Tips and Tricks for Managing Your "tabs"

posted Jan 31, 2016, 3:45 PM by Christine Lion-Bailey   [ updated Jan 31, 2016, 3:46 PM ]

Do you often find yourself with ten or twenty tabs open on your Chrome browser and struggling to find exactly the correct one for the task at hand?  Have you experienced that sinking feeling when you accidentally close a tab of which you were still in need?  If you answered yes to either, or both, of these questions, then you are in luck.  These tips and tricks for managing your "tabs" are sure to satisfy your appetite for a solution to these woes.  Presenting this week's Byte of Information... tips and tricks for managing your "tabs".

Sometimes we just need to have lots of tabs open as we flip from one source of information to another.  One way to make sure that a particular tab, of utmost importance, remains in place (such as your Genesis grade book or your Discovery Techbook) is to "pin the tab".  By pinning a tab, it prevents you from closing the tab by eliminating the "x" (please be aware that if you close Chrome completely, you will close the tab despite it being pinned).  In order to pin a tab, right click, or two finger click on a Chromebook, on the tab and a menu will appear.  From the menu, select "pin tab".  The tab will now be locked in place.  In order to unpin the tab, once you are finished with it, simply right click again and select "unpin tab".  

In addition to pinning tabs, you can also reopen a tab that was recently closed.  This is a great trick for when you accidentally close the wrong tab.  In order to reopen a recently closed tab, click on the menu (the three stacked lines in the top right of the window) and select "History".  A list will appear of recently closed tabs and you can choose which one(s) you would like to reopen.  It will reopen the tab in a new tab on the browser.

Hopefully these two simple tricks will help you with your day to day use of Chrome.  As always, Happy Tech-ing!

Video Scribe... a unique video creation tool

posted Jan 21, 2016, 2:19 PM by Christine Lion-Bailey   [ updated Jan 21, 2016, 2:21 PM ]

As many of you know, I have been honored with an invitation to the Google Certified Innovator Academy in Mountain View, California in February.  It is a very exciting opportunity for which I am incredibly grateful.  In the process of applying for the Google Academy, one of the tasks that I was charged with was to create a one minute video of my vision for education.  After playing with several different video creation tools, I was left incredibly unsatisfied with my end product.  Each time the video featured a combination of footage of myself and words flashing across the screen.  The video just wasn't attention grabbing and didn't demonstrate my vision.  That was when I found Video Scribe.  This unbelievably user friendly creative tool enabled me to create a video that explained my vision while captivating my audience (to view my video, created with Video Scribe, CLICK HERE).  My appetite for a unique video creation tool was satisfied and my next Byte of Information was born! 

Video Scribe is not a free service; however, it does allow for a free trial.  Once videos are created, you have the opportunity, through the free trial, to upload them to your YouTube Channel (which is connected to your Google account) where you can list them as private or public.  With the paid subscription, students and teachers have the ability to upload videos to their Google Drive and share them out accordingly.  Please consider using the free trial of Video Scribe in your classes and, if you find that you and the students are enjoying the tool and the impact that it can have on the learning environment, let me know.  I would be happy to look into a subscription if we have enough interest.  If you would like to start using Video Scribe for your own video creation, CLICK HERE to sign up for a free trial.  Happy Tech-ing!

Explain Everything...engaging students in creative productivity

posted Jan 12, 2016, 5:48 AM by Christine Lion-Bailey   [ updated Jan 12, 2016, 7:07 AM ]

Have you tried flipping your classroom?  Have you empowered your students to become the teacher?  Do you wish that you could incorporate more creativity into student learning/productivity?  Do you have a hunger to do these things in your classroom but just don't know where to start?  May I present to you this week's Byte of Information... "Explain Everything"- an interactive screen casting whiteboard app that is sure to satisfy your appetite for creativity in the classroom.  

Explain Everything is a free app that allows students the opportunity to develop their own animated screen-cast lessons and projects right on their Chromebook and/or iPad.  Explain Everything provides students with a white board (the background color can be modified) to which they can add text, images, video clips, drawings, and more. Students can then record a voice over and add animations to the presentation.  The end result is a video that students can upload to YouTube, their Google Drive, or AirPlay and share with their classmates, parents, and beyond.  This is an interactive and creative way to have students create chapter/lesson reviews, student developed lessons, projects, and more.

