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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Til Next Time......Save this Last Blog post!! Great Resource for 17-18!

This is my last official post to the ACSD Blog. Many of you may or may not know, but I will be starting a new chapter and a new challenge in my book. I have been hired for a contract position with TEKsystems to be a Google Support Specialist for the Office of Chief Information Officer in the state of Iowa. I am very excited about this opportunity, and I AM VERY SAD to leave what I have called my home away from home for the last 11 years. There are so many memories and people that have a very special place in my heart! #acsdtech #trojanpride

It wouldn't be a blog post written by me without me reminding, nagging, and pushing technology to my favorite ACSD TWEEPS!!!

ABC Mouse
Grades: PK-3
BrainPop Jr./BrainPop
Grades: PK-8
**GREAT NEWS** We have the paid version UNTIL 2020.  
Grades: PK-12
Google Apps/Classroom
Grades: PK-12
Google Drive
Grades: PK-12
Grades: PK-12
**New App - Osmo Jam Coding**
5 OSMO Jam Coding Kits will be purchased for the district for the 17-18 School Year.
Moby Max
Grades: PK-8
**GREAT NEWS** We have the paid version UNTIL 2020.
Resources for Students to take Home can be found HERE
School Codes:
Washington: ia1632
Schuler: ia1428
AMS: ia344
More Starfall
Grades: PK-3
Grades: K-5
Free Version 6-8
**GREAT NEWS** We have the paid version UNTIL 2020.
Tech Training Folders

By: Jessica Fincel

Sunday, April 30, 2017


NETA is the "cream of the crops" when it comes to conferences. It is the biggest conference in this area (it is held at Century Link in Omaha--told you it is big). Also, we had one of the largest group of educators that attended this year. Most importantly, ACSD is the "cream of the crops" of school districts. We are using breaking edge technology in the classroom. We are using the trending and educational tools that are demonstrated at NETA. Here is a list of examples: Touch Screen Chromebooks, Osmos, Breakouts, Google Expeditions, and so much more. Great job educators!!!

Below is the list of educators that attended the NETA conference. Please feel free to pick their brains on any innovative ways to use technology in the classroom.

Ginger Bechtold, Katie Chamberlain, Janice Dickerson, Missy Goergen, Julia Gross, Sierra Johnson, Kelly Juhl, Alisa Kool, Stacey Mauk, Lori McConnell, Faith McCunn, James Northwick, Laurie Parrott, Macie Silliman, Ann Simpson, Stacie Sorensen, and Roger Warne.

NETA has nearly 250 session resources that you might want to check out. Click HERE to view the session hands outs.


Kelly - FlipGrid a video discussion community for your classroom that supercharges your students’ voices. You add the topics, your students respond with short videos, and everyone engages!

James - I really like the idea of using Google My Maps and Google Tour Builder for social studies or to help give students a real look at settings in books. There are a lot of was students could plan, journal, and discover places with these apps.

Faith - I was introduced to an awesome STEM website full of ideas to use that would tie in great with my math and science lessons. I also learned many new ways to use the Chromebooks. Even ideas for the new Chromebook touches we will be using for next year, like mapping trips and famous landmarks using a maps app.

Macie - TOO MANY THINGS TO PICK A FEW! I learned a new trick with the iPads where you can add "Guided Access" and lock students into certain apps. I have gathered a few ideas for research projects and creating stories and other things on some very easy tools for kids to use. I also have a list of MANY apps to download and try with students.

Katie - There are lots of things you can do to create student work on the Chromebooks. StoryBuilder turns writing into video. Issuu will turn Google Slides into a storybook format.

- I attended the "Creating Libraries of Tomorrow" Workshop. The presenter suggested having the each staff member do a 30 second "Book Blurb" about one of their favorite books from the library collection. Then show the Blurbs to get the kids interested in a book to read that isn't just suggested by Media Staff.

Ginger - Click HERE to view all her great resources.

Julia - We went to a session on how to create with Chromebooks. I can definitely see using some of these tools in my reading, writing, and social studies!

Stacie - Click HERE to view all her great resources.

Roger - Check out G Suite Training Extension - You might notice you have a new extension on your Chrome User.

By: Jessica Fincel

Thursday, March 30, 2017

ACSD March Madness

March Madness is HERE! The final four is this weekend. Many of you would STRONGLY AGREE, we have March Madness Champs right here at ACSD. With the leadership from Mary Beth, she arranged a way to showcase ACSD central office personnel, building secretaries, the tech team, and the food service director at the Iowa Association of School Business Officials Conference this week. These group of professionals has done AMAZING things behind the scenes. They deserve the recognization as leaders and innovators in the state of Iowa. Please give them a high-five for a job well done.  

