Wednesday, November 29, 2017

If you grade it you should share it!

Kids, especially middle school kids, loose stuff. Help them and their families by sharing assignments digitally. My favorite ways to do this are by using a public Google Calendar  that you share on your blog or Website for your classroom or to use Google Classroom. But I understand these don't work for everyone.  For sharing why don't you try simply linking important items in your designated grade-book, in our district it's PowerTeacher. 

If an assignment is worthy enough to be graded it should be worthy enough to share with, just add a link. 

Here are three quick videos to help you digitize paper documents and share them in PowerTeacher so families can help their students. 

December Toilet Talk

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday, October 13, 2017


Excited to share new Slides updates, Pear Deck, Flash Card Factory, and Quizlet with #406Cadre tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Keep & Docs

One of my favorite things about preparing a presentation is everything I learn! I love the updates to Keep and Docs and am excited to see how teachers adapt it for their classes. Here are the Slides and a couple of fun games to reinforce learning Quizizz & FlipQuiz

Teaching Partners

Had an excellent time in our Teaching Partners Live workshop last night. I'm excited to continue to watch this document grow with teacher feedback.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Share that Symbaloo

Today I had a great question on the easiest way to share Symbaloos with learners. Google Classroom was our first option but then we discussed simply sharing the Symbaloo address with students or to use to shorten the URL. If you aren't using I think it's a great tool to quickly share items. Go to to see our thoughts or click below.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Quizlet Week 3 Challenge

Week Three Quizlet Challenge

If you haven't signed up for the Live event, go to to have a great time! 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Quizlet Week 2 Challenge

Week 2 is here!

Congratulations to last week's winner, Julie Smith!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Response Validation in Forms

I love when a teacher is using Digital Breakouts to make their class come alive but I like it, even more, when they create the "game" to be directly correlated to their curriculum. Today a great teacher asked me how she could do it and my answer was this link with directions, from Google Support, and the below short video. So excited for her students.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Quizlet Week 1 Challenge

This week your challenge is:

Forms + Sheets= Awesomeness

I love that Google Forms data can go into one Sheets Workbook! So many options, here are a couple of ways that work for me

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Classroom Banner

Change Slides or Google Drawing to 800x200 pixels to customize a Google Classroom header. Traci and I had fun making the video to explain.

Love the Forms!

I have always loved Google Forms but it seems it keeps getting more robust!

  • Upload files (images, docs, & more) outside of your domain. I think this is going to change the baby pictures in yearbooks forever! Do kids still buy yearbooks?
  • Use the Checkbox Grid to get more in depth information 
  • Use preferences to save time
Learn more by clicking here

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Add a border to Docs

I love that we can now add borders and colors to paragraphs in Google Docs! Just select the text you want to jazz up, click on Format, and then choose paragraph styles! From there you can add borders, border style/color and fill color! This would be great to have kiddos choose one paragraph they want to be assessed before a final paper is turned in, to create a newsletter or visually appealing lessons, and to highlight big ideas.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Cookie Monster

Although I try and always use different Chrome Profiles, recently I messed up and mixed my Google accounts! What this meant is every time I opened my school Google Drive I was in my personal Drive. To fix this I followed Google's instructions to "Clear cache and cookies". I usually have no problem clearing cookies or cash in my life and Google made it true in my digital life as well. Simply go to your Chrome Settings, choose More Tools and then Clar Browsing Data. Make sure you get rid of the cookies and cached files and boom it works.

Monday, June 19, 2017

I love Genius Hour



Friday, April 28, 2017

May Newsletter

Pesky Emails from Google Classroom

Are your kids complaining about getting tons of emails and notifications from Google Classroom? Or worse, is your Gmail full of things you'll have to read in Classroom anyways? If so, simply turn off your notifications.  Go to your hallway/hot dog, settings and turn off "Send Email Notifications".

iOS Directions

Quick GIF for desktop version

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Get out of your seat!

If you are having behavior problems in class, kids seem to be using electronics inappropriately, or you are tired of kids talking....get out of your seat and move in the classroom. An idea to monitor your movement during the day how many steps do you get on your Fit bit? Find an average and was I interacting with my kids and did I have proximity while they working, or did I stay in my seat and "tell" them what to do. I bet as you increase your steps your student behavior will also increase.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Podcasts, pups and getting fit

With the warm weather sneaking in I love to take my pup for walks and take pictures...then edit them in the Prisma App. My goal this year is to earn t-shirts from while listening to educational podcasts. Here is a great list to kick start your walks and learning. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Drawings as a webpage

My awesome colleague, Ann Brucker, taught me that if you change everything at /pub in a published Google Drawing to say preview you have a webpage. Boom! This video is pretty small so might have to zoom in.

Mobile G Suite keeps improving

Everyone knows I love Google but I also love how it works on iOS. Excited to share with pre-service teachers at MSUB in a couple of weeks!  New additions I've added in the last month are Expeditions and Google Scholar.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Excited for our last KILT

KILT, Kids Integrating and Learning Technology is one of the favorite things our TIS team does! We'll be sending home this flyer with our little munchkins after we go on our Easter Egg Hunt! Can't wait!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

What is TILT?

