Showing posts from December, 2014

Smile! Dealing with a Lost or Broken Staff ID

Staff members have been saying "cheese" for photographers this year, and those stunning portraits help to increase security in all of our buildings. Photos have been taken by school photographers or district staff and attached to the staff person's Infinite Campus record for use in printing the official Barrington 220 staff ID card. Beginning January 7, 2015, all district staff are asked to wear the official Barrington 220 lanyard and staff ID. Staff IDs are here to stay and we want to take this opportunity to provide helpful tips on what to do in case of loss or breakage of the ID card.

In the event a Staff ID is lost, it is important to notify the tech department by entering a tech ticket for the Infinite Campus Team and note that the ID is LOST. The tech team will immediately notify the Buildings and Grounds Department regarding the loss, and Buildings and Grounds will deactivate the key code. The IC team will then print a new Staff ID for the staff member. New Staff …

Taking a Hammer to SAMR: The SAMR Activity Scale

An earlier article defined Dr. Ruben Puentedura's SAMR model as a tool teachers can use to measure the opportunities afforded to students by technology integration. In this second article of the "Taking a Hammer to SAMR" series, we learn about the SAMR Activity Scale, designed to help teachers apply the SAMR Model to different classroom activities.

The SAMR Activity Scale:

The SAMR Activity Scale outlines how technology use affords students opportunities to learn and demonstrate learning. The second row of the scale defines each step of SAMR and offers a reason for why each example activity on the scale lands in its appropriate column. The dotted line separating the Substitution and Augmentation levels from the Modification and Redefinition levels designates the difference between Enhancement from Transformation in regard to technology integration.

Moving horizontally along the activities listed provides examples of technology-infused lessons aligned with the proper SAMR le…

Barrington 220 Students Participate in Hour of Code

During the week of December 8–14, 2014, all elementary schools in Barrington 220 participated in the annual "Hour of Code" event ( organized by According to the website, the Hour of Code is a "one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics."

The video below, created by Barrington 220 Communications Director Morgan Delack, features Hough School students participating in the Hour of Code. Even the youngest students found that coding is fun through's creative way of teaching. Puzzles, mazes, Angry Birds, and Frozen-themed games are all a part of the curriculum.

Did you know that Barrington High School has more AP Computer Science students enrolled this fall than any other school in the Midwest? Nearly 10 percent of the BHS population is taking some sort of "coding" class this semester.

Hough students master "Hour of Code" from Barringt…

Using iPads at BMS Station in Grade 6

I recently visited three Grade 6 classes using iPads at Barrington Middle School Station Campus and found students engaged in a variety of learning activities in language arts, science, and social studies. The language arts students of Mary Palarz were working on writing with language variety. Students had recently begun using the app Notability for writing and were both typing writing examples and then using Notability’s highlighting features to label parts of speech. Adam Musolf’s science students began the class period by consulting online graphs and charts and then made inferences based upon the data. Students then used iPads in small groups to discuss a lesson on the thermal properties of a liquid and they reported their findings to the class. Finally, social studies teacher Nita Hunter began her class by showing an original instructional video that she created to explain to her students how to label various map features of ancient Egypt using Notability. Throughout the mapping l…

Dr. Harris Visits The White House for #FutureReady Summit

Dr. Brian Harris attended a Superintendent Summit at The White House in Washington, DC, on November 19, 2014, that was attended by school leaders who were invited from districts engaged in exemplary technology-based learning initiatives. Dr. Harris was among around 100 superintendents nationwide who attended the summit.

In a speech during the event, President Obama said:
"In a country where we expect free Wi-Fi with our coffee, the least we can do is expect that our schools are properly wired...We’ve got to bring the world to every child’s fingertips." Watch the full speech:

Superintendents in attendance were asked to sign a #FutureReady Pledge to commit to work with “students, educators, families, and members of our community to become Future Ready by engaging in a wide range of activities,” including the following:
Fostering and Leading a Culture of Digital Learning Within Our Schools.Helping Schools and Families Transition to High-speed Connectivity.Empowering Educators th…

Taking a Hammer to SAMR

An earlier article defined Dr. Ruben Puentedura's SAMR model as a tool teachers can use to measure the effectiveness of technology integration in their lessons. In a "Taking a Hammer to SAMR" series, beginning with this post, we will unpack the specifics of the SAMR model in terms of best practices in instruction and assessment.

The SAMR Model: Image Rights Free
SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. The SAMR Model resembles a ladder with a clearly delineated top and bottom half. The bottom half includes Substitution and Augmentation, labeled as instructional Enhancement. The top half includes Modification and Redefinition, labeled as instructional Transformation.

The lower Enhancement rungs of the ladder allow students and teachers to add small, useful benefits to the curriculum and instruction of daily lessons. The higher Transformation rungs of the ladder afford teachers the opportunity to empower students take ownership of the lea…

Technology Integration en Español (VIDEO)

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting the Barrington High School Spanish classroom of Ms. Sheila Soss. In a single class period, I observed several great examples of technology integration and students who were constantly engaged. Since the classroom had a strict “no English” rule, I did my best to follow along (I am a native English speaker and had 4 years of high school French in the late 1980s).

The first activity was “interpersonal writing,” where students created shared Google Docs and shared them with a few of their peers and the teacher. Students wrote back and forth to each other in Spanish in the document while Ms. Soss viewed the conversations, added to the conversations, and made a few comments and corrections.

Students then assembled in groups of two and used one of the audio recording applications (Audacity or QuickTime Player) to record a conversation in Spanish. When the recording was finished, students listed to themsleves and then uploaded the recording to the class…

Use of Images Online

Copyright is the U.S. law that protects original written, artistic, musical, and other types of works. One common copyright issue is the posting of images on webpages found online. As educators we strive to engage our audience with words and images and we have learned how easy it is to find hundreds, if not thousands, of images online using tools such as Google image search and “stock” photography sites. Unfortunately, not all images that we find online are able to be legally re-posted on webpages.

Many images are perfectly fine to use on our webpages:
photos we have taken ourselvesgraphics we have created ourselvespublic domain imagesimages with certain Creative Commons licenses Unless you are positive that you may use a particular image you have found online, it is best not to use it and avoid the possibility of copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is illegal and may result in penalties in the form of "cease and desist letters" and/or fines that are assessed by th…

Self Service Password Resets, a Sneak Peek!

It was quite the short week last week, but we did get some things done in that 2-day stretch. Here is a sneak peek at some of the work we did...

Officially being released to staff and students (of higher grade levels) this month, we are offering a new way to change Barrington 220 network account passwords, as well as providing a way for you to recover forgotten passwords without the help of IT staff. This service will be provided through the new web-based Barrington 220 Self Service Password Reset system.  
You know we like our acronyms and abbreviations in technology; this one is "SSPR." Typing in SSPR along with our domain name "" into a web browser ( will bring you to a secure district web page. Once your Barrington 220 network username is entered along with your current password, you will be asked to pick a series of questions and provide answers to these questions. This allows us to confirm your identity should you ever lo…