All posts by Jennifer Peyrot

Solar Eclipse Nearpod Resource

Welcome back! We hope you’ve had a great start to the new school year.

Are you as excited about the solar eclipse as we are?! We’d love to hear what you plan to do, or what you did with your students. Leave a comment or tweet us @svvsditc

Science Coordinator, Mike O’Toole, partnered with Nearpod to create a slidedeck that includes some questions, safety instructions and resources to get us thinking about and prepared for the upcoming solar eclipse. One of my favorite resources is the flying along the path and mapping the path from Esri. Here’s a clip.

ESRI resource of eclipse

Below is the Nearpod that you can use with students. If you want to have a copy that allows you to see your students responses you will need to add the slidedeck to your library. If you have a District Edition license you can find it in the District Library. If you don’t have a license but one one, go here to find out how to get one.

Nearpod Collaborate

Nearpod has recently come out with a new feature allowing students to engage in an online conversation within the Nearpod presentation, called Collaborate.

Want to learn more? Check out Nearpod’s blog to find out more.

Collaborate can be used to ask students questions, and see each other’s anonymous responses in real-time. Students can respond to a teacher prompt either in writing and/or with an image.

If you’re a regular Nearpod user this can add another element to allow student voice in the presentation of information, without having to leave the app. This is also a feature that can be used for teachers wanting to engage students in an online discussion, with the safety of a closed community.

We’d love to see a presentation you create using this feature.

MacBook Summer Care & Learning

Before you head off to some grand adventure, we hope you’ll pause and consider how to best care for your MacBook over the summer. Also included in this post are resources to learn more about using your laptop.

Considerations to best care for your MacBook:
  • Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 1.49.55 PMIf you’re not going to be using the laptop for awhile we suggest you shut it down with at least 50-90% of battery power.
  • Just like our bodies, MacBooks don’t like to be in extreme temperatures. If you need to leave the laptop in your car shut it down first.
  • When traveling, ensure that you are keeping the laptop in it’s case.
  • If your laptop is lost or stolen over the break you’ll need to contact your administrator, they might need a reminder that they’ll need to submit a ticket for it.
  • To best care for the content on your MacBook, back up your data.
Here are some resources for you to learn more about navigating your MacBook:



5 Links Monday (on Tues. 4/12/16)

Welcome back from Spring Break! I hope it was exactly what you needed. In these 5 links you’ll find the thing Erik Black recently printed, the biggest U.S data visualization site, an easy way to have online articles read aloud to you, teacher inspiration from Apple and more. Enjoy!

Link #1 – Adhesives Reference Chart (and a bonus link)

Erik Black, who “never” prints things out, did print this Adhesives Chart and shared it with our team. With this chart you won’t need to wonder if that felt cutout will fall off the styrofoam block, or if you can even make those two materials stick. This chart not only shows what materials can stay together, but the sticky stuff that will make them stay together. If you’d prefer a different way to find out this information, and more information about adhesives check out this site.

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Link #2 – Narro – Listen to Articles

This link had me jumping up and down for joy! If you or your students would benefit from listening to an article use Narro to create a podcast playlist that will read the articles to you/them. Once you create an account you can paste the URL of the article you want to listen to onto your home page. This will add the article to your feed which you can listen to on the website or add the feed to your favorite podcast app to listen to on the go. If you add this address  to your podcast app you’ll see a couple of the articles I’ve added: Note: You must create an account, so you’d need to consider the District Guidelines for 3rd Party Services if you wanted your students to create their own list. The free version allows for only 15 articles per month.

Link #3 – Data USA

This link is also awesome! Data USA claims to be the most comprehensive website and visualization engine of public US Government data. It not only provides data, but provides stories through the intersection of this data. I can see this site being used to come up with questions about topics they might want to study, and creating a story about their findings. Do you know the most common occupation in the U.S.; clue, if you’re subscribed to this blog you might be in that position. Answer.

One of the interactive graphs.
One of the interactive graphs.

 Link #4 – Apple’s Teacher Inspiration

Many teachers have asked to see examples of how teachers use iPads in the curriculum, here’s a site they might appreciate. This new site provides ideas for teachers and students to get the  most out of the Apple products both in and out of the classroom. This site contains tech tips and videos, stories from the classroom, and several other resources. One of my favorites is using Siri to remind me of things throughout the day.


