Virtual Reality has come to Garden Spot

The district has recently purchased two sets of Google Expedition Virtual Reality kits – one for the High School and one for the Middle School.  Google Expeditions allow teachers to lead students on over 700 virtual field trips with 360 degree views that immerse students in a virtual setting.  Each kit contains 30 viewers, with an Android device inside and a Teacher console Acer tablet that are connected via a wireless router. Also included are all of the necessary charging plugs and cables. In the future, we hope to expand the use of the devices to include more 360 degree audio and video via other online VR sources. However, currently, the devices are our classroom kits are only set up specifically for Google Expeditions.

kit inside kits

The district has had a set of the VR viewers in our elementary schools for the past school year. However, several Garden Spot Teachers have already started to experiment with the Google Expedition Tours into their classrooms. Below is an example of Mrs. Jennifer Harris’ World Religions class being directed on a virtual tour of the sites surrounding the city of Jerusalem.

screen shot classroom harris

Introduction to Google Expeditions

Below is a short video that provides an Introduction of Google Expeditions in the Classroom.

How do I get started with VR?

In order to take full advantage of the power of virtual reality as an educational tool, we have created a website – – that contains all of the information for you to get started with virtual reality. The website contains some getting started resources, the online sign out spreadsheets for the middle and high school kits, and a showcase of some examples of VR in our district classrooms.  Also are the website are some resources about the Google Tour Creator that allows students and teachers to build their own VR Tours. More information on that will coming in a future post.

Use of the Google Expedition Kits does require some initial training before implementing it into your classroom. Tim Leister will be presenting different uses of VR in upcoming PLC meetings at the middle and high school.  The kits will be stored in Tim Leister’s office (across from 515) and will be delivered to your classroom on the day(s) of use.

However, before leading your students through a Google Expedition Tour, teachers will need to participate in a training session or meet with Tim Leister or Adam Geiman to learn the skills of leading a lesson, as well as the proper maintenance of the devices.


Discovery Education Updates – Fall 2018

Discovery Education is a wealth of multimedia resources for all subject areas and grade levels and is provided to us at Elanco by the IU13 IMS. It is certainly now more than just a streaming video service.  Below are some recent updates to Discovery Education.

Changes to Logging into DE

The procedure to logon to Discovery Education has now changed for Elanco Teachers and Students has changed.  In order to logon to Discovery Education, you must use your Google Account. To logon to Discovery Education, please go to (the link is located on the Teacher and Student Gateway pages) and click on “Login with Google SSO.” You will enter your Elanco Google credentials. When the “sign in with Google” screen appears, click on the blue “Allow” button. It should allow you in to the Discovery Education dashboard.

logon with google


October Content Showcase

Explore some ways that you can continue to learn, share, and connect with one another and with Discovery Education by watching the content showcase video and reading the DE October 2018 Updates from IU13 IMS that includes instructional strategies to incorporate DE multimedia, virtual field trips and connections with other educators are presented.

DE Studio Boards

This new tool is now available for all IU13 teachers and students! When teachers/students log in to Discovery Education, they will see Studio has been added on the left side panel.  Similar to DE Board Builder, studio is collaborative digital poster creation tool where multiple students can work on the same Studio Board at the same time. To learn more about DE Studio Boards, log into DE and view some teacher-made Studio Board Examples or visit the Welcome to Discovery Education Studio tutorial .

studio board

Virtual Field Trips

Discovery Education has a variety of virtual field trips that teachers can sign up their classes to participate in.  On Thursday, October 25th, DE is sponsoring an Operation Prevention Virtual Field Trip – Opioids: Real People. Real Stories. Real Science for a powerful Virtual Field Trip for middle and high school students to meet real people affected by opioids and hear their stories of loss, triumph, and learning.  All of their featured Virtual Field Trips and the full archive of past trips is searchable by category by visiting their Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips page.





