Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Technology Update: Got Apps? (12/16/15)

Do you use apps in your classrooms with your students? Are your students older than 13? Did you get parental consent? Not all apps are the same and neither are the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for each app.

The Student Online Personal Information Privacy Act, or SOPIPA, (SB 1177) was passed to place additional requirements on companies to protect student online privacy. Specifically, companies are prohibited from the following:
  • engaging in targeted advertising to students or their parents/legal guardian,
  • using information to amass a profile about a K-12 student,
  • selling a student’s information, or
  • disclosing covered (personally identifiable information or materials) information unless certain circumstances exist such as legal compliance, judicial process, or security and safety.

In addition, the company, or “operator”, is required to:
  • to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices appropriate to the nature of the covered information,
  • to protect the information from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure, and
  • to delete a student’s covered information if the school or district requests deletion of data under the control of the school or district.

The provisions of SOPIPA take effect in January 2016. As a result of SOPIPA, everyone needs to be aware of the apps, services, websites, and software we are using with students, how student information is being used by the companies, and what is in the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Although companies are required to adhere to SOPIPA in order to use their products in K-12 schools, not all of them have. Because of this, all apps currently being used in classrooms in Washington USD must go through a vetting process to insure that we are only using those services from providers that are in compliance with SOPIPA.

Apps will fall within these categories based upon the stated privacy policy and terms of service for each app:

  • Approved
  • Conditionally approved with parental consent
  • Conditionally approved with directory information release
  • Approved only for students over the age of 13
  • Not approved

What does this mean to you and your classroom?

When using apps, web-based services, and other online sites and applications, please evaluate the tool to determine not only if it’s instructionally appropriate but if it meets privacy requirements, particularly if it is an online service. Any time data is collected, it is important to review the privacy policy and terms of use/service to determine what data is collected and how that data is used.

  1. Review the list of vetted software, services, and sites. Are any of the tools you want to use on the list? If they are approved or approved for students over the age of 13, then proceed with using them! We are working on a Google Play Store that will allow you to push out the apps to your students’ Chrome environment (coming in January 2016).
  2. If any of them are conditionally approved with parental consent, please use the WUSD Technology Parental Consent Template (automatic download and customizable in Word) to send a letter home and obtain consent from parents.
  3. If any of them are conditionally approved with directory information release, check with your school secretary to verify that the student has permission for directory information release.
  4. If the tools you want are not on the list, submit them for review (note: this link is not publicly shared - you must log into Google with your district email to submit). We will review the app following a process that looks at these categories and then determine which list it will be added to if approved.
  5. If a tool you want to use is not approved OR you don't get approval from all parents and are wondering what to do next, send an e-mail to,, or and we will work with you to find a suitable alternative so you can continue to use technology.
  6. Discuss with your principal the best process to use at your site to manage parental consent forms for tools that are conditionally approved.
If you have questions, we are here to assist. Happy Holidays and have a wonderful Winter Break!


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Shakespeare + LEGO = Epic Lesson Mashup

Screenshot from Banquo's Death
Directed by Summer, Alyssa, Eric, Nisha
Guest Blog Post
by Melissa Baldwin, River City High School

If you ask anyone who has worked with me the last six years they would probably say that I am always willing to try something new in my classroom. Some of those new tips, tricks, and lessons have failed the biggest fail ever which inevitably led to me putting in a movie, taking a deep breath, and rethinking the next class period.

When I started as an Innovative Educator last year, I realized that failing lessons are what will not only make me a better teacher, but could actually make my students better too. I have had ideas about how a lesson should go, which it then derails, and students help put it back on the right track. I have had ideas about lessons then realized I am not applying it quite the right way or to the correct class. What I have learned first and foremost over the last year is that Innovation is all around us, particularly in a classroom where students are hungry for answers and allowed to be curious without penalty.

At the beginning of summer I attended a CUE conference and stumbled across a session about making videos in the classroom using green screen and the LEGO Movie Maker. Instead of thinking about how I would apply said district sponsored conference session to my classroom, I immediately thought of how my five year old son would benefit from my new found knowledge. I showed up to the session and within about 15 minutes I soon realized that yes, my little duckling would benefit from the session, but that my class would benefit much more. Thus became the working lesson (which is still in it’s infancy, mind you) of the LEGO Macbeth video.

I use the LEGO Movie Maker on my iPad, which I bring from home. Right now, chromebooks don’t have the app available, which makes this project a little tricky to navigate. One way around this was to bring in my own devices for students to use. If you don’t have multiple devices, you could do an alternative video in Slides and Draw...but I am not the hem...Melissa Oliver.

