Monday, September 14, 2020

Remote Learning at Colleyville-Heritage High School


When Alexandria Reid, an English Language Arts teacher at Colleyville Heritage High School, came back from winter break last year, she decided she would move her desk to the corner for direct access to the Newline screen and attempt to get her hands on a podium to do less sitting throughout the day. After accomplishing her ideal setup, she realized her brain was still preparing for in-person learning. After seeing a colleague sit from his classroom couch while attending a virtual faculty meeting, she was inspired to shift her thinking. She moved her podium to face her Newline screen with the camera/microphone pointed at her. A few extension cords and personal touches later, she felt better prepared to take on remote learning. Her work station, of course, continues to morph each day. Just yesterday, another coworker shared his idea of using both his laptop and Newline board to share his screen with students on one while viewing students in "brady-bunch" mode on the other. The possibilities are endless!  She keeps looking for new ways to adapt and help her students be more engaged and more comfortable with remote learning.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Teaching Together with Remote Learning at OC Taylor

Second Grade Teachers at OC Taylor

The OC Taylor second grade team works together to adjust to remote learning.  Teachers are all socially distant in the same classroom, but  take turns teaching/leading each Webex learning session. While one of them is teaching the other two are monitoring the chat, assessing behavior, and looking for students that might have questions. They use a dry erase board to write any notes to the teacher who is giving the lesson. This helps limit background noise for the students and allows them to address needs quickly and efficiently. 
They strive each day to remove learning barriers, keep a consistent schedule, and improve this experience for their students. They feel that in this time of uncertainty it is crucial for all of their students to see all of us each day and recognize that we are their teachers and they are our students.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Podcasting For The Culture

Spotlight: Paula Díaz at Timberline Elementary School

Last semester, there was a blog post about encouraging student voice through podcasting. To Paula Díaz, a second grade teacher at TES, creating a podcast was also an opportunity to empower students from her culture.

"Some Hispanic people are very shy...they are scared to try new things and voice their opinions. I heard Dr. Ryan doing his podcast and I thought that would be a very good way to increase and motivate my kids to express what they want to say."

Interviewing Principal Hilcher
To start her class podcast, Díaz saw a tweet from a fellow GCISD teacher who used the Anchor app to record the podcast. She then introduced podcasting as an extension activity for her advanced readers. In Google Classroom, Díaz sent the students a bio of the person they wanted to interview. Then, her students created their own questions.

"They showed me their questions so I could approve them. Then, they practiced using Garage Band so they can hear what they were saying and fix pronunciations."

Afterwards, they sent an email to set up the interview date. Her students first interviewed their principal, Liz Hilcher, last November. Two weeks ago, they interviewed GCISD Superintendent, Dr. Ryan. Díaz incorporated student choice during the editing process as well. The students look forward to listening and voting for the background music for the podcast episodes.

Interviewing Dr. Ryan
With their next podcast episode, they hope to interview a local government official. This time, the second graders will take more control over the interview process to help them learn how to communicate with adults.

Díaz's goal is to equip her students with effective communication skills to "express themselves, ask questions, and gain the confidence to go for everything they want."

She also mentioned how utilizing an instructional coach helped her prepare for her podcasts.

"It's good to have the help of the coaches because sometimes you are scared to try new things and to have support was great."

Read more from Paula Díaz in her own words.

For more resources on how to start or enhance your own class podcast, check out the GCISD Instructional Technology website and click on Podcast.

Monday, January 6, 2020

New Instructional Technology Site

Teachers Can Access New InTech Site in Classlink

Looking for podcasting tools? Maybe you want to learn more about Hyperdocs. Do you need some help with your Interactive Display, Flipgrid, or screencasting?

Sometimes it seems like all of the things you need are spread out across many different places. After some brainstorming and teacher feedback, the InTech team has worked to consolidate instructional technology resources into one place.

Check out our new and improved Instructional Technology website! You can easily access this site through Classlink. The site is fluid and will be updated over time, so let us know what other things you might like to see.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Tips for Your New Interactive Display

Spotlight: Melissa Richards at Heritage Middle School

The new interactive displays currently being installed in GCISD are transforming classrooms. Melissa Richards, an AVID teacher at HMS, and her students are learning new ways to use this tool everyday.

"I love how easily I can use the interactive display to help run my class. With only 47 minutes in a class period, every minute counts. I don't have to constantly run back to my desk, so I'm saving time during transitions."

