Monday, December 8, 2014

Inspiring Students with Skype: An Example

Lexie Weitzel is inspiring Contemporary Issues students to change their world.

This past Friday, her classes spoke (via Skype) with J.R. Biersmith, the Executive Director of Men in the Arena, a film in production about the Somali national soccer team.  As J.R. spoke about life in Somalia, the challenges (and dangers) of filming, and shared the stories of the young men on the soccer team, the dialogue between students and director became more empathetic, perceptive, and passionate.  Mrs. Weitzel's students made an emotional and personal connection with J.R.'s story.

One fifty-minute class period.  A lesson that goes beyond the walls of the classroom.  This is the beauty and power of Skype as a learning tool.

J.R. Biersmith, Executive Director of the film Men in the Arena, Skypes with Mrs. Weitzel's Contemporary Issues students. 

This unique Skype session will serve as inspiration for an upcoming project on Africa.  In teams, students will develop and publish social media and multimedia campaigns to raise awareness for worthwhile charities who are working to resolve problems such as malnutrition and water purification.  Projects will be submitted to Project for Awesome, a program aimed at raising awareness and funding for charities.

Prior to the Skype session, students read recent articles about Somalia, watched a trailer for the movie and an interview with the director, and prepared questions for the Skype session which were pre-approved by Mrs. Weitzel.  In addition, Mrs. Weitzel worked with technology support staff to optimize the audio and video quality and tested the connection with the film's director.

Interested in using Skype?  Here's what you need:

1) a Skype account

2) an internet connection, speakers, and microphone

3) a guest speaker and their Skype address

4) a framework for students to prepare questions for the guest speaker

Contact Doug Barton or Colin Davitt if you would like help setting up your own Skype lesson!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Middle School Student Likes Formative Assessments!

Auggie (front-left) and his classmates sift through notes while
completing a formative assessment quiz in Ms. Rathjen's 7th 
grade science class.
Curriculum standards, learning targets, formative assessments, Google Forms and Sheets, Flubaroo, and science notebooks--all of these pieces are working harmoniously in the 7th grade science classrooms of Angela Rathjen and Angela Schneider at Sperreng Middle School.

What are they doing?

In order to help students understand their learning goals and monitor their progress, Ms. Rathjen and Mrs. Schneider have developed goal sheets for each unit that students can insert into their science notebooks.  Each curriculum standard has been transformed into a learning target (or "goal") written in student-friendly language using the verbs and vocabulary that students need to know and be able to do.

After completing lessons developed for mastering a learning goal, students complete a formative assessment on their device using Google Forms which is then graded using Flubaroo.

Is that it?

No!  The students receive an email from Flubaroo showing their score, the questions they missed, and what they need to work on.  In addition, Ms. Rathjen and Mrs. Schneider now have individualized
feedback detailing each student's progress, helping them to target unique gaps in their understanding.

A sample goals sheet (not Auggie's).
Do students like it?

At least one student does.  I asked Auggie, a 7th grader in Mrs. Rathjen's science class, what he likes
best about formative assessments.

"We do this right after we learn the subject matter.  If you're not happy with your scores, you can do a retake.  Retakes are helpful if you get a bad grade."


For information on Flubaroo and Google Forms, follow this link.

The Good Type of the Flu - Flubaroo (It's like a time warp.)

Have you dreamed of the day where you can give your students quick formative feedback and have the results automatically tallied, color-coded and recorded?

That day is today.  Your dreams are now coming true.

This magical tool, flubaroo, works in conjunction with a Google Form to automatically grade the results of your quiz and enter them into a color-coded spreadsheet.  Personalized results can also be emailed to the student giving them instant feedback.

Flubaroo Overview Video - by the creators of Flubaroo

Things that stood out:

  • Teacher gets a color-coded answer sheet.
  • Red - Names in red scored less than 75 on the quiz.
  • Orange - Questions highlighted in orange indicate less than 60% of the students got it right.

These two colors could make differentiated instruction more targeted, you know who needs what instantly.

Flubaroo User Guide
On Twitter?  Why not follow Flubaroo!

Google Forms
Capturing student feedback with Google Forms - this video was produced by the Google Gooru site.
Randomize answer options with Google Forms - a newer option within forms.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Skype with a little mystery.

What is Mystery Skype?

Mystery Skype is an educational game, invented by teachers, played by two classrooms on Skype. The aim of the game is to guess the location of the other classroom by asking each other questions.

