Media Matters & Tech Tidbits

April 2016

In this edition...

Media Matters: April Is School Library Month, NC WiseOwl New Look, overdue books, magazines for classrooms

Tech Tidbits: Spring cleaning, replacement bulbs for projectors, Canvas LMS, Google Tip: Limiting Access to Documents, Digital Learning Conference 2016 Registration, Symbaloo Academy, and Quizlet Collaborative Learning Game

Media Matters

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April is National School Library Month!

About School Library Month

School Library Month (SLM) is the American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) celebration of school librarians and their programs. First celebrated in 1985 (as School Library Media Month; the name was changed to School Library Month in 2010), every April school librarians are encouraged to create activities to help their school and local community celebrate the essential role that strong school library programs play in a student's educational career.

This year's theme is "School Libraries Transform Learning."

NC WiseOwl Gets New Look!

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New Look, Same Great and FREE Resources to NC Students and Teachers

The new and improved NCWiseOwl site is now live! If you need to get to the old site you can access it under the "Home" tab for now. It is much more user friendly and all links are working and organized in a manner that makes sense. The web address is the same: and the password has not changed.

Student Overdue Books

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Students receive emails notifying them of overdue books or library fines. Some students never look at their emails, so please do me a favor and remind students to make sure they get any overdues to the media center to avoid the fees and fines list.

No one is more happy than I am that kids are checking out books, but we need them back for inventory/ end-of-year. Thanks!

Magazines for Classrooms

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I am clearing out the "Periodical Room." Any teacher who would like magazines for their classroom is welcome to our 2014 issues. We have a variety of titles such as Seventeen, Motor Trend, Road & Track, Time, Science News, Bloomsberg, Prevention, National Geographic Sports Illustrated (sorry, no swimsuit issues), etc.

Tech Tidbits

SmartBoard Projector Replacement Bulbs

If you are getting a message that implies that it is time to change the bulb, please notify Stephanie Haumont with your model number. The bulb doesn't need to be changed just yet - there should be several hours left on the bulb. When you have a bulb to go out completely, I will have the replacement ready for you. A bulb typically lasts about 3000 hours. Please turn off your projectors when not in use.
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Spring Cleaning - Projectors and Computers

Projectors - If you have noticed that your projector is dusty, please notify the media center. There are filters attached to the projector that are probably also very dusty. When the filters are full of dust, no air is coming in to cool the inside/bulb of the equipment. Sometimes this can cause a bulb to blow. If you know where the filter is, have canned air, and feel comfortable with cleaning, feel free to. Just make sure that the projector is off, cooled, and unplugged! The bulb will blow if the projector is on and you spray into it!!

Computers - Try to keep your desktops free of dust. Keeping some canned air on hand is a good idea. Dust can play havoc on computers...

Introducing Canvas Learning Management System

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New Learning Management System (LMS)

Johnston County Schools has a new Learning Management System (LMS) available for all staff and students. Canvas has been adopted as the state LMS and is accessible via the NCEdCloud portal.

Canvas is integrated with the Home Base system, this means that student information is automatically populated into your courses on Canvas. Grades issued in Canvas have the ability to be transferred to your PowerTeacher gradebook.

Want to learn more about Canvas?

Register for an online meeting or face-to-face meeting to learn about functions and features.

What about Moodle?!

Johnston County Schools staff will no longer have access to Moodle after July 30, 2016. If you have a course in Moodle that you would like exported into Canvas, please fill out this form prior to June 14, 2016.

Additional information about Canvas can be found at

Stay tuned for more Canvas updates as we start exploring this great new resource for our district!

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Grant Opportunity! Voya Unsung Heroes

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Want to Get Your Innovative Classroom Ideas Funded?!

Voya Unsung Heroes™ Awards Program

For nearly 20 years, and with over $4 million in awarded grants, Unsung Heroes has proven to be an A+ program with educators. The program's "alumni" have inspired success in the classroom and impacted countless numbers of students. Each year, 100 educators are selected to receive $2,000 to help fund their innovative class projects. Three of those are chosen to receive the top awards of an additional $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000.

