Piedmont Teachers--
TEACH like a PIRATE this year - one more way to have a positive impact
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My PD BLog


Great resources for PD and Tech http://www.cmslearns.org/
GOOGLE APPS https://sites.google.com/a/cms.k12.nc.us/googleappsforeducation/

More Useful Teacher Info at Piedmont Staff Wiki including links to:

HP Revolve tablets

CMS info link for Revolve http://www.cmslearns.org/new/revolve/

Faculty Bulletin Tech Notes
Nov 22

Google Drive
I made you Google Drive Tutorials on Video (want it in writing? here are the instructions written out for students http://msgurthie.cmswiki.wikispaces.net/Tech+Usage+Instructions and for teachers http://piedmontstaff.cmswiki.wikispaces.net/Online+Subscriptions-Gaggle%2CDE%2Cetc%29, )
I went crazy with Screencasting and made Google Drive Tutorials that walk you through step by step. (Sorry about my cringe-y “teacher voice” –ugh!I am going to work on that as I develop my screencasting abilities! I’m no YouTube Star but at least you can pause me, rewind me, or fast forward me! I know that I went too fast at the faculty meeting and that some folks already know this already.)
  • Basic tour of Google Drive for students:http://youtu.be/1yMEVD42-zk
  • Basic tour of Google Drive for Staff and how to upload to youtube can be found on the private staff wiki.
These only scratch the surface of all the amazing things you and your students can do with Google Drive, I can come to you and do one-on-one, come into your team meeting or make you a video tutorial-just let me know what you want to learn and when! Remember: Google Drive means no more reinventing the wheel with lesson plans when someone at CMS has already shared their plans in Google Drive and you can search by keyword, no more forgetting to save a document and losing your changes, no more lost flash drives, no more having to email files back and forth and keep track of changes—you can instantly collaborate, no more full email when kids try to email you powerpoints! ((just remember to ask them to share it with your CMS@k12.nc.us email NOT the gaggle email –both will pop up when kids start typing your name in the share box.
PS I KNOW you can make better screencasts, and some of you do now. Want to try? Go here http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/screen_recorder
Links to check out if you are curious

Nov 15

No tech and Subs
You cannot use tech with a substitute teacher. Be thinking now of some non-tech infused lessons you can leave in your absence, especially if your textbook is now online. Email lisaa.gurthie@cms.k12.nc.us if you want ideas.

Guidance Standards
Below is the direct link to the folder of Guidance Standards we must all integrate into our lessons. Again, you can use these to help you connect what you are teaching. In the end this will make your lesson more efficient as it will increase motivation and relevance and teach the skills your students need to master your content as well as life.

The link should open right away, or, if you are not already signed in to google, it will first prompt you to sign in:
CMS employees sign in instructions:
  1. Go to Google.com and click on "Sign In" in the top right corner.
  2. USERNAME: Full CMS email address (first.last@cms.k12.nc.us)
  3. PASSWORD: Cm$XXXXX (XXXXX is the last 5 digits of your social security number.) NOTE: Some people have already logged into GAFE and changed their passwords or had a different password set. If you have any issues with logging in, please contact the CMS Help Desk.
Students also can login:

For additional support, please visit the following:

Google Apps for Education (GAFE) In Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Resource Site
Google Tutorials at the Free Technology for Teachers site.
Google Drive is great to collaborate with and among students, teachers, CMS, and the world. Store your team info, collaborate on lesson plans, team edit, comment, etc. You can have students turn work into you via google drive, keep a portfolio there, even upload videos and photos that can then be shared and edited. You have 30 gigs of free storage! This is a way to get videos off the iPads –students can upload the video to google drive then share it with you. From there you can post it on your wiki or upload to youtube using your revolve, laptop or desktop computer (works better than Gaggle!) Thornburg, Hanson, and Bailey are teachers who I know use it. Chances are someone near you also does. I can come into your meetings or come do a one-on-one tutorial. You can also youtube “google drive tutorial” - My youtube is still down for some reason so I haven’t previewed-but here is one to start with http://youtu.be/eA5oq-s67mw

Nov 7

Tech and PD notes 11/6

Are your students web literate?
Mozilla, maker of the web browser we use called Firefox (the browser is not called Mozilla), has released the following Web Literacy standards https://webmaker.org/standard . They align with what I see we are already teaching our students so I thought you might like to take a quick peek at them and if you want help reinforcing any of these skills within your regular lessons (so you can prove yourself all 21st century and whatnot or just to make sure our kids are prepared for the future) just see or email me and I can put together some resources for you.