Below is a list of things to consider when deciding how to use LEGO Movie Maker and ultimately how to bring deeper meaning to Shakespeare or difficult and distant text in a project based digital environment.

Tips, tricks, and sidenotes:

  1. First, you need the LEGO Movie Maker and a green screen app if you want any special effects. Green Screen Movie FX ($), Green Screen by Do Ink ($), and Action Movie FX are all great apps to enhance your videos. The apps are very intuitive, but there are also tutorials on YouTube as well as within the apps to help show you how to put everything together. 
  2. You need to consider what props your students need and can use. I bought fake LEGO figurine pieces from Ebay for about $15. I had a castle at home my kids didn’t play with anymore and some other props that students used to help make their videos. 
  3. You will need to pre-teach the following words, which can be done in a quick overview before they start working a) blocking b) storyboard c) scripting and script cutting d) camera angles e) lighting and how it relates to tone/mood of the scene f) splicing g) speed 
  4. Decide what scenes in the text you want them to focus on. I chose ones that highlighted key events or turning points in the play. If I do this with a novel next term, I will focus on key plot elements or characterization. 
  5. Model how to take a text from a scene and cut it down to the nuts and bolts. I had some students make videos that were way too long and some that were too short. Next time, I will model how to cut a scene and help them see they don’t need all of the words in each line. 
  6. Show them a sample video--this is tricky if you don’t have any made. Honestly, I did not show them a video beforehand because I wanted to see what they could do. I also needed to figure out what instructions were lacking on my part, so I could improve it next time. 
  7. Give them a storyboard to help them think about where the LEGO people are going to go--How are they going to move?--Where will they be in each scene?--What will show the best form of movement?--How are they going to get from one side of the path to the other? 
  8. If you have only one device and it’s your personal device have a sign up for recording. Help them and monitor as needed. 
  9. Ask kids for help--many of my students already had these apps on their phones which made it fun for them. They felt ownership over the work and felt they could contribute more because they already had that pre-knowledge. 
  10. When students are done with their videos, ask students to email them to you, upload them to your YouTube channel playlist, get a bucket of popcorn and some Good & Plenty out, and enjoy the greatness that is about to happen.

Some helpful hints about green screens:

If you want to use the green screen FX apps...
  1. Your green screen can be 
    • An old copy paper box lined with green paper or painted green
    • A green poster board
    • A hanging piece of green fabric
  2. Use green Popsicle sticks to move characters around--simply tape the characters to the sticks and have kids wear green gloves so it looks like the figurines are actually moving around on their own.
  3. You can use the green screen FX apps in LEGO Movie Maker to make things explode or have giant spiders trample your characters...probably not "accurate" to the text, but c'mon, giant spiders and explosions are pretty fun.

YouTube what?
  1. Ask students to send you their videos via email. LEGO Movie Maker has to go through the email system.
  2. Download their video to your desktop and save as Title Video # or whatever else you want--you may want to be specific about the class period or not.
  3. Go to YouTube, My Channel (on the left hand menu), Click Upload in the upper right corner, then upload their videos.
  4. Once their videos have been uploaded to your channel, you can create a playlist. Click on "Playlist," then "New Playlist." Title it, then start uploading videos.
  5. Students absolutely love seeing the videos they made in class on YouTube.

Here are a few from my class--enjoy!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Technology Update: E-Rate and You! (12/11/15)

As mentioned in last week’s Technology Update, Washington USD will be applying for E-rate for the 2016-2017 school year. E-Rate is a federally funded program that provides discounts to assist schools to obtain affordable Internet access and telecommunications services.

Five service types are funded:
1.      Data Transmission Services and Internet Access
2.      Voice Services
3.      Internal Connections
4.      Managed Internal Broadband Services
5.      Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections

Discounts range from 20-90 percent of the costs of eligible services, depending on the level of poverty and the urban/rural status at the school district level. Our current district average is 59% which puts us at an 80% discount per the USAC (Universal Services Administrative Company) Discount Matrix

The E-rate Program is one of four programs funded through a universal service fee charged to companies that provide interstate and/or international telecommunications services. The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) administers the universal service fund at the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Funding is divided into two categories:

  • Category 1: Discounts (80%) on Data Transmission Services and Internet Access, and (40%) Voice Services
  • Category 2: Reimbursement ($150 per student, minimum of $9,200 per school site) for equipment for Internal Connections, Managed Internal Broadband Services, and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections

What does this mean to you and your classroom?
A requirement of E-Rate is that students are taught Internet Safety Education Requirements outlined in the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA)We are using Common Sense Media curriculum for standards-aligned, researched-bases lesson plans that meet these requirements.  Many of these lessons are low-tech using only pen and paper and can be completed in approximately an hour.  

