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Showing posts from January, 2015

"Zoom In" to US History!

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It is (relatively) easy to find ways to incorporate technology into STEM classes. But that's not always the case with other subjects.

Needless to say, I was excited when I heard about "Zoom In" this morning via one of the list serves I am on. The basic idea is that it's a free online platform to support middle school US history teachers as students with awesome, high quality resources. I have posted the email from researcher Noah Goodman under the video below, which explains it a bit more. Here is a video from their YouTube channel to introduce you to the first component of their sequence, the Hook.



"Zoom In is a free online platform that supports middle-school US history teachers and students as they dive into primary and secondary-source documents, collect textual evidence, and build understanding through writing. Through a grant from the Gates Foundation, the platform will
launch to the public in Spring of 2015 with 18 lessons across the course of US History. …

Edmodo Release iOS App for Parents

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As more and more teachers are moving into the digital realm, many are finding out the hard way the positives and negatives of each option. Lack of parental involvement or viewing is a common concern. In the digital age, more parents are expecting that they can see everything that their child does and are often shocked, to say the least, when they can't.

This morning I received an email from Edmodo addressing that concern.



They now have an Edmodo for Parents app for iOS!

The app is supposed to securely link to the student's Edmodo account to give their parents/guardians the ability to see upcoming assignments and due dates as well as to see the latest announcements for the class. Here is a screenshot from the App Store.


In terms of compatibility, the App Store says "Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus." So it likely won't work with older iPod Touches, iPads, etc. B…

Math Activities with Desmos Teacher Panel

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We recently hosted a math workshop for Apple that focused on STEM/STEAM in the classroom using technology. One of the apps that we used was Desmos and we actually got to meet the developer thanks to the wonders of Skype. If you are a math teacher, you have likely heard of Desmos. But you may not have heard of or seen the teacher's side to the awesome website.

There are a TON of awesome features with Desmos, but the activities page (located here) has some of my favorites. There are four polygraph activities as well as five others (with more to come). The polygraph activities pair two students together and has one student chose a graph from the panel with the other asking questions to try and determine what graph they picked.


From the teacher's perspective, I like Desmos activities because the teacher is able to see the students' progress as they go through the games and have a record of their activity. If I were using them in my classroom, I would likely have the teacher…

SolveMe Mobiles Math Puzzles

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In my continuing effort to close some of the many tabs I have open after the last two weeks of in depth professional development meetings, I wanted to share the SolveMe Mobiles math puzzle website that was shared with me during the math workshop we hosted. It is a website offered by Education Development Center, Inc., who "designs, implements, and evaluates programs to improve education, health, and economic opportunity worldwide." [source]


The premise is fairly simple. You are given a mobile that has beams balanced under a number. Then you need to use your deduction skills to determine what the values of the different shapes are. The more you answer, the harder they get. There are 164 SolveMe puzzles and then even more available through the community. For students who need to be challenged even more, they can create their own puzzles to post in the SolveMe community. The best thing is that SolveMe Mobilesis completely free and you don't need to create an account unless …

Report Writing for Math-based Classrooms with FastFig

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I'm at a conference right now starring at a gazillion tabs I have open in my browser filled with awesome sites and tools I want to share with folks. Yes, I can bookmark them, save them to a tab cloud... the list goes on. But you want to know how long the list of "awesome need to share" is already? Yup. So I'm going to be a bad student and start posting them in order to get my tab load down.

Last week I spent 1.5 days learning about math with technology. One of the sites that I came across is called FastFig. The concept is simple. It's like word processing, but geared entirely towards mathematics. I know that you can put math figures into other systems. But it often is done via copying a photo of the equation from something else and pasting the graphic into the one you are working in. Boring! And can I mention time intensive?


FastFig is completely free. "Create as many new documents and pages as you want by clicking on the button labeled "New" in the…

A Google a Day!

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I've been cruising around on the Google for Education blog this morning And rediscovered the "A Google A Day" website. The premise is simple. You have a question to answer using Google. The challenge is to refine your search enough to actually get the result. I know that many students often struggle with searching effectively and this seems to be a fun and engaging way to encourage them to get better. I can see using this as an activity to start off the week/day, a way to wrap up the week, or an activity to do for those kids who always seem to get done with their tasks much faster than everyone else.


New Features on Google Classroom

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Yesterday I posted my initial review of the Google Clasroom app for iOS and Android devices. But there are other updates that came out for Classroom that I know are frequently requested features.
Teacher Assignment Page You now have the ability to see the status of all of your assignments across the classes you are teaching in one place. Click on the three bar button in the upper left hand corner when you are logged into Classroom. You'll see that your classes are now broken out into what you are teaching and what you are enrolled in (assuming you are enrolled in one). Under the teaching menu, you can chose "Assignments".


Then you will come to a page where your assignments are broken down in between those needing to be reviewed and those you have reviewed.
The bars on the left side of the assignment help to color code what class the assignment falls in as well as the name under the assignment name itself. Archiving Classes The other awesome feature that came out is the a…

Workshop: Using the Technology in HS Mathematics

Today we're hosting Pam Buffington from EDC via MLTI for the "Using the Technology in HS Mathematics" workshop. We are really fortunate to be able to have such awesome opportunities for professional development come so close to us.

I wanted to share out my notes document from today's session so that those of you who couldn't attend could see what tools we are learning about.