It's suitable for all age groups and can be used to teach subjects like geography, history, languages, mathematics and science.
Not sure how this will really work with kids in your classroom?  Read this short post from a teacher explaining the process.  She lists the types of questions you need to prepare to assigning jobs during the Skype session.

Would this engage your students?  Take a few minutes and watch the video.  Could your students guess the location after 20 questions?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

My heart swelled a little when I saw this.

What does this mean?  Is this really unlimited?

You never have to delete an email!
You can add a billion photos to your drive and have room to add more!

Friday, October 24, 2014

What if more apps did this? (This might just be as magic!)

Two items that have consumed me this week.

Just watch this video and you will see this may just be the most amazing app ever created.
PhotoMath from MicroBLINK on Vimeo.

I think the way this can help a student deconstruct a math problem is out of this world.

Do you remember when gmail first came out?  It was in 2004 and it changed how the world used email.  The only way to access gmail in those days was through an invite from a friend or you could buy one on ebay.

Google has done it again. They are reinventing how you view your messages in a new product called Inbox by Google.  It is still by invite only but they seem to be handing them out like candy on Halloween.

I still don't fully understand this but I love it.

One more thing...
Google Drive
Have you seen this message when you logged into Google Drive this week?

It appears Google is pushing the new version of Drive much harder this time.  Take a look at why the switch to the new Drive is a move you will want to take.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Want more feedback from students? Scan away!

Plickers are awesome.  Just ask Amanda McKay.

It's the end of 4th hour and Amanda's physics students have been hard at work learning how to calculate net force.  A poll question appears on the board.  Her students reach under their desks and reveal personalized QR codes.  As they hold up their codes, Amanda scans the room.  In a flash, Amanda knows every student's response to the question.

I asked Amanda three questions about plickers.  Here is what she had to say:

What are "plickers"?

"They are what I call Paper cLICKERS.  The mini QR codes that are printed on them can be oriented in four ways to show four different choices for a multiple choice question and are aimed at an Android or Apple device that interprets the choices.  A live bar graph is shown on the device as responses are read.  A correct answer can be chosen and would then be shown as a green bar on the graph."

How do you use plickers?

"I use them to collect quick bits of formative information to assess what students know or how comfortable they feel about a topic that we've covered.  They are secured to the underside of my desk tops with velcro and students can quickly take them out and show me their answers."

What do you like most about them?

"It quickly gives me important information regarding whether students are ready to move on or need to spend more time on a topic, and, as long as my phone is charged, I can run the app (even in airplane mode with no connection)."

For more information, check out this video and go to their website, Check out their quick start guide here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Recording on a jet plane?

flickr image: williamson

You just recorded the most amazing screencast of your life.  Everything you needed to say just seemed to flow, you were in the zone.

That video is now on Youtube.  

The audio appears that it was recording while you were on a plane.

Now you are looking for a way to have your recordings sound as smooth and clear as your natural voice.

1.  In the lower right task bar, right-click on the audio icon.

2.  Left-Click on Recording Devices

3.  Left-Click on Microphone to highlight (you should only see one microphone icon listed)

4.  Left-Click on Properties button

5.  Left-Click on the tab titled Levels

6.  Move the slider for Microphone boost to the far left (should be at 0.0 DB)

7.  Left-Click Apply button and then Left-Click OK button

This solution brought to you by Keith Loveless.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Anything with a + is always better. This one will backup your photos and videos automatically!

You have all these photos and videos on your phone/iPad/tablet and you really want them to be backed up.  The issue is the backup process can be hard!  When you realize you need them backed up it might just be too late.

Enter the automatic backup.  Every photo you snap and video you shoot will be backed up through a simple (and free) app.  Google+ is like the swiss army knife app, it does so much.



Where did my photos backup to?

  • Open Google+ on your computer.
  • Click the home button in the upper left corner of the screen.
  • Click photos on the drop down list.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sometimes you just need paper.

A simple site with many different types of paper you can print out.  Take a look at Printable Paper and I am sure you can find something usable.

Check these samples out!

Sometimes creating a video project can quickly get out of hand without some type of guide.  Using a storyboard can be just what everyone needs to keep the project on track.

There are about a million reasons for using postcards in the classroom.  This site offers two blank templates.

Graph paper is like the swiss army knife of paper.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

Simple Interactive Games for Every Grade (Even High School!)