At a minimum, we are asking that you include the lesson(s) below for your grade level as part of your curriculum. As you are winding down for the winter break, now might be a good time to incorporate the lesson(s) into your instructional day (see links to lessons by grade level).

·        Grade TK/K: Going Places Safely
·        Grade 1: Sending Email
·        Grade 2: Show Respect Online
·        Grade 3: Talking Safely Online
·        Grade 4: The Power of Words
·        Grade 5: Digital Citizenship Pledge
·        Grade 6: Safe Online Talk, Scams and Schemes
·        Grade 9: Private Today, Public Tomorrow
·        Grade 10: Risky Online Relationships
·        Grade 11: College Bound
·        Grade 12: Taking Perspectives on Cyberbullying

After completing the lesson, please complete the verification form and send it to Kim Harrison or Melissa Oliver at the district office. The verification form will be used to validate our compliance for E-Rate. You are welcome to cover more than just the lessons outlined above – check out the Scope and Sequence of Common Sense Media’s lessons.

If you have questions, we are here to assist!


Thursday, December 10, 2015

We Are WUSD Tech Podcast Online!

Looking for what's happening with WUSD Technology throughout the district? Look no further than our brand new "We Are WUSD Tech" Podcast. You can listen via our website or subscribe via iTunes.

This podcast aims to amplify teacher, student, and staff voices throughout the district around the wonderful things happening with technology district-wide. As Coordinator of Instructional Technology, I have the great honor of working with fabulous educators and their students on a daily basis. I hope this podcast communicates the great teaching and learning I see in classrooms throughout our district.

I owe a big thanks to our new cohort of Innovative Educators who willingly participated at the end of recent trainings as I learned the podcasting process and became familiar with equipment and audio. Like learning any new skill, the first few attempts could best be described as a "FAIL" or "First Attempt in Learning." I look forward to continuing the learning as We Are WUSD Tech highlights more voices in upcoming episodes.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Make your grading life better! Tips and Tricks for Streamlining Grading and Feedback using Google Tools

How am I going to grade all this stuff? 

If you are having students turn in work digitally (or soon to be), this is the likely one of the biggest questions you have (it was a big fear for me). Thanks to the help of Google teacher pros like Catlin Tucker and Alice Keeler, I have acquired many tips and tricks that not only make grading in the digital world feasible, but better than before.  

Note: For all of these tips, make sure you are first logged into your school google account and using Google Chrome.

Here are my top 6 tips (in no particular order):

  1. Shortcuts Save Time!

    • Insert a comment → Ctrl + Alt + M
    • Confirm a comment → Ctrl + Enter
    • To change to editing mode → Right click, suggest edits
    • (without a mouse, two finger tap is the right click)

  2. Creating Automatic Text Substitutes for Extensive & Specific Feedback in Student Writing: See Catlin Tucker’s Blog Post for a screencast of how to do this or read below.
  3. Here are the basics.
    • In any google doc select Tools, then Preferences.
    • Create a list of shortcut phrases to type that will automatically generate a phrase for students to read.
      • For example, whenever I type “mq" the google doc automatically spits out this message: “missing direct evidence from primary source to support your claim”
    • I recommend selecting the suggesting mode when grading as the feedback will appear in green and automatically generate a comment for a student.

  4. Preview Mode for Checking, not Grading

  5. Preview.png
    • When you want to check assignments for completion and you DON’T want to waste time opening each assignment individually, you can check the assignment in PREVIEW MODE.
    • Go to the Classroom Folder in Google Drive and click on the assignment folder. Next, click on the assignment you want to view and select Preview (eye). This will let you click through the assignments without having to open them individually and wait for them to load.

  6. Opening Multiple assignments in Classroom

    • It’s as simple as CTRL + Click. Hold down CTRL while you click to open many assignments at once, all in their own tabs.

  7. Extensions to Split your Screen

    • Get them from the Chrome Store
    • Tab Scissors: splits your screen at the current tab into separate side, by side windows, making entry of grades that much easier
    • Tab Glue: brings your windows back together

  8. Feedback in Process

    • As students are working on assignments, you can have them share the assignment with you and give them feedback as they work - either as comments or suggested edits.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Hour of Code is Here

Celebrate the Hour of Code December 7-13. This is a chance to demystify coding for students and provide coding experience for every student. has developed several tutorials for students including Star Wars, Minecraft, and Frozen. Once your students have completed their hour of code, you can create certificates here.

