Brenham Tech Daily [BISDwired]

Via the @BISDwiredTeam: Tom Spall, Brittni Knebel, and Troy Kuhn

Tech Tip Thursday: Timely Timer

Need a timer in a hurry.  If you use the Google Chrome browser (and if you don't - WHY aren't You?), you can type what you are looking for in the omnibar.   Press "Enter" and you have a timer. 
This works with any measurement of time you need. 

Web Tool Wednesday: Part I- Podcasts

Web Tool Wednesday: Part I- Podcasts 
Recently, I have been listening to more podcasts lately in my professional and personal life. There are so many good podcasts out there about what you are going through in life and what you teach at school. Or, just how to get through the tough job of teaching.

I love to read, but finding the time to sit down and read is hard. However, listening to a podcast can be done easily when you are doing something else. It is easy to listen to podcasts on my phone while I am getting ready or driving to work. 

I always thought that I had to download a software or buy something on iTunes, but honestly it is as easy as opening up a web browser on your phone or computer. Then Google search a topic with the word "podcast" behind the topic. 

I personally love listening to the Google for Education podcast with Matt Miller and Kasey Bell because of the Google tricks and tips they discuss. Outside of school, I have another podcast that I love listening to while I get ready for school, and it is a personal growing podcast for me because it gives me advice on how to be a better person.

Here are some examples for your professional growing-

Are there podcasts you are listening to that you want to share with other educators? Let us know!

Stay tuned for next week's Web Tool Wednesday: Part II of Podcasts with the New Beta Vocaroo. I will share how to record a podcast for class, for personal and professional growith, and for an activity for your students.

Tech Tip Tuesday: #eCubSafe - Suspicious Profiles

#eCubSafe - Be Internet Alert 
Suspicious Profiles

A good practice to teach your students is to check the profile picture of whatever social media account they are unsure of.  A blurry picture, bitmoji, or cartoon character might just be what the user wants to use and could be harmless.

It could also mean that the person is trying to hide their real identity.  Sometimes scammers even steal photos of real people to set up a fake account. 
A quick Google search and you'll find there are many sites that are built just to create fake profile pictures.  
So how can you tell if that account is the real person?
One way is to see if you can find any more photos associated with that name by doing a Google search for that image to see if it belongs to someone else. 

Monday Motivation: Veteran's Day

Monday Motivation: Veteran's Day

After reading an article called, "Life as a Veteran: What Veterans Wish Civilians Understood" by Iris Gonzalez, it is easy to understand that a lot of people may not know what it is like to serve. Actually Gonzalez states that "almost 93%" of America's population has not served and may not understand the military experience. It may be hard for us or students to truly understand what it is like, but educating ourselves and our students is the best place to start.

A good discussion question to ask your students is what do you think motivates a solider to leave behind his family and safety to protect others and our freedom? Then maybe going into what is it like to serve?
Lastly, another question to ponder is what do you think it is like when a solider returns home? 

Also, I included a VR 360 link to share with your students. This is told through a veteran's point of view.

This VR 360 link shows the shores of Dunkirk fighting to survive.

**You do not need VR glasses to show. Make the video full screen and feel free to scroll around on the screen to see all angles.

Friday Follow Up: Great #Edtech Posts From This Past Week! (11/04/19 - 11/08/19)



Week in Review: 11/04/19 - 11/08/19
Direct Link to our Blog:  bit.ly/bisdwired

Call it what you want: morning meetings, huddles, or coffee breaks, no matter the name, these morning meetings are beneficial for both the teacher and....

Unfortunately, many of you have experienced the other kind - PHISHING -  you know the cyber attack kind disguised an email. Whether it be a scam asking you to a request to your bank account so the Prince of some country can send you a check....

I'll preface this blog post by saying, "Yes, I know Google Docs has a talk to text feature (Voice Typing) embedded within its toolbar under 'tools'."  As a Google For EDU district, we love using this....