Thought provoking article of the week:
I still love tech and believe in its ability to bring the real world into ed and level the playing field, but there are some great caveats here, and I know some of you on staff are familiar with him. The headline and subheading are sensationalist but if you’ve got time for a longer read this is really thought provoking and should drive some interesting questions for education. He discusses education around the middle of the article. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

If you don’t have time to read it, here is the most relevant takeaway: Are we using tech to make learning TOO sanitized and neat, or are we using it to get our students to really grapple, collaborate and create?

In schools, the best instructional programs help students master a subject by encouraging attentiveness, demanding hard work, and reinforcing learned skills through repetition. Their design reflects the latest discoveries about how our brains store memories and weave them into conceptual knowledge and practical know-how. But most software applications don’t foster learning and engagement. In fact, they have the opposite effect. That’s because taking the steps necessary to promote the development and maintenance of expertise almost always entails a sacrifice of speed and productivity. Learning requires inefficiency. Businesses, which seek to maximize productivity and profit, would rarely accept such a trade-off. Individuals, too, almost always seek efficiency and convenience. We pick the program that lightens our load, not the one that makes us work harder and longer.”
--Nicholas Carr emphasis added by Gurthie : )

Apps Update
Regarding that augmented reality demo last faculty meeting with the asthma/diabetes info, I did put both the ColAR Mix app and Aurasma apps on all the ipads when I refreshed them. They are updated now and please keep close record of who has which one

Oct 30

Staff with school-issued iPads
  • If you prefer your new tablet to the iPad, please email me so we can give the iPad a home.
  • If you have a 4 digit lock code on the iPad, please seal that code in an envelope and give it to me or to Lou Self. We won’t open the envelope unless you leave , but with ios7 it is much harder to get a code off if someone leaves and forgets to tell us. Also sign out of icloud and itunes before turning in the iPad.
DE is asking for feedback on techbook or any of their resources. If you have any thoughts on what is working, not working, or what you’d like to see, please email me and I will pass them along.

Here are a few links:
BYOT-Tips for Productive use of BYOT in a secondary school class. One teacher’s system http://starrsackstein.com/category/byod-does-support-student-engagement-here-are-some-tips-for-productive-usage/
Interested in writing your own textbook? (I know you have so much free time) I have a program called iBooks author you are welcome to try out. It is free for anyone with a mac or you can use mine. You basically cut and paste web photos and resources with things you have created yourself and publish it for students to access on their ipads.
Assessment ideas-I f you are looking to diversify or simplify how you assess, you can see these “boards” of ideas linked here. I am a big fan of rubrics for saving grading time in the long run and for allowing assessment of multiple indicators. http://www.teachthought.com/learnist/5-fundamental-assessment-resources-learnist/
Focus Groupon electronic portfolios and other Next Gen assessments –there are still some spots left for focus groups. One meets this Friday. With our experience with IB portfolios, Piedmont teachers are perfect candidates for your expertise. See this link to sign up http://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090A4FABAF2AA31-focus
October 23

When borrowing tech, make sure to stop class with enough time to clean up, collect, and PLUG IN ALL TECH(each chromebook, ipad) in order before locking the case and returning to media center (with the key!). Do not let students remove chargers from Velcro that holds them in place. They do NOT need to be pulled out at all. Each will reach if velcroed as inteneded and put in properly (chromebook numbers facing out, iPads best if placed flush against the side that does not have the charger so you have room to plug.)

Enjoy your tablets! They are yours to use and take home until you leave CMS. You can install software, personalize, etc.

