Thursday, November 10, 2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Illuminate Assessement Scores to Aeries Gradebook

Illuminate Assessment Scores to Aeries Gradebook: Tutorial
This describes the process for pushing Illuminate Assessment scores into an Teacher Portal gradebook assignment eliminating the need to manually enter them saving time and eliminating data entry errors.
Synopsis: You will create an assignment in a Teacher Portal gradebook, then log in to Illuminate and push those scores into the gradebook assignment using the ‘Administration → Push to Aeries
Gradebook’ function Detailed Documentation:
1. Log into Teacher Portal and create a new gradebook assignment which will receive the scores from the Illuminate assessment. (Math quiz 1 in example)
NOTE: The # correct possible in the assignment should equal the # of questions in the assessment.

2. Log into Illuminate and open the assessment you wish to push into gradebook.

3. Click ‘Administration→Push to Aeries Gradebook’ from the illuminate menu bar.
4. In the ‘Gradebooks’ field, click the drop down list and select the Teacher Portal gradebook which contains the assignment created in Step 1 above.
5. In the ‘Assignments’ field, click the drop down list and select the gradebook assignment you
created in Step 1 above.
6. Click the ‘Submit’ button.
7. Repeat steps 3-5 for each of the gradebooks that contains this assignment (for linked gradebooks).

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Technology Classroom Management

"Most educators will expend the effort needed to integrate technology into instruction when, and only when, they are convinced that there will be significant payoffs in terms of student learning outcomes."  (Means, 2010)

Whether your class is using tablets or Chromebooks it is essential for teachers to establish routines and procedures for the use and management of technology.  When effective classroom management strategies are in place the focus of the lesson can be on the learning objective instead of on the technology.

Typical Technology Classroom Management Strategies:

  1. Establish a digital workflow
  2. Guidelines for who to ask when student is stuck
  3. Routines for login and password management
  4. Transitions between tasks
  5. Allowing time for students to explore new programs
  6. Regular integration of digital citizenship
  7. Classroom arrangement
  8. Routines for who is plugging in and unplugging devices
  9. Procedure for students and device "checkout"
  10. Modeling expected technology use

These strategies may take on different forms in different classrooms and will vary by grade level.  Many teachers in Central Unified are already implementing these strategies in their classrooms.  The following are descriptions of how these strategies are currently being utilized, some of the teachers that are using them, and photos of excellent classroom management in action.

1.  Establish a Digital Work Flow

Suzanne Awtrey at Roosevelt is kicking off her students' educational experience by using Seesaw: The Learning Journal with her kindergarten students.  Seesaw is compatible with both tablets and Chromebooks.  In addition to allowing students to chronicle their learning through images, video, and writing, Seesaw allows for a connection between home and school since parents are able to access their student's digital portfolio.

Many teachers around the district are using Google Classroom as a means to establish a consistent workflow between teacher and students.  Several digital curriculum programs such as Pearson Realize, Journeys (Think Central), and Collections (MyHRW) allow for teachers to assign work to and collect work from students.

Cindy Escandon, first grade at Biola Elementary School uses QR codes to help her students navigate to websites, apps, and videos to support instruction.  Students can use a QR code reader app on their tablet or a Chrome App on the Chromebook to quickly access digital content.

2.  Guidelines for who to ask when student is stuck

Teachers around the district use several different strategies to help students who are having a difficult time navigating new digital programs.  In Lisa Papaleo's second grade class at Liddell, students are encouraged to ask other members of their table group for help when they are having trouble navigating their tablet.  If group members are not able to assist the student, the student is instructed to put their head down on their desk as a visual cue that the student in struggling.  Lisa also encourages students to become tech "experts" in her class.  She has a special lanyard at a student can wear to signify that they are an expert in a particular skill and are authorized to assist other students.

Another popular strategy is "Ask three before me."  Reminding students that they should seek the assistance of three classmates before seeking help from the teacher.

