Monday, October 26, 2015

Takeaways from MassCUE Fall Technology Conference (part 1)

Last week, I attended the 2015 MassCUE Fall Technology Conference and I wanted to share some of my highlights from the conference.

I thoroughly appreciated Jonathon Werner,  Library & Instructional Technology Specialist (LITS) from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, who spoke on "The End of the Sit & Get Era: Applying Pedagogy to PD".  He spoke about the little time that was available each year for professional development and how it was important to use that time to provide effective professional development. 

The main ideas that I got out of Werner's talk were:

  • The amount of time each year that we have for PD is minimal, so make the time effective and PD worthwhile.
  • Create a Hub for Innovation.  
  • Teachers are adult students!  Teachers, just like students, have different learning styles and levels of accepting change.
  • Try. Try. Try.  Foster the idea that we shouldn't fear failure.
    We tell our students to try, when we are students - we need to try, too!
  • Mistakes are important to the learning process.
  • Effective PD must encourage and nurture your PLC's.
    Since we started PLC's last week, is there some PD that would help make your PLC more successful?  Suggest it to your principal or to the assistant superintendent.

Remember that change is a process. We are well into the 21st century and need to be using and fostering the skills that will make our students, and ourselves, successful.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Classroom App: Remind

Remind sends the text
Looking for a way to send your students text message reminders, but don't want to share your private cell phone number?  

Remind is a free, one-directional, opt-in text message application which teachers can use to communicate with their students.  With Remind, you can send one reminder to an entire group (parents or students) and even see who viewed the announcement.

    Confirmation code to Join
  • One-directional means students will not receive texts directly from your cell phone.  Instead, the texts are sent via a Remind phone number (notice the (469) phone number right). Your personal cell phone number hidden.  
  • Opt-In means that students and parents must enter a confirmation code and agree that they will be contacted by you via Remind.  
  • Remind keeps cell phone numbers hidden from each party.
  • Your messages may include images, text, and attachments.

Example of student text message to join
Getting started with the Remind app
To get started, setup an account at  You may also download the Remind application onto your smartphone via iTunes or Google Play
After creating an account, share the short registration code with students and parents. Students/Parents are not required to download the app on their phones. Rather, after registering, messages will automatically come to their device – smartphone or otherwise – as standard text messages. 
Invite students by email
Once students send the automatically generated code to the number provided, students will be asked to provide a name that will be added to your Remind online roster.  It's as simple as that.
You may also invite parents/students via email.  They are added to the roster as soon as they accept the request.
One possible drawback is that students are unable to respond to sent messages.  However, students can use the Chat function to respond to you or to ask questions.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Answers to commonly asked GradeQuick questions

As we near the halfway mark of the high school's first quarter, I thought I would share some answers to some commonly asked GradeQuick questions.

Weighting your Course

Weight Terms

  • WeightTerms-Year.jpgWhen changing the weight of TERM, remember to click Change.
  • Year Long
    • Each Term is worth 20%
    • MIDTERM is worth 10%
    • FINAL is worth 10%
  • Semester
    • Each Term is worth 40%
    • FINAL worth 20%
  • Courses with no Midterm or Final
    • Year Long - 25%/term
    • Semester - 50%/term

Weight Categories

  • Categories are teacher-defined groupings usually determined by your syllabus description of how you will grade your course.
  • Examples are Test, Quiz, Participation, Project, Attendance, or Preparation
  • As you add columns to your gradebook, you can define new categories.
  • After you define a new category, the weighting screen will appear and ask you to weight the category.
  • Categories can be reused for similar assignments.
  • Remember to click Change when adding a percentage.
  • For easier calculation, have your categories total to 100.

Weight Tests

There are very few instances where you would ever want to weight tests.  Weighting tests will tally for the entire year not resetting on new terms.  Please make sure that this box is not clicked.

Gradebook to Gradebook Copy

  1. Edit -> Gradebook to Gradebook Copy
  2. GradebookToGradebookCopy.jpgCopy From … Select the class that you have added Test columns and weights.
  3. Copy To… Select the classes you want to add the tests/weights.
  4. Copy What… Test Descriptions
  5. Redo steps 1-3, Copy What… Weights

Student Info Columns

Access via View -> Student Info
  • C1 - Comment field
  • GS - Grade Scale.  
    For most classes, this should be set to 1.  If you teach a Pass/Fail class then set this to 2.
  • Student Gmail - gives the students email address
  • Grade Level - student grade

Progress Reports

  • Remember to save file under the same name (e.g. Progress Report Q1) everytime you post grades to Edline for the quarter.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Tech Tip: Need help with your Google Password?

If you have forgotten your Google Apps for Education (GAFE) password, there are a few people in your building who can help you out.

Each school librarian and Instructional Technology Specialist (ITS) have the ability to reset your (or your students) Google Apps for Education passwords.

Ambrose Elementary School
Jan Bernardi Librarian/Media Specialist
Diane Pierce Instructional Technology Specialist
Lincoln Elementary School
Lee Anne Toner Librarian/Media Specialist
Phil Bellenoit Instructional Technology Specialist
Lynch Elementary School
Jessica Callahan Librarian/Media Specialist
Phil Bellenoit Instructional Technology Specialist
Muraco Elementary School
Lori Stalteri Librarian/Media Specialist
Lynne Peledge Instructional Technology Specialist
Vinson-Owen Elementary
Barbara Kennedy Librarian/Media Specialist
Lynne Peledge Instructional Technology Specialist
McCall Middle School
Jane Henchey Librarian/Media Specialist
Anna Kerkorian Instructional Technology Specialist
Patricia DeVries Instructional Technology Specialist
Winchester High School
Andrea Zampitella Librarian/Media Specialist
Kathleen Grace Instructional Technology Specialist