Friday, October 24, 2014

Google Apps: New Drive

Google Apps users and GTSD staff may start seeing a banner message in Drive alerting them to the new version. GTSD staff and students are encouraged to change to the new Drive.  Nothing has happened to your files or connected apps, only the interface has changed. A few notable changes:

  • Single click to select a file, double click to open. This breaks the convention of single clicking on websites.
  • Create button has been replaced with New button.
  • Upload files and folders button has been integrated with New.
  • Shared with Me has been replaced with Incoming. Incoming is only organized by date, there is no other way to sort the files. For an application that is built on sharing and collaboration, this reduction in features is mind boggling.
    • GTSD note: staff who have not moved StaffShare to My Drive will have difficulty finding the drive. View the front page of the Intranet for guidance, or contact Mrs. Bond.
  • Recent shows all files that you have access to, ordered by the day when you last opened them.
  • If you want to hide the activity log that appears at the right side of the screen, click the Details icon. Click the icon to bring it back. When an item is selected, you will only see the details and activity for that specific file.
  • If you prefer to view your documents in a list, click the List View icon. To toggle back to Grid view, click the icon again.

The best place to go to learn more about the changes is to visit the Google Help page called The new Google Drive.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

GTSD Tech Buzz - October 2014

The October edition of the Tech Buzz was sent to GTSD families today. To accompany New Jersey's Week of Respect, the main topics are Safety on the Internet and COPPA.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October Booktalks (grades 4 and 5)

One of my many goals for this year is to take some time each month to encourage my middle grade readers to broaden their reading horizons. Our students love to read nonfiction, I suspect it is in part due to their innate curiosity, but also because it is easier to find books in the nonfiction section.

With that in mind I decided to book-talk a few fiction titles to each of the 4th and 5th grade classes. I adlibbed a bit, read a from the back cover, and sometimes just started reading from page 1, stopping just as things were getting interesting.

My success rate is pretty high -- only 3 books out of the 29 did not go home with a student. The true results will be revealed the next time we meet... Did they read the book? Was it interesting to them? Do they want more?

4th grade Book Talks
  • Potterwookiee by Obert Skye 
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke 
  • The Big Field by Mike Lupica 
  • The Report Card by Andrew Clements 
  • Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide by Tony DiTerlazzi and Holly Black 
  • Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen 
  • The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl 
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman 
  • 43 Old Cemetery Road: Dying to Meet You by Kate Klise 
  • Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell 
  • A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole 
  • The Monster’s Ring by Bruce Coville 
  • Dodger and Me by Jordan Sonnenblick 
  • The Doom Machine by Mark Teague 
  • Hocus Pocus: A Tale of Magnificent Magicians by Paul Kieve 

5th grade Book Talks
  • Found by Margaret Haddix 
  • Confectionately Yours by Lisa Papademetriou 
  • Three times lucky by Sheila Turnage 
  • Adventures of Nanny Piggins by R A Spratt 
  • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli 
  • Missle Mouse by Jake Parker 
  • What Happened on Fox Street by Tricia Springstubb 
  • War Horse by Michael Morpurgo 
  • The Puzzling World of Winston Breen  by Eric Berlin 
  • Masterpiece by Elise Broach 
  • Tennyson by Lesley Blume 
  • The Barn by Avi 
  • Chickenhare by Chris Grine 
  • Giants Beware by Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

EBSCO Points of View

EBSCO's Points of View Reference Center (subscription service) is an excellent resource for students engaged in debate, research, or interested in learning about ideas touched by controversy. The writing and content of this database is geared toward high school students and older. However, there are topics that support middle school curriculum and interest.

Points of View includes 343 different topics, each with 4 foundational essays (overview, point, counterpoint, and guide to critical analysis). In addition, each topic is associated with hand-picked support documents that include magazines, academic journals, books, radio/tv transcripts, and more.

EBSCO has produced a Common Core Standards alignment document, showing how use of this resource supports specific standards. In addition to this general resource individual topics include references to relevant Common Core and state standards.

For a brief overview of this resource watch the below tutorial. GTSD staff who would like to know more about how to use EBSCO resources with students or for professional development are invited to contact Mrs. Bond.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Video: The key to success? Grit

Interesting Ted Talk on why some students are more successful than others, and it has everything to do with good, old fashioned grit.
Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it's a marathon, not a sprint.
Visit the source page for this video to find a Grit Scale quiz.

h/t Brian Marks ‏@Yummymath