Hour of Code

This week is Computer Science Education Whourofcodeeek! The “Hour of Code” project is leading the celebration again. If you have time this week and you want to give your students a sampling of what it is like to program, then this is for you. We have done this for the last few years and the kids seem to enjoy it. Here is a link to this year’s tutorials.

They have the classic Angry Birds and Frozen tutorials and added more including one from Moana, the new Disney movie, and Make Music with Scratch.
If you want help trying this in your classroom, let us know. Also, these tutorials are available all year so you can try them any time you want, not just this week.

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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Are you thinking of flipping your classroom or using blended learning? Here is a great tool to help you add some videos with built in assessment to your lessons.

EDpuzzle is a free website that will let you take either videos you make yourself or videos you find on the internet and edit them to just the parts you want and add some assessment questions to make sure the students are watching and understanding them.

Here is a link to a great review of the website. http://www.edudemic.com/edpuzzle-review-easy-use-tool-lets-teachers-quickly-turn-online-video-lessons/

Check out the review or come to one of the next Technophiles meetings when Mike and Molly will demo it for you.

Google Keep

For the 2016-2017 school year I decided to screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-3-12-38-pmtry to dump my paper planner (which didn’t work perfectly for a school environment) and go 100% digital. I looked at many digital options for organizing all the threads that comprise the fabric of my personal, family, and Applewild lives. After a little over a month, the experiment was not 100% successful. I write this Tech Tuesday blog sitting next to a paper planner that has gathered and secured all the messy loose ends of my life together. However, one digital tool (suggested by Mike) that I am still using and enjoying is Google Keep.

I think of Google Keep as a collection of virtual, enhanced post-it notes. I use Keep mainly for two purposes: daily, to-do checklist list & weekly menu planning (see post image). Some of the features worth noting are:

  • You can create checklists with scheduled reminders
  • Organize your notes with colors or labels
  • Search all notes by keyword, label or color
  • Share a note with a colleague or student
  • Add images or links
  • If the note grows into a bigger project, it is easy to copy it as a Google Doc to your Google Drive.

Learn more by checking out this YouTube Video or by browsing around the Google Keep Help Page.



Google Forms Auto-Correcting Quizzes


Let’s simplify assessment!

Do you give your students multiple choice quizzes? If you do then you need to check out the latest update to Google Forms. They added an auto-correcting quiz feature.

If you haven’t used Google Forms yet, it is a Google Tool you can use to collect information. You create the form by typing in the questions and if it is multiple choice, you type in the potential answers. Then students fill out the form online. Their responses are collected and organized in a spreadsheet so you can analyze the results.

You can turn any quiz into an auto-correcting Google Form. Just tell the form what the correct answers are and when the students take the quiz, it will be corrected for you. You can choose to have the student’s score pop up right away or you can deliver that information yourself.

Try it out and let me know what you think!!