Monthly Archives: November 2011

Apply for a Special Education Matching Grant

We wanted to share with you that the deadline to submit applications for an Acellus Special Education Matching Grant before the close of this year’s funding is December 31st, 2011.

What is Acellus? It is a system designed to help students master any course of instruction– the basic premise of Acellus is to turn the learning process into a science, and by so doing, improve the overall effectiveness of the learning process. To learn about Acellus for Special Education, click here.

Grant applications will also be considered for Acellus Learning Labs with laptops and security cart included (laptops come locked down & with software pre-installed). The application can be found online.

Need more information?
Contact Julianna Habing
Acellus Coordinator
(816) 220-0300


Guest Blog Post: A Smaller World with Whirlidurb

Ashley Deckelman and Amy Johnson are Technology Integration Specialists in the Parkway School District in St. Louis, Missouri. The TIS department provides instructional and technological leadership to administrators, faculty and staff, facilitates the development of teaching practices in the classroom using technology as an instructional tool and serves as a resource for curriculum coordinators and teachers to help facilitate the integration of technology into the curriculum. As Premium New Links members, Parkway has access to Whirlidurb videoconferences at no additional cost! Here, Ashley and Amy share their experiences videoconferencing this year.

So far, Parkway School District has participated in three different videoconference programs through Whirlidurb, with another one scheduled in December.  Overall, these videoconferences have been very beneficial to student learning due to the preparatory activities, the opportunity to interact with classes around the country, and the real life connections students are able to make.

Two of the conferences have been the Book Blitz program with a kindergarten class at Green Trails and a first grade class at Shenandoah Valley Elementary.  This style of program features a read aloud and a writing component.  The students began the conference by brainstorming some ideas about what Thanksgiving means to them.  Then students interacted with the Book Blitz host, as well as two other classes that were located throughout the country.   It was a great learning opportunity and provided different perspectives from kids living in different regions.

Another type of conference is the Community Helpers program on meteorologists.  The focus of this conference was on how community helpers keep us safe.  In this case, the first grade classes at Hanna Woods Elementary had just completed a weather unit in science.   The students were able to ask authentic questions of an expert in the field as a culminating activity.  At times the meteorologist asked questions of the participating classes which allowed them to transfer knowledge.

Kindergarten classes at Hanna Woods Elementary participated in another type of program, Show and Share.  This program focused on living and nonliving things.  Each class had to bring items to the conference that they could describe so other classes could infer if the object was living or nonliving.  This reinforced vocabulary skills as well as letters and sounds.

We have found these videoconferences to be well organized learning opportunities for 21st century learners.  Learning extends beyond the walls of a classroom with connections made across the country.   We would like to thank CSD and New Links for providing Parkway School District with these wonderful opportunities.

Start Out the New Year with a Steady Diet of Tech PD!

CLASS: Discovery Education streaming
January 9  8:30am-3:30pm; free to to CSD/CSG Members; $189 non-members

CSD offers DE streaming training on the second Monday of every other month during the school year for FREE. Plan to attend this full day of learning and walk away saying, “WOW!”  Through your subscription to DE streaming, you receive on-demand streaming and downloading of videos for your classroom, lesson plans, quizzes, images, sound effects, encyclopedia articles, and more! Using Discovery Education streaming, students are engaged in their learning experiences, and teachers have the ability to create standards-based lessons, assignments, quizzes, and writing prompts online. Come learn the user-friendly features including the My DE page and drag & drop features in My Content. Find out about the curriculum focused features including the Ready Zone, STEM Connect and more! Learn how the Interactive Atlas and the Student Center can engage 21st century learners. CSD offers this free training every other month on the second Monday of the month during the school year from 8:30am-3:30pm.  *Free to those schools that purchase DE streaming subscriptions through CSD and to CSD/CSG Members; $189 non-members.

