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 Sometimes it is the old piece of computer equipment being replaced with a new shiny model or outdated software that is upgraded with new bells and whistles.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

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Boo! Happy Halloween!! #ACSDTECH

Halloween Humor

What subject in school is easy for a witch?

Are you hungry for Pizza?  
Do you need a creative way for students to practice counting money?  

The new OSMO App Pizza Co is for you and your students.
The technology department purchased 5 Pizza Co. Kits and will be here soon. The kits will be available soon to check out at both Schuler and Washington Media Centers.

Tech Vocab: What is Augmented Reality?
A technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.

BREAKOUT EDU --  Don't forget about Breakout Edu! It has been very successful for many educators. Educators share your stories with your team members.  

There are many updates to Google Classroom. Check out this website for future updates and enhancements.

My Top Two Updates:

-Teachers can view the history of changes to a student’s grades in submission history.

-Teachers can add topics to the class stream without creating posts.

Halloween Humor Answer: Spell--ing


By: Jessica Fincel

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

HERE - Atlantic Community School District

Fall is Here!

Successful Fall Sports and Fine/Arts are Here! Limitless Learning is Here! Outstanding Support Staff is Here. Terrific TLC is Here! Tremendous Teacher/Librarians are Here. Wonderful Educators are Here. Awesome Administrators are Here. Amazing Students are Here! 

It means great things are happening at Atlantic Community School District.
Please keep this "trend" going! 


Breakout Edu is HERE and has been very successful. If you are interested in setting one up for your class, please contact the TLC or Tech Team.  


Moby Max is HERE for AMSSchuler, and Washington


All K-8 Students are entered into the ALL of the Green Hills Contests listed below!
Fall - Green Hills Contest
Winter - Green Hills Contest
Spring - Green Hills Contest
Start: October 7, 2016
End: October 13, 2016
Start: January 20, 2017
End: January 26, 2017
Start: April 21, 2016
End: April 27, 2016
All contests start at 8am on a Friday and end at 8pm the following Thursday

Last Year’s winner.
The 4Jones class from Harlan Community Elementary School were the winners of the last contest!!
Will an Atlantic class be on the top spot?

Sumdog Contest Document (It is located in your Tech Training Folder.)

By: Jessica Fincel

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

"Summer To Do List"

It is here... SUMMER!!  Well, Almost!!  Unfortunately, for educators, it means only a few days off. Many of you will be attending classes, planning for next year, moving rooms, training new staff, and so much more. Since, I am such a nice person, I thought I would add a few more items to your "Summer To Do List." 

My goal for the 16-17 school year is to have every educator (Grades 2-12) using Google Classroom. This is possible!!  I will do anything to make my "DREAM" come true.  You will see Google Classroom in your "Summer To Do List" below. 

I created "Summer To Do Lists" per buildings to fit your needs.  Some of you have a jump start, use your best resource -- EACH OTHER!!

Washington Educators  -- SUMMER TO DO LIST

Did you know tool boxes and padlocks are required in education?  They are being used to engage students and reinforce the 4 c's....Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity. The best news it is CONTENT driven.... It is called BreakOut Edu.  Breakout Edu is a learning game that focuses on teamwork and problem solving. Click  this website for more information:

Stacie and I had the privilege to be in many classes during the last two weeks of school. We have been telling each other this is the best way to end the school year.  With the support of TLC, Administration, and the Technology Dept, we hope to have more "BREAKOUT EDU BOXES" for next year.  Get a head start and see how you can incorporate this concept into your classroom.  Touch base with your colleagues and get their input.... Macie, Jodi, Lindsey, Gini, Julia, Faith, Missy, Chelsey L., Chelsea R., James, Katie, Amber, and Ed. Best resource -- EACH OTHER!!

Have a great summer!


