Brenham Tech Daily

Tech Tip Thursday: Don't Forget to Read the 'Christmas Buying Tech Tips' From Our Technicians

Right before Thanksgiving, we asked our technicians about shopping for technology over Black Friday. They had some awesome advice. 
Do you still need gifts for Christmas? Here is what they said when it comes to buying technology devices:

Web Tool Wednesday: Updates to the IOS App: Paper by FiftyThree

"Paper" By FiftyThree: *UPDATES*

"Paper" by FiftyThree is an amazing IOS app that teachers have used for journaling, digital portfolios, creating awesome drawings and much more!

I used it with all of my students as a 1:1 digital journal on a classroom set of iPads.  The students would open up their digital journals during class instruction and take notes, work on math problems, and create graphic orgainzers.  Below we have listed some great updates to this already fantastic app!

Here is one of the visuals we created as a class in our science journals during my time as a 4th grade educator: (Can be downloaded HERE)


Paper® is the immersive sketching app for capturing ideas anywhere. Over 25 million people have found their personal creative space in Paper—handwriting notes, drafting, diagramming, sketching, and giving form to their vision.

Sketch, draw, diagram, color, write notes: No matter what the inspiration, you can get it down on Paper. Capture your ideas in beautiful, 3D Journals that keep you focused and in your creative flow. Fast, gesture-based navigation makes it easy and natural to use Paper. Easily move your ideas into Paste, our app for creative teams.

Every tool tuned to perfection: draw, sketch, outline, write, color, diagram, cut, fill, and mix. Auto-correction snaps rough drawings to straight lines and crisp shapes for quickly drafting architectures and diagrams. Drop in templates like grid, lines, and storyboard to help structure your ideas.

Paper’s simple, quiet interface and gestural navigation offer you space to create without the distraction of controls and sliders. Pencil and touch superpowers let you draw, cut, and move without switching modes. Drag to easily rearrange pages, group notes with sketches, annotate photos, even "undo" with a gesture and stay in the flow.

Arrange your personal set of Journals with beautiful covers to customize your creative space. Expand your pages to view them as a grid for easy organization.

Take your creativity to the next level. Get additional tools and features by subscribing to Paper Pro. Subscription is optional, and you can cancel anytime. To subscribe, visit the Paper Pro section in the Settings menu.

Paper Pro is an optional renewing 6-month subscription. You can cancel at any time.

* Payment will be charged to your iTunes Account once you confirm the purchase.
* Your subscription will automatically renew within 24 hours before the end of the current subscription period. To opt out, you must turn off the auto-renew at least 24 hours before the end of the current period.
* Manage changes to your subscription in the iTunes Account Settings.
* Any unused portion of a free trial will be forfeited when you purchase a Paper Pro subscription.

Love Paper? Please leave a review! We read every comment, review, and tweet, and your thoughts and suggestions are taken into serious consideration as we continue to evolve Paper.

If you need help or want to share feedback, contact us at

Terms of Service: 

Privacy Policy:

What's New in Version 4.0.4

4.04 contains these fixes:
- Paper would always reset to the first color palette. Now Paper keeps your palette in place.
- Tapping on the canvas would sometimes cause a Cut action. All fixed. Now your taps are just taps.
- Tap-to-fill and tap-to-cut Smart Shapes was unreliable, especially when using Apple Pencil. Both of those actions are easier now.
- Tossing a cut region to delete it is a fast and fun way to delete things. Now you can do it even if you're zoomed in.
- When using a stylus, if your finger was set to Draw, Paper would blend instead. We fixed that.
- Check out our updated support site:

- Journal list view and search: Quickly jump to any journal, even if you've got a few hundred of them. (All users)
- Custom imported cover images: Add your own image to any journal cover. (All users)
- Scale, rotate, and move imported images. (All users)
- Reorder Journals (All users)
- Multi-select in Grid View w/ delete, export, duplicate and rotate actions (All users)
- Zoom dot grid (All users)

Paper 4.0 is entirely rebuilt, reworked with SceneKit to be even more beautifully simple. 
* An all-new look and feel for Paper
* Arrange sketches and notes into 3D journal view: a personal set of notebooks
* Group notes with sketches and annotate your photos
* Beautiful covers to customize your workspace
* Your notebooks transform into grids for easy organization
* Support for Split View and all device orientations
* Optimized for iPhone X, all iPad Pro, and Apple Pencil 
* Paper Patron is now Paper Pro
* Works with Paste for building stories with your team

Teaching Tip Tuesday: Help, I Need a Review Game!

