Friday, September 18, 2015

rosterSync for Admins and Teachers - sync your SIS to Google Classroom

rosterSync is a great new, free tool from New Visions Cloud Lab, the same people behind the Chromebook Inventory Tool. rosterSync has two versions: Super Admin and Teacher.

rosterSync: Super Admin Edition
The Super Admin edition allows GAFE super admin's to create and update Google Classroom, including populating classes, using CSV exports from Student Information Systems. SIS systems that are currently supported include Blackbaud, Infinite Campus, NYC DOE STARS and PowerSchool.

This tool means that teachers don't have to create classes and have students join using a code.

rosterSync: Teacher Edition
The Teacher Edition allows teachers to sync a Google Classroom course roster -- including student email addresses -- directly with Google Sheets for handy use with Add-ons like Doctopus, formMule, autoCrat, formRanger, and others. This will save teachers and students who use those tools a lot of time. 


Google Classroom resources for Educators

Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering 9/11 14 years later

I was in EMS for 22 years before retiring due to a back injury. One of my most memorable experiences was responding to New York City as a Paramedic in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. I will never forget that experience. What I saw and did are still with me, as is a type of asthma from breathing the dust. My Experience as a Paramedic on 9-11-01 

As the years have gone by, I've noticed that people are not remembering this terrible event like they did the first few years after. I know that my EMS, Fire and Police colleagues all do, as do the brave men and women of our armed forces who fight every day against terrorism.

I've also noticed less being done in schools lately. Most of today's students weren't even born when 9/11 occurred. Please teach them about it (facts only please) and make sure they understand what it means.

Yesterday, this photo was taken showing a rainbow leading right to the WTC site and the Freedom Tower!

United We Stood, United We Stand

Today is a day Americans will never forget.
It is a day of remembrance, a day of reflection and a day to be proud.
It is a day we honor and remember the thousands of lives lost, the survivors, and those who rose up in service in response to the attacks on 9-11-2001.
It is a day we pay tribute to and reflect on the sacrifices of the public safety workers and the men and women in our military who serve us and protect us 365 days a year.
It is a day Americans can be proud of the way we came together following the attacks on 9-11.
United We Stood. United We Stand.

Here are some more resources about my experience on 9/11 and 9/11 in general:

My Experience as a Paramedic on 9-11-01

Remembering 9/11 (from 2009)

Great collection of sites about Osama bin Laden, terrorism, and the wars in the Middle East from Larry Ferlazzo.,29307,1921566_1932073,00.html


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Welcome Back to School! Here are some great resources to get the year started right!

Welcome back to school! I hope everyone had a great summer and was able to relax and recharge. My wife's district started back on August 24th, some other schools around here started last week, and many start today.

The beginning of the year is always a little crazy for all teachers. Getting your room setup, implementing new ideas into your lesson plans, getting to know your students, and just settling back in to the routine can be busy and stressful. Remember to not over do it and take time for yourself. 

One thing I've done in the past that helped me is using a check list of everything I have to do when school starts, including setting up my room (computer, bulletin boards, etc), things I want to post in my room, lesson ideas and more in Evernote. I modify it each year, adding new things for the following year. 

Here are some more tips, resources, and help to get your school year started on a positive note, and keep it that way. 

My Favorite Resources for Teachers and Students

Evernote for Education Resources - the ultimate note taking, web clipping, lesson planning resource

Create a Personal Learning Network - a PLN is an excellent resource for help, advice, and sharing ideas.

Google for Educators - Google has a huge number of free resources for teachers and students. Check them all out (they're all free).

Overview of some free technology that can help you be more organized and efficient.

Good luck and I hope everyone has a great school year!!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

September is National Preparedness Month - Here are some great resources!

It's National Preparedness Month, and start of the Hurricaine Season. With all of the crazy weather we have seen, it's good to be prepared.

