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Create Memories this Summer!

Congratulations! It's summertime! And welcome to the May 2016 excITe edition. If you're looking for new ideas, tools or strategies, to create memories in and out of the classroom, be sure to check out what this excITe edition has to offer you, your family and your future students!

Quick Tip: Don't forget to change your CCSD password before you leave for the summer if you haven't changed it in the last 6 months. :)

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Google Summit SLAM Share Out Winner! AGAIN!

Congratulations, Hallie Williamson! Back-to-back SLAM winner!

The audience has voted and declared, Hallie Williamson, Instructional Coach at H.B. Stroud Elementary School the Share-out SLAM Tech Champion! Hallie has earned bragging rights for the second year and she will receive paid registration to next year's Google Southern Summit.

A special thanks to all the CCSD folks who contributed and participated in the voting as part of the ITS newsletter Google Summit Share-Out Technology SLAM in April.

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Taking CCSD Students to New Heights!

STEM Clusters and ELT

Cleveland Road and Howard B. Stroud are flying high in their STEM classes. Both schools are giving students the chance to learn how to program, fly and use drones appropriately. Students at Cleveland Road are using a small “Spider Drone” and are practicing their coding skills using a free app called Tickle. Students are creating an aerial obstacle course and programming the drone to navigate through the obstacles. Students were able to Skype with engineers from Microsoft and Apple to discuss careers in coding.

Students at Stroud had the chance to visit with Dr. Chris Greer from Georgia College and State University about the mechanics of drones and aerial photography. Stroud students are using the drone to aerial photograph their school and are also creating an obstacle course for students to navigate.

A big shout-out to the following folks for taking their classes to new heights!

  • Mr. Shannon Thompson, librarian at Stroud
  • Mr. Joe Weinmeister, gifted collaborator at Cleveland Road.
  • Mrs. Desylin Culliver, 5th grade teacher at Stroud.

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CCSD Learning Technologies Site

Just in case you missed it in the last excITe newsletter, the newly released CCSD Learning Technologies site might be just what you need. Whether you’re looking for new ideas or for a place to share some of the fine work you’ve been doing, Learning Technologies is the place.

The site, developed by the CCSD Instructional Tech Team, has been growing in popularity because of its

  • easy to use charts of the SAMR model alignment with taxonomies and digital tools

  • CCSD teacher-made lesson exemplars

  • content sortable by SAMR type, grade level, and subject

  • over 100 digital tools in a readable display with an Advanced Search by domain
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Start your summer off right by treating yourself to a video look at what teachers are doing with technology around the district, and then look through the digital tools on the site to stimulate your own creativity. If you’d like to share your own idea, there’s even a form for you to complete and submit.

Enjoy what you can learn this summer!

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Mystery Skype: Critical Thinking, Collaboration, and Communication

Mystery Skype Connecting Classrooms Around The World
Several classrooms across Clarke County School District have been taking part in Mystery Skype as a way to promote geography skills and critical thinking skills in an exciting way. Never heard of Mystery Skype? The goal is to figure out the location of the other class before they determine your own location. It goes like this:

  • The teacher finds a classroom to connect with somewhere in the world on a certain date/time
  • The two classes connect through Skype or Google Hangouts
  • The classes take turns asking yes or no questions to narrow down the possible location of the other group
  • Students can use maps, computers, textbooks, or any other tools available
  • After both locations have been found, the students get to ask the other group questions about the other group's city/state, and what it is like to live there

Getting Started

  • Find a Connecting Class - The easiest way is through Twitter, using hashtags #mysteryskype or #mysteryhangout. The Connected Classrooms and Mystery Hangout Google Communities are great, too. You can also find a classroom on the official Mystery Skype website.
  • Practice with Your Students - Explain the game, and practice asking good questions. Pick a state in your head, and have your students ask yes or no questions to find your mystery state (or city, for older students). Talk about what questions worked well, and which did not.
  • Assign Roles - Pick a few students jobs for the Skype. Don't go overboard! Not everyone needs a specific job, as most of your students will be using maps, determining good questions, and working together. See this resource for potential jobs.

Mystery Skype is a great way to encourage your students to work together, think critically, develop map skills/research skills, learn about other places, and have fun! Interested in trying it out next school year? Contact your ITS for more information or support.

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Do you want to be a CCSD Club Tech VIP?

Register today for a spot in the Club!

Information about the format of the Club Tech 3.0 course

This professional learning community is designed as a self-paced, online learning environment where you will share and interact with other members and the facilitators Clint Winter, Carrie Siegmund, and Steve Piazza. The course is structured to allow for choice and flexibility while following a common format and course schedule for sharing and documenting your work. We hope that members will be inspired by this experience and continue their professional growth and leadership in the area of educational technology for the coming school year.

Overview of Work

  • The focus of participants' work in Club Tech 3.0 is centered around a unit or series of lessons you would like to enhance for the coming school year.
  • Members will interact with the CCSD Club Tech 3.0 Google Site to access the resources and instructions for the all required tasks.
  • Members will work on four different SAMR challenges during this course. Each challenge is designed to model the use of digital tools at each of the SAMR levels.
  • All members are also asked to make an introductory post the first week of the course.
  • In order to interact and share our work, members will post and comment in our CCSD Club Tech 3.0 Google+ community.
  • The posts in the Google+ Community, in addition to submitting links from your posts

    in the Google+ community in the PLU Documentation Google form, will serve as the documentation that members have completed the challenge and will be required for earning and awarding PLUs.

