December 2015

❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ 12 Days of Technology ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆

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12 Days of Technology!

Happy Holidays, Teachers!

As we look forward to our holiday break, technology leaders across the district collaborated to build a 12 Days of Technology excITe edition as a gift to our wonderful teachers and students. Enjoy the tools highlighted and your break. See you next year!

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Day One: EPIC!

Submitted by Angie Pendley, Gaines Elementary School

and Shannon Thompson, Stroud Elementary School

Check out this EPIC! eBook library of over 10,000 books - free for elementary school teachers and librarians! EPIC's virtual library allows students to read books online or have books read to them. It is a bit like Netflix for books in that it's supposed to tailor its suggestions based on what the student enjoys reading.

Other ideas for using this tool include:

  • The educator profile is free! Teachers can set up to 36 profiles in their login and students can then build a library around their age and interests to customize their virtual library.
  • Students can read these books during independent time, or even at home, provided they have WIFI at home.
  • Teachers can access EPIC books on the projectors for a shared reading experience.
  • EPIC prevents students from simply "flipping" through the book to the end.
  • Teachers can track their students' progress.
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Day 2: No Red Ink

Submitted by Matt Smith, BHL Middle School

No Red Ink offers an adaptive and interactive platform to help your students improve their grammar and writing skills. Differentiate, track progress, align assignments to the Common Core standards and provide students with help whenever they need it.

Be sure to check out the video below for a brief overview of the tool. And if you're ready to throw that old red ink pen away and get started with No Red Ink, here is a Getting Started Guide that takes you step-by-step through the process.


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Day 3: Plickers

Submitted by William Lee, UGA Teacher Candidate at Clarke Central High School

Plickers is the only tool to make the 12 Days of Technology edition two years in a row! Plickers is a formative assessment tool that can be used in any classroom environment to gather immediate feedback from students. It requires only one iOs or Android device, an app, and a plickers card for each student to use.

Use this tool to engage your students as a quick formative assessment, ticket out the door, or classroom poll. AND It is completely FREE! Printouts are available online for the Plickers cards and these can be reused!

Check out the comprehensive Plicker's Help Section to help get started with Plickers in your classroom.

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Day 4: Dotstorming

Submitted by Kerry Hogan, Cedar Shoals High School

Like Padlet? Dotstorming goes one step further! Students can post ideas and images, just like on Padlet, but they can also vote on favorite ideas/images and leave comments. In one simple click, you have the option to organize your topics by votes to quickly see what is trending with your students.

And best of all it is EASY! Simply create a DotStorming board, add a question or directions and share the link with your students. They don't need to create an account. You also have the option to lock the board, and there is a chat feature that you can turn on and off.

This collaborative tool can be used to:

  • Brainstorm topics
  • Vote on topics
  • Analyze images and data
  • Identify trends
  • Summarize learning
  • and more!

For a comprehensive tutorial check out this video from Richard Byrne.

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Day 5: Flipquiz

Submitted by Heather Julian, Clarke Central High School

Create your own game show style review game with Flipquiz! The attractive online interface makes it easy to create and save your own Jeopardy style review game, and students flip over Flipquiz. Here is an example of a Flipquiz designed as a high school math review game! Flipquiz yourself to see how you do!

Other reasons to use this tool include:

  • These review games can be used by individuals, small groups or whole class to review.
  • Students receive immediate feedback.
  • You can have up to 6 categories with 5 questions each.
  • Students could create their own to share with peers to review.
  • Great vocabulary review.
  • Share link with students so they can practice on their own and then return with specific questions.
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Day 6: Start-to-Finish

Submitted by Pam Garcia, CCSD Special Education Coordinator

The Start-to-Finish Online Accessible Library offers struggling readers in upper elementary, middle, and high school, with reading abilities as low as first grade to fifth grade, opportunities to have successful reading experiences. At the end of each chapter, Start-to-Finish can present one or more quizzes or practice activities depending on the reading purpose you selected for each reader. Quizzes can be taken online or printed out for completion on paper. And the online library works on any Internet connected device!

More about what this resource offers struggling readers:

  • Grade 2-3 or grades 4-5 readable text (with supports for lower abilities to read along)
  • Syntax and grammar of conversational speech
  • High-frequency and topic specific vocabulary
  • Limited number of ideas per sentence
  • Word-by-word highlighting
  • Auditory support for individual words

For a series of quick tutorials, check out this page. And be sure to watch the video below for a detailed overview of this awesome resource for our struggling readers. Contact your school's Special Education Coordinator if you are interested in bringing Start-to-Finish to your students.

Start-to-Finish Online Accessible Library Product Demonstration

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Day 7: Canva

Submitted by Melissa Freeman, Barrow Elementary School

Let the beauty of the holiday season carry over by using Canva , a web-based design tool, for students to create projects, book reports, book reviews, or presentations of any kind. They can create multiple pages, get creative with the tools they use and images they link, and they look fabulous!

Students can create posters, postcards, magazine covers, flyers, brochures, and many more items using the free design items in Canva (note: some of the design items do cost, so direct students to use the items without the $ symbol). For an idea of a student project designed with Canva, check out this student book review.