Visit explaineverything.com to see all of the ways that this engaging interactive app can ignite excitement in your classroom.  If you feel that this would be a great way for you to engage your students, let me know and we will push the Explain Everything app to grade level students via the Google/iPad Dashboard. As always, Happy Tech-ing!

SOS...Strategies for Saving Instruction through Discovery Education

posted Oct 7, 2015, 7:29 AM by Christine Lion-Bailey   [ updated Jan 12, 2016, 5:49 AM ]

SOS...every teacher has had those three letters cross their mind at some point in their classroom career.  From failed lessons and tough parents to sick students and lack of personal days, all teachers have their SOS moments.  But what if those three little letters were reflective of a plethora of helpful tools for teachers aimed at providing differentiation and creativity into the classroom at the click of a button?  SOS...Spotlight on Students...is a tremendous collection of creative, research-based instructional strategies, presented by teachers for teachers. These strategies can be employed from Pre-K through 8th grade (and beyond) in each content, every context, and every classroom.  


Spotlight on Strategies (SOS) is available through Discovery Education.  Every teacher in the district, preK-8, has access to the Discovery Education Streaming Plus resources.  In order to access Spotlight on Strategies, login into Discovery Education and in the search box at the top type “SOS” and click search.  Next, click on the orange “View Strategies by Skill” button.  For each of the eleven skills (Compare & Contrast, Prediction & Inference, Instructional Hook, etc), a library of strategies is available for you within that category.  Choose the strategy that you would like to view and Discovery Education will provide you with a video explaining the strategy, some suggestions/examples, etc.  


SOS...Spotlight on Strategies...will transform your instruction.  Whether you are a new teacher or a seasoned educator, Spotlight on Strategies will bring new and transforming practices to your classroom.  Have you ever shown students a short video clip with no sound and then ask them to infer the topic of the video?  If not, check out the “Silence is Golden” strategy.  What about introducing a novel in a Language Arts class by showing the students a small piece of the cover illustration to spark predictions about the story?  Check out the “Half the Picture” strategy. Have you ever used sound clips to have students draw conclusions and create mental images?  Check out the “Did You Hear That?” strategy. These are just three of over one hundred various strategies that can seamlessly integrate into classroom instruction.  So next time your lesson planning finds itself in need of a life saving strategy- check out the SOS Spotlight on Strategies feature of Discovery Education. Happy Tech-ing!

A "Byte of Information" to Satisfy Your Appetite for Technology...Google Tone and iPad Airdrop!

posted Jun 16, 2015, 8:33 AM by Christine Lion-Bailey   [ updated Jun 23, 2015, 10:07 AM ]

June 16, 2015

Do you sometimes wish that you had a magic wand so that you could wave it over your students’ devices and automatically open whatever web page, video, image, etc that you want them to access at the moment?  Well do I have good news for you...it might not be an actual magic wand, but it is a close second!  May I present you with this week’s Byte of Information to satisfy your hunger for new technology uses in the classroom…Google Tone (and Airdrop for iPad users)!


Chrome:  Google Tone

Google Tone is an extension that uses the microphone and speakers of your device to share a URL (website) with other nearby devices that are also connected with Tone.  Tone can be used to send any type of URL out to the other devices in your classroom, including webpages, images, YouTube videos, search results, etc.  


To get “Tone” on your device, please visit the Chrome Web Store and search for “Tone”.  Google Tone will appear under the list of “Extensions”.  Click the blue “Add to Chrome” button on the right.  When prompted, click “Add”.  Congratulations, you have just added the “Tone” extension to your Chrome and you will now notice a small blue megaphone icon at the top right of your Chrome browser window.


To send a URL through Tone to the other devices in your room, simply follow the steps below:

1.  Make sure that you are logged into Chrome (When you send the “Tone” out, it will notify the recipients that the “Tone” was sent by you.  This is a good control feature so that if students start to send out “Tones”, you are able to identify who is sending them.).

