ITRT News & Updates

ITRT Newsletter for Elementary Schools - January 2015

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MS Office 2013

Information and directions for downloading your personal copy of Microsoft Office was emailed on December 18, 2014. If you did not receive this email, deleted it, or need help please enter a help ticket into the work order system (http://sydney/otportal) if you are on the district's network or email the help desk ( if you are not on the district's network.

*Please note: If you are downloading Office on a Mac, the version will be 2011 as this is the latest version provided by Apple.

Web 2.0 Tool - ReadWriteThink Timelines

What is ReadWriteThink? ReadWriteThink is a website, in partnership with the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English, whose mission is to provide "access to the highest quality practices in reading and language arts instruction by offering the very best in free materials."

What is the Timeline Interactive? Timeline allows students to create a graphical representation of events or processes and allows both words and images. Timelines can be printed or saved to continue work at a later time. The timeline homepage also shares numerous lesson ideas for grades k-12. This is a great resources for students of all grade levels to create products that show what they know!



Epic! is the first "All-You-Can-Read" eBook service for kids. Epic provides a reading experience by letting kids choose and instantly access the books they want to read, without the need to purchase and download them one-by-one.

Click here for iTunes link

Please Note: When receiving an iPad for school use through school funds, grants, donations, PTA funds, etc., initial set up has to be completed by your ITRT. Please contact your ITRT as soon as you receive the iPad(s).


Check out this great infographic: Tech Tools for BYOD. Find out more about BYOD and what it means for teachers and students. This was shared at the ISTE 2014 Conference by Rachelle Wooten, educational technology specialist from Texas.


Here are a few Pixie tips and tricks that may be helpful for you and your students!

  1. Click on Options on the right side (gears) > switch the Name button to ON and type name so that it will appear on the page.
  2. From the File menu, click Options > Edit Instructions. Type instructions for students to follow. They will show up on the right side of the screen. Students can click the speaker icon to hear the instructions read aloud. This is great if you want to create your own activity for students to access from the shared drive, and complete on their own.
  3. When you want to have multiple pictures to use, then make sure the picture is highlighted, then click Options from the File menu and choose clone. Pictures can also be locked and set as one size (scalable must be unchecked).

Social Media Spotlight:

We are excited to offer a workshop series to parents called Connecting Families-Helping Parents Connect with their Children’s Digital Lives.

The goal of this workshop series is to support families in raising kids who think critically, participate responsibly, and behave ethically in their online lives. The program materials were developed by Common Sense Education and are endorsed by the National PTA.

February Workshop Date/Description:

February 9, 2014

7:00-8:30 pm at The Georgetown School


What do teens think about cyberbullying?

How can they be a part of the solution?


Think beyond whole class instruction when it comes to your SMART Board and Notebook 14 software. Have students use the SMART Board or Notebook 14 software on desktop computers as a station during centers. Head to the SMART Exchange to search for pre-made activities to use with your students. Want to learn and explore this idea more? Come to the "SMART Stations" professional development session on January 29th from 3:15-4:15 at Henry Clay Elementary.

File Management

With Office 2013 here for home use, do you need a more flexible file management system? Do you need to see your lesson plans at home, or on your phone or iPad? Do you need to move past your h-drive and have a need to access your files outside of school? Me too! One great option is to use Dropbox, a leading online storage service. Think of Dropbox as your flash-drive or jump-drive in the cloud. Create a lesson plan at school on your computer, edit it at home on your iPad, share it with a colleague, and open it up on your phone during the lesson to keep you organized. Access your files anytime, anywhere… for free. Awesome!

Technology Integration

Did you know that technology integration "improves K-12 achievement when digital and face-to-face instruction are integrated". Did you know that technology integration provides students with opportunities to connect and collaborate with a global and authentic audience, improve communication skills, and become creative innovators. Take a look at this 4:53 minute video to explore other reasons why appropriate and effective technology integration is a must have in your classroom. You can read about it here as well.

EdTech 2015 Conference

Thursday, March 12th, 8:30am

1000 Floyd Ave

Richmond, VA

Save the date - The EdTech conference is back!

For those unfamiliar with EdTech, it is a regional educational technology conference geared towards teachers, administrators, school librarians, and ITRTs. This year's theme is Personalized Learning: Sparking Innovations for Students and Self.

This one-day conference will be held at Virginia Commonwealth University on Thursday, March 12th.

Click here for more information and to register: