Week of 12/19/16 Tech Tips and Tidbits

posted Dec 17, 2016, 11:39 AM by Melisa Scott

iPad Update: This week is a great time to clean the iPad screens and get them all set for 2017. I will be sending out an update to all of our school iPads to get them to iOS 9.3.5 over break. This is as far as iPad 2s are able to go. I'll also be sending out a large Lexia update as well as an update to Seesaw (new features) and other apps. Please be sure your iPads are plugged in over the break so these updates can be received with no problems.

Book Choice: We have noticed that book choice does not go smoothly when a guest teacher brings a class to the Media Center. If you know that you will be having a guest teacher during your scheduled book choice time, please reschedule with us to another time. Thanks for understanding!

Tech Tips Newsletter: Look for a new look for this newsletter coming at the start of 2017. New year, new look!

Tech Spotlight: A third grade class has begun using Google Sheets to record weather data over a period of time. This data can them be used with the graph feature offered by Google Sheets (web version only). This is a great way to analyze data and make comparisons. Hour of Code was a success at BMS! Some classes participated in live webinars with the team from the app SeeSaw. It was a great experience for students to be involved in this activity as well as learn about computer science jobs and app creation. Many teachers at BMS are now using SeeSaw. I'll be offering more workshops in January for those who are interested in getting started as well as those who would like to take the next steps. 

Happy Holidays to all of you and enjoy your well-deserved break with friends and family!

Week of 11/21/16 Tech Tips and Tidbits

posted Nov 20, 2016, 5:38 AM by Melisa Scott

New Wireless: The new wiring for our new wireless is almost complete! Thanks to everyone for being flexible with workers in and out of your rooms at night and on weekends and for the small issues we have encountered along the way. The new wireless will include access points in each classroom! The new wireless will be complete by the time we return on Monday (11/28) but the iPads and computers may need a bit of transition time. Please do not plan any whole class tech activities first thing Monday morning. Kevin and Ben will both be in the building on Monday to troubleshoot any issues that pop up.

Laptop Restart: Please remember to restart your teacher laptops at least once a day. This is important so updates can be installed and things (sound, projection, etc.) stay connected properly. Closing the lid of your laptop does not restart the computer, it only puts it to sleep. If your laptop stays at school, restarting before you leave for the day is a perfect time!

Pearson Science/STEM: The tech department is currently working with Pearson on teacher and student logins for the online component. We are looking to match these student accounts with their Google accounts. I'll keep you updated as I learn more. Please let me know when you will be looking at or using the online components so I can support you. I would also like to look at the STEM offerings from Pearson so please let me know when that is in your plans!

Hour of Code: Look for an Hour of Code sign up email this week! Hour of Code is the week of December 5-9.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Week of 11/14/16 Tech Tips and Tidbits

posted Nov 12, 2016, 6:10 PM by Melisa Scott

Hour of Code: The Hour of Code is coming! Computer Science Education Week is December 5-11 which is when we will be participating in the Hour of Code. In the following weeks, please look for an email from me regarding sign ups for your Hour of Code time. I'll be visiting grades 3-5 for the Hour of Code and students in grades 1-2 will participate during Media Tech that week. This is one of my favorite weeks of the year and I look forward to bringing some computer science to your classroom!

Report Cards:  Report cards will be printed beginning Monday morning. I'll deliver the report cards to your room as they are finished. Please let me know of any circumstances where you may need multiple copies for individual students and I'll get those printed for you as well.

Dreambox: I have heard from several students that their Dreambox coins have disappeared/lessened or that their progress has changed. This would mean that students are spending the coins of others or working within the Dreambox accounts of other students. If needed, you can turn on text passwords for your class. These would be their Google passwords. If this is needed for your class, please let me know and I can walk you through the steps of making that change. 

Tech Spotlight: Several teachers at BMS are using the Bloomz app which is a great tool for parent communication. Bloomz allows you to send reminders, messages, photos, and volunteer requests to parents in your class. Parent conferences can also be set up seamlessly through Bloomz. Feedback on the app has been extremely positive. If you are looking for a new way to communicate with parents, let me know and we can get you started!