2.  Open the URL that you would like to share with the other devices in the room (webpages, images, YouTube videos, search results, etc.).

3.  Adjust the volume on your device so that it is loud enough for every device in the room to hear the “Tone” that will be sent out.  If your volume is not loud enough, or if there is a tremendous amount of noise in the room, Tone might not work efficiently.

4.  Click the blue megaphone icon at the top right of the Chrome browser window.  

5.  A “Tone” sound will come from your device.  Any  devices which are logged into Chrome, and within earshot of your device, will receive the “Tone” and the URL that you are sharing will open on their screen.


Tone is a great way to share URLs quickly with students during a lesson.  Rather than directing them somewhere to click on a link or asking them to search for a web page, you can now just send out a Tone and open the URL for them.  I have installed Tone on all students accounts, so every student’s Chrome should have Tone available and ready for use.  You can also use Tone to share URLs with other teachers, perhaps a co-teacher, during a planning meeting, or during lunch.  Keep in mind that you must adjust the volume on your device so that the other devices can “hear” the Tone.  I hope that this new Google feature proves helpful in your classroom.


iPad:  Airdrop

If you are using iPads in your classroom, you can accomplish the same outcome by using Airdrop.  Airdrop allows you to communicate with the iPads in your room in a similar fashion (without the tone).  Simply open the URL that you would like to share with your students, or colleagues, and on the top right of the screen, click on the share button (looks like a box with an arrow pointing up).  When the menu appears, select “Airdrop” and then choose the iPad(s) with which you would like to share the URL (iPads will identify themselves as the grade level-# so please make sure you know with which iPads you are sharing).  Once you click on the iPad(s) with which you are sharing, a message will appear on their screen asking them to accept the “Airdrop” with an image of what they will be accepting.  Once they accept it, the page will open on their device.  If you are having trouble viewing the iPads in your room, make sure that your Airdrop, as well as the iPads in the room, are all set to Airdrop- Everyone.  You can check this setting by swiping up on the bottom of the screen and at the bottom of your control center there is an Airdrop menu- select Everyone on that menu. Happy Tech-ing!


A "Byte of Information" to Satisfy Your Appetite for Technology...Formative Assessment Tools!

posted May 8, 2015, 10:10 AM by Christine Lion-Bailey   [ updated Jun 23, 2015, 10:06 AM ]

May 08, 2015

A Byte of Information to satisfy your hunger for new and exciting technology in the classroom….Formative Assessment & Technology!  What exactly is formative assessment?  Formative assessment is assessment for learning, not assessment of learning.  Teachers use formative assessment to formally and informally assess the process by which students are learning and to provide opportunity to enhance, improve, and tailor future instruction.  Formative assessment also allows opportunity for students to gather feedback about their own learning experiences and how they can improve their performance.  There are some really engaging tools available to aid teachers in presenting students with formative assessment on a regular basis.  Below, I will outline some specific tools that can help transform formative assessments in your classroom.  In addition to the traditional assessment tools, consider some of these technology driven formative assessment options to bring excitement into your classroom.


Kahoot!  Kahoot is an interactive, quick paced, engaging review game-style activity that allows teachers (or students) to develop quizzes that review content and/or skills taught in class.  With up to four answer choices per question, teachers are able to create Kahoot!(s) that  quiz student knowledge while engaging them and maintaining their attention.  Once the quiz is prepared, teachers are able to project the quiz, which is visually appealing, features timed question options and is set to music while students login to the “game” with a pin on their individual devices.  As questions flash on the projected screen, students are able to “respond” at their individual device. At the conclusion of each question, the projected screen shows the correct answer and the top five responding students in the class.  At the end of the “game”, Kahoot! tallies the top 5 responders for the overall game and declares a winner.  The teacher, on the teacher screen, is able to see the performance of all of the students and which questions, in particular, students answered incorrectly.


Google Forms  Use Google Forms to create assessments featuring a variety of questioning styles.  Students can access the form, fill in the answers, and submit to you in just a few clicks.  Use Flubaroo, which is a Google Add-On, to auto score the responses collected from the students and you have instant feedback on student learning.  Use Google Forms to create charts, graphs, and other visuals of the data collected to assess the level of student learning in your classroom.  Google Forms can be set to auto-collect student ID so that you don’t even need to have students spend time putting their names on the forms.  Try Google Forms, with or without the Flubaroo Add-On, today!


