Tech Snacks

Byte Sized Treats to Transform Learning 2.19.19

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Protect Your Classroom From Leprechauns!

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya! Looking for a fun STEM activity to get kids in the spirit for St. Patrick’s Day? Want to hit some of the NGSS Physical Science and Engineering Standards throughout the week? Why not have students engineer a leprechaun trap by using simple machines, collisions, and chain reactions?

Begin with the engineering design process. Show students what a Rube Goldberg machine is and how it works. Then, let students collaborate and brainstorm how they can create chain reactions to solve a simple task (catch a leprechaun). You can use this document -- or for younger students this one -- to help plan. You can adapt for your elementary classroom by reading How to Catch a Leprechaun by Adam Wallace, design and plan for two transfers of energy, or explain cause and effect using collisions. Adapt for your high school physics class to explain Newton’s Laws of Motion or investigate momentum changes. Throw in some chocolate gold coins to entice that pesky leprechaun and give them a try.

Not sure what to build? Check out some of these different collisions for inspiration.

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Storyboard That

“Probie.” For all of our NCIS fans, you know this nickname refers to the newest member of the team as a term of an endearment. We use the nickname “Probie” with the newest members of our OIT team to help exemplify the extensive learning of practices and nuances of our techie instructional jobs. When you are called “Probie,” accept it with grace and all of the love that you can enjoy from that camaraderie.

In this position, I continually learn and reflect as a life-long Probie. I am continually studying new ways to flavor classroom instruction and to use instructional technology with best practices in mind ... which brings me to one of my favorite ways of assigning projects to students. I love to use choice boards (check out Kasey Bell’s Interactive Learning Menus) during instruction to give our students an opportunity to choose, to capitalize on their strengths, and to try something new.

Allowing students the opportunity to create comics and to produce storyboards is a great way to incorporate the 4Cs and is a must in choice boards! You can search the web for “digital storytelling” or “comic creators”, but my favorite is Storyboard That furnishes users with premade backdrops, characters, furniture, and other items to make a story complete. Storyboard That also uses a drag and drop interface to allow students of all ages to create and to showcase their ideas. Students using Storyboard That have the opportunity to show understanding, explain a process, organize steps, and do so much more. Check out some examples of how to use Storyboard That with:

Want to see more examples? Check out Storyboard That Teacher Resources.

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Get Your Gale Resources on in Canvas

Life for Canvas users got a bit easier with the new integration of Gale resources into Canvas. With FCPS' subscription to Gale's Opposing Viewpoints in Context and Gale Virtual Reference Library Mental Health databases, middle and high school teachers have access to high quality articles and books to use both in the classroom and for professional development. Opposing Viewpoints is a cross-curricular resource for classroom research and debaters presenting social issues from both the pro and con perspectives, while the Mental Health collection offers books on issues ranging from depression to bullying. The beauty of the Canvas integration is that teachers can place content directly into an Assignment, Content Page, etc. -- and if the course navigation is set up, students can browse the resources and save them directly into Google Drive. All of this can happen without the requirement of separate login credentials. Take a peek at the video for a quick overview.
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Google Canvas is a progressive web application that loads like a regular web page but offers the user functionality traditionally available only to an application. Starting with a blank canvas or an imported image, the app is designed to allow the user to doodle, sketch, or take notes but maybe not create a masterpiece. It currently offers a paint pallet to select your color, pencil, pen, marker, chalk, and eraser with the ability to change the size and opacity of your markings with a double click on the tool. Just click on the horizontal ellipse at the top right of the page to export the drawing or send feedback... When downloading the file onto a PC, the PNG file went to the Downloads folder, while downloading on a Chromebook, sends the file to the root of your Google Drive. One recommendation: since Google Canvas isn't in the Chrome Web Store , you might want to add it as a bookmark.

Video: Create Drawings on Canvas by Google by Richard Byrne (2:30)

Give it a try!
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Upcoming Technology PD

Explore Canvas: Assignments, Speedgrader, and Quizzes 2/21/19

Introductory training barely scratches the surface of the many incredible things Canvas can offer for blended learning. With this session, learn how to turn an assignment into a virtual copy machine with either Google Docs/Slides or Word/PowerPoint, use Speedgrader's markup tools to provide student feedback, and set up Quizzes with various options, such as adding images to answers. Bring your content or have it already uploaded to the Cloud so that you can use your own material while you practice.

Google for Education Level 2 Series: Advanced Forms, Sheets and Add-On's 2/25/19

Ready to dig a little deeper into Forms and Sheets? In this session you will learn how to create more complicated forms and how to use basic functions and pivot tables in Sheets along with conditional formatting to make the data work for you. We'll also look at the power of Add-Ons for both tools. This is an advanced session and only those with prior experience using the tools should register. This session is also part of a series for those seeking Level 2 Google Educator Certification. Those seeking certification should visit this site for more information.

Google for Education Level 1 Series: Google Sites & Google + 3/11/19

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. This session is open to anyone, but is also part of a series for those seeking Level 1 Google Educator Certification. Those seeking certification should visit this site for more information.

Google for Education Level 1 Series: YouTube & Hangout 3/20/19

Curious how you can use YouTube and Hangouts with students? This session will cover the basics of how to organize YouTube to share resources with students and touch briefly on uploading content. We'll also look at creative ways to use Hangouts and how to get started. This session is open to anyone, but is also part of a series for those seeking Level 1 Google Educator Certification. Those seeking certification should visit this site for more information.

Utilize Canvas' Collaboration Tool to Increase Student Communication and Teamwork 3/21/19

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

Building Blocks of Minecraft 3/25/19

Discover how to use Minecraft in creative and innovative ways across different content areas and for various enrichment ideas. Engage students in a fun way while adding innovative design. Never touched Minecraft? Don't know what a creeper is? This session is for YOU!

To register and browse for more PD sessions, please visit