Looking for coding resources across the grade levels? Look no further than Lisa Highfill's Hyperdoc that lists and provides links to different coding tutorials. Open it, make a copy, edit it to meet the needs of your grade level and push it out to your students to enjoy.

Hour of Code is just the beginning. Look for more blog posts this week highlighting different resources to either start your students coding or continue coding.

Friday, December 4, 2015

WUSD is going BIIG 2.0!

In September, the technology department applied and became eligible for the Broadband Infrastructure Improvement Grant (BIIG 2.0) offered by the K-12 High Speed Network (K-12HSN) and the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC).  This $50 million funding allocated in the state budget helps schools with inadequate bandwidth to upgrade their current connection to the Internet to better assist with the CAASPP testing.

There are three categories of eligibility:
  • Priority 1 - schools with a current connection below 20 Kbps per student
  • Priority 2 - schools with less than 100 Kbps per student
  • Priority 2B - remaining schools that are underconnected, based upon available funds and ranked by lowest connection capacity
For Washington Unified, the connection from Yolo County Office of Education to the District Office is eligible for Priority 1.  Our current Internet pipeline to YCOE is 100 MB and the technology department is working on upgrading this connection to 1 GB.  We are also planning on upgrading the connections to school sites from 50 MB to 1 GB.  If we are selected for BIIG 2.0, the cost of the Priority 1 connection as well as a year of service beginning in July 2016 will be covered by this grant.

After Priority 1 schools across the state are funded and if funding is still available, the eligible Priority 2 schools will be funded for connection upgrades.  In Washington Unified, those sites are Southport, Bridgeway Island, Elkhorn Village, Westmore Oaks, River City High School, Riverbank, and Stonegate.  Priority 2B eligible sites are Evergreen, Yolo, Westfield Village, Alyce Norman, and Bryte.

What happens if we are not funded through BIIG 2.0?
If we are not a final candidate to receive BIIG 2.0 funding, we will still move forward with the plan to upgrade our Internet connection to YCOE and throughout the district.  We've started the initial planning to apply for E-Rate, a federally funded program that provides discounts on connections (Phone, Voice, Data) and reimbursements on infrastructure upgrades (routers, switches, fiber).  Don't miss next week's Technology Update about E-Rate and how you can support our application.

What does this mean to you and your classroom?

In time, you will see an increase in how fast the Internet works in your classroom for you and your students. Given the BIIG 2.0 timeline, it is likely that this increase will not occur until the 2016-2017 school year.  As we add more devices to classrooms, you could potentially see a slowing of the Internet since the "pipeline" is only so large and as we add more devices, the traffic becomes slower. We are working on alternative solutions to avoid this slow down.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Entering K-8 Writing Scores into Illuminate

During District Collaboration on November 18, Kindergarten through eighth grade teachers will receive information regarding rubric scoring for the district writing assessments and ultimately enter student scores in Illuminate. The video embedded here outlines the necessary steps. If you have difficulty accessing Illuminate, please complete a helpdesk ticket marked Illuminate or send an email to Melissa Oliver.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Innovative Educator Cohort 1 Named

After a long blind read process of applications by ten of our existing pilot Innovative Educators, a new cohort was chosen on October 30. We welcomed 63 additional teachers into our Innovative Educator program. This group of 63 represents 28 teams of teachers from throughout the district. Click on the Innovative Educator icon on the map to see the names of our Innovative Educators.

 They will be sharing a cart of devices for the remainder of the this school year. Team members will have their own cart of devices to begin the 2016-2017 school year. Additionally, they will have additional training opportunities and specialized coaching available to them.

Interested in being part of our next cohort of Innovative Educators? Watch this space for information about Cohort 2 coming in 2016.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

WUSD Tech Update - October 2015

DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP WEEK Did you miss last week's posts on the WUSD Ed Tech Blog about Digital Citizenship?  If so, go to and check out lesson ideas and resources about your digital footprint, using copyright friendly images, and evaluating the credibility of online resources.

CONNECTED EDUCATOR BOOK CLUB Come join us this Thursday from 4-5 pm in Room 48 at the District Office for an informational meeting on the launch of our Connected Educator Book Club. Find out what we plan to read first and learn about a fun new way to receive ed tech PD. Hint: It involves your bunny slippers!  Let us know you plan to join us:

MORE CONNECTED EDUCATOR Have plans for Friday afternoon? Join Melissa and Kim for an informal "Appy Hour" at Wicked West Pizza on Ikea Court from 4-5 pm. You will learn how to connect using Google Hangouts (GHO). Show up ready to learn something new!

