Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

To all my favorite students, staff, faculty, have a wonderful Christmas day with Family and Friends!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

live@edu Test Environment!

I've just created a live@edu test environment.  We're going to pilot a test at Animo ODLH sometime this Spring, but I'd like you to check out the features of the product. While you won't have admin access, you can access the environment as a student. What I can tell you that it offers the same bulk-uploading features to add users as in Google Docs. But take that a step further in that it provides integration with our own network infrastructure, providing a SINGLE SIGN ON (SSO) for students. Students log into the animo domain with their own username and password from any computer on the network, which automatically connects them into the live@edu cloud and brings up their own customized desktop. They will also be connected to the live@edu cloud have access to their 25GB of skydrive, along with access online to the Office 2010 Web Apps (Outlook , Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and One Note) from any computer connected to the internet (even off of our network). These apps are already compatible with the Office software installed district-wide.

To log on:
First, email me: and request a logon.

Third: Provide the credentials:
temporary password: greendot2000

Fourth: Play!

All options are currently enabled. You can chat with anyone online at the moment through the contacts menu in outlook. In addition, the website allows for social media connectors and functions similarly to a social networking website (complete with status updates, friends, profile, etc.). Fill it out for fun! :)

So, please try it out, create docs, share docs, upload docs, update profile, chat, etc....give me feedback, ask me questions, etc. etc. and I will attempt to find an answer for you!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rest in Peace, Daddy.

Three years ago today my life unravelled and changed forever.

At 6:38pm on December 2, 2007, my dad lost his 3-month battle with Leukemia. I remember it like it was yesterday. I recall the smells, the tubes, the machines, the EKG, and the sound in the room when his heart stopped and the heart monitor read "ASYSTOLE."

My dad was my hero. Ever since he decided to fork over nearly $4000 in 1989 for an old Packard Bell 386 SX (Specs included a whopping 25MHz Processor, 256 KB of RAM, 20 MB Hard Drive, and a VGA Monitor), I've been into computers.

He taught me how to play with Basic Programing (GW-Basic from Microsoft) to create my own programs to how to make spreadsheets in LOTUS 1-2-3 that could magically calculate thousands of numbers all at the pressing of the enter key (Yeah, no mouse for my computer...yet) much to the chagrin of my Math teacher at the time.

I quickly surpassed my dad in computer knowledge (as most kids do these days) and I remember the day I installed a game-card into one of the available ISA SLOTS. Man, was my dad furious that I had opened up the chasis to a very expensive piece of equipment and installed a piece of hardware. But, could you blame a kid? I really wanted to play Wolfenstein 3D and I was really getting tired of using the cursor keys to navigate through the awesome 8-bit graphic "3D" mazes. This was and is the only first person shooter game I ever was really into.

My dad's last job was Finance Director for the City of Delano and hence a master at Excel Spreadsheets. He knew Pivot Tables and VLookups before Pivot Tables had it's own ICON on the Excel Toolbar. With the Click of a button, he started Macros that magically checked and referenced hundreds of other spreadsheet files and cells. His city financial reports were awarded for their awesomeness.

Yet, he never attended an award ceremony in his honor. My dad was the most humble, selfless person I've ever known, growing up in a large family and raising his brothers and sisters.  He even put most of them through college.

He was an amazing man and an amazing dad. He loved his life, his wife, his family.  I really miss him.

Take a moment today to remember and honor a family member (alive or passed) who has influenced your life because you never know how different your life may become...

Jay R Aguda

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Prezi, the UnPowerPointy, Presentation tool

I blogged briefly about this in passing a month or so ago, but I thought it was worth mentioning again.

It's slide #6. I need to go back to slide #2 before the bell rings to show the "big picture" again. Backspace. Backspace. Backspace. Backspace. Ugh. This is much easier if I just exit the presentation (Esc) and view the 2nd slide again. Ok. We're back on slide #2. But the characters on slide #2 are way too small...back to slide #6.

Yes, if you're like me you metacognitively have conversations with yourself about your delivery and the quality of your presentation right in the midst of your presentation.