The CMS link to HP Revolve tablets http://www.cmslearns.org/new/revolve/

Want more windows 8 Training?
Go to http://www.atomiclearning.com/
login with your cms email and password (SEE private staff wiki for password) then search for windows 8 or just browse through all the offerings. You get 1 CEU in MYPD for each 10 hours of video you watch! Any topic!

Google Apps go great with the Revolve tablets. Go to drive.google.com login with username –your cms email and password (see private staff wiki for password)

Once you are logged in, if you click any of these great templates, they will save into your account so you can make self grading quizzes with Google forms and other neat things.

Oct 16th

Mind-blowing idea of the week: Quit teaching, start Modeling.

Quit asking questions!!! (at least at first!)


This article says we need to model for students so they can learn how to do what we do.But we fail at this because we keep trying to teach.

from the article:

When I ask teachers to practice modeling, their first attempts often include something like this:
“Okay, I want to revise my writing for unnecessary modifiers. I have some text here on the board. Does anyone see any modifiers in this passage? Susie, what modifiers do you see?”
As soon as a teacher turns the action over to the students, the spell is literally broken. Modeling is powerful because it engages students’ mirror neurons, specialized nerve cells that respond to observed action."

Time saver of the week- assign homework that grades itself. (The video is from Jognog but you can also do this with Khan Academy TedED, LearnZillion or other free online lesson assigning or game based sites)
Jognog has Quizzes For Every Common Core Standard and Test Prep for over 1000 Curriculum Frameworks Grades 2-8 in Science, Math, ELA, and History

October 10th

App of the Week-
  • DuoLingo-http://www.duolingo.com/Are you ready for our Spanish-Speaking lunch October 15th? If not, check out the free app Duolingo. It’s on our iPads plus free from your android or iphone app store (great for practicing other languages, too. Hear that , French trip teachers?)
Websites to explore
Advanced Topic of the Week-Augmented Reality

Tech notes Oct 4

New Event-Tablet Training Oct 23 during Planning (including google apps)-
  • Mark Your Calendars -Oct - Donna Jessup, our CMS IT liason (and 6th grade parent) is scheduled to set the tablets up with you Oct 23. Training will take place during your planning period.
  • Your new tablets can be used with apps, with Google drive and anywhere- at home, school, as a tablet, as a laptop, for PowerSchool, e-book reading etc.
New Makerspace -So I rechristened the media center lobby into a maker space (there are some materials available to use it as such if you want-just email me for more info and to sign up) Here are two recent links that explain:
Like those links about maker movement and want to see it in action? Jake Standish will come demo makey makey http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfQqh7iCcOU and raspberry pi to your classes. Email me with dates you want him and I will book him.
Tool of the Week-Google Cal- great way to organize -Here are 3 things I like about using Google calendar (calendar.google.com) for organizing myself that I think you might be interested in:
  • Remind-When you create an event, you can tell it to send you reminders (as many as you want as far ahead as you want) via email, text, or pop up on your computer screen. (remind yourself of duties, due dates, meetings and parent conferences, days to wear red, etc!. Also has a task option for to-do lists
  • Share your calendar with whoever you want.- can be embedded in your wiki (for example make a calendar called homework and events and update it for your whole team or one called presentations for your class if you want to show student presentation dates, etc) As more of us use google cal, I can transcribe the master calendar or curriculum calendar into a shared cal if desired.
  • Subscribe and Synch -I have one calendar for work, one for personal, and I subscribe to my son’s after school and weekend events that he is old enough to keep up himself now, but still needs rides everywhere! and I synch them all to my phone. I get an email reminder each morning of all the events on everyone’s calendars.
Example-Here is my work cal -Chris and I decided to do it like this so she’d know when she could use me. You can use it for the same purpose or just to find me if I’m not in media ctr http://msgurthie.cmswiki.wikispaces.net/Calendar
PS - Do you PREFER electronic to paper? If so, feel free to use Positive impact’s online submission option (others can use paper slips as always) http://msgurthie.cmswiki.wikispaces.net/Positive+Impact

September Tech notes

Thanks for being tech good neighbors!

