Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Testing something out. not working yet.

snook.ca load document

Thursday, February 11, 2016

How to: Pull a CAASPP Accommodations Query from SEIS

For my department and perhaps others who need to prepare and verify student accommodations for state CAASPP testing I have recorded here a procedure to setup a query from the Special Education Information System (SEIS) that will give all the information needed.  Once you have set up this query, you can save it for next year.

Here goes:

  • Step 1: Search -- After logging in to SEIS, find the "search for students" link on the left side-bar of your home screen (see below right). Click that link and you come to a new screen asking for "Search Filter" and "Columns to Show".  
    • Search Filter allows you to select only the names you want, which could be useful if you wanted only the 12th graders graduating or only the 11th graders potentially moving to a Transition program, etc.

Create a Query in SEIS
This could be useful.
  • Step 2: Filter -- For today's CAASPP data, I put the first filter to "Case Manager" is like "Andrew Hyland" by clicking the drop down menu and scrolling down to case manager (Marked "1" and "2" in the picture below left).  
    • Nearly every box on the IEP is listed in the drop down box in alphabetical order, so the first time you create a query there will be a lot of scrolling (don't use your touch-pad chromebook unless you have to!). 
  • Step 3: More Filter -- Another filter I used for this was to click the "Not" box and select "grade level" and use Shift+click to select all the grade levels 9 and below (Marked "3" in the picture below).
    • This was because CAASPP is done by credits, so we need to include 10th, 11th, and 12th graders from the SEIS list just incase their credits put them eligible for SBAC or the 10th grade Science test. (It's doubtful to me that 9th graders would be credit-eligible for the 10th grade Science, but it could happen.)

  • Step 4: Columns -- Anyway, now the filter is set.  Next, select what information you want to pull from SEIS.  Each drop box in the "Columns to Show" section (marked "4" above) will be a column in the report you create.  I scrolled through and picked the information I needed for CAASPP, shown below right. To add columns, simply click the green plus sign (marked "5" above).
    • Quite a bit of scrolling through options, but we only have to do it once.  The order of your choices from top to bottom ends up being the order of your data columns from left to right.  So, be careful to put things in the order you want.
  • Step 5: Save and Print -- Click "Search" at the bottom of the page and you get to the results page which previews the students and data columns you've selected.  From here you can name the query and save it as marked in the picture below. Then select print.
    • You are almost done, but I'll mention that there are some powerful options on this page. You can print only a sub-set if you don't need every name in the data (check the boxes next to the names you want to print and save some paper!) 

  • Step 6: Group and Sort -- After saving the query for next time and clicking print, the next screen asks you how you want to group and sort the data on the printed page.  For this situation, I told it to group by grade level and did not sort.  
    • If the admin. pull a large amount of data, they could group by case manager and then sort by grade level.  Or, you could sort by participation in CAASPP and it would place the kids who have accommodations on top of the list for you (otherwise it's just an alphabetical list).

  • Step 7: Print -- Just like you do for SEIS, click print and wait for the pdf to load.  Print as usual.  Repeat for next year.
Enjoy, I hope this helps and came in time for this year's testing.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

How to: Email your Teachers from a Form Submit

I lost about an hours worth of typing and pictures in this post, so I'm going to type up another quick version that won't be as cool.  Trust me, it was awesome.

+Ken Daniels asked me about making autoCrat (Thanks for this awesome tool, +Andrew Stillman and the New Visions School team), the awesome sheets add-on, email his teachers at his school.  I don't know his particular situation--when I set my version of this up, it was to invite teachers to a meeting based on a student's schedule.  So there was a lot of tables and looking up going on.

The easiest way is to have the user enter the email addresses into the form you are using to collect data, but I hate having users make mistakes and also having them manually look up and retype stuff that the computer should do for us.

Here's my solution:

AutoCrat will run off of a form submit now, so that's cool and that's how I'll use it here.  I like to make the form as simple as possible.  I've made a sample one that collects the teacher's name.  

You'll need a spreadsheet list of teacher email addresses to look up from and the names you get from the form submit should be exactly the same (that's another problem altogether).  Again, when I used this type of thing, there was a step in between where my form collected student data and then looked up teacher names and teacher emails based on that (student names are much less prone to errors in my experience since teachers are used to entering them exactly--or you could easily use the student id number which reduces potential for error a bunch).  Here's a sample.

In my email sheet, I've exported the complete addressbook from Outlook for my school site.  To help the look up, I've made the leftmost column into a list of the teacher names in the same format as the teacher names appear in our student database.  There's a couple ways to do that, I currently prefer the =JOIN() command until I learn a better method.

Then I made a named range from the columns.  Technically for this lookup, you only need two columns--however, you could also do this lookup from a much bigger table if you needed. The named range makes it easier to write the formula for looking up emails, and allows you to add or subtract staff members each year as people retire/get hired without having to go back and manually change every single formula.
When you connect a form to the sheet, it will create a new sheet.  As each response is listed, it will erase all data in the newest row.  This means that any neat formulas you have in the response collection tab will be deleted every single time someone submits a response.  The way to deal with this that I've found has been to make another sheet and use the =IMPORTRANGE() command.  Images below.  

Once the range is imported, it will auto-update with new submissions and it will allow you to make formulas in the columns to the right of your imported data.  Now we can lookup effectively.  