WIRELESS Wireless is working for all district laptops across the district.  The wi-fi network is hidden, so if you have wireless turned “On” on your laptop, it will automatically connect.  Information on using the wireless can be found at  If you do not need to be mobile, we encourage you to use the Ethernet cord and tether your device for a more stable connection. 
STUDENT LOGIN (  If your students continue to have challenges logging in with their network, please be sure to do a Help Desk Ticket and we can help you out.

HELP DESK TICKETS ( The quickest way to let us know if you are having any technology issues in your classroom or at your school site is by submitting a Technology Help Desk Ticket.  Please take a moment to login with your district/network/email login and tell us if you have are having trouble.  The system can only be accessed through the district network, so the link will not work from home. If we don't know, we can't help!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Go Mobile with

Did you know that is optimized for mobile use? Scan the following qr code with your mobile device and it will take you to the Teacher portal where you can add it to your Home Screen for easy access in the future. Teachers will notice that most features you can do on the full version of are available on the mobile platform.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Digital Citizenship Week: Evaluating Websites

With information being so prevalent and available, how do we teach our students to examine online sources for credibility and think critically about possible bias and inaccurate information? This takes more than one lesson. It must be something that is integrated into teaching and learning on a daily basis whether sources are found online or within text. Here's some ideas to get your students started.

Studying Exploration? Visit It is a website created by a library media specialist and teacher that provides an "authentic" research site for students to explore. There is a lot of truth on the site, mixed with fiction. For example, did you know that Columbus died in 1906 even though he was born in 1951? He also had the pleasure of appearing on Larry King to celebrate being the first person to walk on American Soil. There are a lot more on this website and provides a great resource to begin the conversation on credibility.

Studying Animals and Habitats? Do your students care about Endangered Animals? Visit and learn the plight of the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. Students can learn more about this "endangered" species and how to help. Lead students in a critical analysis of what makes this site credible and/or possible suspect.

Here's some additional lesson ideas from Common Sense Media to help students become more critical consumers of online media.
K-2: Sites I Like, Things for Sale
3-5: Selling Stereotypes
6-8: Identifying High Quality Sites
9-12: Building Community Online, Becoming a Web Celeb


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Digital Citizenship Week: Using Copyright Friendly Images

Looking for copyright-friendly images to use in your own work and direct students to use? Here's a brief list of Creative Commons and other copyright-friendly sources for images.

Use Google Search within Insert Image Menu in Docs, Drawing, and Slides.

Enter your search term and once you select your desired image, you will notice the source of the image is listed below.  You will want to copy and/or visit this source to provide proper attribution.

Looking for photographs?

Photos for Class: This website has high quality photos that are creative commons and marked for reuse. When you download a photo from this website, it automatically appends the attribution and licensing.

PicsRLearning: This site includes copyright-friendly images with citations listed on the website.  It also allows you to save images directly to your Google Drive.

ClipPix ETC: Students can use up to 25 high quality images for free without further permission within a single non-commercial school project.

Looking for ClipArt?

ClipArtETC: An educational clipart database that allows for the use of 50 images for free without additional permissions. This site has many images appropriate for different subjects. This site has lots of free clipart that is available to download in a variety of sizes.

Art that is in public domain and available for reuse.

National Gallery of Art and Getty Open Art Content: Both sites are a great source for digital images of art that is within public domain and available for reuse.

Other sources:
Creative Commons Search: Choice of different databases.  Best used by staff as several of these sites are blocked for students.

If you have a favorite site for copyright friendly images that you use in your work or your students use that is not listed, let us know!

Supplement with additional CommonSense Media Lessons on Creative Credit and Copyright.
K-2: My Creative Work
3-5: Whose Is It Anyway?, Picture Perfect
6-8: A Creator's Rights, A Creator's Responsibilities, Rework, Reuse, Remix
9-12: CopyRights and Wrongs, Rights, Remixes, and Respect, Retouching Reality

Monday, October 19, 2015

Digital Citizenship Week: Ownership & Responsible Use

Want to promote responsible use of images in your classroom? Here's an lesson activity you can do with students that helps students understand why respecting the rights of creators is important.

1) Have students create an image on a topic that you are currently studying in class.
2) Instruct students to put their names on the back of the paper.
3) This next step involves temporarily changing the authorship of images. It is best done after a transition that will allow for the teacher to prepare and set the stage.

