening setting at school. We surveyed the staff to see who could/would present and who would be willing to be a “roamer/helper” in each room to provide help through this process. With the help of the district Ed Tech team and Chris Paschke - Executive Director of Data Privacy and security, we provided a night full of opportunities for parents to learn how their kids are learning digitally. We had the library open throughout the night as a “Genius Bar” to provide on-demand help with their own technology, questions/answers, etc.
The evening was then split into two sessions with multiple options during each session - Google Classroom 101, Advanced Google Classroom, SeeSaw, Digital Wellness, and Data Privacy and Security (presentation not available).
Reflections after the event
We had families fill out an "exit ticket" before they left the event.
Looking at our feedback, here are some suggestions our families gave us to increase attendance next year:
Some of our own ideas for next time:
Ed Tech's Family Technology university cohort
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.
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!
We are excited to announce that Bridge to Curriculum is getting some amazing upgrades! You may notice some subtle changes this year, but most of the new functionality will be released this summer.
Professional Learning Library
In addition to the Resource and Assessment Libraries, there will now be a Professional Learning Library in the Bridge to Curriculum. This library will function just like the Resource and Assessment Libraries, but will contain professional learning resources. Educators will be able to access just-in-time PL resources in a multiple modalities such as videos, websites, podcasts, etc. Educators across the district will also be able to contribute to the Professional Learning Library! Users will be able to review and rate PL resources as well.
New SMART Search
A major upgrade is to make the filter in the libraries a SMART Filter. Once implemented (sometime this summer), when a user types in a word, the system will map that word to other like words, so the user gets more choices when searching. Imagine a thesaurus on the backend. For example, if I type in "fractions" the system will search, not just fractions, but a variety of words that align to fractions. See this Microsoft Word image as an example.
You may see this upgrade soon... Another upgrade to the SMART filter will make searching much easier. We are combining the Title, Description and Tags search boxes into one. This upgrade will allow the user to put a single word in this box and the system will search for that word throughout.
Rating Criteria Document
We brought a team of Teachers, Digital-Teacher Librarians, and Instructional Coaches together this year to create the Rating Criteria Document. The intention of this document is to help users rate and add helpful comments to resources in the libraries. Once this upgrade is implemented, users will get a prompt, in the form of a pop-up box, reminding them to rate a resource, assessment or professional learning resource. Here is the actual Rating Criteria document.
Filtering by Most Rated or Title
You will be able to filter by Most Rated or Title by using the radio buttons at the top of the filter. This functionality is being designed just like Amazon! Users will be able to filter by the most rated items, as these rise to the top in popularity. This functionality will be available soon.
Adding a Link to the Digital Tools Database
Soon you will be able to access the Digital Tools database from Bridge to Curriculum. With the ease of one click, you will be able to access Digital Tools from within the curriculum system. The Digital Tools database contains the list of district vetted tools which supports data privacy for our students
Digital annotations are not new to the realms of technology and education. Digital annotation tools continue to be available and ever changing. The power of digital annotations rests with the user and their abilities to capture their thinking, as well as, share it with others. In K-12 classrooms, digital annotations can be a great tool that empowers learners to begin capturing their thoughts and ideas leading to artifacts of learning which demonstrate understandings. Digital annotations can also be a great source for digital/e-portfolios allowing learners to reflect on their growth and development.
Why use digital Annotations?
Why should digital annotations be a part of every classroom and learning environment? Reading, writing, speaking, and listening are all fundamental components of learning which lead to critical thinking and digital annotations have the ability to cover all four areas. Digital annotations empower us as learners to engage with text, capture our thoughts, share with others, and gain insights from others thinking. Writing is a great way to process our thinking and allows us to begin identifying the process to where our thinking is going. When we digitally annotate and begin to share those annotations in collaborative spaces, our annotations become the center of collaborative dialogue and learning in which we grow collectively. When we begin to learn about annotating for learning, collaborative spaces for sharing and engaging in digital discussion opens doors to understand annotation strategies and processes from other learners with more annotation experience.
Getting started with Digital Annotations
Where and how to begin using digital annotation tools can be daunting and intimidating however, there are a few simple tools that can empower us as learners to get started on the journey. The comment feature in Google is one of the simplest ways to get started. The feature is available on Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Drawings and a few other tools in the G-Suite. It is even now available on any file housed in Google Drive. Comments can be added to PDF's, images, MS Word documents and more when stored in Google Drive. A simple highlight of targeted text or information allows a user to capture thinking and share thoughts collaboratively.
