Tuesday, December 19, 2017


I know that I have blogged before about zSpace.  zSpace is a virtual reality "system" that is Windows based, it is preloaded with curriculum and apps, and you need the "special" glasses to see and view the 3D components of it and I T  I S  A M A Z I N G!  I feel it has been a LONG LONG time since I have been BLOWN AWAY by something technology wise.  Don't get me wrong,  I have seen a TON of really cool and neat things that I LOVE LOVE and that I share and want to learn more about - BUT - zSpace BLEW ME AWAY!!!  AND, the BEST part, EVERYONE that was here to demo the unit yesterday was ALSO BLOWN AWAY:)!!!  There is NO way to describe it, but our Superintendent, Mr. Loeslie said last night when mentioning it to the school board, "It's like trying to describe fireworks on the 4th of July - the WOW factor doesn't hit until you see it in person, have the glasses on, and are interacting with the system."  TRUTH!!!

We would love to get some systems (maybe 10 - fingers for sure crossed here) into our schools and have our teachers start using them!  There is a ton of curriculum, but the most powerful that I saw is the Science and Technical learning areas - again others are there, but these were POWERFUL, and since it's a STEAM based system, that would make sense why!  I can really see these systems working perfectly with a Makerspace if your school has an area for that as it fits perfectly into that "higher order critical thinking" topic.

WOW - If you are AT ALL interested in this - please contact me and I can you get you in touch with the company - or our contact - WOW!!!

Happy Tuesday all,
Mrs. I:)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


I think last year I wrote about the Ransom Virus that hit us last February - OH it was SO SO BAD!  MANY teachers lost things that they hasn't backed up, and some even lost things that they HAD backed up as they had their jump drive still plugged into the computer that was infected - UGH!  SO, this - two week ago actually - we showed ALL of teachers how to put EVERYTHING into Google Drive and then gave them an hour and a half to DO IT!!!!  Now - I KNOW that maybe this isn't the answer to it as I still back my stuff up on an external hard drive - BUT - at least it's ONE MORE PLACE to have your things safe!  I created a "cheat sheet" that basically shows them step by step what to do -

FEEL FREE to use this yourself or with fellow teachers as I WANT STUFF SAFE:)!!!

Take care - and PLEASE be diligent about this and keep your items safe -
Happy Tuesday
Mrs. I:)

Monday, November 27, 2017

I Am Malala in the Classroom.....

Mrs. Gross, an English teacher here, is going to teach the novel I am Malala: Young Readers Edition with her 9th graders in a few weeks.  I have been trying to find some materials to go with this as far as technology goes and I came across the following videos that not only show the community of Swat Valley, where she grew up, but the heart, passion and empathy that this young woman has!!

This TED talk is just precious!!  Malala's father tells the story through his eyes, and explains the life that Malala grew up with and why is wasn't enough for his daughter! "Why is my daughter so strong?" Yousafzai asks. "Because I don't clip her wings."

She is amazing - she says this during the interview with Jon, "If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib.  You must not treat others with cruelty.  You must fight others, but through peace, dialogue and education!  WOW - simply WOW!!

I was also able to find some really great resources on Teachers Pay Teacehrs that were WORTH THE MONEY!  If someone else HAS created amazing things, I have NO TROUBLES paying them for their time and effort!

You MIGHT want to think about this one!  Even if you don't teach the book, it's definitely one that is worth reading aloud to your class and kiddos for discussion and journal entries.  SUPER AMAZING SHE IT):!!

Happy Monday all,
Mrs. I:)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Digital Citizenship - Can we REALLY ever have enough of this?

Tomorrow I head into the 4th grade classrooms to talk about digital citizenship with ten year olds.  I am a bit nervous as I know that this is a tough topic to discuss BUT these discussions HAVE to take place in schools!  I know that we can't teach everything, it's no possible, but this day and age kiddos are online ALL the time, whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or simply messaging.  Kids have devices in their hands DAILY, both at school and at home.  I KNOW that teachers are doing this every chance they get, BUT one more time is NOT going to hurt them.  Tomorrow when I talk to them, I am going to use the Think U Know website that has CyberCafe.   It's REALLY great and I am using it ALL!!  It has little examples of emailing and when it's appropriate and not appropriate to respond and what you should do, it talks about messaging and photos, and also about sharing personal information online and being safe - it's ALL here.  I am simply running through and discussing this with kiddos.  I am anticipating that it will be around 25 minutes - which is what I am planning and we MIGHT also have time for passwords and searching online - we will see.  I can't wait.

