New Unit

The Tech-Infused Classroom Graduate Course I just completed had me take a unit of instruction and modify it by integrating new technology ideas. This was really hard for me since I don’t have a curriculum to teach.  Because I work with teachers and parents, I decided to work on a “unit’ for parents. Below is what I worked on and what I will be finishing for this parent unit.

Students of all ages are on some kind of app or game and talking or sharing things with others. Parents are doing the same thing but on different apps. I know at my house, my daughter often gets on my wife’s Facebook to see pictures of kids, dogs or just to check it out. As parents, I believe it starts with what we post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram that our children learn from and apply to their social networking sites/apps.

I was able to add two videos about Snapchat and Instagram that I had found when I was searching Common Sense Media’s Social Media page.  Each clip is just over a minute long but the use of videos helps break up me talking for the entire hour. I believe parents need to hear the same message over and over again from different resources. By incorporating these videos, parents will generate two different messages from one presentation.

This unit has grown from one session to a possibility of three additional sessions. This all came about when I took a closer look at Common Sense Media and all it had to offer to parents. I didn’t want to crame all the information into one session. Therefore, I am planning a second session on Tween/Teenage Talk. This session is going to be more interactive in that parents are going to play a Quizziz, Kahoot or Quizlet Live to assess their knowledge and learn the different language acronyms.

The third session is going to focus on Common Sense Media and all it has to offer parents and families. I use it all the time when my kids want to download new apps, songs, video games or if they ever want to watch a movie. This site helped my wife and I decide when it was a good time to purchase a phone for my son. I envision this session parents would have devices and I would put together a webquest or Fliphunt for them to work through as a family. A fliphunt is a scavenger hunt using Flipgrid to record all of your answers.

Three sessions are now planned instead of the one and done. This class opened my eyes to all that Common Sense Media has to offer parents. Because I focused this unit on parents, I have a future goal of looking at it and how it can help teachers and students.

I am excited to be helping the parents since my role in helping their children in the schools. I am learning from my son and daughter as they go through the Tween Years. We have had rough times and great one minute lessons along the way. I expect that parents can share stories as well on what happens in their homes. This is another reason I love my job because I am helping many families in multiple schools.


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Skype in the Classroom

Breaking down the walls of schools has been an idea that I often did when I was still in the classroom. Some of the ideas included, Quadblogging, Collaborative book blogging, Mystery Skype Session, Skype an Author, Book Talks via Google Hangouts and math checks via Skype.  These are some of the many things that I tried to do to help motivate my students and teach them more about being a digital citizen.


I have to admit when I was doing these projects, there wasn’t this great Skype in the Classroom Website with all kinds of great ideas. Some of the ideas I mentioned above are on the list of 50 Activites to do with Skype.  I would like to work with several teachers on meeting classrooms outside the walls of their own building. Two tools that come to mind right away are Skype and Flipgrid. Thinking of the teachers at the elementary level, a project like this would be intimidating to them and would need a great deal of help to set it up, run it and evaluate how it went afterward. This is why I love my job because I can bring something like this into their rooms and feel confident in doing so. Here is a great blog post on different ideas for Skype.

ISTE Student Standards 

Planning is where I would need to start to get teachers hooked into a lesson like this one. I would break out the ISTE Standards and stress that my goal would be to look at students being Digital Citizens, Creative Communicator, and Global Collaborator. Anytime students are on Skype, one of the first lessons happens before the actual meeting. Students need to know that they are being seen, hear and will have their action remembered. They also need to make sure that they have questions that need to be answered that will provide more information.  I will make sure that the students understand that the microphone we are using picks up the entire room.  If they are creating a project to share, students must be sure that it has clear objects and they used a variety of digital objects.  Finally, by breaking down the walls, students will become Global Collaborators. My goal would be to connect different classrooms to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.



My goal for the teachers is to introduce the idea of using Skype to communicate with another classroom. Because we have four elementary buildings, my hope is to pick two classrooms in different buildings. This will allow both classrooms to experience each other, talk to each other and share ideas on what is going on in their classroom. I would available in one room for the first session and would try and see if another coach would be able to be in the other room. I am seeing teachers have “buddy” classes in their own building but not outside the walls. Starting small might spark an interest in going outside the district. The other hope is that teachers like to talk and might want to set something up after hearing the idea.

