Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New Bloggers and Websites at HSD

I just wanted to call attention to a few new bloggers and websites at HSD. These teachers recently created their blogs or website recently and have really done a great job of consistently posting about their students hard at work.  If you have a minute, check them out.

Bishop's Braniacs Blog

Preschool Rocks

A Joyful Kindergarten

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Remind 101

Remind 101 is a free service that allows teachers to send free text message reminders to their students and parents.  Setting up an account is easy and takes less than 5 minutes.  Once you set up your account, you send your class phone number and class code to parents and students that are interested in receiving text message reminders from you.  Some teachers in our district have started using this service as a way to send homework assignments, reminders about permissions slips or field trips, or really anything you may want to communicate home.

If you would like help getting started, just let me know.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Common Core ELA Standards with Technology by Grade Level from @wilsonjess

Jessica Wilson, a tech integrationist at CSSU, developed a great resource that highlights how tech is integrated into the ELA Common Core Standards by grade level.

Link to the Google Doc

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Rebecca Lallier used Voki with her students last year to create future self avatars as part of their career unit.  Voki was so impressed they interviewed her!  Check out this link to read the full interview: Voki Inteview with Rebecca Lallier

Monday, November 4, 2013

Google Read and Write

Today's 30 minute workshop in the library @HMMS

I've been playing around this week with the browser extension Google Read & Write.  This has many adaptive tools that are great for all our students, and I've even really enjoyed them.  Once installed, when you open a Google Doc you can use multi-colored highlighters, have the text read aloud, access a standard or picture dictionary, create vocabulary lists, and some other great features.  This tool is easy to use with large icons that help you understand the different features.  And as they live at the top of your document, they are easily accessible.  This is a great tool for helping students access information by using the fact finder, or picture dictionary.  It also encourages students to interact with their reading by using the highlighting and note tools.  Students can also have their work, or documents teachers share with them read back to them, further providing access to students that may struggle with text.  Check it out, and if you need help or have questions, let me know.

Monday, October 21, 2013

iMovie Tutorials

In the middle school today we are going to be using iMovie on the iPads to create movie trailers.  Here is a Google Drive folder with picture tutorials on how to do some of the basic maneuvers in iMovie like inserting images, choosing a theme, etc.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Using Storia with Your Students

Storia is an eReading app that some of our teachers have been using in their classes.

One of our first grade teachers at White River started using this app last year.  This is what she has to say about using it with her students:

Storia is a great app from Scholastic that is a free and links to your book club account. There's many features on it and it's easy to use.  Plus you get 5 free books for downloading the app. In my 1st grade classroom, I set up one classroom bookshelf for students to choose from.  You can set up bookshelves for each student that allow you to track what the students are reading.

When you purchase one book, or use your book club points, it is available on all of your devices that sync together. Stories have different features, from beginning readers that have a read to me option to chapter books.  Other stories come with options such as, vocabulary questions, highlighting, vocabulary explanations, and so on.

It is a very engaging app that the students love to use.

November's 30 Minute Tech Workshops

If you are a HSD Staff member, please sign up for any of the 30 minute Tech Workshops for November.

Google Read & Write (November 5th 3:30-4)
Come to this session to learn how to use new features in Google Docs that help students take notes, create vocabulary lists and have text read back to them.

Teaching Digital Citizenship Using Common Sense Media (November 21st 3:30-4)
Come to this session to learn more about the importance of teaching Digital Citizenship consistently, and more about using Common Sense Media in Your Classroom.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My YouTube Channel and Playlists

I often get requests for quick how-to videos from teachers in my district.  Once created, I upload all of these videos to my YouTube Channel and organize them in playlists.  If you're interested check out my YouTube Channel: HartfordK8Tech

I've also created a public playlist that is embedded on our district website that showcases student work. When teachers have videos to share I just add them to this playlist and they automatically are added to our website for parents and our community to see how and what our students are learning.

