Monday, October 17, 2016

ICE Mini-Grants Due Nov 1

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Are you looking for a way to make your school or classroom Maker Space a reality, seeking a few more devices to facilitate an engaging and exciting classroom project, or wanting to try a cutting-edge innovation that is so new you missed your school's budget cycle? Apply for an ICE mini-grant!

We ask you to tell us:

  • what you want to do
  • how it is innovative for your school, what it will cost to implement
  • how many students will be impacted and 
  • some other necessary information

Your project must meet our guidelines and demonstrate innovation and the potential to benefit students.  All submissions will be reviewed by multiple readers based on criteria listed in our guidelines document, linked below. 

Mini-Grant Applications are due November 01, 2016! 

Not an ICE member yet? Membership is FREE! More info at 

Excerpt from direct email from Illinois Computing Educators

Friday, October 7, 2016

About Emails

Folks, I understand that we’re all incredibly busy and our inboxes are never empty for long. There’s a lot of information, both interesting and important, for us all to absorb. That’s why my once-a-week email documents are clickable - to help you decide what is important to you & the work you do, and filter out what isn’t.

This week's email (view on the web) is a bit long. It’s hard to reduce the amount of information, but I do make every effort to try to make it more manageable.

Some of the Assessment information is copied and pasted from last week's update, in case you missed it.

Just click on the entries in the Table of Contents to jump to that article. Skip the articles that don't apply to you. The page numbers are a new feature from Google Docs that I'm testing out & demonstrating for you - don't be alarmed.

Best wishes ~Matt
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2-hour early dismissal Oct 14

October 14th marks the end of our First Quarter. Galesburg CUSD 205 schools will dismiss 2 hours early. See the District Calendar for specific dismissal times.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Phishing Infographic, by Digital Guardian

Our Technology Director, Rick Lawsha, shared this excellent (albeit lengthy) infographic about phishing and how to recognize it, from Digital Guardian.

This is an excellent tool to help students and fellow teachers stay safe from malicious online attacks.

Tips for protecting oneself are found at the bottom of the infographic.

How to Recognize and Avoid Phishing Attacks Infographic
Infographic by Digital Guardian

How to Change your ELN Password

If you are having difficulties access professional development via EdLeaders Network, try resetting your password: 
  • Go to 
  • Point to Account and choose Forgot Password 
  • Inline image 1
  • Enter your school email address on the next screen and they'll send you a link to reset your password.
Yep, it's that simple... 

Google Tip: Turn an Email Into a Calendar Event

Often times we’ll get an email inviting us to a meeting or other event. You can quickly and easily turn this email into a Google Calendar event right from GMail:
  • With GMail open, click on the message to open it
    • If you use the Preview Pane view, click the pop-out button above the reply button (above) to open the message in a new window.

  • Click the More button and choose Create event

This will open a new event in Google Calendar.  See screenshot below.
  • The subject of the email will be the Event Name - you can edit this as needed.
  • Set the date and time as needed
  • The body of the message will be included in the Description field below - this will likely help you set the time and date above.
  • You can also change Location, the calendar where the event will live (if you use multiple calendars) and remove the video call as you wish.
  • Anyone CC’d on the message will also be invited to the meeting - you can change this if needed to add or remove those invitations.
  • Remember that you can also save attachments to a calendar event so you’ll never forget an agenda or other materials when you go to a meeting!
  • Click the Save button when you’re done and the event will appear on the calendar you have indicated.  

Google Tip: Table of Contents With Page Numbers

G-Suite - formerly known as Google Apps - posted a notice about an update to Google Docs earlier this week.

While users have always been able to add a Table of Contents (TOC) to a document, you can now add a TOC with page numbers. (as I have done within this document) The entries are still clickable, but do not appear as blue underlined links anymore. This is intended to make the TOC more readable - and in my opinion it does - while still providing the ability to “jump” to a section of the document for ease of use.

Note: The TOC feature reads the Text Style used in the document, so it requires that users select a line of text and apply different Headings in the Text Style drop down menu:


Hapara Tip: Clear Cache, Remove User Profiles, & Log Out

This week I’ve had a number of questions about inaccessible or “disappearing” or inaccessible classes when using Hapara. This can happen when the cache - the space set aside to store passwords, temporary files, and what-not - gets full, or if there is a conflict among different Google accounts that might be used on the device.

Hapara support suggests the following 2 simple suggestions, which has worked in most cases this week. I would encourage all users to do this on a regular basis.

  1. Clear Your Cache “from the beginning of time”
    1. Open Chrome and click the 3 vertical dots in the upper right corner of the screen
    2. Point to History, then choose History on the window that opens
    3. Click the Clear browsing data… button
    4. Change the drop-down menu to read “from the beginning of time,” check all the boxes, and click the Clear browsing data button
    5. Close all Chrome windows completely and restart the machine  

  1. On a Chromebook, delete all the extra users profiles on the login screen
    1. If you’re having the same issue on a Chromebook, first log out of the Chromebook
    2. You may see lots of extra “tiles” representing other users who have used this device. Each one of these user accounts takes up space on the device. Once on one of those tiles.
    3. In the upper-right corner of the profile picture, click the downward-pointing triangle.
    4. Click Remove this user
    5. Repeat for all other profiles except your own.  

