Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Istation: Lexile Level Chart Update 09/30

Lexile Level Chart in Istation has changed.  
Here is the updated information:

The Lexile level can be found either of these reports: 
  • Classroom Summary Report (distinct from the regular Summary) 
  • Student Summary Handout

The Reading Level Correlation Chart can be found here: https://secure.istation.com/ReportToolbox/tool_ReadingLevel

NOTE: This chart does not contain the Lexile Level anymore because those are included directly on the reports.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Learning.com Training Resources 09/29

Now that our Learning.com classes are auto-uploaded, we can rethink how we training our teachers. Here are some resources you can use for not only your class, but for teaching teachers and/or sharing resources with them so they can investigate on their own.

FYI: Learning.com eCourse will be available by the end of November.

Printing Student Login Cards (start at :40 seconds to the end)

Learning.com Curriculum Icons: What Do They Mean?

Assigning Curriculum to My Class (Handout)

Assigning Curriculum to My Class (Video)

Assigning Spanish Curriculum to My Class (Handout)

Resetting or Returning Lessons to Students Using the Gradebook (Handout)

Working with the Gradebook in Learning.com (Handouts)

Think Central: Adding/Updating Resources on the Dashboard 09/29

Adding or Deleting Resources from Teacher Think Central Dashboard

In order to update/change a teacher’s products on the Dashboard in ThinkCentral:

  1. Click Settings and select Manage Account from the drop-down list
  2. Hover over the My Account tab and click Manage Products on the far left
  3. Select the Grade, Subject, Language that you want and click Find
  4. Products that can be displayed on the Resources Dashboard are marked with a dashboard icon. Select the ones you want
  5. Click Save

Friday, September 26, 2014

SuccessMaker Enterprise 09/26

SuccessMaker Enterprise (K-2)

If your campus still wants to utilize this program, your students can be uploaded into the system.
Reminder that there will NO SUPPORT for this program other than this initial upload of students and teachers because we no longer pay for the support from Pearson.

What do you need to do?
Email Emily Bourgeois and Christy Foster with your request.
NOTE:  Be aware that it might take 2-5 days to get this ready.

You need to supply the following information:

*Grade Levels to include with the upload:  K, 1st and/or 2nd?
*Contact person for communicating about this:  
*List of teachers for the grade levels, including their:
--First Name
--Last Name
--Network Username
--Grade Level

Determining At-Risk Students - Istation Reports 09/26

Determining At-Risk Students - Istation Reports

Principals and Istation Managers were sent the following email (see below) from Rebecca Terry (Curriculum and Instruction Elementary ELA Specialist) regarding the At-Risk Student Reports and how it relates to Istation.  

Please go through the chain of help that you have at your campus before having teachers call Christy Foster.  There are "helpers" at the campus level that know how to print reports, such as:
Peer Facilitators
Istation Managers
Tech Liaisons
Tech Apps Teachers

If these people can't help, feel free to call or email:
Emily Bourgeois - 78102
Tom Deibel - 78101
Christy Foster - 70143

From: Rebecca Terry
Sent: Friday, September 26, 2014 10:06 AM
Subject: Determining At-Risk Students

This year we will use Istation data to determine our “at-risk” students.  We will label all Tier 3 students as “at-risk”.

Use the following report from Istation to determine your “at-risk” students: TIER MOVEMENT REPORT

Learning.com - No Tracking Generic Login "Bug" 09/26

Learning.com - No Tracking Generic Login "Bug"

Please be aware of the following known problem with Learning.com –

If you create a class with NO TRACKING and a generic username and password, the student(s) will be able to log in and activate the first lesson.
However, all subsequent lessons remain inactive (unavailable) for the student under this generic login.

Learning.com has been made aware of this issue and they are working on it at this time.
As you are now accustomed to seeing from me……….

Sorry for the inconvenience, and I will let you know when I hear back from Learning.com re: this (as they describe it) “bug”.