Check out my tutorial playlist:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Educreations for Sub Plans by @vielleuxcrew

Educreations is a great site and app that lets you create free videos either through your browser or your iPad.  Instead of writing out complex, detailed sub plans the next time you are going to be out, create a tutorial using Educreations.  Check out this one that Nichole made:

You can also create reference videos for topics that students may want to revisit, or better yet, have your students create videos to share with their classmates, or to demonstrate their understanding.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Common Sense Media Resources

If you are looking for ways to engage your students in learning more about internet safety and responsibility, Common Sense Media has many wonderful free resources for you to use in your classroom.  You may want to start with the Digital Citizenship Scope & Sequence to get an overview of material that are available by grade level and topic.   Below are three lessons that will help you guide discussion and keep the conversation going about how to be safe and responsible using technology.  If you would like help teaching these lessons, or want to know more about using Common Sense Media in your curriculum, let me know

Grades 3-5 Lessons

Common Sense Media also has interactive lessons through their Digital Passport program, that you may want to share with your students.  You can set up your class account so you can track student progress through the lessons.  If you would like help previewing the lessons and/or setting up your class accounts, let me know.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

CILC Programs Available

CILC, the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration has many wonderful interactive lessons that you can enjoy with your students.  Our district has a number of credits available to cover the cost of the program in many cases.  If you are interested in any of these programs, or want to learn more about CILC and other opportunities, please let me know.

Click on the topic below to check out some of the interactive lessons available.  The grades correspond with our HSD Science curriculum.

Matter K, 1, 4
Motion K, 2
Force 2, 4, 5
Energy K, 1, 2, 3, 5
Heredity 2, 4
Solar System K, 1, 3, 5

Monday, September 30, 2013

Apps for Math

Here are some apps for teaching, practicing skills and assessing math understanding.

Splash Math

Math Zombies

Virtual Manipulatives

Number Rack


Number Pieces and Number Pieces Basic

ShowMe or Explain Everything

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Add Images and other great things to your Google Forms

Just came across this great feature where you can add images, dates and times to your Google Forms. This feature now allows you to give quizzes or assessments that include images.  Give your students self-grading quizzes on time, on locations, on pretty much anything.  This is also a great feature to help students by providing an image and text as reference.

Check it out.

Google Apps Parent Letter

This is a template letter we use to communicate with our families about our use of Google Apps in their classes.

Dear (insert school or class) Students and Families,

Hartford School District is now using Google Apps for Education which means the following:

Students in our (class or school) will now have Google Apps for Education accounts in school.  These Google accounts, which will include (insert tools used for specific class).  For the security and safety of your children, their Gmail account may not be used to send or receive email accounts outside of the (Hartford School District/School/Class) if they are in elementary school.  This means that parents will not be able to send emails to their students and vice versa.  

Google Apps for Education affords us many wonderful creativity and collaboration tools that we can use with our students.  (Teachers/insert teacher name here), in conjunction with the Technology Integration Specialist (insert name here) have determined which Google Apps are appropriate and useful for use with our students.  All students will review the Acceptable Use Policy and Procedures to ensure that they are clear of guidelines that will ensure safe and responsible use of district technology resources.

If you would like more information about Google Apps for Education, please visit this website:

If you have any questions about our use of Google Apps for Education, please contact us using our email below.

Thank you,

Name and Email of sender(s)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Watch Doc

Watch Doc is a great Chrome Extension that I only discovered this summer.  Once installed in your Chrome Browser, it will notify you when any of the shared files in your Google Drive have been updated.  I have many docs that once shared live somewhere in the depths of my Drive never to be seen again.  This way I am visually prompted whenever someone adds something new, or better yet, when a student is adding to their work that they have share with me.  Click on the picture below to get started.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Welcome new HSD teachers!

Login to network account
Network storage
  • Attendance
  • Grading
New Technology
  • BBTTs

  • Contact groups
  • Attaching files, invitations, images, etc.
  • Creating an event
  • Invitations
  • Calendar layers
  • Creating a document
  • Folders
  • Sharing

Monday, June 10, 2013

Amazing 3rd Grade Popplet

Our third graders used Popplet to take notes and show their understanding of their study about the culture of India.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Doc Scan App

I love using the Doc Scan app to take pictures of documents and save them in my Google Drive or Dropbox. Here are some tutorials I created using another of my favorite apps, Skitch.

Check out these tutorial pictures.