A few weeks ago I spent a week in fifth grade also teaching digital citizenship.  Each day was a different topic.  I talked about digital citizenship and what it means, staying safe online, searching, photos and editing that is done, and creating a good digital footprint.  EVERYTHING I used was from Common Sense Media - AWESOME:)!!

I also came across THIS today on Teach Hub.com - another great resource for what to teach at each grade level; a starting point none the less:)!

GOOD LUCK!  This is a TOUGH and OH SO IMPORTANT topic - KEEP COMING BACK TO IT!  I don't think it's EVER done as we are constantly reminding kiddos of appropriate use and being safe online - it's our job!!!

Happy Night all,
Mrs. I:)

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Check out Trello........

If you have ever wanted to have kids collaborate in an easy and seamless way - check out Trello!  This website/app combination allows you to create a board and then share it with the kiddos, using it as a collaborating platform!  It's really neat!  One of our social studies teachers, Mrs. Teeples, showed me it today.  Look what she did with her kiddos in class:

This is a free website where students create an account, and similar to Padlet, you can create a board and then have kids interact and add to it.  Once done, the kids have ALL the information in ONE PLACE!  That's the BEST part - everyone contributes to it, but they don't have to do EVERY piece in order to gain the most information possible!!

Give it a shot - Mrs. Teeples really enjoys it, and I am sure you will, too!
Take care all -
Mrs. I:)

Monday, October 16, 2017

It's ALL in the Green Screen

I am SURE you have seen the hype and maybe even tried playing a little.  BUT our Kindergartners are using green screens in a FUN FUN way:)!  Mrs. Grabow has her littles write about what they wanted to be when they grew up and then she put them in front of the "green screen" and actually PUT THEM THERE:)!  Using the app Green Screen, by Do Ink, she is easily able to capture these darlings in a variety of settings. 

She also had the kiddos write about apple trees, and did the same thing. 

There are a MILLION ways that you can make this appropriate in your classroom - your imagination is your ONLY limitation.  Mrs. Grabow (and Mrs. Messer, another Kinder teacher) actually painted a portion of her wall green, but you can order a green sheet, use green paper, or simply a green table cloth.

Have fun with this one -
Mrs. I:)

Monday, October 9, 2017

Topping It - Bandwidth at the Max

Casey, our technology "infrastructure" man, sent me THIS photo!
Can you tell when iPads started "talking to" our JAMF system again after six days not talking to them?  I. WAS. DYING.  Needless to say - we are TOPPING IT OUT!!  After complete chaos, days and days on tech support and MAJOR work updating, cleaning out and redoing MANY things in our JSS, we are now UP AND RUNNING!!  UGH - it was a tough two days of watching THIS happen. 

GOOD NEWS - today - ALL the plot points look NORMAL and we should be GOOD TO GO regarding our Internet and Bandwidth - well, as least let's hope that's the case!

Happy Monday all -
Mrs. I:)

Monday, October 2, 2017

TED Talks, TED Ed, TEdx and More........

TED Talks = 7.9 million subscribers
TED Ed = 5.1 million subscribers
TEDx Talks = 8.9 million subscribers

These numbers speak for themselves!!  TED has done it right, and others would clearly agree.  The amount of content, the accuracy of the content, and the shear joy of the content proves that they are  the BEST at what they do:)!!!  These videos don't bore you with length, as most are 3-12 minutes long.  They don't bore you with material, as what they discuss and share are true intimate and raw feelings and emotions.  AND, they don't relay that they are the best and know the most.....they are sharing their ideas on various topics, exploring tough content to teach and doing it in an easy to understand way for kids, and they are getting others to "think outside the box," or just plain "think!"

If you have not yet become subscribers for these three channels, PLEASE TAKE THE TIME!  If you ARE a current subscriber, but haven't started really using these lessons, ideas and talks in your classroom - FIND SOME.  AND if you are a subscriber and USE the lessons and ideas in your classroom, I would LOVE LOVE to hear what you are doing and how you are engaging your students with it:)

ENJOY THESE - I find myself getting SUCKED RIGHT IN!  The riddle are becoming my absolute favorite of all time right now:)! Check out "Can you solve the prisoner hat riddle" and "Can you solve the bridge riddle."  They DO give you the answer - so DO NOT PANIC!