Adaptive Learning Games

Sometimes the simplest solution is the best.  These games are not exceptionally high tech but they are effective.

I tried out the comma game and the one about chemical families.  It was somewhat like flashcards but the game gave me instant feedback.  This one feature was enough to make this site blogworthy.

Use the search feature in the upper right corner to find more games.

I searched for water to see what options I had to pick from.  So many to choose from!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

An insider view of what is happening across the globe.

Each pin on this map represents a newspaper published somewhere across the globe. Click on a pin to translate that paper into English.  Some of these also link to the facebook and twitter pages of the newspapers.

Why is this amazing?

Think about any topical story, like ebola, and read how other countries are reporting it.  A easy way to compare many points of view quickly.

Teach a modern language?  Maybe some of these papers could be used in the classroom.

Check out Newspaper Map to learn more about what is going on around the globe.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Telling a story.

Have you seen that commercial of Hall and Oates as they worked on the lyrics of a song?  It was like you could see inside their minds as they edited the song to get it just right.

This site will do just that.   Watch the samples they have and let you mind wander.
How might this be used in the classroom?

  • A retelling of a historical event?
    • An argument between two historical figures?
  • Book trailer?
    • How the story unfolds from a few points of view?
  • Solving some problem?
    • How multiple parties attempt to construct a solution? 
The application of this site is endless.  How might you use this with your class?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Easy way to create a short?

Your students want to create a short video and you are looking for a way to make that happen.


  1. What devices do you need to create a video?
  2. What software do we have to edit?
  3. How can we share these videos?


  1. Devices - just use anything you have access to.  Mobile phones and tablets will work best for capturing the shots.
  2. Software - Check out WeVideo.  The students can log in with their Lindbergh account.  Upload the videos they shot on any device and begin to edit.  All of the footage will be stored online.

     3.   Sharing
           High School Students - upload to YouTube.  
           Middle/Elementary - upload to Google Drive and share with the teacher.

This appears to be a super simple app/site to solve some issues we have with creating videos.  

Monday, October 6, 2014

These webpages are just too busy. Is there a way to make them a little more clear(ly)?

Check out these before and after images.  What do you notice?





How can you get your webpages to appear in this easy to ready format?
Visit the Chrome Web Store.
Search for Clearly.

Check out this video for more information.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Do you need a digital hug? There is a playlist for that!

As I entered a classroom the other week I noticed something immediately.  The kids were reading and Katie Dausmann was conferencing with a student in one corner.  This is a typical scene in any elementary classroom so it took me a while to figure out what was so different.

Almost out of reach was this soft music playing.  It seemed to have magically set the tone for the whole room, it was time to read and reflect quietly.

I have read about the power certain music can have but finding those specific songs can be rather challenging until now. Katie was using a specific playlist on Songza called Ambient Music for Reading.  I believe playing this music at a low level helped create a super atmosphere in the classroom.

There are also a whole set of Genres and Moods within Spotify that can accomplish the same thing.

I did find a section called Kids on Spotify.  This section contains lists like Disney, Hipster Youth and Minecraft.  Yep, Minecraft has inspired a whole series of songs.

What about Pandora?  Check out Vitamin String Quartet.  This channel has all your favorites played with a twist.  Check it out, you will not be disappointed!

What music do you use in your classroom?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

It isn't just for clever commercials. The (sound)Gecko will seriously blow your mind.

You have some chunk of text online you really want your kids to read.  Some of these articles are slightly above their reading level but you still really want them to understand the context.

Find the link to the article and dump it into the app/site.
Presto! An audio clip of the article is created!

Sample from Time for Kids

I cut/pasted the link to this article into the Soundgecko site and this is what was created.  Click to image to hear the clip.  It appears some sound clips will have an accent and some do not. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Do strange things suddenly appear when you use the touchpad on your laptop?

Try disabling the edge swypes.  This should prevent your laptop from suddenly going into the start screen or the charms from appearing.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Are you saying there is a spell check in gmail?

Spell check not working?  Make sure you turn it on.  Did you have both turned on?

Monday, August 25, 2014

For the iPad - at last!

Check out Google Slides for the iPad!
Click and start downloading.

On an Android device?
They updated your existing version of Google Slides.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Not really sure how to describe this.  Maybe take a whiteboard, some cartoons and mash it with PowerPoint.  PowToons is giving away a free teacher and student account for one year.  

I signed up after watching their demo video on the PowToon site. Take a look and see for yourself.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

G'Day Mate! Have you seen my Image Mate?