Enter Prezi. Prezi is a new presentation tool that veers away from the SLIDE paradigm that we are all so used to in presentations. PowerPoint linearity is what we're used to creating, but we're all realizing (the way we jump back and forth to different slides) that our brains (and our students' brains) don't deal with new and nebulous content in a linear fashion. (If it were that easy.) Learning involves bringing clumps of ideas into long term storage throughout multiple locations in our cerebral cortex. But these ideas only have meanings when the learners are in an environment where they can interconnect these ideas. Hence, we ask children to brainstorm using graphic organizers, bubbles, venn diagrams, etc. etc to help them solidify and make connections with what they have just learned.

Prezi has the ability to turn a didactic presentation into this kind of environment. Prezi uses Adobe Flash technology to present ideas in a playful way, zooming and rotating about text and images as if all these ideas where thrown on a giant white board. This would have been the perfect answer to my dilemma above, if I needed to get back to the "big picture" I would just zoom out.

With Prezi, you can program it fly about on a pre-defined path, or zoom and click onto content at the user's discretion. It's pretty amazing. And the best part, it's free for educators.

So, Go! Make some prezis and post links to them here. Embed them if you like :)

I'm still on the fence about Prezi replacing PowerPoints exclusively. There are many things that a Prezi cannot do (You can't print prezis, add photo rich detail) however for "big idea" lectures or introducing particular topics, Prezi is the way to go.

"But," to quote Lavar Burton from Reading Rainbow, "you don't have to take my word for it."

Watch it in full-screen for the full-effect :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks to Paula Deen with Food Network, here's one of my favorite recipe Pumpkin Pie Recipes to get tomorrow off right :)  I'm thankful to all of you at the front lines of our organization. Enjoy your well-deserved hearty!


  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
  • 1 piece pre-made pie dough
  • Whipped cream, for topping


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place 1 piece of pre-made pie dough down into a (9-inch) pie panand press down along the bottom and all sides. Pinch and crimp the edges together to make a pretty pattern. Put the pie shell back into the freezer for 1 hour to firm up. Fit a piece of aluminum foil to cover the inside of the shell completely. Fill the shell up to the edges with pie weights or dried beans (about 2 pounds) and place it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and pie weightsand bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is dried out and beginning to color.
For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, if using, and beat until incorporated.
Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into slices and top each piece with a generous amount of whipped cream.

Friday, November 19, 2010

And merryment was had by all...

Thanks to everyone who came out to Green Dot Information Technology's 2nd Meet and Greet at the USC Gastropub on Wednesday! We had a blast meeting new people, forming new connections, talking technology and curriculum. My biggest thanks go out to our DELL Rep, Wanda Knight, and our EMC Rep, Brian Raposo for covering the tab on food and drinks. Thanks also to our VP of IT, Emily Henry for hooking us up with a fantastic venue and food choices!

It was certainly great to see familiar faces out of the classroom and school sites. On behalf of the IT Department, please know that we're in your corner! We plan to do many more of these events in the future, please let everyone know that Technology is on the move at Green Dot.

Btw, iPhone 4's don't take great night photos...forgive the picture quality!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

KhanAcademy.Org Free Video Lectures

Ok, you are going to thank me for this! Our VP of IT, Emily Henry, brought this to my attention this morning. How would you like to supplement your curriculum with online youtube videos? is an online OPEN SOURCE (Yes, folks -- totally Free!) learning library packed with user-paced films and exercises. The Khan Academy is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization with the mission of providing a world-class education to anyone, anywhere...all for free.  There are over 1800+ videos all broken up into topics, including CAHSEE tutorials! Microsoft and the Gates Foundation have helped to fund this phenomenon. Check out the story in this video:

Khan Academy on Gates Notes

Then take a moment to look through all the free lecture/tutorial videos online. Enjoy!
KhanAcademy Playlist Organization

Biology Lecture on DNA

Friday, November 5, 2010

Technology Meet and Greet

As promised, we're having our 2nd Meet & Greet on November 17th from 4:30pm – 7:00pm at The GastroPub @ USC! This event is an exclusive opportunity to meet, connect and network with other tech teachers as well as key people in the information technology department.

But wait! This event will be sponsored by DELL and EMC. This means that they're paying the tab for our all-you-can-eat-and-drink drinks and appetizers!!!! So, come hungry and thirsty and ready to have a good time. Did I say food and drinks were free? :)

To help us plan for headcount, kindly respond to the meeting maker as Accepted if you intend to come or Declined if you aren't.

Also, Please feel free to forward the invite to any tech teacher (Technology & Leadership, Apex, Read180) on your campus!

