Showing posts from May, 2014

Auto-Tweet Your Blog Posts with Twitterfeed!

I've used the website (If This Then That) for years to automate many things online but just found a super easy way to auto-Tweet my Virtual Voyage blog posts to the #gcisdvv hashtag.  It's a free website called  

Here's how to set it up:
Go to and create an account.You'll get an email to confirm your address.  Click the link and you'll be taken through a step by step process to setup your blog Tweets.Type your blog name and paste your blog URL.  (Click the "test rss feed" button to be sure it's the right feed address).Click the "Advanced Settings" link to expand the window.Scroll through the options and change 2 things:Change the "Post Content" choice to "Title Only"   Enter #gcisdvv in the "Post Suffix" box.  This will automatically add the hashtag after the blog post title in the Tweet.   Click "Continue to Step 2"Choose Twitter and authenticate your Twit…

GCISD Virtual Voyage - Create Your Blog Today!

Want to get started on your own Virtual Voyage?  Worried about step #1... creating a blog?  No worries!  It's easy!  Here's how:

Seriously!  It's that simple.  The hardest part is picking your blog name/url.  I just chose something easy ( but it can be anything you want.
Now you're ready to start posting.  Creating a post is as easy as typing an email.  Just follow these steps.  

Now that you've got your blog created, sign up for the Virtual Voyage by filling out our form here:

Stay tuned tomorrow for a really cool trick to auto-Tweet your Virtual Voyage blogposts with the #gcisdvv hashtag.

Doctopus and Goobric - Google Drive Add-Ons To Make Your Teacher Life Easier!

Today's guest post come to us from Julie Brem, librarian at Colleyville Heritage High School.  

Do you have something to share?  Fill out the "Tips from our Readers" form and maybe you'll be selected as our next guest blogger!

The “Doctopus”
You’ve gotta love all these crazy names for tech tools, but here’s one you can’t live without: Doctopus.  Think Google Docs + An Octopus’ arms,  pushing out documents to all your students’ Google drive folders.  But wait--there’s more!
Got differentiation happening in your classroom?  Doctopus will push out modified documents to those students who need them.   What about collaboration?  Doctopus will push out separate documents for each group, allowing only those group members to collaborate.   Doctopus makes assessment so much easier.  In the end you will have a Google Spreadsheet with links to all your students’ products, so you won’t have to click inside each student’s folder.
I cannot …

Feedly - Blog Reading Made Easy!

Today's guest post comes from Gypsy Mishoe, Instructional Coach.  Follow her on Twitter @gypsymishoe.

For several years now, some of my clever colleagues have been "suggesting" that I set up feedly.  I never got around to this task, so this Virtual Voyage was the perfect excuse to check it out.  At first I was a little bit confused as to how to set up account.   Of course, it was one of those times where the set up was so simple I was way overthinking things.  All I had to do was sign in with my google account. It was that simple. 
I decided to set up 5 different "collections" to help organize my blogs.  I created the following categories: humanities, technology, special education, GT, and finally a category called "Virtual Voyage" to easily keep up with all of my fellow travelers.  If you have not yet joined us on the GCISD Virtual Voyage, please go here to sign up!  I can now use feedly as my one stop shop to see all the great new things my blogging f…

Twitter Chats

Today's guest post comes from Erin Gerdes, 1st grade teacher at Silver Lake Elementary.  Follow her on Twitter @ErinGerdes.

A year ago I began my digital classroom journey. It has opened my eyes to endless possibilities for myself as an educator, for my students and for opportunities to collaborate with others. One new option for me was doing a Twitter Chat. I tend to be the quiet person who listens and takes what everyone says in, then I try it on my own and reflect. I'm a bit shy, especially when surrounded by other professionals. Turns out, Twitter Chats are PERFECT for me! At first, I was a 'lurker'. I would watch the chats but not get involved, other than retweeting something so I would have record of it later. I slowly grew my PLN this way, following a number of people. 

After a while, I began to participate. Now I really enjoy getting involved and look forward to meeting some of these people in my PLN at conferences. One of my favorite Twitter Chats is #1stchat. I…

Join us on a Virtual Voyage this summer!


What is the GCISD Virtual Voyage?    

The GCISD Virtual Voyage is a summer opportunity for you to have fun and step outside your technology comfort zone! Challenges can be completed in any order at any time.  Do as many as interest you.  The only rule is that you must share your learning with others via your blog!
How do I participate?
Create a blog.  (Directions here)Sign up here: this checklist to pick the challenges you want to do.  After completing each challenge, share your reflection in a blog post. Tweet your post with #gcisdvv so we can all learn from each other. If you've already done these things, please still share your reflections in a blog post.
What are the challenges?  
Participate in a book studyFind a free app and try it outSet up Feedly to read education blogsTake the Google Power Searching online classCreate a Google formExplore Infuse LearningCollaborate on lesson plans in Google Dr…