WEBINAR: Digital Citizenship: Being Aware of Your Digital Footprint
January 18   4-5 pm
Do you know what type of digital footprint you are creating?  Anyone using the web or a mobile device leaves a digital footprint. Being a Digital Citizen means learning how to properly use the Internet and other technology resources. In this webinar we will discuss how to be safe in the digital world.

WEBINAR: Midwest Education Technology Conference Q & A
January 25   4-5 pm
If you are going to METC, participate in this webinar and learn how to make the most of your conference experience. Discover how to find the best sessions to meet your needs using the METC conference planner. Learn about networking opportunities in the Connections Lounge and Exhibit Hall, plus, after hours tweet-ups.  Leave this webinar feeling more confident to plan and organize your personalized day of learning.

CLASS: Digital Citizenship: Being Aware of Your Digital Footprint
January 26   8:30am-3:30pm; $149 CSD member; $189 non-member
(One Grad. Credit Available)

Do you know what type of digital footprint you are creating?  Anyone using the web or a mobile device leaves a digital footprint. We teach our children how to be safe within the physical community, but what about norms for appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to use of technology?  Class time will include discussion through the digital lenses of: Access ~ Commerce ~ Communication ~ Literacy ~ Etiquette ~ Law ~ Rights & Responsibilities ~ Health & Wellness ~ Security.  Being a Digital Citizen means learning how to properly use the Internet and other technology resources. In order to be successful and safe, today’s students must know how to find, evaluate and utilize electronic resources.

CONFERENCE: Free Discovery Education Network (DEN) Saturday Conferences
SciCon DEN Conference January 28  7:30am – 2:30pm; free
Attend this free, Discovery Educator Network Virtual Conference. Each Virtual Conference will feature presentations from DEN gurus and other nationally known speakers. These informative sessions will cover a variety of relevant topics, such as differentiating learning with digital content and integrating new Web 2.0 tools into instruction. Those attending in-person gatherings will participate in the online presentations, as well as breakout sessions presented by local STAR Discovery Educators.  DEN SciCon is an online conference focused on providing participants with some of the most effective strategies for transforming their Science classes through the meaningful and effective integration of digital media content.

Registration information can be found here.

METC Super Early Bird Rates Continue to Fly

The Super Early Bird registration rate for the Midwest Education Technology Conference has been extended to December 16th! You have the chance to attend all three days of the annual conference for less than $400.

Precons include, but are not limited to:
• SMART NOTEBOOK DIY: Reface, Remodel, Rebuild
• Stop Motion Video in the Elementary and Secondary Classroom
• Differentiate! Connect! Transform!: Tools for Collaboration and Creation
Go from Good to GREAT: Google for Leaders

The 2012 conference strands are Accountability/Assessment, Differentiated Instruction, Digital Creation, Virtual Teaching & Learning, Innovative Instruction & Engaged Learning, Leadership & Professional Learning, Library & Media Literacy, Mobile Learning, and Technical Infrastructure & Support.

For more information on METC, a program of Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis, visit

James Otis Thach Author Visit

We’re thankful this week to be able to announce the return of author James Otis Thach to Cooperating School Districts for two videoconferences this December! James is a St. Louis native and the author of A Child’s Guide to Common Household Monsters, The Tickle Monster is Coming and his latest, The Seal Pup. James was raised in Clayton and attended Glenridge Elementary.

This free, one hour videoconference is for elementary students. James Otis Thach will read from his book, The Seal Pup.  The story follows the quest of a lone seal, trying to reunite with his herd.  James will also talk about the true story than inspired the book, and about the long journey of making a book.  He will also share related videos, and invite the kids to use their research and library skills to find the documentary the book is based upon.

There is limited space available for these multipoint, interactive videoconferences, so please reserve your classroom’s spot early. There is a limit of 35 students per site; we are accepting four interactive sites per videoconference.  Available times on Tuesday, December 20th include:

• 9 am CST for kindergarten, first and second grade classes
• 10:30 am CST for third, fourth and fifth grade classes

Participating schools also receive a free copy of The Seal Pup, signed by James. Happy Holidays!