Berlin Tech News

March 2016

Spring Break - Turn off electronics!

Please turn off your desktops, printers, projectors and laptops in your room for the holiday! Thanks!

Generic Username

Please refrain from using a generic login for your students. Please have them use their own unique username and passwords when logging onto the computers. This is for their security. When logged into a generic account, their documents and emails could be compromised by the next person that sits at the computer. (Documents being deleted, emails being sent out by the incorrect user, classroom assignments being deleted or tampered with, gaining access to programs that were logged into where the username and passwords were saved - OnCourse, Pearson, Study Island, etc.)

Any generic usernames for DDE will be disabled at the end of April, so please get your students in the habit of logging in as themselves now.

If your student does not know their username/password, please let me know!

(This does not apply to Pre-K or Kindergarten, since they do not get a username and have to use the generic account.)

Google MyMaps (for History, Geography lessons)

Maps are a fundamental part of everyday life. Even if we don’t pull paper maps out of our car glove compartments anymore, we still rely on GPS and digital directions.

Without maps, we’re lost.

With maps, we can clearly see how widespread or concentrated our data and content is.

Maps touch practically every content area and grade level.

MyMaps, a somewhat unnoticed app in the Google Apps suite, lets students create their own highly customized maps to share with others and display. (Teachers and schools can create them, too!)

The connections to curriculum are innumerable. Students can create their own maps displaying all sorts of content. This post lists 20 ways to engage students in content with MyMaps. But first, here are some of the app’s finer points:

  • Drop pins anywhere on a global map
  • Add pins from a search in the search box
  • Add information to pins (title, description, photos, etc.)
  • Choose the kind of pin you’d like (by color or different icons)
  • Draw lines or shapes over maps to help viewers interpret content easier
  • Adding pins to different layers let you organize and turn certain locations on and off
  • Create maps by importing data
  • Zoom to the view you prefer and set it as your default view
  • Share maps via link or embed them in a website

Want to see it in action? Check out this tutorial walk-through video created on YouTube:

Wondering how you might use this in your class? Here are some ideas …

1. Important locations in a historical event –Have students plot locations on a MyMap, filling in additional details as well as historic or current photos and links to more information.

2. Setting of a novel, short story or other literary work – Where was the story set? Instead of dropping a single pin there, plot the different locations that show up throughout the story.

3. Calculate rate of travel – As students learn about calculating distance/rate/time, have them choose locations and calculate the travel time to get there. They can add pins to those locations and show their work in the description of the pin.

4. Create a map-based timeline with layers – Studying content over time? Have students plot events or locations of each decade (or year or century) in a different layer. When viewing, you can turn off all layers except one to see that time period … or see all of them together with all layers turned on.

5. Plot locations with certain environments – Seeing locations with different climates and vegetation can be clearer with a MyMap. Students can add pins of different locations with pictures and description of how they’re different.

6. Log important or historic locations in an area being studied – Studying a certain location? Before digging into your content, have students do some preliminary Internet research and create a MyMap with their findings. They’ll be better prepared for your unit of study!

7. Turn statistics into a visual aid – Looking at the top 50 cities for obesity or fitness? Studying population statistics? Add that data to the description. Then use the “individual styles” option on the layer you’re editing to make the pin’s color change based on the data.

8. Map where alumni are going to college (or have graduated) – Show how far from home students are studying, have studied or will be studying with a MyMap.

9. Provide parents with an interactive map for a field trip – Give parents clear, interactive information about your trip with a MyMap. Plus, they can click the “Directions to here” button right from your map!

10. Display locations with WiFi in a school district – If not every student has Internet at home, provide a map of locations with free WiFi in the district.

11. Make a pinboard of locations where your class has Skyped – Does your class do Mystery Skype games? Use Google Hangouts to provide virtual guest speakers or field trips? Create a MyMap of all the locations you’ve video called.

12. Log locations where political candidates have visited – Want to see who’s campaigning where? Create a layer for each candidate and pin the locations where they’ve stumped.

13. Identify locations where animal species live – Animal units get a whole different dimension when students can see where they live. Add details and photos to those pins, too.

14. Create map layers with different forms of government – Create a layer for each type of government, and add pins to those layers to see where the democracies, monarchies, oligarchies, etc. are.

15. Take standard mapping activities to the next level – Do you already do some form of mapping activity? Find ways that the MyMaps features listed above could take it to the next level.

16. Display where students’ families live – As you’re getting to know new students, pin their home locations on a map. It will give insight into the most-represented and least-represented areas of your district that you might miss otherwise.

17. Make a map of where authors you’ve studied are from – Pin their hometowns. Add biographical information, other books, etc. in the description as well as photos of the author and/or covers of their books.

18. Map how words are different in different locations – Is it a lift or an elevator? An apartment or a flat? In Spanish, is the word for “peanut” cacahuate, cacahuete or maní? Create a word usage map.

19. Create a map with locations of school sports opponents – Athetics departments can provide a great service to parents with a map of other schools. Parents can get directions or contact information.

20. Map where former Olympians of the sport you’re studying are from – Studying a sport in physical education? See where Olympians of that sport are from or where that sport is popular by creating a MyMap.


  • Maps are printable. Click the three dots next to the “Add layer” and “Share” links and choose “Print map.”
  • When you add a line to a map, it can create a driving route, biking route or walking route for you and display it on the map.
  • Use the ruler to measure distances on the map.


2016 PARCC Test Administrator Training Video

2016 PARCC Test Administrator Guide

TestNav Overview (PARCC)

TN UiOverview
If you want to learn more about auto-grading your assignments in Google Classroom, join my "class" where I have all the resources listed in one place :) ALL Materials are under About Tab and then listed below or you can also go to the shared Flubaroo 101 Drive Folder that is listed under About.

Code to join: hi80vhj