Friday, February 16, 2018

Are We Too Integrated?

How many of you have a physical key in your pocket to your school?
How many teachers have a physical copy of their gradebook?
How many librarians have a complete card catalog of their collections?
How many lunchrooms can feed all of our kids and keep up with payments on paper?
How many bookkeepers have a physical bank statement with every transaction?
How many administrators have a physical list of your staff incase of an emergency?  
How many of our students have had a dog eat their homework?  

It may be against some sort of law for a Chief Technology Officer but sometimes I feel that we rely on technology too much.

A few years ago, I was sitting at a breakfast table with a few friends and their dads. We were talking about where we going to hunt that day and the weather, sports and things of that nature. I began talking about scores and wind directions and other trivial things when one of the old men asked me how I knew everything I was saying. I just held up my phone. He went on to tell me how my generation would be the downfall of this great nation and that “one day some army will beat us with sticks and rocks because we are so dependant on technology”. I never forgot that comment.

So take that forward a few years. That gentleman is dead, only his memory remains. But those words came into my head in the middle of the night as I have fought over some of the things that we are doing here. I have read studies about how our kids spend to much time on this or that. I look at reports of our own kids youtube use. IT IS CRAZY at the number of hours our kids spend on things like this. But when you look at what they are doing, it is pretty amazing. Yes, some are just looking at gaming videos, or music videos or some other mind numbing junk. Then again, some kids are teaching themselves. Math, other languages, reading reference materials, sharing documents with each other that I would have never created when I was their age, much less shared with my friends to have them help me proof or complete my thoughts.  We have kids who have their own blogs, youtube channels and have their voices heard by 100’s of thousands other kids. We need to help them find a healthy balance. Maybe that is what becomes our focus.

Now think about our teachers. They are amazing educators. They push our students to do epic things every day. BUT are they focusing on the wrong outcomes from our students at times? I look at work orders, emails to me and all the social media posts of our teachers almost daily. I have grown concerned that our teachers are worried about using the chromebook, ipad, app or other shiny thing and not on the critical thinking, strategies and just common sense that our students need to be successful. If the “internet” didn’t just magically flow through the air one day, what would happen?

Are we too dependant? Do our teachers have too much? Are we focusing on the technology and not teaching and learning? I understand that technology is supposed to be a tool and that it only is a magnifier of the teacher and the lesson. BUT do our teachers understand that? Does our culture understand that? Did we forget how to teach with chalk and books, or sticks and rocks?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Google Certified Educator Exams

I know that several of you have asked about this exam. We quickly pulled together these resources for you.

Site for the actual exams.

Cheat sheets for the skills needed.

And Jeff Richardson is doing a session at LTI on it. Tuesday, July 25 at 10 AM.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hoover City Schools is CERTIFIED!

Digital media and technology are evolving at a dizzying pace, both unlocking extraordinary opportunities and posing real risks for young people. Students are using the immense power of the Internet and mobile technology to explore, connect, create, and learn in ways never before imagined, both in and out of the classroom. But issues that emerge from this 24/7 "connected culture," such as cyberbullying, privacy lapses, and uncertainty about which information to trust online, are surfacing both in schools and at home.

Hoover City Schools sees these as teachable moments. We believe that digital citizenship skills have become essential for students in the 21st century, especially in schools like ours that are using technology to transform learning. That's why we are committed to teaching our students how to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly. Hoover City Schools has just been approved as a Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certified School District, an honor that recognizes our efforts in teaching digital literacy and citizenship to young people and engaging the entire school community in this important discussion. This recognition is provided by Common Sense Education, part of a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.

Our schools are one of the more than 100,000 schools across the country that use Common Sense Education's groundbreaking education resources. As a result, our students are better equipped to navigate the digital world and use devices for learning.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Le Mois de l'histoire des femmes (Women's History Month)

To celebrate Women's History Month, my upper level French classes at Spain Park High School are researching francophone (French speaking) women in the domains of business, scientific research, and civil service.  Keeping their own interests and passions in mind, the students chose their "Experte Francophone" from this database of women from all over the world.  These women are current professional lawyers, professors, entrepreneurs, accountants, human rights activists, and nutritionists, just to name a few.  They live in Haiti, France, Ghana, Senegal, Switzerland, and lots of other countries where French is an official or important language.  

