Tech Tips and Tricks Tuesday #4

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Housekeeping (i.e., If you read nothing else in this newsletter....)

* If you have seen the Chromebook mice we used during PARCC/CMAS testing last year, please let me know ASAP! I'm hoping they can be located so we don't have to buy brand new ones. Please check your boxes and cupboards to see if they migrated there over the summer.

* We anticipate high-ceiling work being done in the gym and cafeteria on or around January 14th to install additional wireless arrays. Wireless arrays were not originally installed in these locations because a crane is required to reach the high ceilings.

* iPads for specials and specialists are beginning to arrive. I will check them out to you as soon as they have been cataloged in Destiny. You will also get a case to protect the device. There will be an additional iPad training, for those who missed the first one, on December 17th during ERD.

* In the near future, a Smart Board will installed in the computer lab. This will be a a great tool to use when working with students. One of Stellar's goals for the future, is for each classroom to have its own Smart Board. We will be writing grants like crazy to try and make that a reality sooner, rather than later!

* A flyer went home today advertising a Stellar Book Drive/Fundraiser and asking for families to make a donation. Mackin, the company from whom we get many of our library books, offers a fundraiser where 100% of the money donated goes to the school. I am hoping to beef up our eBook collection. Interactive eBooks are expensive, but have MANY valuable features to promote student learning. They are also great resources to help prepare students for PARCC/CMAS. If you would, please talk this up with your kids. ANYONE can donate. I would love to meet our goal, but even if we don't, we still get ALL of the money raised!

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When I'm researching on the web or just have a lot of news to catch up on, I tend to have 15 - 20 tabs open in Chrome at one time (though my record is 52). It becomes difficult, if not impossible, to find the the tab I want, especially since you can't see the title of the page. I came across an awesome (free) extension in the Chrome Web Store called OneTab which solves that problem.

OneTab takes all the open tabs and puts them on one easy to read webpage. Having all the links on one page, it even shows me the full title of the the tab making it simple to find the one I want quickly. Take a look at the pictures below to see what OneTab looks like. If you're like me and can't stand having so many tabs open, take a minute and download OneTab from the Chrome Webstore.

Before OneTab

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After OneTab

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World Book Online

World Book Online is a PHENOMENAL district paid resource which brings the encyclopedia to life for kids. We have a subscription to nine different databases including World Book Kids, World Book Student, World Book Timelines, Hallazgos (the Spanish World Book) among others.

Currently, students and staff have access to World Book at school and/or at home 24/7/365.To access World Book Online at home, a username and password is required, bookmarks went home with students last week with the login information. In case you didn't save one for yourself:

Remote Access to World Book Online

Username: adams12

Password: 5star

Important Note: The district is in the process of deciding whether or not they will purchase this database next year. The more we use it, the more likely they will continue to offer this outstanding resource! Over the next several issues of Tech Tips and Tricks, I will highlight several of the databases to help show you the wealth of information kids have at their fingertips!

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World Book Kids

Here is a good overview of World Book Kids, it comes directly from the World Book Kids website:

World Book Kids is the premier general reference Web site developed especially for young students. The site features simple navigation, easy-to-read articles, thousands of illustrations, videos, comparison tools, and a wealth of engaging games and activities.

World Book Kids features:

• A variety of simple search and browse navigation options
• Thousands of easy-to-read articles with embedded multimedia
• Engaging images, illustrations, and videos
• A tool for exploring and comparing animals
• An Important People feature to help students search and browse through several thousand biographies
• A collection of age-appropriate science fair projects
• Atlas, interactive maps, and outline maps and flags
• A tool for exploring and comparing places
• Over 200 educational games and activities
• Teacher resources

Uses for World Book Kids

There are many practical uses for World Book Kids including:

* Shared readings with leveled non-fiction text

* Building non-fiction text skills

* Great to develop PARCC/CMAS skills

* Content report research

* Information Literacy Skills (citing sources)

* Computer skills development (saving and quickly retrieving resources)

How will you use World Book with your students?

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Hour of Code

The Hour of Code is nigh! Each year, to promote computer science, educators around the world host a "Week of Code" at their school. "Code" is the language a computer reads/speaks that allows it to do its magic.

This year, Week of Code is from December 8th - 15th. Starting this week, I began teaching my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders about coding (I'm happy to work with 4th and 5th grade classes too!). They have also started tutorials that will, eventually, lead to them to write and share their very own computer programs!

To make sure all 1st - 3rd grade students can participate, I am extending the "Week of Code" to the "Month of Code." So far kids have LOVED the tutorials and their first steps into coding.

Below is a short one minute video overview of the Hour of Code.

Anybody Can Learn - 60 sec teaser