After importing the range, I make a column that includes teacher name data exactly as it appears in the email lookup sheet. See the =JOIN command below.  In the next colunn, I've used a =VLOOKUP command to lookup the perfectly formatted teacher name in our named range at column 6 (where the emails are sitting).

You can look up any of these commands with the google help file and it explains pretty clearly all the options and parameters for each.

I like to wrap my formulas with =IF(ISTEXT(), my current formula, "") so that I can copy down the formula to all cells in the column and it won't display errors and #N/A and be ugly.

Getting autoCrat to email is now simple, you can have it send an email to multiple recipients or whatever you want using the dollar tags (for example: $emailAddress ) as one of the options in that add on.  each time a response is submitted, autoCrat will run and fill in the email with whatever you tell it and send to all the dynamically changing emails that pertain to your current submission.  I find this to be a little bit of extra work, but it avoids the problem of hard-coding a bunch of emails that will eventually change.
I hope this is helpful to Ken and anyone else who might need it.  I know it's a down and dirty version, and it will help if you've got a mid-level familiarity with excel/spreadsheet functions. i.e., this "guide" is not very newbie friendly, but here it is.

I know if Ken needs anymore support on it, we'll end up with a GHO and I'll attempt to record that and link it here as well if we get there.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

VPEF Grant Thank Yous from My Class

Typing our essays on student desktop,
Chromebook, and hand written.
Earlier this school year, I applied for and was granted some generous funds for my classroom.  We were able to acquire two more Chromebook laptops to bring my class's grand total of available student computers up to seven (or sometimes eight or nine depending on the old ones working properly that day!).  In all, we have five Chromebooks now and those are nice for the students to use due to their speed and since my district set me up with google Classroom this semester.  So overall, this grant has had a large impact on my classes.
Working on a Slide Presentation for
Speaking and Listening Standards

I asked my students to write thank you notes to the Vacaville Public Education Foundation which granted the funds.  It was not lost on them what kind of impact these added computers had for our class and I'm sharing a
Part of our class writing essays.
handful of their notes here. Here's one below, and links to some more from the class.

Here are some of the projects we worked on using these computers this year:

Starting my first google Classrooms.
For the writing assignments, I was able to use google Classroom thanks to +Dawn Marsh at the district office who set up my classes as part of the pilot this semester!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Batting Order Rotation

Thanks to this code that I borrowed, I was able to create a batting order rotator for my son's Tee Ball team.

You can see it in action here.

I can see how this might be useful for elementary classes that want to rotate line leader and class jobs frequently through the day etc. etc. and also possibly in high school for seating charts (although there's other programs for that--usually attached to your grade book program) or for lab work in science class and things of that nature.

It surely would have taken me 1000 years of study to get to those few lines of code in JavaScript to rotate an array (the ones in there with the % sign I think are the trick, if I understand what I'm looking at!).  I was doing it just fine in a spread sheet thanks to this video, however, pulling from a live spreadsheet and displaying on a web page was beyond my skills at the moment and seemed like too many steps.  Then I thought I could create an array pretty easily in JavaScript and it should be a sinch to essentially follow the same neat procedures from that youTube video to lookup the correct index for each new batter.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sci Fi book choices for 12th grade

About a year ago, I sent a request out for some Sci Fi books for 12th graders to read as part of their unit in short stories.  Here's a link to that post on a different blog which is worth taking a look at just for the few titles I collected in the comments. I've copied the post below:
J’s 12th grade co-teach class is going to do a unit on science fiction short stories and wanted a list of a few good ones. So I’m posting here to get some titles.
I suggested Arthur C. Clarke’s Nine Billion Names of God and Asimov’s Nightfall. I also gave some authors: Zelasny, Heinlein, L. Niven, a couple others.
Nightfall is hardly short at 300+ pages but it fits the genre in other ways.
Any other suggestions from folks?
It's that time of year again, so I've got a couple of students asking me for more suggestions. I emailed this same list to them and I'll again ask for suggestions this year so I can have a wider list every time I send it out.

Any more suggestions?  -- I guess it doesn't have to be a short story, but that is the unit even though the focus for their assignment is on the Sci Fi part, not necessarily the short story part.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Making Technology Run Smoothly

I'm pleased that my question via Twitter made it in to @TechsavvyEd 's #TechDirectorChat podcast segment last week!

Ben had asked for any questions from the gallery for a tech director. Being a lowly teacher and having had to deal with tech and tech departments, I know what I really wanted to ask and the way I might typically ask would not be productive for his venue.   When I find myself complaining about my classroom situations specifically, especially when I'm in professional development (or on a twitter chat), I then try to flip my negativity around and ask a question from the opposite direction.

So for my question for Ben's Director, Pete, I tweeted this:
Pretty vague and open.  Ben and Pete both took a turn giving me an answer in his podcast.  Skip ahead to 13:00 and listen to how well Pete and Ben interpret my vague wording and both give useful answers to help make working with tech in education a little less of the nightmare it can be on the worst days.

Here's the Link.

Thanks +Ben Rimes  for the shout out and the thoughtful response.

For the record, my original intent on the question was the way Pete interpreted it--making sure stuff just works correctly between version numbers, power, internet, all those moving parts.  Ben's interpretation (tech integration into lessons) and answer were what I should have been asking!