Showing posts from 2018

Video Creation with Clips app

What do Romeo and Juliet, the water cycle, and a field trip to the farm have in common? Students and teachers have used these topics to create videos using the Clips app (*links below)!  Clips is an Apple video creation app and is available for GCISD students and teachers to download from Meraki onto their iOS device.   Clips Features1. Record Button: The red button is used to add both video and pictures by holding down the red bar for the length of time you want the item to appear in the video.  Holding down the red button will start a video recording and letting go will stop the recording, however holding the red bar and swiping up will turn the button in a square and being auto recording. Tap the square to stop recording.
2. Live Titles: Before you start recording, you can choose live titles (a type of subtitle) to appear on your video.
3. Camera: Taking pictures within the Clips app gives you the option to add pictures to your video. Once you’ve taken a picture using the camera with…

DyKnow Best Practices

DyKnow is a tool that helps students become responsible when utilizing technology in the classroom. It is available to all GCISD 5th through 12th-grade teachers. The use of DyKnow can be maximized by quietly using it to help students stay on task to create a positive learning environment. DyKnow does not replace the teacher actively monitoring student learning and online activity. DyKnow creates activity logs for every student that may be accessed at any time. Our role is to teach students to be responsible internet users. It is better to teach a student self-control and the benefits of staying on task rather than blocking sites to accomplish that end. Please take some time to visit our GCISD DyKnow website.  Pay particular attention to the section on GCISD Expectations/Best Practices as well as the Dos and Don'ts of DyKnow.

What's New in ClassLink?

ClassLink is constantly improving and has lots of fantastic updates! If you are a new ClassLink user, consider taking a peek at the original blog postby Amy Leitner on December 6, 2017.

Did you know you can....Add web apps using the iPadTap + in the upper right cornerTap App LIbraryNotice you can also create a new folder hereOn an iPad, staff and students will only be able to see the Grapevine-Colleyville ISD Library content

Explore new web apps on a computerClick the + in the upper left cornerThe app library allows you to search for a web app and add it to your dashboardTo remove an app, click the Edit mode button to the right of the search bar and click the small red x on the web appThe Grapevine-Colleyville ISD Library contains district specific web apps.  The web apps in the library are also available for students to addAdd Your Own App allows you to create a shortcut to a website you use frequently

Request a new web app with one-click single sign-onGo to and submit a…

The Hour of Code is Coming!

The 'Hour of Code™' is a nationwide initiative by Computer Science Education Week and to introduce millions of students to one hour of computer science and computer programming. It was launched in December of 2013 to demystify and promote Computer Science.  Hour of Code has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts. Over 200 million students have participated since its inception. In GCISD, we would love for all K-8th grade students to get to experience an Hour of Code.

At most elementary schools, there will be an Hour of Code playground in your Learning Commons. Ask your learning liaison about your class coming to visit! We will be conducting Hour of Code through all middle schools as well through a HyperDoc.

x How do I start?

Let GCISD know you're participating by filling out this form. You can also register at if you wo…

Using Sora with OverDrive!

Back in April, we talked about using OverDrive through ClassLink or through the OverDrive app on your phone or iPad. OverDrive is the online resource we use to house our GCISD library eBooks. Over the summer, OverDrive released the Sora app, targeted for students who are reading on their devices. Sora offers all of the benefits of OverDrive, with a few extra features.

You can see your reading stats, and gain achievements (much like the badges of Epic!) all while checking out books from your favorite authors. Audiobooks and eBooks are all housed in this app for students to dive into a new reading adventure at their whim.

Instructions: Find Sora in Meraki. Open the app and click Find School. Once you type in "grape," Grapevine should populate in the choices. Then, students will be directed to log in through ClassLink. If students are already using OverDrive through ClassLink and that is working well, then you don't necessarily need to use Sora, but the achievements that yo…

Customizing Your Gradebook

Want to maximize efficiency by customizing your gradebook?  Try these easy tips!

Preferences, in the upper right corner, allow you to change the look and feel of Skyward.                                                                               

Some useful setting are shown to the right.  For many items, clicking on the "?" reveals an explanation.  Remember to SAVE when you are done! 

You can also fine tune your accessibility settings to provide a customized viewing experience.  

Display Options, available inside each gradebook, allow you to customize your gradebook view.

One of the most powerful changes to your display is  the Grade Period Display.  This option allows you to view or hide the grade periods you see in your gradebook each time you open it.
You can also modify how your students and assignments are displayed.  One option in the Assignment Display is to add the class average to the top of the assignment column by checking Show Class Average.  
Take a few minu…


You have undoubtedly noticed over the last several years as our GCISD Libraries have transformed into Learning Commons, a collaborative, flexible space that is the hub of the school. Through this process, they are beginning to create Makerspaces. Makerspaces are
collaborative learning environments where students come together to share materials,
collaborate, problem solve and use their critical thinking skills to create. One makerspace is not like another in our GCISD schools because as the librarians are creating these spaces, they are asking for input from their students, teachers, and school communities.

Check out the pictures below from the Glenhope Elementary Learning Commons to see some examples of students using maker supplies.