Happy Monday all-
Mrs. I:)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

To Fix or Not to Fix - That is the Question

I know I shouldn't be but I AM DYING!  A kiddo came in this morning and handed his iPad to Mrs. Duval, our media specialist, and told her that mom had driven over his iPad - YUP SHE DID:)!!

OH - I can't blame him - except, where was this iPad and why wasn't it in a safer spot?  I have to do more investigating, but you get the idea from the photos above.  Is it EVEN salvagable?  We will find out - wow!  Not the WORST one we have seen, but it HAS to be close:)

Happy Day
Mrs. I:)

Digital Citizenship...........Here we go:)!!

Today was Day 1 for Digital Citizenship in 5th Grade!  My HOPE is that I will get to all students in grades 4-7 this year to discuss this.  My "outline" is as follows from day to day:

Day 1 - What is Digital Citizenship?  What are our off line and online responsibilities?
*"Ring of Responsibilities" - me, family/friend, community

Day 2 - Private versus Public information - what should you share and what shouldn't you share?  What about creating good passwords?
* What things are alright to alright to share online?
*What kinds of websites require information?  Why?
*Why would someone want your information?
*What are some good dos and don't of sharing information?

Day 3 - Searching Online - using key word or words
*How do you know which word or words to use?
*How do you know if the answer or information your find is valid?
*Plagiarism rules

Day 4 - False Perceptions - photos and other information online
*What you see and read isn't always true
*How can you tell?

Day 5 - Being "SMART" online and the "POWER" of words
*Online friends vs. offline friends
*Private information and what's appropriate to share?
*Appropriate posting

I found ALL this for FREE on Common Sense Media.  If you have NEVER gone here - GO NOW:)!!!  There have a plethora of GREAT AND AMAZING resources!  If you click the "Digital Citizenship" tab, you will find what I outlined above - GET HERE SOON!

Our kids are in DIRE need of online safety reminders and help!  Please don't put this one off any more:)!

Happy Tuesday all,
Mrs. I:)

Monday, September 11, 2017

6th Grade Kiddos Code

WELCOME BACK TO A NEW YEAR:)!!  I took Mr. Schindler's 6th grade class last YEAR - yikes, as he is the softball coach and had to leave early for a game, so I had the kiddos code.  They went to Anybody Can Code/Hour of Code website and really had a LOT of fun!

Here's what I LOVE about it:

1.  Kids can work at their own pace
2. They get FRUSTRATED and have to PROBLEM SOLVE and think outside the box
3. Many don't know WHAT to do - but quickly figure it out;)!
4. The ones that maybe aren't the "book smartest" are AMAZING at this and feel success
5. The collaboration that takes place amongst the kiddos is awesome to see
6. They can do it at home - so it DOES NOT end here
7. They WANT to do it and are EXCITED about it;)!!

I could really go on and on with this one - as it's SO great to see them in an environment that they don't get to do often!

I will post about beginning of the year mishaps - and there were a TON TON of them - tomorrow - Happy Monday night all -
Mrs. I:)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

End of Year Collection

IT HAS STARTED!!!  The madness of the typical end of the year activities in addition to iPad collection again!  Some MAJOR things are different for us this year, so we will see where that takes us.

#1 - We have to redo ALL iPads by hand - UGH!  That's right - manually plugging in 900 iPads!  That DARN RANSOM VIRUS!  When it knocked out the server, it also knocked out me!  When we first enrolled iPads last fall, we enrolled them so they would talk to our server.  WELL, when that server was HIT with the virus, I lost the ability to talk to the server, as we switched everything over to the new server.  However, all of those iPads were enrolled using the OTHER server, so when we connected to the new one - BAM!  No ability to talk anymore!  So the ONLY fix is to completely wipe them all - unscope ALL the apps - and then re enroll them into the NEW server.  However, we will also set up a proxy now so the kids iPads talk to the school's system - meaning we can also block everything when they're at HOME and do ALL updates and installing when they are NOT here!  In the end - it WILL work out better for us - BUT the work up front is a TON!!