Don't MISS out!!

Google Expeditions coming VERY soon. We will have a Google Expedition Kit ready to go by Monday, April 3rd. At Washington and Schuler the majority of general ed classes will be exposed to Google Expeditions during library skills. Janice deserves special thanks for taking and using library skills to provide ACSD students a chance to explore places they only envision in their dreams. WOW! THANK YOU, JANICE. AMS and AHS educators, please contact a TLC member, Ginger, Janice, or a Tech Member to arrange a time to take advantage of this opportunity.

Below is a Google Sheet with a list of tours.

What is Google Expeditions you may ask?
Definition: Google Expeditions enable teachers to bring students on virtual trips to places like museums, underwater, and outer space. Expeditions are collections of linked virtual reality (VR) content and supporting materials that can be used alongside existing curriculum.

Pixar in Box - You Say what?  -- Khan Academy

Definition: Pixar in a Box is a behind-the-scenes look at how Pixar artists do their jobs. You will be able to animate bouncing balls, build a swarm of robots, and make virtual fireworks explode. The subjects you learn in school — math, science, computer science, and humanities — are used every day to create amazing movies at Pixar. This collaboration between Pixar Animation Studios and Khan Academy is sponsored by Disney.

Check it out by clicking HERE.

Mark you Calendar
Last Sumdog Challenge for the 2017-2018 School Year

By: Jessica Fincel

Tuesday, February 28, 2017



Effective communication is vital for all relationships to be successful.  It is especially true with student, parent, administrator, and teacher relationships.

5 Tips to Be a More Effective Communicator in JMC

    1. Publish Grades Frequently

        2. Use Symbols in the Assignment Scores PageScreen Shot 2017-02-27 at 11.09.11 AM.png
        3. Encourage parents to sign up for Missing Score and Grade -  Alert Configuration in Parent Portal. Please feel free to share the Parent Portal Resources (below).
          1. Tip - Use the following the symbols when assignment scores are missing to effectively use Missing Score - Alert Configuration.
            1. "M" - Missing and "MI" - Missing Included Score
            2. "HI" - Handed In Exempt Score is a great way to indicate assignments turned in but has not been graded. No alert will be sent to the parents. A good use of communication on the parent portal.
        4. Email Weekly Updates
        5. Add Student Notes

        3 Tips to Email More Effectively in JMC (Both Office and Gradebook Modules)

        1. Descriptive Subject
        2. Detailed Salutation
        3. Detailed Valediction

        Parent Portal Resources - Great Resources for Parent/Teacher Conferences

        Tech Reminders

        1. DAwG Week - Website
        2. NETA Coming  - Sign up with Administrator - Website and Blog Post
        3. Staff Directory Deadline - March 5th
          • Step 2: Complete this Form to put your name in the drawing.
          • Deadline: Tuesday, February 28th -- EXTENDED MARCH 5TH
          • On Monday, March 6th (new drawing date),  the technology department will be drawing three names from the staff members that completed the form in step 2.  The three winners will receive Casey's Gift Card!  
        By: Jessica Fincel

        Tuesday, January 31, 2017

        Lifetime Learner #growthmindset

        Paul Freid, JMC Trainer, was here on Thursday, January 26th. JMC is on the move to making it even better. They will be launching a NEW administrator app this spring.  Also, they are making numerous enhancements and improvements to ALL the JMC modules (Office, Teacher, Parent, Student, and Food Service). 

        At this time the tech department would like to thank the following educators that attended the Teacher Gradebook Session. THANK YOU! Our ACSD educators received a special and private session. Thank you very much for being lifetime learners and sharing the new knowledge to your co-workers. If you have a question about JMC Gradebook, please touch base with the teachers listed below.

        Alisa K., Cecily K., Deb B., Gina H., Gini J., Heather L., Janet H., Jarrod O., Kathy H., Lindsey B., Mandi B., Marnie L., Mel R., Morgan S., Rachelle L., Stacy J., and Terry H.

        Question/Comment to the Tech Dept:  I  wish when  I  click on an email address on a web page (JMC) and it WOULDN’T open my Entourage or Mail applications. Why won’t it open my Gmail in my DEFAULT browser?  

        Click HERE to find the instructions on how to set up Gmail as your mail client handler.

        Note: That document is located in your tech office shared folder and/or this Bag of Tricks ACSD Blog Post.

        In April 2017, one of the best tech conferences is just west of here. Ask your administrator if you can attend. NETA is the "cream of the crops" when it comes to conferences. It is the biggest conference in this area (it is held at Century Link in Omaha--told you it is big).

        Mark your Calendars for April 20-21, 2017
        The NETA conference is right around the corner.

