Monday, July 2, 2018

The past week during the ISTE 2018 Conference in Chicago, Google made several announcements that will impact your classroom in the fall. The most notable being it’s announcement around Google Classroom. 

Here is an overview of the changes you will see when you return to school this fall:


Google will be launching Classworks to allow for teachers to logically group and organize assignments, announcements, and questions.

This change results in better classroom management for teachers, and makes it easier for students to locate assignments.

Highlights of the new Classwork Page

Better visual grouping of units
Currently, the topic feature does not provide any visual grouping of assignments. In the new classwork page, a bold banner identifies the topic and groups assignments together.

You can now re-order your assignments
Currently, we can only move assignments to the TOP of the stream. We can't manually order them. Assignments and topics can now be moved up and down inside of the classwork page.

What about the "stream?"
The stream will still be available, but now provides a overview of upcoming assignments and current class discussions.

"People" get their own page!

Teachers, students, and parents interact with classroom on different levels. The new "people" page make managing this groups easier.

On the people page teachers can add and manage their co-teachers, make changes to their class roster, and configure the guardian access.

All of your Classroom settings in one place!

All of the settings for your class are now in one central location (look for the "gear" icon). In the past, your class code was on one page, the comment settings on another, co-teachers on another, etc. It took a lot to set up your class.

Classroom + Forms (even better!)
Google Forms has always worked well with Classroom, but now it's even better! You can now create a new form quiz directly in classroom. No need to jump into Google Drive first. This new feature is called a "quiz assignment."

They added a great new feature for those you using Chromebooks in your classroom, you can turn on "locked mode" to prevent students from looking up answers during a quiz! (Note: This feature only works on districted owned and managed Chromebooks).

Google is saying that the new features will be available in August - just before school starts. Once the features come available tutorials will be posted. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Earlier this week, Google released a few new updates to Google Forms that makes designing your Form a little more fun.  You’ll notice the changes, when you click on the Customize Theme icon.

Header Options

As always, you can click on the Header Options section, and add a Banner Image to the top of your form.  Just click Choose Image,  and either choose one of many images available from Google Forms, or upload your own.

Once you’ve selected an image, you’ll notice that you can also alter the Background Color of your Google Form to one of 4 shades based on the color scheme of your header.

See below:
Customize Theme

Theme Color

Likewise, if you choose a color instead of a banner image, your background color options will appear as varying shades of your color choice.
color selection

Font Style

And for one of the best new options, you can now choose from one of four font styles for your form:
  • Basic
  • Decorative
  • Formal
  • Playful
Just click the dropdown menu from the Font Style category, and select an option.
Font style

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Image result for engineering design process
Students in Mrs. Nussbaum’s grade 5 class at South were having a problem in their classroom - each student had a blue plastic pencil bin on their table, but bins kept tipping over and spilling items everywhere. After working through in an-class design challenge and reviewing the steps of the design process, students moved on to creating their own solution to this problem. As students presented their finished work to the class, each student reflected on what worked well and how they refined their idea. The article below was written by grade 5 student Liam Bennett.

For our recent homework assignment in technology/engineering, my fellow students and I were tasked with making changes to our pencil boxes and nametags. We had worked with the engineering process in school for the past few days and this would be the “big project.” We could only use materials that we would be able to find in our own home, materials like cardboard, duct tape, felt, and the like. For my project, I used packaging tape to attach my nametags to my pencil case to balance it, primarily, but when I did that, I realized that I could put more school materials in the space created by the nametags.

Many students used their imaginations to the maximum and realized that there was a problem and so they got the materials to fix it. “It was too slippery, it tipped over too easily, and the pencils fell out too easily.” Many students, including the interviewee Gabriel Vignon-Villani, found problems and fixed them. Gabi’s design looks like a plane, with a handle/tail, and wings/supports, along with a lid and rubber band landing gear.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

With the help of some fourth grade partners, grades K and 1 at South have been exploring coding and programming. Using Code Mouse, a programmable robot mouse (who loves to get to a piece of cheese!), the students have been developing their sequencing skills, building problem solving techniques and learning to persevere when things don’t always work the first time. The fourth graders did some training first and then took the lead in working with small groups of younger students to help them guide their exploration of coding. Everyone is looking forward to working together again soon!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Bancroft: 5th grade Library Assistant's performance of
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish for Dr. Seuss' birthday.