  • Display student's creations throughout the room
  • Using sticky notes, randomly assign other students names to the creations.
4) As students, recognize the disconnect between their art and the name displayed facilitate a conversation with your class. Some possible questions to get the conversation started.
  • How does it make you feel to see another name on your creation?
  • What's wrong with the teacher randomly assigning illustrators to different pieces of art?
  • Have you ever used an image in a presentation or on a poster that you got off the Internet?
  • Did you find out who the artist was? Did you have permission to display their work?
Wrap up the conversation, with the following Big Idea, "When we use images created by others, we need to make sure we have their permission to use the image as well as give the original creator the proper credit." Transition into the next stage, by asking students how we can fix the problem of the wrong names attached to the creations. Students will generate ideas beyond what is suggested in #5. Choose the student-generated solution that best fits your classroom community.

5) Provide time for proper attribution of student creations by moving the sticky notes. This is also a great opportunity for students to practice commenting on others work. This can be done quietly by having student write comments on sticky notes and post next to the author's creation. Alternatively, you could invite students to present their work and provide a space for their classmates to provide compliments and ask questions.

It is important that students leave this experience feeling validated for their creation because they got recognition and credit for their original work. You can revisit this experience throughout the year as students are looking for images to add to their work. Your class will have a shared experience of  what it feels like for someone to use their work without permission and not give proper attribution. This is an important perspective for students as they both create and use image sources responsibly.

Look for our next blog post on lesson ideas and resources on where to easily find Creative Common Images and provide proper attribution.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Digital Citizenship Week: Your Digital Footprint

What does your digital footprint reveal?

Looking to KickStart your Digital Citizenship Lessons in your classroom? Next week is a great time to talk with your students about staying safe online and how to evaluate what's true and not true online. Here are some lesson ideas from Common Sense Media for Digital Citizenship to get you started thinking about your digital footprint.

Primary Students:
Follow the Digital Trail. This lesson will teach students what information is appropriate to put online in an age-appropriate way by comparing the digital footprints of fictional animals. Lesson materials include a video and family tip sheets. All materials are also available in Spanish for our bilingual classes.

Intermediate Students.
Digital Citizenship Pledge. This lessons have students working collaboratively to create norms for responsible online behavior. What will your class motto be about digital citizenship?

Secondary Students. 
Trillion-Dollar Footprint. This lesson explores the concept of a digital footprint and how it can be helpful or have real-world negative consequences to one's image. There is a chance for students to consider their own digital footprints now and in the future. Lesson materials include lesson plan and student video.

All of these lessons and much more are available for free from Common Sense Media. I recommend taking a moment and quickly registering for the site so you can download exactly what you need and will also ensure you receive periodic updates from Common Sense with ideas for your classroom and families. If you want to be recognized publicly for your efforts teaching digital citizenship, be sure to view the application process for becoming a Digital Citizenship Certified Educator. You are already doing great things in your classroom in this area, here's your chance to be recognized for your efforts.

Stay tuned to this blog space next week for more lesson ideas to celebrate Digital Citizenship Week.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

WUSD EdTech Updates

Do you want WUSD EdTech Updates delivered straight to your phone via text message?

Consider signing up for our Remind Group by texting @wusdedtech to the number 81010.  If you would prefer to receive email updates, you can send an email, with a blank subject line, to

You can expect to be notified of upcoming training opportunities, our latest blog posts, and announcements of any known service disruptions that are occurring on our network.

Friday, October 2, 2015

#CE15: Celebrate Connected Educator Month

We are celebrating Connected Educator Month with a host of events and activities to foster community and promote connected learning. We have a wide variety of events planned from Appy Hours, CoffeeEDUs, Info Sessions, and already scheduled trainings, conferences, and events.

Take part in some of WUSD events throughout the month and/or reach out the larger educational community and connect with events happening world-wide. You can download our WUSD #CE15 calendar with descriptions here.  Visit to learn more.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cohort 1 Innovative Educator Applications Available

Do you want to add your name to this map and join our existing group of 36 Innovative Educators who are currently pioneering 1:1 learning environments in classrooms throughout our district? Do you have a vision for technology integration to support instruction and student learning? Do you want to collaborate with your colleagues around powerful and meaningful classroom instruction that is further enhanced by instructional technology? If so, our Innovative Educator program may be a good fit for you and your colleagues.

 Applications are now available online. You must be logged into your WUSD Google Account to view and complete the application. If you are not sure if you have activated your WUSD Google Account yet, you can do so by following these instructions outlined in an earlier blog post.