#2 - We are NOT collecting chargers for grades 3-11 - only the seniors since they are leaving. THIS IS HUGE PEOPLE!!  That means we don't have to track, redistribute and buy a TON more because kids take the wrong ones at iPad night - I AM SO SO HAPPY!  We are going to try it a year and see how it goes - pending perfection, we will do it every year:)!!

#3 - THIS is my counter after collection last week!  DONE WITH K-6 and 12 YAHOO:)!  Stored and put away in computer lab.  NOW to tackle the 7-11th graders as they are finished with finals.  My counter will fill up FAST - but at least half way there.

When the iPads come in, K-2 WE clean, but 3-12 does their own.  They take iPad apart, wipe case down, iPad down, remove ALL passcodes (iPad ones and Apple IDs), and then they put it ALL back together.  They finally find their identification card (which has their serial number of their iPad and destiny number for check out) and turn it in.  CHECK - pretty easy process for them!

To be continued...........
Happy Tuesday all,
Mrs. I:)

Friday, May 12, 2017

More on Raspberry Pi

I have blogged before about Raspberry Pi - but one of our science teachers, Mr. Goering, is having some of his AP Physics students working on it now.  They have programmed it to take the temperature and record it multiple times throughout the day.  They have also figured out how to get it to print, email and many other commands by scripting it.  Here is what is going on "visually," which might not seem like a lot from the photos but OH THEY ARE LEARNING:)!!

Mr. Goering had to order a little weather pin - so track that - he also ordered the white breadboard as that makes connections SO much easier than trying to use the pins on the actual Raspberry Pi. 
 The simply connected the Raspberry Pi to a monitor, keyboard and mouse and then started scripting and figuring out different "Python" language to run it:)!! 
 Finally, this shows some of the coding they had to do to force and talk to the Raspberry Pi to get it to perform the desired outcomes.  In this case, they scripted it to check the temperature every so often, so when they go to this page and click run - it will push out the data for them - SUPER NEAT:)!!
The next step that he would like to do is use the Thing Speak website to create graphs from the data - that is the next phase for him and his students.  SUCCESS INDEED:)!!

Here are some OTHER ways to use the Raspberry Pi:

It also got us talking about next year and how he would still like to set up a weather station and use a green screen to do weather forecasting - exciting things going on here peeps!

Happy weekend all -
Mrs. I:)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Conrad Wolfram: Teaching Kids Real Math with Computers

Our math department went to the state math convention this past week, and Mr. Hermes share this TED talk with us.  I watched it and LOVED the concepts here!

Conrad Wolfram is the director of Wolfram Research, which is a company that is trying to understand and find new uses for Mathematics technology!  He believes that we are too focused on "hand calculating" and we need to start teaching MATH!  He says there are three reasons to teach math:

1. Technical Jobs
2. Everyday Living
3. Logical Thinking

Wolfram further questions, "What is Math?"  He again, comes up with four steps -

1. Pose the right question - what are we trying to figure out?
2. Real world - math formulas
3. Computation - answers
4. Math formulation - real world and then verification

He explained that why are we teaching and doing 80% of computation by HAND - Step 3 - when we have computers and technologies that can do it for us?!  Students should be focusing on Steps 1, 2 and 4 and let what we HAVE do step 3 for us!  It's not like it used to be - we used to NOT have devices and the technologies for this so we HAD to do it by hand - but now we don't.  We are teaching kids to do concepts and "step by step" work that when they are out working in the real world - a computer or calculator will do FOR them!!  He feels computers don't dumb down math - the problems we use are dumbed down problems.  Wolfram believes that we need more practical and more conceptual work with math - we need critical reform in the way we teach math - because exams are NOT the way to get kids to understand math - "there needs to be critical reform - that is computer based math."

He also has an amazing website to check out and APPS to consider also -

It's pretty amazing to think about.  In a world where MCA testing, Common Core and other state exams and tests are mandated - it makes one wonder why we DO NOT teach more "real world" skills to our kids - not just in math - but ALL areas!  There's definitely a TON of reform that needs to take place in Minnesota and the United States as a whole - we have SO many things wrong with the education system.