tech housekeeping: If an item is missing (for repair, MAP use or other checkout) I have taped a note to the case. Otherwise do a count and plug it all back in and make sure it is always locked up.
Please return tech and keys before 4pm unless you have noted otherwise to me or on the signup genius in the comments (you can go back into your signups and edit anytime)
can’t try to open the win tv program until your computer is TOTALLY finished loading. That may be why you might not be getting sound.
Smart Board- setting called “bright room” when you click menu on the remote.
Chromebook Signout glitches- please ask kids to click the little square on the bottom right then click the words sign out and DON’T close the lid until it is completely signed out and they see the new signin screen box pop up.
According to the Friday Focus, deliveries have already started on your sweet new windows 8 touchscreen tablet/laptop combo- http://www8.hp.com/us/en/ads/elitebook-revolve/landing.html?jumpid=re_r11260/new-products/elitebook-revolve_redirect
21st Century Piedmont Link of the Week- Here’s a link if you are interested in Genius Hour or how you can get students learning via their passions—Genius Hour is like the IB Personal Project or the 6th grade love of learning project.http://geniushour.ca/2013/09/22/genius-hour-an-avenue-to-better-teaching/
\ Words students should know for testing(common core)—\http://www.marileesprenger.com/the-critical-words.html#!
2013.9.17 Tech Notes.
Spice up Your Lessons:

Big Files and Email-Google Docs (Google Drive) is an option!
  • Drive.google.com

Tech Reminders- Remember be a good tech neighbor
  • If you reserve multiple items for your team or dept, you must note in Signup genius with the name of who will be using each. One person is using chromebooks today whose name is not on the list. This is a problem. Singup can be editied any time
  • Chromebook Reminders:
    • Remind and allow students time to sign out completely --click bottom right square colored icon then click sign out). They should wait til the wheel stops spinning and the new signin screen shows up before closing their lid.
    • Remember the chromebooks are not as durable as the iPads. Students should be extra gentle opening/closing, and returning the chromebooks
For All checked out tech:
  • Remind students to place the tech back in the appropriately numbered slot.
  • Check they are all plugged in before returning cart. Students can return carts. There is an elevator key in the media center circulation desk .
Student tech is all here and ready to be checked out at http://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B0D4EAEAB22A75-online1
Step by step Directions on how to sign up for and use tech at Piedmont are at http://piedmontstaff.cmswiki.wikispaces.net/Tech+Procedures+and+Reservations
Chromebooks are awesome. If someone gives me money I will buy more! http://piedmontstaff.cmswiki.wikispaces.net/Chromebooks for teacher directionshttp://msgurthie.cmswiki.wikispaces.net/Tech+Usage+Instructions for student directions on Chromebook and other

Media center
Media Center . You and students can request a book purchase anytimehttp://piedmontmedia.cmswiki.wikispaces.net/Book+Request+Form
Media Center Student rules and other info at http://piedmontmedia.cmswiki.wikispaces.net
Media Center Teacher info and procedures http://piedmontstaff.cmswiki.wikispaces.net/Media+Center

General Teacher PD link of the week --I love teacher sites that are compilations of other useful sites. This Learnist board is nice because who doesn’t want a little more support? Click on it for lots of sites of teacher support strategies with lots of links.- it will load from Firefox here at school-not sure if all the subsites will be open from school but includes free lesson plan sites and such. Yay for sharing on the internet! Teaching Supports & Strategies in General | Education | Learnist

Tech Notes
This is a long one, y’all. Call me or come see me and I will demo anything you want.- Lisa
TV’s and WinTV:
Look for info about TV surplusing soon. Be aware that WINTV does not accommodate VHS so you will need a TV VCR setup if you ever need to show VHS tapes. We will have two in the media center.
Easy Useful Tech Site of Week:
Try it tomorrow as a warmup or an exit ticket
  1. 1. Go to https://www.mentimeter.com/
  2. 2. Create a poll with a question related to your topic. Note the accesss number
  3. 3. Direct Students to go to the student mentimeter site-- http://www.vot.rs/ from their device and enter the poll access # then cast their vote/select their answer choice.
  4. 4. Graph can be projected so everyone can see answers’ popularity and how many have voted.
  5. 5. Get a new access # for every question you want them to vote on.