My key to learning would be for students to think about the ideas they are saying. We would write it down so that could rehearse and make it sound like they are really smart. The teachers would be able to provide formative feedback on how the students acted, could they be heard using a loud voice and how did they act during the time of collaboration.

In the middle school, I’m thinking about social studies teachers to try Mystery Skyping, language arts teachers to try their poetry slam via Skype or math teachers to try stumping another classroom with a proof they created in geometry. Another idea for the middle school or high school would be to look at the issues in the world is experiencing and try and communicate with other classrooms to generate ideas. Here is a great example of a top-notch idea a teacher came up within 2017-2018 school year.


Heick, T. (2018, August 03). 50 Ideas For Using Skype In Your Classroom. Retrieved October 18, 2018, from

Morris, K. (2018, May 24). CONNECT WITH THE WORLD THROUGH SKYPE IN THE CLASSROOM. Retrieved October 18, 2018, from

Team, S. (2017, December 18). Engaging 21st-century learners with Skype in the Classroom. Retrieved October 18, 2018, from






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Knowledge Construction Skills

Students in classrooms today are often referred to as being Youtube Generation. Simply put, they are found watching Youtube more than any channel on major cable carries such as DirectTV or Comcast. I would start a lesson with a short video clip like this link. Keeping it short is key because there should come a discussion right after this showing.

Students need to understand and continue to understand that wherever they find information, they must be able to provide credit to where they gained information. When I was still a classroom teacher, I would be sure this was one of my first lessons of the years. Trying to keep the interest high, I would use a Nearpod from Common Sense Media. This lesson has a good amount of video, online discussion, and readings.

Now that I had provided a basic understanding of Copyright, I had to continue to enforce during the remainder of the year. The reason for this to be an early lesson, I could refer back to it throughout the year. If students forgot, I would allow them to go through the Nearpod again with the link above.

As we start to approach our first information writing, I would have a lesson planned out on how to use Easybib. By using this site, students will get a great understanding on how to cite their sources. I would have them bookmark this site and remind them often of using it to help throughout their paper.

My district, like most districts, are using Google Drive and Docs when students are old enough to process quickly on their writing. A newer feature that Google has introduced is the Explore option found within a Google Doc. As students begin typing their paper, they want to search for their topic. In the bottom right-hand corner, students will find an icon such as the one to the bellow.

 This will search the web and provide the proper citation for the student’s paper. I love this feature because it allows the students to continue to work without leaving their document.

When students are coming to the end of their paper and feel they are finished, I would encourage them to refer back to EasyBib to check for citation, plagiarism and advanced grammar help.

I have to keep in mind that this is what I would have done if I were still teaching 5th grade. These lessons are important and need to build each year so that students continue to hear similar messages about copyright, fair use and citations.



DeVirgilio, Christa. “Copyright and Fair Use.” YouTube, YouTube, 12 July 2017,

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Mass Customized Learning

“Learners have a voice and choice for self-directed, customized learning supporting by a caring and progressive network of educators.” South Western School’s vision has been around for the past several years. Parents, educators, and students came together to put this vision statement together and many years later, we are still trying to reach it at all levels.  Mike Muir suggests that schools do what my district did with their vision in that they work together to come up with a common vision (2012). By having all stakeholders involved, it should be easier to move the vision in the right direction.

Innovator Mindset Author, George Couros recently posted on his blog that students think more when they ask questions to find better answers. Couros explains that educators and students will grow when questions are asked that move them both in the right direction. And he also shares that the question asked for one group of students might not work for another group of students. Teachers need to know their students and what works for them.  Muir shares that teachers are really good at asking students questions that are a simple recall or remember. Educators must plan out their questions to students to move them into higher level questions.

itslearning is the district’s LMS of choice and some of the most recent updates have teachers really excited about customized learning. The biggest update is setting learning paths for students to complete independently.  Here,  you will find a video explaining how to set up a learning path in itslearning.

Teachers’ curriculum and content can be easily organized in itlsearning. There is a folder option that will allow teachers to place all material for a particular unit in a folder. The other great part about itslearning is that the standards can be used to asses what skills students met and which they still need work on. “We will give up some favorite units and lessons, but we are simply identifying that which everyone will learn. Many will learn much more.) Measurement topics need to be scaffolded and a progression identified. And all this must be organized, documented, and published in a practical way so that both educators and students can access, understand, and make use of the curriculum.” (Muir, 2012).