TILT Staff Development Program
Traci Piltz, Ann Brucker and Shelly Stanton

On any given day, the Billings Public Schools’ Technology Integration Specialists are busily running all over town, working with students and teachers who want to spice up their lessons with technology. If you’re able to track them down via their Google Calendars, you might find them huddled around a table with a group of like-minded teachers who are collaborating on ways to integrate technology into their lessons. They’re taking part in TILT, a prestigious program that was started over a decade ago by Desiree Caskey.
TILT, which stands for Teachers Integrating and Learning Technology, uses a small study group approach to professional development. Teachers who apply and are accepted into TILT are grouped with peers who work together throughout the program to become more technology literate. TILT provides teachers with time and training, as well as opportunities for collaboration and exploration of technology and its integration. This 3-phase program takes teachers at their levels of readiness and moves them from being learners and explorers to sharers and innovators.

Phase I: Getting Grounded

Phase I is an exploration of technology tools in a safe collaborative environment.  Phase I teachers complete several hands-on projects, improve their technology skills in a variety of areas, and become proficient in accessing and using Google Apps for Education, iPads, and the Mac OS.

“As a teacher in the district for 12 years, I have come to heavily rely on my colleagues who have been a part of TILT for their expertise. I am an informal technology trouble-shooter for some of my colleagues currently, but feel that there is so much more to learn. Teaching the staff the amazing things students can learn, through technology, is something I am very passionate about. I really want to use technology in my classroom in a way that enhances student learning and teaches students that technology can be used in more productive ways. Many students are not exposed to technology and I love to bridge that gap; I am so driven and excited to be a part of this learning community!”
Phase II: Tech it Up A Notch

Phase II continues exploration, but the focus turns toward enhancing the content in one's curricular area.  Phase II teachers focus on creating classroom environments in which technology is seamlessly integrated with purpose.

“As a member of TILT Phases I and II, I grew as a learner. When I look at how my classroom has transformed over the past three years, I see how technology has changed the learning environment. The technology did not replace any curriculum, but it became a tool to enhance the learning in my classroom and maximize my teaching. As an educator, it is my mission to make the adjustments needed to create a mobile, interactive classroom, and a powerful learning environment. Having technology and digital tools available to my students is essential to making this happen.”
Phase III: Train it Forward

Phase III emphasizes professional growth through the planning and delivering of staff development opportunities for colleagues. Phase III teachers emerge as leaders and mentors, assisting other teachers to improve pedagogy, both with and without technology.

“I want continue as a life long learner as well as give back to the district and mentor teachers through Phase III of TILT.”
Phase 3.JPG

Some ways that TILT “graduates” have shared their learning are by presenting at the district’s annual Tech Fair, local and regional conferences, and even events at the national level. TILT members have organized and hosted major events such as Montana’s first official Google Apps for Education Summit, the Montana Council for Computers in Education’s Summer Tech Summit, and the Billings Tech Cadre.
Last year, the TILT program expanded to students with the formation of KILT (KIDS Integrating and Learning Technology). It moves growth-minded, outgoing kids from being simply users of technology to producers and teachers of technology. They return to their classrooms eager to share what they’ve learned.

Teachers who have been through the various phases of the program have consistently raved about how they have grown as professionals. As one teacher put it, “TILT has been the most powerful professional development opportunity of my career and has had the greatest impact on my classroom.”
Applications for the 2017-18 TILT program will be open this fall. Billings Public Schools teachers, be sure to watch for notifications in September. We would love to work with you!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

TP- Tips as Posters

As a team of TIS's we have created some awesome posters that have been a huge hit with teachers and students. Please enjoy!

Chrome Book Shortcuts:
Google Tools: 
Google Mobile Tools:

Thanks Ann Brucker and Traci Piltz for creating these as a team but also for making work Awesome Sauce!

What I meant to say!

Last night I was lucky enough to introduce Billings NBCT’s,, to our board of trustees. I was more nervous than I ever have been speaking to others and in reflection it’s because what our Billings NBCT’s have accomplished is humbling and I wanted to honor them. Just read what their peers say about them at

But, what I meant to say last night was...

National Board Certified teachers, we call them NBCT’s, have stepped up and taken a risk of time, money and vulnerability to improve education by going through the process of National Board Certification. The process is portfolio based and includes video, student work, student assessment evidence, extensive pages of written reflection and lastly a test that assesses content knowledge, the NBCT 5 core propositions and the NBCT standards in the certificate area chosen. It’s hard to describe the process because it is unlike any other assessment I have had of myself, not only is your knowledge assessed but so is your ability to work with students and to give beyond the walls of your classroom. The passing rate the first time is only 40% and the process is completely voluntary.

As a professional teacher that's been through the process, and is now renewing, I can say it’s the greatest professional growth experiences I have been a part of. NBCT Rod Gottula recently said….”There's no way to go through the process and not improve”. And his statement is supported by much evidence, shown in the impact brief shared with you,  You can see knowledge gained by a student in a National Board Certified Teachers classroom is up to 1-2 months more than in a non-certified teachers’ class. We have many highly qualified teachers but due to all the risks and costs mentioned prior many don’t attempt the NBCT journey. Today we are celebrating those with who not only attempted but also achieved the outstanding title of NBCT. Only 1% of teachers in the state of MT have earned the title National Board Certification and only about three-quarters of those are still working in education. But, Billings is lucky enough to have 23 working National Board Certified teachers due to great support of colleagues, administration, our union and family and friends.

