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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Connecting Teachers and Students Through the Power of Learning Management Systems

Connecting Teachers and Students Through the Power of Learning Management Systems

This is a sponsored post.

As a reader of this blog, you know that I’m a big believer in student voice, choice, and ownership of learning. Our classrooms are more digital than ever, and our students come to school connected. Yet, often times we ask students to technologically power down when they enter our classrooms. When itslearning connected with me online, I was immediately excited to share about their awesome platform with my readers. Chances are, you’ve already heard of them because they have over 7 million users worldwide!

Itslearning is a cloud-based LMS (Learning Management System) with 99% uptime for enhancing student performance by improving teaching and learning processes. It provides a streamlined, user friendly learning environment for schools districts and seamlessly connects systems, resources, and people. Most importantly, itslearning provides educators the flexibility
and time savings needed to create truly personalized experiences that place students at
the center of learning.

The LMS aims to offer the most comprehensive content library accessible via a single sign-on, end-to-end teaching and learning platform that connects us all.

Itslearning focuses on connections:

Teachers connecting to students, allowing learners to have a voice and choice, and ultimately, an ownership of their own education.

Students connecting with their friends to share ideas, conduct peer-reviews, or simply chat.

Parents connecting with their children. To become informed and active participants in the education process.

Superintendents, curriculum directors, and IT leaders connecting their districts. Uniting disparate technologies, information sources and logins. Capturing and sharing the best district-authored content across all their schools. Designing and deploying standards aligned curricula to improve student outcomes.

Want to know more about this amazing LMS? Here are 5 quick facts to get you started:

o Includes a library of millions of open-source educational resources (via Gooru
partnership) and district/teacher-created content. It also integrates with any
other digital content: publisher-supplied, and OER. It effectively manages
curricula by understanding the linkage of content resources to learning
standards. It can even recommend suggest resources for inclusion in a
teacher’s lesson plans.
o Provides real time feedback to proactively improve student learning
o Provides personalized, learning options to help get the most out of each
o Strengthens school community ties and teacher-student-parent relations
o Helps teachers with continued professional development tools and resources.

For more information about this LMS, please check out their website.

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Kayla Delzer

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Announcing: The Innovative Academy

Announcing: The Innovative Academy

Hi friends! I’m excited to share a new course by my friend, AJ Juliani, called The Innovative Teaching Academy.  AJ gave me a special discount code that you can access by clicking any of the links on this post. And, I get to be a live guest during the month of August! Whoot!

The Innovative Teaching Academy is a six-month online learning experience that gives you the tools, resources, and community needed to break the mold of traditional schooling.
The Innovative Teaching Academy isn’t just a course. It’s a master class and coaching system designed to take you through step-by-step lessons and teach you the principles and strategies needed to make a greater impact in education and reach more people.
And to provide the accountability and support system we all need to thrive.
·     Easy-to-follow lessons? YES
·     Monthly courses on design thinking, project-based learning, learning space design, habit building for productivity, social media, and blogging? YES
·     Supportive community of education leaders? YES
·     Built-in accountability? YES
·     Unlimited personal coaching with the Academy Team? YES
The academy is grounded in proven principles and strategies that work. It’s broken down into simple, step-by-step lessons that allow you to walk through each of the six phases of innovative teaching and learning.
Each lesson will leave you with an easy-to-follow action item and schedule so you can methodically implement what you’ve learned.
No guesswork.
No reverse engineering.
No more hours or searching the internet for something that makes sense.
Come check it out here.

What is inside the Innovative Teaching Academy?
Each Month of the Academy has a different focus. At the beginning of the month you’ll receive a full course on topics such as Building a Better Blog, Social Media with Purpose, Design Thinking, Learning Space Design, Project-Based Learning, and Authentic Work.
Each week you’ll also receive a new article, video, and resource to prompt discussion in our private group and also help you complete the action items for the month.
You’ll also get access to live interviews with experts and leaders in each field, being able to ask them your questions and dive deep into each area with their guidance.
During all of this, you’ll have access to our Private Facebook Community and online coaching for support, guidance, and the community we all need to thrive!

Let me know if you have questions, and I can't wait to share all the awesomeness that is already inside the Innovative Teaching Academy. By using my code that is linked up on this post, I will receive a commission for each subscription.

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Kayla Delzer

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Increasing Parent Communication and Participation with Bloomz

Increasing Parent Communication and Participation with Bloomz

If you’ve been following along with my blog this school year, you know I’ve been partnering with Bloomz app to share out some of my favorite features of the app. In my first post, I gave an overview of the app. My second post focused mostly on using the app to schedule parent teacher conferences. (So convenient!)

Today, I’m going to show you how to share a class moment with all of the parents of your students. I would encourage you  to use this app as more than a reminder for book order deadlines, etc. This is a topic that’s close to my heart, because so often kids go home from school without things to talk about that happened during the school day, even on days when the learning was epic! Parents ask what their child’s favorite part of school was, or what they worked on, and kids reply with either a vague response or that they can’t remember. Enter: Bloomz app. Parents can now reference specific images, videos, events, and learning from the day to continue the conversation about the school day at home. Hello, 21st-century parent communication!