New Teaching Units Need Technology? 09/26

New Teaching Units This Year Need Technology?

Do you have more teaching units at your campus this year?  (additional teachers from last year's numbers)
They need new technology in their room, right?
*Desktop Computer
*Teacher Netbook
*Student Machines (example: 3-5 machines per room in elementary)
*Document Camera
*Promethean Board

Here is what you can do.

Submit a work order in Eduphoria Help Desk detailing what they need. 
*Desktop computer and/or tablet 
*Netbook for teacher 
*Student computers (example: 3-5 in each elementary campus, etc.) 
*Promethean Board 
*Document Camera

Then, consider emailing Steve Wentz if you have a new teaching personnel unit on your campus to make him aware of this need.

Istation Testing Deadline Extended 09/26

Istation Testing Deadline Update

The following email was sent from Rebecca Terry re: the Istation testing window:

From: Rebecca Terry  
Sent: Friday, September 26, 2014 7:40 AM 
To: Christy Foster 
Cc: Emily Bourgeois; Scott Harrell; Traci Powell 
Subject: RE: Istation/TSDS Numbers 

If they go into next week, that’s ok.  

We need everyone to be finished [with Istation testing] by the end of next week. 

Conflict Between Lync 2013 and Promethean Board 09/26

Conflict Between Lync 2013 and Promethean Board Connection

When Lync opens automatically (part of Office 2013), it appears to be interfering with the connection to the Promethean Board.  As a result, the pen no longer works with the board even though all the correct drives and software are installed.

Adjusting Lync Settings – (This may help in correcting the Promethean Board connection problems.)

Solution – Turn off the “automatic startup of Lync”.  This won't uninstall the program, but it will keep it from auto-starting (which results in the conflict).

Do the following:
1.   If Lync is not open, go to Start----All Programs----Microsoft Office 2013----Lync 2013 2.   Click the “Cog” icon on the top right 3.   Go to Tools---Options 4.   Click Personal at the top left 5.   Remove the check from Automatically start Lync when I log on to Windows 6.   Click OK

Projector Bulb Replacement News 09/26

Projector Bulb Replacement News

From a meeting held on September 26, 2014:

  • Steve Wentz (Technology Director) will continue to purchase [projector bulbs]. 
  • The September shipment has not been received [as of September 26].  
  • Those who need projector bulbs should submit a work order when needed. 
  • Steve's department WILL NOT provide spares.  It is a 1:1 exchange (old bulb for the new bulb).

Friday, September 19, 2014

Websites of the Week! 09/19

Websites of the Week! 09/19

Thanks to Meredith Rives!

Mouse skills for PK-1st! - http://www.minimouse.us/

Growing with Technology - http://www.growing.course.com/index.html

Typing with Katie - http://www.growing.course.com/level_K/type/index.html
(from the Growing with Technology site)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Think Through Math - Spanish Language 09/17

Setting Spanish Language as Default for Students in 
Think Through Math (3rd-8th)

To set Spanish as the default language for a student you will need to start by navigating the class roster that contains the student. You can do this by:

1. Click on the Classes link in the top navigation bar.
2. Click on the Current Students button below the class name that the student is in.

3. Once in the class roster, simply click the Edit link (the pencil) to the right of the student's name
4. Select Spanish in the Second Language drop-down list.

While the student is working they will then need to click the Spanish button in the bottom left-hand corner. This will activate Spanish audio in all sections that have speaker icons available with the exception of the Focus.

Discovery Education - Student Logins 09/17

Can our students log into Discovery Education?

Question: Can our students log into Discovery Education?
Answer: Yes if you request upload from Christy Foster.  See email below.

From: Christy Foster
Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 10:33 AM
Subject: Discovery Education

[I can] upload students into Discovery Education.
This is a one-time upload pulled by campus and at the campus request.
After the initial upload, campuses will have to maintain student accounts manually.