Week of 10-24-16 Tech Tips and Tidbits

posted Oct 23, 2016, 1:28 PM by Melisa Scott   [ updated Oct 23, 2016, 1:29 PM ]

Report Cards: The format of the new report cards makes it very easy for you to add in your grades and comments for each student all in one spreadsheet. Please let me know if you need support with getting started (once the spreadsheets are available). We can do a brief after school session if there are many teachers who need support or we can do a one on one session. I'm happy to help!

Lexia: Lexia is up and running in all classrooms. Thank you again for your time. I have heard from a few teachers that some students are getting a "fatal error" message. The company has found a bug in the app which should be fixed with the next app update. As soon as that update is available I'll send it out to all iPads and hopefully that will fix the issue. If you continue to see other issues with Lexia, please let me know.

Tech Spotlight: A fifth grade class used Facetime to connect with another classroom in VA to talk about the book Pax which is part of the Global Read Aloud. Another example of digital citizenship and global communicators! Third grades have been using Popplet as a formative assessment of the distributive property. Some third grades have also been using Google Drive to edit their work and teachers have provided feedback through the commenting feature.

Week of 10/10/16 Tech Tips and Tidbits

posted Oct 9, 2016, 12:30 PM by Melisa Scott

Lexia is Here!: Lexia is now available school-wide at BMS. Each teacher and student has a Lexia account including students who used the program last year or over the summer (progress has transferred over). I'd like to be able to introduce your students to Lexia, get them signed in with their Google usernames and passwords (all students in 1-5 will use their Google accounts), and started on the pre-assessment. Please sign up for a 30 minute time for this introduction beginning this Thursday thru next week. Sarah Bond will be working with grade level teams on the teacher dashboard side of things during PLCs beginning 10/25-10/31. By that point, all students will have used the program and there will be actual data to look at and work with. 

Headphones Reminder: Many headphones have been handed out to BMS students. If you are still in need of headphones, please let me know how many and I will deliver them to you ASAP. Headphones are extremely important for Dreambox, Lexia, and parts of the new science units.

Workshop Reminder: The Saving Projects in Google Drive workshop will take place on Tuesday afternoon from 3:00-4:00 in the Media Center.

Tech Spotlight: A couple fifth grade classes are taking part in the Global Read Aloud with the book Pax by Sara Pennypacker. The Global Read Aloud is a way to connect with other classrooms and students around the world through a shared book. The fifth graders are using the website WriteAbout to connect with other students and post about the book Pax. This is a great way for students to be come global communicators while practicing digital citizenship. First graders having been showing their number bond knowledge by making number bonds in Popplet. A great addition to this would be to add the photo to SeeSaw and have students record themselves giving the equation that matches the number bond. 

Great News! Week of 9/26/16 Tech Tips and Tidbits

posted Sep 25, 2016, 10:17 AM by Melisa Scott

Typically the tech newsletter comes out every two weeks, but I have some bits of good news to share with everyone.

Student Headphones: Thanks to the PTO and additional BMS funding, 250 new pairs of student headphones have been ordered and shipped. They will be at BMS by the end of the week. These headphones will be extremely important as we roll out two software programs to all grade 1-5 students.

Dreambox is Here!: Dreambox is an amazing personalized learning experience for students in math. Fifth grade had the opportunity to use this program last year and this year it has been purchased for all students in grades 1-5. Students work in their own learning environment through the Dreambox app and the program analyzes their answers and moves them either forward or backwards based on their understanding. I've had the opportunity to attend a webinar on Dreambox as well as see it in action last year. This program will provide many opportunities for our students, including our students who need that extra enrichment in math. On Wednesday, Chantel and I will be visiting all classrooms in grades 1-4 to introduce Dreambox. I will work with students on getting them logged in and introducing them to the program. Chantel will work with teachers on the basics of the program and the teacher dashboard. We are planning to spend about 15 minutes in each classroom. I'm looking forward to introducing this to our students! Please see the attachment for more information.

Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference: The Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference is being held on November 29-December 1 in Manchester. I attend this conference every year and leave with new ideas and network of colleagues. I would encourage you to think about attending a day of this conference. There are scholarships available for pairs of teachers to attend one day of the conference. If you and a colleague are interested in applying for a scholarship, please let me know. For more information on the conference and the keynote speakers, visit

Class Dojo Workshop Reschedule: Due to an appointment for one of my daughters, I need to reschedule the Class Dojo workshop on September 27. The new date for the workshop is Tuesday, October 4 and the Uploading Projects to Google Drive workshop will move to Tuesday, October 11. 

Week of 9/19/16 Tech Tips and Tidbits

posted Sep 18, 2016, 11:49 AM by Melisa Scott

Epic! and Xtra Math: Epic! and Xtra Math are up and running in several classrooms at BMS. If you would like these reviewed with your students before they begin, please sign up for a time and I'm happy to do that. Below are a few things to remember when getting your classes ready within these accounts.
     Epic!: In your teacher profile, delete out all of your students from last year. Add in the new profiles for your current students. Each individual student iPad needs to be logged in to your teacher account before students use the app. This is how the app connects to your account and student profiles. There are two ways you can do this: log in each iPad yourself (I can assist as well) before the students use the app, or have the students log in with your account and then once they are all logged in change your Epic! teacher password. 
     Xtra Math: Some iPads are showing the student names twice once students have signed in with their PIN. This is because Xtra Math is remembering them from last year. There is a simple way to delete out their old account to avoid confusion. This is done on the student iPads. At the screen that shows both names, there is a small pencil. Click the pencil and click the "X" next to the name you wish to delete. Confirm that you are deleting on the following two screens and the name disappears.

Bloomz Workshop Reminder: On Tuesday, September 20th from 3:00-4:00, I will be having a workshop on the app Bloomz. Bloomz is a great app for communicating with families easily and efficiently. Hope to see you in the Media Center on Tuesday afternoon!

Tech Forms: This week we will be going through our Student Tech Guidelines and Expectations forms as well as Media Permissions forms. Second copies for students who have not returned these will be in your mailboxes later this week with student names at the top. We will also be creating a spreadsheet of Media Permissions by class and that will be shared with you once it is completed.

Tech Spotlight: SeeSaw is up and running in some classrooms at BMS! SeeSaw is a great tool for keeping an ongoing journal or portfolio of work throughout the year. It can assist with accountability of work, differentiating instruction, and allowing students some choice on how their work is shown. If you are interested in trying SeeSaw, let's set up a time to chat about the app and get an introduction set up with your students!

Week of 9/5/16 Tech Tips and Tidbits

posted Sep 5, 2016, 2:51 PM by Melisa Scott

iPad Update: There is great news on the iPad and Apple TVs! iPads for all of our new students (not previously in a Concord school) have been setup and are in your classroom carts. Apple TVs are now working and talking to the network so you can project from your iPad. The only iPads we are still waiting on are the ones for students who are coming from other schools. They are all on the way and should be at BMS either Tuesday or Wednesday. If you haven't set up a time for a technology expectations review, let's plan to do that either this week or early next week.

Projector Reminder: Please remember to mute your projector when it is not in use. You can do this by pressing the mute button right next to the orange power button on your control box. Leaving the projector on with the blue screen burns your bulb out much faster than necessary.

Hopes and Dreams: The past few years many teachers have used PicCollage to have students create Hopes and Dreams posters. If you are interested in doing this again this year, please use my YouCanBook.Me link in my signature or stop in the Media Center. We can also chat about other app options besides PicCollage if you are looking to try something different.

Workshop Reminder: Just a quick reminder that the workshop on SeeSaw is taking place Tuesday, 9/6 from 3:00-4:00 in the Media Center.