Canvas Updates – October 2018

A few recent Canvas updates for you:

First – those of you who regularly use the Canvas gradebook to collect and assess quizzes and assignments will now see that our Canvas Grading Periods have been added to this year’s courses. This allows you to filter your Canvas gradebook and your Canvas assignment views to only show those assignments with due dates in their respective marking periods.

combined filter grades and assignemnts-1rjycfd

The grading periods dates for 2018-19 have been set to match the dates for the middle and high school  in PowerSchool. Final Canvas course grade setup for the HS is Q1 and Q2 each 40% and E1 is 20%,  while the MS would has the Q1-Q4 each weighted at 25%. E2 is the exam period for Semester 2 at the HS.

2018-19 Grading Periods

Second – If you regularly sync Canvas grades with your PTP Gradebook, you can now enable the grades to sync daily rather than having to manually push grades from the Gradebook.


For more information about syncing your Canvas assignment grades with your PTP Gradebook, please visit my post “Sync Assignment Grades from Canvas to PTP“. As always, the only official grades for the students are what appears for them in your PTP gradebook, not in Canvas.


Finally – A reminder that Canvas has a Canvas Teacher mobile app for both iOS and Android. It’s free to download to your personal mobile device. You wouldn’t use the app to modify pages and modules in your Canvas courses, but it’s a great tool to manage discussions, post announcements, and grade assignments and quizzes without having to use a laptop.  Here’s more information from Canvas on the mobile app.

screenshot of phone app

Sync Assignment Grades from Canvas to PTP

With the new PTP gradebook and the new Canvas gradebook, the process to sync the grades is different starting in the 2018-19 School Year. You will need to follow the steps below to push your grades from your Canvas gradebook to the PTP gradebook.

Step 1: Go into your Canvas course settings > Feature Options > and be sure the Post Grades to SIS is marked green.

feature option

Step 2: You’ll need to import your Assignment Group Categories from PTP and then place all of your Canvas assignments into those imported categories. You can follow the steps in this Canvas Guide –  How do I import assignment groups from PowerSchool?



Step 3: Move the contents (assignment) from the old non-PTP grade categories into the new imported Assignment Groups that have the icon next to them.  To bulk move the contents, follow the steps in this Canvas Guide –  How do I move the contents of an assignment group?




Step 4:  Select which assignments will be included when pushing grades from Canvas to PTP. You can follow the steps in this Canvas Guide – How do I set up an assignment to be sent to my institution’s student information system (SIS)?

Once a graded assignment is set up to be sent to your SIS, the Assignment Index Page and Quizzes Index Page lets you enable or disable an assignment by clicking the SIS sync icon next to an assignment or quiz. Not Graded assignment types cannot be sent to your SIS. In the Assignments Index Page, you can also disable all assignments from being synced to the SIS.


Step 5: Sync your Canvas assignment grades to PowerTeacher Pro by going to the Canvas gradebook > Actions > Sync to PTP – East Lancaster. You can follow the steps in this Canvas Guide – How do I sync grades to PowerTeacher Pro in PowerSchool?. The Monitor and Reporting tab in your course is a place to look to see if the grades transferred correctly.

You can now also schedule a sync to run daily. This option sends any new grades that were updated for assignments set to sync to SIS.


A few reminders about the Grade Pass Back

  • Grade Pass-back goes only from Canvas to PowerSchool, one-way street.
  • Graded assignments must be uniquely named.
  • PowerSchool will only receive raw numerical grades
  • The Canvas generated assignment will add a new column in PowerSchool.
  • The assignment must have a due date.
  • Only assignments appropriately marked in Canvas will go to PowerSchool.
  • No point values with decimal points will be sent to PS. Those decimal points will be removed not rounded.
  • Assignment names cannot exceed 30 characters in length


PowerTeacher Pro


For the 2018-19 School Year, Elanco Teachers will be switching to the newest version of the PowerSchool gradebook called PowerTeacher Pro. There will be several training opportunities during the August Spartan Learning Day, as well as access to a test server for teachers to work with the new gradebook over the summer. More information will be coming regarding the PTP test server.