3rd Grade Biography Blabbers

As promised, here are some biography blabbers our 3rd graders created using Blabberize.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Voice Search in Google

Check out Voice Search for all of your Google Searches.

Gmail Inbox is Changing

Changes are coming to your Gmail inbox.  Take a look at these two articles that highlight how these changes are going to change the function and appearance of your inbox.  If you need help navigating the changes, please let me know.

Gmail Gets a Brand New Inbox--Mashable
Google Overhauls Gmail to Take in E-Mail Overload--NY Times

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Biography Blabbers

Next week I'll be working with some 3rd graders to create Blabbers about the person they have been researching for their Biography unit.  Here's the introduction I made to show them how it works.

I'll post their products next week!

Subscription Suggestions

As the year winds down, we inevitably start thinking about next year.  If you're like me, you would like to spend the summer trying new things and getting your materials in order for next year.  If that's the case, here are some suggestions for subscriptions that you might want to try over the summer and get setup for next year.  Your students will think you're the coolest.

Hapara Teacher Dashboard: this service creates a Google Dashboard to help you organize your students’ work in Google Apps.  Some great features of this program allow you to quickly and easily share assignments with students, utilize student dropboxes for paperless assignments, monitor student work, and manage student blogging to name a few.  Check out their demonstration video.
Cost: $4 per student

AirServer: If you have iDevices in your classroom, this service allows you to wirelessly mirror (no more dongles) what is on your device to your computer for projection.  This is especially great if you are using devices with students as they can easily pull up their screen to display to the whole class.
Cost: $4-12

SpellingCity: This service is web based and also has an app.  Create customized lists and practice activities for students.

VoiceThread: We have a district account, so just let me know if you would like your class setup and an introduction to how to use this incredible tool.  Possibilities for student collaboration are endless.

Glogster: Glogster is a great tool for creating interactive posters.  Students can use this to share what they know using videos, text, audio, and images.

If you're interested in any of these sites you can set up a free account to get started trying them.  If you decide you would like a subscription, please let me know.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dynamic Landscapes 2013

Last week some of us from HSD headed to Burlington for the Dynamic Landscapes Conference.  If you are interested in seeing what we presented, I will include the links to our materials below.

This conference is a great opportunity to hear practical and visionary examples of technology integration in VT schools.  Mark your calendars for VT Fest in Killington on November 7th and 8th.

Challenging the Model of 1:1 by Nichole Vielleux and Amanda Paquette
Challenging the Model of 1:1 iBook that details our program this year and provides our tech course lessons this year.  This is saved in Google Drive.  Open it from your idevice and choose to open in iBooks.

iPads for All Students by Cortney Keene

How We're Breaking Open Our School by Amanda Paquette
I participated in the VT Educator SmackDown where I had 5 minutes to talk about one thing I am passionate about.  Here is my presentation.

Mike Hathorn presented about his amazing work using SketchUp and Google Earth.  View his presentation here.

How Hartford Got on the Map


This week we had our final technology integration class with the teachers that participated in the mixed device pilot.  As a final assignment I asked the teachers to complete a reflection and goal assignment that talked about how their year has gone and their goals as they continue with the mixed devices next year.  I have been continuously impressed with the teachers that have worked with me this year.  They agreed to take on this challenge of using mixed devices in their classrooms, and to work with me almost every week, and each one of them has had amazing success.  I want to share some of their reflections about their year of integrating technology.

"I have grown a lot as a teacher this year and my thinking about how a classroom can work and function has shifted. With the influx of iPads and netbooks, the face of the classroom can change, and the way that teacher’s impart knowledge and ideas to their students can and should change as well. This year has given me a new outlook on how to approach certain aspects of teaching, and has pushed me to try new techniques in order to deepen student understanding and interest. I have also reflected upon my lessons and units in a different manner, thinking constantly about how to tweak and refine them to better incorporate the use of these devices. I am happy with how this past year has proceeded in terms of my technology integration and am looking forward to continuing and improving that over the next few years."

"Voicethread is probably my favorite application that I used with my class this year.  Students quickly picked up the skills needed to take and upload a photo and then talk or write about it.  Many of them preferred typing to speaking, but for one assignment they had to either audio or video record.  My students also enjoy looking at their classmates’ presentations and commenting on them.  Again, I’m so impressed with how quickly my students pick up on the technology and how adept they are at using.  For those who have questions there are always others in the class who can answer them.  It’s like I’m co-teaching with several students – it’s a great feeling!"