Link #5 – Collaboration Station

Looking to get your students to collaborate with classrooms beyond the district? Here’s a site recently put together by an educator that’s looking to help make that happen. You can start by filling out the form of what you’d like to do, or you can take a look at what other K-12 teachers are interested in  doing and partner with them.

5 Links Mon. (on Tues. 2/23/16)

Link #1 – Photos for Class

This resource will allow you and students to search for school appropriate photos that can be used by the public; AND, when you download the photo, the proper citation directly on the image.

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Link #2 – New Features to Find & Organize in Google Drive Easier

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard how annoying it is to find things in Google Drive I’d be…not rich, but at least able to pay for a nice getaway weekend. This article will explain a few of the new features including how to move things around, and greater privacy features. It links out to Google’s blog to gifs on how to do this. One update the blog post doesn’t cover is the update to advanced searching (this is my favorite update) which you’ll see in the image below: Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 9.20.38 AM

Link #3 – LitCharts

LitCharts aims to help students better understand literature through interactive data visualizations, summaries, detailed analysis, quotes, symbols and themes. One of the way I can see using this is to support your visual learners and students that need scaffolding when reading literature.  How do you think you could use it with your students? This can be accessed via a browser or the LitCharts app can be downloaded on the iPad.Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 9.37.12 AM

Link #4 – Edutopia’s Election 2016 Resources for Educators

Election time was one of my favorite times in the classroom. There seemed to be a special kind of energy flowing and regular opportunities for stimulating political conversations. Here’s Edutopia’s collection of resources for the 2016 Election. Just today I learned about how Iowa’s cuacuses work, one processes sounds like a less civil Four Corners activity, have a look:

Link #5 – Smithsonian Learning Lab

The Smithsonian Learning Lab was designed to create a more personalized learning experience for students. They provide access to over 1 million digital resources from across the 19 museums, research centers and the National Zoo. Students need an account to create their own curated collection, but instead of having to go through the hassle of getting this to be an approved curriculum resource, students can take screenshots and add them to a media album.

5 Links Mon. (on Tues. 12/8)

Link #1 – Boulder Computer Science Education Week 2015

CSED thought it would “cool if the whole town celebrated Computer Science Education Week,” and joined forces with several organizations to bring awesome events throughout the week. Check out the schedule to find out when all the events are happening. Is it any wonder that The Atlantic named Boulder as one of the 20 metro areas that have the one of the largest concentrations of the creative class. CSEDFlyer

Link #2 – EdSurge Extra – “Student Voice (Literally) – Two Student Podcasts

EdSurge podcasters took a backseat to share two student groups podcasts. One podcast is from a team of 5th graders interviewed a member of the local community that had immigrated in from another country. The other podcast is from a team of high school students debating whether their teacher should use more or less technology.

Link #3 –

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 12.02.51 PMColin Rickman was the first teacher that told me about using this with his classroom last year. He said he likes how easy it is to get started and students can easily use it on the iPad. This morning when I visited TRMS Computer Science week events, Stephan Krupansky was using with his students. They offer 1 hour coding challenges and coding courses for all ages for those that want to extend their coding experience in the classroom.

Link #4 – In Praise of American Educators

This is not a promotion for DuFour’s book, rather a pause to celebrate you and all the work you do. In this video DuFour argues that we are working in the greatest generation of educators our country has ever known. He also acknowledges we have more work to do and describes provides a provocative thought on a current practice that won’t work. If you have a listen I hope that you’ll imagine me being one of the people to applaud your work!

Link #5 – Recipe: Potato Pancakes aka Latkes

In honor of Chanukah having started this past Sunday I’m including a recipe for latkes. If you’ve never had them, they’re easy to make and delicious. If you don’t want to take the time to make them you can always get some from Trader Joe’s, they too are pretty tasty. My favorite topping is applesauce, but many folks like them with sour cream. I wanted to tell you about the puzzle involving 150,000 people centered around Chanukah that’s being put on by the Mystery League, but the company that teamed up with Mystery League may not be kosher enough for this blog. tjs potato pancakes

5 Links Monday (on Tues. 10/20)

Link #1 the NEA’s Educator Resources for Colonizing Mars

Slight spoiler alert, if you’ve not yet seen the movie you may want to skip to Link #2. After watching The Martian my childhood dream of being an astronaut resurfaced and I was reminded how that inspired me to pay attention in my science classes. I also thought how awesome it would be to be teaching about this topic in the science or math classroom.  When I went home I wanted to know how much of the science in the movie was real and found that NASA had created a site to explore that.