3.  Routines for login and password management

Managing access to multiple digital platforms is a skill that we are asking our students to master at very early ages.  To aide her second-grade students in logging on to various accounts, Andrea Palacios at Tilley has taken the student account information cards that can be printed out through Aeries and created lanyards for students to wear.  These lanyards hang on the wall at the front her classroom and are arranged according to student number.

Many school sites utilize these account cards.  Amy Grigsby, a fourth-grade teacher at Polk, laminates one set of the student account cards that she distributes to her students and retains a backup set for students who have misplaced their copy.  Often times teachers keep a class list of student account and password information in a designated folder for quick easy access.

4. Transitions between tasks

Teachers use multiple strategies to help students transition between different technology tasks.  One popular
visual cue for students is the Spotlight Poster.  Common Sense Media has a digital copy of the Spotlight Poster available for printing.  The idea is to use a cue, such as a paper clip to signify when students are expected to use technology and for what purposes.

The same verbal cues that students are accustom to for other classroom activities can be modified to help students transition between technology-based tasks.  Cindy Escandon guides her first-grade students through new routines by having the students stand up and act out the steps of the process before they even pick up their tablets.

5. Allowing time for students to explore new programs

When students are first introduced to a new technology program it is essential to allow students adequate time to explore the new tool.  When Amy Grigsby first introduced her fourth-grade students to Google Classroom this year she allowed students time to click on all of the tabs and links.  That way when it was time for students to follow her directions for navigating the site, students weren't distracted by all of the possible places that they could click.

6.  Regular integration of digital citizenship

Although students are expected to complete three specified digital citizenship lessons using the Common Sense Media curriculum, Technology PCC members discussed the importance of students' ongoing exposure to digital citizenship.  While Common Sense Media is an excellent starting point, digital citizenship discussions about plagiarism, appropriate peer interactions, and social media etiquette can be interwoven into existing content-based lessons.

7. Classroom Arrangement

When starting the year, Tilley fourth-grade teacher Richard Kelly intentionally sets up his classroom so that he can observe all student devices from the back of his classroom. Eventually, Mr. Kelly adjusts the layout of his classroom so that students are working in groups, but this happens later in the school year when students have learned to navigate their technology.  

Other teachers, such as Lisa Papaleo, arrange students into groups from day one so that students can rely on each other for technology support before turning to her for assistance. While Amy Grigsby is allowing students to have a choice with flexible seating in her classroom.  Students are given the option to stand at bookshelves around the perimeter of the classroom, sit at traditional desks, or even sit on the floor at a low table.

8. Routines for plugging in and unplugging devices

In most Kindergarten through second-grade classes, teachers have found that charging cords last the longest and remain reliable when the teacher is the one responsible for plugging in and unplugging devices.  With older students, some teachers designate a student with this job.  Since having reliably charged devices is essential for successful technology integration, it is essential that teachers devise a deliberate routine that will best serve the needs of their specific classroom.

9. Procedure for students and device "checkout"

Since all devices are going to be maintained in the classroom this year, it is important that teachers devise a routine for the timely distribution and collection of devices.  With class sets of tablets, many teachers either numbered or labeled the tablet with student information under the flap of the case.  Chromebooks and carts will be delivered to classrooms with numbered devices and charging bays.  

While students can log into their accounts and settings from any Chromebook, the daily checkout process of Chromebooks will be faster if students consistently utilize the same device.  Student "ownership" of a single device will also allow for less time to be spent trying to determine who is at fault for damage to devices.  One option is to have a class list of students with their assigned Chromebook number taped inside the door of the charging cart. For younger students, establishing a list in alphabetical order by first name might be easier than using the students' last names.  For secondary classrooms, a folder or sheet protector list of Chromebook number assignment for each period will help with managing device deployment.

10.  Modeling Expected Technology Use
The best way for our students to understand what we expect for them to be doing with technology is for us to show them.  The consistent use of routines, procedures, and expectations by teachers will allow for students to spend less time focusing on the technology and more time concentrating on the learning objective.  After all, technology is not intended to be the focus of instruction, but rather the tool teachers use to facilitate learning, provide timely feedback, and allow students to have access to resources beyond the classroom walls.

