EdTech @ ISB

Transforming Teaching & Learning

Category: MS (page 1 of 3)

MS Online Learning Exemplars: End of Year

Online Learning Exemplars Main Table of Contents


Captivate/Clarify: Krista ended the year with a choice writing unit, allowing students to showcase their creativity by allowing them to choose their genre while they all worked towards the common goal of incorporating and leveling up skills as graphic novelists. She laid out the tasks at the beginning of the unit so that students knew what was expected of them and met with students throughout the unit to support their creation process.


Captivate/Clarify: Verina creates daily screencasts for students and connects with them live multiple times a week. Her directions are clear and concise so that students know what is expected of them. She also differentiates, helping all students feel challenged.



Captivate/Clarify: Ashlea provided a variety of ways for students to interact with the concepts of the last unit.

Clarify: Mona broke the final project down into 4 manageable parts, 3 research assignments and a 4th assignment to put everything together and share. She also provided text instructions accompanied by videos and live lessons.


World Language

Captivate/Clarify: Kevin used a variety of ways to present information to students. He ended the year with an autobiography project, allowing students to use their new Spanish skills in a creative way via BookCreator.

MS Online Learning Exemplars: Week 7

eLearning Exemplars Main Table of Contents


Captivate: Stephanie’s choir students sang ‘together’ by submitting individual audio files that she then stitched together.



Care: With an upcoming 4-day weekend, Jill makes it very clear to her students that she appreciates their hard work but expects them to take a break and not do any work.


PE and Health

Care/Captivate: Mel provides an Active task each time students have PE in which she gives clear learning outcomes, engaging options, and ways for students to connect with each other. She also shares a video with them where she connects with them on a more personal level.

MS Online Learning Exemplars: Week 6

eLearning Exemplars Main Table of Contents

Concert Band

Captivate: Students in Nate’s classes are in the middle of a 12-lesson unit that allows them to respond, create, and perform. Nate provides lessons in a variety of formats to support student learning.


Robotics and Coding

Captivate, Clarify: In this unit, Kim provides her students with an engaging project with clear learning objectives. She organizes the lessons using the Materials section of DX to provide structure.



Captivate: Students in Ashlea’s grade 8 class used Thinglink to create fossil visuals and presented them in videos. She then used EdPuzzle to help students review (see embedded video).

MS Online Learning Exemplars: Week 5

eLearning Exemplars Main Table of Contents


Clarify/Care: In this Chinese lesson, Vicky & Yan provide an objective, clear instructions and estimates for how long each task should take them. They also provide a short video to help students with pronunciation and flashcards to help them practice.


Captivate: Blaze created an instructional video full of small nuggets to remind the grade 7 students to stay engaged while learning about the compare and contrast essay.

Participation Tracking

Classroom Management: Jeff has developed a spreadsheet and system that allows him to track student participation and attendance, helping him to know when he needs to contact students and parents. View/download template here.

Visual Art

Care/Consolidate: Jenny uses a short video to connect with and encourage her students, reminding them of what they have done so far and affirming both those students who are caught-up and those that are still working to get everything done.

MS Online Learning Exemplars: Week 4


Captivate: In this activity, Jeff engages students with a challenge that stretches their creativity and develops their ability to sketch.


Care: This task gave insights into the circumstances and the mental and emotional states of students. As a class, they realized that they were having a shared experience and were not alone. They noticed that though there were feelings of anxiousness, fear or uncertainty, there were also a lot of things to be grateful for.



Clarify: In this DX post, Lloyd provides clear, detailed instructions for students and gives them an estimate of how much time these tasks should take them.



ClarifyIn this short Loom screencast, Tony analyzes a student exemplar of the assignment. Unpacking a model or exemplar for the students helps make the expectations of the assignment very clear and is an effective way to make sure that you’re teaching, not simply assigning work.

Tony Loom MS Music

MS Online Learning Exemplars: Weeks 1-3

eLearning Exemplars Main Table of Contents


Care/Captivate: In these videos/screencasts, Nikki & Krista connect with their students in a personal way by making videos that include their faces and voices, rather than just typing out instructions. This makes the e-learning feel less isolating for the students. They also keep the videos short enough that students won’t get overwhelmed and lose focus.

Intro to Animal Farm

Rise of Sumerian City-States + Book Talk


Captivate: Lucas regularly posts optional opportunities for his students to synthesize and extend their learning, giving them choice on the level of challenge they feel ready to take on. Most of these opportunities are from outside resources. As some students might be in challenging situations, offering this choice to students is an effective way to differentiate and give them more ownership over their learning without adding a lot of stress for either teacher or students.

PE and Health

Collaborate/Care: In this team, the teachers make one workout video and share it across multiple sections of the grade 6 course, so as not to duplicate the work involved in creating the content. In the video and the teachers’ comments, they show care for their students’ well-being by explaining how physical activity contributes to physical and mental well-being. Having the video made by their teacher makes it feel more personal which helps students feel less isolated.


Captivate: In this DX post, Mona & Matt get around the lack of hands-on materials available to their students by using an online resource. This resource lets students play around with virtual circuits, dragging and dropping them to experiment with the results. Using this resource is an effective way to engage students in inquiry and spark their interest in the topic!


Clarify/Captivate/Confer: In this video, peek into Kevin’s Spanish 1 class. He provides a clear task (class agenda) and captivates students via the bilingualism and flexibility of the task.  Students share their work not only with their teachers but also with each other.

Getting Started with Rescue Time

Image result for rescuetime logo



RescueTime is an app that can help users understand how they are using their time on their laptop. It can be used in a lot of different ways, but here at ISB we want to focus on empowering students and teachers to take control of their usage and to strive for intentional, balanced and productive use of technology.

Getting Started

To get started, you need to do three things:

  1. Download and install the app from Self Service (or from the RescueTime website).
  2. Create an account for the free/solo/lite. If you are a student, I suggest you use your school email address.
  3. Once you’ve installed the app, be sure to sign in from the menu bar at the top of your screen.


Now what?

Once RescueTime is installed and running, it will start collecting data on how you use your computer. This includes websites you visit, documents that you are working on,  and other programs that you use (like PowerPoint or Photoshop).

Setting Up Categories

Part of the way that RescueTime works is by categorizing the sites and apps that you use. It has some default categories (like Communication, Social Media, Design, Entertainment) and default values (from Very Productive to Very Distracting) built-in. RescueTime may not recognize some of the sites and platforms that we use at ISB and might consider them as “Uncategorized” and/or might consider them to be “Distracting”.  As a user, you can create and manage different categories as well as change its productivity value.

For example, I have created a sub-category in “Miscellaneous” for the different ISB Platforms like DX and OneDrive and have rated that time as “Very Productive”:

Once your categories are set up (and I would not recommend spending too much time doing this! You can always refine your categories as you go…), you are ready to take a look at some of your reports:

The Dashboard

The Dashboard is where you get started with RescueTime. This will give you a quick overview of your time for the day. You can also quickly jump to some activity reports for more details.


The Productivity Report

The Productivity Report shows your “pulse” based on the different values that have been assigned to different sites and apps:

You can click on each level to see how much time you spent on different sites and apps:


The Applications & Websites Report

You can also view your usage data sorted by app and site. Because we use the free version, there are some limitations to the amount of data that we have access to. A very interesting view in this report is the “All Activities by Hour” view. This helps you see when and how you were using your laptop throughout the day (and night!):


There are a couple of things to keep in mind when using RescueTime.

The first is that users can disable RescueTime tracking at any time! It can be turned off (quit) or paused; it can also be set to NOT start automatically. Because our focus is on awareness, understanding, and empowerment, it does you no good to turn it off! But, if your RescueTime reports aren’t showing as much data as you were expecting, check to make sure that it isn’t being turned off on accident (or on purpose!).

The second issue that you may find is that RescueTime is not collecting individual web page data. First, your Mac must be on Mojave in order to collect this information. All students should be running this OS; most teachers will be. Second, you need to make sure you grant access to allow RescueTime to collect this information. In order to do this, you can follow the instruction here.

MS and HS Report Card Grade Entry Options

Because there are some limitations to how PowerTeacher Pro (PTP) allows us to view our assessment data, we have worked to create some different workflows to help you enter levels of achievement for each reporting strand come report card time.

** All of the following is assuming that you have entered your assessment data in PowerTeacher Pro **

Just Use PowerTeacher Pro

If you plan on just using PTP, there are some helpful hints that might make it easier:

  • When looking at the “Standards Grade” view, what is displayed in each column depends on if you are in Middle School or High School In Middle School, the default is to not show anything and teachers can make a summary judgment of how each student has done at each standard. In High School, the default is to show the most recent level of achievement and this can be overridden by the teacher at any time.
  • You can use the Inspector to see what data contributes to each standard level of achievement if you think it should be overridden.
  • If you have levels of achievement for different standards, you can use the filter in order to see all of the standards make up a given strand so that you can make a strand determination for the report card.
  • You can also use the filters to show only the strands (or the SALs) so that you can see what is going on the report for each student.

SBGR Report Entry: Student – by – Student View

We have developed a new Student-by-Student view that pulls together all of the assessment by strand an orders it chronologically to help you determine what level of achievement should appear on the report. You can also write your comment for the student here as you look over all of the student assessment data. Some pointers for this view:

  • You can access this view by selecting it from menu on the left.
  • Assessments are ordered chronologically from left (oldest) to right (newest).
  • Formative assessments show as blue italics.
  • If you hover over the level of achievement, it will indicate which standard was assessed.
  • You can go student-by-student using the sideways arrows, or use the dropdown to choose a specific student.
  • You can use the tabs at the top to see what feedback was given to the student in previous reporting terms.
  • To return to your list of classes, select the view from the menu on the left again.

Class View – Standards Data Report

In order to see all of your class’ assessment data in one view, ordered chronologically and separated by strand, you can generate a static report that we refer to as the heatmap. You can then use this report to make determinations for each student and then go back to PTP or the student-by-student view to input the data and to write your comments. You can access the heatmap reports through the Apps tab in PTP:

Once you configure the report for downloading, you will see your class roster with the assessment data for each strand listed chronologically. You can use this view to help you make determinations for each strand and then use PowerTeacher Pro to enter the data for report cards.

What’s Best for You?

As mentioned previously, all of these tools rely on teachers collecting and recording assessment data in PTP. Unfortunately, none of these individual tools will be perfect for everybody on their own so you may come up with a way to combine the functionality of each one to suit your needs. For example:

  • Continue to use PowerTeacher Pro to enter your grades and comments. Nothing changes from how you’ve done things in the past.
  • Use the Standard Data Report to help you determine your Strand levels of achievement. Enter your grades and comments using PowerTeacher Pro.
  • Use the SBGR Report Entry tool to view your assessment data and enter your Strand levels of achievement and to write your comment.
  • Use the SBGR Report Entry tool to view your assessment data and enter your Strand levels of achievement. Return back to PowerTeacher Pro to write your comments (so you can use the comment bank).


Adding Teachers to DX Classrooms

This is something that we often get requests for but it is really easy for you to do and will probably be faster than sending us an email and then wait for it to be actioned!

Step 1: Find a teacher that is currently in the class and ask them to open up the class in DX.

Step 2: Click on the People tab

Step 3: Click Add People

Step 4: Select Teacher from the drop-down menu (you can also add students in this way – just select the Learner option instead)

Step 5: Enter the email address of the teacher you want to add to the class.

Step 6: Click Add people

Step 7: For the teacher(or student)  being added to a class, you might need to log out and then log in again for this to take effect.


Accessing units in DX from previous years

Many of you have come to see me about accessing your units from previous years classes. Follow these steps to do so and remember, it’s always a good idea to share your units to the relevant Sandbox so that you won’t have to do this each year!

Step 1: Go to your locker

Step 2: Select Locker Units. You can also access your posts and other information (explore the relevant tabs

Step3: Filter by classroom. In the drop-down menu, you will see your archived classrooms.

Step 4: Select the units you want to copy or re-share. You can select multiple units to share/copy at once, or you can do them individually.

These units will now appear in the classroom you chose to share/copy too. Remember to add them to the sandbox so that they are easily accessible year after year. If you cannot find units you are looking for, check with a colleague. If they made the unit, it will be in THEIR locker, not yours! Have them share to the Sandbox so that you and others can access the resources.

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