The Newsletter

The technology stuff you've always wanted to know.

Don't forget to publish your Canvas course!

Big picture

Work on a team that uses Canvas all the time? Tired of importing every time there is a change in the master course?

I can make the import process MUCH easier if you have a team that utilizes the master course on a regular basis. What I can do is adjust the master course so that when changes are made, all you have to do is click "Sync" and everyone's course that is associated with the master gets the new information WITHOUT having to go through the import process. If you are a team lead and interested in learning more, just let me know.

Here's how it works:

I take your current PLC master course and copy it to a new course in which I can just check a box to indicate that it is now a Blueprint course. Then, after the team has crosslisted their new courses, I can associate (attach) those courses to the new Master Blueprint course. Then, I add all teachers to the new Blueprint course so they can edit at will. When an edit is made, all a teacher has to do is click a blue "sync" button and all changes are made in all courses that have been attached to it.


DISCLAIMER: This is best done at the beginning of the semester because any content in your current, live student course will be deleted and "filled" with whatever is in the master. You can still keep your individual style in your courses, but in order to set this up your courses need to be empty for the initial import.

How to Import from your Master Course to your Live, Student Course

All content in your live, student course should match what is in your Master Course. When you get your new tiles - your new live, student courses, you will crosslist first. Then, if you would like to import content back into your new, live student course, follow these directions.

BUT, if you would like to blueprint your course, then do NOT import new content. This is why you are blueprinting. You will make changes in the Master Course and then just click the sync button. No long importing process required.

Want to use Canvas for assessments but concerned students are surfing the net while taking it?

The Chromebooks have an app for that!!

When you turn on the Chromebook, click "Apps" on the bottom left. You will see a Canvas Kiosk Mode. Students click on that and the Canvas log-in screen appears. When they log in to Canvas, they cannot leave and open other tabs for "reference." This mode locks them in to Canvas and Canvas only. To log out, they just hit the power button and turn off the Chromebook.

Read-Aloud Accommodation Option: Microsoft Word

With students needing a Read-Aloud Accommodation, try the Immersive Reader in Microsoft Word Online. Open your document, click "View" and then "Immersive Reader." Translates to other languages, as well!

Reason #12 Nearpod is the Neatest

You’re human, we’re human. We get sick, unexpected appointments arise, off-campus training occurs, and to be honest – we just need a break. Whatever the reason, the time when you need to miss school will happen and you’ll need substitute lesson plans. You can create a quick and easy sub plan in Nearpod! Here's how:

Reason #11 Nearpod is the Neatest

Students can take notes on the slides you are presenting and send these notes (with your presentation slides) to Google Drive, OneDrive, or email. Notes are autosaved.

How Students Save Notes

Reason #10 Nearpod is the Neatest

You can explore MANY ready-made lessons in the Nearpod lesson library. These are VERY well done. You can add to your library and edit as you need to accommodate your students. Don't reinvent the wheel!

Reason #9 Nearpod is the Neatest

PhET simulations can be added to your Nearpod presentation so students can explore concepts and make discoveries. Don't just lecture! Engage students in their learning and nearpod is a great way to do that! has Bingo!

While perusing flippity I noticed they have added a Bingo game! Woohoo! has some simple tips on how to use Bingo in the classroom, as well.

Reason #8 Nearpod is the Neatest

After students use a "Draw It" question type to show work solving a math problem, teachers can highlight a student's work by clicking "Share." This sends it to every student's device. It's neat. Trust me.

Reason #7 Nearpod is the Neatest

There is a Matching Pairs Activity that enables you to add more interactivity in your lessons. Matching words with pictures helps your visual learners! You can even add a timer for some gamification.

Reason #6 Nearpod is the Neatest

You can assign a student-paced Nearpod lesson for students to do for homework. Even better, you can embed it into Canvas.

Use the Collaborations Feature

Collaborations in Canvas allow students to collaborate on a Google Doc without having to share email addresses. The Collaborations link then houses each of the collaborations making it easy for students to find them. Instructors can assign groups and then grade collaborations as well.

How to Create a Google Docs Collaboration Assignment

Create a Rubric for an Assignment

Adding a rubric to an assignment lets the student's know your expectations and let's them know how you intend to grade the assignment. You can add rubrics to assignments, graded discussions, and quizzes.

How to Allow Students to Attach Files to Discussions

Rearrange Assignments in the Gradebook

You can arrange columns in your gradebook by due date and by points. If you'd like to reorder differently, then you can simply hover over the assignment name until you see a hand. Then, drag and drop.

