Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spring "May" Have Arrived!

From: http://mamiverse.com/spring-garden-plans-76328/ 
As we trek through all of this season's rain, we're busy here finishing up a great school year 2016-17!

The ISA (Illinois Science Assessment) is complete, PARCC testing is winding down and we're preparing for our final round of MAP testing.  We began right before Spring Break and should finish this season of testing mid-May with then less than two weeks of the school year left.

Our students in the computer labs are thoroughly enjoying Write Comics (http://www.writecomics.com) and Tux Paint while finding Storyboard That a bit of a challenge (though also fun).  The library time drama unit was a favorite as well!  The next step our Library Media Specialist and I take is to review the year's activities and make plans for tweaks and changes next school year.

In my role as tech trainer for staff, I've had the opportunity to borrow an Osmo Starter Kit from the Peoria Regional Office of Education to explore what it has to offer.  I'll be introducing it to some teachers for their review, but I predict it will be very well received.  I love the fact that it combines hands-on with an interactive iPad app.  Their site can be found at: https://www.playosmo.com/en/

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Spring is"March" needed!


Even though it's snowing outside this 13th of March, we are all still looking forward to Spring Break coming up soon!

Our K-2 buildings are headed into some technology lessons soon.  Kindergartners will look at what plants and animals need to survive and create some Tux Paint (a free download at http://www.tuxpaint.org/and Storyboard That (free online at http://www.storyboardthat.com/projects around the concepts.  First grade will be using Write Comics (http://www.writecomics.com/) as a fun way to type dialogue while second grade will be learning to use Google Slides as they research an animal as a class and learn some basic research skills.


Third and fourth graders are finishing up units on teeth and volcanoes (respectively), including a variety of research and information technology skills (and a touch of spreadsheets).  Fifth graders are concluding units of poetry and drama as well as a web site evaluation skills lesson.  We're finishing up March before Spring Break with some PARCC testing tech skills to assure students can easily navigate the online test.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Welcome, 2017! (from Parent Portal classic site 1/4/17)

It's January, 2017 and the school year is continuing in full swing.  Tech use continues and it's time to begin planning for end of the year testing.  There are some changes from ISBE and Pearson to our PARCC online testing format for grades 3rd through 8th, so we'll spend some time with students before Spring Break to get them familiar with those.  After Spring Break, our PARCC testing window opens, then our final round of MAP testing as well as the ISA (Illinois Science Assessment) for 5th and 8th graders. Now is the time we're looking at our tech integration so far this school year and making any tweaks/adjustments or adA Tweak Advantage Imageding training that might be beneficial.  In particular, we're beginning a close look at our 8th grade 1:1 Chromebook initiative so far.  It may be cold outside, but we're just warming up in here!











   Image from: http://wendycbaker.com/ 

What Fall Brought Us (from Parent Portal classic site 11/11/16)

November brings thoughts of thankfulness and our nation's selfless veterans!  

It's officially fall and the school year is now well under way.  Our building labs, sets of iPads and Chromebook carts are booked for use by classes and our staff have been pretty thoroughly "Googled" in terms of training.  Just take a look at the "For Staff" tab above to peruse our professional development.  This year, for instance, all of our staff were trained on Google Sites as we dropped our use of TeacherWeb and began supporting the use of Google Sites for classroom websites.  If you visit our building websites (linked to on the footer of this page), you'll see that most of the URL web addresses to teachers' sites begin with "sites.google.com"...  Our teachers deserve kudos for all their great work on those sites.  Our 8th grade staff get a shout out as well, for their move to integration of 1:1 Chromebooks during the school day.  While a few "bugs" can always be expected, we've been working through them and there is integration excitement on the third floor of CJHS!

Thanks for the patriotic turkey bulletin board image pinned on Pinterest by Tiffany Johnson!

8th Grade 1:1 Chromebook Initiative (from Parent Portal classic site 10/19/16)

Chromebooks will soon be distributed to our 8th grade students each morning, used throughout the school day, then returned to be charged in classrooms overnight.  Tonight, Wednesday 10/19/2016, there is a presentation for parents at 6:00 PM.  That presentation is available below.  We are currently on target to begin use the first day of the new grading period, Monday 10/24/2016.  Administrators and the tech department have been planning this implementation for many months, and staff have been receiving professional development, sharing implementation ideas and planning/revising lessons to integrate the use of Chromebooks into their curriculum.

Fall Update (from Parent Portal classic site 10/4/16)

The school year is well underway, classrooms and schools are busy with activities and our libraries and labs are in full swing as well.  Just recently we welcomed Mrs. Jackie Laredo to Bolin's library and lab.  It was a domino type effect.  When we lost Mrs. Tabitha Squires in CJHS' library, then Mrs. Kristin Westbrook (previously of Bolin) took her position!  That left an opening for Mrs. Laredo at Bolin.

Fall ColorsThe tech team and administrators have been busy planning the 1 to 1 Chromebook initiative for 8th graders at CJHS.  A parent informational meeting is being planned.  The 8th grade teachers and I have been meeting regularly as I train them in a variety of Chromebook and Google topics.  They are in the process of creating lessons integrating the Chromebooks and Google into their classrooms as well.  The fact that CJHS already has four Chromebook carts that are constantly in demand for classroom use is making the transition to 1 to 1 much smoother.  The 6th and 7th graders will benefit by having one less grade level signing up to use those four Chromebook carts.  That means more access to technology for the entire school!

Hello, School Year 2016-17 (from Parent Portal classic site 7/29/16)

I hope all of you had an amazing summer and are returning refreshed and ready for a great school year.  I did and I am! Im(erased)possible! 

Our staff members are looking at a number of changes this school year.  We have moved from our district GroupWise (Novell) email to Google mail.  That means our calendars have changed to Google as well.  On top of that, the district is now supporting and training on the use of Google Sites for our classroom websites instead of TeacherWeb.  We are well on the road to "Going Google".  Before the official beginning of the school year, I'm offering a free, all day session for staff on August 8th titled "Chrome Your Classroom".  

Our biggest challenge and opportunity this new school year?  Eighth grade students and staff are going one-to-one with Chromebooks.  Chromebooks will not go home with students, but travel with them throughout the school day.  Details coming soon!