Sunday, October 23, 2016

On the School Sites: Apples and Cavities

In celebration of apple picking season, the elementary students have Ten Apples Up On Top sung in the style of Jason Mraz.

In anticipation of the candy-filled holiday Halloween, our middle school students can learn something about tooth care from the TedEd video "What Causes Cavities?"

Monday, October 17, 2016

Digital Citizenship Week

Digital Citizenship Week is upon us once again! Below are the plans for my district as we recognize the skills and dispositions that lead to good digital citizens.

Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use. When discussing digital citizenship we often focus on one of the 9 Themes: access, commerce, communication, literacy, etiquette, law, rights and responsibilities, health and wellness, and security. This week will focus on Digital Citizenship as a whole:


Elementary Students
  • Video on the school site: Super Digital Citizen.
  • Grades K-2 will practice being a good neighbor in the computer lab.
  • Grades 3-5 will discuss how to share our opinions respectfully (anytime, but especially online), how we feel when someone disagrees, identify appropriate ways to respond, and decide when to involve our trusted adult.

Middle School Students
  • Video on the school site: 458 minutes
  • During advisory, middle school students will determine the rights and responsibilities of digital life and consider appropriate responses to real-world scenarios.

Parents will receive this newsletter:

Sunday, October 9, 2016

On the School Sites: Week of Respect and Critical Thinking

Elementary School: Last week, like all schools in New Jersey, we recognized the Week of Respect. The Media Center shared a school-wide program that involved a Kid President video and opportunity to respond. Students were asked: "What is something nice that we can say or do to show our respect?" All students and staff were invited to respond in a Padlet. I was able to export the responses from Padlet, then import them to Tagul to create this word cloud:

Middle School: This week's front page shares a video from the TedEd YouTube channel. Critical thinking is a critical skill. We are asked to make so many decisions each day, somethings we don't give them enough thought.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Quick Tip: Rescue a Stalled Computer

Today I met with my middle school tech club.  Each week, before we begin our long-term projects, we review technology support tricks that can be used to help our teachers and peers in the classroom. Today's topic was how to revive a stalled computer.

  1. Have a little patience. Sometimes things don't work as quickly as we'd like. If an update is downloading or installing, the computer may run a little slower. If the user has 15 tabs open in Chrome, things will slow down a bit. If the internet is slow or near capacity, the pages will sometimes take a bit longer to fully render.
  2. Control-Shift-Escape opens the Task Manager (Windows OS). From this menu you can locate the stalled program and close that one specifically. Be careful when choosing apps/programs to exit -- some of them are essential to the functioning of the computer.
  3. Last Resort: Force power off and restart. You've been patient. You attempted to close locked apps, tabs, or windows. You were patient while waiting for any response from the computer. The last resort is to press and hold the power button until the device shuts down. Give it a moment, then restart.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Digital Citizenship: Etiquette

Digital Citizenship is not that different than Real Life Citizenship. As technology continues to be absorbed into our daily lives, the line between online and offline behavior blurs. The anonymity of the internet, or even the inability to see the author, sometimes creates situations where participants behave in ways they would not in Real Life. 

The "Core Rules of Netiquette" were developed by Virginia Shea and published in her 1994 book Netiquette. These rules connect the elements specific to the digital world with those in the real world, reminding us that good citizenship is important no matter where we are. In 1994 the internet as we know it had not yet been made public, and the idea of having a computer in your pocket was limited to SciFi. Yet these rules, grounded in good Real Life Citizenship, still apply in 2016:
  1. Remember the Human: While the internet may be digital, the people behind the words and images are human.
  2. Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life: Be respectful, give credit where due.
  3. Know where you are in cyberspace: An extension of know your audience, understand the rules and expectations of the group before participating fully.
  4. Respect other people's time and bandwidth: "You are not the center of cyberspace"
  5. Make yourself look good online: Present the best you. Consider how your words or images can be taken out of context.
  6. Share expert knowledge: Participate! There are communities and forums for educators at all levels, subjects, and teaching style. Be sure your PLN includes digital resources.
  7. Help keep flame wars under control: Don't feed the troll, and he will likely get bored and go away. If that doesn't work contact the site owner or a person in charge.
  8. Respect other people's privacy: We don't snoop through other people's drawers, so don't snoop through their email.
  9. Don't abuse your power: Those in charge of other's access to view and share must not take undue advantage of that responsibility.
  10. Be forgiving of other people's mistakes: If you decide to point out a mistake, do so politely and privately.
Links direct to the excepts from Netiquette as available at the publisher website.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Quick Tip: Full Screen Mode in Chrome

It may be helpful to view apps, presentations, videos, or other items using the full screen (no tabs, menu bars, etc.). This can be especially helpful when working on a smaller screen, where every pixel has high visual value. It may also be helpful when presenting a website, document, or other content through an interactive board, projector, or large monitor. The below options will engage or exit full screen mode in Google's Chrome browser.

To engage full screen mode:
  • Press F11 (PC), located on the top row of the keyboard.
  • Press the 3 dots below the x in the upper right corner.
  • Choose the full screen icon, located at the right end of the Zoom options.
  • Press the Full Screen Key (Chromebook), located on the top row of the keyboard.

To exit full screen mode:
  • Press the Escape key (top left corner of the keyboard).
  • Move cursor to top of screen, go to View, choose Exit Full screen.
  • Press the Full Screen Key (Chromebook), located on the top row of the keyboard.
  • Press F11 (PC), located on the top row on the keyboard.
  • Alternate-F4 (PC). Note that this will actually close the Chrome window completely.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Digital Citizenship: Password Security

This week's Digital Citizenship topic is Security, specifically password safety. We are reminding students and staff:
  • Choose a secure password; Strong Password Generator and DinoPass are easy to use password generators.
    • Teacher accounts have access to confidential data; don't be the weak link.
  • Passwords are private. No sharing with friends or classmates.
  • Keep written passwords secure; avoid post-its on the monitor, never write on the board.
  • Do not say passwords out loud.
  • Learn to type your username and password quickly.
  • Always logoff shared computers; lock personal computers when not in use.

We shared this graphic with staff:

At the elementary school, we have the P455w0rD Rap:

The middle school reminder includes a comic playing on the Rumplestiltskin's "secret" name: