URockEdu Updates

March 2021

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Spring is Coming!

Can you believe it's already March?

There are so many things to look forward to this month! Whether it be a week off for Spring Break, the extra hour of daylight when clocks change, the first day of spring, or March Madness (hello, sports fans!), we truly hope you have at least one thing to look forward to this month. May it bring you happiness and reinvigorate you!

Connect with us to receive regular updates!

Tool Talk

Have you heard all the buzz about Blooket? This tool is quickly gaining popularity as the latest gamified digital assessment tool, and rightly so, because students love it! Why the name Blooket? When students start a game, they choose a block-shaped avatar called a "blook" to represent them.

Blooket is a web-based quiz game platform for group competition or solo study. What sets it apart from other game-based assessment tools is that the quizzes can be re-themed using a variety of "game modes" that offer unique visual themes and gameplay types, turning quizzes into competitive experiences similar to games students might play on their phones for fun.

One of the best things about Blooket for teachers is the ability to use Quizlet sets to create a game. If you already have sets in Quizlet, you can import them (text only) into Blooket. You can also search public question sets to use or adapt as your own. Blooket also provides access to data on completed games in order to analyze and adjust instruction!

Find out more by reading TCEA's review and check out the Blooket website. Tag us on social media @URockEDU with your thoughts after you try Blooket with your students!

Book Nook

Jennifer Serravallo’s Connecting with Students Online provides concise, doable answers based on her own experiences and those of the teachers, administrators, and coaches in the trenches of remote learning.

Focusing on the vital importance of the teacher-student connection, the book includes guidance on how to:

  • effectively prioritize what matters most during remote, online instruction
  • schedule the day to maximize teaching and learning (and avoid burnout)
  • streamline curricular units and roll them out digitally
  • record highly engaging short lessons that students will enjoy and learn from
  • confer, working with small groups, and drive learning through independent practice

Featuring simplified, common-sense suggestions, 55 step-by-step teaching strategies, and video examples of Jennifer conferring and working with small groups, Connecting with Students Online helps new teachers, teachers new to technology, or anyone who wants to better understand the essence of effective online instruction.

Program Updates

BrightBytes Bits

We are so excited to see so many districts launch their BrightBytes data collection this year! If your district hasn’t opened its collection window, we want to make sure that you know your options. As in past years, through the ISS contract, you have access to the Technology & Learning Solution. This year, you also have access to BrightBytes’ NEW Modern Learning Solution! We hope the information below will help you get started in your decision-making process.

BrightBytes' flagship product, The Technology and Learning Solution, will continue to be an option for all Region 11 districts this spring. With this solution, school leaders can:

  • Gather and analyze data on the maturity of their instructional technology programs

  • Measure and drive the impact of your hardware and software technology investments

  • Drive and monitor progress around changing instructional practices and fully leverage the potential of technology for learning

The Modern Learning Solution, BrightBytes’ newest solution, was developed in response to the sudden shifts in teaching and learning that occurred in 2020. With this solution, district and school leaders can:

  • Gain a more holistic, location-agnostic understanding of teaching, learning, and technology use

  • Ensure equitable access to technology and learning opportunities for all students

  • Determine and address areas of need down to the building and grade level (e.g., Do middle school students treat others with respect online? Where do I need to provide personalized PD?)

If you have any questions or to help you get started, contact Maria Collins at mcollins@esc11.net.

Canvas Corner

Canvas Releases User Summaries

Each month Canvas sends out Release Notes for the coming month. This is a great resource for staying up-to-date with new features, changes, and improvements to our Canvas LMS.

Have you ever found yourself looking through the release notes and thinking, “Do I need to send something out? How will these changes impact users? Is there anything my teachers or principals need to know?” If any of these questions (or similar ones) have ever crossed your mind, then the Canvas Release User Summaries may be your answer.

Whether you send out direct links to the summaries or draft a short message detailing the highlights, this documentation from Canvas is extremely helpful in understanding how updates impact different user roles (admin/instructor/student) within your instance. If a change does not impact a user role, then it is not included in the summary for that role. Be sure to bookmark these resources for future reference!

For questions on Canvas, contact Ann Marie Helou at ahelou@esc11.net.

Connect2Texas Connections


Looking for something different and unique during this unusual learning environment? We have just the thing for you! Students will enjoy learning about specific content areas from experts in the field.

These lessons are:

  • Available to ALL educators around the world, including public, private, charter, and homeschools
  • Connected via Zoom, regardless of whether students are at school or at home (but teachers can share screen with other platforms)
  • Aligned to state (TEKS) and/or national standards
  • 30-50 minutes in length
  • Inclusive of all subjects and grade levels available
  • Complete with primary sources and materials (teacher's guide, student activities, etc.)
  • Available by request on specific dates/times

Please help us spread the word and share this information with other classroom teachers, librarians, instructional coaches/leaders, and parents. We need your help to inform others about this incredible resource.

To join the listserv, click here and select Connect2Texas from the list. If you have questions, contact Lori Hamm-Neckar at lhamm@esc11.net.

Discovery Education Exposé

During the month of March, Discovery Education will continue to offer customized events for principals, educators, and instructional coaches. For more information, please click on the graphic below. Then, use this link to register for the March sessions you want to attend!

