Tech Snacks

Byte-Sized Treats to Transform Learning 12.3.19

Chance to Win $500! Hour of Code Week is Almost Here!

Last day to register is December 9th to be entered to win $500.

The Hour of Code, during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 9-15), is a great time to for students to explore how fun coding can be and to develop thinking skills across disciplines. More than 100 million students worldwide have already tried an Hour of Code. You don’t even need access to a computer for your students to participate, AND… it’s FREE! If you would like to check out the activities students complete during Hour of Code or would like to see a teacher’s guide, please visit the website.

Ready to Participate?

1. Visit the Hour of Code website to register. You could win a set of robots or physical computing kits to use with your students!

2. Once you have registered with Hour of Code, register with Fayette County's site to let us know. When prompted, log in with your Fayette County email/password.

3. Have fun with your students doing the Hour of Code. Take pictures and use the hashtag #fcpshourofcode2019 #hourofcode2019 and #justtrytech. Make sure you check student photo/video permissions before posting!

4. Once the Hour of Code week is over, we will ask you to submit a short summary of the activities you completed and send a few pictures to Three teachers will be randomly selected to win a $500 classroom technology grant from Fayette County.
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Accessibility with Websites

So, you just finished creating your classroom website! Yea! Congrats! On the Homepage background, you've added the flower image you captured at the UK Arboretum and typed your name with a fancy font similar to one you found on Pinterest. Your mix of colors makes your page “pop” and draws attention to the pictures that are surrounded by text. Fantisimo! You are inspired and have created a masterpiece website...except, you forgot one thing; not all of our students and parents can view it.

This "masterpiece," though, limits the audience you can reach since unusual fonts and busy colors make a web page hard to view. However, by implementing accessibility compliance, you have the ability to expand your potential viewing audience. Accessibility issues are often targeted to increase the readability of images and text while making it easier for screen readers to follow text and links. There are several easy changes that you can implement to help your website meet accessibility standards. Follow along with this OIT guide.

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Cool, Cute, or Clever: Customizing the Google Classroom Theme

For those who crave customization when it comes to online spaces, it's time for a little inspiration on tricking out your Google Classroom's appearance. Move beyond Google's theme offerings or simple photo uploads to trying your hand at some easy design. Use one of Canva's free templates or Alice Keeler's Google Classroom Header Template to make your classroom stand out to students. For Canva, all you need to do is log in and search for the phrase, "Google Classroom header." Use the various templates as a base for changing colors, images, text, and fonts or just making minor tweaks. If you're craving something more, use Keeler's Google Drawing template to add your own flair with these directions for creating a theme/header. Bitmoji, anyone?

One hangup does exist, though, involving Google's attention to accessibility needs. Uploaded headers and photographs are automatically darkened to make the Classroom name and class code text more visible, and there is currently no "fix" for it. It's Google's way to automatically overcome busy backgrounds to display the class name. However, the resulting dulled colors can be disappointing, so feel free to use the ? mark in the bottom left of the Classroom screen to make a request for brighter customized headers. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy a one-of-a-kind theme unique to your Google Classroom!
Before and after images for a Classroom theme/header using the Google Drawing template. The final image is darkened for accessibility.
Image: Before and after images for a Classroom theme/header using the Google Drawing template. The final image is darkened for accessibility.
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Remove Image Backgrounds

Looking for an easy way to remove backgrounds from images? Try using This website will allow you to remove the background of your image. Think of the fun you could have -- and it doesn’t even require a green screen. Do you dream of sitting by the beach? Want to travel to see the Great Wall of China? Wish you were somewhere else? Now you can. Upload that picture and now you are there! You don’t even need to log in to make this work. Download your new picture without a background and place it in front of your new background image. (You can do that too with the edit tool.) No more spending hours on Photoshop trying to get all of the background gone. Although, if you do, you can integrate this with Photoshop. What’s the cost? It’s FREE! Now, they do have a paid version that gives you a high-quality picture, but that is probably more than you really need. Give it a try today!
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Technology PD Just For You!

Ready for engaging professional development sessions geared towards implementing technology into your classroom? We have over 40 sessions ready for you! Just hop on over to, and click on ACTIVITY CATALOGS and DISTRICT CATALOG in the left-hand menu. Type the word TECHNOLOGY in the search bar to locate and register for your choices.

Google Sites & Google + 12.4.19 with Jerry Broyles

Come and learn about Google Sites! We will use Google Sites to help us create customized classroom websites. Google Sites uses the WYSIWYG format for site creation and allows you to add text, links, images, audio recordings, videos, and more. Post homework, announcements, syllabi, and reading materials. We will investigate Google Plus Groups and how to employ them to support PLC work and instructional education. Although not required, this session may prepare attendees for the Google Level 1 Certification exam. If you are interested in certification, please visit FCPS Google Testing Site for related sessions and detailed information.

Level 2: Blogger, Communities, Scholar, Add-Ons, Keep, Trends, Translate 12.5.19 with Kelly Fischer

Go beyond the basics! During the first half of this session, you will learn more about the lesser-known Google apps such as Blogger, Communities, Scholar, Add-Ons, Keep, Trends & Translate. During the second half of this session, you will work to complete various tasks and respond to instructional scenarios in a simulated Google Testing environment. This session is part of the Google for Education Level 2 Certification.

Hour of Code - Code Breakers Edition 12.9.19 with Josh Rayburn

Crack the Code! Hour of Code is this week and this session will help you incorporate coding and Hour of Code events into your classroom tomorrow. Never coded before, come on! From beginning to advanced, come be a "Code Breaker".

Screencasting with Screencastify 12.12.19 with Julie Gaskin

Explore how to use Screencastify to communicate with students and parents and let's see how students can use Screencastify to demonstrate what they've learned, how they solved a problem, to give presentations.

Google Level 1: Test Prep + Gmail and Calendar 1.8.20 with Jerry Broyles

This session is ONLY for those planning to take the Google Level 1 Certified Educator exam. We will spend time practicing for the exam as well as covering what you need to know about Gmail and Calendar.

Connecting & Creating with a Chromebook (virtual training session) 1.9.20 with Josh Rayburn

Use your Chromebooks to allow students to create and connect to their world. This session will help inspire you to create on your Chromebook and look for ideas and knowledge to pass to your students. This training will be delivered by webinar via Zoom. Instructions for logging onto Zoom will be sent to participants' FCPS email addresses prior to the event. Participation can be on an Android or iOS device, Chromebook, desktop, or MacBook. Verification of participation after the webinar will confirm attendance for PD credit, and PD credit will be awarded. Meeting Link:

Google Level 1 Test Prep + Hangouts, Groups and more!- Part 2 1.23.20 with Kelly Fischer

This review session is ONLY for those planning to take the Google Level 1 Certified Educator exam. We will explore Google Hangouts, Groups, and other apps not covered in previous sessions along with hands on practice tasks.

Utilize Canvas' Collaboration Tool to Increase Student Communication and Teamwork 1.27.20 with Paula Setser-Kissick

Check out a simple way to create student collaborative workspaces in Canvas using Google or Office 365. Learn about which types of tools are available, how to enable and setup Collaborations' spaces and how to manage workflow.