Tech Tip Tuesday: Googlfy Your Classroom

by Khristina Hunt, Downingtown West Instructional Coach

Bethany Petty is a full-time high school social studies teacher who writes a blog called Teaching with Technology.  Today’s tech tip comes from her blog post called “10 Ways to Googlfy Your Classroom ” that includes real examples of how she uses Google in her own classroom.

Check out her post and the resources that she has included!


Monday Mentions: QR Codes & Google for a Different Back-to-School Night Experience

by Sara Brosious, Downingtown East Instructional Coach

East World Language Teachers, Michelle Podolak (Spanish) and Connie Dyer (French) elevated their Back-to-School Night experience with a technological spin.

The two colleagues provided parents a QR (quick response) Code that linked to a Google Form. This process automated the traditional information collection worksheet or index card.  The teachers also presented two other possible ways to access the online form; one option linked the form to Schoology and the other choice was to complete a paper version of the form.

During the back-to-school night sessions, the range of comfort with the QR codes and forms varied depending on the parent.  It was amazing to see how some parents refused to quit and push through technology setbacks and how others gave up quickly.  The teachers used the parent experience of pushing beyond comfort zones with technology as an analogy for the boundary-expanding that occurs when students learn world language in a digitally rich environment.

The colleagues collaborated with their instructional coach prior to Back-to-School night, and with each other for a professional development experience that met the teachers at their level and comfort with technology integration.  The organic peer coaching that occurred during this meeting resulted not only one teacher learning and growing but two.

Do you know a teacher, administrator or staff member who is doing something awesome with technology? Let us know at

Food for Thought Friday: Making Students Accountable for Missing Work

by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning

As educators, we all have different ways to address missing work from students.  Thank you to Carol Warren, Curriculum Leader for the Counseling Department, for sharing this blog post from Catlin Tucker about making students email their parents about missing work.

Tucker is a Google Certified Innovator, best-selling author, international trainer, and frequent Edtech speaker, who currently teaches ELA in Sonoma County where she was named Teacher of the Year in 2010.

In her post, Tucker says that she makes students with missing work write their parents an email to explain why they have not completed the work they were assigned. They must CC her on the email, use the formal business letter format, and propose a specific action plan to catch up on their work.

“This strategy is so simple but so effective! Students are rarely asked to take ownership of and responsibility for their work. Typically, a parent does not realize there is a problem until a zero is entered into a gradebook or report cards are mailed home. Requiring students to… take responsibility for their work at various check-points …creates an incentive for students to prioritize their school work. This strategy also takes the responsibility off of the teacher, who is typically the person tasked with reaching out to the parents when there is an issue.” – Catlin Tucker, ELA teacher.

It’s an interesting idea worth thinking about!

Try Something New This Month

Sara Brosious, Downingtown East High School Instructional Coachfear

I’m so excited to be back supporting teachers to integrate technology into their lessons.  I hope that you all had a wonderful summer and that your first days with your new kiddos are going well.  Today I want to share a secret to becoming a more tech savvy ed-technician and manager of an effective, connected classroom.  It’s attitude.  A fearless, positive attitude.

Successful tech innovators are our teachers that are willing to explore and try something new.   

Yes, tech can be overwhelming at times, and tech fails happen.  Even with challenges the strongest tech  innovators stay calm and keep trying despite setbacks.   

Go ahead, do it, start exploring a new tech tool.  Pick just one thing that you can do this month to grow your technology integration.  

If you need help and support with ideas, planning or implementation, book a session or two or three with an instructional coach.  Plan ahead and be ready to adapt and be amazed.  


Tech Tip Tuesday: My Study Life

my study lifeby Kathryn Meyers, Downingtown STEM Academy Instructional Coach

Although some students fair better using a paper planner, more and more are using mobile devices to manage school work and activities. The start of the school year is the perfect time to get students organized in hopes of maintaining that organization for the next nine months.

My Study Life offers a highly rated, ad-free app that allows kids to organize classes, tasks, exams, and assignments.  My Study Life handles rotating schedules and cycles easily and can be used cross-platform. Allowing users to store information in the cloud makes it available on any device and syncing data between devices allows users to use the app even when it’s offline.  It takes some time to set up the information, but this is time well spent for middle and high school students to be prepared throughout the year.

Find more information at

Monday Mentions: Breakout EDU At West

Monday Mentions, a new topic for the blog this year, will highlight people around the district doing great things with technology.  If you know someone who should be “mentioned,” send us an email at or tell your instructional coach!

by Khristina Hunt, Downingtown West High School Instructional Coach

During the first week of school, Downingtown West biology teacher Billie Jo DiMarcella challenged her students to “breakout out” while learning lab safety in her science classes.  Billie Jo wanted a fun and memorable activity that would help students to know and to remember the important rules of safety in a science lab.  Students in her class were given an opportunity to apply past knowledge and make connections in order to solve the clues.

Breakout EDU games will revive your students’ interest in using their brains and develop important skills for success in school and in life:

  • critical thinking
  • problem solving
  • troubleshooting
  • collaboration
  • content area skills including math, science, social studies and language arts

Here’s a quick 1 min video overview of Breakout EDU…

If you are wondering how you can create your very own Breakout experience, please check out the options below:

  1. Use your building’s Breakout EDU boxes – ask your coaches!
  2. Create your OWN digital Breakout  EDU experience (*no physical boxes involved) –

Please contact your Instructional Coach for more details. They’re happy to help you get started.

Food for Thought Friday: What Makes a Good Team?

teamworkby Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning

All of us are on a team.  We belong to a department, a building, a grade level, a sport, an extracurricular activity or something else. As we start the new school year, we may be reforming our teams or creating new ones. Some food for thought today: What are the qualities of a good team…and does your team have those qualities?

Google, for example, has spent years studying 180 of its internal teams to discover how its most successful teams work. After some lengthy analysis, Google realized that its best teams shared five key characteristics.  To read about them, click here.