I am missing my Image Mate software.  Any ideas where it went?


  • Click to begin the download.  The file will begin downloading in the lower left corner of your screen.  (I am assuming you are using Chrome.)
  • Double click on the folder when it finishes downloading.
  • Open the folder the pops up.
  • Click on the IM_2.08Setup file.
  • Click Run.
  • Install the software.
Check your desktop for the IM icon or your Windows start screen.  Click to launch the newly installed software.

App! We have an app!

Search your app store for Lindbergh Schools.
Download and explore.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I am super interested in...

LindberghU is now open for Course Proposals in MyLearningPlan!!!  
Please read the newly created LindberghU FAQ's for more information (including topics of requested courses) .

Proposals will be accepted until August 27.

Check your email for more information.

What happened to my screen? It looks too squished.

Does your screen look a bit squished?  Does it look like a square postage stamp?

Follow these steps to restore it back to the fullest aspect ratio you can.

  • Right click on a blank spot on the screen.
  • Select Graphic Properties
  • Choose Display
  • Resolution - change to 1920X1080
  • Click Apply and OK.

Your screen should now be maximized!

Note: I put my screen resolution as high as it would go.  Your laptop may have this exact same setting.  My recommendation is adjusting the settings to the max!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

(Elementary) How do I broadcast my iPad through my projector?

What is Airserver?  
It allows you to show any iPad through the classroom projector.  Use it once and you will be hooked!

This PDF can help walk you through using the Airserver software.

How might this be used?

  • Streaming Pandora from iPad.
  • Students demonstrating an app.
  • Teacher demonstrating just about anything.
  • Students showing a finished project.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Help! How can I get my shared Google calendars to show up on my iPad?

Do you have some shared Google calendars not showing up on your iPad?  The following steps will help solve the syncing issues.

Click on your device.

Select the calendars you want to sync to your iPad.
Click Save.

Now all your shared Google calendars will sync to the device!  Thanks to Nicholas Wagenknecht for this tip!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Google Gooru gives an inside look at the new Drive.

Found this and had to share.  I am super pumped about this.  Seems to be about 14-17% easier to use.

Note: These changes are not yet available in our Google Drive.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

BOOM! Check out Google Drive!

The video shows a quick preview of what Google Drive will look like in the very near future.  I am super pumped about these new features!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Not sure you can really differentiate instruction with video.

What does differentiation through video mean to you?
Is it really possible?

Check out these two posters created by a group of teachers during a summer class.  They were produced as a quick brainstorm to generate ideas about what differentiation could look like.

The key comes near the end of this video.  

  • What if you did something like this for a single lesson?  
  • What if you created just two videos to explain a concept?  
  • Would that make any difference?

Looking for a few resources?  This document was used as part of a two hour summer course.

Need help getting this off the ground in your classroom?  Email the team at

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What could your future hold? (Redline editing maybe???)

Found this video today that discusses an upcoming feature in Google Docs.  I didn't fully grasp the power until the Google Gooru broke it down for me.

Is this something you would use?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Made with code! (You can actually MAKE something physical and get it sent to you.)

Code seems to be the super buzz word of the year.  Making things on the computer is interesting but sometimes you just want something physical to hold in your hand.  You are now about 16 clicks away from a custom made bracelet.

Why not sit down and make something today?  

*Note: Colin will be sporting one of these nifty accessories in the near future.  Why not join him?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Google Apps - for iPads? (NEW TODAY)

In night class so I have to sneak this post.  Here is the link to read more about it.

Short version - there are some great new GAFE apps for your iPads and you super powerful Android devices.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

SO much more than HANGING OUT!

Video calling can provide incredible learning opportunities for our students.... and for us! In the beginner's guide below, there are some great ways to integrate Google Hangouts and Google Hangouts on Air, from virtual speakers to getting immediate tech support from our Instructional Tech/ LINC Team!

What Is a "Hangout?"

A Hangout is a web-based tool created by Google for communicating through video.

Who Can Start One?