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Teachers and administrators should explore this design tool as well. It can help make anyone a graphic artist!

Quick testimonial from Carrie Siegmund, CCSD Instructional Technology Specialist: I used Canva to design the 12 Days of Technology holiday graphics presented in this excITe edition. I use Canva on at least a weekly basis when I want to make things super pretty!

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Day 8: codecademy and Khan Academy

Submitted by Steve Piazza, CCSD Instructional Technology Specialist

Give your students the gift of code this coming year! codecademy and Khan Academy are sites designed to teach basic coding skills. These self-directed applications can be used to create projects related to the curriculum, as well as to allow students to develop valuable skills on their own. Students can draw scenes from novels and history, create an interactive store front for a math or Economics project on money and sale prices, and/or create a travel website to focus on select geographical regions.

Check out this web beginner module offered by codecademy to start building code for a web form!

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Day 9: Formative

Submitted by Joanna Beck, BHL Middle School

Create incredible interactive assessments, homework or classwork using the web-based Formative tool that provides teachers live results and the ability to leave feedback for students. If you have not tried Formative yet, gift yourself this digital tool for the holidays!

Perks of using Formative:

  • Students can use visuals or videos to understand content.
  • Students can illustrate their responses using the draw tool. For example, the question shows a picture of the Grand Canyon and students draw what they think it looked like originally millions of years ago. The teacher uses this information to assess students' ability to apply their understanding.
  • Students answer a math problem using the drawing feature. The teacher would show student work to have a class discussion about misconceptions.

Check out the video below for a detailed tutorial for getting going with Formative. - Quick, easy, live formative results in your classroom!

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Day 10: Class Dojo

Submitted by Britany Boucher, Cleveland Road Elementary School

Get your classroom mojo with Class Dojo! "ClassDojo is the easiest way for teachers to encourage students and share their best moments with parents." And students love receiving Dojo points and their own Dojo Monster avatars!

Use this tool to:

  • Reward students for positive behavior or take away points for negative behaviors.
  • Use anywhere. Monitor student behavior inside the classroom and in the hallways. You can project Class Dojo results as well as install the app to monitor behavior in the halls, at lunch, etc.
  • Amp up your parent communication. Class Dojo allows almost instant contact with parents because parents can install the app and receive instant messages/texts, announcements and photos that the teacher shares with them.

Check out the video below for a short overview of this wonderful tool!

ClassDojo: Teach what matters most.

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Day 11: Polling in Google Slides Extension

Submitted by Elizabeth Haas, Cedar Shoals High School

Use the Polling in Google Slide extension to create a live student response poll in your Google Slides! This extension links your Poll Everywhere account with your Google account making it possible to connect the two. Plan your questions ahead of time, or ask them on-the-fly from within Google Slides.

To use this slick tool, take the steps below:

  • Install the Polling in Google Slide extension .
  • Create or log in to your Poll Everywhere account.
  • Open a Google Slide presentation and embed existing Poll Everywhere poll questions or create a new poll in your Google Slides.
  • Put your slide in present mode.
  • Invite the crowd or class to respond to live polling. Students can follow a web link or text a code to participate.
  • Watch responses appear instantly on the slide in real-time.

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Day 12:

Submitted by Clint Winter, CCSD Instructional Technology Specialist hosts a treasure chest of templates for creating original digital content. Templates include review games, fake text and twitter feeds, random name generators, QR code activities and more! The newest template is a Star Wars themed scrolling movie text!

What's greatest about the templates available via is how easy it is for teachers and students to create original digital content!

Follow the link below for some instructional ideas for the Star Wars themed movie text template!

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For a Little Fun Over the Break

May the force be with.....your Google apps

Google collaborated with Lucasfilm and Disney to offer

You can choose the light or the dark side, and then watch your favorite Google apps like Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome and many more transform.

Note: This will not work with your CCSD Google account, but you can try it on a personal Google account you might have.

Source: Google for Education Newsletter (Nov. 2015): n. pag. Web.

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How to Build the Death Star According to a NASA Engineer

How to Build a Death Star According to a NASA Engineer

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Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Techy Friends!

Testing Out the Star Wars BB-8 Toy & More Holiday Gifts with MKBHD

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Have a Wonderful Winter Break!

Clarke County School District: Instructional Technology Department

  • Djamal Balbed: Director of Instructional Technology
  • Joel Frey: ITS Serving Chase St ES, Alps Rd ES, Timothy Rd ES, Winterville ES
  • Ashley Maher: ITS Serving Barrow ES, Oglethorpe ES, Whit Davis ES, Whitehead Rd ES
  • Steve Piazza: ITS Serving Barnett Shoals ES, Gaines ES, Hilsman MS, HT Edwards
  • Carrie Siegmund: ITS Serving Cedar Shoals HS, Clarke Central HS
  • Scott Wilkerson: ITS Serving Fowler Dr ES, JJ Harris ES, Whitehead Rd ES, Clarke MS
  • Clint Winter: ITS Serving Cleveland Rd ES, Stroud ES, Coile MS, BHL MS