Just as earning the title of  Certified Public Accountant or American Board of Surgery Certified becoming board certified as an accomplished teacher is the summit. NBCT and TOY Craig Beals recently shared the statement “When you or a family member get sick you want the best medical care you can find. You will seek out the best doctor, hospital or specialist because you expect nothing less. This is his same expectation in education for all students.” And to emphasize his point let me ask this question? “Who would you want to do surgery on a loved one, or yourself? A certified surgeon or one that you have heard is nice?”. Of course there are many nice and amazing teachers but if my loved one is going to spend hours with in a classroom that shapes their thinking, confidence and personality I want that teacher to be highly qualified.

Billings students spend about 15,824 hours in our schools and Nationally Board Certified Teachers ensure each of these hours focuses on academic growth. Community members, parents and the student can know they are in excellent hands when entering nearly all classes in Billings but especially those of an NBCT. The 4 R’s of rigor, relevance, relationships and results is systematically planned, reflected upon and proven by achieving board certification.

Most importantly NBCT’s focus on relationships with parents, students and the community to ensure they provide the greatest holistic opportunity for success. Not only do they do all this for their students, they are also leaders and active participants in their learning communities.

But why are we celebrating? As mentioned Billings currently has 23 working NBCT’s and originally I wanted to share all the outside activities that build positive relationships and prove (beyond board certification) they are the cream of the crop. But the rewards, peer comments, activities and extracurricular service would go on and on. Here is a brief highlight of the gifts they have given beyond being absolute gems in the classroom:
  • Coaching various sports
  • Coaching Forensics
  • Leading STEM society
  • sponsoring student council or career and technical organizations for students,
  • sitting on school response to intervention teams,
  • being department leaders,
  • training others in technology, pedagogy and content
  • leading other National Board candidates,
  • being awarded Golden Apples and BEA Teacher of the Year awards,
  • earning Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Math and Technology,
  • Serving as Teacher Leadership Fellows,
  • Participating as Early Career Coaches,
  • serving on Advanced Placement National Committees,
  • earning the title of Teacher of the Year
  • and more
If I were to continue on the many treasures to education we would be here all night. The amazing dedication these teachers bring to our system inside and outside of the classroom is truly a representation of being an accomplished education professional.

I’m going to use some acronyms so let me start by sharing what they stand for: EC is Early Childhood, MC is Middle Childhood, EA is Early Adolescence and YA is Young Adult. Several of our folks have certification that are in more than one area. Alright then, let’s introduce these folks!

  • Erin Augustine is an extended studies' teacher at several schools and is certified EC to YA in Exceptional Needs
  • Margaret Aukshun is a Math Teacher at West High and certified in AYA Mathematics
  • Dan Bartsch is a Science Teacher at Senior High and certified in AYA Science with an emphasis in Biology
  • Craig Beals is a Science Teacher at Senior High and certified in AYA Science
  • Julie Blakeslee is a general music teacher at Boulder and Broadwater and is certified EMC in music
  • Kim Busch is a Reading and 5th grade teacher at Big Sky Elementary and is certified EMC Literacy
  • Kate Cordes is an English teacher at Senior High and certified in AYA English Language Arts
  • Deanne Gemmill is a Math Teacher at West High and certified in AYA Mathematics
  • Rod Gottula is an administrator at West High and certified in AYA English Language Arts
  • Kerry Gruizenga is a Math Teacher at Skyview High and certified in AYA Mathematics
  • Deb Kelley is a Foreign Language Teacher at Skyview High and certified in World Language EAYA
  • Larry McMullen is a Science Teacher at Senior High and certified in AYA Science
  • Kate McPherson is an English Teacher at Senior High and certified in AYA English Language Arts
  • Dr. Jeff Meide is a Tech Ed and Wood Shop Teacher at West High and certified in EAYA Career and Technical Education
  • Lora Pederson is a Reading Intervention Teacher at Meadowlark Elementary and certified in EMC Literacy
  • Kathy Pfaffinger is an English Teacher at Skyview and certified in AYA English Language Arts
  • Karen Rice is a Reading Specialist at Bench Elementary and certified in EMC Literacy
  • Tiffany Rodriguez is a 1st grade teacher at Ponderosa Elementary and certified in EMC Literacy
  • Shelly Stanton is a Technology Integration Specialist and certified in EAYA Career and Technical Education
  • Nate Talafuse is an administrator at Riverside and certified in AYA Science
  • Cindy Welch is a 7th grade Teacher at Lewis and Clark and certified as an MC Generalist
  • Shirley Waldron is a special education teacher who runs the pre-school at the Career Center, she is certified EC to YA Exceptional Needs
  • Janelle Wilson is a 2nd grade teacher at Arrowhead and is certified in EC Literacy