If you're looking for a more robust tool with increased options, Kami is a great selection. Kami has paid versions with additional features however, the free version has plenty of options that are perfect for learners to get started annotating digitally. Highlighting, underlining, and strikethroughs (in a variety of colors) are all available at no charge. Additional features include adding text, comments, and drawing shapes. Under a 14-day free trial when you begin your account you'll have access to drawing, text to speech and a few other advanced options to try them out. Collaborative annotations with Kami are a breeze and users can save their annotated files in Google Drive if need be. It also works well with Google Classroom.
Digital annotations can occur on web-based material as well. Hypothes.is is a great option to consider for annotating web sites. Hypothes.is is entirely free to all users for all features. The tool was originally created for medical professionals who were collaborating around medical journal readings to increase learning and growth. Hypothes.is requires a login which is fairly simple and free to set up. Users can highlight information on websites and even add annotations (notes) which appear in a side bar. Annotations can be public, private, or in collaborative groups. Tagging annotations is offered as an advanced feature at no charge as well for users to quickly access collaborative discussions or topics. Annotations appear to users when visiting websites while the Hypothes.is extension is enabled.
Digital annotations can be highly beneficial to us as educators along with our students. Collaboration is now easier than ever with access to new technologies and the tools shared above work just as well for adults as they do for kids. Curating and sharing resources saves us all time and energy and digital annotations can be a quick way for us to collaborate across schools, districts, states, and more. How are you thinking about using digital annotations whether for your professional practice or during instruction with students? We'd love to hear your thoughts using the comment section of this post and look forward to learning more about how you are transforming tasks through digital annotations.
BY GUEST BLOGGER Christopher Brannon Church
Brannon Church is a technology teacher at Carmody Middle School. He has been a teacher in Jeffco for 19 Years. For the first 18 years, Mr. Church taught 6th Grade and this year has joined the Carmody team as their Robotics Teacher. Here he shares how he is making impacts in student lives through the development of Jeffco Generations. Mr. Church provides some great examples of how students learn with technology and ways teachers can access resources to begin integrating technology that engages students in creative learning opportunities.
I have always felt the need to incorporate technology into my day. I realized early in my career that very few things can improve student engagement like introducing a new tool or program. However, this usually only works if the teacher is as excited to explore new opportunities with their students. Fortunately, opportunities are much easier to come by nowadays because of the availability of chromebooks and free software. 95% of the curriculum we are exploring at our middle school comes from free programs that coexist with student Google logins. The Jeffco Ed Tech team is extremely supportive, and has equipment/resources for teachers to borrow to show their administration how important purposeful play can be in learning.
With all the free resources out there that appeal to the STEAM driven teacher, there is no excuse for not trying to implement computer science into some aspect of their day. Most educational apps use the Google Identity Platform which eliminates the burden of student login problems. I feel that Jeffco is headed in the right direction when it comes to preparing students for a successful future.
Demonstrating how to use Makey Makey & Scratch:
An Exit Ticket Using Makey Makey. Students were given the opportunity to create a project using Makey Makey and Scratch. I wanted them to see that they are limited only by their imagination. One on my administrators came to me looking for ways to make exit tickets more engaging and relevant. With student input, we created our interactive exit ticket using Makey Makey and Scratch. It was a huge success, and students immediately tried to jump on the “aluminum foil switch” idea for their own projects.
Jeffco Generations Skills:
These are examples of using technology as a tool to develop Self Direction and Personal Responsibility as well as Communication skills from Jeffco Generations. As an initial activity with Makey Makey, students were to research their favorite childhood song, find the sheet music, create a piano in Scratch, and use the controller from Makey Makey to recreate their song. The most amazing part of this activity is that students completed this project with very little guidance. Students relied on each other to figure out how to fix bugs in their program to make their music selection work.
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.
Skill Application Across Content Areas:
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:
Sphero Bridge Build: Students were to demonstrate Critical and Creative Thinking along with Communication skills as they used the Engineer Design Process to research, design and build a bridge with drinking straws. Bridges needed to support the weight of a Sphero and span over 50 centimeters.
Friday Fly Day: During this activity, students were to research ramp design and create their own ramp to support the weight and acceleration of Sphero. This activity supports Collaboration and Leading by Influence.
Sphero Battle Tanks (captured with a 360 Camera): Students demonstrate Agility and Adaptability during their Sphero Battle Bots competition. Students used the Engineer Design Process to create “tanks” for their Spheros.
