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.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

read&write READ ALOUD extension

Recently, Read&Write Chrome extension added a new feature that allows students to practice reading aloud any section of text from the web or a Google Doc. This feature is free and available to all users. Here is a brief video explaining this new feature:

Read&Write is one of our favorite Chrome extensions to be able to highlight, annotate, and read aloud text from any website or Google Doc. Teachers can register here for  free premium access to Read&Write


Join the conversation about the use of technology for learning through Speak Up, a National Research Project. Since 2003, more than 4.5 million K-12 education stakeholders have participated in the annual online surveys. Data findings are shared each year with federal, state and local policymakers to inform education programs, policies and funding.  

Surveys will be open for input from now through December 12 at: www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2016.

Instructions for completing the Speak Up survey

  1. Go to this linkhttp://www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2016 
  2. Click on the appropriate survey (Student, Educator, Parent, Community member).
  3. Follow the given instructions to access the survey. Begin by entering your school zip or clicking on the drop down button and select your state, then go to the next line and type in your school name to find your school.
  4. Students will choose their grade level and enter in their school specific password: speakup16
  5. Parents and Educators will NOT need the password to access the survey.
Please note that participation in the survey is optional, however, if you do choose to share the information on your website or in your classes you might want to access additional promotional materials please visit: http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/promo.html

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Friday, September 23, 2016

Columns in Google Docs

COLUMNS are finally available in Google Docs!

Select Format -> Columns option allows you to add the columns to your document.
You can select 2 or 3 columns for your document

Once you have your columns inserted, you can go to more options to set your margins and spacing between columns, you can also add a line in between your columns:

If you select the line it will appear as you start the second column of text and will look something like this:


NEWSELA provides a way for students to read articles on their Lexile level, teachers can sync articles to Google Classroom, text sets are available, quizzes are generated from articles, articles in Spanish, and more! Check it out!

What's wrong with this picture?

It's a self-charging Chromebook cart! 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Insert Images into your Quizzes using Google Quizzes aka Forms

You can now add images to your answer choices in Google Forms. Doing that allows you to have students select an image as the response to a question. You can also combine images and text in your Google Forms answer choices. It also allows you to select answer key, point value, and feedback! 

Check out this video for step by step instructions: Insert Images as Answer Choices 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Guide to Co-Authoring in Schoolnet

Guide to Co-Authoring in Schoolnet
Sharing tests in Schoolnet changed last November with the update to include Co-Authoring. You can now share tests with any user within the state with Co-Authoring. No additional role or access is needed. I have included a guide with instructions on Co-Authoring below. You need to have the author of the test add you under the Co-Authoring settings for the test.

Part I: What is Co-Authoring?

Co-authoring is a new form of collaboration in Schoolnet that allows you to collaborate with any educator in the state of North Carolina. Currently, you can work together to create assessments, items, passages, and rubrics in Schoolnet.

Part II: Where do I find Co-Authoring?

  1. Login to the NCEdCloud and open Schoolnet
  2. Under “Assessment Admin”, click on “Co-Authoring”
coauthor a.png

Part III: Co-Authoring Home Screen

coauthor b.png

This is the Co-Authoring homepage, from this page you can see all items, passages, rubrics, tests, and folders you co-author. On the right side you will see a “Create New” dropdown menu to create a new co-authored item, passage, rubric, test, or folder.

I recommend creating folders to organize your co-authoring items, ESPECIALLY if you will be co-authoring with multiple groups of people.

Part IV: How to Create a Co-Authoring Folder

  1. Login to NCEdCloud, open Schoolnet
  2. Under “Assessment Admin”, click on “Co-Authoring”:coauthor a.png
  3. From the Co-Authoring Home Screen, Click on the “Create New” button and select “Folder”: coauthor c.png
  4. Give your folder a name and add collaborators (please note that to search for collaborators, you must enter their name in this format: lastname, firstname for example: Batchelor, Pamela):coauthor d.png
  5. Click Save, then you will be taken to your new folder where you are ready to co-author with the collaborators in the folder.
Part V: Co-Authoring Assessments

There are several ways to add co-authors to a test in Schoolnet:
  • From the Co-Authoring Home Screen, you can create a new test in a folder or with a group.
  • From the Create a Test Manually option under Co-Authoring, you can check Enable Co-Authoring, then either add collaborators or place the test in a Co-Authoring folder (which will automatically share the test with the users of that folder).
  • Open any test that you have already created and under test properties, edit the co-authoring section.

Important Notes about Co-Authoring:

  • Co-Authoring does not allow for simultaneous editing, only one user can edit the test at a time.
  • Co-Authored tests should be treated as drafts at all times to preserve access for all users. Once a test is ready to be given to students, each teacher wishing to use the co-authored test must make a copy of the test and assign the copy to their students. This is important for two reasons: it preserves access to the test for all users AND it protects student data linkage between PowerSchool and Schoolnet.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

SMART Notebook for your HOME Computer

Downloading SMART Notebook Software to your home computer

Go to:
You will then need to activate your software by putting in the following code:

Smart Notebook 14


Grant Approval Form

Grant Clarification!  
Yes, there is a grant approval link/docu-sign on the website - Here is the location and image of what you fill out to have the final document sent to you in email.  