Muir goes on to talk about the need for learning in different ways. itslearning can have students assign different assignments to different students. This is where a few learning style surveys could be given and used to benefit the students to get the most out of their education.

Overall, I feel that South Western School District is moving in the right direction with Mass Customized Learning and the LMS, itslearning. With more training, more time to work on units and educate the population that our children live in,  mass customized learning will continue to improve.

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Week #4

Week #4

By now, the teachers and students are in the full swing of schedules, routines, making new friends and finding their way around a new school. My job doesn’t really have a routine or schedule and I kind of like it that way.  The teachers are the one that dictates my schedule based upon when they have their prep period or when we are doing a lesson in their classroom. Meetings are the other thing that seems to fill my calendar up on a weekly basis.

Two meetings were on the weekly calendar. The first one was a team meeting which consists of myself, the other two tech coaches and our supervisor, the Director of Data & Instructional Technology. This meeting can go a bunch of different ways and usually deviates from the agenda and then one of us is quick to remind us that we have agenda items to get to. The second meeting this week involved the same individuals from the first meeting, the Director of Technology and the Network Systems Specialist. We usually are talking about things we see around the district that we don’t understand or need clarification. This is also the time we will troubleshoot a problem teachers are having in the district. These meetings are scheduled to be during the same week so that if something comes up in the first meeting, we can look for answers in the second meeting. This is what we have instead of monthly faculty meetings.

The rest of this week I conducted a few lessons in classrooms based on teacher feedback they were receiving from students. The big one was that a few students didn’t have access to the internet at home and couldn’t really use their Chromebook. I created this Google Drive presentation which I then uploaded to Nearpod so students would have the links I wanted them to have for certain apps and extensions.  I focused this lesson on the Pocket App and Extension, working with Google Drive and Docs offline and then automatically uploading when you are back online and the ability to log in on your Chromebook once you had established yourself on that device.

1st Grade STEM 

Teachers often come up with great ideas but don’t know what do to with technology. They will come to me and explain and then we will brainstorm what they want to get out of the kids for the particular project. Never would I think cut up pool noodles, pipe cleaners and toothpicks would have students be creative.  A first-grade teacher left this lesson open so the kids would create whatever came to their mind. The students then wrote about this object in their best kid writing. Finally, I came in took a picture of the student and they finally reread their story into iMovie.  The link here is to all the projects in a Google Drive Folder.

Middle School Tech Day

Wednesday of this week, the two tech coaches and I worked with the middle school staff on some of the new features of itslearning. This is our Learning Management System and teachers are required to fill out their Yearly Goal using the Make a Copy feature. This mimics what Google Classroom has been doing with Google Classroom. The other new feature we showcased was the Student Learning Paths. Teachers can have students watch a video, take a quiz and then based on the results of that quiz, some students go one way while other students go another way. Powerful.


Overall, this week was another great week. The pool noodle project was created after the teacher and I sat down and planned prior to conducting the project with students. She created her own creation and we went through each step we would do with the students. This helped both of us be sure we planned enough time for the project completion.

The middle school tech day was planned out by the three tech coaches prior to working with the teachers. The more I plan lessons with teachers, the more I find how valuable it is becoming. I will continue to plan with teachers before doing a lesson in their classrooms.

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Week #3

Multicolored index cards for passwords

Planning week – Teachers and students were getting back into the fulltime grove during this four day week. My week was busy sitting with teachers and planning for future lessons or brainstorming ideas we could do in the future with their classrooms.

The one lesson I did this week was in a first grade classroom helping them log onto Reading Eggs for the first time. These kids didn’t take long to understand their username and password. It really helps when the teachers are organized with username and passwords on color-coded index cards.

The rest of my week was a sitting down with teachers at the three different levels and planning for future lessons. One of our Latin teachers was curious after reading one of my tweets from the spring. I had done a Google Expeditions with 8th graders and he wanted to know more about Expeditions. I took my iPad and a viewer and showed him both the student view and teacher view. five minutes later he was grabbing another foreign language teacher to show the power of Virtual Reality. I have a session tentatively planned for next Friday.