Applications will remain open until October 25, 2015 at 8:00 pm PST.  Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Teams of teachers are encouraged to apply.  If accepted, teams will share a mobile cart for the remainder of the 2015-2016 year once they are delivered to classrooms.  (Delivery of carts is  slated to coincide with the start of 2nd semester in mid-January.)  Team members would then receive their own classroom cart for the 2016-2017 school year.  Teachers accepted into the program would receive specialized training and coaching and have voluntary opportunities to attend local and regional Instructional Technology Conferences.  Additionally, teachers and their students will have a chance to participate in a Technology Showcase for the larger community in late May to highlight some of the amazing things happening in classrooms throughout our district.

You can learn more about the Innovative Educator Program Application by visiting our website, reading our FAQs, attending one of our upcoming Information Sessions on October 7 or 21 (sessions from 3:00-4:00 and repeated from 4:00-5:00 in Room 48 at District Office), reaching out to any of our existing Innovative Educators, or asking Melissa Oliver or Kim Harrison.

We look forward to welcoming Cohort 1 to the Innovative Educator Program when they are named and notified via email by COB on October 30, 2015.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

CAASPP Scores Now Available in Illuminate

2014-2015 CAASPP Scores are now available in Illuminate.  There are some nice custom reports available that will allow teachers and administrators to dive deeper into the data.  To access your CAASPP scores, complete the following steps.

  1. Login to Illuminate.   You can also login to Illuminate using our very own WUSD Illuminate Chrome App!  (Be sure you are logged into Chrome using your WUSD Google Account and visit your Chrome apps and click on the WUSD Illuminate logo.)
  2. Enter your username and password information.  Complete a helpdesk ticket if you need your Illuminate login credentials and/or have forgotten your password.Illuminate Login Screen
  3. Once logged in to Illuminate, locate the Favorites Widget on your dashboard (landing page) and make sure District Favorites is pressed as shown below.

    This favorites widget is currently customized to list all the available prebuilt Smarter Balanced Reports with great visuals along with raw data that can be viewed, downloaded, and further analyzed.

Classroom Teachers

You will find the Smarter Balanced Assessments Student Roster Report the most helpful initially.  Click on that prebuilt report title.

Do you want to see scores of your current students? (Example: As a current 4th grade teacher, this would display my current students scores from 3rd grade.)

  • Don't change the roster date, choose your desired subject area, group students as comprehensive, and click on view in browser.
Do you want to see scores of your students from last year?

  • Change the roster date to 14-15, choose your desired subject area, group students as comprehensive, and click on view in browser.

Use the Additional Filters to drill down into your data for subgroup information.

Looking for Student Level Reports for IEPs or to share during conferences?

On the Favorites Menu, click on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Student Report.

Administrators & Specialists

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Performance Summary Prebuilt report will initially be the most helpful in providing an overview of student performance.

Depending on your level of access you will see a screen similar to the one below that you can customize to meet your data inquiry question and/or reporting needs.

Spreadsheet View

If you prefer viewing your data in the form of a spreadsheet, then you will want to select State Assessment - 2014-2015 SBA Summative (Final) English Language Arts or Mathematics from your District Favorites Widget as shown below.

This view will provide you a spreadsheet with all the raw data based on the filters you choose.

If you have any questions as you are accessing your CAASPP scores within Illuminate, please let me know.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

New Explore Feature in Google Sheets

Visualize your data in Google Sheets instantly!

The new Explore Feature in Google Sheets automatically generates multiple graphics of your data like that seen on the left. This graph was generated from sign-ups for a recent technology professional development.

To explore your data visually:

1) Open a Google Sheets file that contains your data.

2) Click on the small explore icon found on the bottom right of your screen.

3) Explore the different auto-generated visualizations of your data.

4) Find one you like? Click the Insert Chart Icon which will appear as you hover over the top left corner of your chart.

Imagine all the possibilities for your students with this Explore Feature now available within Google Sheets.  If you are looking for large data sets for students to explore, check out  They have different data sets on a wide variety of topics designed exclusively for students in grades 3-12.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

New Templates in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides! Oh, My!!

This is an exciting week of new features available in Google. If you visit your home page of Docs, Sheets, or Slides you will notice new templates readily accessible at the top of the page. You can get to the each apps homepage by clicking on the waffle and then clicking on your desired apps icon (Docs, Sheets, or Slides).

Try out some of these preexisting templates to make your workflow more efficient and productive. Students can use them as a starting point as they create different projects.  Within Docs, you can find report, letter, and resume templates and much more! Within Sheets, there are planners, calendars, and scheduling templates. In Slides, you can find templates for student certificates, book reports, and much, much more!

