Welcome to The Pirate D.L. Blog! We hope you find a lot of great resources for digital learning that you can use in your classroom.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Kid "President's 20 Things We Should Say More Often"

This video could be fun and useful to show to any class, particularly to English Language Learners.

E.L.L. Practice

Using protest movements and historical photos for English Language Development, click HERE to read and check out a student interactive site from The New York Times. 

Math @ Work

Math@Work is a new video series from Scholastic. The seven part series features Project Runway's Tim Gunn showing students how math is used in fashion design. Even if your students don't have any interest in fashion design, showing them a clip or two from this series could be good way to get them to start thinking about how mathematics appears in career fields that they might not expect. Challenge your students to find other careers that incorporate mathematics even though it might not be obvious. 

The first episode is below or click HERE

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Presentation.io is a service that helps your audience follow along with your presentations. Presentation.io does this by allowing the members of your audience to see your slides on their laptops, iPads, and Android tablets and watch them change when you advance your slides. This ensures that everyone is on the same slide at the same time. This week Presentation.io added a new option that allows you to use your cell phone as a remote to control your slides. 

To start using Presentation.io upload a PPT or PDF to your free Presentation.io account. Presentation.io then gives you a URL to distribute to your audience. When the members of your audience open that URL they will be able to see and follow along with your presentation. When you're done with your presentation just click "stop presenting" and the synchronization stops. To use your phone as a remote just start your presentation and Presentation.io will send you a text with a link to make your phone a remote. Simply upload your presentation, click "Settings" and then "Use mobile phone as controller." 

The free version of Presentation.io keeps your presentation on file for four hours before it expires. 

Top 85 Tips for Chromebook

Getting started with a Google Chromebook is very easy; so is being a normal Google Chromebook user. But to be a power user, you need to know some tips and tricks. Here are some to get you started!

Class Charts

Tis the season for the holiday grumps!

That is what I like to call those up and down student behaviors associated with breaks in schedule, stress, and maybe just a little too much sugar or not enough sleep.  If your students are affected, now may be an excellent time to add a new strategy for behavior management.

Class Charts is a free online behavior management tool that is easy to use and has options for student and parent accounts for communication.

To get started, go to: www.classcharts.com

You will need to sign-up for a free teacher account.  Once you register, when you login you will be taken to your homepage.

There is a short tutorial and a video to give you an overview of how the website works. You will also have a demo class to start with. To add your actual students you click on the green "Add Class" button.

When you add a class, you will see the screen above. You can add your students and class information, then click "Create Class".

When you click on a class from your homepage, you will see all of your students. You can create a seating chart by clicking and dragging the student icons. You have several options across the top of the screen. You can award points or take away points from multiple pupils, take attendance, pick a random student, and create printable lists and seating charts.  You can also click on a student to bring up a snapshot of that students information and behavior.

This is an example of a student snapshot. From this screen, we can give Claire additional points for positive behaviors or take away points for negative behaviors. We can also see the activity log for this student and recent behaviors. To change the avatar for the student, click on the current avatar.

You can choose one of the pre-selected avatars or upload your own image.

Across the top of the screen, you can click on "Pupils" to view a list of all students and their information.

This list will show all of your students. Click on "enhanced report" to view a detailed report.

You can print this report as well as see what the parents or students see when they login to their accounts. If multiple teachers use Class Charts, the parents will be able to see data from all classes that use Class Charts. The pupil report is a powerful tool for students and parents to be able to see behavior patterns.

There are many ways you could implement Class Charts into your instruction. Maybe you open the class chart on your SMART Board and leave it open while students are working independently so they can see positive or negative points. Some teachers also create a weekly competition to see which class can earn the most points for a small reward. Sometimes students just need a visual reminder of your expectations.

I hope Class Charts is a behavior management strategy you consider for your classroom!

Questions or Comments?
Please email me at: pamelabatchelor@johnston.k12.nc.us

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Howdy Y'all! If you are unable to view the video below on your device, please visit: Click Here

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Google Drive for Educators

Anyone that wants more in-depth training about Google Drive (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, etc) can sign up for this FREE online Google course. To Register Visit: Google Drive for Educators Click Here.  If the video does not play on your device, please visit: This is Google Drive Video

VideoNot.es with Google Drive

VideoNot.es  is a great app that syncs with Google Drive where students can watch a video and take notes at the same time. The best part is that all of their notes are automatically saved in Google Drive. Below is a demonstration on how to set-it up and in action or click HERE to watch. 