One more link to MAYBE check out that Mr. Hermes mentioned is Computer Based Math - it too talks about the benefits of  having kids do REAL WORLD, computer based mathematics.  Look into it - 

Some amazing think abouts - and his TED Talk is WORTH LISTENING TO:)!
Happy Wednesday all,
Mrs. I:)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Windows New Surface Laptop

Windows recently came out with a NEW Surface Laptop that they are aiming for college kiddos.  At only 2.5 pounds and 14 hours of battery life - it's definitely something to look at!  This laptop runs Window 10 with good performance and security.  Here are a few things that I learned today on CNBC:

1. The Surface Laptop costs $999 and runs Windows 10S
2. Windows 10S is targeted at education and will be on a variety of laptops
3. The Surface Laptop can be upgraded to a full version of Windows 10 Pro
4. It's going to be appealing to everyone, not just students

 SO -  maybe something to check out for those jumping to college.  You still get all the benefits of Office 365 if you area  district that is using this - AND some of the "new" laptops come with Minecraft and coding programs on there - THAT is something ALL schools need to keep pursuing!!

Happy Tuesday all,
Mrs. I:)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

FUN Websites Worth Looking At:)!

The past week, I have been web searching, and attended a workshop that was beneficial as well.  The following websites were ones either shared with me, or ones that I came across that would be worth investigating further:)!!!

1. Dotstorming - This website is VERY similar to Padlet, BUT the kids can take a poll on which choice that they like the best.  It becomes a voting opportunity with all the great things about Padlet:)!!

2. Pear Deck - This website allows your kids to connect to a presentation online and ALL be on the same page together:) 

3. Ricoh 360 Degree Camera - CHECK THIS OUT:)!!  WOW!  I was SO SO impressed with this guy.  If you have ever used or played with Google Street View, then you are in for a treat!  This camera takes a 360 picture and threads it together QUICKLY and ACCURATELY!  No longer do you have to piece together 45 pictures frame by frame - LOVE IT:)!!!

4. Hip Hughes History - WOW!  Keith Hughes has put together a PLETHORA of videos in any area of history you can imagine.  If you are in the field of flipping your social studies classroom - CHECK HERE before you spend hours and hours podcasting:)!!

5. #BookSnaps - A cute way to use the "Snapchat" idea and turn them into Book Snaps - NEAT:)

6. Adobe Spark - This is a great way to create quick and fast visual and digital web stories in minutes - another great new option for kids to create with:)!!

7. NearPod - I know that I have mentioned this before but this is a great site to collaborate with:)!!  Kids can all see what you see and learn together and collaboratively seeing the same things on their devices:)

That's what I have for today - HAVE A GREAT TUESDAY:)!
Mrs. I:)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

SMART Amp - something new learned again:)!!!

I know there are MANY ways to project and use a white board - we have SMART Boards here in Barnesville, and have for the past 12 years or so if I had to guess! We LOVE them - and have created a TON of material to go with them.  The day that SMART Boards were removed from our teachers is the day I RETIRE - seriously - they are used THAT much and so much have been created over the years which is great!  A few things have changed, and many things are better - and that is SMART Amp!!!  If you have SMART Boards - CHECK IT OUT!!!  It's free if you have Notebook (I believe), and it allows you to share with the kids so they can either follow along with you, or interact with you:)!!!  YUP THAT IS CORRECT - FINALLY!!  There are a variety of ways that you can share things, and you can share many things.  You basically create a class, add the kids either via email, or give them a code, and then you can create "workspaces" for kids to follow along with or interact with - it's THAT simple!  The BEST PART - you can see what students add to the workspace as it's instant and live.  SO COOL!!!  You can use SMART Exchange to download already created Workspaces - if you look on the left hand side and filter them. 

Here are a few basic screen shots to get an idea of how it works

Here is the screen that a kiddo has on his/her iPad.  They simply go to the SMART Amp website and join class with the code - it will automatically share screen as teacher assigned.
Now this is ALL NEW to me - I have  been playing with it for about an hour is all - but I have learned a TON in that time - so it's quite easy and user friendly - GOOD LUCK!!

Have a great day all,
Mrs. I:)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Math Teachers - CHECK IT OUT:)!

Mrs. Petersen, one of our math teachers here, asked me if I knew of anything that would allow her to create exit tickets for math.  She was having a hard time looking for something that would her to type math equations the "correct" way.  I was really NO help, as I can't even THINK of a math equation that I would want to type other than your basic  a + 7 = 23b, which CLEARLY is not the only thing she is going to want to do (sorry for my LACK OF MATH knowledge here).  She DID find something that she feels is going to work well.

