Monday, September 30, 2013

Using Prezi to Reinvent Your Lectures

If you're ever looking for ways to make your lectures more engaging, consider using Prezi--an online, non-linear program that allows you to map your presentations.  Teachers and students can sign up for a free account at

How To Cite a Tweet

The MLA recently announced a citation format for tweets. Amusingly, the citation is longer than the work cited. The format looks like this:
If that seems like too much work, there is a website that will generate the citation for you. The website Tweet2Cite allows you to paste the URL of a tweet and will prepare both MLA and APA formatted citations. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

myMitty Quiz Workshop

The focus of this September 2013 workshop was how to format multiple choice questions to import into myMitty quizzes. For a basic introduction to myMitty quizzes, see this Knowledge Base post.

Here’s how to format an existing multiple choice quiz so it's ready for import into myMitty:

  1. Open the quiz on your computer.
  2. Copy and paste the text into a new file in TextEdit.
  3. Select all the text, select “Format” -- “Make Plain Text”
  4. Format the quiz as follows:

What is 2 + 2?
A. 4

B. 2

C. 0
D. None of these

Who is the President of the US?
A. Bush

B. Clinton

C. Obama
D. McCain

Which is the best Catholic school in San Jose?
A. Bellarmine

B. Mitty

C. Sacred Heart Prep
D. Homestead


  • The blank spaces in the sample above really do make a difference.
  • Auto-numbering (lettering) OFF.

  • ANSWER (and the letter answers) must be capitalized.

  • Unusual characters, including curved apostrophe and quotations (straight marks are OK, the curved ones are not), and material from equation editor
 will fail.

Next, it's time to input this document into myMitty:

  1. Login to myMitty
  2. Go to Questions in the Administration block.
  3. As needed, select the Category tab and create a category for this quiz
  4. Click the Import tab
  5. Aiken Format
  6. Uncheck get category from file
  7. Upload your .txt file
  8. Click OK: Mac OS (default) is fine
  9. Click “upload this file”, Click Continue

Congrats! You’re now able to use those questions in your quizzes.

If you have any questions about this process, please don't hesitate to ask Graham or any other member of Spectrum!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Quick Tips for the iPad

You can take a screenshot on your iPad by pressing the HOME Button first and then the Sleep/Wake button. The screen will flash white and you'll hear a click, indicating that a photo has been taken. Your screen shots are saved automatically in your Photos gallery. 
Here, you can view or email them as you see fit!

The iPad's Mail app defaults to previewing two lines of each email before you tap on it. Sometimes however it would be handier to be able to see more of an email before loading the whole thing in, especially if you are on a slow connection. To do this open the Settings app, then tap on Mail, Contacts, Calendars and change the Preview options to add more lines.

When you hold down on a word to copy it, choose Define. Tap this and, you can see suggestions for alternative words that have similar spellings. It's a good way of quickly correcting typos.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Automatically Grade Google Forms with Flubaroo

Screenleap - Share your computer screen to any browser

Screenleap allows you to broadcast your computer screen (or just a part of your screen) to any device with a browser. It's SUPER SIMPLE. Just go to, and you can begin broadcasting from there. It will provide you with two ways for students to see your screen: 1) a share code (students would go to and type in the code) OR 2) a direct link for students to paste into their browser (you could make it even easier for them by putting the link up on your myMitty page, so all they have to do is click!) If you see yourself using this consistently, you might consider signing up for an account, which means that students wouldn't need to get a new code or link every time you start a session. I signed up for a free account (gives you 2 hours of broadcast per day), and I've put up a link to my broadcast page ( at the top of my class's myMitty page, so anytime I want them to see my screen, I will just instruct them to click on that link on their iPads. I can control from my computer what section of my screen I want to broadcast, and I can pause and resume the broadcast whenever I want. It's essentially an alternative to using your projector, especially if you're showing detailed things on your computer that may be difficult for students at the back of the room to see up on the projector screen.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Notability Grading in Class

This pdf shows you how to use Notability and your attendance picture page to check and grade assignments in class.

I use this throughout the year to check assignments for completion that I am not collecting, or when I am checking a halfway point for an assignment like close reading. There are a variety of different ways you can use this and it is so easy. Click on the link below to review the step by step instructions. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Downloading Standard Definition (SD) iTunes Movies

HD (high definition) movies purchased from iTunes will not play when you are connected to a projector using the VGA adaptor.  If you want to read more about why this is the case, click here.

