Showing posts from 2017

Screencasting for iPad, Mac, or PC

Screencasting is a powerful tool with many different applications. Teachers have used screencasting to create “How-to” videos for students, leave instructions to the class when they’re out with a substitute, provide accommodations for students who need texts read aloud, or provide directions at different stations in the room for small group instruction.

Screencastify is a Chrome Web extension many people use to create screencasts. This is your best bet when screencasting from a PC. This Chrome extension is free in your Google Chrome browser; however, the free version limits recording to 10 minutes per recording and 50 recordings per month. It also places a watermark of the Screencastify logo on the bottom of your screen. Read more about how to use Screencastify here.
QuickTime Player
My favorite screencasting tool is to simply use QuickTime Player. If you are a Mac user in GCISD, you’re in luck because QuickTime Player should already be on your computer.
Here’s what you’ll do…

Reducing Blue Light

I wanted to let you know of some ways you can reduce blue light on your digital devices. Reducing blue light can help with digital eye strain. The Vision Council states that digital eye strain is physical discomfort in your eyes after viewing a screen for too long. That more than 83 percent of Americans report using digital devices for more than two hours per day, and 53.1 percent report using two digital devices simultaneously, with 60.5 percent reporting experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain.

For most people, taking breaks from your computer, viewing your screens at a safe distance, and reducing screen glare are enough to reduce the effects from digital eye strain. But for some, reducing the blue light your screens emit can also ease some of that discomfort.

from the Vision Council
Not all blue light is bad. And reducing it during the day is usually not needed. There is research that 2-3 hours before bed, reducing blue light can help with your circadian rhythms and increase s…


GCISD teachers now have premium access to Nearpod!
How to Begin:
Select Sign In
Select Log in with Google

Go to:

My Library to see Nearpod Lessons you have added or created.
Explore to find already created Nearpod Lessons and easily add to My Library.
Join to enter a class code (Experience what a student sees.)
Create to begin making your own Nearpod Lesson.
Reports to view post-session student responses.

Begin Exploring lessons that have already been created in Nearpod.
Filter by Subject, Resource Type and Grade.
(If you are viewing My Library, click Explore and select Nearpod Store)

Select the lesson (by clicking on it) then click preview.
Click Add to my Library to create a copy in My Library.

Select Create to begin from scratch.
You can do this by clicking Create or the + New button.

Add your content
Easily add Slides from Google Drive, upload videos from your computer, or Google Drive. (You can create in powerpoint and upload to Nearpod.  PDF's can also be upload…

Safari Montage

Safari Montage is a digital resource that provides access to a video streaming library as well as access to your school news and a limited number of cable channels. GCISD has had access to Safari Montage for a number of years, but there are a couple of "new to us" features to note:

1. Google Classroom Integration - Teachers can share Safari Montage videos directly to Google Classroom.
2. View & Chat - While the teacher is showing a video, by giving the students a session code, the students can chat about the video.
3. Students have Safari Montage accounts and can upload videos.

If you haven't used Safari Montage lately, check it out!

The Power of Google Calendar

The Power of Google Calendar

Setting AppointmentsFinding time to meet one-on-one with parents, students, or even colleagues can be difficult when everyone has such busy schedules. Read more about using Google Calendar to open up appointment slots here.
Getting Students Organized
Some of my friends use their handy-dandy paper planner to stay organized. I on the other hand have switched entirely to using my Google Calendar. I like that I can receive alerts on my phone to remind me about scheduled events. It really simplifies my life by eliminating one extra thing I have to carry around.
Since Google Calendar has been so life changing for me, I figure students should have the opportunity to digitally organize their lives as well. To help them do that, I created the following HyperDoc. It was intended for a high school classroom, but feel free to modify it to fit your needs!

Apple Classroom in GCISD

Apple says that Classroom is a teaching assistant, meaning it's a great tool to use in your elementary classroom to guide learning and monitor student iPad use. It is not a workflow solution or learning management system, like Google Classroom. In Apple Classroom, you can: lock screens to pause work or refocus your classhelp open an app on student's iPads and lock them in that apphelp navigate their iPads to a specific website you've bookmarked in Safarimute audio on student devicessee an overview of all screens at onceget a closer view of one student's screenuse your teacher iPad to push a student's screen to Mirroring360 through AirPlay

To learn how to use Apple Classroom, the best advice I can give is open it and see what you can do!

When you choose a class from the home screen, you'll see a grid of your students. Check out the photo to the left. Students that are 'active' or in range of the teacher iPad show up in a circle with color. The offline st…

Flipgrid & Student Voice

This is a cross-posted entry from Suzanne Barker's blog: Ponderings of a Lifelong Learner.
Student Voice is a passion of mine and Flipgrid is a tool that helps amplify those voices!  For those new to Flipgrid, it is a web-based video reflection tool that allows teachers to provide a prompt and students then create a video response.
Before I share with you the ins and outs of using Flipgrid, I want to share some reasons why you would want to use Flipgrid! Voices that are often silent in class have an avenue to share their thoughtsReflection is powerful. Flipgrid allows you to set the maximum amount of time for a response ranging from 15 seconds to 5 minutes. For shorter reflections, students must reflect and synthesize the information to provide a succinct video reflection.Video reflections can be shared with the family through a private link allowing parents to see first-hand their students thinking through their learning.Flip the family connection and ask family me…

Scanning QR codes in Chrome app!

Google Chrome app for iPad
Back in June, Suzanne Barker blogged about a new use for the Chrome app. I wanted to point it out in case you missed it. If the Google Chrome app is installed on your (or your students) iPad, you can use it to scan QR codes. This is a fast way to scan a code, that also doesn't have ANY ads, and then opens directly into Google Chrome. 
While on the homepage of your iPad, pull down to open Spotlight. Type the letters QR. (It also works lowercase, and it came up for me after I'd only typed the letter q.) If it doesn't work, make sure the Google Chrome app is installed!
Click Scan QR code and voila! Scan directly into Google Chrome. 

This is a great option for our students because a lot of the QR scanners are made for the 13+ age group and contain many ads that may not be appropriate for our learners. Try it out and let us know how it goes!

What I Learned at #ISTE17 Day 2

My brain is starting to stay in a state of fog! There is so much learning here at ISTE. I've heard there are around 15,000 people in attendance. The sessions are full of information, but the conversations are also rich with learning. I mentioned yesterday that relationships were important to my learning and they are making a repeat appearance in today's top 5.

Here are the top 5 things I learned:

Relationships Part 2

1.  Today's relationships that grew my practice came in the form of the "Playground" that focused on Ed Tech Coaching. I have enjoyed the playground feature of the conference. Each day has a different theme with tables for small group learning and conversations. Most of today's playground sessions focused on Instructional coaching. Here is a link to the schedule with many presentations linked. There were some books that were suggested to read that I am going to explore further:
The Global Education Guidebook: Humanizing K-12 Classrooms Worldwide T…