  1. Log out of all Google Accounts, then log back into the Galesburg205 account only
    1. Open Chrome
    2. In the upper-right corner click on your profile picture
    3. Click the Sign Out button - this should sign you out of all Google accounts and take you back to your Google login screen.
    4. Choose your Galesburg205 account and enter your password

If these simple tips don’t solve the problem, please let me know and we’ll contact Hapara support.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Blended Learning PD

Blended learning is, at its simplest, a way to merge traditional brick-and-mortar classroom procedures and activities with technology-supported instructional tools. Join me as we learn to use a few simple tools to enhance your classroom activities using Chromebooks and free web-based services.

SAMR, TPACK, & Google Classroom
Classroom Communication using Google Docs & Slides
Formative/Summative Assessments with Google Forms
Formative Assessments with Kahoot!
Classroom Websites with Blogger
Problem-solving Tips & Tricks (using tools above)

Register HERE for one or all of the sessions described.
This PD can be adapted for teachers at almost any grade level.
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Thursday, September 29, 2016

NGSS & IL Science Training

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Learn how to revolutionize your science instruction while incorporating Next Generation Science Standards! Join Bailey Cavanah (grade 2), Heather Galbreath (grade 6), and your colleagues from across the District at Nielson Elementary School from 4-5pm on the following dates:

  • Oct 19: Intro to NGSS standards and framework. 8 scientific practices, CCC’s, and 3-dimensional lessons.
  • Oct 26:Continuation of Day 1. Example lesson #1 (Collapsing Bottle) and anchoring phenomena. SEP of modeling.
  • Nov 2: Example lesson #2 (Biggest Sucker). Lesson #3 (Soap Bubbles). Air puppy explanation. SEP of modeling and including other practices & CCC’s.
  • Nov 9: Questions from lessons #2 and #3. Moving toward more student-led discussions.
  • Nov 14: EQuIP Rubric checklist with lesson. What does NGSS look like at each grade level? Making lessons more 3-dimensional?
  • Nov 21: Assessment tasks, rubrics, evidence statements. How can we develop new science assessment tasks aligned to NGSS?

Earn up to 6 PD Credits - Register HERE

This training is appropriate for all grade levels.

Class Dojo

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Last week I discussed a behavior management tool called The Great Behavior Game. This week I’d like to introduce another tool called Class Dojo. Class Dojo is a free tool that has some nice features that help teachers, students, and parents connect to promote a more positive classroom community. Class Dojo is probably most appropriate for younger students in grades K-3 or K-5, but could have applications with older students as well.

Class Dojo facilitates student self-management of behavior through the use of digital learning portfolios. Students and teachers can share updates with parents.
Class Dojo is a free web-based tool - no app to download & install for kids or you (unless you choose to use a personal device instead). Learn how to get started (20 min video from Meg's Crayons). A number of teachers in our schools use Class Dojo already - just ask around or give me a call!

Columbus Day Resources

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Columbus Day is coming up, which will be observed on October 12 this year. This is a great time to discuss These contributions, both positive and negative, are collectively referred to as “The Columbian Exchange” by many textbooks. The National Humanities Center has an excellent essay on the Columbian Exchange, with teaching suggestions.
Classroom research and debate over this often-controversial topic are a common activity:
  • Should we observe the accomplishments of a man who might be considered one of the most successful failures in world history? After all, he never did reach the <East> Indies at all.
  • Should we celebrate the man responsible for bringing slavery and diseases that are responsible for wiping out millions of Native Americans in North and South America?
  • Is it appropriate to lay the blame of genocide, accidental or otherwise, which undeniably followed as a part of the Columbian Exchange, on the shoulders of this one man? Was it instead the entire European society during the Age of Discovery that should bear this responsibility?

I spent a little time today looking for Columbus Day teaching and learning activities that might incorporate technology as well. Many would help set up a lively debate amongst your students, expand their world-view, and help them participate in a discussion about global citizenship.

Here are just a few ideas:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Create a Book Trailer, from Free Tech for Teachers

Free Tech For Teachers, an excellent blog by Richard Byrne, has posted a great video about making video book "trailers" to stimulate interest in reading using a few fairly simple tools.
Read more at his original post, How to Create A Book Trailer Video
Watch the video at the link above, or watch below. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Illinois State Assessment Dates 2016-2017

    • PARCC - Grades 3-8 - March 6 (earliest) through April 28 (latest)
      • Schools have 30 school attendance days to complete administration of 2017 PARCC
      • Can start no earlier than March 6
      • Must end all testing no later than April 28
    • SAT - All Grade 11 students - Set by ISBE, not D205
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        Wednesday, April 05, 2017
      • Make Up = Tuesday, April 25, 2017
    • ISA (Illinois Science Assessment) - Students in Grades 5-8 & in HS Bio I or equivalent - March 6 (earliest) through April 28 (latest)
      • Students who take the Science testlets in DLM do not take ISA
    • DLM-AA (Dynamic Learning Maps - Alternate Assessment) - Grade 3-8, Grade 11 - March 15, 2017 (earliest) to May 1, 2017 (Latest)
    • ACCESS for ELLs - K-12 students - Jan 09-Feb 10, 2017

Sunday, September 25, 2016

New Teacher Learning Team: Oct 5

New Teacher Learning Team Meeting

Topic: The Effective Teacher

Wednesday, October 5, 4-5 pm

Board Room
Lincoln Education Center
932 Harrison Street, Galesburg, Illinois
Open to all Year 1 and Year 2 teachers in Galesburg CUSD #205 and KWSED

All NTLT Meetings are optional; however, 1 PD Credit is awarded for your participation.