Merge Opportunities: During our introduction to 3D design, students were able to use Merge Cubes and AR/VR Goggles to check their 3D Prints. Instead of wasting printer filament, we are able to upload our designs to Object Loader and see if there are any flaws to our design. Students demonstrate Self Direction and Personal Responsibility as they create their own designs using Tinkercad, view their design in Augmented Reality, and print a clean final project.
In conclusion, I would urge all educators who are interested in integrating tech into the classroom to join Twitter. I have found so many creative educators on Twitter that share an endless number of incredible projects or ideas. Feel free to follow me @MrChurch (shameless plug) and make some connections with teachers all over the world that are passionate about integrating technology into their classrooms.
New: CLOSED CAPTIONING IN GOOGLE SLIDES
Presenters can now opt to show real-time automated closed captioning while presenting in Google Slides. Google uses your computer's microphone to detect your spoken presentation, much like using the voice-to-text option that is available within many G Suite tools. This feature can help make your presentation more effective for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, non-native speakers, visual learners, and in loud learning environments.
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
How should you treat others online? How can you handle cyberbullying? How can you preserve your online reputation or “digital footprint” on both social media and elsewhere on the Internet? How should you handle unwanted attention or strangers online? These questions and more are at the center of the Kids Safe Online MS-ISAC Poster Contest. Students from kindergarten through twelfth grade can demonstrate their understanding of these complicated issues for a national audience through the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analytics Center.
Updated Curriculum resources
Going Deeper- Recognition
As students wade deeper into the learning around digital citizenship, and have access to technology in schools, teachers and schools can guide students towards making safe choices in the digital age. Teachers and schools can become Common Sense Educators . As defined by Common Sense, “[These] educators are committed to helping kids and schools thrive in the digital age. Anyone who is an educator -- whether a classroom teacher, administrator, tech coach, librarian...-- can become a Common Sense Educator.” The process includes a personalized roadmap for professional growth in three steps: LEARN, DO, REFLECT. Criteria and resources can be found here and take between four and six hours. This honor is granted for a year at a time and can be submitted anytime before June 30, 2019. Schools can follow a similar process and become Common Sense Schools (resources here). Schools can then promote how they are preparing students with the skills to navigate the digital world.
Using their learning from the Common Sense Media, Be Internet Awesome and other digital resources, students have an opportunity to create landscape posters illustrating the safe use of Internet and/or mobile devices for MS-ISAC, the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center. Students can create hand-drawn and electronic art in either a single full page or a 4-panel comic. Winners from each age group (K-5, 6-8, 9-12) will be chosen and will have their artwork displayed in a calendar which is distributed throughout United States. The artwork is used in campaigns to raise awareness among children of all ages about internet safety and computer safety. The top four entries will also be produced as posters promoting cybersecurity practices. The contest is open now and runs through January 25th.
- Website: https://www.cisecurity.org/ms-isac/ms-isac-toolkit/
- Guidelines and Entry Form
- Please direct any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and they provide more information on the contest. All submissions and forms can be sent to email@example.com as a scanned image, or can be mailed to the address below:
Using the resources above, learners can be given a prompt and the associated article to read. Following the reading, learners can engage in a short writing activity to gather thoughts and develop ideas. Learners can then share their thoughts with others and ideas to seek feedback for further development and discussion. Some ideas might include:
- Writing on Google Docs and using the comment feature for sharing and feedback with peers or even community volunteers.
- Using Google Classroom for digital discussion threads. (See the Guide to New Google Classroom for more information on how to manage discussion threads in Classroom)
- Using Schoology for digital discussion boards. (Schoology Instructor Guide & Schoology Student Guide)
- Creating a blog posts or web pages to share with global audiences and seeking feedback through the comment features.
- Writing a student opinion section to be shared in the school announcements or community newsletter.
- For learners over the age of 13, participating in the New York Times Student Opinion Section to share thoughts and opinions while interacting with other learners across the globe.
- Don't have access to a number of technology devices? Learners can leverage writing on paper, engage in Socratic seminar discussions and send letters to city council members or legislators to share their opinions.
- Participate in an online learning community
- Collaborate with teachers across Jeffco and learn with others beyond your own building
- Apply just-in-time learning with your students
Google Apps for Littles
New this Fall!
We hope to learn alongside of you this Fall!
Digital Teacher Librarian
News & Events