LIVE Virtual Field Trip from The Weather Channel

Explore the science behind severe weather & learn how to be prepared.

Discovery Education and The Weather Channel invite you to attend a virtual event LIVE from The Weather Channel on December 11th at 1pm ET.
Can't make it at this time? Classrooms and teachers registered for the event will be notified when the archive is available soon after the live event.

Meteorologists from The Weather Channel will discuss the science behind hurricanes, tornadoes and other severe weather and provide tips on how to create a plan to keep safe in case of a weather emergency. Your classroom will take a behind the scenes tour of The Weather Channel studios and live weather center to explore the technology used to predict, track and report severe weather.  

To get ready for this event, check out a series of videos and hands-on activities, as well as a Family Preparedness student take-home activity. Join us for an interactive and informative discussion to prepare you and your students for any kind of weather!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Google Tour Builder

Google released a great new tool for creating Google Earth tours. Tour Builder makes it easier than ever to create Google Earth tours in your browser. In the video below is a demonstration of how to use Tour Builder or click here to watch.

Tour Builder could prove to be a great tool for students to use to create geography related book reviews, to tell stories from their own lives, or to develop geography research projects. 
Examples: US History project- students can create a series of placemarks about battles of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Spanish class- students can create landmarks in Spanish speaking countries. 

Street View Special Collections

Google Maps Street View imagery provides a good way to show students the world without leaving your classroom. Google Street View provides culturally significant places throughout the world that gives students a prospective that they can't get by flipping through printed images or looking at flat maps. Street View Special Collections allows you to find that imagery in one place. Explore world landmarks, discover natural wonders, and step inside locations such as museums, arenas, restaurants and small businesses with 360-degree images. Go Behind the Scenes by Clicking Here

Chrome Toolbox

The Chrome Toolbox site was created to celebrate the many Apps and Extensions made by developers which serve the accessibility needs of individuals with disabilities. Although Google already highlights accessibility features built into the Chrome browser or through add-ons, we have collected numerous other free tools that we feel further contribute to that mission. Use this searchable resource to locate tools that serve the particular challenges anyone might face while working in Chrome.  ChromeApp presentation  

Friday, November 15, 2013

Social Media Guidelines Revised 11/6/2013

Important things to remember for Faculty & Staff:
These social media guidelines have been created as a resource for you with the hope that you will be encouraged to participate in online social activities. It is important to create an atmosphere of trust and individual accountability, keeping in mind that information produced by JCS employees is a reflection on the entire district and is subject to the Johnston County Schools’ Board Policy 5175: Employee Use of Social Media and Johnston County Schools’ Board Policy 5220-R: Employee Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources (Johnston County Schools Employee Technology and Digital Citizenship Agreement). By accessing, creating or contributing to any blogs, wikis, podcasts or other social media for classroom or district use, you agree to abide by these guidelines. Please read them carefully before participating in any social media application.
As a reminder, specific advanced approval must be obtained prior to implementing social media for legitimate instructional purposes. All requests for use of social media for instructional purposes must be submitted on the Social Media Request Form to the district Technology Committee and must follow the guidelines as listed in Board Policy 5175. **If you choose to use social media as a school entity for COMMUNICATION purposes, your principal will grant or deny permission; do not fill out this form. (A school entity refers to a club or a group, not an individual teacher.) If you choose to use social media not under the direct control and maintenance of Johnston County Schools for INSTRUCTIONAL purposes, please fill out and submit this form. Your request will be reviewed by the JCS Technology Advisory Council, and you will be informed as to whether or not your request has been approved. Anything, on www.johnston.k12.nc.us/jcoc is JCS sponsored plus YouTube. 