"Along with the use of the devices I also taught digital citizenship.  It is very important that I prepare my students for their digital futures.  Use of digital tools comes so naturally to them.  They need to be intentionally taught how to use these resources responsibly and safely.  The digital citizenship lessons from Common Sense Media were easy to follow and taught the essential information students need to be good digital citizens."

"This year when I started this course I was struggling with how would this work with first graders. They are very young and come in with a variety of experiences when it comes to using technology. One of my major focuses was to have students understand that when we are using the ipads and ipod touches they are not toys for playtime. Instead they are tools that help us to learn about Science and Social Studies topics. They are also tools that can help them to improve reading, writing, and problem solving skills."

"Using the multiple devices in my classroom has made me a better teacher and provided a new avenue to allow my students to become more engaged in their learning. My students are going to have lasting memories of the new way they learned material in 5th grade.  Thank you for helping me create these memories with my students."

"As I approach next year, I already feel like I am way ahead of where I started this year. I have a toolbox full of programs, websites, apps, etc. that I already have lessons for, plus I have many things that I didn’t get to really try this year that I want to get to next year.  My goal for next year is to allow the students the ability to not use a program just once and move on, but to instead get to know it well so that they can be self sufficient and self motivated to use it themselves."

"I have learned this year that even though I have not mastered ANY device or program, I can still present the basic ideas and that it is just fine not to be an expert. I have found the children are much better at using these devices and programs. I really only have to introduce these to them and they become my teachers and the teachers of their peers. Teacher/student and student/teacher...the lines become blurred.  Isn’t that what collaboration is all about?  It is the ultimate paradigm and necessary if our students are to succeed once they leave school."

As you can see I work with an amazing group of teachers. Their willingness to try new things and take risks in their classrooms, and to share what they have been doing freely and openly has helped shift the culture in our district about what technology integration can look like. As I reflect on how this year has gone there are clear successes. These teachers are now comfortable trying new things, collaborating with their students and allowing for more choice and flexibility in their curriculum and assessments: all practices that further student engagement and motivation. While we have had successes, there are always ways we can continue to improve. For my own part, I will continue to try and find ways to support teachers in developing comfort and skill in using technology, but also in helping teachers understand how they can use technology to create learning environments that truly challenge and engage our students in real-world problems.

As I conclude this post, I can hear the first grade in the room next door using Google Docs to add comments to their peers' writing. Exciting stuff.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

April-May Tech Integration Course Plans and Assignments

Class 4/11/13 in the DBS Library 3:30-4:30

We are in the homestretch!  This month we are going to continue to focus on ways we can share all that we have learned this year in our tech adventures.  While many, if not all, of you feel that there is still much to learn, you should feel confident in your experiences and knowledge of technology integration.  This month, please spend time finalizing your plan and conducting your workshop for staff, reflecting on your year of using mixed devices, and setting goals for continued work in integrating technology.

Class Plan:

  • Intro App Demo: My Math Script, Flipboard (for personalized class reading) (10 minutes)
  • Presentation/Workshop Check In (5 minutes)
  • Lesson Presentation: Lanni Luce West/Linda Gilbert/ Mariann Thompson (15 minutes)
  • Google Hangout Reflection/Issues: (15-20 minutes)
  • Digital Citizenship reflection and next steps for HSD
  • Reflection/Goal Setting

Assignments for May 20, 2013 @WRS (5 minutes)

  • Google Hangout with another class or someone else
  • Reflection/Goal Setting
    • Post about Google Hangout experience
    • Write/create a reflection about your work this year including your goals for continued work and possible supports needed for next year.  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dynamic Landscapes 2013

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to go to Dynamic Landscapes on May 16th and 17th.  This tech conference is filled with practical and inspiring workshops.  We even have a few workshops from people at HSD on topics like using iPads with Special Education students, mixed device instruction, and using Trimble SketchUp and Google Earth.  There are quite a few of us from HSD that are going to be attending, and it would be great to share which sessions we might attend and coordinate our trip.  Please post to our wall if you are going.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Google Tools For Schools Summer Institute