It is that time of the year- FINAL EXAMS are coming. How do we prepare our students for final exams once you have re-taught missed concepts? Play a few review games to get students prepared for that final exam and to get them engaged. Are you tired of playing the same game every time? Do you want something that is technology based or not technology based? Look no further. Here is your complete guide to review games:
Do you have any more to add?

Monday Reflections: Educator: Jean Anne Simmons @jagsathome

What do you enjoy most right now about your campus?
If I were to pick one thing I enjoy about my campus right now, it would be the way my colleagues and I work together to make the students feel safe, loved and free to learn. We are also able to brainstorm together to create  engaging lessons for our students, that also evolve over the years.

Describe a recent lesson that you have enjoyed?
A recent lesson I have enjoyed, wasn’t really a lesson. It was an entire unit.  I am referring to the Living Museum unit where our students pick a historical person, that had an impact on America in history. This is my favorite unit all year!

What technology tools do you like using most in class right now?
For the last couple of years, I have loved using Google Classroom to dole out assignments, to add different ways to teach current lessons, send students information for them to use individually, and to help involved parents assist their young students be prepared for tests and projects in school. Google Classroom has updated and continues to add different aspects to assist teachers in using the latest in technology.
Another tool I like to use is Nearpod. This interactive program keeps the students engaged and active during a lesson. With the different questions and types of ways a teacher can check for understanding, the students don’t even know they are learning. The teacher also has the data to see if there are any students not understanding the information, or not following along with the lesson.

What is something that your admin does that you appreciate?
Our administration consistently shows us that we matter. When things get tough during a long haul between breaks, we will get a short note, or a surprise in our box, with some encouraging words. In addition, Peggy Still is a scheduling queen! She can manipulate any schedule to accommodate any crazy day or activity we have planned. She always tries to make sure we have a conference break and that the students are going to have the opportunity to learn. This keeps us and our students on our toes!

In the past month, what is a new teaching philosophy, idea, strategy, or pedagogy you have tried to adapt in your classroom?
A new strategy I’ve employed in my classroom is to use some type of technology to introduce each new unit. I would like to get to the point where I can give each student a little bit of prior knowledge before each new concept. Also, I want to get the students excited about learning something new!

What are you looking forward to most this school year?
I am looking forward to watching my students grow in their knowledge, confidence, and self-worth. I feel if we can make students comfortable enough to make mistakes, they will gain the ability to learn new ideas!
Suggestion(s) for new educators:
I’ve always told new educators a couple of things. One is to ASK QUESTIONS! College prepares you for the basics of teaching, it does not always prepare you for the reality of teaching. There will be millions of questions, from where is the copy room, to how does my gradebook work again and what do I do in this situation with this student? Another thing I tell them is to be open to a different way of teaching. Observe others! You can learn a lot from watching other teachers. Veterans and new teachers have different ways to handle classroom management, quieting a class, presenting a new unit, etc…. You can learn a lot from observing, tweaking and implementing others’ ideas.

Fab Find Friday: Microphone Ball for Your Classroom

Fab Find Friday: Microphone Ball for Your Classroom

Have you seen the Qball?
It is a blue microphone ball that you can throw (and it is okay if you drop it), and you can talk into the Qball to be louder. We first saw it last year at TCEA in Austin. Our tech department purchased it for our school district. Now teachers email us when they want to use it in their classroom.

How has it been used in the classroom?
Teachers from every grade level have used this in their classroom. It can be used in a variety of ways. The way that I have seen it most used is in Socratic Circle. Whoever wants to speak next, raises their hand, and that person tosses the microphone to that student to speak next. It is used so you can hear every student, even the soft spoken students. It is also great for conferences and assemblies.

Why is it great to use?
It is great for those students who are shy and don’t speak a lot in your class. It is great for those students that speak softly in your classroom. It is great for getting the whole class involved in a topic.

How do I get a Q-BALL?

Email or anyone in our tech department, and ask to use the Qball, if you work in Brenham ISD. We will check it out to you for the time you are wanting to use it in your classroom. If you are not in Brenham ISD, consider asking your tech department, your library, or your principal to purchase one for the school or district for classrooms to check out. A free option way would be to use any type of object to toss around, and when the student has the object in their hand, then they are the only one speaking.

Tech Tip Thursday: Awesome Screenshot Just Got More AWESOME!

Recently, The creators of the Chrome extension, Awesome Screenshot, just added 4 new annotation features to their product.  Yes, these features are part of the premium account, but they are 4 fantastic tools to help you better annotate your screenshots! 