Untitled GIF

The NEA collected resources to support teachers and students as they explore the needs to colonize Mars. Since I can’t explore this myself I’d love to hear if any of you do this.

Link #2 Google Tour Builder

When working with teachers last week on having students create a digital map with artifacts and their learning, I stumbled across Google Tour Builder. It is a clean way to help students organize their learning about a particular region, though one teacher noted being able to have students use this to take viewers on a tour of their learning. Note: this resource is in Beta and can’t be used on the iPad but can be used on the Chromebook.

Link #3 The Science of Classroom Design

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 12.17.58 PMNo, I didn’t pick this just because it has an infographic, though it did help. I picked it because studies show that improvements to classroom layout can increase academic engagement by 45%.  This infographic gives teachers suggestions for creating a brain-friendly classroom. It touches on how color affects students, chair arrangements and more.

Link #4 2015 Winners of the Digital Innovation in Learning Awards

The Digital Innovation in Learning Awards was started with the intention of sharing innovation practices in education. The winners includes classroom teachers, librarians, district administrators and education organizations. Hopefully you’ll be inspired by one of these leaders.

Link #5 St. Vrain Design Challenge

This is the first ever district wide Design Challenge, hosted by the Education Foundation. The challenge is to solve an authentic system challenge that the school faces, with a solution that can be replicated in other schools across the district. There are two categories and cash prizes for both grand prize winners and runner’s up. If schools need support learning about the Design Thinking process they can attend a training sponsored by OPD November 7th.


Awesome App, Maybe, Maybe Not

With 1.5 million apps on the App Store we expect you’ll find one not on the LTP Provided and Recommended list that you may want your students to download. Before you start planning that amazing lesson plan that will require this new app you’ll need to make sure of a few things.1 To help you with that our team wrote a 1-pager to help guide teachers through the steps of what they need to do to meet the district guidelines for using 3rd party apps and web services.



Just the other week Westview Middle School initiated a process that provides a systematic way to ensure teachers meet these guidelines. This came out of a conversation about iPad expectations for students during their tech team meeting. Stemming from a desire to be clear with students and parents about what apps are allowed on devices they decided to have a “whitelist” document that includes all the apps students are approved to have on their device.

Patrick Mount, Cindy Thompson (Westview’s Teacher Librarian & BTC), and myself created a  Google Form that teachers will need to fill out in order to get the app approved. Once they do this both the principal and AP are alerted and will approve or disapprove the app. Here’s a copy of the form. 

Please reach out to the ITCs  if you’re interested in making one for your school.





  1. Especially when you consider what the company may be asking from the students and what some of them may do with their data. []

5 Links Mon. (on Tues. 8/25/2015)

Here’s to our first 5 Links of the 2015-2016 school year!

Explain Everything on Chromebooks
One of my favorite discoveries at the Elementary Tech Camp was that you and your students can download and use Explain Everything on Chromebooks. This app can be found in the Chrome Web Store on the Chromebook. When visiting Hygiene Elementary School, Nina Pears was using the app with her students for an “About Me” assignment. Below is a short clip of a couple of her 4th grade students using the app.

Web-based Student Survey
Building relationships are a key to a successful school year. If you haven’t already conducted a ‘Get to Know You” survey in your classroom consider using this one by Panorama Education. This web-based survey will ask questions to find out about your students learning styles and interests outside the classroom. It will also show students where you and they have similar interests. Note: you need to create an account, but your students will not need to.

Open Education Resource Roundup
Once you’ve found out some of your student interests via the survey above, or your own, you may want to supplement the district provided curriculum using open education resources. Instead of spending hours vetting material on your own, read about the ways others vet material, and find material vetted by the folks at Edutopia.

Live Cams of Animals
This site includes a collection of live cams, or recording of animals, some in their natural habitat, and others in homes. One educator, Ava Crocker, shows these videos to her students, holds discussions about what they viewed, and identify key words that students use to write about what they saw. Some of my favorites include the honeybee hive, and tropical reef. Note: if you’re having issues viewing the video go to and login using your SVVSD credentials or try a different internet browser.

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Google Drive Add-ons & Chrome Extensions for Teachers
You may have seen, heard about or use “Add-ons” and “Extensions.” Learn more about these built-in tools on this list that was created by Richard Byrne specifically for teachers. Richard explains what the tools are and some of the things you need to know about using them.