Monday, April 20, 2015

#bsd220slowchat is THE place for BSD220 Twitter Professional Development

Twitter continues to grow as an impactful source for professional development and networking for teachers in Barrington 220. Teachers have added Twitter to their repertoire of tools to improve their instructional practices, resources, and ideas. Thanks to pioneering teachers in the district, teachers not on the original Twitter bandwagon have embraced its value to the point that we now have our very own Barrington 220 slow chat, #bsdslowchat.

In the past couple of weeks, teachers across Barrington 220, and a couple of out-of-district teachers, have accessed questions shared by the #bsdslowchat moderator, Mrs. Caroline Milne (@MrsMilneBiology) and shared their answers the past couple of weeks.

Once or twice a week, Caroline posts the questions of the week:

Anyone on Twitter can respond with their own answers using text, links, photos, or videos:
As Tim O'Connor (@toconnor851),

Janet Woods (@jancwoods),

Vanessa Fennig (@MrsFennig), and more did this just this past month. 

You too, can join in the fun. It doesn't make much time, it's easy to do, and it can be accessed anytime, anywhere from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

How to access the #BSDslowchat

Infinite Campus Teacher Web Training Opportunities

This summer Infinite Campus will be saying goodbye to the older Java Grade Book. Teachers across the nation will be joining the Barrington 220 teachers in using only the Campus Instruction grade book. Infinite Campus will be announcing new capabilities within Campus Instruction and they have scheduled numerous free training opportunities for teachers to learn more about Campus Instruction.

IN Course 9010: Using the New Campus Instruction

We will cover the new and redesigned tools available to users, specifically:
  • Accessing the Campus Instruction Application
  • Setting and configuring preferences
  • New seating chart tool
  • New looks for Roster and Attendance
  • New Grade Book overview and configuration
  • New Planner Tool for curriculum management
  • Available reports
Please note that if you do not have an ICU account, you will need to create one in order to sign up for one of the free training sessions, and then go back and register for the session that you wish!

If you don't have an ICU account, create one here. Once your account has been confirmed, you will receive a confirmation email from ICU letting you know you can log in and register for any trainings published in ICU.

If you have an ICU account, sign up for training at

Direct links to training sessions:

Tuesday, May 5 at 10:00 AM Central Time

Wednesday, May 6 at 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM Central Time

Thursday, May 7 at 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM Central Time

Tuesday, May 12 at 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM Central Time

Wednesday, May 13 at 2:30 PM Central Time

Thursday, May 14 at 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM Central Time

Monday, May 18 at 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM Central Time

Wednesday, May 20 at 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM Central Time

Thursday, May 21 at 10:00 AM Central Time

Thursday, June 4 at 10:00 AM Central Time

Monday June 8 at 2:30 PM Central Time

Tuesday, June 16 at 10:00 AM Central Time

Friday, June 26 at 10:00 AM Central Time

Tuesday, June 30 at 2:30 PM Central Time

Wednesday, July 8 at 10:00 AM Central Time

Monday, July 13 at 2:30 PM Central Time

Friday, July 24 at 10:00 AM Central Time

Thursday, July 30 at 2:30 PM Central Time

Friday, August 7 at 10:00 AM Central Time

Wednesday, August 12 at 2:30 PM Central Time

Friday, August 21 at 10:00 AM Central Time

Tuesday, August 25 at 2:30 PM Central Time

Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 10:00 AM Central Time

Gmail Tips from the District Tech Committee

In a recent District Technology Committee (DTC) meeting, DTC members shared both comments and tips about Gmail that they had learned since the transition. DTC members pointed out that the transition went smoothly, were happy that the Gmail is very stable and consistent in and out of the district, and enjoyed the seamless integration among Gmail, Google Calendars, and Google Drive. A few DTC members shared some specific tips:
  • Reorganize the Labels (similar to folders) in the left column to improve email organization. In the left column, click More and Manage labels (at the bottom). 
  • Drag and drop attachments from your Desktop or folders directly into and out of emails (great for photos and other images).
  • If you type the word “attachment” as part of your email and you forget to include an attachment, Gmail automatically asks you to add the attachment.
  • Use the Undo Send feature in Google Labs to retract an email within 10 seconds after sending. Click Settings (upper-right corner "gear" icon); select Settings; click the Labs tab (across the top); click to Enable Undo Send.
  • You can now easily set up Barrington 220 email using the Mail app and Calendar app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac OS. Directions available here.
  • Use the Gmail app on iPhone or iPad to keep work and personal email accounts separate. Download the Gmail app here.
  • Select a customized Theme for your Gmail experience. Click Settings (upper-right corner "gear" icon); click Themes; select a Theme
  • Automatic email threading groups emails together (this feature is called “Conversation View.”). You can also turn off this feature: click Settings (upper-right corner "gear" icon); select Settings; click the General tab (across the top); scroll down to find Conversation View and click Conversation view off.
Finally, for anyone who wishes to use email more effectively, an excellent book is available, Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better (2010) by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe. This book is not a book about using email systems; rather Send offers “essential strategies to help you both better manage the ever-increasing number of emails you receive and improve the ones you send” (from the publisher’s review).

Apply for PK–5 "LaunchPad" Initiative Beginning 4-23-15

Teachers of students in Grades Pre-Kindergarten through 5 will soon have the opportunity to apply for next year’s iPad launch, referred to as “LaunchPad.” On Wednesday, April 22, 2015, each PK–5 building’s District Technology Committee (DTC) representative will share some basic LaunchPad information. The following day, Thursday, April 23, 2015, PK–5 teachers will receive a link to the application process for LaunchPad.

Interested teachers are asked to apply as Building Grade Levels. Building Grade Level classroom teachers who apply are encouraged to include the Specials (art, music, PE) teachers, Librarians, and Special Education teachers they work with regularly in the application process.

The DTC has worked to create a series of application questions for the LaunchPad initiative. The selection committee intends to include all eight elementary schools and the ELC in the LaunchPad initiative and have every grade level represented. In addition, the DTC has developed a vision statement for the One to World program.

The Barrington 220 One to World Initiative:

  • Allows students to participate as global citizens.
  • Provides unlimited opportunities for real-world learning.
  • Fosters creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.
  • Facilitates personalized learning through ownership, choice, and reflection.
  • Allows for immediate and strategic feedback.

The LaunchPad initiative will begin for selected teachers during Summer 2015 and students will receive devices in LauchPad classrooms for use throughout the 2015–16 school year. In 2016–17, all PK–5 students will have access to iPads. Grade levels will receive devices in the following configurations:

  • Grades PK–K: 10 iPads per classroom
  • Grades 1–2: 1:2 ratio (one iPad per two students)
  • Grades 3–5: 1:1 ratio (one iPad per student)

The deadline for the LaunchPad application process will be Friday, May 8, 2015.

Summer Tech Support In...and Out...of Barrington 220

Although our current weather may not belie this, summer is, indeed, coming! I just wanted to take a moment to remind you that our tech sup...