I'm so excited about this assignment because my students are writing emails to these experts in hopes of a response which we can share with the class during the presentations.  They're writing real messages to real people, so the stakes of their understanding their professions and making sure the language they use makes sense are much higher! Not only is this great practice for the email writing portion on the AP exam, but it's a tangible way to show my students the reach the French language has in the world and in business.  I also hope it inspires my students- these women are successful because they have worked hard and made education a priority.  They are passionate about the work they do, whether it be the study of rain forest ants or sustainable architecture.  

Already today one of my students came to me between classes to tell me the woman she contacted responded to all of her questions!  This student was so excited, and I can tell she is really engaged!  Maybe one day my students will have open their inboxes to messages from high school students hoping to answer questions for a research project about them! 

Danelle Cash

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Digital Learning Day- February 23 #DLDay

Digital Learning Day 2017 will be held on February 23, 2017. DLDay is a nationwide celebration that highlights great teaching and demonstrates how technology can improve student outcomes.

Learn more at

#DLDay @officialDLDay

Tech 4 U newletter

Enjoy this edition of Tech 4 U! LINK:

Monday, February 6, 2017

AETC June 2017: Facilitators Needed

AETC June 2017

As you know, the 2017 AETC Conference is scheduled for June 13-15 at Hoover High School in Hoover, AL. As in years past, we need your help in staffing this event. Volunteers are needed to serve as facilitators for the one-hour sessions and the hands-on workshops offered. This will only require about a three- to four-hour commitment on any of these dates. By volunteering to be a facilitator, your registration fee for AETC will be waived.

Facilitator duties for the one-hour sessions and the hands-on workshops are included on the attached sign-up sheet. Technical assistance will be available on each hall if there are technical problems.

The form can be found on the AETC website at, click on Facilitators. We must have your completed Facilitator form(s) returned to the SDE by April 14, 2017, in order to accept you as a Facilitator. At that time you will be emailed your scheduled time to facilitate and the registration link with instructions.

Thank you for your continued support in making AETC a success!!

(Memo sent by ALSDE)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

PBS Digital Innovators

Calling all Classroom Changemakers! Are you a PBS Digital Innovator?
 PBS Digital Innovators set the bar for thoughtful tech integration in the classroom. They are K-12 educators who are not defined by the gadgets they use, but by the unique way they approach education. Their bold and enthusiastic perspective sets them apart as changemakers, and unlocks new worlds for their students.
We’re looking for educators who love what they do, and who have found creative and thoughtful ways to integrate technology and digital media into their instruction.  These educators are born leaders—they inspire both their students and their peers.  Most importantly, they make learning fun and accessible to all students.
PBS Digital Innovators receive ongoing professional development, opportunities to share their ideas in national settings, and an all–expenses-paid trip to San Antonio for the PBS Digital Innovators Summit, and the ISTE conference.
The application process will be open from December 12, 2016 to February 13, 2017 at 12:01 am, PST. Tell us what you’re passionate about through our online application process.
Applicants selected to join the PBS Digital Innovator class of 2017 will receive ongoing PD through in-person training, webinars, and a free PBS TeacherLine course; access to exclusive educational technology resources and events; membership into a lively professional learning community and an all-expenses-paid three-day trip to San Antonio for the PBS Digital Innovators Summit and ISTE 2017 Conference & Expo!
Everyone who applies will automatically become a member of our PBS Education community, connecting you to a large network of like-minded educators.
View the application requirements here  and   Apply today!
View all previous Alabama Digital Innovators at the link below!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Hour of Code Week at Greystone Elementary

Greystone students had a great time during the Hour of Code Week, December 5-11. Many classrooms participated by using activities on Many classrooms also had the opportunity to code using Osmo Coding, Osmo Newton, and program Dash, and Bee Bot.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

“Special” Hour of Code Activities at BPES

Students at BPES were immersed in Hour of Code activities throughout the week during specials. Here are some highlights of the week:

Art - 3rd-5th Pixel Art using Conditional Formatting in Google Sheets
Art - K-2 - Coding with Ozobots
Library - Learning about coding jobs

STEAM - Coding activities using Bee Bots, Ozobots, and Dash and Dot

South Shades Crest and the Hour of Code

South Shades Crest students had a great time during the Hour of Code Week, December 5-11. Some classes participated in coding stations in the Tinker Lab including programing Dash, Ozobots, and Bee-bots. Many classrooms participated by using activities on Many enjoyed old favorites such as Ana and Elsa, Scratch, Star Wars, and Minecraft. The new unit, Moana, was a huge hit. Students loved the activities because they were challenging and engaging.