If you know of any campuses ready for this upload or if it ever comes up in conversation/training, please let them know to contact me and I will upload their campus.

Web-Based QR Code Reader 09/17

Using Netbooks and You Need a Web-Based QR Code Reader?

This DOES NOT work in Internet Explorer.  
Only works (currently) in Chrome or Firefox.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Shortcut That Opens In Chrome Even Though Internet Explorer Is Default Browser 09/16

Creating A Shortcut That Opens In Chrome....
(Even Though Internet Explorer Is Your Default Browser)

Thanks to Holly Montemayor for this tip!
  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. Go to the website for which you want to create a shortcut (Examples: Think Through Math, Wateford, etc.)
  3. Click the Settings Button (three parallel lines at the top right)
  4. Click Tools
  5. Click Create application shortcuts...
  6. Click the Check by Desktop
  7. UN-check the other options
  8. Click Create

This will open the browser with the URL (website).
Close all windows and look at the Desktop.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Learning.com Update 09/11


Student and Teacher Accounts:
  • Middle Schools are back! (seems that they disappeared over last weekend.....hmmmmm)
  • Student accounts should be working.
  • Teacher accounts should be working.


The auto-upload process that PISD started this year has not been without it's problems...in case you haven't noticed!  Auto-generated classes in Learning.com are not looking exactly the way we would want them just yet.  Learning.com's statement regarding the timeline for correcting this problem is:  "I was given a time of “next week” for the fix of the removal of old classes to be ready and applied to districts."

Here is an overview of what you are (or will be) seeing, as well as our goal for this year.  

MANUALLY CREATED Classes from Previous Years:
  • Old manually created classes can only be deleted or edited by the teacher or campus coordinator.
  • As a district, we chose NOT to delete them in case a teacher wanted any information or curriculum they had assigned to the class in previous years.
  • Teachers can manually create classes this year, but students will not auto-update in them.  That will need to be done manually by enrolling or un-enrolling them.

LAST YEAR'S "Synced" Classes:
  • CURRENT SITUATION: When we first tested the auto-upload process to see if it worked successfully (in early August), classes with last year's students were auto-created under each teacher's login.  So, everything worked out great at the time. 
  • PROBLEM: These classes from last year are still there, and they aren't being removed like they should.  
  • GOAL: Removal of all 2013-2014 (last year's) auto-generated classes with last year's students in them.
  • RESOLUTION: Learning.com is aware of their programming issue and are working to rectify the situation.

THIS YEAR'S "Synced" Classes:
  • CURRENT SITUATION: 2014-2015 classes were auto-uploaded (created) using the teacher's schedule.  
  • PROBLEM: This creates about 7-10 classes per teacher at the elementary and middle school level, instead of just one class for each group of students he/she teaches.  
  • GOAL: Each teacher sees one auto-created class for each group of students they teach.  Elementary - that means that each teacher would have one or two classes.  Middle - that means that each teacher would have 4-5 classes.
  • RESOLUTION: Allen Brown (PISD Student Data Department) has the upload file ready.  As soon as Learning.com corrects their programming issue, the upload file will be imported and the goal of one class per group of students will be accomplished.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Compass Learning Contest 09/11

Compass Learning Classroom Refresh Contest 

Your teachers and students have the opportunity to win a classroom makeover worth up to $70,000!  Prize packages include cutting-edge personalized learning software, hardware, and professional development that will not only benefit the winning classroom, but will help the entire school. Here's how it works:

  1. Encourage your teachers to work with their students to create a music video expressing how technology will enhance the learning experience. 
  2. Submit videos between September 19 and October 24.
  3. Spread the word to your school and local community to vote for each video for a chance to win!

Winners will be selected based on a mix of public votes and a judging panel. View full contest guidelines, including the prize package details per grade category, at www.ClassroomRefreshContest.com

Contest Details

PowToons EDU - FREE! 09/11

FREE PowToons EDU Accounts for a Year! (Regularly $96)

What is Powtoons? – Create professional animated lessons, coursework and presentations.

Powtoons is giving away 50,000 accounts for Teachers For Free!  Each account gives one teacher + 60 students access.

Overview of PowToons Offer - http://www.powtoon.com/lp/toonup/

Promo Code - Promo code: ToonUp5M

PowToon Account Types and Restrictions

NOTE: Users under the age of 18 may only use the "for Education" version of PowToon (PowToon 4 EDU).

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Istation Updates and New Features! 09/03

Istation Updates and 
New Features!
Istation's Cycle of Interactive Instruction
Leisure reading for PF's and other Reading Aficionados

Just in time for the new 2014-15 school year, here are the latest updates and newest features added to Istation's programs and resources.
Report and Management Web Site Updates

Usage Trend Report - allows for robust tracking of monthly usage
  • Graphs chart the average minutes each student uses Istation throughout the entire school year.
  • Students are grouped by tiers, which are represented by color-coded trend lines.
  • Specific tier trend lines can be toggled on or off to customize results.

Assignments for Istation Home - allows educators to assign practice activities to individual or multiple students through the Report and Management Web site
  • Educators can track completion for individual or whole-class progression.
  • Practice activities support advanced reading skills and cover life and physical sciences. 
Customers can log in and check out the Istation: News and Updates page for the most updated list of modifications and news.
Istation Math FREE Preview

FREE with every Istation Reading subscription, Istation Math delivers math intervention focusing on number sense topics for grades 2-5, Istation Math includes:

  • Number sense for grades 2-5 with lessons focusing on place value, rounding, comparison, and fractions
  • Computer-adaptive assessments for grades 2-8
  • More than 50 game-based independent practice activities
  • Real-time, on-demand reports
  • Teacher Station and iPractice interactive teacher tools

Click here to learn more about Istation Math today. 
Istation Reading

A New Timeless Tales Unit
  • Grades 6-8
  • Unit 2 curriculum - Plot Elements and Symbolism added
  • More Teacher Directed Lessons
  • Additions to the Teacher Station and iPractice
ISIP Español
  • More than 2,200 new assessment items.
Istation Home

Assignments for Istation Home
Educators can assign practice activities to individual or multiple students. After logging into the Report and Management Web site, teachers can select practice lessons for students to complete at home or at school.

Plus, while students work on assigned lessons, educators can track completion and view individual or whole-class progression.

Practice activities support:
  • Advanced reading skills - reading comprehension, word skills, comprehension practice, and sentence building
  • Adventures of Dr. Amelia Chameleon - life sciences
  • Justin Time - physical sciences
  • Timeless Tales with Paige Turner - reading comprehension, word analysis, fluency, and vocabulary
  • Additional teacher-assigned practice activities
  • New content for Istation Math and Timeless Tales
Istation.com app on the iPad®

Available on the iTunes App Store as "Istation.com," the Istation.com app allows users to connect to:
  • Istation Reading
  • Reading en Español
  • Istation Math
  • Istation Home

Click here to learn more about the Istation.com app or download on the App Store.

Istation FAQ 09/17

We've had several questions asked recently.  Here are the answers.

Question:  Is there a Kindle (Android) version of Istation to install for use on the Kindles?
Answer:  The Istation development team is currently analyzing and monitoring the demands and feasibility of release on various Android devices. The goal of Istation is to be able to deliver its products on all the industry standard platforms. Future Android development plans will be forthcoming.

Question: Is there a report in Istation that can show all the kids that have not completed the initial assessment (campus wide)?
Answer: No, but I will ask the company regarding this request.

