Saturday, March 24, 2018

Add Our Anti-Bully Report Form to Mobile Devices

How to Add Our Anti-Bully Report Form to Mobile Devices: 

First, use your mobile device to visit Our Anti-Bully Resource Page


Now it looks and works just like an app on your smartphone or tablet!

On a Chromebook, just visit Our Anti-Bully Resource Page
Then click the outline of a star in your address bar to bookmark the page

It's that easy! 😌

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Podcast Episode 006: PD Scholarships in District 205

Learn all about our new PD Scholarships program for teachers in District 205!

Podcast Episode 006: PD Scholarships in District 205

PDScholarships2018 on Biteable.

Learn more at
See also,
NOTE: You can go to WITcon AND participate in PD Scholarships if you wish!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Podcast Episode 005: Tech Survey

Galesburg CUSD 205 Staff are asked to complete a brief technology survey.  
Follow the work of our Tech Advisory Group.  

Listen on Anchor.FM, Apple Podcasts, Pocketcasts, and soon even more!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Pear Deck Tutorials

Image clipped from
Pear Deck is a nifty tool that will help you keep students focused during class.

The free version of Pear Deck will allow you to insert simple formative assessment tools into existing slide presentations (like Google Slides, MS Powerpoint, etc.). The free version is limited to forced choice and short- or long-response items. The forced-choice slides can be automatically graded, but the short- and long-response items will need to be hand-scored. A wider variety of assessment tools are available in the paid version, of course.

Once your slide deck is prepared, you can enter projector mode, give your class a sign-in code (much like Google Classroom, Kahoot, etc.), and then you can control what appears on your students' screens. When you advance a slide, it will advance on your students' screens, etc.

Pear Deck also allows you to create and share virtual flashcards to assist students in checking comprehension. These flashcards can be shared with students through Pear Deck, or you can export them to Quizlet, depending on which format your students are familiar with.

I've collected some tutorial videos for you into a YouTube playlist, embedded below.


Podcast Episode 3: Podcasting About Podcasting part deux

Screenshot clipped from

In this episode I share tips for writing & publishing podcasts with

Podcast Episode 003: Podcasting About Podcasting, part deux

This episode ended up being a bit longer than expected, so this is the second half of the previous episode.

Voice Typing in Google Docs
Technology & Learning in District 205
Ditch That Texbook, by Matt Miller

Friday, March 16, 2018

Podcast Episode 2: Podcasting About Podcasting

Screenshot clipped from

In this episode I share how to start podcasting with

Episode 003: Podcasting About Podcasting, part 1

This episode ended up being a bit longer than expected, so look for the remainer tomorrow.

Voice Typing in Google Docs
Technology & Learning in District 205

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Podcast Episode 1: Birth of a Podcast

screenshot clipped from 

Podcast Episode 001: Birth of a Podcast

Welcome to my first ever attempt at podcasting! The main purpose of this podcast is to help inform our local staff about technology use and professional learning opportunities available to those who work in our school district. This is also an opportunity to reach out beyond our educational community and let anyone peek inside our school district and learn about the ways we support and encourage staff and students to learn and grow together.

Each episode will contain a brief idea about how to use technology tools in meaningful ways to support deeper learning, maybe a trick or tip to help busy educators and learners save time when dealing with everyday tasks, or possibly an idea or two to help our professional educators expand or improve their practice. These episodes might also include some personal reactions or suggestions from my own use of tech that I might think are relevant to the topic.

This podcast is recorded using a service called Anchor FM, which is a free browser-based service for Chromebook, PC, or Mac. It also has both an Android and an iOS app that are free to download and use as well. Listeners can call in questions and ideas for future episodes through the Anchor FM app to make this truly YOUR podcast. So, if you want to learn about a specific resource or technique to use with your classroom lessons, please feel free to use the Anchor app to let me know about it, and I may use your voice message on a future episode!

Last, I’d like to give a big shout out to Matt Miller, author of Ditch That Textbook and Ditch That Homework, for this idea. Matt came to Galesburg as a keynote speaker at our local Whatever It Takes Conference in 2017. He has a weekly podcast called The Google Teacher Tribe and has recently launched a daily podcast called Ditch That Textbook Podcast, using Anchor FM. This last resource is incredibly useful and has inspired me to try podcasting, so I want to plainly announce to the world that I am copying his idea, giving it a personal twist to fit our local needs, and applying it to fill a need we have here in Galesburg. Thank you for your inspiration, Matt! You can follow him at @jmattmiller on Twitter.

Please feel free to offer some feedback through the Anchor FM app, through my blog at, or by reaching out via Twitter at @205mjacobson

Thanks for listening!

Please note: These are either my own ideas or ideas for which I will make every reasonable attempt to give full and complete credit to the original source, and are not intended to reflect an endorsement by Galesburg Community Unit School District 205. I would also like to add that I do not accept payment for endorsing any products or services in this podcast, nor will I accept any gifts or incentives for doing so.