The list includes:
  • Creating a call out
  • Adding step-by-step buttons for procedural tutorials
  • Being able to insert emojis
  • Finally, having the ability to add in pictures
   We hope you enjoy these updates to Awesome Screenshot!  If you have further questions, comments, and/or suggestions on various other screenshooting or screencasting extensions/tools for annotation... let us know in the comments below!  

Web Tool Wednesday - Embed HTML or JavaScript in Google Sites

Some people just like vanilla ice cream.  In fact it's the number one flavor of ice cream in the United States.  But there are times when you want something more, something exciting, something that is different. 
So what does ice cream have to do with a technology blog , other than the fact we live in Brenham, TX home of the best tasting ice cream in the country? (*Disclaimer this blog is NOT sponsored by Blue Bell Ice Cream - but we wouldn't mind if it was.)

Well there has been a G Suite update that now allows you to embed webpages as iframes in the new Google Sites.   
What does this mean?  Up until now Google Sites has been the vanilla ice cream of web design.  It's nice, it's clean, it serves its purpose, and it's easy to use. But now you can add those extra flavors to it if you want.  Now your site can go from Vanilla to Sea Salt Caramel or just Cookies and Cream if you just want to dab with it a little.  For more 

Here's how:
  1. On a computer, open a site in Google Sites.
  2. At the right, click Insert and then  Embed.
  3. Click Embed code.
  4. Add your code, then click Next.
    • JavaScript code must be within <script> tags.
    • CSS code must be within <style> tags.
  5. Click Insert.
This will be gradually released to users with a full roll out on January 2, 2018. For more information, visit the G Suite Help Center

Tech Teaching Tip Tuesday: Free Digital Conference

Free Digital Conference for YOU

Last year, Coach Kenjura at Brenham High School emailed me Matt Miller’s Ditch That Textbook, Digital Summit information. He told me a little bit about the digital conference, and I was hooked. I signed up for it. During the Christmas break, I got to watch digital videos at my own convenience.

Christmas is a busy time of the year, but luckily this conference did not tie me down to a certain day or time that I had to go somewhere to attend the conference. I picked which day and what time I wanted to learn. I also got to watch the videos in the comforts of my couch.

This year when I saw Matt was putting on the digital conference again, I became excited. It was great last year, so I know this year will be just as good, if not better.

Not a lot of conferences are free or digital, so take advantage of this free professional development. Also, did I mention there are prize giveaways?

Where do you sign up?

Tell me more about it (this is taken from the website).
HOW IT WORKS: New presentations are released every day from Dec. 15-23. They remain available until Dec. 31 so you can re-watch or catch up on any you’ve missed. They’re pre-recorded, so you can watch them whenever you want until Dec. 31. After that, the summit ends and the videos are unavailable to watch anymore.

FREE PD HOURS: You can get FREE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CREDITS for watching the videos. There’s a form to fill out after each presentation, and you’ll get an automatic PD certificate emailed to you.

FREE CHROMEBOOKS: They’re giving away two free Acer Chromebook 15’s, courtesy of Acer Education, the giveaway sponsor. Be sure to join the Chromebook Crash Course session on December 22 to enter the drawing.

Sign up for the digital summit at

The schedule looks like this:
December 15 (Fri) -- Combining Tech and Solid Teaching Effectively (Tanya Avrith and Holly Clark, authors of The Google Infused Classroom)
December 16 (Sat) -- The Science of Happiness (Kim Strobel, happiness coach and educational consultant)
December 17 (Sun) -- Brain-Friendly Learning that Works (Dr. Pooja Agarwal, cognitive scientists and educator)
December 18 (Mon) -- How in the Google Did You Do That? (Eric Curts, Google Certified Trainer and tech blogger)
December 19 (Tue) -- How to Learn from a World of Educators (Sarah Thomas, tech coordinator and uber-connected educator)
December 20 (Wed) -- Plan Smarter, Not Harder with Edu-Protocols (Jon Corippo, interim executive director of CUE)
December 21 (Thur) -- How to Make Learning a Game (Michael Matera, teacher and author of eXPlore Like a PIRATE)
December 22 (Fri) -- Chromebook Crash Course: What You NEED (Matt Miller, Google Certified Innovator, blogger, speaker and author of Ditch That Textbook)
December 23 (Sat) -- What Schools Can Learn from Start-Up Culture (Don Wettrick, teacher and founder of StartEdUp)
I am signed up for #DitchSummit; are you signed up?

