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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Feb 15: Kahoot Problems Answered by Quizzizz

KAHOOT!: Kahoot has implemented a new security / safety feature for 16 and under users that disables their ability to share their work; thank you UPHS Foreign Language teachers for finding the error. The result is simply that students cannot email you the link to play with the class or to grade their work.

*Here is your workaround:

QUIZZIZZ: Quizzizz is an extremely similar gaming / formative assessment tool. Students can create and share their work; just like they used to with Kahoot.
google login .png
Supports Single Sign On with Google
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Choose from the library (you can edit to suit your needs) or create from scratch
You can even import questions from a CSV file
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Kids navigate to and enter the game PIN to join OR share out through Google Classroom just by clicking the Classroom Icon.
You will still get the same great formative assessment tool with the individual student data you need for modification and remediation.

Check out Quizzizz Educators’ Resource Page to learn more or contact Will Herring at

Thursday, December 1, 2016

UPDate for November 28-Dec 2nd
PowerTeacher - You probably have noticed the window shuts down very quickly (10 minutes or less) when inactive. I have asked MCS IT to see if this is a MCS or DPI policy. If this is an MCS policy, we will ask that time-out to take place in a greater increment (30 - 45 minutes) to allow you to do your work more between logins. If this is a DPI policy we may be stuck.

3D Printing - 3D printing has a home in your club or course. A student from the Fishing Club (Johnson, Moore, & Allred) asked he can design and print lures. Two kids asked if they can design and print a scale Ziggurat for a class project (if you don’t know what that is, ask your local World History teacher). Ms Murphy asked if we can 3d print some dreidels for when she teaches world religions.

The point is that the interest is already here. The process of 3d printing will expand the technical, design, engineering, and mathematical skills of the students. If the lesson is designed well by we the teachers, the students will have to deeply understand the elements being examined for creation.

3D printers are rare in schools right now. Mr Simon has a 3D printer (he was way out in front of this) in the UPStart room but I will be happy to request to borrow an additional traveling printer from PHS, SMS, others if we have  project to make. If we really show we will use these we can find a grant or beg for more of our own. - Wizer allows you to produce good looking worksheets with embeded elements including YouTube video and formative assessments including matching, fill in the blanks, short answer and several more.
  • items with a definitive answer are graded automatically
  • Wizer supports “assign to students” > Google Classroom option
  • There are tons of lessons already created by your peers

Examples: (click the course below)

Keeping the UPHS Family Informed - As you know we are re-thinking how to communicate all the academics, arts, community service, and sports going on at UPHS. It is a bigger undertaking than I thought initially. We need to find a way to communicate some info with staff, other information with students, and still other information with the parents and community. It needs to be reliable and timely and preferably catered to the audience. I’m not convinced there is a silver bullet to be found but if you have ideas put them out there. If your group, club or team already has a way to communicate with parents and community on Twitter or Facebook, may I know the Twitter Handle or FB page name to promote it? The rest of us can benefit from seeing what works for you already.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

UPdates for Nov 17th

Digital Integration, the Joyce Kelly Edition: The people you work around are doing great work with integrating technology into their daily instruction. Joye Kelly decided to tackle Canterbury Tales a new way this fall. She is having her standard ELA 12 students use to create illustrated characterizations of 15 of the pilgrims from the book. After 3 days the kids are pros with the program & are able to recall the physical traits and satirical elements of several of the characters they read about. This is a challenging group of students with which to try something new; not to mention in the context of English Literature. Good work and you are awesome!

PLC’s and Accreditation: Your PLC minutes are great, don’t change anything. With that said, PHS was docked points for not have a central hub for admin and SIT to review them. As a result, I need all Dept Heads to please send me the share LINK to your docs and I will create a hub for them in Canvas. You will continue to access them as you always do or you can get them through Canvas. If you can get me the “Share”  link in an email titled ex: "Science PLC” I will take care of the rest over Thanksgiving. 

Nerding out in the Aux Gym: On December 15th First Tech Challenge is a world-wide, robot building, engineering, and programing competition. The Public Education Foundation of Moore County and Microsoft Inc have given grants to sponsor and supply seven teams from across Moore County middle and high schools. On Dec 15th, our 2 viking teams will scrimmage all other MCS teams in preparation for the state qualifiers in January. Will Allred has worked with our teams two days a week for three hour sessions to get ready for this. Come down during your planning to check it out, cheer them on , and wish our kids luck. If you want to bring your whole class let me know ahead of time and we will make that happen too. Game play will begin at 11 AM with trophies awarded at 2:30 PM. 