QuestBase - you have to create an account, but she said that so far she is able to type the equations she was thinking about, AND using the proper math writing (am I EVEN saying this correctly:) of how they should be written.  It's free for what she is needing, but will look a little more into the premium as it only costs $149.95/year - check this one out.

SO while I was looking online for this I came across some other websites that might be worth checking out if you teach math:)

1. MyMathSpace Blog - There is a plethora of information here with websites, links and additional blogs to help!

2. Online Keyboard:  This site allows you to create online equations of about EVERYTHING possible and then you can copy and past them into document

3. Math = Love: Looks like another neat blog with ideas galore.

4. Great Maths Teaching Ideas: This sites lists the top math blogs out there. 

That's all I have for today - Happy Mathing around;)
Enjoy your Tuesday all
Mrs I:)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Technology Share Day

Last Friday was CPT (Common Planning Time) for us, which means a two-hour late start.  The time is then spent on learning new things, collaboration, or whatever deems fitting for the time of year as seen as a need.  Last month's CPT we had a speaker for part of the time, which turned into the whole time - but he was WONDERFUL so needed indeed.  The second part of last's month CPT was supposed to be spent on tech sharing, but since we didn't get a chance to, we did it THIS month.  The following things were shared during this time:

1.  Mr. Schmitt, one of the Science teachers here, shared THIS PDF that he learned about and discovered at TIES.  I DO NOT remember the session, so my apologies as Mr. Schmitt didn't make this, but I thought it was worthy of sharing.  It was found on Learning in Hand  it's a pretty cool infographic.  The author on the website also gave it a Creative Commons license, so feel free to share it and photocopy it or print and post it - THANK YOU AS ALWAYS FOR THIS:)!!

2.  Mrs. Gross, an English teacher here, shared online blogging and the importance of writing digitally.  Her 9th grade students and media/journalism students all keep a blog.  What they write about is up to them, as they choose a topic and name the blog at the beginning of the year and continue writing on that topic as the year goes on.  She has them use Google + for their blog, since they all have Google accounts and access to it, and that way it is somewhat "controlled and safer."

3. Mr. Meyer, a health/physical education teacher shared how to use videos to support curriculum in your classroom.  He went to Andi Bodeau's session on YouTube.  She shared this link as her presentation.  She talked about challenges in using videos as there is so much content out there - here were her basic suggestions:

Challenge #1 - Curate Content
*Subscribe to 10 channels that you can use in your classroom
*Create a list and add 5 videos to the list

Challenge #2 - Create Content
*Find a video and make it interactive
*Add 3 questions to the video

PlayPosIt is GREAT!  You can take ANY YouTube video that you like - pause it, embed questions, comments, etc.. for students to learn as they go and then continue the video.  It really is a great one if you haven't checked it out yet, do so:)

Happy Tuesday all - hard to believe April 1 is ALMOST HERE - UGH! 
Where does time go - have a great one -
Mrs. I:)

Monday, March 6, 2017

More Viruses Out There - BACK UP YOUR STUFF:)!!!!

Casey, our technology coordinator for our district, sent out the following message this morning:

"Just wanted to give everybody a heads up on a new virus that's making its rounds. It's called Trumps Locker and it wants to encrypt the files on our PCs and charge a fee to get a key to unlock them.

These threats are only going to get worse. PLEASE - keep making wise choices on emails that come into your account. Store valuable files on external hard drives. Use Google Drive for files. Every teacher has a FREE unlimited storage amount tied to their email account. I will try and do staff training on this option. No matter how much protection we have in place, one bad virus can wipe things out. The more I've researched and talked to others the scarier these threats have become. MANY MANY schools have been hit by a ransom type virus. It's going to keep getting worse so we all need to work together. Never hesitate to call Cary, Holly or I if you have a question or something just doesn't seem right."

Just a HUGE REMINDER - BACK UP YOUR FILES!!  Whether it's through Google Drive, DropBox or an external hard drive - DO IT PLEASE!!!!

That is all,
Mrs. I:)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Ransom Virus Hits HARD!!!!

YUP - it's TRUE!  The ransom virus hit our school and BOY did it hit hard! If you are unfamiliar, this virus has been around a while, and our network people said that they get 2-3 calls a week about this, so it's nothing new.  However it has KNOCKED! US! OUT!  Basically, it's just like a ransom.  The virus attacks your computer, there's a screen that appears saying they won't give you back your data unless you pay a ransom - OH!  We think it was attached to an email from a staff member, but aren't certain, and from there has caused us a HUGE headache, countless hours of panic, and panic again as it has reappeared trying to ping our system - OH NO!!