Anyone with a Google Plus account. Start your Google+ account using these instructions.
Which Hangout is For You?
Hangout on Air
Perfect for...
  • Live broadcasting a visiting speaker in one classroom to the whole school
  • an easy way to record anything directly to YouTube… seriously, it does it FOR YOU.
  • Virtual speakers visits. SO easy- Check out SAPPINGTON’s NASA visit!
  • Presentations of student learning-- you’ll be a hero to parents who can’t make it in, but don’t want to miss their student’s performance!
  • Join Google+ Connected Classroom to attend virtual field trips to museums and zoos all over the world.
  • Features
    • 10 active participants.
    • Screen share possible (show someone what you’ve got open on your screen)
    • Can comment and text along with video call.
    • Share Google Drive documents within the call.
    PLUS the Hangout features:
    • 10 active participants, but a million people could watch the live broadcast via Google+ and YouTube.
    • Schedule your broadcasts in advance.
    • Automatically records to your YouTube Channel
    • Can be published to the whole world or to just invitees.
    How to Hangout
    1. Log into your Google Account.
    2. Click on your +YOUR NAME at top
    3. From your Google+ page, click on the HOME drop down, then select HANGOUTS.
    4. Along the top menu, select VIDEO HANGOUT.
    5. Click Start a video hangout.
    6. Invite people by their email addresses and then click invite.
    7. Wait for your invitees to join (they will get email and Google+ invites).
    8. HANG OUT!
    9. Click on the red phone icon to hang up when done.

    Prefer video support? Check out this guy’s tutorial.
    1. Log into your Google Account.
    2. Click on your +YOUR NAME at top
    3. From your Google+ page, click on the HOME drop down, then select HANGOUTS.
    4. Along the top menu, select HANGOUT on AIR.
    5. Click Start a hangout on air.
    6. Name it and schedule it (now or later).
    7. Invite people by their email addresses and then click invite.
    If you don’t want your video to go to full public view on YouTube, click the X on the public tag in audience. Now, your video will still go live to Google+ and YouTube, but only viewable by those invited via email.
    7. Wait for your invitees to join (they will get email and Google+ invites).
    8. HANG OUT!
    9. Click on the red phone icon to hang up when done.
    More Details

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014

    Improve Communication by Linking Google Folders with your Schoolwires

    Connect Google Drive Folder to Schoolwires Page
    This is a great way to update information to share with your students, without having to edit Schoolwires on a regular basis. You can drop files to distribute into you Google Drive folder and parents and students can easily access these files by clicking on your Schoolwires page!

    Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to link a Google Drive folder to your Schoolwires page or follow the steps below.

    Connect a Google Drive Folder to Your Schoolwires Page
    This is a great way to update information to share with your students, without having to edit Schoolwires on a regular basis. You can drop files to distribute into you Google Drive folder and parents and students can easily access these files by clicking on your Schoolwires page!

    PART 1: Getting the URL from Your Google Drive Folder
    1. From your GoogleDrive, find the folder you would like to share with students. To the right of the title, find the downward arrow and then click on it. Hit SHARE, then click SHARE again.

    2. Once you are in SHARED SETTINGS, click on CHANGE for Shared with Specific People.

    3. Adjust your change setting appropriately, then click save.

    Blue options mean that the link is visible to people WITHOUT the email. You will need to select this if you want parents to be able to view the folder contents.

    The red options require someone to be logged in as a Lindbergh community member. Perfect for ONLY student visibility.

    The black option is my email invite ONLY.

    4. Highlight the “LINK TO SHARE” URL and then COPY it (you will need it later in Schoolwires).

    PART 2: Creating a LINK from Schoolwires to your GoogleDrive
    1. Go to Lindbergh Schools site. Click on Staff, then Schoolwires, then Site Manager in the top right.

    2. From your Site Manager page, click on NEW PAGE.

    3. Select FLEX PAGE from the Available Page Types and click save.

    3. Type in an appropriate name. This will be what students see from your Schoolwires page. Click SAVE when done.

    4. The new page title will now show up with your other pages. To the right of the new page, click on the ACTIONS button, then select PAGE OPTIONS.

    5. Place your mouse into the “Map Page to Web Address” field and then PASTE the URL from your Google Drive folder (see Part 1, Step 4). If nothing pastes, go back and repeat all steps in Part 1 and then this step again. Click SAVE.

    6. Verify that the new page now has a blue arrow to indicate it is a link.  
    7. The final (and most important step) is verifying that the link goes where you want it go and looks how you want it to look for students. Visit your Schoolwires page as a parent/student would and click on the link. If it goes where you wanted it to go, CONGRATULATIONS! If not, email Colin or Elizabeth for help!

    Necessity pushed me to find a solution.

    There was a time in my life where I was required to get my haircut every single week. During that time I was forced out of bed at 5:30, w...