—  Canvas is coming and MCS Moodle is going: We had a scare this past week; IT asked if anyone would miss the MCS Moodle Server if they killed it? They are as shorthanded as everyone else in education & it is time consuming the keep the software updated. If/when they kill the server it will kill any course that you / students access on the MCS Moodle (not dpi or ncsu so this would not impact the state run CTE classes in Moodle). 
Fortunately the county IT department has heard from teachers that we need more time in transitioning to Canvas. The server will most likely be maintained to the end of Spring Semester. The scare was good because it reminds us to hurry our Canvas transition. To that end I will start having trainings during the first half of each block Monday and Tuesday of next week with more to come when we return in December and January. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Nov 1st UPdate

Access to your grade book and more is changing November 7th. IAM / Rapid Identity is the umbrella log in for many of our products including SchoolNet, Canvas, Gradebook, TNL (observation tool), and PowerSchool. Currently you have to enter an IAM / Rapid Identity password and a second PowerSchool / Gradebook password for attendance and grades. On November 7th, you will NO LONGER BE PROMPTED to enter a separate password for PowerSchool / Gradebook; it will just open when you are logged into Rapid Identity.

Old Way
Step 1 Step 2
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New Way Beginning Nov 7th
Step 1
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“I don’t care Will, just tell me what to do”

Gotcha: You need a new bookmark because the old, desktop Gradebook icon WILL NOT WORK ANYMORE. Right click on that one > select “Delete”.
New: type in a window or click here: . Before you type anything in those fields, select or highlight the ENTIRE URL in the bar above. Click, Hold and Drag that highlighted URL down just a little into the Bookmark Bar of your Chrome Browser. Don’t see that? You can just click the Star in the right corner of the URL line also to create a bookmark in chrome.
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**You must be able to log in to IAM by the end of this week. If you cannot or do not want to do this on your own, come to the Media Center Tech Lab Thursday during the first 30 minutes of each block to walk through it with Ms. Smith or myself. **

UP_TV: For a couple of years now we have tried to figure out a way to let students begin broadcasting our morning announcements. It’s a great idea because students have access to the announcements (if they are interested) on demand, parents can watch from anywhere to see what is going at their child’s school, and your first and fourth period class get 6 extra hours of instruction (4 min X 5 days X 18 weeks).

To get this up and going, we will begin this week running a dual system, announcements embedded on the web page AND full announcements read over the intercom. Next week we will begin deferring to the online announcements Tuesday through Friday with only emergency announcements, Pledge of Allegiance, and Moment of Silence over the intercom. For now, keep using the notebook in the front office to record your announcements although in the future I hope to replace that with an online version.

This is going to take some getting used to for us, the teachers, the club sponsors, and the team coaches. We can’t reliably film these the morning they are released because of logistical concerns. We will film tomorrow’s announcements today (that’s right, we’ve got the future) during 3rd block. That means: #1 greater planning when possible on our parts, #2 changing situations like “game is cancelled and we’ll practise in the Aux Gym” will still be done on the fly over the intercom.

NEWSELA Pro: Kim paid the Pro subscription this morning. All UPHS teachers now have access to all the features that were so useful during our free trial. If you have not used it, or are not sure if you should use it, please reach out to myself or one of our power users: Lisa Murphy, Bill Moore, Jennifer Cunningham, and I’m sure I missed some others.
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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Chrome OS Push to v 53 TODAY

Quick UPdate for you:

ChromeBook Operating Systems: are going to be updated TODAY to v53. If a student is having any inexplicable problem today accessing a site, check for this in the bottom / side status bar.
Student can click the icon, log back in, and they will begin running the new operating system. If they update and STILL have trouble accessing a site please let me know the name of the site / application ASAP and I’ll try to troubleshoot. There are always a couple of glitches that we find after we get into it.
You shouldn't really have any issues but I wanted you to be in the know, have an idea for troubleshooting, and have a life line if your lesson is impacted.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Password Security: The Bureau of Justice Statistics (part of DOJ) reports 17.6 million Americans were victims of some form of identity theft in 2014 alone (more details here). I personally had two of my credit cards picked off virtually this year. It happens to the best of us and can carry consequences that range from annoying to financially devastating. Remember that any password, no matter how long or challenging is only a function of time. Watch this to understand that hacking isn't magic; hacking is an exercise in statistics. 