Sunday, March 4, 2018


Image from
Like it or not, PARCC season is upon us. Illinois' statewide testing window opens Monday, March 05, and extends through April 20. Each school building may set its own testing dates and schedules within that window, though. Check with your school principal, who is your School Test Coordinator, for specific details.

Most regular classroom teachers are considered Test Administrators. School Test Coordinators may designate other staff to assist with test administration as well. Paper copies of Test Administrator Manuals were provided early last week. Digital copies may be downloaded from ISBE's PARCC Place. Teachers should also be aware of the PARCC Calculator Policy. Additionally, it is important for teachers of students with special needs to become familiar with the Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual. All of these manuals can also be accessed via the Avocet website.

ISBE requires that Test Administrators attend the School Test Coordinator's mandatory training. Because this training is viewed by ISBE as a required part of a teacher's duties, District 205 is not allowed to provide PD Credit for this activity.

If you have questions about test administration during the test, you may also find our local PARCC Training & Resources website ( helpful. It is divided into 3 main sections: Things to do Before Testing, During Testing, and After Testing. Each page has 10 or fewer tasks to do at each stage, and many of those tasks are supported with step-by-step tutorial slides. There are also Resources and FAQs that can help you understand the process more fully. Those who would like further information may find the PARCC online training modules helpful.

In general, to get your questions answered:

  1. Read Those Fantastic Manuals 
  2. Attend your Principal's training session
  3. When you have questions, go back & check your manual
  4. If the manual doesn't answer the question, check the website
  5. If your question still isn't answered, contact your Principal

PD Mandates Clarification

Info shared with staff 02/25/2018
There are a number of trainings in which every teacher must participate by law. Some must be done annually; some every-other year. Just because you don’t see any “assigned” to you does not necessarily mean you are done.

All teachers in District 205 were furnished with this guide on October 2017. See tabs at bottom. 

Check with your principal to see which ones may have been done in person, then complete any remaining topics in the red and yellow columns through EdLeaders Network (ELN).

Do you see an error message stating your access to a course has been removed? Just click the 9-box (“waffle”) menu, click My Learning, the click Learning Library & search for the course.
If you have any difficulties with ELN, please let me know.

Mandated trainings are not eligible for PD Credits toward license renewal.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

How to Register for WITcon18 (Dist 205 staff)

Image from
We’re getting ready for another amazing summer PD experience with the 3rd Annual Whatever It Takes Conference! Make plans to join us at Lombard and Carl Sandburg College on June 14-15. This year we even have half-day Pre-Conference opportunities to explore on June 13!

We’re always looking for presenters - attend the conference for FREE by presenting just  one of your great ideas! Learn how HERE.

Learn more at, and stay up-to-date by following WITconference on Facebook or Twitter.

Two ways YOU can attend WITcon18 for FREE!


Have a good idea or a successful project you want to share with colleagues? Anyone can simply submit an application to give a 1- or 2-session presentation to help others learn about or recreate your idea in their classroom! When your presentation is accepted, you can attend all of the general conference sessions for FREE! You’ll receive a special registration link with your acceptance email. 


The first 75 teachers or administrators from Galesburg CUSD District 205 who register to attend the General Conference sessions (06/14-06/15) will be free! Just register to attend the general conference, indicate payment with a PO called “Title II” and then complete a Professional Leave Form and write "Title II" on the Account line. Submit as you normally would.

Instruction shared with staff 02/25/2018

Friday, March 2, 2018

Is it Curriculum Work or is it Professional Development?

Shared with staff 02/25/2018
There seems to be a lot of questions about whether or not curriculum work counts for Professional Development Credit. (The credits formerly known as CPDUs.)

Beginning January 1, 2015, ISBE changed the rules about the activities for which school districts can issue PD Credits. Generally speaking, PD Credits can be issued for training activities through which educators gain new knowledge & skills to use in classrooms.

School district superintendents are given the authority to decide if PD Credit may be issued for training or other activities. 
Independently, both our previous and current Superintendents have decided that curriculum work - writing down, adjusting, and sharing what happens in classrooms - does not fit ISBE’s definition of training. While a well-articulated curriculum is very important, PD Credit will not be issued for these activities.
See details at 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

No, Google Drive is NOT going away

Your computer doesn’t have a virus. It’s not a phishing scam. Russian hackers are not trying to influence your Pinterest boards.

But why do we keep seeing this?

Google is updating “Google Drive for PC,” which synchronizes files between desktop PCs and Google Drive, and changing its name to “Google Drive File Stream.”

It is perfectly okay to update the software, or you can uninstall it completely, like I did, and just access Google Drive from the “waffle” menu in Chrome.

Rest assured, though. Google Drive is going to be around for quite a while.
Original Info shared with staff 02/25/2018

Read the latest post!

"New" IAR Replaces PARCC in IL

Image from After several years and no small amount of controversy, PARCC in Illinois is being replaced by the IAR: The Illi...

What are people reading on this blog?