GCISD Hour of Code: Reflection from 7th Grade Math

Today's guest post comes from William Boykin, 7th grade teacher at Cross Timbers Middle School.  Follow him on Twitter @Cadre5GCISD
My seventh grade PAP Math students at Cross Timbers Middle School participated in the GCISD Hour of Code on May 13, 2014.The day started with a discussion about the one million computer coding jobs that may be unfilled in the year 2020 because of the lack of coding classes offered by U.S. high schools.Next, we watched a video with testimony by some of the most famous software developers such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.They encouraged students to learn code, stressed the importance of computers in their future, and spoke about how they began their coding careers.I also showed them a clip from President Obama celebrating the Hour of Code week and challenging the students to become involved.Finally, the students used their iPads to navigate through the Code Monster web site.Code Monster allows students to edit Java script code while manipulating ge…

GCISD Hour of Code: Reflection from a 3rd Grade

Today's guest post comes from Nancy Hale, 3rd grade teacher at Grapevine Elementary.  Follow her on Twitter @Mrs_Nancy_Haleand her classroom blog:

When I first read about the Hour of Code on the GCISD Tech Blog, it took me back to my own experiences in elementary school. I vividly remember learning how to do BASIC coding to create pictures on the computer screen from simple pixel commands. Knowing the impression this experience made on me, I knew I definitely wanted to try it with my students. 
I used the district’s list of suggested coding apps and took a poll of my class to see which apps they already had used. As soon as I brought up the idea of coding, they were immediately intrigued. From creating video games to programming their own robot, or even inventing a new type of technology…what kid wouldn’t be interested in learning how to code? The conversation and this short video clip had them all begging to begin. I felt like I was trapped in a …

GCISD Hour of Code: Create Your Own Flappy Bird Game

Today's guest post comes from Diane Norwood, 1st grade teacher at Cannon Elementary.  Follow her on Twitter @MsDianeNorwood.
Earlier this year my class began learning about writing computer programs.  We have worked on this with apps like Kodable and Hopscotch.  The students are learning to put the commands they want to use in a logical order to carry out a task.  

We went to a website called and created our own versions of the Flappy Bird game.  (It works on desktops or iPads). The website has a nice tutorial that took us through the process step-by-step of creating if, then commands to tell the character what to do. Then the final step was to design their own game and get the embed code to link to it.  Some students made the game character change backgrounds as they played or created a game where you got points for crashing on the ground - a point for each bounce!  Some kids created an endless game that you can never lose.  Most of the kids h…

GCISD Hour of Code: Reflection from 1st Grade

Today's guest post comes from Maureen Simmons, 1st grade teacher at Bear Creek Elementary.  Follow her on Twitter @MSimmons1212 and her classroom blog:

Being a first year digital teacher in Grade One, I was looking forward to these last few weeks in May where “my” learning was winding down.   My young students and I have tackled a lot of exciting things lately – using Google Drive (check!), utilizing Edmodo for assignments (check!) – what more could our wonderful Instructional Technology Team challenge us with in the glorious month of May?   

Enter: “Hour of Code”

When my fellow digital teacher (Karen Gelles) and I read this latest challenge we were mystified to say the least.  Both of us have heard the word “codes” here and there on Twitter… but that was the extent of it.   Karen and I spent a conference period exploring the Hour of Code lesson plan from our Instructional Technology Team to try to demystify the subject of coding.  We came up …

GCISD Hour of Code: Reflection from Middle School Language Arts

Guest Blog Post from Nichole Hostetler.Follow me on Twitter @mshostetler6th! When I heard about the Hour of Code, my first thought was…straight up fear.Nightmarish flashbacks about my accidental enrollment in a high school C++ (advanced computer programming) course came flying back at me, as my stomach began to turn.
“Okay, get over it,” I thought. “This will be good for my kids. They need this, and I can “fake it until I make it” to get them exposed, and then we’ll get back to our novel (where it’s safe!).”
I had initially planned to do this only with my advanced classes, and to spend both of my ELA blocks on this.One block would be the “Intro” piece where I showed the videos, had them brainstorm real world applications for coding, and explored each of the apps, websites, and “low-tech” options to decide where they’d like to spend a larger block of time later in the day.
To prepare, I began going through all the options myself.After exploring this activity for myself, I knew I just had t…

GCISD Hour of Code

GCISD K-8th grade teachers are invited to participate in Hour of Code during the week of May 12-16.

Why?:  There will be 1,000,000 more computer science jobs than computer science students by 2020. Based on’s Hour of Code, teachers will choose from a variety of resources and tutorials that expose students to foundational concepts of computer science. Computer programming allows students to practice perseverance, problem solving, and critical thinking. Skills necessary for coding align with our Profile of a Graduate, particularly skilled problem solver, effective communicator and self-regulated learner.​
How?:  Teachers choose 1 hour during the week of May 12-16 to promote computer programming or “coding.” 1. Let us know you're participating by filling out this form: Then, choose from a variety of resources and tutorials found here - - that expose students to foundational concepts of computer science.