However you can play SD (standard definition) movies to the projector. When you purchase an HD movie from iTunes, you automatically have access to the SD version as well. While SD versions are technically lower resolution, there is no noticeable difference when play them on your classroom projector.

Follow these directions to download the SD versions of your iTunes movies:
  1. Open iTunes on your computer.
  2. From the Store menu, choose Store > Sign In, and then enter your Apple ID and password.
  3. Navigate to your Purchased page. 
    • Find it by clicking Movies or TV Shows from the top navigation bar in the iTunes Store.
    • Click Purchased from "QUICK LINKS" in the iTunes Store.
  4. Choose the appropriate video type: Movies or TV Shows.
  5. In the lower-right corner of the screen, deselect the box next to "Download HD When Available."
  6. Search for the desired video and click the download button to download the standard definition version to your computer.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Uploading to via Your iPad

This tutorial shows students how to upload paper/essays they wrote on their iPad to using moodlEZ. More and more, students are writing large assignments on their iPads and need to learn how to upload those documents without having to email them to their home computers. This video is also available for students on the Student Technology Resources page on mymitty.

Google Sets

Within Google Spreadsheets you can generate sets of related words.  Suppose you wanted to get creative with group names, put three or more items that you thought went together, and Google Sets attempts to find more members of the set.  For example, a set of "dog, cat, fish" would yield more animals.  Here's how it works:
1) Type in at least 3 related terms.
2) Highlight the 3 terms and [hold Control + drag] or [hold Option + drag]

Friday, September 6, 2013

Making Class Work "Count"

In my classes, I often use worksheets in Notability to guide class activities or group conversations.  Students always ask me if these worksheets "count" for anything.  If I tell them that they will upload the worksheet, they always take it more seriously; if I say it's just for their own use, it's harder for me to keep them on track.  This year, however, I'm trying something new.  Every time I post a worksheet on myMitty, I also post a place for them to upload the completed worksheet (whether or not I intend for it to be uploaded at the end of the class).  When they see the UPLOAD link, they feel more pressure to stay on task.  At the end of class, I verbally tell them if it has to be uploaded.  
I told my students at the beginning of the year that they should just assume that they will have to upload every document we work on in class--I won't grade all of them, but they will never know when I'm going to grade them.  This helps keeps everyone on task in class, and it minimizes the number of questions I get about grades on in-class activities.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Using Google Calendar to Schedule Meetings with Students

Have you ever verbally set up an appointment with a student and they don't show up?

Using your Google Calendar is an easy way to schedule meetings with students. The students are very used to attending meetings that have been set up through Google Calendar because most of the counselors schedule appointments using this method. We have found it to be super easy and very effective.

Why using Google Calendar is helpful:

- It blocks out your time and the students time so you both don't schedule something else in its place. For example, when students have three tests to make up after being absent, they tend to overbook themselves for retakes. You can schedule a time with them for your test, so that specific time or period is blocked off, so they know they can't make up another test at the same time.

- It reminds both you and the student of the appointment.
Google Calendar will send a reminder 10 minutes prior to the scheduled meeting. This will help the student remember that they were scheduled to come and see you.

- You can get a confirmation that they know the time and place of the meeting.
When you use Google Calendar to invite a student to a meeting, they have to "accept" the invitation, letting you know that they are aware of the scheduled time.

- You can add notes into the Calendar Invite.
Giving the students reminders to "bring a scantron" or "do problems 1-15 before meeting" is helpful and prevents having to send a separate email.

Here are the steps to inviting a student to a meeting time using Google Calendar.

Step 1:
- Open up google Calendar

Step 2:
- Click on a period and then click "copy it to your calendar"

Step 3: 
In this next window you do the following:
- Change the title to something like "Math help with Lisa Downey".
- Pick the specific time, and the amount of time, you are planning on spending with that student.
- You have the option to add in where the meeting is, and any description or note that you want to add.
- You have the option of attaching a file (worksheet, homework, etc)
- You add your "guest" or student to your meeting by typing in their name. Their mitty email address should show up. Click on their email
Step 4:
- Click on "Invite external guests"

Step 5:
- Click on "Send"


After adding that appointment, your schedule will have that time blocked. Here is an example of what a counselor's schedule looks like after scheduling a few appointments.