District Student Technology Showcase

Please encourage your students to sign-up for this great leadership opportunity to represent CHHS at the District Student Technology Showcase on Monday, October 31st at Smithfield Selma High School from 8:00-11:30 AM. This is different than in years past. Students are participating and learning new skills as opposed to showing what they have done in class.
Below is a screenshot of some of sessions that are being offered. The form also allows a section to type in suggestions for sessions. Please have students go to: bit.ly/jcsstudent16 to register ASAP!

Inline image 1

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Google Quiz using Forms

To use the new feature, open a Google Form and click on the settings cog in the top right corner:

Click on the "Quizzes" tab and slide the indicator to make this Form a Quiz:

You then have a few options, such as when you want to release quiz grades and if students can see missed questions, correct answers, and point values.

Click on "Save".

You should now see an "Answer Key" on the bottom corner of each question. Click on it to set the correct answer and point value for each question.

I love that you can add answer feedback to give students resources and explanations instantly!

One you have selected a correct answer for each question, share your Google Form in Google Classroom or share the link with your students.

Once you have at least one response, Google Forms creates an insights report for your quiz. You can see your average, median, and range of responses. Google Forms also highlights your frequently missed questions.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Moodle to Canvas RCD

We are sharing resources on how to access the Rigorous Curriculum Design (RCD) resources that have been moved over the summer from Moodle to Canvas.

Pam Batchelor has created a video tutorial to explain how to access Canvas and enroll in the RCD courses that have been developed for your use.

Brittany Taylor has created a PDF guide on how to access the curriculum materials as well. Please click here to view the PDF guide.

We are super excited that almost every core subject and grade level has resources. Please reach out to the Digital Learning Team or the Curriculum Specialists if you would like additional resources and training on accessing or using these wonderful resources!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Google Classroom Summer Updates

The long awaited parent option has been added.  The call it "Guardian" and you can invite one or more parent/guardian to receive updates about their child's work for the week.  
Once you turn this feature on under the students tab, you will need the parent email address it invite them.
Guardian email summaries include:
  • Missing work—Work that’s late at the time the email was sent
  • Upcoming work—Work that’s due today and tomorrow (for daily emails) or work that’s due in the upcoming week (for weekly emails)
  • Class activity—Announcements, assignments, and questions recently posted by teachers
By default, email summaries for your classes are turned off so it will need to be turned on. Guardians can’t access Classroom or view your class stream. 
The other big update is the option to add a "Topic" on teacher posts.  This allows postings to be grouped together and sorted by topic.  This feature can be extremely helpful in organizing posts by unit, or by group.

Once topics have been added to postings an option to view the stream by topics will be available on the left for ease of use by both teachers and students.
Lastly, the Google classroom mobile app has added functionality to annotate student work.  Using the app you can now draw on, highlight, and write on top of students' Google Documents, PDFs, and Microsoft Word documents. The iOS version of the app will also let you type on top of a document. With both apps students can annotate items that teachers have shared in Google Classroom and teachers can annotate items that students have shared back to them.

Friday, August 5, 2016

2016 Microsoft Office for Home Use

Microsoft Office for Home Use includes Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2016 Or if you use a Mac, get Office Home and Business 2016 for the same low price $9.95.

Enter your work email and follow the on screen instructions!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cleaning up for EOY

The end of the school year is here and it is a great time for students and staff to cleanup your email and drives before you leave for the summer.  Here are a few best practices and tools to help you.

Student/Staff Drives:

It is a good idea to backup all files on your school based drives before you leave for the summer. Refer to your EOY checkout sheets for your school process. Remember that the student share drive will be deleted this summer so remove any files you wish to keep.

Google Takeout:

To create an archive of all files on up to 16 different Google products including Drive and Gmail. This process is free and very simple, just follow the onscreen directions as shown below.

1. Create an archive by selecting the services you wish to archive:

2. Select your file download type and delivery method (by default all files will download as a zip file):

3. Click Create Archive, you will then see a status page with the progress of your archive:

4. Download your archive file, this will depend on the delivery method you chose. The default delivery method is via a link sent to your email. Note: You must have access to the hard drive or a large flash drive/portable hard drive to download your files as these are large files.

Here is the email I received when my archive was ready:

Your archive file will take some time to prepare depending on the amount of files in your Drive and Gmail; you will receive an email when the file is ready. Your archive file will be available for seven days.

Changing Roles?

Remember to check your Google Drive for folders or documents you own that you may no longer need and transfer them to someone who will be in your role. For example, if you are the owner of the 5th grade math folder for your PLC, open the folder in Google Drive and click on the person with a + sign icon and click "advanced" and then make someone else the owner of the folder. You will still be able to access the folder but it will no longer be owned by your Google account.

Here is a short video on how to transfer ownership of files and folders on Google Drive.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Get Immediate Response Back from Your Students!

Check out this video of Google Slides Q&A in Action:

The Slides Q&A feature works on desktop computers, chromebooks, and Apple/Android mobile devices.

To launch the Q&A feature, open any Google Slide presentation and click the down arrow next to the present button:

The presenter view box will open, this is where you can start the Q&A session and see questions as they pop-up:

This is a wonderful new feature to make your presentations interactive!

Friday, May 6, 2016


Google Classroom released a new feature that allows you to schedule posts in advance for your classroom. This is an excellent feature that allows you to work ahead of your students and schedule posts to appear when you want students to see them.

To use the new feature, open Google Classroom and create a new post:

Click on the blue down arrow button to see the post options.

Click on "Schedule" and choose the date and time you want the post to appear.

Your scheduled posts will be saved at the top of your classroom stream.

Here is a recap of what this looks like in action: