Thursday, 28 November 2013

November 29, 2013 – On Your Mark, Get Set, GoNoodle!

Happy weekend everyone!

Has DPA become a challenge to come up with new and interesting ways to keep kids moving? This week, I have a novel and attention-grabbing way to incorporate tech and keep kids moving.  It’s called GoNoodle and it is an online resource for DPA moves and motivation.

GoNoodle requires the creation of a free account for yourself and your class and keeps track of your fitness activities.  When you connect your computer to a projector and log into GoNoodle, you are able to choose a ‘champ’ for your class – a mascot of sorts who will encourage and grow as your children complete fitness tasks.  Then you are able to choose an activity for your class to complete.
·         ‘Air time’ offers some deep breathing activities to calm and focus your students.  Although American Geography based the deep breathing activities are beneficial.
·         In ‘Run with Us’ Olympians coach you on real life Olympic events (i.e. 100m hurdles and long jump) then compete in a series of competitions.
·          To the Maxima has children stretching with Maximo the Magician.  There are several stretches to choose from and they leave the children feeling focused.
·         Additional activities include Zumba videos with fun kids themed songs (such as Wipeout and I Like To Move It) and vocabulary linked actions.

GoNoodle provides quick (3-6 minute videos) for grades K to 6 students to use as class transitions or brain breaks during the day.  Have a look and see if it might be the change you could use in your day.


Friday, 22 November 2013

November 22, 2013 - Read&Write Update

Happy Friday Everyone!

Considering everyone is busy with parent teacher interviews this weekend, I thought I would pass along a quick update on an earlier post – ‘Getting started with Read&Write and Google Docs…’ (
If anyone has been working with Read & Write for Google Docs lately you may have noticed a new icon on the left hand side of the study skills toolbar. 

This is Read& Write’s version of Word Q for students and it is currently available on the Google Documents with presentations and webpages being added soon. 

By clicking on this icon while working in a Google doc, a small window will appear near the cursor and will begin to offer potential word options as you begin to type.  When the word you wish to use appears, simply click on the word in the box to insert the words, or hover their mouse over the words to get them read aloud.

Although this version does not build a vocabulary file of frequently used words as Word Q does, it offers a wide variety of options and words for students to select from.


Friday, 15 November 2013

November 15, 2013 - Password Proficiency

Hello everyone,

This week, I thought I would try to take some of the frustration out of Student Log-Ins on UGCloud.   Many times teachers come to me asking who they need to speak to so that they can have student’s passwords reset because the student has forgotten them.  The good news is that teachers can now perform this task for their students, on their own quickly and easily.  

Begin by signing onto UGCloud ( from a laptop, Chromebook or iPad using your windows username and password.  You will then be directed to a home page with many options such as the one below.

Under ‘Apps & Other Services’ you will see a variety of bars indicating links to various UGDSB frequently used websites. By clicking on the top orange bar in the left hand list marked ‘Student Service (Teacher Only)’ you will be taken to a new webpage where a pop-up window will ask you to log in once again (the board is working towards having staff required to only sign onto the system once in order to have access to all of the resources, however this remains a work in progress).   Once logged in, you will be able to search for an entire classroom or individual student by name using the drop down and fillable menus and by clicking on search.  

Once you have identified the student you wish to change the password for, click on the linked word ‘select’ to the left of their name.  Next, return to the top of the page and on the upper right hand side you will find a fillable textbox in which you can enter a new password for the student (and confirm it by re-entering the same password).
 Passwords entered at this point need to be 8 characters long – one simple choice which can be used frequently is ‘student1’.  After this process is completed, you will note a message above the password entry boxes stating ‘Reset StMan1234’s Password Succeed’.  This is your indication that the password has been reset and the student can try to log in with the newly reset password (student1, etc.)  Finally, when the student logs into his or her account after this process, they will be asked to reset their password to one which they will remember.  This time the new password is not required to be eight characters, so while it is not recommended for security purposes, students can choose shorter words which they will be able to easily remember. 

If there are any questions or ideas for future Tech Tidbits topics, please feel free to pass them along to me or visit the blog at .


Friday, 8 November 2013

November 8, 2013 - Using the Template Gallery

Happy Cold and Snowy Friday Everyone!!

By now I’m fairly certain that almost everyone has become at least a somewhat familiar with the creating of Google Docs, so today I’d like to share how you can use templates to enhance your writing experience.

Begin by logging onto your UGCloud account and clicking on the drive icon.  From here, click on the red ‘create’ box and choose the type of document you would like to create (form, spreadsheet, document, presentation, etc).  Once your new document has been created, click on ‘file’ in the toolbar and select ‘new’ from the dropdown menu.   Here another menu will open to the right of the current menu and you can select ‘From Template’. 

Another window will open which will display the various types of templates available (i.e. resume, newspaper, storyboard, etc.)  In the search box you can type a keyword to search all templates or you can use any of the more specific selections on the left hand side of the webpage (‘narrow by type’ or by ‘category’). 

The templates default to searching the ones created by the UGDSB Staff as indicated by the highlighted tab at the top of the page.  To change to ‘Public Templates’ or ‘Templates I Have Used’ simply click on the hyperlinked words and the search category will change as well.

Once you have found a template which you feel may be suitable for your task, simply click on the thumbnail image of the template.  A preview of the template will open in a new window so you can take a closer look and determine if it is what will work with your assignment.  If you feel that this is not what you were looking for, click on ‘close this window’ in the upper right hand corner or ‘browse template gallery’ and you will be taken back to your previous search.  If however, this template is suitable, simply click on the ‘Use this Template’ button in the upper left hand corner and a copy of it will be downloaded and added to your Google Drive where you can begin typing.

Templates for resumes, newspapers, lesson planners, daily schedules, brochures, storyboards and more, can all be found in the template gallery.  Have a look and see if there’s something you might be able to use for yourself or your students’ next project.



Friday, 1 November 2013

November 1st, 2013 – Shift Your Reading Into Overdrive

I hope that everyone had a Haunting Hallowe’en!!

This week I’d like to highlight one of the new features of the UG2GO website – Overdrive Books.  This new and exciting application allows students and staff 24 hour access to e-books and audiobooks from their iPads, desktops and mobile devices.  There are over a thousand of English language e-books, 175 audiobooks and over 300 French language books, ranging from grade 2 to 12 with more being added all the time.

By visiting the UG2GO website ( and signing in using your computer log on and password, you will be taken to the UG2GO home page. Here you will find a variety of online tools and programs to use with your students.  On the left hand side, under the sub-title ‘Read’ you will see the icon for OverDrive.  When you click on the icon you will be taken to the OverDrive webpage.  In the upper right hand corner you will find a search box where you can search out books by author, title, category or keyword. Additionally you can use the dropdown menus to locate books by reading level, collection, or subject.   Once you have located a book which you would like to read, check the upper right hand corner for one of the following symbols: 

This indicates it is an e-book  this an audio book,and when the item is grayed out like this one , it has already been checked out.

Luckily with Read&Write (see last week’s Blog post at for more information) any text online can now become an audiobook for our students (and staff). 

Once you have located a book you would like to ‘check out’, simply click on the cover and you will be taken to the overview page which shows the book’s availability, gives a description, excerpt, ‘about the author’ and reviews.  When you click on the ‘Borrow’ button, the book will be checked out to you.  Next, you can choose to download the book by clicking on the download button and choosing the format for the download (i.e.mp3, etc.) or open the book by clicking on the cover.  When it is opened, you will be given a brief tutorial of how to turn pages, bookmark pages and look up words in the dictionary.  There will also be a menu on the right hand side of the webpage that allows you to jump to different chapters, change the size of the font, and even the background colour.   Books will remain on your ‘virtual bookshelf’ for three weeks, and then they will simply disappear, to be returned to the library. 
Books are also available on the iPad; however you will need to install the ‘OverDrive Media Console’ app from the App store.  It is a free app and can be found by using the search feature. 
Overall this new program is a great option for all of our students, whether they are struggling readers or just looking for new books and formats to read them on. 
As always, past Tech Tidbits posts can be found on the blog at  and if you have an idea for a future blog topic, please feel free to pass it along to me.
Have a great weekend!