Feb 242015

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Gmail Tips – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Here are the links that were included in the presentation:

Feb 042015

Permalink: http://goo.gl/0YVfup (zero)

Take a look at this presentation on Password Management to learn how to take the hassle and pain out of keeping track of ALL of your passwords, and creating new and much safer passwords. Below are the links included in the presentation:

Jan 302015

While doing a little research this morning, I stumbled upon this great site that I had not encountered before:


This resource from the Google for Education site has self-paced instructions on how to use and implement about 20 different Google services and tools, including Drive, Docs, Classroom, Chrome, Chromebooks, YouTube, as well as a module on Digital Citizenship.

We are using Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks ever increasingly in our region, in Utah, and in the entire country. They are amazing tools, and you can’t beat the cost. These resources will be a great help for those teachers who just like to get their hands dirty and teach themselves how to use these tools, and will be a great resource for my teachers after the training has happened that have those lingering questions that always come up.

Happy Google-ing!

Jan 212015

Would you like to be able to send home reminders, information and notes to students and parents that they’ll actually READ? 1 out of 5 US teachers use Remind (formerly Remind101) to instantly connect with students and parents on a regular basis. It is free to setup and use, however if your student’s don’t have a bulk texting plan it may cost them to receive your updates. The company has committed to always keep at least some portion of this service free for teachers – they understand education. And, it integrates with Twitter!

Sign up for a free Remind account, and make sure to get the iOS or Android app for your phone or device.

If you’d like to see how it works, sign up for my Technology Training group by texting @techtr to 81010:


Dec 112014

With Utah’s new SAGE Assessments and the SAGE Formative system, formative assessment has been on my mind quite a bit this year. Since it’s not always easy (or even possible some days) to get your students into a computer lab, you can’t always use these online tools to gauge your student’s learning and comprehension.

Thanks to Kim Rathke for sharing this great checklist/document (PDF) for formative assessment, you now have a wealth of ideas for getting that feedback in the classroom. This goes hand in hand with my presentation on Classroom Assessment Techniques that I’ve shared earlier.

Yea low-tech solutions!

Utah Compose

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Dec 032014

Access at http://utahcompose.com/

Default Logins for teachers: TCactusID
Default PW’s for teachers: Birthday mmddyyyy

Student Login: State Student ID# (7 digits)
Student PW’s: SSID (same as login): Students will be prompted to pick a new password on their first login

Utah Compose is a tool. It’s not a replacement for good teaching and writing instruction. It’s a Formative process.

Goals for Utah Compose Writing:

  • Increase the amount of writing in all classrooms by all students
  • Improve the quality of writing in all classrooms by all students
  • Increase the Career and College Readiness level among students graduating from high school

Purpose of Utah Compose:

  • Allow educators across all content areas to administer writing assessments using pre-built prompts and educator-created prompts that can be shared within/school and/or LEA
  • Ability for districts/LEAs/teachers to upload and control created prompts that will be scored immediately
  • Students track writing progress using online writing portfolios with tracking sheets that show incremental writing improvement
  • Reports showing individual student progress allow teachers to target and differentiate writing instruction
  • Reports allow teachers and administrators to disaggregate writing proficiency within content areas, across content areas, and across grade levels.

Helpful Thoughts:

  • It’s time to train students that passwords are private and confidential. Their world will be full of logins to keep track of – it’s never too soon to teach them how to manage and remember them.
  • Manage your lab time effectively. If you only have 30 minutes in the lab a week, focus that time on actual writing. Use the graphic organizers on paper, pre-writing, etc.

Helpful links from a Course Home Page:

  • Rubrics and How-To’s can be found on the Course Home page – links on the left. Text Evidence and Content Rubrics are the only ones that do not self-score. These are on a scale of 3-1.
  • Example Essays from grades 3-12 as well as Graphic Organizers – black line masters that teachers can copy and use as much as they’d like. Can also be used directly by students when writing in Compose.

‘Prompts’ tab: Teachers can add their own prompts – In a course, click on the ‘Prompts’ tab. Then click the ‘+ Add’ button and fill in the information. Teachers may NOT upload pre-created prompts for copyright issues. Teachers do not need to attach a pre-made Compose graphic organizer to a prompt if they want students to use them. Just let students know which one to use and they can write in them during the writing process. Most prompts are not enabled/unpublished by default – teachers must publish a prompt in order for students to use them. Use the filters at the top to quickly find the prompt you want students to use. The ‘Paperclip’ icon indicates a stimulus is attached. Links are included, and some could be filtered at school because of comments on posts. Make sure to show the ‘Advanced Options +’ at the bottom of any prompt. Great options here – Time, number of submissions, feedback options, & peer review.

‘Lessons’ Tab: Tutorials are here. Tutorials are recommended to students once their writing has been assessed (which can vary each day) – great way to differentiate instruction. Also great for remediation.

‘Students’ tab: Lists your students and classes. The ‘Print’ button will give you a roster with usernames and passwords to quickly print and distribute to students.

‘Reports’ tab: Can show growth and improvement easily. Students should submit all writing to be scored every single time in a lab, even if they are not done. Students can re-access an incomplete prompt. This way the reports will be more complete and meaningful.

Setting up Peer-Edit Groups:
Go into Class Lists under ‘Students’ tab. Click the ‘Groups’ button (top left). +Add or Randomize will remove your existing groups (if any) and will create new random groups with 2-5 students in each (depending on your choice). When editing groups, just click in the names field and a drop-down will show up with any unassigned students.
This is sort of an advanced feature. Get up to speed on the basics, and then add in peer review.