Another planning meeting was with one of our middle school tech ed teachers. She wants to do a split unit on graphic designing t-shirts and photography.  itLearning is our Learning Managment System and they recently came out with Learning Paths. This will allow students to work on an assignment, note, video or task. The next step can’t be visited until the student completes the first step. We are going to set-up so half of her class is going to complete the unit on photography while the other half of the class is going to work on screenprinting a t-shirt.

Teachers are so creative and how so many great ideas. They often come to me and explain what they want to do but don’t know how to get there. A first grade teacher grabbed all the pool noodles she could when they were on sale at the end of the summer. Her husband and her cut up the noodles in all different sizes. The kids were going to create whatever they wanted out of the pool noodles, toothpicks, and pipe cleaners. We were going to use the DoInk and Movie Maker app to put together a movie with the student reading what their creation looked like and could do.

Finally, the last planning meeting I had was with a new teacher who wanted to know more about some of the programs we use in the district. I reassured her that this was a great question because we talked about this way back on the third day of new teacher orientation. I showed her how to look at Reading Eggs reports, how the kids could log using their Clever badge, ConnectEd and Pebble Go.


A week of sitting down and talking to teachers was very rewarding at a technology coach. I felt like I was making a difference with the guiding the teachers who would then be doing lessons with many students. This is one of the many reasons why I love my job. When I was teaching, I was helping a small group of kids. Here are a few examples of how I am helping large scale of students because their teacher and I sat down and planned together.




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Week #2

This coming week is a shortened one for the first time I have been in the district. We have this Friday off as part of the Labor Day holiday to make it a four day weekend. This makes it for a short week and a busy week. This post I’m going to update it by the topics I worked on this week. I want to try and keep it fresh and helpful for those that are reading it.

Touchcast for TV Studios 

All four of elementary schools will be using the Touchcast iPad app to record and share their morning announcements with staff. The great part about sharing a link instead of going live with announcements is that the teachers can view the day’s show when it fits into their schedule. Touchcast, which recently updated their app and server through one of the buildings into a “What are we going to do now?” Each account now has 100 views limit for any video on that particular account. Image sharing daily announcements and only have 100 views for the entire building? The alternative was to upload each episode to Youtube. Problem solved and this will be the direction I point the other three buildings later in the week. The other great part about using Youtube is that the teachers can now subscribe to the channel or bookmark the site. Each episode is uploaded by date so the teacher won’t have to send a daily email out with the newest episode.

Reading Eggs with 1st Graders

I was fortunate enough to team teach a lesson with twenty first graders on how to login to their Reading Eggs account. The teacher and I planned the week before on the procedures we wanted them to do with this process. The process became a bit easier for students with the help of Clever’s teacher custom page. Teachers can upload frequently used sites to Clever which will provide them with an icon and name for these sites teachers upload to the resource. Within forty minutes, students were all logged in, headphones on and working on the placement test. The teacher made it really simple because she had their Clevel QR Code on one colored note card, their login for Reading Eggs on a separate colored card. It was so easy to tell the kids to use the green card and then the blue card for the order of steps.



Breakout boxes are very similar to what the public knows as Escape Room. A third grade teacher wanted to introduce her students to this concept and the concept was to build relationships as they completed the tasks. I searched the platform and beta site for such a game and wasn’t coming up with anything that fit the criteria I was looking for in a breakout. I turned to the community within the Facebook community. Within three minutes, I had a few suggestions to look at from a Breakout employee and several elementary teachers.

“Happy Camper” fit the intentions and it was a huge success with the students and teacher. The students didn’t breakout but they were using teamwork, problem-solving and critical thinking skills.


Chromebook Lessons 

My second set of Google Chromebook lessons took place with four classrooms. This week’s lesson introduced students to change their profile image wallpaper and learned about some of the hotkeys (Those keys at the top of a Chromebook Keyboard. I get the students hooked into the lesson by letting them know we are going to take a Selfie (for their profile page). They got even more excited when I told them they could customize their wallpaper to an image that can found within. In order to change this, they had to learn that a two finger click either on their screen or touchpad is equal to a right click. Finally, we went over some of the hotkeys to make the Chromebook more manageable. My favorite hotkey is the lock screen which allows users to lock their computer when they aren’t using their Chromebook.


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Week #1

School started officially on August 20th and my calendar was busy from the first bell. I would rather be busy working with teachers and students because it makes my day go by faster and I feel like I’m making a difference.