Several teachers use VR (Virtual Reality) throughout our district. Some teachers use it when they introduce a novel, some teachers use it when they are introducing or wrapping up a unit of study, and some teachers use it to....

Every couple of years I discover a NEW favorite tool.  Flippity has, by far, been my favorite digital tool over the last couple years.  If a teacher has a need or an idea for his/her classroom, usually this....

Click Here to visit our BISDwired Website
Follow Us On Twitter: #bisdwired

Tom Spall
Troy Kuhn
Brittni Branton





Tech Thursday: VR in Action!

Tech Thursday: VR in Action!
Several teachers use VR (Virtual Reality) throughout our district. Some teachers use it when they introduce a novel, some teachers use it when they are introducing or wrapping up a unit of study, and some teachers use it to spark engagement in a topic they are currently studying. It has been used in science, theater, English, history, and foreign language. 
Google Expeditions has been the best app so far for Virtual Reality. It is user-friendly and informative. The best part is they are constantly adding new topics to the library. 

Have any questions about VR? Ask your ITS at your campus, and they can put you in touch with another teacher that has VR or can show you some other creative ways to try it in your classroom with your Chromebook or one or two devices. 

Web Tool Wednesday: Speechtexter (Talk to Text for Students!)


Speechtexter (Talk to Text for Students!)

I'll preface this blog post by saying, "Yes, I know Google Docs has a talk to text feature (Voice Typing) embedded within it's tool bar under 'tools'."  As a Google For EDU district, we love using this feature with our students that have difficulty with typing, talking, or formulating complete sentences.  We also use this feature to save time, create papers, and get our ideas out quickly.  


However, where this feature becomes an issue, is in our lower grades (PreK - 1st) where we are using kiosk mode on our Chromebooks and not having the students sign into their accounts.  Teachers have been asking for, and looking into various other ways to have the ability in allowing their students to use some type of talk-to-text feature.  Well, wait no longer, check out Speechtexter.  

This simple-to-use website is a great text to speech program that allows students the ability to create a document without having to physically type anything (although, you can if you want).  Since it's a simple website, I can easily add it to our joint Symbaloo pages for our youngest BISD students to use.  Save as a doc and/or text file, or print straight from this program.  7 fonts and 6 text sizes are included in this tool.  Speechtexter also has a full editing toolbar, and a word count at the bottom of the text box.  















https://www.speechtexter.com/

Tech Tip Tuesday: #eCubSafe - Don't Fall for Phishing

#eCubSafe - Be Internet Alert 
Don't Fall for Fake 

Remember when this was the only kind of fishing we knew?
Unfortunately, many of you have experienced the other kind - PHISHING -  you know the cyber attack kind disguised an email.  Whether it be a scam asking you to a request to your bank account so the Prince of some country can send you a check or an email that looks to be from someone you know, you've no doubt received hundreds of these, perhaps without knowing (especially if your SPAM filter is working overtime). 

The reason it's "phishing" is the message tries to masquerade as coming from a real contact in your email or from a legitimate company.  The two main goals of phishing are to get you to either :
  • hand over sensitive information 
  • download malware 

While it is often easier to spot the first type, the second often comes in with a more subtle way with the subject line and sender looking legit and only needs you to open it to wreak havoc.  So how do you know to be cautious?  Check the actual email address, not the contact name associated with it. 
Here are a few examples.  
Walmart Promos

VjcizNCTGDxB@ny1mta-46.sailthru.com
Subject:
Get $500 to Walmart this Halloween! 

FIT Card Offer

8p7nBMFy7QVv@ny1mta-46.sailthru.com
Subject:
$400 Limit. Really. Act Today! 

Certified-Letters-from-Santa

DmpOHnOYGDuK@ny1mta-46.sailthru.com
Subject:
Amaze your child with a letter from Santa 

Notice the email each is being sent from.  Actually all are from the same phishing spammer.   When you get these types of emails, send them to spam instead of just deleting them, thus preventing more from being sent to your inbox.  

