Sunday, May 24, 2015

Check out our Facebook Page

We are introducing a feature to make reading new posts easier for you.  "Like" our Facebook page, and see new posts appear on your Facebook page. You can share with your friends and comment on posts too!  Go to our page at

While we're talking social media, follow us on Twitter at @ccedtech, @karen_larson, and @gtognetti1

Friday, May 22, 2015

Avoid the Summer Slide with these Resources

A few good resources have bubbled up in recent days regarding how to help students avoid the "Summer Slide." Studies - and practical observation of students - have shown time and again that there is a loss of skills when students take their summer break.  Check out these resources I've found that can help lessen or eliminate that slide...

Here's the list so far:

CK-12 BrainFlex - links for teachers and students to set up (free) plans or practice needed work to avoid a backward slide in math and science.

TenMarks - a free program designed to help math students from grade 1 through Algebra 2 stay on track over the summer.

Mathnasium - a list of activities to help students avoid the summer slide.

Reading Is Fundamental - a list of activities for the summer to help students stay on track.

 Scholastic Summer Challenge - is a free online reading program for students as well as schools. Sign up your students and track their progress all summer.

Another interesting site is called the National Summer Learning Association. Originating at Johns Hopkins University, it supports summer learning for all, with a particular focus on underprivileged students who don't necessarily get the same access to books, technology, classrooms and other resources to support their continued summer learning.  You need to check this site out - resources about how to start a program, online resources to support students, and much more.

Do you have other resources? We want to know about them!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Future of Libraries

This video, from a recent program of the Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley, discusses the future of libraries from the perspective of the Singapore American School.
Ron Starker wields a school psychologist certificate and is the Middle School Librarian at SAS. He has worked in schools in Oregon, Belgium, and Austria before moving to Singapore.
Doug Tindall was general manager of a Home Depot before serving as part of the US Army in Afghanistan as a technology specialist. He has also worked as a professional photographer, and is now part of the tech team at SAS.
Please take a few minutes to watch this intriguing view of what a library COULD be. What are your thoughts about the library of the future?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

More Tools for Effective Formative Assessment

In September 2013 we posted on popular web tools for formative assessment. It’s time to update that post with some new finds. We know teachers will find these both informative in regards to student achievement, and efficient in providing quick effective feedback to students.

Kaizena - Fast, high quality feedback on student work. Both teachers and peers can access student work (Google Drive only) and leave voice-recorded feedback to the creator. Tracks skills over time. Free.

Formative - Intervene in the moments that matter most. Teachers post questions, and students respond via text, multiple choice and drawing; teachers can see responses and comment immediately through the dashboard. Free.

Literably - The easiest way to assess oral reading and comprehension. Replaces the traditional means of administering running records. Students read and voice-record text, teachers get feedback on fluency and comprehension. Results post to teacher the next weekday morning. Free trial of 10 per month. Since the recordings are human scored, there is a cost for this service. Soon they will release Literably Practice, which allows students to record and listen to themselves to improve fluency.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Easy foreign language characters in Google Chrome

One of the Spanish teachers at my school wanted an easier way of entering Spanish punctuation and accent marks, particularly using Google tools. Cutting and pasting various Spanish-specific characters into various Google docs and Gmail was a big waste.  After a bit of research and trial and (many) errors, I think I found something that works pretty well. It's a Chrome extension called Google Input Tools and it seems to improve the experience of typing in a foreign language (and there are many choices) using Google Apps for Ed. Interestingly, I cannot seem to get it to work correctly entering info into THIS BLOG POST. Oh well, seems to work fine in Gmail, Docs, Forms and Slides,

Go to the Chrome Web Store and search for Google Input Tools. Or, click this direct link.  Install it to your Chrome browser and allow it to run. Make sure you are logged in so you can get to the extension anywhere you are logged in to Chrome.

You will then see the extension to the right of the omni bar at the top of the Chrome browser. To activate the foreign language keyboard, simply click the icon, select Extension Options, and then select the language. You may need to turn the desktop keyboard back on, which you do by clicking Show Keyboard.
The keyboard will appear and you can see what keys equate to the punctuation needed. For instance, the ñ is the colon/semi-colon key for English. You can move the floating keyboard by clicking and dragging to the desired location.

It will take a bit of getting used to, but for those who write in other languages, this will certainly be a time-saver. Worst case, you can look at the floating keyboard and point and click at the appropriate character and achieve what you want easily.

Do you have any other ways of getting this done? I looked into settings for International Keyboard (on a PC) and a few other approaches, and they seemed more problematic and hassle-filled. This is a good choice for the casual teacher-user who just wants to be able to get the job done.

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