How to Sort and Rearrange Columns in the Gradebook

Reason #5 Nearpod is the Neatest

You can change student names to "anonymous" and show quiz results or poll results on the projector.

Reason #4 Nearpod is the Neatest

You can insert a web page into your presentation for students to view. Once inserted, students are directed to exactly the page you want without having to search, mistype, etc.

Reason #3 Nearpod is the Neatest

You can add a poll to solicit student's opinions. You can do this ahead of time or "on the fly."

Add the Badgr App to Your Canvas Course

If you are interested in gamifying your course, add the Badgr App. Once it is installed and set up, badges are awarded based on module completion. Design modules to cover a TEK or a unit of study or you can create modules that assess a particular skill.

How to add the Badgr App to Canvas

Use Total Points in the Gradebook for Keeping Track of XP

Another gamifying aspect is awarding experience points (XP) for completing tasks. As students acquire these points, they can level up through ranks and earn prizes. Canvas allows you to change your gradebook from a percentage view to a total points view. This makes it easy for you and the students to keep track of their XP.

How to Change Gradebook to Points

Use Assignments with No Submission

If you are gamifying your course and awarding experience points (XP), you may want to award XP for something besides grades. For example, awarding 100 XP for attending tutorials or 50 XP for finishing a warm-up question. You can create an assignment with no submission to keep track of additional XP.

How to Create an Assignment with No Submission

Google Tip: Checking Word Count

In Docs, just go to Tools>Word Count or use the keyboard shortcut: CTRL+Shift+C.

Reason #2 Nearpod is the Neatest

The Draw-It Question Type: "Draw It" question types are amazing for math teachers. Insert a coordinate plane and kids can graph to their heart's content. Teachers can see all work in the report.

Reason #1 Nearpod is the Neatest

Upload a PowerPoint, Add a Quiz: You can add a quiz in a presentation for quick, formative assessment. Jazz up that static PowerPoint presentation by adding some interactivity.

Click the button below to find directions on how to access your digital textbook.

2018-2019 Crosslisting Information

We have modified the way you cross list this year, so please watch the video to review/learn how to cross list before school starts.

Video Link:

If you have any questions, please enter a helpdesk ticket through Canvas or contact me!

Using Nearpod in Canvas

504 Oral Accommodations Help

If you have students that have oral admin 504 accommodations, here are 4 options how tech can support your students.

  1. Audacity – All devices
    1. Use this program to record yourself reading the exam and save as an MP3. Upload the file to Google Drive and use a URL or QR code to share with the student on test day.
    2. The student can control the playback, pause, rewind, and fast-forward as needed.
  2. Snap & Read – Chrome Extension on all desktop computers, laptops, and Chromebooks
    1. The students use their Google account to access an overlay that will read any text on the screen. The teacher can share the exam through Google Docs or other cloud storage. This is also a great option for exams administered through online programs, like Canvas, eTextbooks, Certification Programs, etc.
    2. The student can select text on a document and the program will read it for the student. The student can change the default voice, change the pitch and cadence of the voice as well as highlight color.
  3. Natural Reader – iPad app on all iPads
    1. The teacher will upload a PDF of the exam to Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive. Log into the service on the iPad and then add the file to the Natural Reader library.
    2. The student can control the voice type and cadence. The student can select specific text to be read and it is magnified at the bottom of the screen. The student can pause the reading and resume.
  4. Canvas – All devices
    1. The teacher can create a quiz in canvas manually or by importing from Examview. Then add a media recording, which is recorded directly in Canvas, to each question prompt.
    2. The student can click on and hear the teacher read the question and answer choices for the questions separately.

Information compiled by Chad Scott, KISD CTD

Earn Badges and Professional Development Hours! OPERATION: Tech Bingo

Don't forget to check out KISD Tech Bingo for PD opportunity at your own pace!

If you are new to the course, click here to begin your journey and earn those badges!

If you participated last year, click here to pick up where you left off and earn more badges!

  • Check out the Covert Operations for additional challenges and XP!
  • Check out the Medals for certifications and lots of XP!


  • Every badge earned is worth 0.5 hours of PD - Great for T-TESS!
  • Every bingo earned gives you a raffle ticket for the prize bag at the end of the year.
  • At various XP levels- Tweet Out, Sweet Treat, Spin the XP Wheel, Mystery Box, and Extra Raffle Ticket

Google Fun: Minesweeper Extension

If you remember Windows 3.1, then you may remember this game. Now Google Chrome has an extension. Try it!

Google Tip: Define Words

When in Docs or Slides, highlight a word, right-click and choose Define 'word you chose'. The definitions pop up on the right-hand side.