Traditionally, the first week is often spent introducing students to their device, Chromebooks. This was the case on Day 1 as I spent time in a 2nd-grade classroom. The images show we really focused on getting the Chromebooks out, logging in, logging out and returning the device to the cart. That took about forty-five minutes total but well worth the extra time. I told the teacher to do the same process in the next three days so the students continue to practice the routines.

Hands on your head is part of the routine to get students to focus.

Two Hands on the Chromebook while walking

Routine is key when getting the Chromebooks out of the cart

Later on the first day, I headed to the High School to do a similar lesson but with incoming freshman. The difference here was that the lesson was about being able to log in, keeping the Chromebook clean and fully charged before coming to school.

I finished the day planning with a first-grade teacher on the process we would use to introduce the students to Reading Eggs. This teacher, knowing what she knows about the older grades, changed their usernames to match the same username they would need to use when they log into their Chromebook in 2nd grade.

One of my goals is to plan more with teachers before coming into their classroom. The other idea is to suggest next steps for the teacher and finally follow-up a week or so later with how things are going.









Wednesday it was the first of two or three lessons with 2nd graders at Bareville. Routines. Routines. Routines. I stressed the importance of unplugging the Chromebook and carrying it back to your seat.  The students did a great job with this process. Again, I reminded the teacher to duplicate the same process the remainder of the week.

Thursday was a day of connections at West Manheim. The principal wanted to have his announcement be online like the other three buildings. I took the time to show the paraprofessional how Touchcast works. Touchcast is an iPad only app that will make morning announcements really easy to produce. The best feature for the students in the teleprompter which has students reading the text but looking into the camera at the same time.

The other task I completed was to help the principal set up Buffer so that he could cross-post images between Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The great part about Buffer is that the actual image appears on all three sites instead of linking back and forth to view images. I can see the other building principals wanting to set up the same thing for their buildings.

Friday, yes, Friday came and was another great day of assistance. I started the day at the middle school listening to the assistant superintendent explain the revised Differentiated Supervision plan. Afterward, I headed out to Manheim to troubleshoot the principal’s Buffer app. To end the day, met with a long-term sub to review how she could get the most out of Nearpod.

Overall, it was a great first week. I feel the planning I did with the teachers was well worth it. I sent a few check-in emails with the teachers I met with this week. I wanted to see how things were progressing, questions that might come up and to schedule future plans. This will continue to be one of my goals, communicate and follow-up with teachers. I want them to know we are here to help them.

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Back to School

August 15th and August 16th kicked off 2018-2019 School year with the annual teacher in-service days. I was able to attend the middle school faculty meeting on Wednesday morning. The three administrators ran the meeting to introduce new teachers, update the plan for building renovations and send the faculty out for their rotations. I participated in three of the four rotations as I didn’t attend the team building.

One rotation was reviewing the student handbook. Instead of the assistant principals going through important details, they demonstrated using the site  Gimkit.  Key concepts of the handbook were reviewed in this game which reminded the teachers of Kahoot but a little better. You earn money for each question you get correct and lose money when you choose an incorrect answer. Accumulate enough money and you can go shopping to help grow your money. This was a great way to review the handbook by demonstrating a new website.

A second rotation was the principal, Jeff Smale, reviewing the recent changes to the report card and Sapphire. I wanted to be a part of this rotation so I could see the changes in Sapphire. This way, when it comes time to report cards, I will be able to know what the teachers are asking.

The third rotation the teachers came together and learned about all the changes within Sapphire. Doug Greenholt, reviewed and demonstrated the changes so the teachers were aware of them prior to the first day of school.

In the afternoon, I ventured over to Park Hills to learn about curriculum changes that the teachers would be experiencing in the coming months. I then went into different grade levels and answered any computer or program questions the teachers might have for the upcoming school year.

The second day, the district opens with ALL staff being welcomed back by the superintendent, the student council president and usually the school board president. I really enjoy this portion of the day because you see many faces you typically don’t see on a regular basis.

The afternoon we had a meeting with our new rep from itslearning. She showed us all kinds of new features that she thought would benefit us as technology coaches. The remainder of the day, I was helping many teachers set up Remind before they had Back-To-School Night. This seems to be a focus of many teachers for the upcoming school year. Many seem to have used it as a parent but not as a teacher. I think this will be a tool we send out a tiny tip or remind(er) on how to use the app.



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