GCISD Staff, if you are interested in learning alongside the librarians, The Kickstart Guide to Making GREAT Makerspaces by Laura Fleming is available for checkout through GCISD Overdrive.

Learn more about the Maker Movement in Education.

5 Lesser Known Google Features

1. Automated Closed Captions in Google Slides When enabled during a Google Slides presentation, this feature auto-generates a closed captioned transcription of the words you say during the presentation by using your computer's internal microphone. This is great for screencasting or presenting live to students with hearing impairment.

Check out this example of the automated closed captions in action and read more here about how this works.

2. Voice Typing
You can easily type in Google Docs or in the speaker notes of Google Slides with your voice by using your computer's internal microphone. You must use Chrome as your internet browser for this to work.

Just click Tools > Voice Typing. Voice typing even allows for punctuation by saying the name of the punctuation mark you need. Check out this article to read more about voice typing in Google Chrome.

3. Image Usage Rights It's important for students to know how to be responsible when using images, videos, and information …

Digital Breakouts

I love digital breakouts, and so do students!

What is a digital breakout?

Have you ever paid to do an escape room with friends or family? Maybe you've used Breakout EDU kits in your classroom? A digital breakout is similar, except it's all done online. There's no need to spend money or haul around those locked boxes. Simply put, a digital breakout is a game experience that embeds your course content into an exciting challenge.

Take a look at this example which was created as a model for teachers to get an idea of how a digital breakout works. Feel free to click around to explore the format and the different types of tasks and clues you could use.

There are many pre-made digital breakouts you can use by searching online, and these can be a great way to review content at the end of a unit. 

You can also create your own digital breakout by crafting a scenario and using a few Google tools.

Think of a scenario that would require your students to "break-out." Are they locked…

Becoming an Apple Teacher

Want some fresh new ideas for the classroom along with recognition for your hard work?

Consider becoming an Apple Teacher!  It's a free professional learning program designed to help you build skills on the iPad and/or Mac.  This self-paced journey will help you acquire valuable skills that can be applied directly to the classroom.   You can embark on the journey with your team, a partner, or as an individual.

It's three easy steps!

1.  Go to Apple Teacher, login with your Apple ID, and choose a path: iPad or Mac.
Note:  You may want to use your personal Apple ID so your badges stay with you if you switch

2.  Learn new skills by selecting your topics.  Choose from apps like Keynote and GarageBand, or  focus on ways to improve creativity and productivity.

3.  Take the quiz and earn a badge for your topic.  Don't worry if you don't pass the first time.  You can retake the quiz.  Earn all eight badges for the iPad or Mac to become an Apple Teacher.

You might al…

Listening to Podcasts in Class

From Mindshift KQED
You may be a person who is super obsessed with podcasts and can't live without them. Or you may be a person who is new to the term or who has never heard of a podcast. Either way, this blog post is for you.

Podcasts are digital files made available on the internet, through your phone or computer, that offer content on a multitude of topics. Whatever the thing is that you like exists in podcast form with people talking about it. Your favorite TV show, to sports, to education, to name it.

Listening to podcasts in class can help students improve their reading and comprehension skills. You can read research here, here, here, or many other places on the web!

From Listenwise
But how do we make sure the podcasts we want students to listen to are appropriate? Well, there are a few resources to help us. Our K-4 students do not have the podcasts app on their iPads. All podcasts you listen to are likely on the web somewhere, usually on the website for the sh…

4 Big Google Classroom Updates September 2018

Take a look at a few of the newest updates to Google Classroom:

1. Google Classroom now organizes assignments in its own section called "Classwork" instead of being mixed in the stream with announcements and comments.

Any classes created before the August 7, 2018 update will not have the Classwork tab. You can add the Classwork page to these older classes by clicking on the “?” in the bottom left, then select Add Classwork Page.

2. Your classwork can now be better organized using "Topics" to put certain assignments, materials, and questions into categories. The topic headings are big and colorful so it's easy to manage classwork for the whole year. Many teachers use topics to separate content by units, weeks, or subjects.

3. When adding content to the Classwork page, you will notice you can add Assignments, Questions, or Materials. Assignments can be turned in, questions can be answered, and materials can be referenced throughout the year. Soon a Quiz option wi…

Nearpod- New Features!

Ready to start a new school year by engaging students in their own learning? Revisit Nearpod and all it has to offer both teachers and students! If you’re new to Nearpod, check out the original Nearpod blog post by Susan Hill back in September 2017.
In the past year, here are just a few of the areas in which GCISD students have used Nearpod: Digital citizenshipVirtual field tripsHigh school EnglishPre-labs in ScienceElementary Humanities
Teachers can access Nearpod through ClassLink or theNearpod website. Students will access lessons through the website using a five digit letter code provided by their teacher. GCISD teachers have access to an extensive collection of close to 7,000 TEKS-aligned instant lessons under the Explore tab in Nearpod. Teachers can search through several lesson collections including the Nearpod Store and Digital Citizenship & Literacy.

Under Filters, the new feature 'By Standards' allows you to search by standard and narrow your results to the specifi…