Google Tip: Add a Shortcut to your Desktop

If you have a favorite website and would like to add a shortcut to your Desktop instead of a bookmark, open Chrome, go to the site, and click the "hotdog" in the top-right corner. Choose More Tools>Create shortcut... Then, click Create on the pop-up menu.

Google Quick Tips, Vol 17

Google Fun!

Go to to play a Google Maps geography and trivia game. Try it!

New in Google Sites! Duplicating

You can now duplicate your Google Site! You can back up your work or create a template for others to use. Just click the More menu and Duplicate Site.

New in Google Keep! Indenting items in Your Lists

You can indent items in your Google Keep lists. Just drag an item to the right to indent. Drag to the left to un-indent.


Great Google Chrome extension that allows you to control slides from your phone without any additional hardware. Try it! Thanks Jay Jackson for showing me!

Google Fun! Tic Tac Toe

Type Tic Tac Toe in your Google Search bar (the omnibox) and have fun!

Collect Email Addresses

If you create forms frequently and would like it to "Collect email addresses" by default for all of your forms, then go to Forms and click the three dots at the top-right. Then click "Preferences" and check the box.

Add-On to Brag-On

Here's an Add-On to Brag-On: Flat for Docs. You can create and edit music easily with the Add-On. You can also play back what you are createing! Once you're finished, it inserts it into Docs as a picture.

Edpuzzle Online Professional Development

Edpuzzle has become one of my favorite tools. You MUST check out the online PD offered by Edpuzzle. You can get the basics with Level 1 and Level 2, then ramp it up and become an Edpuzzle Coach. There are also lessons to learn how to flip your classroom, plan a lesson, and a diversity and inclusion lesson. GREAT STUFF!! Check it out!

Google Fun! Scavenger Hunt

Get a little exercise today. Click here (phone is best). Could be a fun icebreaker for a Professional Development meeting.

Google Keep Labels

Google Keep is the best note-taking and list-making app out there (in my opinion). You can pin notes so they are easily accessible or you can add labels for quick reference such as: Lists, Recipes, Websites, etc. And, there are checkboxes. Who doesn't like checkboxes?

UnDoing an Email in Gmail

Ever sent an email to the wrong person and wished so much you could get it back? Gmail has a new feature. When you click Send, you'll get a notice to Undo or View Message. You can also decide how long you have to un-send a message.

ATTENTION MATH TEACHERS! Check out the EquatIO Chrome Extension

Clicking through MathType or Microsoft Word's equation editor can be tedious. EquatIO will change your math teaching lives forever. Educators can get a FREE account. What does it do, you ask? You can use the voice record option to SPEAK to EquatIO and it will write the equation for you! If you download the app, you can WRITE it with your finger and then you can insert it into a Google Doc. You can insert graphs and more. Here is just a small taste of what it can do: DEMO VIDEO

Tech APPetizer: GooseChase

Looking for a fun way to review? @GooseChase is a digital way to do an old school scavenger hunt! Science teachers at Rains HS in @katyisd are using it and kids love it! See more at

Google Fun!

Type Fun Facts in your Google search bar and see what happens. Could be a fun warm-up or Friday activity for discussion starters.

Font Fixin' Tip

Font Fixin Tip: Ever need to use a font size in a Google Doc or Google Slide (this works in Microsoft Word too) that isn't a choice? Like 16 pt or 20 pt font? You can!

Click in the font size box, delete the current number, type in what you want and hit Enter.

EXTENSION TO MENTION: Google Scholar Button

What a time saver! One click and you have research articles to peruse. Sure could have used this in grad school.

ELA ALERT! Everyday Edit

Learned about Everyday Edit from Tess Gamberutti at Rains High School. GREAT way to build language skills, test scores, and cultural literacy with students in grades 4 and above. Check it out at .
My 10 Favorite Gamification Books

Click here to view the Venngage graphic with live links.

Three Productivity Apps to Try

@MeaganMLopez introduced me to these three productivity apps. I have a love of lists and games which makes Habitica the perfect app for me. You level up after completing tasks and earn in-game rewards. It just makes completing daily and weekly tasks just a little more fun.

I had my daughter add the Forrest app to her phone and I am rewarding her for trees planted. You plant a seed for a minimum of 10 minutes. If you leave the Forrest app, your tree will die. She told me the other night she planted a 30 minute tree, went and did her work (laundry, shower, etc) and came back noticing she still had 10 minutes left. Instead of "killing" her tree, she practiced piano. WIN FOR FORREST APP.