For any questions or support with Discovery Education, reach out to Maria Collins at mcollins@esc11.net.

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Seesaw Scoop

Are you looking for fresh new ways to use Seesaw to drive instruction and engagement in your classroom? Check out this month's Seesaw Activities Choice Board for six new ideas that will leave your students wanting more!

Included in the choice board:

  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Book Creator
  • Interview an Expert
  • Daily Schedule
  • Question A Day Attendance
  • Mindfulness and Yoga

➡️ Click Here to access the March Seesaw Activities Choice Board.

Contact Nicole Adkins at nadkins@esc11.net for any Seesaw support.

VoiceThread Variety

Attention, districts that use Zoom and VoiceThread:

Did you know it's possible to integrate these two tools? Learn more in the video included below. Contact your district administrator for help getting started or reach out to Maria Collins at mcollins@esc11.net with any questions about VoiceThread.

Zoom + VoiceThread

Upcoming Professional Learning

Canvas 101 Lite (Online Course)

If you are just getting started with Canvas, this course is for you! We have pared down our robust six-hour Canvas course into a lighter, more agile version of itself. In this course, you will first be introduced to the basics of Canvas, and then be asked to create artifacts for each foundational piece. This course is self-paced, and you can join at any time.

Register here to attend. Contact Charles Cooper at ccooper@esc11.net or Shelly Shaw at sshaw@esc11.net with any questions.

Engage by Design: Digital Tools Series

Do you like to learn at your own pace and on your own time? We've got some self-paced mini-courses just for you. Jump in anytime before the ending date! In each course, you will create a product that you can use right away with learners, and you will earn 2.0 CEU hours per course! The following digital tool courses are open for registration.

  • Choice Boards - ends 3/31
  • Discovery Education - ends 4/19 *brand new course*
  • HyperDocs - ends 3/31
  • Jamboard - ends 4/19

Contact Lori Miniet at lminiet@esc11.net or Maria Collins at mcollins@esc11.net with questions about the Digital Tools Series mini-courses.

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Google Educators PLN

If you missed our last meeting, you can still review and save our shared notes. There were so many AMAZING resources shared!

🌟 Make plans to join us for the April 29th meeting! 🌟

The Google Educators PLN is a one-hour meeting that provides a time to collaborate with other educators in the region who are using GSuite tools such as Classroom, Meet, Slides, Forms, and Jamboard with learners in face-to-face, blended, or virtual environments. We share celebrations, challenges, activities, and questions about using Google tools with learners.

After you register for the April meeting, download the flyer to share with and invite your colleagues. If you have questions about the Google Educators PLN, contact Maria Collins at mcollins@esc11.net or Lori Miniet at lminiet@esc11.net.

Seesaw Virtual Sessions

We love to support you in using Seesaw with your learners and hope you will join us for the latest session on integrating new ideas and practices with Seesaw. On March 10, plan to attend the Choice Boards and Seesaw session from 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Are you a part of our Seesaw Professional Learning Network (PLN)? This meeting is a great opportunity to network with other educators using Seesaw, to get new ideas for using Seesaw, and to celebrate and share questions. Please join us for the March Seesaw Educators PLN on Wednesday, March 24, from 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Contact Nicole Adkins at nadkins@esc11.net with any questions about Seesaw.

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TexQuest: Let's Have a Conversation about College & Career Readiness (Virtual)

Do you need resources to help students prepare for exams and explore careers? Do you know where to find tutorials and flashcards to help students excel in a specific subject? Well, look no further than LearningExpress! This resource, provided through TexQuest, has all of this and more. In this two-hour workshop, we will tour the many centers in LearningExpress. We'll talk about the My Center Dashboard, how to take practice tests, search for occupations, and more. Participants will have ample time for hands-on practice throughout the workshop. We'll wrap up with how to promote this great resource, including marketing materials like bookmarks and infographics. We can even provide you with links to specific items to promote during various times of the year. How easy is that? Join us and find out!

Register to attend this session on March 24 from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.!

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Instructional Support and Solutions Contract

Don't miss out!

Does your district or school have the Instructional Solutions and Support Contract with ESC Region 11? If so, the following digital resources are available to you:

  • BrightBytes
  • Canvas
  • Connect2Texas
  • Discovery Ed
  • Ensemble
  • TexQuest
  • VoiceThread

Whether you need to get started or need to get reacquainted with any of these tools, contact Maria Collins at mcollins@esc11.net for support.

To request free professional development for any of these resources, complete the District PD Request for ISS Contract form.

Discovery Education

Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital curriculum resources for K–12 classrooms worldwide.


Canvas is the Learning Management System (LMS) that ESC Region 11 uses to provide online and blended learning opportunities. Districts that have purchased the Instructional Solutions and Support (ISS) contract have access to Canvas.


BrightBytes data analytics solutions integrates purposeful data across ed tech systems, analyzes results, and delivers actionable information that drives learning. It is available to districts through the ISS contract. What are you waiting for?


VoiceThread is a learning tool for enhancing student engagement and online presence. It is included in your ESC Region 11 ISS contract. How can we HELP to get your district started?

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URockEdu is the digital team at ESC Region 11. We exist to honor and celebrate the work that teachers do every day!!
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LB 03.02.21