Monday, September 21, 2015

New Themes in Google Slides

NEW to Google Slides this week are brand new themes!  When you create a new Google Slide file you will notice new theme choices on the right side of your screen.  These choices have been updated and modernized to give you and your students more choices for their presentations.

If you still can't find what you need, there is a choice to import theme at the bottom of the screen.

1. Choose Import Theme

2. Choose a Theme from an existing presentation or Upload a Theme.

3.  Looking for additional themes to upload?  Check out for even more FREE Google Slides Templates.

How might you use some of these new themes in Google Slides?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Voice Typing in Google Docs

NEW Voice Typing Tool in Google Docs is being released to our domain this week! When using Google Docs, users will be able to navigate to the Tools menu, select Voice typing and then see a microphone icon on their screen. This icon functions as a toggle switch. When gray, recording is paused. When red, recording is in progress. This tool will record your words as well as substitute punctuation marks that are said. "Isn't this a neat feature question mark" will be recorded as "Isn't this a neat feature?" Do you want to skip a line?  Just say "New Line."

Like any voice recognition tool, it isn't always 100% accurate. But it can provide a powerful tool for students to get their initial thoughts down on paper and then continue editing and revising within the writing process. How might you use this new tool in your classroom?

Please Note: The release of this feature begins September 21. It may take a few days until it appears in your tool bar. For best results, the use of a microphone is recommended.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Dear WUSD EdTech Blog: Adding Your Teacher Picture to Google Classroom

Dear Not Part of the Blue Man Group,

I applaud your efforts to add your image to your Google Classroom.  Your students will appreciate seeing a friendly, familiar face as opposed to the default Shadow Icon.  Besides solving your Google Classroom dilemma, adding your image will also keep you from appearing as an initial in shared Google Files.   

Like most things in Google, there are multiple ways to accomplish this.  You can set up your Google+ profile and add an image there or if you're already in Google Classroom, here's another way to add your picture.   
  1. Open Google Classroom. (Do you need to be verified as a teacher?  If yes, send an email to Melissa.)
  2. Click on Hotdogs and go to Settings at the bottom of the page. 
  3. Click on Change Profile Picture
4. You will be presented with the following choices: Upload Photos or Take Picture from Web Camera.  If you are uploading a photo, it is recommended that the size is no smaller than 250 px x 250 px.  If you are taking a picture, you may be prompted to allow access to your camera.

5. Click Set as profile photo.  You will no longer appear like a member of the Blue Man Group.

Thanks for your question, Not a Part of the Blue Man Group.  

                                                   WUSD EdTech Blog

PS: If you have more questions for the WUSD EdTech Blog, let us know!  We're here to answer them for you and the larger WUSD community.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Volunteers Needed. Youth Hackathon West Sacramento

On September 11-13, Code for Hood is hosting a Youth Hackathon in West Sacramento at the Community Center and is looking for volunteers to help make this event a success.  Many of our students, ages 12-17 are participating and will have the opportunity to explore game design, web design, coding and much, much more!

The event organizers are looking for volunteers, no tech experience required, to help in a variety of roles over the three days.  They have divided the volunteer schedule in 4-5 hour blocks.  You may commit to as little or a much time as you're willing to give. This is a great opportunity to support our community and learn more about the maker movement in education.  Visit the Code For Hood website to learn more about the event and see the attached schedule with event organizer contact information if you'd like to volunteer ASAP.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Digital Citizenship Lessons to Start Off the Year

Common Sense Media defines a digital citizen as someone who knows how to harness the power of technology safely, respectfully, and responsibly. Digital Citizenship lessons will help prepare our students for 21st century learning environments.

For the upcoming 2015-2016 school year, we are focusing on the meeting the Internet Safety Education Requirements outlined in the Children's Internet Protect Act (CIPA) and will be using the curriculum provided by Common Sense Media. They offer a wealth of standards-aligned, research-based lessons available beyond these requirements. All lessons can be low-tech with pen and paper or there is an option for a more teched-up version.  Lesson materials are also available in Spanish for our bilingual classrooms.

These are the required lessons for each grade level:
Once you complete the required lesson we ask that you complete the following verification form and send to Melissa Oliver via district mail or scanned email.  

You are highly encouraged to check out the lessons beyond those listed above.   Within the Common Sense Media Scope & Sequence, you'll find great lessons on teaching students effective searching skills, copyright, and much more that will complement your ongoing classroom instruction.  These are great lessons anytime during the year and especially at start of a new school year as you prepare to take students into the computer labs, use mobile devices, and collaborate with on another using Google Apps.  You may even want to consider becoming a Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship Certified Educator.  If you have questions or would like additional support, please reach out for support!