Question: From the Classroom page, when I click the ‘Incomplete’ filter on the top to see who has not completed the Spanish Test, it does not work. What is the problem?
Answer: Because the English Assessment cannot be deactivated for students and it displays on the Classroom page, if the students take only the Spanish Assessment…..the English Assessment will display as “Incomplete”.  The Filter button displays ALL students with an Incomplete assessment for BOTH English and Spanish.  Thus, it doesn’t accomplish the task that you want of filtering ONLY Spanish Incompletes (rather than BOTH tests.) I will consult with the company about the possibility of adjusting this Filter so that it allows for choosing either the Spanish or the English Assessment, but not both.  

Question: If a class (section) is completely removed from a campus, the "old" class remains in the classroom list.  How can it be removed?
Answer: The removal of classes no longer used (deactivated) at a campus can only be done by a Campus or District Manager. Click Classrooms at the top right. Click Add/Remove on the left. Click Remove by the class/section name.  Click Yes.

Question: Why do students remain in classes that they transfer out of?  Why are they not removed from these "old" classes?
Answer: In Istation’s auto update process, students are not removed from previous classes if they, for example, transfer to another class on the same campus or transfer to a new campus within the district. And the removal of students from their previous class can only be done by a campus or district manager. See instructions on the next question. 

Question: How can students be removed from classes in which they are no longer enrolled?
Answer: Only Campus or District Managers can do this.  Click Classrooms at the top right.  Then, click the class name from the list. Click Add/Remove Students on the left. Scroll to the bottom and click Remove by the student's name.  Click Yes.

·      Question:  Is it possible to set up a separate group for our 4th Grade recent immigrants?  If so, how?
Answer: Manual classes can be set up in Istation and students can be enrolled in multiple classes. However, these class enrollments will not update with the nightly uploads.  In addition, only students who are already in the system should be added; none should be manually added.  Also, see next question and answer re: Spanish for 4th grade students.

Question: It is possible to assign the Spanish components to 4th graders?
Answer: Yes  The 4th grade students can be assigned the Spanish component with no problems using the Manage Subscriptions area like we do for other students. We have unlimited licensing even though it doesn’t officially cover that grade level.
From a curricular perspective, I would point them to a specialist to make sure this is in the best interest of the student. I would not want to advise a teacher in this area….

·    Question: How do we go into the preferences and change the grade level of a student?
Answer: Changing the grade level in preferences will not help as the grade will update each night to the correct grade level.

·     Question:  Is it possible to add a SPED teacher so he/she can see the students they work with?
Answer: Yes. But only your Campus Manager can do this. 

Question:  Can ISIP scores be deleted for a student (example: student took English version by mistake)?
Answer: No

Question:  Is there a report that shows Grade Level Equivalency?
Answer: Yes. The Grade Level Equivalency shows on the Student Summary Handout, with some limitations.
  • Spanish version only has Overall Reading Grade Level Equivalency.
  • English version has Overall Reading and Text Fluency Grade Level Equivalency only.
  • A request has been made for display of Grade Level Equivalency for all skills and Overall Reading and that it be available in the English and the Spanish reports.

Question:  Students are missing in Istation (even though they have been enrolled since day one). Can the Campus Manager manually add the student into Istation so he/she can be assessed?
Short Answer: Please try to wait as long as possible before adding this student manually to the Istation system via the website.

Long-Winded Answer:
Here is an overview of the situation:
1.      The state does not assign a TSDS (UID) number for a new student from out of state or out of country until all required fields are completed by the campus/district.
2.      Until the TSDS (UID) number is assigned to the student(s), they are not auto-uploaded into Istation.
3.      Students cannot be manually entered into Istation by campus personnel without entering a TSDS number.
4.      And although a “fake” TSDS number can be manually entered into Istation, this is not a best practice for entering students into Istation.