The Voya Unsung Heroes Awards Program is administered by Scholarship Management Services, a division of Scholarship America. Scholarship Management Services is the nation's largest designer and manager of scholarship and tuition reimbursement programs for corporations, foundations, associations and individuals.

Apply by April 30, 2016

Click here to read more:

Professional Development Opportunity

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JCS Digital Learning Conference June 14th, 2016

Registration is now open for the 2016 Digital Learning Conference on June 14th!

This full day conference is FREE and open to all classroom teachers, tech contacts, media coordinators, and administrators. Guest presenters from Discovery Education, Follett, and Tech4Learning will be on hand for a great day of collaboration and digital learning. I will present on Makerspaces and STEAM.

Registration will remain open until all spaces are filled or May 31st. Please sign-up early to ensure the best selection of sessions.

Visit to register!

Google Tips & Tricks

How to Limit Access to Google Docs

Google has released a new feature to give us more control over who views our files. The first feature is to restrict the ability to download, print, or copy a file on Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, or Slides. The newest feature that was just released this week is expiration dates for view access. This feature is being rolled out gradually and may take up to two months for all users to see. It allows you to set view access that expires after 7 days, 30 days, or a custom date. The two features together work nicely to protect access to a document with sensitive information.

The following video is a great overview of the new security features and how you can use them.

How To: Quick Tutorial for the New Google Drive

Web Tools to Try

Symbaloo Academy

There is new tool from Symbaloo, called Symbaloo Academy, that allows you to create interactive game board style lessons. The lessons are based on learning paths that lead to objective area mastery based on the student's unique needs. It is easy to personalize learning for your entire class!

To get started, visit:

Click on "start creating lesson plans" and create an account if you do not already have a Symbaloo account.

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From the main screen, you can join a lesson with a code, view the gallery of pre-made lessons, or create your own.
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The gallery features lessons in all grade levels and subject areas. I love the fact that you can see ratings and lesson length for every lesson in the gallery.

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Click on any lesson in the gallery to explore the lesson.
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Teachers can rate and comment on every lesson in the gallery. Click on the add to my account button to save the lesson for future use.

Creating a lesson is an easy and fun process. From the home page, click on the "Start a plan" and enter some basic information:

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You will then be taken to the sequence builder. For those of you familiar with Symbaloo, this looks like an empty board but it is the framework for your lesson activities. Click on the + on any square to add your first activity.
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Once you click on the + to add your first activity, this menu will open:
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You have a variety of activity types to add to your lesson. A unique feature is the directions pad at the bottom of each activity, you will choose which direction(s) students will move to after completing the activity.

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Once you design your activity, you can add questions for the students to respond to. Then you can customize the student's path in the lesson based on their response to the question. For example, students view a short video on figurative language. Then they respond to a question about similes, if they answer it correctly, they move on to metaphors, if they miss the question, they move to a reteaching activity on similes.

Students access your lessons by going to Symbaloo Academy and entering the lesson code.

Symbaloo Academy allows you to create a personalized learning path for each student. I love how easy it is to build in questions. Students are constantly assessed and engaged in a learning experience that adapts to them!

I hope you explore the new Symbaloo Academy.

Quizlet New Learning Game

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Quizlet's New Collaborative Learning Game Mode

Quizlet has just released a new collaborative learning game mode that allows teachers to quickly create a student group competition game based on any Quizlet study set.

Students do not need an account to join the game. Students go to and enter the unique code to join the live session.

Once all students have joined the live session, they are randomly placed in groups of 3-4 students. Teachers can reshuffle the groups as many times as needed.

Teams work together to solve questions quicker than other groups. Communication is essential to earning points for your team. If a team misses a question, their score resets. The first team to answer all questions correctly wins the game.

Ready to test it out? Look for the "Live" button on any Quizlet study set to launch the game mode.

Check out this Quizlet blog post for more detailed information and demo videos on how to use Quizlet Live.