Here is what has happened thus far:

1.  The virus hit our main server and two of our three back up servers.  In a nutshell - THANK YOU GOOD LORD that Casey decided to have three backups.  However, we now will have four!! 

2. EVERYTHING had to be restored from back up - our ENTIRE NETWORK!  The server, staff and student drives, access codes, printers, Macbooks, Dell Computers, ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING has had to be reconfigured.  Those that HAD the virus - about half of our staff - also had to have their computers entirely wipes and reconfigured.  THIS HAS BEEN A NIGHT MARE!  Casey, who is our "behind the scenes" guy, describes it as, "Think of the worst thing to EVERY happen to a school district in terms of viruses, and that's how I feel!"  He has taken the brunt of it until today!:( I have been on tech support the last three days with our JSS system that runs our iPads and found out today that ALL 900+ iPads have to be restored to factory setting and then reenrolled into our JSS!  Which ONLY means that I have to hook up and restore each one - ONE BY ONE!  GOOD GRIEF

3. We had EVERYTHING restored and things were running good not great - HOWEVER - now the network IS NOT running right.  Our network people had to hire Microsoft for help - so AS WE SPEAK they are working on things again - and the virus KEEPS showing up.  The password has been changed, so it's only pinging it and not getting in - but OH - what if it does again?

4.  Things just ARE NOT quite right, and not working SUPER GREAT by any means.  Some printers work fine for people, and others times won't print - I KNOW that that's technology - but it's just a lot of weird things that works for some and not others? 

5.  SOME teachers didn't back up EVER!  Now, that doesn't mean they weren't told to - it just means they DIDN'T DO IT!  You should have SEEN the desktops of a few of them!  Every time I was on his/her computer I told them to put things into Dropbox or Google Drive - BUT they didn't and of course - THOSE were the computers that got infected:(!!!  SO - lesson learned I hope!  However - GOOD NEWS!  Almost ALL DID back stuff up and lost very few if any files - THANK HEAVENS!

 SO that's our last week and a half in a nutshell. BIGGEST PIECE OF ADVICE - BACK UP BACK UP BACK UP! AND make sure YOU TELL YOUR STAFF TO BACK UP!!! 

Happy long weekend all - Monday is NEEDED:)!!
Mrs. I:)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

CodeHS - Great Site for High School Students

We have been looking for something in regards to coding for our senior high school students.  They have been having fun playing with the Sphero and the Dash and Dot, but they are a little old for this so to say.  Through my research, I came across a site called CodeHS.  THIS IS AMAZING:)!!!  Once you sign up, you are taken through a series of courses where you actually code.  You type in the commands and functions, trying to walk Karel, the dog, through various tasks.  Each section features a video explaining what you'll learn, a quiz to review, and then you step in and use what you learned to code Karel. 

This seems like a really good fit for some of our kids.  We have two that are going into Computer Science, and this seems like a perfect stepping stone as it introduces HTML, Javascript and Python as they are also areas they will learn:).

AND the best part - it's DONE FOR YOU and IT'S FREE!! Of COURSE you can pay for more, but it really seems to give the basics and be a good chance for students to "start" the process of learning.

Good Luck - Stay Warm - STORMING HERE TODAY - UGH!!  BUT, supposed to be warm on Thursday - YAHOO:)!

Happy Tuesday All,
Mrs I:)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Sphero 2.0 - order one;)!

I am TOTALLY a band wagoner:)!! (is that a word?)  I love ANYTHING new that I learn about and TOTALLY jump on board and tell everyone to get it.  SAME HERE!  I learned about the Sphero 2.0 a few years ago and kind of put it on the back burner - which happens A LOT with technology as there are ALWAYS things coming out and about, the latest and greatest!  I wrote a grant for $500 (starting small), to order one and it CAME IN:)!!
Today I am subbing, so I had some kiddos go into the app and start playing with it - OH MY FUN:)!! They were able to calibrate it, run it, and start to make ramps for it to "turbo" power and change the trajectory, velocity, and speed to make it move faster and jump further - neato:)!  I also found a ton of ideas and ordered these little cones for racing, weaving through, and block coding to see if you are correct.  Sphero bowling was also found, as well as other physics type activities - can't wait to try with the kiddos.