Riverchase Loves to Code!

Riverchase participated in the annual Hour of Code event, December 5-11. This year the specials teachers joined in the festivities. The librarian, Mrs. Rich, had the fifth graders complete a Scratch project which included animating their name. The art teacher, Mrs. Evans, picked up with the project by helping the fifth grade students add in music. The enrichment teacher, Mrs. Michoudet, had her students create binary code initial bracelets using pony beads. The PE teachers, Coach Gilcrest and Patridge, created obstacle courses and had the students program their way through the course. The STEAM teacher, Ms. Frederick, led a fun coding exploring week with all students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade. The stations included Osmo Coding, Scratch, Bee-bot, and Dash. The broadcast team showed videos for inspiration each morning for broadcast. In the classroom, teachers gave students to explore Hour of Code activities. Some of their favorite apps included Kodable and The Foos.

Coding on the Mountain

Shades Mountain students love to code! The Hour of Code week was celebrated in classrooms with students using tutorials and activities. Moana was a favorite this year! Apps such as Kodable, The Foos, and Move the Turtle were also a hit in kindergarten through second grade. Third grade used the Innovation Zone to program Dash to dance around a Christmas Tree. Dash also learned how to “ice skate” by taping a marker to the robot and programming it to draw shapes on paper using Blockly. Students in grades second through fifth enjoyed speakers from Daxko who talked about the importance of coding in their jobs complete with a demonstration on how to code in Minecraft.

Hour of Code at GVES

Green Valley students loved having Hoover High code with them last Wednesday.  Hoover students helped guide Green Valley on how to code.  The video the HS kids created really pumped every grade up.  The students have been especially enthusiastic about using coding to play Minecraft and to create music.  Move the Turtle, Daisy Dinosaur, and Foos coding iPad apps were used my many K-2 students. It was a GREAT Gator day!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Hour of Code at GWIN

Even the youngest learner can begin to code. Kindergarten students at Gwin have been learning the basics of coding language. Learning through play has never been more fun! Students enjoyed a guest speaker that helped everyone understand how coding is used in the games that they love.  They have enjoyed programming Moana to catch fish across the ocean and making the Minecraft characters move around their world.   One student reports, “I like coding because it is challenging, and I like a challenge!”  Students have also enjoyed learning about other children all over the world who code. One 3rd grade teacher said "It empowers them to believe that they can do anything. They have enjoyed creating new projects and also playing each of the games created by classmates. We will continue to utilize programming and  computer science in the classroom." Music, Art, PE, and Library also had great activities planned out for the kids.
It is clear that Gwin students have some computer scientists in-the-making! Students and teachers were all smiles during Hour of Code Week.

Hour of Code Week at DVES

Deer Valley Elementary students this year participated in Hour of Code during their library time.  Librarian, Raquel Lieber, started each session with a lesson on various types of computer science jobs.  Students then spent their remaining time coding using the Kodable app.  

Hour of Code Week at RRES

The students at RRES were CODING away.  Students listened to guest speakers, made bracelets and ornaments from Binary Code, and worked on coding websites.

The guest speakers were from Daxko and IBM. They talked to the students about all kinds of information on coding in the “real world” - everything from how simple computers really are to how complicated creating an app can be. 3rd graders got to hear about what computer science means and had a tutorial on Hour of Code courses. The fourth graders learned more about the Scratch coding program and how to build a game. Fifth grade got to explore a little more in depth from our speaker about the inner workings of code. Several classes “Broke Out” for in advance to prepare for this techy week!

Many classes learned how to read binary code and created a bracelet and/or ornament that displayed a word or phrase.  The students were so excited for their families to figure out their mystery word.