Doctopus + Goobric Update

For those of you who have been a fan of Goobric, you may or may not have noticed the awesome update that was released earlier this month. A teacher at the middle school noticed this morning and sent me a message telling me to check it out. So I did! In this screencast, I'll look at how the Goobric update released in January 2015 has improved the already awesome tool. Be sure that you are using Google Chrome to maximize the experience.

Google Classroom App for Android and iOS Devices Revealed!

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While I was attending the Apple workshops we were hosting in our district yesterday, I noticed an exciting bit of news on Google+ for those of you with mobile devices and are Google Classroom users. Google released an app for Android and iOS devices! According to the Google website, there are some clear advantages to using the app if you have the appropriate device:
Snap a photo: Attach photos to assignments or posts to share with the teacher or the whole class.Share from other apps: Attach files, images, and links to Classroom assignments right from other apps.Offline caching: Access Classroom assignments without an internet connection. If you are interested in checking it out, here are the links to get it on the App (for iOS devices like iPads or iPhones) or Play store:


I also took the time this morning to look at the app on both an Android device and iOS device (an iPad 2). Here is my initial review and a look at what the app does.

Workshop: Enhancing Teaching and Learning in STEM

We're gearing up for our second Apple session of the day. This afternoon we will be discussing "Enhancing Teaching and Learning in STEM" with the fine folks from Apple. I will be taking notes as best as I can and sharing them through the embedded Google Document below. Hopefully it will help those of you who aren't able to be here!

Workshop: Enhancing Teaching and Learning in Language Arts

Today I am based at the technology office while I provide on site support for workshops with Apple that we are hosting. This morning's session is based around Enhancing Teaching and Learning in Language Arts. I am going to do my best to take notes while we are in session and share them via the embedded Google Document below. Hopefully I can keep up so those of you who aren't here can still learn from the session!


Free, safe, and secure text message reminders with Remind.com

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I first introduced folks to Remind.com last year when I discovered their site. The basic premise is simple. It enables you to send out text message and/or email reminders to students and parents without needing to know their personal number/email address and without them needing to know yours. And, even better, it's free! Yes, it does mean that you need to have parents and students sign up. However, if you are looking for a way to easily remind everyone about important events or assignments, I'd highly recommend checking it out. My sister is a first grade teacher in rural New Hampshire and has found it very helpful to keep her students' parents informed. And we have a teacher at the high school who is using it to keep her club members informed about upcoming meetings and events.

Getting Started with Remind from Remind
But that's just the basic level. Here are some more features that intrigue me:
Use Remind for free on any device.Send a message or question, watch as stu…

Maine GIS User Group

I received an email from the folks at MLTI about the upcoming Maine GIS User Group Meeting. Knowing that many of our teachers are interested in leveraging GIS technology in their classrooms, I thought that sharing their message with all of you would be helpful.


Dear Colleagues,

Are you interested in learning about easy-but-powerful ways of incorporating mapping technology into your classroom? Then you'll want to attend the Maine GIS User Group and GIS Educators Winter Meeting on February 2nd at the Wishcamper Center on the University of Southern Maine Portland campus.

Registration is now open and an agenda available at: http://www.megug.org/

Here are a few FAQs...

What is "GIS," and why should I care? Geographic information systems (GIS) is the term for all those cool mapping tools that have become so prevalent today on the web, desktop and mobile devices. Mapping technology also offers an easy, low-cost, and engaging way to meet learning goals with hands-on, student-centered…

Hide Dropped Students in Infinite Campus

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I had a teacher ask me if there was a way to hide or remove students who are no longer in your class. The answer is maybe. It depends on if they are officially dropped from your class and appearing as red in your roster and gradebook. If not, then no, you cannot remove them until they have been unenrolled from the class.

If the student is showing up as red in your gradebook though, you can hide them so you don't have to worry about them. Here is a screenshot to help you do it:


Official Press Release: BEMS Names Apple Distinguished School!

Hot off the presses! I wanted to start Wednesday off on a high note by sharing the official press release announcing that Bonny Eagle Middle School has been named an Apple Distinguished School. It was a lengthy, in-depth project that really gave us a method through which to examine our integration of technology at BEMS. I am super proud to be part of such an awesome school and community. Bonny Eagle Middle School named Apple Distinguished School
Buxton, Maine — January 6, 2015 — Bonny Eagle Middle School is pleased to announce it has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for 2014–2016 for its creative and innovative use of technology in the classroom. By providing universal access to current technology hardware and software, teaching and practicing skills in managing information technology, and utilizing technology as an enhancement of instruction, Bonny Eagle Middle School epitomizes these beliefs and strategies every day.  The Apple Distinguished School designation is res…

Welcome to 2015! Now go make it awesome.

I'm still struggling with it. 2-0-1-5. Wow.Past... Beyond being the first month of the year, January is also when I celebrate my "job-iversary". I started my teaching career right here in MSAD #6 NINE YEARS AGO. That is so hard for me to fathom. So much has changed since then and yet it feels like it was just yesterday.
Back then, the high school didn't even have the laptop carts never mind the 1:1 MLTI program they do now. We didn't have Infinite Campus. We were still using FirstClass for email. And my classroom was the first in the district to get an interactive whiteboard (SmartBoard in my case). Present... Since then, our district has continued the 1:1 MLTI program from 7th grade all the way through to 12th grade with our 6th grade being on our own 1:1 implementation. We are getting close to 1:1 with iPads in our lower level schools. Infinite Campus became our student management system and everyone has migrated to an online grade book. MSAD #6 also became a Go…