Notes from CMS Tech Facilitator Meeting:

Cms Learns:
http://www.cmslearns.org/ useful site they are building now
  • Go to resource hub to see resources for all your tech needs in CMS
  • Note: chromebook resources, GAFE, Gaggle and Edmodo, etc
  • MAP test resources at http://www.cmslearns.org/map/

New Tablets coming:
  • Every teacher at Piedmont (except Ms. Norton, Sorry Ms. Norton) is getting a Tablet Soon—the HP Revolve Windows 8 tablet have arrived
  • will be 1 month before They are here at piedmont
  • There will be dongles to connect to projectors because the Chromebooks aren’t meant to plug into the projectors – will have glitches
  • Will be Windows 8 training
  • Ts Will have freedom to download add apps, update

NEW Website/wiki Choices :
  • You can move beyond Wikispaces when you or your students are ready. If you are happy with wikispaces, no need to change
  • The following 4 Options are now officially open for school websites
  1. 1. Wikispaces
  2. 2. Weebly
  3. 3. Wordpress.com
  4. 4. Google sites
  • Wix is also still open now but no guarantee they won’t close it.
  • Choice in Web platforms-think of it like a car, diff options but all drive.
  • See CMS learns http://www.cmslearns.org/ for examples of each websites and choose the one you like.
  • If you have a webpage of another domain, email: filtering @cms and ask if they can open it.

GAFE- Google Apps for Education

  • accessible at drive.google.com
  • Open in CMS for students and teachers! Big news! Very useful!-store in the cloud and share with whomever you want.
  • 30 gig storage limit- Huge!!!! Much better than 50mb hard drive limit
  • Can share with any cms email-Like a 2nd intranet that works for all devices at home or school.

GAFE Teaching ideas of the week
Using the GAFE called Google Docs
  1. 1. Use it to give student feedback and drive better work- http://plpnetwork.com/2013/09/09/give-students-frequent-feedback-google-drive/ (link courtesy of Ms. Gardner!)

  1. 2. Use it for Collaborating
  • Go to Today’s meet http://todaysmeet.com/ and post a google doc link there for an easy way to share out links for the googledocs you want students to read or edit.
  • When you create a google doc(for groupwork) or google form (for tests, surveys), click that they must sign in to view it and that way email name that they are looking
  • More info on the GAFE page of CMS learns https://sites.google.com/a/cms.k12.nc.us/googleappsforeducation/

Wifi News:
  • Remember 20-25 devices per wifi spot
  • It was recommended that every other class limit wifi use during map testing or other important streaming days-example best not to use Pandora on MAP test days.

Tech Bulletin Archives

interesting article if you are on the fence about using tech:


5/30 Tech Notes
LEGAL free images and sound for your use and for student use on blogs, websites, projects, etc. Search from one site: http://search.creativecommons.org/
A fun site to teach Math Computer or STEM skillshttp://www.tynker.com
Badges: These weeks have been my first time seeing from the outside of a classroom all that is involved in testing. I am not going to start on it but I do think there has to be a better way -one that is less wasteful of teacher skills and everyone’s time . Perhaps a better way might be found in the tech concept of badging via portfolio. In the meantime while we wait for the world to change, some of you might want to look at badging for your classroom. Basically, you would give kids a badge (like an online sticker) for achievements you choose once they prove they have mastered them. Edmodo has an internal badging system with tons of read-made badges but some folks (like Mozilla Open Badges) are trying to make skills badges public, universally-recognized and portable-perhaps the equivalent of a degree one day. Here are some links that you might like:


Free Summer reading at the click of a button–for you and share with your kids. (I will go on announcements about it next week after I do my next announcement about making videos this summer)
Tons of free books are available online as PDFS, especially all the classsics. Everyoneone can download books onto PDF readers and enjoy a book like experience but you can also just read them straight off the site. So I finally saw Les Misearables and couldn’t stop thinking about the characters so I downloaded it as an iBook (PDF combo is another free PDF Reader. Also Adobe) and now I’m reading it which I probably wouldn’t have done if it weren’t free. That Victor Hugo was a radical dude. Speaking of radical, I like the concept of school being “hard fun” This article kind of encapsulates my thoughts. http://www.papert.org/articles/HardFun.html