What is Social Media?
Social Media is online user-created content designed in a collaborative environment where users share
opinions, knowledge, and information with each other.
Tools include, but are not limited to:
• Blogs (Blogger, WordPress, etc.)
• Wikis (Wikispaces, PBworks, etc.)
• Social Networking sites (Facebook, Ning, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.)
• Photo and Video Sharing sites (YouTube, Flickr, etc.)
• Social Bookmarking (Diigo, Delicious)
• Podcasting and Vodcasting

Personal Responsibility
• Engaging in personal social-networking friendships on MySpace, Facebook or other social networking sites is prohibited with students, and strongly discouraged with parents or guardians of students. The District recognizes that because of the tight-knit community of JCS, many staff members may have students or parents of students that are family members or close personal friends. However, the District cautions staff members against engaging in such social-networking friendships with these individuals. Use your official, school- or work-related page(s) instead.
A recommendation for staff to respond to “friend” requests on their personal pages is:

If you are a student or parent requesting to be my “friend,” please do not be surprised or offended if I ignore your request. As an employee of Johnston County Schools, District procedures and practices discourage me from “friending” students or parents on my personal pages. I would encourage you to friend our school’s (and/or classroom’s, department’s, the Johnston County Schools’) Facebook pages, etc.

Google + & Connected Classrooms

1. To create your Google+ account, sign-in to your Gmail and click on the +Your Name symbol in the top far right of the page:
2. If this is your first time accessing Google+ you will be asked to create an account, simply follow the directions until you reach your homepage:
3. Click on the Home button in the top left corner and click on Profile.
Home Button > Profile
Your profile will look plain when you first join.  To add a cover photo (this will always be a public photo) click on change cover. You do have access to a gallery of stock photos for your cover photo or you can upload your own. My recommendation is to chose a stock photo for your cover photo or a photo that you have that is not personally identifiable (maybe a picture of your favorite team or a pretty landscape).

To change your profile picture, hover your cursor over the circle space next to your name on the top of your profile. You can then upload or select your desired photo (of yourself looking your professional best, of course!).

4. On your profile, you can view people in your circles as well as those who have you in their circles. Circles are groups of people that you can customize.  To quickly add and manage your circles, click on the Home button on the top left side of the page and click People.
People > Your Circles
Along the bottom of the screen, you will see your circles. To add a new circle, click on the plus icon. You can have people in multiple circles. For example, your mother also works for JCS, you may want to add her to both the family circle and a circle for work. You can drag icons for people you have already added to different circles. You can also type in a person's name to add a new person to your circle. Circles are useful for sharing information and events to those people to whom it is relevant. You can also share different levels of access to your profile with those in different circles.

5. You are now ready to share your first update. Click on the Home button and start typing your first update in the share what's new box:
Share within the Community
6. Hover over the home button on the left side of the page.  You will see a menu like this:

Click on Communities.

Communities is a great way to connect to people across the globe. To view a community page, simply click on it.

To become a member of a community, click on the red join community button on the top right side of the page.

In most cases, your account will be reviewed before you are granted membership in a community.  In some communities, you may have to wait for someone to review your request.

Posts from communities you belong to will show up on your homepage and profile.

***One community that I would like to spotlight is the Google Connected Classrooms community.

Google + Connected Classrooms Community is a great way to connect to international teachers. It is a public community of classrooms around the world. It has a lot of innovative ideas and events. To visit the site I have included the direct link:  Connected Classroom Community OR Connected Classrooms for virtual field trips.

Once you have joined a community, you can also post directly to that community.

Virtual Tour of Ecuador and Lesson Planet

Our Spanish teacher, Senorita Seay, stumbled across an amazing virtual tour of Quito, Ecuador. Feel free to incorporate this amazing tour in one of your Spanish, history, or geography lesson plans. http://discover.ecuador.travel/en/tren/tren-crucero-360 
Lesson Planet has an abundant amount of educational resources and ideas for lesson plans. Here are some lesson ideas and activities for Ecuador found at: http://www.lessonplanet.com/lesson-plans/ecuador 

View and save Gmail attachment directly with Drive

Over the next few days, Google be rolling out a feature that lets you view Gmail attachments and save files directly to Google Drive without ever leaving Gmail. 
The next time you open an email with attachments, you’ll see new previews of the files at the bottom of the email, from photos and videos to spreadsheets and PDFs.