See the attached flyer for more information. I really hope to see you all there!

The Lab Gastropub (USC)
3500 S Figueroa Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 743-1843
The Lab Gastropub (USC) website:
The Lab Gastropub (USC) yelp page:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10 Tips for Better Classroom Presentations

Quick notes from today's 20 Minute Workshop @ Animo Inglewood
  1. Use ACTIVE notetaking strategies.
  2. Ditch most CLIPART and TEMPLATES.
  3. Vary your font-size, not your font-face.
  4. Don't pack a slide with all your information.
  5. Don't reveal until you are ready to talk about it.
  6. Ditch the bullet points.
  7. Mark-up your slides as you present them.
  8. Take animations out of the box.
  9. Get out of POWERPOINT. (
  10. Rehearse!
10 tips for better classroom presentations

Friday, October 8, 2010


Portfolios are a fantastic way to showcase your student work in an organized manner. Many teachers keep folders or journals of completed classwork, but why not have students upload their own work to online portfolios? It's definitely a GREEN idea!

There are a number of online publishing sites on the web. One of my favorites is SCRIBD.COM. Here, students can sign up for their own accounts and start posting their documents online.  Many of these sites include flash apps that present, rather than link, the student's work. These presentations are playful (like turning the pages of a book or presenting each file as a book on a shelf) and are easily embeddable into blogs and social networking sites.  An example of an embedded flash app is below.

If having students create their own accounts seems like a daunting task, you can also create an account for your class and create a sort-of 'e-bulletin-board.' Where you can post student work throughout the year for the public to see.  Here's a great example of one from Leslie Lipton at Animo Inglewood

Leslie Lipton's Class Scribd Site

However you use it, please make sure to not post personal information of any student unless you can ensure that access is restricted. 

If you're using ePortfolios in your classroom, let me know! I'd love to come and see what you're doing to bring the classroom into the virtual world :)

Here's another great publishing site (it's a lot more flash heavy)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Files wherever you go!

I use this free service EVERY DAY when I was a teacher at Animo Justice and now as a Tech Coordinator with Green Dot. It's a God-send!

What does it do? Basically imagine a folder on your computer that you can drop any file into. It's kind of like a "My Documents" Folder...but better! This Dropbox folder can sync with multiple computers as well as some mobile devices like your iPhone. Your files are with you wherever you go.

Last year I got really tired of hauling my Dell 620 laptop from school to home every night so I locked it down in my classroom and got Dropbox. When I got home I did all my lesson planning at my home computer (with the faster internet connection and unfiltered internet), creating PowerPoints and worksheets. When I got done, I dropped these files into my "DropBox" folder and let them quickly sync onto the internet. I went to bed at a nominal time. Getting to school the next morning, I booted up my computer and within a couple of minutes, all my files were synced to my laptop computer. Yup, it's great isn't it?

In addition, when I made a change to a file from my school laptop, it quickly sync'd the changes back on my home computer as well as any computer I installed Dropbox onto. Also, you can access your files from any computer with internet access. No more carrying around those flimsy flash drives!!

This video makes it very easy to understand! :)

Interested? Go to this link:

By using this referreral, you will get 2 GB of storage PLUS the bonus 250 MB of storage! (Plus it hooks me up with 250 MB) If you keep referring people on your own, the storage space can quadruple to 8 GB! :)

Even if you don't see yourself using this service (free by the way), sign up, install, then it for me -- I'm personally trying to get to 8GB :)


SMART Board for Half Off!

Could you or your school use a SMART BOARD for 50% off? The Riordan Foundation is sponsoring the SMART TECHNOLOGIES GRANT for K-12, Title 1 schools here in Los Angeles.

The grant will fund 50% of the project, while the partner school matches the other 50%.

Eligibility requirements include: (1) Public K-12 school in LA County, (2) 50% or more must qualify for free or reduced lunch, (3) K-12 classroom or computer lab, (4) Must demonstrate a commitment to integrating technology into daily or weekly curriculum, (5) Schools may only apply for the SMART Classroom Technology grant once ever 12 months.

If you are interested in this grant for your school, please visit for all applicable applications and other detailed information.

This will be quite a competitive grant process because of the limited funding available. The committee will be targeting schools that they feel will use this type of technology daily and schools that demonstrate a commitment to instructional technologies within their tech plans. This should be highlighted in your grant narrative.