Change Your Password NOW: On October 13th 678 students were logged in as teachers on their personal devices to allow their cell phones to pull data from our government network. Those 678 students were only using 2 teachers credentials. The initial breach of security could have been my malicious intent by a student or by the willing sharing by a staff member with their child or student. In any case, we all need to take reasonable steps to ensure this sort of breach does not happen again. The networks here are for students to access content relevant information, not to engage in cell phone apps. If you believe your account has been accessed inappropriately or you have not changed your password this year, go into you .org email and change your password. Doing so will trigger a chain of automatic password resets on all MCS devices, Zscaler, and Wifi access. If students are using your information now the change will kick them off. 

Teacher Spotlight: Senorita Rodriquez I recently had the opportunity to assist Ms. Rodriguez in here Spanish classes. Ms. Rodriquez has been in the UPHS family for a good while now so we already know that she is an excellent teacher. But, I had no idea she was so good at integrating technology. Study of the day was Peru. 
--Students entered to a YouTube video of music and dancers native to Peru--
--A student presents the culture, economy, and government of Peru on Google Slides --
--Students are counted off and begin working through 3 stations--
                1) Bracelet making (replicating native crafts found in local markets)
                2) Vocabulary review card games (teams of two compete to match terms with meaning)
                3) Virtual Reality tours of Machu Picchu (my contribution)
In my subsection of the education world we talk about the invisible integration of technology; meaning the whatever technology is being used is the window through which the learning takes place, not the actual focus of the events. Alex has a lot to teach us about how to move these tech pieces in when they add to what she wants and out when they don't make sense. 

Tuesday Nov. 1st:  I am inviting all of the ELA, SS, and Science teachers to the conference room from (9:30 to 3:30) to re-introduce SAS Curriculum Pathways and maybe a couple other tips and tricks. 

YouTube UPdate: You can approve videos on YouTube! 10 second tutorial on how. Let me know if it doesn't work for you so easily.

Report excerpt from DOJ - BoJS

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Catching you UP

Master Calendar
For the past couple of years I have heard staff members say that they would do more around here if they knew what was going on. An idea was worked out last year to have one mutual calendar in Google that would be our MASTER calendar. It worked really well for the Department Heads & Coaches last year so now it's time to expand the calendar. This AM you were all given access to our UPHS Master Calendar. You can add, alter and see all the awesomeness happening around here to "stay in the know." Here is a video to get you started if you are new to Google Calendars.

Virtual Reality Headsets
Thanks to everyone (especially the Science Department!!!) that was able to drop by the playdate for the Virtual Reality headsets. I was able to use them already in Mr. Johnson's room, which went well, and now I'm hoping to bring them into yours. Remember that these (right now) are best deployed as a small group, rotation style resource. I have compiled a google sheet with YouTube 360 Videos subdivided by department / course. Look around in there and tell me if there is something that would be valuable to your classes. Don't see what you need? Let me know that too & I'll search it out for you.

VR YouTube 360 Lists

Green Screen is UP and Ready
You may not be aware of it, but we have an awesome Green Screen setup waiting for you, your classes, and your clubs to use for still shots, commercials, and short movies. Please let me know if you are tired of the same old projects and I'll show you how we can make Green Screen movies without blowing up your pacing guide. Take a look and see what we are already doing in our Green Screen Studio.
UPHS French Makes the News Fair and Balanced
PHS Civics Fact Check the Candidates
Ms. Prude's Murder on the Orient Express

.Net is Coming...soon
Hurricane Matthew didn't just knock out our electricity, it knocked out our email service. .ORG is a locally hosted email service that has been great for many years but hurricane pointed out the need for a system that will continue to operate when our locations are without power. Thank you all for already making the move to using .NET. When this transition happens we (UPHS staff and students) will be in great shape. Here is a tutorial for creating group contacts in Google .NET Gmail.