Means, B. (2010). Technology and education change: Focus on student learning. Journal of research on technology in education42(3), 285-307.

Monday, August 22, 2016

NEW Teacher Account Support Page

Teacher Account Support

Two pages were created to support CUSD teachers in logging into their accounts quickly, and also helping them retrieve usernames and passwords for those programs in an efficient manner.  Please visit our page from the STAFF pull down on the new website
On that page, you will find single links to the multitude of accounts within Central, and also the link to the accounts support page that asks you to enter information about the account needed.
Here is a direct link to the Account Login Page
And the link to the Account Support Page

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 selected as standardized keyboard program for CUSD students 1st grade-12th grade has been selected by the Tech PCC district-wide for typing instruction next year.  With the ever growing requirements for students to type, including new common core writing standards and SBAC prompts, CUSD has chosen to move forward with as the standard program for next year.

Updates for Teachers Next Year

Teachers in grades 1st-6th grade can use the resources on for center work, computer lab time, or student free time.  Secondary teachers can assign and use in all areas where students support is needed.  PCC team suggestion was 20-30 minutes per week to help them build skills that they will need to be college and career ready.  The program has  sets of reports that let you know how your students are progressing and how much time they have logged.  All of the features will be available during training this next school year as well as a set of "getting started videos" teachers can view on their own time.

Engaging Curriculum for K-12/College

Your students will love our fun and entertaining typing curriculum. Featuring engaging exercises, interactive typing games, and positive reinforcement, is perfect for all age ranges and skill levels.

Free & Unlimited is and always will be free. Unlimited classes. Unlimited students.

Grade & Track Students

Using our free Teacher Portal, managing your classes and students could not be easier. Coupled with's Real-time Student Monitor, you can see exactly what your students are working on, in real time.

Single Sign-On & District Syncing

Skip the sign-up form, and log in directly using your Google Apps or accounts. Clever will even sync your entire class roster automatically!  Both types have been set up and are ready to use for Central students.  Clever is recommended for students in 3rd grade and below because of the ease of use.

Typing Games Reinforce Learning

A host of exclusive typing games such as Keyboard Ninja and Tommy Q Zombie Defender keep interest peaked while reinforcing lesson content.

Aligned with Common Core's proven curriculum aligns with the Common Core State Standards Initiative for Writing, preparing your students for typing mastery and success.

Powerful Reporting

Access and export detailed student improvement and progress, with reports covering all levels of data.  Another great feature of is our ability to roster classes to the program with Clever integration.  This link provides you with step-by-step directions for rostering your students to and providing your students with easy access to the site.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Front Row

Guest blog post by Frances Sias, 2nd grade teacher Biola Elementary School

Overview of Front Row:
  • Assignments can be given individually to students or they can continue their differentiated program at their pace.  
  • Manipulatives can be used within software and students have a mini-"whiteboard" to the right of each Math problem.  
  • Indania.jpg
    Idania is working on a math problem that involves area.
    Practice sheets can be printed and sent home as homework.  
  • Practice sheets are not simply "worksheets"!
  • Front Row creates a practice sheet-- with student's name on it-- of the Math concept students are working on that the student needs more practice with.  Wow!  Differentiation to the Max!
  • Free Front Row version allows for a max of 5 Reading/Writing assignments per month.

Joel is working on a math problem that involves
putting toy soldiers in order from greatest to least.
I have used some Reading assignments whole class on Promethean Board--especially when students were first beginning, so they could understand how they could use a Thinking Map to structure their reading and aid them in answering the passage.  Reports are available on all student work.  Front Row Reading gives detailed class report showing how each student answered and questions they missed.  Data can be used to create class groups based on students needs.  There are some great Inquiry lessons which are free and you can use whole class, but it you want more, school admin must purchase site license.  Detailed reports to parents are also provided.  Numerous data reports for teachers that aid in creating differentiated groups for peer to peer support or teacher center grouping.
Tiffany will write a short statement about the Statue of Liberty.
Front Row differentiates by assigning leveled reading articles.
I have been using it all year except for the Rdg./Wtg/Inquiry lessons.  Those were added later in the school year and my class started using them after Winter Break.  The Math portion has been used all year.  
I don't know if  it was because we were using Front Row Math all year,  OR  if it was because of their work on the Daily Math Challenge, OR if it was because of the other Math Apps we use daily in Learning centers,  OR if it simply was because we are always singing Math songs!!,  BUT....
my students went from 4 of 25 passing Math PTask #1  to 22 of 29 passing Math PT#3!