If you need help and tips writing the grant, I'd be happy to walk you through the process.

Grant Applications are due on MIDNIGHT, October 29, 2010.

SMART Board in Action!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Better Lesson Updates

Better Lesson update for all Green Dot Core teachers :) As of this afternoon, all Green Dot core content teachers will have access to with the following credentials.

Let's start posting those lessons!

Username: Your GD email address
Password: Your default GD password (if you don't know, email me!) Please make sure you change it after logging in!

And don't forget to "Colleague" me! Look for me "Jay R Aguda"

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Steven Colbert testifies before the Congressional Subcommittee on Immigration

Hilariously funny, yet brutally real. Steven Colbert, host of Comedy Centrals "The Colbert Report," takes on Congress testifying, in brilliant satire, FOR the migrant farm workers.  Check it out!!

And, immediately after his testimony, a rare moment. Colbert breaks out of character to share his heart...."Whatever you do to the least of my brothers"...beautiful! Skip to 3 Minutes and 32 Seconds

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Goin' Down the TUBES

With the advent of more than 5 years ago, regular people like you and me became movie directors, producers, and actors, putting together films for world-wide distribution...all for free. While this is a fantastic technology, a lot of what's on YouTube may not be suitable or appropriate for classroom use. Here are two great YouTube-like sites that offer free hosting to your films as well as are a huge repository for video resources for you and your classroom.

School Tube is fantastic. It's jam packed with STUDENT-produced films as well as teacher resources to teach video production.  Visit this page

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Never Forget...

I remember where I was 9 years ago today, do you? Take a moment to remember...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cells Alive!

I used this exclusively during my cell-biology unit while teaching Biology a few years ago. It provides interactive graphics and animations for students as well as for teachers. Create inquiry-based lessons and activities surrounding the cell, cell cycle, mitosis, meiosis, etc as a microscope-less lab activity. Or present these animations as enrichments to your direct instruction.

Example animation:

Check it out!

Wolfram Alpha

Math teachers! Social Sciences teachers! Any content teacher! Imagine Google as a learning tool that doesn't just spit out websites that contain your query, rather it presents an answer to your question systematically. The makers of a new website, have set out to do just that. is a powerful search and query tool that can be used in instruction for student research.
O yes... and there's an app for it too. Find it on iTunes App Store.

From the About section of Wolfram Alpha's webpage:

Wolfram|Alpha's long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.

Wolfram|Alpha aims to bring expert-level knowledge and capabilities to the broadest possible range of people—spanning all professions and education levels. Our goal is to accept completely free-form input, and to serve as a knowledge engine that generates powerful results and presents them with maximum clarity.

Wolfram|Alpha is an ambitious, long-term intellectual endeavor that we intend will deliver increasing capabilities over the years and decades to come. With a world-class team and participation from top outside experts in countless fields, our goal is to create something that will stand as a major milestone of 21st century intellectual achievement.

Try it out for yourself!
Enter a calculation: $305 + 15%
Enter a formula: x^3 sin (2x)
Enter a date: December 7, 1941
Enter a place: Butte, Montana
And much, much more!

Take it a Step Further with Wolfram's Mathematica Player Software
Click below for a demo!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Screen Casts in Action!

I know you're probably all too familiar with some of these valid, yet annoying questions from students when you're running a tutorial:
Mr., what did you do again? Which button did you click on?
Where can I find the brush options?
What did you drag on to?
Let's face it. Teaching tech can be tough to differentiate when many of the tasks are just routine button clicking. If we slow down, our more tech savvy students get bored. If we go faster, well, we'll lose the others!!

Wouldn't it be amazing if our instruction could be like a TiVO, where students can pause, play, and rewind our instructions at their own speed and leisure?

Yes! There is a solution! SCREENCASTING! :)

Here's a great example from Peter Varley at Animo Inglewood.

And here's one I did for my class. There's no sound on this tutorial. I used it as a supplement and review to already presented tutorial...I wanted to get students to talk and ask each other...well, you get the point :)

Some of the benefits of Screen Casting include:
  • Great for teaching technology: Complicated keystrokes, tasks, etc.
  • Students can follow tutorials at their own pace.
  • Students can review tutorials at home or anywhere there is an internet connection.
  • Can be used during office hours or as a "make-up" class.
  • Frees up teacher time to spend with struggling students as needed.
So where can I get some Screen Casting software? 

Here's my favorite (PC Only). It's free and it's OPEN SOURCE! So download it, make a donation, and support Open Source software!

Unfortunately, for the MAC, I've not found any great free screencast software. If you run into something, mac people, please comment below! :) For now, there's Copernicus. The only bummer is it doesn't record sound.

Then there's the JING project (PC and MAC) which is both client and web-based. You record videos using the client, upload them into the JING website for hosting, and use the options on JING to distribute your screencasts to your viewers. It's kind of cool! Yet, maybe too many features for some of us.

Check it OUT! Want to see some great Screen Casts used in Instruction? This guy's on fire! Check out Peter Varley's VIMEO site here:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Typing Web

Move over Mavis Beacon, there's an easier way to teach typing without installing a new program onto your computers! Special Kudos to Amy Cox at Animo Pat Brown for this awesome web find. TypingWeb is a web-based typing tutor (yes, another web 2.0 solution) that provides a full, customized, typing curriculum for users for free!

Typing Web also includes a special teacher portal that allows teachers to issue student logins, collect data, generate reports, and track student progress. The free version of the teacher portal has limited options and customizability, but it may be just enough for you and your students.  The upgraded version, as usual has more bells and whistles, and costs a pretty penny. Try it out today!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

School of One: Individualized Instruction for every student

There's some buzz happening in the boroughs of New York City. Last year, MS131 piloted "School of One," a creative way to tackle the difficult challenge of providing differentiated instruction for our students who all learn differently. Central to their plan is the concept of "The Learning Algorithm" that analyzes student data  and academic progress, as well as teacher survey input, student survey input, and parent survey input to design a customized learning schedule for the student. The learning schedule exposes the student to various learning modalities and constantly adjusts this based on what is most successful for him or her. The algorithm pulls from a giant learning bank of activities to customize the learning day for each student.

And get does this every day for every student.

Better than letting me explain it. Check out their informational videos. It will be interesting to see if this program is sustainable. It's amazingly creative and from the looks of it, teachers are excited and have bought into this new learning model. Those are GREAT starting points for success in implementing school-wide pilots. My ears and eyes are turned up...

Watch The Overview Video

See How MS131 Piloted this Program in the Summer of 09

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Better Lesson - Facebook for Lesson Plan Collaboration

I've been spending the last few hours uploading my Tech curriculum to the Better Lesson Website.  It's actually quite fun! Better Lesson is an easy-to-use social-networking tool that provides an online repository for Lesson Plans.  The site is set up similar to Facebook where you customize a teacher profile,  add colleagues, and send personal messages. (A Facebook for teachers that's actually useful for teachers!? Yeah baby!) Currently, there are thousands of users in all subject areas for you to "friend" or in this case, "colleague" (I'm not sure that "colleague" can be a verb yet...but it will be soon thanks to BL!).

In addition, Better Lesson creates an online database for all your lesson plans that are arranged within units and courses.  The database saves lesson plans as well as allows for uploads of your documents and worksheets (most formats are supported, including video).

For those of us teachers who want to keep all our material organized somewhere in the "Cloud," this may be a great alternative to all those flash drives you tend to carry around on your key ring.  In addition to storage, Better Lesson functions similarly to FaceBook in that it allows for some limited collaboration options such as allowing visitors to post comments. There's also an option for visitors to "LIKE" (yes, very facebooky) your lessons and documents and to Download your lesson plan and docs in a .zip format. Of course, there are privacy settings should you not want to share your lessons to the whole world.

Green Dot is quickly adopting this platform as an online collaboration site and online repository of lesson make sure you check it out.

Best part: It's Free for GD teachers, don't you just LOVE open-source, web 2.0?
Sign up today. It takes a day or two for the admin to approve you as a member associated with Green Dot Public Schools.

Don't forget to ADD me as a colleague! 
Check out my profile here:

Talk about your experience in the comment boxes below!

Monday, August 23, 2010

NetSupport is a classroom friend, NOT a foe.

If you are like me, your jaw dropped when you discovered Netsupport School. If you use NETSUPPORT SCHOOL or similar Student Desktop Management tool in your classroom, don't fall into the pitfall of using it simply as a discipline tool. I believe that it's more important to introduce and establish this software as part of your culture in your tech class. Students should understand that this is a teaching tool, NOT merely a discipline tool. It is in place to facilitate their learning, to make things easier for both student and teacher, not just to enforce your classroom rules. Be transparent and candid about the purpose of this type of management software and your students will learn to use it as a tool, rather than something punitive. I've used this lesson plan to present these objectives in a fun demonstration that allows students to see how you can use each of the features of Netsupport to manage this classroom. Students who are able to see and understand its use as a system in your class are less likely to become frustrated with it later. If you are unfamiliar with NETSUPPORT. Visit this website:

1. Become familiar to the Classroom Management Software, NetSupport.
2. Rehearse procedures for teacher facilitated instruction through netsupport.
3. Rehearse proper Computer Etiquette/Netiquette
4. Log on and check email.

Lesson Plan
Warm Up (10 Minutes of Silence):
Students will practice saving conventions from yesterday. Open MS WORD
Write 1 paragraph (5-6 sentences) about your favorite chicken dish. Describe it well enough that it will make you hungry.
Save using the convention
The activity is called: practicesaving, please save it the correct way.

Anticipatory Set: Magic Hat:
Teacher picks students by picking names from a Magic Hat. Teacher will ask various students to write the correct file name for each activity suggested. Students will write response on the board.

Lecture: NetSupport
Teacher will introduce students to NetSupport ( Software. For today only, the Teacher will project the NETSUPPORT tutor screen so that students can see the interface.
Students will take notes from the PowerPoint.

The following are all different demonstrations. A great way to implement these in an open forum are to ask students how they think a Teacher would use these tools.

Activity and Demonstration (NETSUPPORT):1. Collect Work based on Filename.
Students will open their My Documents folder to watch their work get collected by NetSupport. (Netsupport will collect the file from their computers, the file should disappear) Immediate feedback is given by the instructor should their file not disappear from the Documents folder.

Activity and Demonstration (NETSUPPORT): 2. Lock Screens for Attention
Teacher models and reminds students of the countdown procedure. When on the computer, the countdown signal will be followed by a lock screen. Students are to react in an appropriate manner when this occurs.

Activity and Demonstration (NETSUPPORT): 3. Class Activity Timer.
In addition to the Front Screen Timers, Mr. Aguda may place an unobtrusive timer on your screens. Students are asked to locate the ticking timer on their screens.

Activity and Demonstration (NETSUPPORT): 4. Locked Screen Individual
Why would a teacher want to block just 1 Student's screen? Students can provide their own explanations. Teachers can choose to lock individual student screens to get a student's attention. This is demonstrated here.

Activity and Demonstration (NETSUPPORT): 5. Demonstrate onto EVERYONE'S computer.
Teacher opens up MS Word and then displays their screen onto everyone else's screens.

Activity and Demonstration (NETSUPPORT): 6. Student demonstration to everyone's screen.
Teacher chooses a student's screen to display to all screens in the classroom. Teacher asks the displaying student to SHOW and tell us, using his mouse and cursor, how to correctly save this file.

Activity: EMAIL Tutorial and Worksheet
 (Or any other Activity that you may have for students to rehearse NETSUPPORT procedures.
Students will receive their email assignments (Google Apps), login to the email system, and perform several tasks as explained on the worksheet. Throughout the activity, the instructor will use NETSUPPORT to interrupt, demonstrate, etc. 

Tech Dept (Tech, Read 180, Apex) Meet and Greet

Don't forget to RSVP (click on Accept on your meeting maker) for this Friday's Meet and Greet!

If you didn't get a Meeting Maker, email me at and I'll get one sent out to you!

Tech Happy Hour and Meet & Greet at Shatto 39 Lanes
School starts in less than a week for many of us. Start your weekend right and meet some great people, share, network, connect for the coming school year. Enjoy a drink (see below for cheap happy hour specials) or maybe bowl (see below for bowling prices) while you're at it.  Please RSVP by accepting the meeting maker so that I can get a head count. I really hope to meet you all there!

PS: If you aren't a TECH / READ 180 / APEX TEACHER / COUNSELOR on your site, you're still invited! Although, please forward this meeting maker to the person who is! 

Shatto 39 Lanes
3255 West 4th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90020-1619
(213) 385-9475

Apex Tips for Starting the Year

Periodically, I'll post some best practices for teachers by teachers. Here's one I received from Jesus Martinez at Animo Watts.