When you click on one of those previews, a full-screen view of the image or document will appear. You can read, search for a particular phrase, and even browse through multiple attachments within Gmail. 

You can now also save your attachments directly to Drive simply by clicking the Drive button that appears when you hover over the preview. Of course, if you prefer to download the attachment to your computer, you can—just click the arrow button. 

This new attachment experience is available on desktop and will be rolling out over the next week. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

NC Speed Test!

Today is the first day of the North Carolina School Speed Test Month.

  • Please take a minute and visit http://partners.schoolspeedtest.org/north-carolina.html and take an automatic one-minute Internet speed test.
  • Please do this on wired and wireless devices. We need both for feedback. 
  • With this data we can prioritize Internet upgrades and make the case for increased investment in school Internet.
  • Our school zipcode is 27591
  • Thank you for your participation in this process! 

Change Your Password Prompt

There is a message that appears when you login to your computer that states the password expires in 5 days and suggests to change it by entering "Control+alt+delete". Do not do anything! Wait until the 5 days run up and at that time it will require you to change the password at the login prompt. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Research using Google Apps

Shakespeare App

Shakespeare: Filling In For Will is a fun game filled with famous quotes from Shakespeare. In this iPad app players are shown a quote that has a word or two missing from it. They then have to select the word or words that complete the quote. After filling in the quote players are shown the play, act, scene, and character connected to the quote.
Evernote Camera Roll 20131104 193111
The app is currently priced at $2.99 USD. There is a promo code for it on Feed My App to download it for free. Promo code: 7FWP3RWXNXR9
Evernote Camera Roll 20131104 193107

Using IE 9 and Google?

If you choose to use Internet Explorer vs Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari make sure that you're using IE 10 or above when using Google. Yesterday, Google announced that they are ceasing support of IE 9 (support for all previous versions ceased a while ago). If you're not sure what browser you are using you can visitWhatBrowser.org (Click on the top toolbar to translate in English) to find out. Most of the school's computers are set to update to the current browser; however, this is something to think about when you use your home computer. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

PowerSchool Apps

The Johnston County PowerSchool Public Portal is now operational, and parents are getting their logins. Parents can download the PowerSchool app from Apple's App Store or Google play.  Please find more information HERE.

New Google App Bar

Google has updated on all of us again! Last week, our Google bar was at the top of our browser page as a black toolbar.

The new look is located in the top right section of the page as an icon of a cube.  
If you have an Android device or have worked on a Chromebook, the app launcher will already look familiar to you.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Mr. Nailor's Shakespeare Pages

Shakespeare Pages is a fun interactive webpage for students to get excited about William Shakespeare. I shared the page with one of my professors and she even said it is the coolest page she has ever seen. So, check it out! 

Curriki Geometry Projects

Curriki has recently released a series of six PBL geometry projects that could make geometry interesting and fun for high school students. 

Curriki's new geometry course features six PBL projects. Each of the projects is aligned to Common Core Standards. The course is not a self-directed course for students. The course is designed to be taught by mathematics teachers who want to incorporate PBL. The projects in the course can be used in sequence or used as stand-alone units. All materials needed for leading the projects are included available on the Curriki site. You will have to create an account and sign-in in order to access the materials. Curriki accounts are free. 

In reading over the project descriptions the one that intrigues me the most is the House of the Future project. In the House of the Future students watch a short TED Talk about the future of housing then formulate their own predictions for the future of housing design. After making predictions students use geometric modeling to design a building that supports their predictions.

This post originally appeared on Free Technology for Teachers .

Google Scholar

Google Scholar, like Google Books, is one of the research tools that high school students often overlook. Searching on Google Scholar is not like searching on Google.com or searching in any other public search engine.

Google Scholar indexes scholarly, peer-reviewed academic papers, journals, theses, books, and court opinions. These are materials that students usually won't find through Google.com, Bing, or Yahoo search. Just they can do for Google.com searches, students can create Google Scholar alerts. Google Scholar alerts notify students when new materials related to their search queries appear on Google Scholar. The screenshots below offer directions for creating Google Scholar alerts.

Step 1:

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Step 3: