Thursday, April 29, 2010

Citation machine

A teacher was talking about a college class paper they were completing and how they didn't like working out the APA format for citations in their bibliography.  seems to be a very helpful, reliable source to simply click the format  (MLA, APA, or Turabian)  you are using, select the resource type such as whether it is an online journal or printed book, and then fill in the blanks it requests.  It then generates a citation you can cut and paste into your document.

I haven 't had to write a paper requiring citations in a while (and don't really miss it), so I'd appreciate it if those English teachers, Librarians, etc out there who are familiar with the styles, check it out and express your opinion on how well or poorly it works.



Sunday, March 21, 2010

Collecting information with Google Apps

The documents link at that top of your email screen gives you access to several online office  tools such as a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation software. 
Using these tools, you may create documents that you then may share with other users. You may also download them in various formats including Microsoft Office compatible files.

One useful tool is the form tool.  Working in conjunction with the spreadsheet, it allows you to build a form that includes a  publishable link.  When users submit the form, it records the information into a spreadsheet. 
Once the information is collected, you can export it to excel and sort and total the data as you desire.

There are several possiblities with the Google Docs.  For more information, the best source is the help link within google docs.   

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"You've got mail" notification with Google Apps

I was asked yesterday if there was some way to set up a notification that new email had arrived using Google Apps Gmail.

Yes,  Go download Google talk  from  and install it.

Once installed,  if it doesn't open a Google Talk screen, double click on it down in the system tray by the clock in the lower left part of the screen.

You will need to login with your email address and password.  
Once you've logged in,  Click the settings link,   Under the General Section, make sure  "Start auto..."  and "Open Gmail ...."  are both checked.
Also click on the Notifications section on the left, and be sure "Show notification" is checked under the New Email section.

Click Ok and that is it.
You may also Click the X on the Google Talk window to close it and it will still be running and will have a popup notification when new mail arrives.   You can tell it is logged in because the "talk bubble" looking icon will have a red M in it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

PowerTeacher Gradebook Individual student reports

A middle school teacher asked how to print a report they could give to a student that showed just that student's assignments and scores for the quarter.  They wanted to use it with the targeted tutoring and ZAP. 

Here is how to set up to print the reports for just a select group of students.

In PowerTeacher Gradebook - Open the class that contains the student/s,   then in the left column, click the plus sign under the Student Group Heading to create a Group Set,
Name the group set.
When you close the box, it will create a group set with a group under it. You may right click on the group, select Edit, and rename the group.

After your group is created, be sure the Scoresheet is open with the roster of students showing.  Select the student you want to put it the group and drag their name into the Group box.    You may hold down the control key and select several students, then just click and drag one of them to the group box and the rest will follow.

Once you have the group populated with the students you want,  click on the group to select it, then go to the Reports screen,  choose Individual Student Report.
It will have several options, you'll probably want to leave them set as is, with the exception of Students:  Choose Selected Group     and Date Range - Put in Q3 or the appropriate time frame you want.

Then Run the report.   

If you didn't change it, the report will be generated as a PDF, so Adobe reader will open it and then you can print it to give to your students.

BTW, if you are in Middle school and require assistance with this, Mr. Durnell  has grasped this concept at a  mastery level and should be able to help.

Creating your Blogger site

1.  Open the Blogger Web site at
2.  At the top right of the screen, Sign in to Use Blogger with your Google Account.   Our addresses at school are Google addresses, so just use your school address and password.

Here is a link to very detailed instructions:

Good luck.

Venture into blogging

I attended the RCET (Regional Consortium for Education and Technology) conference in Springfield on Wednesday, March 3. 
A major focus of the workshops was responsible use of social networking in a school environment. 
Web 2.0 tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube,  blogging, etc poise a quandry  for education as it is difficult to balance responsible use and access while striving to keep students insulated from potential inappropriate materials and the distractions that access to these sites can cause.
Reasonable attempts to keep inappropriate material out of the school is required by the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA).  Inappropriate material doesn't seem to be a major problems on services such as Twitter and Facebook, especially since more and more potential employers are routinely reviewing the contents of the accounts of applicants.  But allowing student access to such sites at school can provide another potential distraction.
The potential distraction and classroom management problems that arise from this access is being accepted at Nixa schools.  Nixa allows teachers to have facebook sites and Twitter accounts for school use.   They particularily like to utilize  Twitter for sports, club and other activity sponsors to announce information for participants and parents.  For instance, when a group such as the Nixa band is traveling back home from an event, the director texts an expected arrival time to his Twitter account so parents know when to meet their students.
El Dorado teachers have a similar opportunity to start using some social networking for communication with students and parents.  This site,, is open to users in the school.   The site also allows members to post messages to the site via their cell phone by texting.  In a later post, I will put the step-by-step instructions on how to initiate a blog site on blogger.