End of Year Tech Tips and Tidbits

posted May 30, 2016, 5:18 PM by Melisa Scott

The end of the year is arriving quickly. Most student iPads will be traveling with them to the next grade level. The exceptions are fifth grade and kindergarten. Fifth grade iPads will cycle back down to first grade and the kindergarten iPads will remain in the kindergarten. There are a few things to be done with the iPads before June 17th. Please see below for more details on each of these items.

iPad Software Update: It appears that the newest software update, 9.3.2, fixes the app crashing issues that previous versions had. I would like to update all BMS iPads, including teacher iPads, before the end of the school year.  The best time to update is at the end of the day when there is less wireless traffic. The iPads can update overnight and be reload the apps. I would like to update by grade level and will be around to schedule this with you at some point this week. 

Camera Rolls/Photo Albums: In order to maximize space on the iPads, students should delete all photos in their camera rolls before the end of the year. Most classes have now saved all projects/artifacts to Google Drive so it is no longer necessary to keep photos in the camera roll. If you would like me to get your class started on this process, please let me know!

Screen Cleaning: Please plan to clean iPad screens during the last week of school. That way they are sanitized and ready for the fall. We have spray bottles in the Media Center that you are welcome to borrow. You can also use Clorox/Lysol wipes. Please remember to dry the screens with a paper towel after cleaning. 

June 17 Move Up: During Move Up time on June 17th I would like all students to bring their iPads (no power cables) to their new classroom. iPads should be completely turned off and put into their new cart. They DO NOT need to be plugged in, that will just turn the iPads back on. They can stay powered off for the summer until I start assigning new apps in August. If there are students who are absent for Move Up, a classmate can take their iPad to the new classroom during that time. Headphones and book check out shelf markers should also travel with students during Move Up time. 

Looking Ahead to August: Just a brief overview of what's to come in August. At that time, I will assign iPads to new students who have moved in over the summer. Apps will be updated and assigned by grade level. I will move power cords so that each cart matches the number of iPads. First grade iPads will be re-labeled to match our first graders. 

Week of 4/11/16 Tech Tips and Tidbits

posted Apr 10, 2016, 5:17 PM by Melisa Scott

Headphones: Thanks to the PTO, we now have 150 additional sets of headphones for use with student iPads. If you have a new student or a student who does not have a set of headphones, please let me know and we can provide a pair. Just as we did last year, headphones that are still in working condition will be passed on to the next grade level teacher during our "Move Up" time. 

Saving Student Work: Now is the time of year to begin thinking about saving student iPad work into Google Drive. A great starting point is to make a list of student work/projects that you would like to see saved. I can then work with you on the best way to move these projects into Drive. Some items, like things already stored in Drive, are very simple to move while others require a bit more work and sometimes some creative workarounds. If you could begin making a list of projects, I'm happy to either come in and walk your kids through saving items or work with you on how to get everything moved in to Drive. Next year we will work towards saving work throughout the year so it becomes a regular routine for students.

Smarter Balanced Testing: Third grade Smarter Balanced testing is complete! Thanks to everyone for their flexibility, patience and support! Fourth grade will be testing in May. I will send out another copy of the testing schedule later this week as a reminder to those involved.

Tech Spotlight: Fifth grade prepared for the science expo by using the Media Center computers to prepare data tables in Google Docs and graphs in Google Sheets. Creating data tables and graphs are skills that students will need as they move into middle and high school. You will find their work on display during the science expo this week! One second grade has been using the app SeeSaw as a sort of "digital portfolio". In SeeSaw the teacher has the ability to assign an assignment and students can capture their learning through a note, video, photo, or drawing with the ability to audio record on each feature. This app has tremendous potential for every classroom and provides a way for students to independently document their learning (and use less paper). I recently visited BGS to see SeeSaw in action in a third grade class and was amazed with what the kids were doing. Now is a great time to test out the app and see how it can work for you. Then in the fall we can roll it out to students from the start of the year. Let me know if you are interested!

1-10 of 33