“Teachers will have (web-based) mobile access to the HTML 5 Gradebook with full functionality, including touchscreen, on any device. The same great user experience and full functionality is maintained from any computer or tablet. Built to save time, enter scores vertically and horizontally using our quick-fill scoresheet. PowerTeacher Pro is designed for K-12 teachers to minimize time on administrative activities through technology and intuitive navigation.” — From

To Learn More

Click on this link to view a comparison between the current PowerTeacher Gradebook vs. PowerTeacher Pro – the images in the document show the locations of common features in PowerTeacher Gradebook and their corresponding locations in the new PowerTeacher Pro.

Welcome to PowerTeacher Pro Video

Teachers, you may want to take a few minutes to watch this introductory video tutorial that provides an overview of the new design of PowerTeacher Pro. The video will be a good resources for when PTP has been activated for all teachers. If the video below doesn’t appear, click here for the direct link.




Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark is a free online creation tool that allows students to create online posts, web pages, or videos. Teachers and students, over the age of 13, can use their Google Accounts to create an Adobe account.  There are no teacher control features, so students will have to share their finished product by sending or submitting a link.

The Adobe Spark tool is very easy to use and creates a professional looking finished product. Adobe Posts allow for the creation of an online graphic from text and a photo. In Adobe Spark Pages, students can design and create one-page websites from a variety of themes that include text, copyright-friendly images, and embedded videos from YouTube. In Adobe Spark Video, students can insert images, and then record an audio narration while selecting from a list of background music options.

Adobe Spark

Spark Video Example:

Below is an example of an Adobe Spark Video created by Mrs. Soper as an example of assignment that she created for students. Mrs. Soper asked students to “create a public service announcement about a theme from the novels they are reading now, instead of just making a theme college.”

Book Creator for Chrome

Book Creator is an easy-to-use tool for students to create and publish ebooks. Their simple to use editor allows for adding of copyright-friendly images, along with graphics, to customizable page themes. Students can also record their voice on multiple points on the page using their computer’s microphone. Book creator is great tool to allow students to express their learning of a topic in a creative format.

Teachers can create their own free account with Book Creator that allows for up to 40 student books in their library at any one time. Students can then join the teacher’s class using a simple class code. Both student and teacher accounts can be created using their Google accounts. Books can then be published to create a link that can be shared or posted for other students and parents to view.

“Book Creator is open-ended, creative and cross curriculum. Create your own teaching resources or have your students take the reins. (Students can) combine text, images, audio and video to create”:

  • Interactive stories
  • Digital portfolios
  • Research journals
  • Poetry books
  • Science reports
  • Instruction manuals
  • ‘About me’ books
  • Comic adventures

— From

Here is an ebook that describes 50 ways to use Book Creator in your Classroom. To learn more, watch the video below that provides an overview of the Book Creator site and some of its many features or visit the Book Creator for Chrome “how to” page for specific directions and help.

Book Creator for Chrome from Book Creator on Vimeo.


Below is an example of a student-created book in Mr. Rodriguez’s Garden Spot High School Spanish class. The assignment had students add both text and visuals to an ebook that also had student’s include their voice reading the text. Click on the image to read and listen to the book.

Below is an example of a student-created book in Mrs. Geib’s Garden Spot High School Science class. The assignment had students publishing a creative story around an illegal drug. Click on the image to read and listen to the book.

Canvas Mastery Paths

mastery path

An advanced feature in Canvas that could be utilized for both formative assessment and differentiated assignments is the MasteryPaths in course modules.

“The Canvas MasteryPaths feature allows you or a course designer to customize learning experiences to students based on student performance. With MasteryPaths, you identify activities for each student’s learning path and differentiate assignments for required learning, optional learning, or choosing their own content and assignments within a specific path, which helps them achieve course mastery.

MasteryPaths is based on differentiated assignments, which allows assignments to be assigned to different users and sections. With MasteryPaths, assignments are differentiated to individual students automatically and no additional work is required aside from grading student assignments as usual. After the initial assignment has been graded (either manually or automatically), the student’s score designates which conditional items(s) will be assigned as a learning path.” –From

To Learn More:

Visit this page on the Canvas help site to learn “How do I use MasteryPaths in course modules?

Watch this video from the Canvas Tutorial Video Series to learn how to create your own MasteryPath in Canvas.

542 – Mastery Paths from Canvas LMS on Vimeo.