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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sharp School Tutorials Folder

Do you need any assistance designing your Sharp School webpage? I have compiled some short tutorials to help you get started. If you have any additional questions and/or need some 1:1 assistance, please let me know! Click HERE to check out the Sharp School Tutorials.

Monday, March 23, 2015

AUTOMATIC copy of Google Document

There are times as a teacher when you want your students to make a copy of a Google document for a class assignment. As a presenter or colleague, you may want to share documents, templates or presentations. Unless they are familiar with making copies within Google drive, this can be a time-consuming task helping individuals make a copy. Google Drive now has the ability to force or automatically create a copy of a shared document.

To get started open the document to be shared/copied. Edit the sharing settings to anyone with a link can view.

Next, look at the URL at the top of the screen. At the end of the URL, you will see the word “edit”.

Change these words to copy.

Now copy and share the changed URL. Anyone opening the document with the new URL will now see the following prompt:

The person getting the copy will have to be logged into a Gmail account in order to get the above prompt. If they are not logged it, the link will redirect to the Google login first. After clicking on “Make a copy”, a duplicate copy of the document will now appear in their Google Drive.

Friday, March 13, 2015


For All:  5 Ideas from Schools on How to Use Lexiles

How to Use Lexiles:  5 Ideas from Schools
The following are the top 5 ideas we have heard from our schools regarding how they are currently using this data point to drive reading comprehension deeper.  

(library management system, searchable by Lexile, genre, etc.)

Sample chart of Lexile ranges

Newsela can be accessed here:  NEWSELA

Lexile Analyzer can be accessed here:  Lexile Analyzer

There are many more ways to use Lexiles.  These are just a few ideas to get you and your school started.  
Information shared from the JCS Data Central Blog. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015


It is research paper season and this week we are sharing my favorite EASY and FREE referencing tool- RefME from Harvard University. RefME works in your web browser and has free apps for iOS and Android.

To get started, go to: https://www.refme.com

You will need to create a free account by entering your email and creating a password.

From your homepage, the first step is to name your project. This makes it super easy to keep references and notes for multiple projects separate.

On the right side of the page, select what type of resource you would like to create a reference for. You can search by title, author, ISBN, or keyword. If you have the free RefME app, you can scan book or resource barcodes to find references as well.

Once you added your source, you can easily add notes and quotes from the resource.

Once you are done adding sources and notes, you can click the export button to create an exportable list in a variety of formats including Evernote, Microsoft Office, and Bibtex (great for Google Docs).

Make sure you download the free app to make the most of RefME:

I hope you use RefME to make your research papers and projects a success!
Thank you, Pam Batchelor for sharing!!! :) 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Daylight Savings Time

Sunday is daylight savings time! It's time for "Spring Forward"!!!
On Monday, please follow these steps exactly as listed to change the time on your classroom phone:
Push "speaker" > * ># >0 (zero)> * >0 (zero) >1 > Enter date: 030915 > Enter time (military) > # > Hang up
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Jeopardy Labs

Who doesn't like a good Jeopardy game to make reviewing for that test a little more fun for our students? JeopardyLabs has taken care of all the hard work of creating and linking the pages. All that’s left is adding the content and you might even find that done for you too! JeopardyLabs is a free website that requires no sign-up. Simply create a password for your game to allow you to go back and edit the game if needed.

To get started, go to jeopardylabs.com and click on Start building.
*Note: Games are automatically published to the web unless created by a paid account.

Enter the title of the game, label the categories, and enter the questions under each category.

To enter the questions, click on the points, add the answer, and the question, and then click Continue. As questions are entered, the “Points” disappear, indicating that questions have been submitted for those amounts.

After clicking the save button at the bottom of the page, links (both regular web address and HTML) for the game will appear along with the link to edit the game. These links are unique to each game and can not be retrieved, so be sure to keep up with the links and passwords for the games created.

In addition to creating your own game, you can browse already published games. Click on Browse at the top of the webpage to go to the search page.

Click on the results to review/play the game. Always preview games thoroughly before using them with students. Return to the search and click on Edit to “save” a copy of the game for later use by adding a new password. This option allows you to actually tailor the game for your classroom needs.

Thank you, Brandy Whitley for sharing!!! :) 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

SMART 14 Features

Smart Notebook 14

Many of you have probably noticed some changes in the Smart Notebook software. There are some new (and a couple not new, but little known) tools and features included in this version of Smart Notebook. Please take some time to view these short tutorials by clicking on the title links and learn how to use these features:

Monday, March 2, 2015

Formative Assessment Digital Tools

Have you ever wondered how you can collect quick feedback from students for formative assessment data? Check out some of these awesome digital tools: Tools for Capturing Data