Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Digital Learning Coaches

At the beginning of the school year we introduced our new Technology Coaches.  Since then, we have renamed this position to "Digital Learning Coaches"  This name better describes the goal of this position which is to focus on collaboration and integration.  So what are Digital Learning Coaches?

Digital Learning Coaches are classroom teachers identified as digital learning leaders for their schools. These coaches provide support and training for their colleagues. Digital Learning Coaches also work with their fellow teachers one-on-one to help them engage learners by using digital tools and resources.  Here are just a few words that I would use to describe a Digital Learning Coach:

It varies in each school, but all of our coaches are doing a variety of things to share information and resources with the staff in their buildings.  From a Google Classroom PLC, "See and Do" Learning Sessions, scheduled "office hours" and a variety of sessions on professional learning days, they are ready to work with teachers and support them with their digital learning goals.

Please reach out to myself and the Digital Learning Coaches in your building to begin working on your own digital learning goal.  We are all ready to help!

Central Intermediate School
Kyle Raleigh

Crescent Elementary School
Tina Vannatter & Jesse Richter

Pelican Elementary School
Megan Biscobing & JoEllen Lieck

Aaron Kraemer

Michelle Flohr


Adam Schmidt & Laura Tooke

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Think Before You Post

Cell phone
Our Digital Citizenship messages in March focus on texting.  There are many topics that we are sharing with our students and families related to texting depending on the grade level.  At the early elementary level, we are reminding our students to talk to a grown up when they are exposed to something online (or anywhere) that makes them uncomfortable. They will have the opportunity to watch the video called "It's Okay to Tell" and work through some activities in the classroom.

Principals will be sharing an email and video with all students in 4th grade - 9th grade that reminds them about some questions to keep in mind before they send a text or post online.  A rap from Flocabulary called "Oversharing" Think Before You Post" will remind them about the hazards of oversharing online and will emphasize a thoughtful approach to digital footprints.

In addition to messages and reminders about texting and digital footprints, students at the high school level will receive a separate email about texting and driving.  This is a critical message for students at this age and there is an infographic titled DWI: Driving While Intexticated that will be shared.  In addition there is a video called "Your Last Text" that you can share with your students, but because of the nature of the video it would be best to preview it and plan time to discuss it after viewing the video as a class.

Please use the following additional classroom resources with your students to remind them about their responsibilities when texting. These resources can be used in homerooms, class meetings, etc.

Student/Classroom Resources

It’s Okay to Tell (NetSmartz Video K-5)
Mindful Messaging (2-5) (NEW!)

Using Cell Phones Wisely (4-5)

TipSheets for Tweens (4-8)

Jostens - Pause Before you Post (4-12)

Tips to Prevent Sexting for Teens - Tip Sheet (6-12)

Texting and Driving Statistics - Infographic (6-12)

TipSheets for Teens (9-12)

Your Last Text (Video - Graphic) (9-12)

Ally's Story - Second Thoughts on Sexting Video (9-12)

Information Travels - How fast does information travel once it gets online? (9-12) (NEW!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Making Connections: UDL and Technology

It's time to "Gear Up" for the 4th Annual Hodag Tech Fest!   Each year when we plan for Hodag Tech Fest, we always focus on our District's goals and initiatives.  Our mission each year is to develop sessions that can help staff use technology to support these district goals.  This year we are excited to  plan our sessions around the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Framework.   Our district is embracing this framework for learning so each day will focus on a specific UDL Guideline and how a variety of digital learning tools and resources can be used when implementing the principles of UDL.

The "Why?" of Learning - Provide Multiple Means of Engagement and to encourage purposeful and motivated learners.

The "What?" of Learning - Provide Multiple Means of Representation to help development resourceful, knowledgeable learners.

Action and Expression
The "How?" of Learning - Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression to encourage strategic, goal-directed learners.

What You Need to Know...

Dates:  The Hodag Tech Fest will take place on August 1st - 3rd, 2017

Times:  Sessions will run from 8:00 am - 3:30 pm but you do not need to attend all day.  Select only the sessions that you want to attend.

Location:  James Williams Middle School

Reimbursement: Teachers will be paid curriculum in-service pay ($20 per hour) for sessions they attend. Support Staff will be paid their hourly rate of pay after pre-approval from their administrator.

Presenters:  All sessions are developed and facilitated by SDR staff.  We will be calling for presenters soon so if you have a topic that would fit into this year's framework, please let us know!!!

Check out the Hodag Tech Fest Flyer to get an idea of some session ideas that are being developed for this years event.
Gear Up for 2017 Hodag Tech Fest

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Global Awareness - Not Just a Buzzword

21st Century Skills Framework
For several years, our district has been talking about 21st Century Skills and how they should be incorporated into all areas of learning.  We have shared the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) Framework with staff and have focused on components of that framework in our Information and Technology Plan and professional development.

During the last several years our district has focused on Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity.   They skills are not just educational buzzwords, but they are the 4Cs in the Learning and Innovation Skills.  In addition these skills are strongly represented in the Common Core Standards and are a good place to start when preparing students for success in college, career and life.

In reviewing some data from a Future Ready survey, our district team found that while we are aware of the 21st Century skills we do have some gaps in the implementation of the skills.  To begin closing these gaps, I plan to highlight some of the skills and themes in this blog.  As we prepare for Digital Learning Day and our theme of  "Making Connections" I thought I would begin with Global Awareness.

