Learning Commons News

Resources for you from the Learning Commons

November 17th, 2014

<Issue #3>

Review the following articles to be "In the Know" as it relates to issues that concern you. We have several items to inform you of! Featured in this newsletter is Club LC information, a Google Apps for Educators (GAFE) tip, a Schoology tip related to PARCC, a Calendar Tutorial, information on Email Groups, and an announcement that needs to be made in advisory early this week.

These publications are designed to minimize the number of emails in your inbox. Most of the information in this newsletter is important and gainful for you to read, while other articles are helpful but not necessary. None of this is fluff! Please read each article to determine whether it applies to you.

Save the Date!

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Club LC

Friday, Jan. 16th 2015 at 7:30am-2:30pm

1500 Nagel Rd

Cincinnati, OH

The learning commons will be transformed into Club LC on January 16th. Teachers will be invited to come during planning times and/or lunch to enjoy drinks, food, music, and some tech tips. Be on the lookout for upcoming information including VIP free cover passes. #edtech #Nagel_ClubLC

Resources from your DLS

Connected Educator Month is Over.

Thank you to all who participated in Connected Educator Month. Nagel definitely represented Forest Hills well. Your efforts are greatly appreciated by the Learning Commons Team. Prize winners will be announced this week :)

Tool in Focus - Google Labs

Have you ever wished that you could stop an email message that you just sent from sending? Perhaps you find yourself sending the same instructions to different people throughout your week. Maybe you would like a count down timer to let you know how much time you have before you next event on your calendar. All of these function, plus many more, are available using Google Labs. Labs are experimental new features that Google is testing. Some labs will just simply remain labs, while others may be graduated some time in the future into mainstream features that all users will use in Gmail.
To access labs and enable certain tools and functions...

  1. click on the gear near the top right hand corner of your screen when in Gmail or Google Calendar.
  2. choose settings from the list of options
  3. click on Labs from the set of tabs that run horizontally across your screen located just below the Settings page title.

Each lab has a description and can be activated by clicking on the enable radio button to the right. You must save changes by scrolling down to the bottom of the page and selecting the appropriate button before your changes take effect. Consider trying at least one lab this month. I have found that these labs help make life more efficient or add a beneficial feature that I have wished existed at least once or twice in the past.

Price: Free

Support Page: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/29418?hl=en

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PARCC Assessment Tip #1

With PARCC assessments coming soon, we've been working diligently to discover resources for you to use in your classroom. You can find sample questions using the Pearson provided resources but the number of questions are limited and they might not align with what your students are currently working on. A much more efficient and probably more effective approach is to take the questions you are currently asking on tests, quizzes, and assignments and "PARCCize" them using a tool. We have three goals in mind when searching for tools:

  1. The tool must allow you to build your own questions in a simple and user-friendly way.
  2. The tool should be free or low cost and can be used online (preferably in a Schoology if at all possible).
  3. The tool should require students to execute tasks exactly-like or nearly the same as TestNav (PARCC's testing program) without a lot of fluff which eats up valuable time from you and your students.
The first tool for your consideration is using Google Slides and Schoology to build multi-resourced (i.e. tabbed) questions. The video below is a demo that allows you to see how the question functions in Schoology. If you would like to learn about how to design this type of question please consider scheduling a time to meet with me either during a CAT meeting or during your Team planning. I will also make individual appointments as well but in an effort to get this out as quickly as possible it might be better to meet with groups rather than individuals.

PARCC Assessment Tip #1 Multi-Resourced Questions.webm

Tech News

Finding a School Related Calendar

Many of you have been asking about locating specific calendars. Searching for a colleague's or as student's computer requires different steps than searching for a room's calendar. Below are instructions for each, accompanied with a video tutorial.

Find/view Another Person's Calendar:

Video: Click Here


  1. Access your Google Calendar.
  2. Find the Other Calendars Tool on the left hand side of the page.
  3. Expand the menu (if not already expanded) by clicking the right facing arrow so that it is facing downward.
  4. Type the name (if someone from FHSD) or the email address of the person you are looking for.
  5. Click on the user you are looking for or press enter.

Find/view a Room's Calendar:

Video: Click Here


  1. Access your Google Calendar.
  2. Find the Other Calendars Tool on the left hand side of the page.
  3. To the right of the text you will see a down arrow inside of a box. Click on that down arrow
  4. Choose Browse Interesting Calendars from the list of options
  5. You will see three tabs running horizontally across the screen located just below the page title text. Choose the More tab.
  6. Choose Resources for foresthills.edu from the list of options
  7. Look for the room you desire to view.

Reserving the Learning Commons

We want you to bring your class down to the learning commons. The space that this room provides allows for you to do many things that you cannot do in your own classrooms. To make sure there are no double bookings and that the room is set up the way you need it to be, we have generated a new procedure that you must follow in order to reserve the Learning Commons space during the school day.

To book the Learning Commons:

  1. Go to your Google Calendar.
  2. View the Nagel Learning Commons calendar to view the availability of the date(s) and time(s).
  3. Determine a date and time for your event that will work within the existing calendar.
  4. Create an Event- (red button) name your event, fill in the time and dates.
  5. Click on Rooms, etc. to view all possible rooms
  6. Add the Nagel Learning Commons to the Room/Guest list- * This will generate an e-mail to the LC to acknowledge your request.
  7. The LC Calendar Admin (Melissa Huxtable) will reply to your e-mail request with a Google Form. You will fill out the form to give specific information (ie. room set up, audio/visual needs etc.)​.
  8. ​The LC will review the request. You will receive an email with confirmation/denial information. If your request is confirmed it will show up as a solid icon on the Google Calendar.

All Call for Extra Student Computers

The number of available school provided computers is starting to get very low. Please employ the following strategies to make sure we do not run out of devices. Please read #1 and #2 aloud to your students during advisory some time next week.

  1. We have noticed that a lot of students who have borrowed a school computer while their personal computer is getting repaired have not returned the school provided computer back to the Learning Commons after their personal computer is back up and running. Students should not have a personal device and a school provided device at the same time. Many students are stashing their “extra computer” in their locker. Please ask students to return any school provided computers if they have their own.
  2. Remind students that if they continue to have a computer checked out over an extended period of time that they will receive a $100 technology fee in their student fees. If they do not need the device they should return it before they incur this fee.
  3. When you are using a program in class that is not compatible with a certain type of computer, consider emailing us in advance so that we can supply you with a set of lab devices for a week or 2. This help us service more students with fewer devices E.g. if 5 students in each of your classes need a device, it is better to lend you 5 lab devices than lend each student a device (5 devices rather than 4 x 5 devices)