        NETA Conference Website

        Last year the attendees shared a lot of information with their co-workers/educators. Check out this blog post.


        Thanks again for all 110 participants that took the time to look over the website. There will be more information on how to update your staff directory later. Coming Soon.

        Many of the corrections/updates have been made to the website.  If you find any corrections/suggestions that you feel should take place, please complete a tech request.  We value your opinion. 


        By: Jessica Fincel

        Wednesday, December 28, 2016

        Out with the old, in with the new....

        Out with the old, in with the new....

        In the world of technology, that is always the case. Sometimes it is the old piece of computer equipment being replaced with a new shiny model or outdated software that is upgraded with new bells and whistles.

        This time of year we as adults have the mindset "out with the old, in with the new". One of the many reasons why we make New Year’s Resolutions. We want something to change about ourselves or our surroundings.
        Well now that your mindset is ready for a type of change. Guess what there are some technology changes... =-)

        "Out with the OLD Google "classic" sites in with the NEW Google Sites"
        The new Google Site is to be as easy as creating a new document. It is to be appealing on any screen size from 30-inch screen to a smartphone.

        Google Suite Update--Google Blog
        Google Site Support Page

        Note: Please know, the "Classic" Google sites won't convert to the new version of Google Site. Classic Google Sites is still up and running.

        "Out with the iOS Apple Calendar app try the Google Calendar App.

        iOS Calendar App
        Many of you have iPhones/iPads and use the iOS Calendar app, which there is nothing wrong using it; however, I think there are many advantages of using the Google Calendar App instead. 
        Google Calendar App

        Try it and find out for yourself...  

        "Out with the old and in with the new _________".
        Better keep a close eye on your inbox.  
        Hint: It will be more user and mobile friendly for all.

        Other Tech Reminders
        Sumdog Challenge for January 20 - January 26 

        Tuesday, November 22, 2016

        Thanksgiving - Favorite Holiday

        Do you know that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday?  It is a chance to reflect on the many things we have to be thankful for and truly give thanks.

        Truly Giving Thanks
        I can’t imagine working with anybody else as my tech team.  Stacie and Roger are the best, and I am thankful for them every day.  They love ACSD students, and they do so much for them. Most of all I love that I can call them my friends. Thank you, Stacie and Roger, for being you.

        IWB - Are you thankful for your interactive whiteboard?
        If so, and you are in need of some training on the interactive whiteboard (IWB), we are here to help you out.  Please complete a tech request form, and we will be more than happy to help you out. It is a gift to have this piece of equipment in your classroom.  Keep in mind; we have many educators in the district that use IWB to its full potential.   Observing these masters of the IWB could be an excellent opportunity to see it being used in an ACSD classroom.  If this is something you are interested in, please touch base with your TLC Instructional coaches.

        EPIC - Are you thankful when you see kids read?  I  am thankful for our librarians and support staff that are always finding new ways to encourage reading.
        YES--OF COURSE YOU ARE!! EPIC is an awesome resource to see kids read.
        What is EPIC? Epic! is the leading all-you-can-read eBook Library for kids 12 and under offering unlimited access to over 15,000 high-quality children's books, now including thousands of read-to-me and Audio books.

        EPIC is free for educators. It also allows you to import your class using ---yep.. you got it.... GOOGLE CLASSROOM!! If you are interested in how to set this up EPIC for your class, please complete a tech request form, and we will be more than happy to help you out. The EPIC App is installed on most of the Ipads, and there is an EPIC tile on all the Symbaloo pages.

        EPIC Educator Resource

        Quote from Faith McCunn: My class loves it! It's a great resource to use during our guided reading stations. It has a variety of books that they may not necessarily checkout from our school library. The kiddos enjoy the "Read to Me" feature. #bestresourceiseachother

        Special thanks to Janice to introducing and encouraging this website!! #bestresourceiseachother

        Hour of Code - Are you thankful for all the computers programmers that have made our life easier with the use of technology?
        YES!!!! Help your students strike an interest in finding ways to making our lives easier as well. Here is a very interesting article that was shared to me from Ginger.  #bestresourceiseachother

        Mark your Calendars
        The 2016 Computer Science Education and Hour Code Week will be December 5-11.
        What can you do during the Hour of Code week?  Set aside some time during your instruction to have your students play and learn about coding.
        Below are some great resources.

        If you need any assistance with these websites listed above, please complete a tech request form, and we will be more than happy to help you out.

        Click HERE to receive Extra Credit (Be the student, see how the quiz feature in Google forms looks like as a student).

        In all seriousness, I wish you a safe and fun-filled Thanksgiving!!  #acsdtech