All of these circumstances result in the following situation:
5.      Since we have some students who, although enrolled since day one, don’t have a TSDS number assigned to them, teachers are not able to test the student using Istation because they do not have an account.
6.      PISD PEIMS department has given the elementary campuses a five-day (business day) window to “clean up” the missing fields for students on their campuses.  This five-day window ends on September 11
7.      As a result, the 400+ students who are currently without a TSDS number could be reduced significantly after this date.  As a result, they will be auto-updated/enrolled into Istation after the TSDS number is assigned.
8.      After September 11, there will continue to be a concerted effort by the campuses and the PEIMS department to rectify any missing fields so that the state would then provide a TSDS number for each student that doesn’t have one.

Question: At the Intermediate Level (7th-8th), will the student-issued tablets present any problem for the student as they complete the Istation ISIP Assessment?
Answer: No as long as they use the glide (mouse) pad to move the mouse and the left/right click on the keyboard to make their choices on the screen. Using the touch screen capability of the tablet will still work, but a minor and possibly confusing and/or annoying sound problem will occur if they use the touch screen and not the keyboard.

Question: Can we manually create a class in Istation and enroll students?  Example might be a Test Prep class, etc.
Answer: Yes, but only the Campus Manager can do this.  If you need assistance, feel free to email or call Emily Bourgeois or Christy Foster.

Question: Can a teacher turn off Books Button on the Desktop Application so that when the student logs in he/she doesn’t have this as a choice?
Answer: Yes. Teacher logs into Istation website---Click Classroom---Click Pencil icon by the word About on the left---Make sure that the radio button by “Student Access to Online Books?” has a filled circle next to “Only with a teacher’s password”.

Question: Does the Writing Button show as a choice when the student logs into the Desktop Application at the 5th-8th grade level?
Answer:  Yes

Question: How can I add a teacher to my class so he/she can see my student results and/or print reports about their progress?
Answer:  Only Campus or District Managers can add teacher(s) to your class in Istation.  
Here is how they can do this:
Scenario: You co-teach with another teacher (or teachers) at your campus.  You would like for this teacher to have access to your student homeroom list so he/she can see their progress, etc.  In this case, you can add the teacher to your class so he/she can have access to it.

1.      Go to www.istation.com
2.      Click Customer Login and enter your Istation Username and Password
3.      Click Classroom at the top right
4.      Click the Pencil/Paper icon on the left near the word About
5.      Click the drop menu by Teacher Name
6.      Click the Teacher’s name that you would like to add to your Homeroom.
7.      Click Add Teacher
8.      When the added teacher logs in, he/she will see all Homerooms to which they have been assigned or added.
9.      Using the same steps, you can also remove a teacher who has been added to your Homeroom.

Question: What is the latest possible date we can assess our students using Istation in order to meet the submission deadline for the At Risk Report that goes to the state?
Answer: September 26 

Question: I am a Bilingual Teacher (PK-3rd). Which test should my students take?
Answer: Spanish

Question: I am a Bilingual Teacher (PK-3rd) and my students have completed the Spanish test.  Can they also take the English test?  Will this create any problems?
Answer: Yes they can. No it will not create any problems because the reports are separate for English and Spanish.

Question: I am an ESL teacher. Which test should my students take?
Answer: English

Question: I am an ESL teacher with Spanish speaking students who have completed the English test. Can I also give them the Spanish test?  Will this create any problems?
Answer: Yes then can. No it will not create any problems because the reports are separate for English and Spanish.

Question: I am a Dual Language teacher. Which test(s) should my students take?
Answer: Each student should take the test that corresponds with their “first language”. 

Question: I am a Dual Language Teacher and my students have completed the test associated with their first language.  Can they also take the other language test?  Will this create any problems?
Answer: Yes they can. No it will not create any problems because the reports are separate for English and Spanish.

Digital Citizenship iPad App 09/03

Digital Citizenship App

Learning.com (available for grades K-6) now has a Digital Citizenship App for iPad or Android devices.

For those campuses with iPads and iPod Touches, this is a great option for teaching Online Safety and Digital Citizenship.

Preview the App - http://player.vimeo.com/video/102937404