Updated Google Sites

Is it time for a refresh on your website??

Google Sites has been completely re-written and is much simpler to use than the old version. Here is a link to a short video I found online about the new interface.
https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=rSvnWUiCiFc

Jake and Micaela have both used the new version to create their teacher site. Here is a link to their sites if you want to see what the results can look like.
https://sites.google.com/ applewild.org/4thgrade
https://sites.google.com/ applewild.org/schrader
If you are interested in learning more about the new Google Sites, we will try to cover it during Wednesday’sTechnophiles meeting and if enough teachers are interested and would like to have a workshop, we can schedule a meeting to specifically cover it (like the Social Media sessions from the fall). .



Strategic Searching

strategic-search Strategic searching is one of the important skills built into the Information Literacy Curriculum. Modeling strategic search skills for students is a great way to help reinforce those search skills between research projects. If you are worried about trying this in front of students, please remember – watching you edit and improve an ineffective search strategy is as important a lesson as whatever topic you are presenting. If you are still feeling reticent, talk to me and I can help identify a library based database that would be a good fit for your search. For a guide, CommonSense Media uses the SEARCH Model to define the steps of strategic searching, and has a curriculum you can download. All of the steps are valuable, but the tips in “A” – apply search strategies – can get rusty when you don’t use them often. Here are a few helpful reminders:

Boolean Operators: These can be used searching online or in any of our school databases. When searching in Google, the word “NOT” is replaced by the minus sign (Washington -DC).

Phrase Searching: Use quotation marks around search terms with multiple words (“World Trade Organization” or “Thomas Aquinas”)

Advanced Searching/Limiters: Show students how to take advantage of any advanced searching options. You can find them on most of the search engines and they can be very helpful in limiting your results by certain categories (e.g. date or type of result).

If you are just searching online in Google, here is a helpful infographic that describes some of the ways you can customize your search: Download PDF Version 





Faculty Tech Spotlight

Spotlight is on:

Breezy Riposa, 7th grade Science

Specific topic being taught:

Weather and Climate Unit: Concentration -Climate Change

Background Information

Learning Goal:

Students will create an aesthetically pleasing and formative poster that demonstrates their expertise on one of the climate change clues.

Technology used:



Description: Posters

Students were asked to create posters that reflect in a clear and formal manner what they have come to learn about their specific topic. Students were given some basic design guidelines and links to more information about the effective presentation of data and text.


  • Your poster will be created on ONE slide in PowerPoint.
  • Your poster should read from top left to bottom right, like you are reading a page.
  • It’s important to maintain a good contrast between the background color and the text color. Consider using a light color background and dark text.
  • A gradient color fill in the background, especially black, will print poorly. It will have very thin visible lines that you will not see on your computer monitor.
  • The colors that you see on your computer monitor will not reproduce exactly the same on a printed poster, as monitor color settings vary. You can expect that there will be a color shift of 2 or 3 shades.
  • If you have graphs or charts from Excel to include in your poster, simply copy in Excel and paste into PowerPoint. Add description at bottom labeling the diagram Figure 1. Figure 2. …ect.
  • You will have to adjust the font size depending on the amount of text in your poster and the style of font you choose. For readability, you should not use a font size any smaller than 8 points.
  • The most common fonts are Times New Roman and Arial. Other fonts include Arial Black, Franklin Gothic Heavy, Tahoma, Trebuchet, Verdana, Garamond, Book Antiqua, or Bookman Old Style, just to name a few. This is not an exhaustive list, just a few examples.
  • For consistency, it would be best to make all the headers the same size and use the same font size throughout the poster for all body text.

Websites share with design information:

Rubric : http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson1076/rubric.pdf

Evaluating the Technology


  • Students with poor handwriting or organization will be able to participate with more confidence
  • Final product of the Poster is free from mistakes/ errors such as spelling or smudges
  • Waste less paper and resources, such as poster boards, art supplies, time putting the information together
  • Students are exposed to PowerPoint so that they can practice using tools for formatting.
  • Students practice design goals of presenting their information in a clean and formal manner.  
  • Students learn the balance of eye catching and a purposeful design.
  • Students creating these posters on PPT are relatively low-pressure alternative to poster boards.
  • Students practice using graphs and images to help support their ideas.


  • Posters can only be printed on computer sized paper …for now 😉
  • Some students need lots of guidelines and support because they have never done anything like this before.

Would you use this technology tool again?

  • YES

Is there anything you would do differently next time?

I would give the students a more formal rubric so that they are more clear about the overall goals of the assignment.

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