By: Jessica Fincel

Friday, April 29, 2016

Attending NETA - Add it to your "Professional Bucket List"

As a person that has attended many conferences, when you attend NETA you will come home with SOOOO MUCH information, and feel overwhelmed. No jokes you will. Even with the feeling of being overwhelmed (yes, even as a tech person), a more powerful feeling will take over -- EXCITEMENT. Last week it wasn't only me feeling both overwhelmed and EXCITED, several educators, attended the NETA conference.

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). 

Below is the list of educators that attended the NETA conference and their favorite session(s), please chit chat with them about NETA.  

I can speak for all of us that attended the conference, the newest item in education is Breakout Edu. It is AWESOME! Some of us experienced it first hand, not only at this conference but the 1 to 1 conference.  TLC has submitted a Foundation Request to purchase a few these boxes for the district, and we hope to have them for next year (16-17). Please click HERE to find out more about Breakout Edu. 

Tip: If you click on the name of the presenters, it will direct you to their Twitter account. Great way to build your PLN. 

Ginger Bechtold - Free Tech Tools for Teachers 3.0 & Ten Tech Tools to Transform Your Language Arts Classroom
Resource: Free Tech Tools for Teacher 3.0 - Mickie Mueller
Resource: Ten Tech Tools to Transform Your Language Arts Classroom - Jill JohnsonShanna Meyer, & Megan Seibel

Katie Chamberlain - Google Classroom Tips and Tricks
Resource: Google Classroom Tips and Tricks - Mickie Mueller

Janice Dickerson - SPACE: Hacks, Tips, and Ideas on Learning Space Design
Resource: Transforming Learning Spaces- NETA - Dr. Bob Dillon

Julia Gross, Missy Goergen, and Amber Moore -- Genius Hour AKA Passion Project
Resource: Genius Hour

Heather McKay - Developing, Designing, and Delivering Powerful Presentation
Resource: NA - Ken Shelton
Few Tips

  1. Don't use the following fonts in presentations: Comic Sans, Bradley Hand, Casual, or Brush Script. 
  2. Do use the following fonts in presentations: Baskerville, Bodoni, Franklin Gothic, Futura, Optima, Rockwell, Gill Sans.
  3. Use real images to communicate not clipart. 
  4. No bullet points.

Leah O'Donnell  - Reset the Presets 

Stacie Sorensen - Code like a Boss & Be a Data Super Hero: Using the NEW Awesome Tables
Resource: Code Like a Boss - Jason Rushing
Resource: Be a Data Super Hero: Using the NEW Awesome Tables - Stacey Behmer, Lance Lennon, & Jeff Sypermsa

Additional comments from our attendees about their favorite session(s):

KC-I really like the session on Google Classroom. It was a good reminder of all the things it can do for you. Teachers can use it for bell ringers with the short answer or multiple choice questions. Google Classroom can be linked to your calendar. You can also post resources, so students can't lose anything. Each year you should also archive your classroom and start a new class so the stream doesn't get too long.

JG- Genius Hour is a great thing to do before Christmas and at the End of the Year when the kids lose motivation. They pursue a project that they are passionate about and then create a way to share it! This can be anything from a Youtube Video to an online quiz, to a poster. This is something I will definitely use in my classroom!

AM- My favorite was the passion project. A passion project gives the students some choice in their learning at least some of the time and allowing them to focus on whatever they want to. 

HM- Tough to pick my favorite. Plickers is a great formative assessment tool.

LO- I bounced around a lot to different sessions to sample things. 
The main speaker (Tony Vincent), he had some good ideas of Apps/Websites at one of his sessions that I'll check out either just to put on my website so kids can check out. news, info, quizzes, Wonderopolis- news, info, quizzes, search for any app, have a certain image/icon for apps you download, & Add-on for Google: Super Quiz

SS - I loved I would suggest to LIKE their Facebook page.  Also, I loved Awesome Tables!


By: Jessica Fincel

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Google Tips to Add to your Spring Break Fun

Need some Google Fun before the Spring Break Fun ends?