Students have been busy using

Monday, December 12, 2016

Thursday 12/8/2016 code campers from 1st to 4th grade presented their final project to parents and community leaders. From Bee Bot robots, programmed drone spiders, Minecraft presentations, MOSS robotics, Makey Makey circuits and Blockly code students did a fantastic job culminating a two week after school coding camp led by Amanda Stone and Dana Joyner.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Dell Green Monday Offers!

Green Monday deals are here! Starting December 12 at 7am EST, you will have access to another round of door busters and standing offers ALL DAY LONG! Plus, enter TENOFF to receive 10% off of ALL PC's on Tuesday, 12/13, and Wednesday, 12/14. Be sure to order by 12/22 at 1PM to ensure delivery by 12/23.*

Green Monday Highlights:
XPS 13 for $949: Intel i5/8GB/256GB SSD (11am CST)
Inspiron 15 7000 for $799: Intel i7/8GB/1TB
Alienware Aurora for $1,249: Intel i7/8GB/1TB/VR Ready
Inspiron 15 3000 Non-Touch for $299: Intel i3/4GB/500GB Touch Screen (8pm CST)
Inspiron Small Desktop for $249: Intel Celeron/4GB/1TB

Who do you still need gifts for? Check out these specialty packages for each person in your family!

Movie Buff: VIZIO 50" 4K Ultra HD SmartTV with Logitech Harmony Remote, $399 (regularly $679) @5pm CST: 12/12
+ All-New Vizio SmartCast Wireless Sound Bar System: $229

Gamer: Alienware Alpha: i4/4GB/500GB, $449: 12/12
+ Dell UltraSharp 24 Monitor, $180.49: 12/12
+ Logitech Mechanical Gaming G410 Atlas Spectrum USB Keyboard: $49 (regularly $129) @7pm CST, 12/12

Fitness Enthusiast: ActiveOn Underwater/Wi-Fi/Mountable Action Camera 1080p: $129 (regularly $249), 12/12
+ Jabra Sport Pace Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds $99

Phone: 1-800-695-8133, with your Member ID: US133505885

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Did you miss Google's Virtual Conference?

Did you miss Google's Education on Air? Click HERE and you will find each session's archive.

Session including hacking the classroom with Google tools, Google certifications, formative assessments, portfolios and more!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Dell Deals


Still looking for great gift ideas?  Hoover City School District students, faculty and staff will have access to special offers as part of our Days of Deals starting on 12/5 with deals every day through 12/12.  Be sure to shop early and often as there will be several special offers each day.
Below are just some of the exclusive offers on Dell PC's.

*       Inspiron 15 3000 Non-Touch for $244.99
*       Inspiron 15 5000 Touch for $734.99
*       Inspiron Desktop for $470.39
*       Inspiron 15 5000 2-in-1 for $538.99

Don't need a PC this holiday season?  We still have other great deals on electronics and accessories, including an LG 55" 4K Smart Ultra HDTV for $699.99 plus a $250 Dell Promo eGift Card.


Follow link by clicking on image below.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Hour of Code Resources for Specials Teachers

From the Elementary Tech 4 U Newsletter

Hour of Code is Here!

Hour of Code is next week! Here are some options for our specials teachers:

Specials Options-
P.E. Option:
Non-Computer Option- Getting Loopy

Music Option:
Non-Computer Option- Songwriting with Parameters.

Chromebook Options- Made with Code Music Mixer and

Art Option:
Non- Computer Option- Functional Suncatchers

Chromebook Options- Pixel Art with Spreadsheets (Note: I have taught this at some grade levels. You may want to let me know if you plan on using it and I can tell you who has had the lesson. Honestly, time to work on it never hurts even if they already know how to do it.)
  • Ozobots

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

EdPuzzle-Oh the Possibilities!

If you ever use YouTube as a resource in your classroom, then you need to check out EDpuzzle. This really great FREE tool allows you to add questions directly INSIDE the video that your students must answer as they watch the video individually. These questions allow you to make sure your kids are paying attention and learning what it is you expect them to learn from the YouTube clip.

It works like this. You find the video you want your kids to watch and bring it into EDpuzzle. You can get videos from YouTube, Khan Academy, NatGeo, TED, Vimeo, etc. Next, using the EDpuzzle editor, you can trim the clip to just what you want your students to view, insert questions-m/c or short answer and even add your own voice notes into the video. You can even set it to not allow the student to view the rest of the video until they get the question correct. And best of all, you can add your students directly from Google Classroom, which students simply sign in to EDpuzzle and see the videos you have assigned to them. It keeps track of lots of great data including their score, item analysis and even time spent watching. Below is an example so you can see just how it works. This video has Audio Notes as well as several questions.

Go to EDpuzzle to get started!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Berry Middle School is Common Sense Certified!

Students signing the Digital Citizen Pledge
Thanks to a commitment to DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP, Berry Middle School is now a Common Sense Education Digital Citizenship Certified School for 2016-17. Berry spent a week in October focusing on the importance of digital citizenship and used various resources from Common Sense Education to educate students, teachers and parents. In the classroom, students and teachers completed 3 different lessons dealing with topics such as cyber bullying, digital drama and online identity. These lessons culminated with students signing the Digital Citizen Pledge.

The Student Panel
Parents also participated by attending an event where a student panel shared their voice on what it's like being a teen in the digital world. This event was well-attended and proved to generate relevant conversation and thought among the parents.

Overall, Digital Citizenship Week was a huge success at Berry and acted as a catalyst for both conversation and action. Because digital citizenship affects everyone, BMS will continue to bring awareness to the topic through engaging opportunities for ALL stakeholders with the primary goal of making sure our students are prepared for the digital world.

Several other HCS schools are in the process of being certified through Common Sense Education for Digital Citizenship with a goal of district certification.  

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Hour of Code is coming... #hcseli

Why Participate in Hour of Code?

Hour of Code week is quickly approaching! Mark your calendars for December 5-11. So the big question I have been asked lately is, "Why should my class participate in the Hour of Code?" As former classroom teachers, we have all signed up our students to participate in the Hour of Code at

Children are curious and want to learn how to make things such as computers and robots do useful things. And while coding is fun, what really matters are the lasting benefits of building skill sets such as logical thinking, problem solving, persistence, collaboration, and communication. Computer science will be needed in all future careers.

~~Elementary Tech Coaches 
Sara Carpenter
Karen Darroch
Melanie Haynes
Jamie Nutter

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

AETC 2017 June 13-15, 2017

June 13-15, 2017
Hoover High School

Applications to present at this year's AETC conference are now open. Go to and click Applications to Present.

Tech 4 U

Newsletter: Enjoy this edition of Tech News 4 U!  Link: can find past issues in the link below in my signature.
  • Inside this edition:
    • Tricks
    • Treats
    • Tweets around the district 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

AETC applications now open!

Now accepting Applications to Present for one-hour sessions and hands-on workshops! Go to, hover over Applications to Present. #AETC2017


The K-12 CS Framework will launch to the public on on Monday, October 17. The new website will contain all of the guidance and development chapters in addition to the concepts and practices, viewable in three different formats.
There will be a webinar on Wednesday, October 19 at 3 pm ET (12 pm PT). Use this link to watch the live stream:

Digital Citizenship Teen Panel: Berry Middle School 10/17 6:30PM

You’re Invited!
Digital Citizenship Teen Panel: "My Digital Life"
Monday, October 17
6:30 - 8:00pm
Berry Middle School Choir Room
Many parents share an interest and even a bit of concern about their kids’ digital lives.  As part of Berry Middle School’s Digital Citizenship Week we are hosting a Teen Panel.  You will hear from some current 8th grade students as they share perspectives, insights, and possible pitfalls that they or other peers have experienced in social media and in their digital lives. And even though the topics will be focused on what middle school students are facing, it's never too early to start thinking about these topics for your children because they are living in the digital world. SO, even though your kids may just be in elementary school, we would love to have you join us because digital citizenship affects us all!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Google Education on Air: December 3

Join Google Apps for Education for a free, online conference. Share with and learn from other educators. Hear from inspiring speakers. Get tips and tools to help boost student engagement, collaboration and productivity and in the classroom.

Share your thoughts with #ItTakesaTeacher and #hcseli on December 3! 

Register now!