March 14, 2018 Newsletter



This summer’s district technology and educational training dates are scheduled for:

  • June 4-6 (Monday – Wednesday)
  • August 20-22 (Monday – Wednesday)

Google Apps for Education Summit

The fourth annual Google Apps for Education Summit held in Fergus Falls is scheduled for Wednesday & Thursday, Aug. 9-10. The Summit is a two day learning extravaganza, mostly built around using Google tools in the classroom, but other things are presented as well. The entire event is about increasing student achievement and engagement with technology.

There are terrific national keynote speakers each day, followed by breakout sessions, door prizes, and Google Slams, quick 2-minute demos of cool things you can do! IT’S FUN! The breakout sessions are led by regional rock-star teachers and techies. In fact, presenters get FREE admission, plus the prestige and honor that goes with displaying the badge you see in my signature. Trust me…people treat you differently. So, if you’re interested in presenting, let me know and I’ll hook you up with the organizers and see if we can still get you on the schedule. I think there’s still time!

Registration information is located here:

My Simple Show Video Creator:

Wow! Here’s a unique and fun way to share information! Suitable for your learners to use for creating instructional videos, or for you to try when preparing a flipped lesson, My Simple Show is an amazing and easy tool to use! The link above provides you with free access for a classroom. You will need to log in with your Google account and register as a school user. Once you’ve logged in you can upload any PowerPoint presentation or type in your own script. The tool quickly separates your slides and adds appropriate images, voice-over, and music. You can adjust all of these things (including uploading your own images) and share a final project that is fun to watch and very professional-looking. And not only can students create individual shows, they can also be added to groups for collaborative projects!

Try it today!


Student engagement is on fire at!! This is the most exciting thing I’ve seen this year! is an app that YOU modify to match the learning needs of your students. Hundreds of lessons are available for you to use with your class, and if you want to make changes to the lesson it is easy to adjust it to fit your needs! is perfect for those situations where you have students using iPads or Chromebooks. They can work together or alone, and you will receive the data to let you know how they did! These lessons would also make great centers, or try one of the Breakouts for a challenge!

Talk about total differentiation! It’s easy and fun! There are the Lines, Maze, Memory, and Rockets

  • Lines: Draw a line to match the correct answer
  • Maze: Find the correct match within a maze
  • Memory: Memory game by matching the cards through flipping
  • Rocket: A hangman-like game with rockets

Find out more about how they exude fun to your classroom by exploring them here.


Seesaw is continuing to improve! Now Seesaw is a great place for sending newsletter, reminders or permission slips to families without cluttering the student journal. Seesaw announcements and private messages allow you to send photos, albums, videos, PDFs and more! You must update your app to use these new features.

Family communication right within Seesaw – to all families or to a single parent. This is an awesome way to send newsletters and reminders, and they’re all available to parents in an easily accessible location.

This might be just the time to try Seesaw! Let me know if I can help you set it up. It’s a fantastic tool, especially for grades Pre-K through 3 – but flexible enough for every classroom!

Explore the Magic of Harry Potter:

The British Library has partnered with Google Arts & Culture to bring the magic of Harry Potter to the world! Here you ca find the Harry Potter exhibit with the original illustrations (which you can zoom in on), all kinds of information about fantastical beasts and wizardry, and view over 10 exhibits and lessons. If you or your students are excited about Harry Potter, this is one site you won’t want to miss!

Women’s History Month Resources from PBS:

This link brings up over 11,700 resources from PBS on Women’s History. These include all subject areas, and activities, audio and video links, images, documents, webpages, interactive lessons and lesson plans, all of which can be very helpful as your students learn about women’s history. You can narrow the search by subject area, by resource type, and by grade level in order to locate the most appropriate resources for your class.

Kudoswall Discover:

Looking for scholarships and awards to assist students with college? The list on Kudoswall Discover is extensive – and has so many opportunities listed all in one location. Of course local scholarships are a student’s first stop, but remind your students not to overlook these types of awards. Many of these scholarships are particularly appropriate for students who excel in creative writing.

Learning Resources on ELM:

I’ve pushed the ELM (Electronic Library of Minnesota) resources to students and staff for years because they are PAID resources that the MN legislature funds for all Minnesota residents. We couldn’t possibly provide all of these resources (encyclopedias, databases, research tools, etc) for all our students if this funding disappeared, as it would be cost-prohibitive. We are so lucky to have them!

The site I’ve listed above is a resource for teachers using the ELM tools. It includes lesson plans, videos, games, webinars and other resources that help you and your students take advantage of these awesome ELM materials. If you are having your students do any type of research, these are the tools to use. Although these are electronic, they are actually all of the encyclopedias, journals, magazines, newspapers, scholarly articles, and additional materials (including many primary sources), made available electronically. They are definitely a better place to begin your search than simply using Google. Our school links to these resources are found here: and on all of our school library webpages.

Google Drive changes

As of May 2018, the desktop version of Google Drive will stop working. Google announced this months ago, but soon you’ll actually have to do something about it if you use the cloud storage service. The Drive service itself isn’t really changing, but instead Google is replacing the Google Drive software for Windows and macOS with a new app called Backup & Sync.

In reality, not much is changing aside from the name: Backup & Sync has pretty much the same set of features as the old Google Drive all and works in the same way. This is the app you’ll want if you’re a home user. Google says that the old Drive app will stop working on May 12, so if you want files to continue to sync you’ll need to install the new Backup & Sync app.

I assume that your tech guy will give you more information on what to do about this with your school computer, or perhaps will even be taking care of it himself. He would be the one to talk to if you have questions.

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