Socrative  Socrative lets teachers engage and assess their students with educational activities on tablets, laptops, Chromebooks, and smartphones. Through the use of real time questioning, instant result aggregation and visualization, teachers can gauge individual students and whole class’ current level of understanding. Socrative allows teachers to develop small quizzes, race like competitions, exit tickets, and more.  Socrative provides a student pin for students to login to access the assessment tools as the teacher wants to implement them.


Happy Tech-ing!

A "Byte of Information" to Satisfy Your Appetite for Technology... GYNZY

posted Apr 23, 2015, 7:40 AM by Christine Lion-Bailey   [ updated Jun 16, 2015, 8:35 AM ]

April 17, 2015

Gynzy is a comprehensive web-based tool that provides interactive whiteboard activities and lessons for Kindergarten through 8th grade classrooms in the content areas of Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Specials. Gynzy allows you to set up an account, browse a library full of individual activities and lesson plans, save activities/lessons to your own account, modify them as you see fit for your students, and share them with colleagues.  There are hundreds of lesson and activities available through Gynzy that are all aligned to Common Core, are interactive and engaging for students, and are user friendly for teachers and staff.  


One of the most beautiful things about Gynzy is the way that they organize the activities and lessons.  Everything is categorized by content area and grade level.  However, you can always search a particular topic if there is something that you are looking for to help supplement instruction in your classroom.  One of the most common things that I hear from teachers is that they wish they had more engaging ways to use their interactive whiteboards... Gynzy may be one solution to this concern!  I highly encourage everyone to check out all that Gynzy has to offer- I am confident that there is something of interest for everyone at every grade level.


Please consider visiting the Gynzy website by clicking HERE.  By visiting the Gynzy website, you will be able to view all of the excellent features that the tool offers, watch some short tutorial videos highlighting the many uses of Gynzy, and create a free account for use in your classroom. Happy Tech-ing!

A "Byte of Information" to Satisfy Your Appetite for Technology... Embedding Google Calendar

posted Apr 23, 2015, 7:38 AM by Christine Lion-Bailey   [ updated Jun 16, 2015, 8:35 AM ]

March 31, 2015

Are you the type of teacher that frequently “forgets” to update your homework assignments on your classroom website?  Do you get excuses from your students that the work was not posted so they didn't do it or phone calls from parents with a similar message?  Well those days are soon to be gone with this week’s Byte of Information...always satisfying your hunger for new technology uses in the classroom.


When I was teaching, I often forgot to update my classroom website with the daily homework.  Every time I would sit down to login and navigate my way through the site to get to where the homework needed to be posted, something would happen to derail my efforts..until I learned about embedding a Google Calendar into my website.  This little tidbit of knowledge completely changed my communication with my students and their parents by creating a fast and easy way for me to post assignments, reminders, due dates, and test/quiz dates on my website in just a few easy clicks.  


As most people are aware, Google Calendars (along with other Google tools) updates live.  This makes for an easy solution to getting homework and other important date related information up onto a classroom website in a quick and efficient manner.  The process is very simple.  


The first step is to create a Google Calendar, owned by you, that is designated for your class(es).  You can do this by going to Google Calendar and on the left side of the screen click the drop down menu next to “My Calendars” and select “Create New Calendar”.  A new screen will appear that looks like this:


Untitled image.png


Now you will need to fill in the various fields.  In Calendar Name, name it as you would like it to appear when students/parents click on it (for example, I named mine Mrs. Lion-Bailey’s Homework or Social Studies Homework).  You do not need to give the calendar a description or location, unless you would like to.   Check to ensure that the Calendar Time Zone is correct.  Lastly, and most importantly, check the box next to “Share this calendar with others” and check the box next to “Make this calendar Public”.  Scroll to the top of the screen and click “Create Calendar”.  You now have the ability to add events to the calendar that are for a specific date, a range of dates, color coded, etc.  Always make sure when adding an event that you are adding it to the correct calendar.  You can check this by clicking on the event and selecting “edit event”.  This will open a window that gives you detailed information about the event including on which calendar the event is located.


