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.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Backup your Google Drive

Back up your Google Drive by using www.google.com/takeout

Newsela Non-fiction articles

Spring is in the air!

That means testing is not far away. Non-fiction reading skills are critically important for students to succeed. This week's resource is FREE and gives access to Lexile leveled non-fiction articles based on current events.  Teachers can quickly create classes and assign articles and quizzes to their students.

To get started, visit: http://newsela.com/

Click on the sign in/register link in the top left corner (you can view 4 articles without registering).

Click on the appropriate tab and follow the instructions to register.

Creating classes is super fast and easy, just type in the class name and grade level. You are then given a unique code for each class. Students will use this code to register for their accounts (or you can register for them if desired).

Now you can explore the site, click on one of the categories across the top to view different articles available. Each article is available in different lexile levels and most have quizzes available to check for reading comprehension.

You can easily assign articles to classes by clicking on the button at the top of every article. Click on the binder at the top of the screen to view your classes and assigned articles at a glance. You can see which students have completed the articles and quiz grades. You can download the results as an excel spreadsheet to help with grading and parent documentation.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Log Out of Your Google Acct from Anywhere!

Have you ever logged into Google on a computer or 
device and then left, forgetting to log out first 
but remembered when you went to log in somewhere else?

I have and if you have....
Here's a super easy way to log out remotely from any device!

  1. Log into your Gmail

   2. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click on "Details"

    3. Click on "Sign out all other sessions"

That's it! No more wondering or second guessing...
You can also set up alerts from this page if you think someone may have your account information.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Clear Downloads

If you don't already know, now you know! I will guide you step-by-step on how to clear your downloads so you will have more room on your drive to view files. 

10 Ways Teacher Planning Should Adjust To The Google Generation

This is a great read to touch base with the Google generation. 10 Ways Teacher Planning Should Adjust To The Google Generation

Glove and Boots Fix Your Grammar

Glove and Boots tackle the differences between "its" and "it's," "your" and "you're," and the proper uses of "there," "they're," and "their." Check out their video HERE.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Remind 101

I want to share an excellent communication tool for parents and students called Remind 101. Remind 101 allows parents and students to subscribe to classroom updates via text message. It hides both your personal data as a teacher as well as the students and parents cell phone numbers.It is a very simple and easy to use communication tool.

In a nutshell:
--The service is free. Standard text messaging applies, which I guess could be a concern for anyone without unlimited texting.
--It provides one-way text messaging (teacher>student group) to students who sign up for it (also email for students without text-capable phones)
--Cell phone numbers are anonymous. Students never see your cell phone number... you never see their number.
--You can establish up to 10 message distribution groups 

To get started, you will need to go to: https://www.remind101.com/

You will need to create an account before you can use the service:

Once your account is created, you will need to add your first class. You can make as many classes as you would like or keep the students together in one class.

The next step is to subscribe to your class so you can start sending messages. You will need a text capable cell phone for this step.

There is a lag time between when you send the message and when your account updates with your subscription. It took about an hour after I sent my initial message for my account to confirm my subscription. This is the same process parents and students will need to follow to subscribe to your class messages.

After you have added a class and subscribed to it, you will be taken to your account dashboard. This is what mine looks like:

Within the red box, you can type new messages for your class and send them instantly or schedule them ahead of time (think about reminders for tests or projects being due, you can schedule reminders in advance!). The green box shows how many people are subscribed to each class. The blue box is a reminder of how to subscribe to this class and has a link to print instructions for parents and students.

I hope this encourages you to try this excellent and free communication tool with your parents and students.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Tinker with Electronics?

Do you like to tinker with electronics? The series of four posts by Gizmodo features videos explaining things like resistive sensors, LEDs, diodes, volts, amps, and electrical pressure. You can find the posts in sequence hereherehere, and here. The first video in the series is embedded below.   

Financial Games for the Classroom

Practical Money Skills hosts a series of eight online games designed to teach students some money management skills. Financial Football has students answer questions about budgets, savings, and spending to move their football teams down the field against another team. The games use real NFL team logos. Financial Football takes at least twenty minutes to play. 


Our JCS Digital Learning Grant came through for additional digital books in eFollettShelf. As our collection grows, please remind students to use this resource to read digital books. Students login using the same username and password as they do to login on to the computers at school. Students can search for books and then drag the book to the Reading List or Checkout bar.
Click HERE for the Follett Shelf and save as a bookmark on your browser for future reference. It can also be found at www.johnston.k12.nc.us/instructionaltechnology and our school library site.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


This week,  Pamela Batchelor is introducing Geostories from National Geographic. GeoStories, is a publishing format that combines maps, multimedia, and narrative to take viewers on tours of places and topics. GeoStories are like map-enabled slideshows that incorporate dynamic maps, pictures, video and sound, with captions, links and social sharing. 

The GeoStories span multiple topics including social studies, science, mathematics, and arts based topics. Each GeoStory has questions and vocabulary to go along with the presentation. Additional resources and links to related topics are also included.

For this GeoStory on Earth's Extremes, you can see how user friendly the site is and easily identifiable information such as key concepts and related materials available.

I hope you explore GeoStories and think about using this great free resource with your students!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Virtual Tour at the NC Science Museum

Mark your calendar for February 13 @ 8:45 am - NC Science Museum Hangout for Middle/High students (Bird of Paradise exhibit). 

Information on the virtual tour: Join museum staff at the NC Museum of Natural Science to learn about what extremes animals will go to find the perfect mate. From peacocks to crabs, animals throughout time have modified their appearance, sang out in chorus, and even danced to gain the attention of another. We will explore the benefits and consequences of these behaviors and how scientists are studying them.

Click HERE to join the hangout (you must have a Google + account to participate).