In the green area of the 21st Century Rainbow, you will find the Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes.  This area demonstrates that our core subjects are essential and that there are some 21st Century themes that can be woven into our key subjects.  Global Awareness is one of those themes along with Civic Literacy, Health Literacy, Environmental Literacy and Financial Literacy

One definition of Global Awareness is to "come to understand other perspectives and cultures". While most of the time we think of Global Awareness as connecting with others across the globe, we do not necessarily need to go that far.  Here are some questions to consider when planning to focus on this theme in your classroom.
  • How can I connect my students to others?
  • How can we connect to our local communities?
  • How can I help them learn from or work collaboratively with people from all backgrounds, cultures, and religions?
  • How can I encourage a spirit of mutual respect?
  • How can I help build an understanding of different nations and cultures?
Not sure where to start?  Here are some web resources that provide project ideas or resources to help students connect to others locally and around the globe.

Global Project Resources

Google Arts & Culture  - Google Cultural Institute encompasses three impressive sites that bring the world to students

Projects By Jen - Creative Projects for PreK - Grade Six for Classrooms Worldwide

Skype in the Classroom - an online community that connects thousands of teachers to inspire the next generation of global citizens.

Free Rice - Answer questions on topics such as geography, English and Math. For every correct answer, the site donates food to a country in need.

Sites Alive - Linking adventures & expeditions to K12 Classrooms

iEARN - iEARN enables students and educators worldwide to design and participate in global projects as part of their regular classroom and after-school programs.

My Hero - The mission of MY HERO is to use media, art and technology to celebrate the best of humanity and to empower people of all ages to realize their own potential to effect positive change in the world.

Next Vista for Learning - Global Views Collection of Videos

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Making Connections on Digital Learning Day

Digital Learning Day (DLD) is coming up in a couple of weeks and the School District of Rhinelander will be joining thousands of other educators on February 23rd to celebrate digital learning. Digital learning is any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience and for many of you this is a natural part of your everyday instruction.

This year our district is focusing on the theme of "Making Connections". These connections can be made within your own schools, with other schools in our district or outside of our community.  One of the goals in our District ITL Plan is to increase the use of global projects. To help meet this district goal, promote continued digital connections, and celebrate Digital Learning Day, we will be providing web cams to classroom teachers.  

Your Digital Learning Coaches (formerly known as Technology Coaches), Library Media Specialists and myself will be available to help support you as you plan and continue to help students make connections to others locally and globally. In addition, here are just a few ideas or suggestions to make connections:
  • Connect your classroom with another classroom in or out of the district using Skype or a Google Hangout. How about connecting a elementary classroom with a middle or high school classroom? Check out Skype in the Classroom or the Connected Classrooms Community on Google+ 
  • Connect with other experts on a topic you are exploring in your classroom, including PIE business leaders in our community. (Many will connect with you via Skype or Google Hangouts)
  • Connect two curricular areas and collaborate on a group activity.
  • Connect with an author or illustrator. (Your LMS can assist you with this)
  • Connect two or more apps ("App Smash") to create a product.
  • Connect your students to a real audience by having them publish their work in an online environment (blogs, websites, YouTube, etc.)
Once you know what you will be doing on Digital Learning Day, please visit the national Digital Learning Day site to share your idea. Whether it's big or small please visit the DLD site to add your celebration.  We have one classroom registered so far. In the past, Rhinelander has been a leader across the state on Digital Learning Day, so let's register those activities and continue to lead the way!​

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Digital Citizenship - Protecting Your Privacy

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
Throughout the school year we have provided students and parents with digital citizenship strategies. This month we will be focusing on "Protecting Your Privacy".
Protecting your privacy is critical for all users. Even our youngest students need to be taught about internet privacy and what information should or should not be shared online. During the month we will be sharing information about safe password practice as well as privacy settings in online environment.

While we are sharing these reminders to students, many adults can benefit from them as well. Please review the following tips that will be shared with our students.
  • Make your passwords eight or more characters, using combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols. (These are harder to crack than regular words because there are more combinations to try.)
  • Don't include any private-identity information in your password. (People may easily guess passwords that include your name, address, birth date, and so on.)
  • Change your password at least every six months. (This way, even if someone does guess your password, they won't be able to get into your account for long.)
  • Don't share your password with your friends. (Even if you trust them, they might unintentionally do something that puts you or your information at risk.)
  • Pick a username that doesn’t include any personal information. (Think about the impression that a screen name can make.)
  • Don’t save your passwords in your browser, especially if you are using a shared computer. (While this is convenient, it can open yourself up to having your password compromised)
  • Don’t publish any identifying information about yourself. (This can include things like: phone numbers, pictures of your home, workplace or school, your address, birthday or full name.)
  • Never share any personal information, including credit card information and social security numbers online. 
  • Use privacy settings to control who sees personal posts, blogs, photos, videos and profiles. 
Your administrators will be sharing information with staff and/or students regarding our monthly topics. Please make sure you are also doing your part by sharing the following age appropriate videos with your students.  While some of the videos will be included in student emails there are several great resources to reinforce these topics in your homerooms or class meetings.

Check out the classroom resources below and plan to use them with your students sometime this month.


Follow the Digital Trail (K-2)
Netsmartz - Know the Rules(K-2) Know the Rules Pledge (K-2)
Netsmartz Password Rap (3-5)

Staying Safe and Secure in a Digital World (4-5) Included in email to students
Wild About Safety (K-5) Short music video with Pumba and Timon

Middle/High School
Profile Penalty (6-8) Short, 2:47, animated video.
Post to be Private (6-8) Short, 1:13, animated video.

Dos and Don’ts when using Social Media (7-12) Included in email to students

6 Degrees of Information (7-12) *Great to show during homerooms
Abba’s Story- Pride in your Digital Footprint (9-12) Discussion Guide

Digital Footprint - (9-12)