I know that it's $129, but that really won't break the bank, so to say, and your kiddo will have a lot of fun using this bugger:)  ENJOY

Happy February 1st
Mrs. I:) 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Perspective and Uses of iPads in Mrs. Willer's Kindergarten Classroom;)

Mrs. Willers, one of our Kindergarten teachers, gave this perspective to a school that came her last week for a visit:)

iPad App: Seesaw 
This is the first year that we have been using Seesaw, and I absolutely love it! It can be challenging to find great technology that is user friendly for primary grades, but Seesaw has really changed that for us! There are so many ways to implement this into your classroom, and I love the connection it builds between home and school. The app is easy to use for our students, and easy to manage as a teacher- simply watch then approve any students’ completed project or journal, and instantly it is sent to the family and archived. This app is also helping me go paperless for Daily 5- I can provide my students with hands-on activities and Seesaw keeps them accountable for staying on task and doing their best with each activity. 

Student samples using Seesaw with D5 and writing: 

Other favorite apps for K: 
Reading Raven 1 & 2
Reading Island Adventure
Magnetic ABC’s- use for a variety of classroom activities vs. white boards or paper
Animal Math
Phonics (Backyard Adventures)
Short Vowels

iPads and SMART
If you are currently using SMART notebook, there is a new update that allows for iPads to replace the older PRS (Personal Response) clickers. Teachers can create activities and quizzes in SMART notebook that students can access from their iPads. Each student can log-in, take the quiz, and results are sent to the teacher. 

Thoughts and Opinions on iPad use in K: 
I appreciate being 1-1 with students and devices for the ease of doing whole-group activities. I have found that teaching new apps, beginning projects for the 1st time, and doing assessments such as STAR are best whole-group. Many of the apps we have found are self-paced and student progress is recorded, but only 1 “player” or “account” is allowed. If were were sharing devices, you may have a higher student unlocking or passing higher levels, and the lower student playing those levels even when they haven’t mastered the beginning skills of that game. If you decide to go 1-1 with devices, please also be aware of how much iPad time is developmentally appropriate for primary students. Although we do use our devices daily, we do it in small increments, and likely for only 30-45 total minutes a day. 
Another consideration for financial cost is the continuous expense of iPad apps. Each year between the system updates and free apps becoming paid apps, our list of working, paid apps changes. Each year we lose apps that we have loved, and finding replacements that are free are rare. I also feel like website subscriptions such as IXL or Starfall are replacing our app requests. There are more and more great websites out there that track student progress and are customizable, and may be more reliable long term than apps. 

I hope this is helpful - Happy Tuesday all
Mrs I:)

Monday, January 16, 2017

One 1st Grade Teacher's Use of iPad Apps:)

I know that Mrs. Olson, one of our 1st grade teachers wouldn't mind me sharing this.  We recently had a school come and visit us about iPads in the K-2 classroom and this is what she had to say about apps in 1st Grade:

Here are some of the iPad apps that we use a lot: 

Seesaw: This is a great sharing app to allow parents to see some of the work the kids do each day. The parents can also comment on things so the kids can see it!

Rocket Speller: Great for spelling practice.  This one can be set to different levels to differentiate for your class. 

Sushi Monster: Great game for math facts.

Flash to Pass: Great for math facts. You can set a time limit and a difficulty level. 

Sail Through Math: Math facts

HyperBlast: Very video game-like- the kids love that part. Great for math facts.

Math Bingo: Fun math facts bingo game

Story Buddy: This one is fun for individual practice for anything! I use it for spelling practice, writing sentences, retelling stories... Pretty much anything!

Spelling City- You can upload your own spelling list and the kids can play games to practice their words!

Explain Everything: This app is great for almost anything as well! I use it with my kids to do a book report, practice spelling sentences, practice math facts... The thing the kids and I love about this app is that their project can be made into a movie when they are done then we can share them on the smart board via the Apple TV! They love to watch everyones movies!

Kids A-Z- make a class list and your kids can listen to leveled readers that are just right for them!

iBooks- I use iBooks for our listen to reading centers. I made several iBooks with all my books on CD and imported them via Dropbox to all the kids iPads.  

Happy Weekend all.  -42 temp YIKES - stay warm everyone!!!
Mrs .I:)