Raphael is working on an "SBAC-like" passage about sharks.
He reads the passage (at his reading level), and can highlight
words or sentences to refer to so that he can go back to it
after he reads the questions on the right side.
Thank you for letting me share my student's work and my feedback about Front Row!

If you are interested in learning more about Front Row and how to use this free program with your students visit their website

Students logon to the Student Dashboard at

Friday, May 13, 2016


Synergyse is a Chrome extension that puts a virtual guide into Google Apps, training you to be productive and stay up to date with changes.

Synergyse built a virtual coach inside of the Google Apps interface, built on Google Cloud Platform. With voice and text interactive modules that are searchable by topic within Google apps, Synergyse will help your teachers and students get up to speed quickly — including when new features are rolled out. The trainings are always up to date, thanks to the power of the cloud. Organizations that use Synergyse see on average 35 percent higher adoption across Apps products, meaning those organizations are more likely to be productive, collaborative and embrace digital transformation.

Product support these tools:
  • Google Apps training for Classroom, Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites, and Hangouts.
  • Automatic updates for all future features & apps
  • Unlimited usage

Enhance professional development.

Synergyse training can help teachers master Google Apps for Education, and count towards their professional development requirements. Administrators are able to generate detailed usage reports that include lessons and training hours.

Utilize as an effective teaching tool.

Many teachers use Synergyse as a teaching tool in their classrooms, allowing them to clearly demonstrate features in Google Apps for Education, and assign lessons to students to take at their own pace.

Look for the Synergyse icon in your favorite Google Apps for Education tools.  The number next to the symbol indicated the quantity of tutorials available for that tool.

When you click on the icon, the options will expand to include a list of the trainings available, as well as a search option.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Chrome Extensions for Education

I know that as a teacher I am always looking for little tips and tricks to help save time.  Today I came across a Chrome extension, Dualless, that I think could be useful for both teachers and students.  Dualless allows you two view two different Chrome Broswers on your computer screen.  Students could easily have a Google Doc and a website open side-by-side without having to go through the hassel of resizing windows.
Another Chrome extension to take a look at is Word Cloud Website Preview.  If you are a fan of displaying word clouds for your students or having your students create word clouds themselves, this Chrome extension allows you to create a word cloud from a website with one simple click.  Options are limited, but you can select the number of words to view by clicking on the "Options" link in the bottom right corner.

Do you have any Chrome extentions that make your life as a teacher just a little bit easier?  Please let us know and we will feature them here. #sharethetech

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Middle School Teacher Gives Students 20 time

By Jason Horsman

Carrie Faria is an ELA teacher at El Capitan Middle School.  This school year she is trying an innovative approach to allow her students to get creative.  She has allocated 20% of her in-class time for students to work on any project they like.  The focus of 20 time is to create a socially aware project that could give back to others.  Student's have taken this idea and created projects that range from teaching piano to learning another language.  The idea stems from the technology industry, where places like Google and Apple give their employees time to "get creative" with any ideas they like.  Products like Google Classroom and the iPad have come from those times.  Carrie hopes it will expand the quality of projects coming from her students and allows them to work on things that are interesting to them.  "Wednesday's are our 20time days.  Students are given this day to work on anything of their choice.  We are in our 7th week so most of the students are out of their research phase and into the actual creating or inventing portion."  Recently the school purchased a 3D printer for her classroom so that students can fully realize their inventions.