----------- Google Tools For Schools Summer Institute  -------

Google Apps?  Chromebooks?  Google Keep?  Google Plus?  Google Hangout?  
Which features can educators leverage to create powerful collaborative learning environments?
Find out at Google Tools For Schools Summer Institute  2013  -  or better yet,  send this on to your teachers and staff
Find out more at www.GoogleToolsForSchools.org  about the 6 Summer Institutes happening throughout Vermont
- Northeast Kingdom
- NorthWest
- Central 
- Chittenden County
-Southern Vermont
- Online (for intermediate or Year 2 participants)

The Google Tools For Schools Summer Institute Website has been updated with the  Official Registration For Summer 2013.

More GREAT NEWS  -  by working closely together with CVEDCVT as a partner we have been able to reduce the cost of the institute  AND add value!  

As a participant of Summer Institute 2013  you will will receive a Digital Toolbox that includes  everything you need to experience the Newest Features of Google Tools including  including Chrome OS,  Google Keep,  Google Plus, Google Hangouts, and so much more.
The Digital Toolbox will include a DYNAMIC ebook that contains videos, live links, and  lots of examples of student and teacher use of Google Tools, including examples linked to the Common Core.  It will also include a Chromebook that will give you the experience you need to understand how to leverage Chrome OS  for you and your students.  Your Digital Toolkit will  include a subscription to a lively online community of Google Tools for Schools users to collaborate with during and beyond the course.  Community members will receive access to projects,  cheatsheets, webinars, and other resources organized in a way that makes sense for educators. 

Another  VALUE ADDED feature you will notice is   the  AMAZING Staff of Google Experts from around the State.  And no matter which location you attend,  you will have ACCESS to their EXPERIENCE and EXPERTISE as we all work together to develop the most up to date materials and resources for you based on our area of expertise.

So sign up now  at www.GoogleToolsForSchools.org and come learn from: 

Lucie deLaBruere  
    Google Apps Certified Trainer
    Google Apps Certified Teacher
    Google and Mobile Tools 
    Google as e-Portfolio Specialist

Elizabeth McCarthy 
    Google Apps Certified Trainer
    Google as e-Portfolio Specialist

Jean Campbell
    Google Apps Certified Trainer
    Chrome Management / Domain Administration

Linda McSweeney 
    Google Qualified Trainer
    Google Search Specialist

Bjorn Behrendt
    Google Apps Certified Trainer
    Google Domain Administrator
    Google Apps Script Specialist
Dave Davidson
    Google Maps/Earth Specialist

Matt Allen
    Google Apps in the Classroom Specialist
    Google Search Specialist
    Google as LMS Specialist

Tony Galle
    Google in the Arts Specialist

Bonnie Birdall 
    Google for Younger Learners Specialist

Eric Hall 
    Google in the Classroom Specialist
    Google Domain Administrator
    Google and STEM specialist

Graduate Tech Courses Available at Marlboro

Registration is open at Marlboro College Graduate School for Continuing Education classes. Spring Term begins May 3rd and finishes on August 10th. There are blended and online classes tailored for summer schedules.

Tech4Educators, (3 credits) Description:

Each summer tech expert and veteran VT teacher, Lisa Brooks, guides teachers in the building of lessons & practical content for use in the coming school year. This class is for teachers, specialists, and administrators in K-12 and higher education. Because the content changes yearly, even if you’ve previously taken Tech4Educators the course is open to all for additional credit each year. Online class begins May 3rd, in-person week-long class: July 8-12. Possible projects we’ll explore this summer are:

•       How to assign and manage a 3 minute video documentary without knowing how to make a video.
•       Find and vet tablet apps in your content area and develop lesson plans
•       Make and test resources to “flip your classroom.”
•       Build simple Web sites, templates, and wikis for teacher and student use
•       Make better graphics, photos, and videos

Contact Joe Heslin: 802-258-9209 jheslin@gradschool.marlboro.edu
Register Online: https://gradschool.marlboro.edu/admissions/application/cep
Course Info: https://gradschool.marlboro.edu/academics/edtech/courses/#EDU910