Category Archives: research

Communication Options

In spite of the rocky start to the year, the days and months have flown by; so much so that I’m stunned to find: it’s already November.

November is a month where my worlds intersect. The first deadline for yearbook occurs in the second week and the annual week long event that is the Book Fair follows close on its heels.

I find myself very much entrenched in the design world, a world that has little in common with my assigned roles and duties and yet, design is something that I hold near and dear. Case in point: I’m taking photos and uploading them, doing layout for the yearbook cover and pages while also putting together the twelve page master booklet that goes out to all families that keeps them appraised of all Book Fair events and happenings.

There’s a part of me that loves this time of the month. And there’s a part of me that hates this time of the month for reasons I won’t go into.

Regardless, for quite some time now (a little over 8 years, I think) I’ve been a staunch supporter of WordPress. For those that are not familiar with WordPress, it’s a Content Management System (CMS) that basically allows you to create a website. As a user, you can write daily, weekly or monthly “posts” that are set up as like a blog.

I’ve used it for personal and business purposes and have always believed it is a great vehicle for disseminating information.

For instance, is where I post my musings on all things happening in my working world and it has a section where I can post about the upcoming book fair. Should I want, I can even create a new section on all things yearbook.

So, where am I going with this post?

Well. Our school has been exploring various vehicles for improving communication, both internally and externally. We have our own portal and something new that we’re trying this year is that each grade level is responsible for putting out a newsletter via

According to their website, “Smore makes it easy to design beautiful and effective online flyers and newsletters.”

In late May last year, before school let out, I heard about a company called that helped users “easily create beautiful designs and documents.”

Going back to my mention of how I hold design near and dear to me and coupled with my knowledge that a) teachers aren’t really those that have a great amount of time on their hands b) don’t really have access to the best design tools, I’m curious to see which is the better tool smore or canva?

And how does WordPress fit into the puzzle?

For next week, we’ll explore a little of each.

6th Grade Religion & Discovery Education

It’s gearing up to that time of the year for research and projects, and following on the heels of the 5th grade booktalks (still haven’t decided if it should be book talk or booktalk) the 6th graders are hard at work on a research project for religion, to coincide expertly with their interpretation of the Stations of the Cross.

One of the resources we’ve subscribed to for some time is Discovery Education and a little known aspect of the program is that, in addition to hosting a plethora of images and videos that you can use and that coincides with your curriculum, you can also save out potential images and videos and mass share them with a class.

What’s more, students can take the images and import them into their application of choice…..and if they find a video they like, can EDIT or trim them via iMovie.

To demonstrate, here’s a look at a class (6A) that I signed up giving them their own usernames and passwords.

Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 6.15.07 PM

Next, I created a folder of goodies that coincided with the topic they’d be researching, namely Jeruslaem:

Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 6.15.34 PM

Sharing the folder with the class(es) was as simple as designating a date range and then selecting one or more classes:

Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 6.15.57 PM

Discovery is a little strange…you can’t select multiple classes as yet, but once you select one class, you have the option of assigning the selected folder of resources to either individual students or to all students at once.

What I haven’t been able to figure out is how to save time. For instance, if I’ve taken liberty to sign up all 6th grade classes with usernames and passwords, how can I let a teacher know so they DO NOT have to a different batch of information? My thoughts are that the answers may be found under School Content or District Content, but for the meantime, it’d be good to see if students are actually using the resource….or doing the usual and going to google or sadly even wikipedia.

The end project is a presentation on the different religious areas within Jerusalem, so stay tuned to showcase pieces on which the students are hard at work. Suffice it to say, the collaborative effort between KH and the library has been so positive, it’s been a pleasure and in spite of the crazy schedule, I look forward to more joint efforts.