She also finds ways for her students to use the display as well.

"Sometimes if I have a student who is off-task or distracted, I like to give them a job. I'll say something like: 'Hey! Can you go set up the timer on the big screen for me?'" 

Her students lead tutorials twice per week and one group of students use the interactive display in their tutorial session.

"It's great because if students are working to annotate a text or graph an equation, the student can pull up the text or digital graph paper for the whole group to easily see."

Melissa's favorite digital tools to use with the interactive display are:, Class Dojo, and Gynzy Kids.

For the most up to date information on how to use your Newline Interactive Display, check out the GCISD Instructional Technology website and click on Interactive Display. You can now easily access this site from Classlink.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Mind Full or Mindful?

Tips for Cultivating a Connected Classroom of Self-Regulated Learners

The terms mindfulness and social and emotional well-being are becoming more and more prominent in our school system. Anxiety, pressure, and unstructured free time affect teachers and students, K-12. Studies show that people who consistently practice mindfulness and meditation show an increase in thickening the cerebral cortex - The area in charge of thinking, processing, and emotions. 

With the use of websites and apps, incorporating this practice into your classroom can be done with convenience! I challenge you to incorporate these simple apps and techniques into your classroom to see if anxiety lessens and a calmer environment is cultivated - For you and your students.

Smiling Mind

Clear. Calm. Content.
This free meditation app is developed for people of all ages, but has specific sessions to target students. Separated by age and topics, teachers or students can easily navigate through it to find what suits their personal needs. 

Mindful Powers

Mindful Powers, available in Meraki, walks students through a designated calming task which gives students the ability to regain focus, slow-down, and de-stress. The play-reward concept allows students to feel a sense of accomplishment, while mindfulness meditation is taking place. 
Try it for yourself! 

The New York Times - How to Meditate

The New York Times article, linked above, offers simple tips on getting started with mindfulness. Scroll to the bottom to find meditation practices of all lengths and times of day, including mindful walking, eating, and sleeping. 


Within the Nearpod Lesson Library, teachers have access to many developed lessons. In the category, "Social Emotional Learning", take some time to explore different interactive options to use with your students! 

I hope everyone has a mindful week!

Tweet your mindfulness practice and brain breaks to @GCISDInTech or @EdTechKars! 

Monday, October 7, 2019

Increase Student Engagement During the "October Blues"

"We played Kahoot! in three classes this week."
"We always play Quizlet Live before a test."

It’s October. Students are getting restless, and that long holiday break is months away. This is the perfect time to add more engaging review activities to your lessons! 

Students have different learning styles. Some prefer working in groups, while others, individually. Some prefer team competitions, while others prefer self-paced activities. Students should also have options in the way they review. They need to see the content presented in multiple ways to best retain information.

Since the start of the school year, more teachers have used Quizizz and Flippity.
But have you tried GimkitKubbu, or games?

Gimkit is a game where students earn money by answering questions at their own pace, on their own devices. They use different strategies to increase their dollar amounts. The goal is to win as much money per question as possible. There are several game play modes and opportunities to gain advantages in the “Shop”. Students are able to see questions multiple times as they strategize to either: gain the most money, help their team gain the most money, or help the class meet their monetary goal—it all depends on the game play mode. So one game can be played multiple ways within one class period.

 offers a variety of learning activities:
  • Match: Students can “familiarize” using flashcards, or “solve” by clicking matching tiles. There are also different types of matching.
  • Divide: Drag the tiles, or “elements” to the correct categories (create up to four categories). 
  • Slider: Answer multiple choice questions, multiple answer questions, or climb up (correct answers move you up a hill; incorrect answers send you back to the bottom of the hill).
  • Composer: This is a quiz format. You can increase the level of difficulty to help with content mastery.
  • Crossword: You have the choice of adding a timer and allowing a certain number of help letters.
Although it requires users to enable Flash, once allowed, students should be able to access the activity. Kubbu can be used as an individual assignment, or as a class activity when projected on the screen. With an interactive projector, it transforms into a hands-on learning experience. Unfortunately, because it requires Flash, it does not work on an iPad.

However, works on all platforms. Similar to Quizlet, it is a website where teachers and students can find or create flashcards. There are two games that offer fun ways to study the flashcards: Jewels of Wisdom and Stellar Speller.

When sharing with students, always link both games so students have a choice in how they review.

Try incorporating these resources into an upcoming unit!
Tweet and help us share your engaging classroom activities by using #gcisdchat