Tip 1: Now you can set expiration dates in Google Drive
(View and Comments Only)

Tip 2: Alice Keeler's Chrome Extensions for Google Apps for Education are AWESOME!

Tip 3: Google Forms New Templates designed for Educators

More to come soon.  Enjoy!!  


By: Jessica Fincel

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Happy Saint Patrick's Day -- "Lucky Search Tips and Tools"

Many ACSD students are working on research papers, presentations, and projects this spring. Do you need help to provide credible, safe, and easy resources for your students' projects? The resources listed below will do all that and much more!


Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 7.23.37 PM.png
Kiddle is a visual search for kids powered by Editors and Google Custom Search. You will find a Kiddle tile on the Washington, Schuler, and AMS Symbaloo Pages. Thank you for sharing @hemno1.

Google Scholar 

Google Scholar is an online search database (search articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions).

Click HERE for more information and features about what Google Scholar has to offer.

Use search operators and advanced Google Search to find quality resources. These shortcuts will help you limit your search results.  

Click HERE (sharing permission only ACSD employees) to view PDFs/Handouts on Iowa Area Online Tools and NetTrekker. Janice and Ginger will be more than happy to help you out with these tools.

Washington Staff don't forget about the facts4me website. 


By: Jessica Fincel

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Reach Out to Parents Challenge

As you are working P/T Conferences, please take a little time to reflect on how important it is to engage in effective communication with parents.   There are many technology tools that are at your fingertips to help facilitate communication with parents.

We have a challenge for you...and it comes with REWARDS!

We are calling this the “Reach Out to Parents Challenge” (clever right?)

What is the Reach Out to Parents Challenge?

  • The challenge will start on Monday, February 22nd and go until Thursday, March 17th.
  • The goal is to use any and/or all types of technology tools to communicate more effectively with parents.  
  • Educators, please keep track of ALL of your communication on this FORM (short and sweet -- 3 question form). Automated emails from sources such as Shutterfly still count, just make sure you log it.
  • For every form you fill out, your name will be placed in the drawing for a chance to win.  
  • So….the more form submissions you have the better chance you have of winning the prizes!

Possible prizes will include Chamber Bucks, Subway Card, and much more. There has been many donors that have contributed to this cause! It will be worth your time in so many ways!

Below are some great resources for you.  

    1. ****PLEASE**** Watch this tutorial over the 2 best ways to communicate through JMC.
    2. Parent Portal Handouts for each building -- Alert Configuration
    3. How to Send Email from JMC -- Written Instructions
  2. Remind (formerly known as Remind 101)
    1. Watch this video (53 secs) to see a demo of what Remind is
    1. Watch this video (1 min 38 secs ) to see a demo of Class Dojo

Looking for ideas on what parents may want to know, here are some things to consider (The first 2 are REALLY IMPORTANT):

  • Send an individual email to a parent and/or student - do this everyday or even just once a week until the end of year.  Personalize that individual email and fill it with POSITIVES.  Can you imagine the impact that would make in the last 70 days of school?  When was the last time you received a positive email individually and how did it make feel?
  • Reminder of upcoming chapter tests and big assignments (this is a BIG one, parents do WANT to know)
  • What’s going on in your classroom (Do you have a classroom Newsletter?)
  • Informing parents that you use Google Classroom and share this resource with them.
  • Do you have or use a Google Classroom Calendar? (Click HERE to learn how to add your Google Classroom Calendar to your Google Site).
  • Remind parents where you post your assignments
  • Share your website again…(they might need a reminder that you have one).
  • Upcoming field trip expectations
  • Parent Portal information and remind them to sign up for Alert Configuration through JMC
  • Reminders of items students need to bring (ex. show and tell items, hats and gloves if the weather changes yet again, treats/munchies, etc.)
  • Reminders of upcoming or current Reading Challenges
  • Iowa Assessment Schedule and test preparation

By: Jessica Fincel