StayFocusd is a Google Chrome extension that restricts time on frivolous, time-wasting websites. How many times have you gotten sucked in to the Facebook Vortex? You set an allotted time and, when your time is used up, the sites you blocked will be inaccessible for the rest of the day. You can configure this to suit your needs.

Here's a link to a cool Infographic about these tools.

4 Extensions to Mention


2. Google Docs Quick Create

3. URL Shortener

4. Cite This for Me

Check out the infographic for more information.

DOC Detail: Embedding GIFs in Your Docs

To embed GIFs, you can search for and use GIFs from or you can make your own.

To Make Your Own GIFs:

You’ll need:

When recording your screen using Screencastify, make sure your microphone is turned off and you are not using the webcam. You’ll be recording your desktop. Record what you need and then go to Online Video Converter.

Screencastify automatically saves to your Google Drive, so you can open directly from your Drive. Open your file and then in Step 2, choose “More.” You’ll find gif at the bottom of the list. Click “Convert.” Once the video has been converted, you can save to Google Drive or Dropbox or you can download the file.

To Embed in the Google Doc:

Go to Insert>Image and find your file. Done!

To see a GIF about making a GIF click here.

(Got this great info from Mesha Daniel (@meshadaniel, Ysleta ISD, Innovative Learning Specialist) from her TCEA presentation, "The Awesomeness of Google Docs.")

Tech APPetizer: Apple Classroom

"Classroom turns your iPad into a powerful teaching assistant, helping a teacher guide students through a lesson, see their progress, and keep them on track. With Classroom, you can easily launch the same app on every student device at the same time or launch a different app for each group of students. Classroom helps teachers focus on teaching so students can focus on learning."

"Start, focus, or pause student work

- Launch any app, website, or book on student devices with a tap
- Lock devices into a single app to help students focus
- Lock screens to pause work or refocus your class
- Mute audio on student devices

See what your students see with Screen View
- See an overview of all student screens at once
- Focus on a single student screen"

See more info on iTunes.


The read&write Chrome extension is a valuable tool to use for students with dyslexia, other learning difficulties, or anyone whose first language isn't English. Tools include predictive text, dictionary, picture dictionary, speech maker, voice to text recognition, and much more. This can be a great confidence booster for anyone who needs a little extra help with their reading and writing. But, it's also great for ALL kids.

Teachers get a FREE premium account with sign up.

Here's how to use it:

Part 1: Video and .pdf
Part 2: Video and .pdf

Tech APPetizer: Educreations

Educreations has been one of my favorite go-to apps for several years. If you are utilizing iPads in your classroom, this is a great tool for students to model what they know. Not only can teachers use the app to create engaging video lessons, but having students create their own tutorials - explaining how they did the problem - is extremely beneficial to learning.

“We know generating explanations leads to better educational outcomes generally. When children explain events, they learn more than when just getting feedback about the accuracy of their predictions,” said Cristine H. Legare, an assistant psychology professor and the director of the Cognition, Culture, and Development Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin. ( 2018)

Head over to iTunes and check it out!

Students Can Learn by Explaining, Studies Say - Education Week. (2018).

Retrieved January 24, 2018, from


Noisli isn't an educational app, per se, but it is a great app to use to increase productivity.

From the Noisli blog: "A paper published by the Journal of Consumer Research shows that the right amount of noise, between 50-70 dB is the right level of distraction which keeps the brain active and enhances creative thinking." ( 2018).

Grab the Chrome extension from the Web Store and explore. You can listen to rain, thunder, wind, coffee shop (my favorite), waves, and more. Not only that, you can add combinations of any of these as well. It's a great extension! It was recommended by my friend, Celaina Huckeba (@CHuckeba), extraordinary Social Studies Instructional Coach at Mayde Creek High School in Katy ISD.

Canvas Teacher App is Here!

Time is a teacher’s most valuable resource. Save time and use Canvas more efficiently from your mobile device with Canvas Teacher.

Canvas Teacher allows teachers to facilitate their courses on the go, both inside and outside the classroom. This app provides quick access to three of the most frequent course facilitation tasks for teachers:

• GRADING: Browse submissions and provide feedback to your students with a new and improved mobile SpeedGrader embedded in this app.
• COMMUNICATING: Send announcements and messages (including "Message Students Who..."), and participate in course discussions from the palm of your hand.
• UPDATING: Need to change a due date? Or publish an assignment? Or fix a misspelling? Canvas Teacher allows you to update your course content.

Canvas Teacher is the perfect mobile Canvas companion for course facilitation!