Your calendar is now ready to be either linked or embedded into your classroom website.  This will allow you to update your calendar, posting homework assignments, projects, due dates, test/quizzes, extra help sessions, and more and have it update live on the student/parent side.  You will no longer need to login to your classroom website each time you create or change a due date.  You can add the link and/or embed the embed code for your new calendar through the “Site Manager” portion of your classroom website.    Happy Tech-ing!

A "Byte of Information" to satisfy your appetite for technology... Remind

posted Apr 23, 2015, 7:35 AM by Christine Lion-Bailey   [ updated Jun 23, 2015, 10:07 AM ]

March 17, 2015  In an effort to keep with the theme of Saint Patrick's Day, let's talk about how we can use technology to "go green" in the area of communication...


This week's featured tool is called Remind.  Remind is a free, safe, easy-to-use communication tool that helps teachers connect instantly with students and/or parents.  Remind can be used as an app on your phone/iPad or through the Remind website.  Remind is a great tool that teachers can use to communicate with their students and/or parents through text message without disclosing your personal cell phone number or having access to the cell phone numbers of your students/parents. Remind takes care of all of the correspondence for you and codes your phone numbers to maintain privacy.  


Remind can be used to send out information regarding your class, clubs, sports, etc.  Some examples of ways that you can use Remind are to alert parents/students that there is a test coming up on a particular date, that extra help is being offered (or that extra help is being rescheduled), remind parents that there is a special event taking place in the classroom, make parents/athletes aware that there is a game and it’s location, etc.  Remind will text message the student/parent for you using just your name (as you put it into Remind) to identify from whom the information is being sent.  Remind never discloses your personal information to the message recipients.


Remind is a great way to maintain communication with students/parents.  I know several teachers who use Remind, from elementary level teachers who use it to communicate with parents, up through middle school teachers who use it to communicate with their students.  As a coach, I used Remind to communicate with my athletes and their parents on a regular basis regarding games and practices.


Remind is free and very user friendly.  You can operate Remind through your phone or iPad by installing the Remind App or through any device that is connected to the internet by simply visiting the Remind website.  If you would like to learn more about Remind, explore the options that it presents for communication with students and parents, and/or set up a free Remind account so that you can start using it, visit www.remind.com.   Happy Tech-ing!

A "Byte of Information" to satisfy your appetite for technology...Nearpod

posted Apr 23, 2015, 7:22 AM by Christine Lion-Bailey   [ updated Jun 23, 2015, 10:08 AM ]

March 11, 2015

A "Byte of Information" ....Nearpod.  Nearpod is a web based interactive presentation tool that allows teachers to create and customize their own content. You can build formal and informal assessments into the presentation to gather evidence of student learning and understanding.  The presentation can then run on both the SMART board as well as on individual student devices, all controlled by the teacher, so that students can interact with the lesson from their own device.  Nearpod can run on any type of device (including, but not limited to, iPads, Chromebooks, laptops, etc). Some of the unique features of Nearpod include the ability to poll the "audience" and then bring up the results live for the class to see, the ability to track the responses of a particular student or small group of students, and the ability to control the student devices to ensure that students are following along and on task.


The beauty of Nearpod is that, as a teacher, you have the ability to completely customize the presentation making it as simplistic or advanced as you would like. This feature makes Nearpod an excellent option for all grade levels from Pre-K up through grade 8.  Additionally, there is a library of Nearpod presentations that you are welcome to use if there is a particular topic for which you are looking.  For the older grades, Nearpod has also teamed up with OZY, an up and coming current events magazine that caters to education, to provide teachers with Nearpod lessons that connect to high interest current events at the middle and high school level.  These lessons come complete with the Nearpod presentation and coordinating lesson plans.  


I enjoyed using Nearpod when I was teaching and hope that some of you will consider giving it a try.  You can access Nearpod by visiting www.nearpod.com and signing up with your Google account information.  Happy Tech-ing!


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