Not sure if you would call this a resource, but the following helped me to keep most of my Apex Students on task this summer. 

1.        For the first week give them an attainable goal such as finishing the first half of the first unit.
2.       When the second week begins, challenge their ability to finish 2 units and so on for the following weeks. 
3.       Monitor their progress and assess where students are having issues and create warm-ups for the beginning of class that can be completed as a class prior to beginning individual Apex work. 
4.       Solve these warm-up questions as a class and also allow them to solve them together in groups because some students learn better from their peers. 
5.       Monitor student progress on a weekly basis, call them to your desk and have them sit with you and go over their progress, let them know how they are doing and how much they have left to finish.  This will ensure that you are keeping tabs on them and will help keep them focused.
6.       Some students will make excuses and tell you that it is way too much work, and if so, break down their course work for them into achievable weekly goals that will help them to focus on one week at a time and not the entire course. 
7.       If you have a student who is moving at a very slow pace, make up an excuse and move him/her next to someone who is not a distraction and who is progressing at an adequate pace.  Also you might ask this student in private to help you motivate this student while working next to each other.
8.       Walk around the class and make yourself available for students who may need help with a particular question.  If you don’t know the answer, be honest and say so and then proceed to sit with the student and attempt to solve the question together so that he or she knows that you can relate to the task at hand and also that you are willing to help. 
9.       Always encourage students to work from home if possible, and of course if students are not keeping up with their pace, assign a specific number of lessons to be completed at home. 
10.   Remind students of the benefits and importance of completing Apex courses and also of your ability to make phone calls home when students are falling behind.  
11.   Also tell students that you will make phone calls home if they are caught on myspace, facebook, youtube, or playing video games.  Remind them that if they have time to be on those website then they have time to do work. 
12.   Also, I have found it to be extremely encouraging and motivating to make a positive phone calls home when students are on task and on pace.  This really helps them to want to progress further and achieve more. 
A resource that really came in handy for students was, it helped them with reviewing formulas and other math techniques. 
I hope this helps. 

Article By:
Jesus Martinez
Animo Watts / Art

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Classroom Timers

Everyone knows that good classroom management skills go hand in hand with good classroom time management.  I created these timers a couple of years ago and have used them religiously since then. Yeah, I know that they're not as fancy-shmancy as some of the ones that you can buy from a third party vendor, but they'll certainly keep time.

  • FREE!
  • PowerPoint Editable and Customizable
  • Small File Size
  • Sound
  • Space to write text for WARM UP / INSTRUCTIONS / REMINDERS
  • Prevents students from staring at the screen since these timers don't have second-by-second countdowns (I've noticed kids staring at my screen when I used the real countdown timers!)
  • Use the TURN TIMERS for GROUP WORK such as Numbered Heads or Think-Write-Pair-Share

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tech Teachers and IT Dept Meet and Greet

We're planning a Tech Teachers and IT Dept Meet and Greet for sometime within the next 3 weeks. I'm sure many of you would jump at the opportunity to meet and connect with other teachers in the system as well as your IT department.

And Bowling? Who doesn't like bowling? This'll be a place to hang out, meet people, and just chill with the great folks you'll be working with this year.

This is all still in the works, but we need your input as to where and when to have the event.

If you are a tech teacher (Read 180 / Apex too!), we need your input! Please help us out with the survey.

My New Cube in the New GD Home Office

So, we recently made a move out of the old home (for which I was only a 1 week resident) at 350 Fig. into the spectacular new space at the newly-refurbished AT&T building.

The move will make for a more cost-effective solution as it contains more work space than the previous space AND the rent is significantly cheaper.

Make sure you come by for a visit sometime!
1149 S. Hill Street, Ste #600
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world

Jane McGonigal speaks about the major shift in gaming as entertainment to gaming as life tools. She believes the world of the game is better than reality itself. Find out why!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tag Galaxy

Tag Galaxy is a very nice application that uses Papervision3D to explore Flickr photos via virtual planetary systems.

You enter a tag, and the related galaxy appears on screen. Each planet contains the pictures of a certain tag, and when you click on them, the images are placed on a 3D rotating globe.

Created by Steven Wood as a diploma thesis project with PV3D 1.5.
Steven is a freelance graphic designer and Flash developer from Germany.
Fantastic work, Steven.