Creating a post in Bloomz is pretty simple and quick. Here’s a short video from the creators of Bloomz to walk you through the process the first time. It gets quicker and quicker the more you use it.

  1. Tap on the + icon in the top right corner of the Home screen.
  2. Click Post in the drop-down menu.
  3. Click in the To field.
  4. Click the Classes & Groups icon and select the group to which you want to make the post.
  5. Tap Done.
  6. The group name is seen in the To field.
  7. Input text in the Title and Body of the post form.
  8. Tap Insert Photos in the bottom menu.
  9. Select the photos you want to post.
  10. Tap Attach Files ( This option is available only in browser and not on the iPhone app).
  11. Select the file you want to attach.
Click Post.

When you are creating a post to send home to parents, you have several options to reach parents on the bottom. Teachers can easily attach photos, videos, or even files. I highly recommend attaching photos when possible to drive up parent participation. You can either allow comments on a post or disable this feature as well. Additionally, when you attach a link to a URL, a preview automatically generates right there in the message. Teachers can schedule when the post goes out (which is super helpful if you know you would like to schedule something in advance) and even share it right to a classroom Facebook page.

If you have an urgent message to send (no school, school dismissed unexpectedly, etc), make sure you set it as an “alert.” To help reach all of the parents immediately, Bloomz will send  an email notification and a text message.

If you want to bring attention to an upcoming notice or post, you can set it as an “announcement,” and the post will stay pinned to the top of the page until the date you specify.

Teachers, if you’ve used Bloomz, please share your favorite feature of the app in the comments below, or ask any questions you have. Thanks for reading!

This is a sponsored blog post. All thoughts are my own.

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Kayla Delzer

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Scheduling Parent Teacher Conferences with Bloomz

Scheduling Parent Teacher Conferences with Bloomz

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know I am a big fan of tools that help simplify the many responsibilities of teachers. It’s parent teacher conference season, and scheduling parent teacher conferences is no small task. With the busy schedules of parents, students, administrators, and teachers, it often requires multiple notes or calls home to finally get a time slot that works for everyone involved. With Bloomz, setting up conferences takes literally two minutes or less, and the process is seamless.

As a side note, in my classroom students actually run the conference, so the time a parent selects must work for everyone involved, including the student (who is the ultimately the most important part of the conference). Look for a blog post or EdSurge column in the future about how my students facilitate these conferences.

Bloomz has put together a really short tutorial about how to use the Parent Teacher Conference scheduler within the app or website.

Parents can see all the available time slots, and even set reminders for themselves to notify them about their upcoming conference. When signing up, parents can leave a note for the teacher to prepare them beforehand about specific topics they’d like to discuss, or if they have a special request like having a translator present. Parents can also easily reschedule right within the app. If parents are not on Bloomz, teachers can block out spots for them to reserve them a time slot.

Here are some other frequently asked questions and answers:

How do I add different dates with different Start Times and End Times in one conference?
  1. Please add all the dates on which you have the conference by clicking Add Another Date.
  2. Input the Start Time and End Time, which is common for most of the dates.
  3. Click Next.
  4. In the SLOTS screen, scroll to the date which has a different Start Date and/or End Time.
  5. Delete the slots which are not needed for that Dates or click Add Another Opening and add the extra slots for that date.
  6. Click Next.
  7. Select the Recipients.
  8. Click Done.
  9. Click Send.

Did you invite only few parents to the Parent Teacher Conference that you set up,  to give them the first preference to sign up? Do you want to invite the rest of the class now? Follow these steps:
  1. Tap on the My Calendar icon in the bottom menu of the Home screen.
  2. Click on the Parent Teacher Conference event that you created in the Calendar feed.
  3. Click on the Options in the top right corner.
  4. Click Invite More People in the menu.
  5. Select All members of <class name>.
  6. Tap Done.
  7. You’ll see the Message to Parents screen with the recipients in the To field.
  8. Edit the message that is sent to the parents in the email.
  9. Click Send.
  10. You’ll see the successfully created message and the details of the conference. The email Invitation, the post in the home feed, and the invitation in the calendar feed is sent only to the parents who have been invited this time.

Can a parent sign up for multiple slots?
Yes. When you click on the Sign Up button of a second time slot, then you will see this message pop up: “You have already signed up for a slot. Do you want to proceed signing up for another slot?” Clicking Yes will allow you to sign for another slot.

How do I print the conference schedule?

After all the parents in your class have signed up for the conference, Follow these steps to print the complete schedule:
  1. Click on the Conference you created.
  2. Click Options in the top right corner of the Event Details screen.
  3. Click Print in the Event options.
  4. A PDF will be downloaded to your computer.
  5. Open the PDF and print it out.

I’ll be writing one more post about Bloomz over the next month to share even more about this app. Be sure to check back, and leave any questions or comments you have below.

This is a sponsored blog post. All thoughts are my own.
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Kayla Delzer
[name=Kayla Delzer] [img=] [description=Award-Winning 3rd Grade Teacher. International Keynote Speaker. Classroom Designer. Flexible Seating Guru. TEDx Speaker. Columnist. Technology Champion. Digital Citizenship Expert.]

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