Monday Motivation: Morning Meetings, Huddles, Coffee Breaks and More!


Monday Motivation: Morning Meetings, Huddles, Coffee Breaks and More!

Call it what you want: morning meetings, huddles, or coffee breaks, no matter the name, these morning meetings are beneficial for both the teacher and the students.  These meetings are especially imperative after extended breaks/holidays.  Last year, while observing classrooms, I was able to join this morning meeting in Mrs. Kubos' 4th-grade classroom.  Mrs. Kubos usually held these morning meetings on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings as a beginning of the week, middle checkpoint, and end of the week wrap up.

"It's a great way to talk with them and build relationships" 
-Mrs. Kubos (4th Grade ELAR, Brenham ISD)

There are many versions of morning meetings.  Some are had throughout morning centers with small groups, some are held as a campus in a central location, and some are in the classroom like Mrs. Kubos' class.

Coffee Break in Mr. Spall's room

Back when I was teaching 4th grade at Alton Elementary School, we used to do informal morning meetings prior to the beginning of the school day.  Students would come into my classroom usually around 7:15, grab their Chromebook and work on genius hour passion projects or check their Gmail for messages sent by myself, peers, or our amazing administration.  Students could collaborate in groups, work independently, come converse with me while I prepped for the day, or work anywhere around the classroom while sitting in my alternative seating (couches, bean bags, etc.)  Eventually, I started having students bring in their own breakfast and coffee.  This extra 45 minutes every morning gave my students the ability to:

  • Become acquainted with their Chromebooks and G-Suite while working on their "Interest Projects"
  • Gave them an opportunity to comfortably converse and collaborate with peers
  • Took away the stress of "home life/baggage from outside the room" prior to the 8:00 am bell.
  • Allowed my students to work with less used G-Suite Elementary Ed tools, such as Gmail, Calendar, Chrome, Extensions, Apps, and more.
  • Practiced their typing skills
  • Got them intrigued and excited about learning for the day
  • Gave me the ability to see struggling students and/or shy students excel in other avenues of education.
  • Allowed me the opportunity to talk to the students, find out how they were doing, and get them situated for the day. 
  • Coffee Break preso from the Texas Google Summit 2015


Morning Huddle (Whole Campus)

I first experienced a "whole campus" morning huddle while working up in Oklahoma City Public Schools.  Most of the schools had gone through a program called, "Great Expectations".  One of their core beliefs was to have schools hold morning huddles (Rise and Shine) as an entire campus at the beginning of each school day.  This idea transferred down to Alton Elementary School here in Brenham ISD.  Mr. Ogg, the Principal of Alton, has been implementing morning huddles for a couple of years now.  The students LOVE it.  They go over announcements, say the pledges, congratulate various student accomplishments, celebrate birthdays, and much more! 











Friday Follow Up: Great #Edtech Posts From This Past Week! (10/28/19 - 11/01/19)


Week in Review: 10/28/19 - 11/01/19
Direct Link to our Blog:  bit.ly/bisdwired


We ONLY have--
3 more Mondays to impact our students until Thanksgiving
6 more Mondays to impact our students until Christmas
21 more Mondays to impact our
....



Fall is a very busy time for students to be out and about, especially with Halloween this week.  So teach them to BE SMART about their safety. While they often have....


Need a fun filler, but want to include reading and writing skills? Look no more.....



Ready to take your students on an adventure without leaving the classroom? Then try a FlipHunt! Using Flipgrid, you can have your students complete a scavenger....


Whether it's creating a graphic organizer, a poster for a school function, a vocabulary card with a QR code, an invitation, a student created digital poster, a newsletter, or....

Click Here to visit our BISDwired Website
Follow Us On Twitter: #bisdwired

Tom Spall
Troy Kuhn
Brittni Branton