Tech Notes-
  • Screencast-o-Matic
  • Electronic Portfolios
Screencast-o-Matic is a Fun easy way to make videos of your computer screen if you want to walk students through a website or explain how they should do something on a computer. You can make one at a time free no login and publish straight to youtube from your school computer or home. All you do is go to http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/ and click “start recording” in the upper right corner. You can pause and restart.
Here is the video I made for kids explaining how to edit shared files in their digital locker and then submit them to their IB portfolio. http://youtu.be/2qVeGFwqDKY
If you want to see the written steps for ib portfolio assessment uploading go to http://msgurthie.cmswiki.wikispaces.net/Lessons. These are instructions for submitting files already in the locker or computer. There are separate directions for taking photos of paper work.
We have an IB Portfolio Website (in addition to a general ib info website http://myibp.cmswiki.wikispaces.net/home) and I think the process of will only get easier and more streamlined as we get used to working electronically. Send any ideas, requests, complaints and suggestions my way! http://piedmontibportfolio.cmswiki.wikispaces.net/home

Email me if you have any questions or requests over break!

App(s) of the Week--Zite and Fliboard: Personalized Magazine Apps

Search for "Zite" and/or "Flipboard" in your mobile devices' app store and download these free apps. They basically turn the internet into a magazine and are an easy, comfortable and fun way to access the latest discussions in teaching or in your content area. Especially if you don't like Twitter, or don't know which education blogs to start following, these apps are a great place to start. The more you read, the more it personalizes the articles it sends you to your interests. There is so much excitement in the field of education now as people realize together all the ways that tech can advance kids learning, it would be a shame to not listen into those conversations a bit and Zite and Flipboard are a great place to start. When you are ready to join in the conversation, I recommend Yammer, Twitter, or Edmodo. Those apps will be featured in next week's installment.
  • Zite: http://www.zite.com/
  • Fliboard: Hanson first showed me fliboard and I was too into Zite to switch but a few days ago Flipboard opened up a way to save the articles you like to make your own online magazine and share it. This may be what switches me over to flipboard. This would be a great way to collect articles to share with your students. Here's the announcement: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/03/flipboard-2-0-adds-creation/(for people who use facebook and twitter those posts can go into your flipboard feed as well which a lot of people like)
  • http://blip.tv/cmsappoftheweek/cms-app-of-the-week-1-evernote-6236450CMS' App of the Week. The first video is on Evernote, my favorite teaching tool for organization. I have all my lesson plans there, would refer to them from my phone while moving around the room, and would share them when I got observed and when a child was absent. Watch one or two to get your wheels turning for how an app can work for you.

Useful link: A Taxonomy of Reflection. Use these questions with any lesson any time to help develop critical thinking. Remember you don't have to go from lower to higher order, indeed you can "flip" the order.http://www.peterpappas.com/2010/01/taxonomy-reflection-critical-thinking-students-teachers-principals-.html

PD Mini-Lesson from October: Tech Time Savers and Motivators

Future Vision:
Skills :
from http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/FINAL_REPORT_PDF09-29-06.pdf

  • The three R’s (reading, writing, and Arithmetic);
  • The four C’s (Critical thinking and problem solving, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity and innovation)
Screen Shot 2012-10-17 at 6.31.39 AM.png

Which of these are you best at?
Now teach that to them. How?
Here are a few ideas that MOTIVATE without COERCION:

  1. Flip Blooms - Don't wait til they are experts to create. Let them become experts through creating.bloom_pyramid-2.png
  2. Gamify-Don't just play games, gamify the entire course.http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/gamification leaderboard not necessary.example:http://www.chemgametutor.com/
  3. Use Cell Phoneshttp://youtu.be/kBjaX4H8o_Y

Does labor have to be dull or unwanted? Do there have to be winners and losers in school. No.http://youtu.be/zDZFcDGpL4U
Take away tips and ideas: My Tech STARTER PACK- top 10 for teachers