I always LOVE free conferences. If you are looking for more free conferences after this conference, then check out the EdCamp website HERE.

Do you know of any other free conferences out there for teachers? Let us know!

Monday Reflections with Olajisia Arthurs

What are do you like the most about BJH right now?

I like to be at school because I have fun learning in my classes.

What lesson have you enjoyed the most in your classes?

Learning about different types of antidotes in science class.

What technology tool do you most like using in class?

I really enjoy using the site to learn.

What is something that your teachers do that you appreciate?

I like the way Mrs. Cordero teaches. She puts it in ways we can understand.

What are you looking forward to this school year?

Playing basketball

What kind of profession do you want when you finish school?

I want to become a realtor in California. I have family there and really love the state. I would like to help people find homes to live in there.

Fab Find Friday - Snapseed

There are many apps for photo editing, and many of the best ones are NOT fre. However, there is one that has a great many features and is FREE. Snapseed is an app created by Google that has 29 tools and filters that can easily help you make your the pictures you take look a professional photographer took them.
It´s available for the iPhone or Android devices as well. 
So you need to take some pictures today say someone's Birthday or whatever, try out Snapseed. 

Tech Tip Thursday: EquatiO & Read&Write are Now FREE- Here's How to Get it Free

EquatiO is Now FREE
Last school year, I heard about the great, EquatiO. I got really excited about it and added it. I used it in my Google Doc and Google Form. I could now do all sorts of math equations with this tool. Then I realized my free trial ended, and truthfully, lost interest and didn’t use it anymore. Until Tuesday, when I get an email saying that EquatiO is now FREE for teachers.
My email said that it would be free and you did not need the premium version to use all the features anymore. How do you get this free teacher license version? Click on this link below to fill out a form to get the license (use the same email address that you used when you first signed up for it- if you have the extension or add-on already).

Did I mention you get the Read&Write version free, too?
Math, Reading, Writing, Science, and Social Studies teachers can all utilize this.

Did you forget how to use EquatiO?
Here’s my original post on how to use Equatio.

Web Tool Wednesday: Hour Of Code 2017 w/ the @BISDwiredTeam

Hour Of Code 2017
via the @BISDwiredTeam
December 4-8, 2017

We are once again excited for this time of year!  We LOVE the annual Hour Of Code week!  So, what is the Hour of Code?


The BISDwired Team from Brenham has you covered!  Check out our HOC website for videos, ideas, and resources!

Teaching Tip Tuesday: 6 Tips to Survive Between Thanksgiving and Winter Break

6 Tips to Survive Between Thanksgiving and Winter Break

Thanksgiving break just got finished, and the students are talkative, are excited about Winter Break, are hyper from all the sweets, and are not focused on learning right now. How will educators survive these weeks before Winter Break?

#6 Refresh the students on your procedures and rules weekly.
The students have most likely forgotten some of the rules and procedures in your classroom. Take 5-10 minutes to review some of the rules and procedures each week until the Winter Break.

#5 Stick to your rules. Don’t let up because it is almost winter break.
We all want to go a little easier because it is almost the holidays, but we have to stick to our classroom policy we created. If we let one student slide a little bit, then all the students will think it is okay to slide.

#4 Use incentives to get desired behavior.
Sometimes, the students need a little motivation to do well. Why not motivate the students with bonus points (if your school allows it), munch and read the day before the break if all missing work is turned in, a learning day outside if there are no bad reports from the sub, a rap or flip from you, if the students have the desired behavior you are asking for, or anything else you think would motivate the students?
#3 Don’t forget to add some engaging and interactive lessons.
Students love to be engaged. How about trying those VR goggles out to see a place you have been studying (or using on your laptop)? What about dressing up and acting out your lesson? How about borrowing the microphone ball from your tech department to do a socratic circle?

#2 Say “no” when you just cannot add one more “to do” to your plate.
Sometimes, you just have to say, “no” when you are running low on fumes. Don’t feel obligated to decorate your classroom with ten Christmas trees just because your neighboring teacher is doing it. Why not just put one amazing tree up?! If someone asks you to go to a Christmas cookie party, but you really need to finish lesson planning and grading, then it is okay to say, “no” and reschedule for another time.

#1 Keep your cool no matter what is thrown at you.

The break between Thanksgiving and Winter Break is not going to be easy, but you can do it. Remember to keep your cool no matter what is thrown your way. When the Winter Break arrives, do remember to take time for yourself. Read a good book, binge watch a tv show, go for a run, drink hot chocolate, or do something that you enjoy the most.