It is important to consider three scenarios when planning for an emergency: 1) an escape route and meeting point if everyone is in the house; 2) what to do during a school day; and 3) how to handle an emergency during the weekend, when family members might be scattered.

Although many people are familiar with the concept of developing a family plan for emergencies, most fail to take the time to sit down and actually come up with one. One great resource is the FEMA-sponsored website: Check out their kids section too:

Schools need to be prepared themselves, as well as teach their staff and students how to be prepared.

Each household, business, and school should have an emergency plan, emergency kits and people trained in emergency preparedness and response.

I started my training in emergency preparedness while on my trail to Eagle ScoutEmergency Preparedness is a required merit badge and the Boy Scouts emphasize emergency preparedness among the scouts. I am also a paramedic, special operations paramedic and FEMA trained in Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Management. Here are some of my favorite resources for learning about Emergency Preparedness. is the US Government's web site for information and resources on emergency preparedness and response. There are resources for making a plan, an emergency kit, and how to stay informed. Information is included for individuals and businesses.

The Boy Scouts of America, who train all their Scouts and Adults in Emergency Preparedness, has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security to provide resources for the public on getting prepared. The site has planning resources, how to make an emergency kit, and other resources.

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross website also has information for creating an emergency plan and how to prepare for different emergencies. They also sell emergency kits (they are very good and a decent price). You can always make your own using their lists though. There is a full section on preparing schools and students. The Preparedness Fast Facts page is an excellent, one stop resource.

Emergency Management Institute Logo

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Emergency Management Insitute
The FEMA EMI offers free, online courses for anyone to take. The courses are well done and there are plenty of downloadable materials to help you. If you pass the test at the end, you even get a certificate.

Here are a list of the courses that I think all educators should take: (I've taken these, and more)

IS-7   A Citizen's Guide to Disaster Assistance
IS-22 Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness
IS-55 Household Hazardous Materials - A Guide for Citizens
IS-100.Sca Introduction to the Incident Command System for Schools
IS-362 Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools

Education Administrators should also be involved in community emergency planning because schools are on the top of the list as emergency shelters and field hospitals and the building administrators know their buildings.

You can even join your local Community Emergency Response Team. These are teams of citizens that are specially trained to help out in major emergencies, sort of like the reserves. Find out more here. Here is a list of CERT's by State:

Emergency Preparedness is everyone's responsibility. The Japanese know this and that is one reason why the disaster over there is not worse that it is. Share these resources with your students, colleagues, and family.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Some app substitutions for iPad apps to use on a Chromebook

Chromebooks - apps recommendations and substitutions

Many “apps” made for iOS and Android aren’t meant to be used as apps on a Chromebook, anymore than they would be on a Mac or Windows device. You can just use the website. Others have web apps and/or extensions.

  1. Google Maps web app
  2. Kindle - use website or Kindle Cloud Reader web app
  3. Stage - no direct alternative, but there are “whiteboarding apps”
  4. PS Express - Pixlr Editor or PicMonkey
  5. Dropbox - Dropbox Web App
  6. Educreations - (Lensoo) - go to Educreations website and login,
  7. Chatterpix - use Pixlr or PicMonkey (see #4)
  8. PhotoFun Animal - no direct alternative (doesn’t seem educational either)
  9. Wikipanion - just go to Wikipedia site
  10. QR Reader - use ScanQR
  11. Accelerated Reader (AR) - Renaissance Learning AR, Achieve3000 Mobile
  12. Adobe Reader - Acrobat Reader web app, Google Drive will also open PDF files
  13. Pages - use Google Docs
  14. Numbers - use Google Sheets
  15. Keynote - use Google Slides
  16. iMovie - use WeVideo
  17. iPhoto - use Pixlr or Pickmonkey (#4 above) for editing. Google Photos (part of Google Drive) can also be used to organize your photos and do basic editing.


Remember to add these through the Admin Console as pushed or recommended apps for your users.(Scroll down to Force-Installed Apps and Extensions)


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