  • In order to space out the work, members are required to complete a minimum of one tech challenge per week. Documentation that members have completed a tech challenge is due every Monday by noon.


Online: The course is designed as a four-week web-based summer course for those wanting to earn one PLU. We start the week of June 6th and end the week of July 4th. The challenges are designed for participants to spend between 2-2.5 hours per week on their challenges.

Meet Ups! There are 2 optional interactive meetings. One meeting will be a Google Hangout for Club Tech members to interact with each other virtually. This will take place on Wednesday, June 8 (times TBD). Also, we will have an optional face to face meet up at Cali-n-Tito's @La Puerta Del Sol on Wednesday, June 15 at 5:30 p.m.

Register Today! Spots are Limited! Use the Registering for Club Tech 3.0 in PD Connect document to take you through these short steps.

Testimonials from past Club Tech VIPs

"This was a great experience. I loved the fact that we had a whole week to complete each challenge. This enabled me to work at my own pace with minimal to no pressure. The support responses were superb...whenever I needed help I received a very timely response."

"What I love about being a part of Club Tech is that it has totally reshaped my thinking in terms of planning. Now, instead of dreading the idea of how to incorporate technology into my lessons,I am extremely excited about where technology will fit in!"

"I really enjoyed the Club Tech 2.0 professional learning opportunity this summer. I learned about many valuable resources that I will be using this coming school year, and I will gladly recommend this course to any and all teachers."

"This was excellent! The timing and differentiation made it one of the best PD experiences I have had as a teacher. I definitely learned things that I will use next year."

We hope to see you in the Club!

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Sunscreen, Sandals, and Final Checklists

Every enjoyable summer includes these three things at some point. Here is your checklist, you’ll have to provide the sunscreen and sandals.

Leaving CCSD?

  • If you will not be returning to Clarke County School District next year, please turn in your staff laptop to Technology Services in room 117A in the District Services building located at 145 Paradise Boulevard in Athens. Laptops will be accepted Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4 PM.
  • Laptops must be turned in by the end of the day on May 25. Laptops not received by this date will result in your final paychecks being held. Access to your Google account will remain active through August.
  • Google Takeout - This link is to the University of Connecticut’s site for how to use Takeout. It has wonderfully clear instructions for how to export most of your Google-related content. Files will be compacted into a ZIP files of 2GB each. I recommend having them delivered to your CCSD Google Drive (see pic below) and downloading them to a personal computer before the end of the month.
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Spring Cleaning

  • Passwords - CCSD passwords expire every six months. We recommend changing your password at winter and summer breaks rather than waiting for a reminder. To do so, press Ctrl+Alt+Del, then select Change a Password and follow the directions. Pro Tip: If you have trouble remembering passwords, hold down shift for any numbers when typing the new password. This will change the numbers to symbols, but your brain doesn’t have to remember a new series of buttons.

  • Projector Filters - Projectors have a fan on the left side that is covered by a filter. To help keep your projector cool, we recommend cleaning the filter every month. May is a great time to do this. If you aren’t tall enough to reach this filter, find a kind giant, but never stand on a chair. Click here for instructions, but instead of vacuuming on step 4, just tap the filter on the edge of your trashcan.

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Summer Traveling - Google My Maps

Summer is a great to to visit new places or old favorites - where are you going this Summer? We would love to know! Please add the places that you visit this summer to our Google My Map - a collaborative map tool made by our friend, Google!

Have you heard of Google My Maps? It is a free map tool that allows you (or your students!) to add custom markers to a blank Google Map. On each marker, you can add videos, pictures, text, links, or other relevant information. This is a great tool to share information on famous battles of the Civil War or to mark starting and ending locations of European explorers (you can even draw a line to show the voyage).

Google My Maps are a document type in Drive, so you can easily make one by following these steps:

  1. Go to Drive

  2. Click the New button

  3. Select More from the bottom of the list

  4. Click Google My Maps

  5. Alternatively, visit

Just like any other document, you can give the untitled document a name and can share it with other people (to view or edit). To add a marker or pin to your map, select the Add Marker tool from your toolbar at the top of your screen. Click on the map to place the marker, then add a title, text, and picture, if desired. You can also search for a specific location in the search bar, then click Add to Map to place the marker.

We hope that you will share a small piece of your Summer adventures with us on our map!

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Clarke County School District: Instructional Technology Department

  • Djamal Balbed: Director of Instructional Technology
  • Joel Frey: ITS Serving Chase St ES, Alps Rd ES, JJ Harris 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, Fowler Dr ESGaines ES, Hilsman MS, HT Edwards
  • Carrie Siegmund: ITS Serving Cedar Shoals HS, Clarke Central HS, Clarke MS
  • Clint Winter: ITS Serving Cleveland Rd ES, Stroud ES, Coile MS, BHL MS, Clarke MS