MATH TEACHERS TAKE NOTE! Proof Practice in Google Slides

Google Slides is a perfect tool to use when students need practice writing formal, two-column geometric proofs or solving algebraic equations. In my example, I used a geometric proof to create an interactive puzzle. Read more here or watch the video.


“Whenever you find yourself with too many tabs, click the OneTab icon to convert all of your tabs into a list. When you need to access the tabs again, you can either restore them individually or all at once. When your tabs are in the OneTab list, you will save 95% of memory because you will have reduced the number of tabs open in Google Chrome.” Read more at

OneThing About OneNote, Part 5 (OneNote and Outlook)

OneNote and Outlook work together to make your life easier! Whatever you flag in OneNote will appear as a Task in your Outlook. When you click on the Outlook Tasks icon in OneNote, you are also able to give it a due date. Brilliant!

Here is a step-by-step pdf.

Secret Outlook Feature

We get so many emails on a daily basis, it’s easy to overlook something important. Outlook has a feature in which you can change the font, color, and size of the emails that fill your Inbox.

This is not found in the Rules tab where you might look first. This is found in the View/View Settings tab.

Here are the instructions.

OneThing About OneNote, Part 4 (Templates)

Tired of taking notes on a stark-white, boring, blank OneNote page? (First world problem.) There’s a solution! Templates! See more....

Nearpod is the Neatest!

Nearpod isn’t new, but it’s neat! The potential use in the mathematics classroom is very exciting to me. The idea of taking up homework, grading it, and handing it back to students the next day diminishes the impact teachers could make if there was immediate feedback. Nearpod is a tool that can provide immediate feedback to students and provide teachers with pertinent data.

An initial way to use this in your math classroom would to use it for your warm-up examples. Most teachers start with something: a spiral review, a difficult homework question, a lead-in to what’s happening for the day, or a popularly missed question on the EOC. In this example, I am going to use a practice EOC question as my warm-up. You could certainly add to the Nearpod and continue to use it for the entire day’s lesson.

How to use it.

OneThing About OneNote, Part 3 (Docking)

Are you an Evernote fan? I’m not anti-Evernote, but I am PRO-OneNote! This one OneNote feature will win you over…docking. The docking feature will anchor your OneNote on the screen so you can take notes while watching a video, viewing a .pdf, etc. If your students are utilizing a LMS (like Canvas), they can take notes while watching your riveting class lecture in your flipped classroom! More...

Math Magic in Canvas Quizzes

If you'd like to give students an opportunity to take a quiz more than once, but you don't want questions to repeat, then the Formula Question is for you! You can get detailed information on the Canvas Guides or watch my quick video tutorial.

SMART Notebook Feature: Shout It Out

"SHOUT IT OUT IS SO COOL," she shouted. It really is cool. If you are a Padlet fan, this is a quick way to add "sticky-note" functionality to your SmartBoard. Many times we don't have time to call on everyone, but this kind of activity gives all students an opportunity to contribute. Take a look at a short video featuring Shout It Out.

OneThing About OneNote, Part 2 (Tagging)

Now that you’re a pro at creating To-Do Lists, tagging the lists (and anything in your notebooks, for that matter) can help you create MORE lists. I’m a list fan, can you tell?

We’ve already used the “To Do Tag,” but OneNote has many more options. More...

OneThing About OneNote, Part 1 (To-Do Lists)

I’m on a purposeful path to paperlessness. (I’m just going to pretend that is a real word to complete the alliteration.) OneNote is a useful productivity tool and, if you are interested in pursuing this path, you can start with simply using it for a list of To-Do’s. Because OneNote syncs with all of your devices, you no longer have keep track of that pencil-and-paper list.

Here is the tutorial. Enjoy!

SMART Notebook Feature: The Magic Pen

If you're interested in trying something new in SMART, consider the Magic Pen. No, it doesn't magically grade your papers. I tried.

The Magic Pen does three interesting things:

1. When you write text with the magic pen, it will disappear after an awkward amount of wait time.

2. By drawing a circle around a key word, a key phrase, or something worth noting, it will put a "spotlight" on the object circled.

3. By drawing a rectangle around a key word, a key phrase, etc. it will magnify.

4. I know I said three interesting things. But, I like even numbers. By drawing a regular tetradecagon with the magic pen, the SMART board will spontaneously disintegrate. Junior high boys love that.

Here's a look at the pen in action.

Knowledge Base

Help with online textbooks, forethought, and more.

Help Desk Ticket

Have a hardware issue? Click here to put in a Help Desk Ticket.