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Schoology Road Map

posted Nov 20, 2015, 8:10 AM by Doug Saunders   [ updated Nov 21, 2015, 10:52 AM ]

What is Schoology? 

Schoology is an online course management system that allows teachers to create and manage academic courses for their students. It provides teachers with a method of managing lessons, engaging students, sharing content, and connecting with other educators. This year Holman Middle School and Hermitage High School were chosen to pilot this learning platform for the county. Below is a board game map infographic displaying our long range goals. There is also a link to a Schoology FAQ.

Google Hangouts: Guest Mode

posted Nov 19, 2015, 12:21 PM by Doug Saunders   [ updated Nov 21, 2015, 10:52 AM ]

Bookmark Your Hangouts Link
Google Hangouts is a great way to communicate with friends and colleagues. When you visit and click on the video icon, you are given a static link that you can use for all of your present and future hangouts. For example, my hangout link is: 
Whenever I want to video chat with someone I can send them that link in an email or post it on my blog. The link never changes.

Google Hangouts Now Open to Everyone!
As of today Google has made it much easier to Hangout with just about anyone, even if that person does not have a Google or Gmail account! When you share the hangout link with someone that does not have a Gmail account or whom may not be signed into Google, they are presented with a pop up menu asking them to introduce themselves. That person only needs to type in their name and click Request to join. Once you accept the invite you can begin the video conference. Simple and hassle free. Boom!

Install the Google Hangout Apps & Extension!


posted Nov 17, 2015, 6:50 AM by Doug Saunders   [ updated Nov 21, 2015, 10:51 AM ]

TitanPad has been around for awhile, but I still consider it one of the best ways to quickly elicit feedback from a group of students via. a public forum. It continues to be one of the fastest ways to generate a public space for students to post questions and provide feedback to a group of peers. A public pad can be set up by typing For example, if I wanted to have a class post their responses to the digital citizenship question: What rules, options, and etiquette do students need to be aware of when using digital communication technologies? I could simply type and am immediately presented with the option to create the pad. Obviously this will not be an option if someone has already previously claimed that URL.

By clicking Create Pad, I am taken to a blank slate where I can enter my name and begin typing specific questions or answers for anyone that the link is shared with can see. Just like Google Docs, all updates appear in real time. TitanPad also gives you a few advanced options such as the ability to display up to 8 authorship colors, line numbers, typeface edits, saved revisions, a time slider, and the option to export a TitanPad. Students are able to access a chat window on the right side of the white board for brainstorming purposes. It definitely does not have all the bells and whistles of a Google Doc, but for those of you looking to quickly get a student response to a certain topic, this is a quick and easy way of going about it.

TitanPad Interface


posted Nov 16, 2015, 10:02 AM by Doug Saunders   [ updated Nov 16, 2015, 10:04 AM ]

Are you a fan of Kahoot? Well it turns out there is another fun and engaging game on the market called Quizalize. Quizalize is very similar to Kahoot in looks, appearance, and game play. However, the main difference between Kahoot and Quizalize would be the fact that Quizalize allows for students to compete in teams. When students join the quiz they are automatically assigned to the green team or the red team. Once the quiz commences the team of students who can answer the questions most accurately in the shortest amount of time will take home the grand prize for their team. If a teacher chooses to project the game on the promethean board students will be able to view one another's progress in real time!

Pawsitively Awesome!

posted Nov 12, 2015, 10:07 AM by Doug Saunders   [ updated Nov 13, 2015, 6:37 AM ]

Pawsitively Awesome! is a great way to recognize students in the building. If a staff member catches a student being good they can fill out this form. It only takes a few seconds to complete, and once the staff member submits the form an email is automatically generated and sent directly to the child's parent/guardian explaining the good deed that was observed by the staff member. Parent feedback has been overwhelming positive about this cool initiative. So if you have not had a chance to fill out the form, please consider doing so when you observe positive student behavior or outcomes.

Stay Connected

posted Nov 12, 2015, 8:07 AM by Doug Saunders   [ updated Nov 12, 2015, 12:22 PM ]

Install the Holman ITRT Chrome Extension

The Holman ITRT extension is available at the Chrome Web Store. This extension will keep you up to date by displaying my 10 most recent blog posts. Once you install this FREE extension, you will no longer need to visit when checking for updates. Instead just click on the extension green apple icon located in the upper right hand corner of the Chrome Web Browser (see image). After clicking on the icon you will see a drop down menu displaying the 10 most recent updates to the site. If there is a post you have not read, clicking on the link in the drop down menu will take you directly to the post. Sometimes I update the site daily, other times weekly, so this will be a fairly handy extension when checking for updates to the site.

Install Holman Apps

Below are three apps you can install in Chrome. Once you install the app they essentially act as bookmarks providing users with quick access to my website, blog, and the channel 5 morning announcements. Click on the icon below to add the app.

Huskie Podcast

posted Nov 10, 2015, 11:10 AM by Doug Saunders   [ updated Nov 10, 2015, 4:21 PM by Doug Saunders ]

The Huskie Happening Podcast Has Returned!

The Huskie podcast is back in full force! This year Maddy and Kaylee will discuss all of the happenings going on at Holman Middle School. Each and every Friday there will be a new episode published discussing past and future events taking place at Holman Middle School. They will also interview various teachers and students throughout the school year. Students can also submit any questions to the show by going to and clicking on the contact our BAT team button. It is also easy to keep up to date with the latest releases. By clicking on one of the iphone buttons to the left of this post, you can subscribe to the podcast for FREE on iTunes or listen via. Stitcher radio! So what are you waiting for? Be in the know and subscribe today!

Listen To Our First Episode

QR Codes On The Fly

posted Nov 9, 2015, 7:10 AM by Doug Saunders   [ updated Nov 9, 2015, 5:25 PM ]

I was teaching a lesson today in Mrs. Dobrinski's class about how to generate a QR Code linked to an audio file. QR codes make it easy for anyone with a mobile device to access information online. In past years was my go to QR generator, but apparently after six years of being accessible to students, it turns out the site is now blocked by our filtering policy. Fortunately, Google offers a nice alternative that allows teachers and students to create QR codes on the fly. Once signed into Chrome, users can install the URL Shortener extension from the Chrome Web Store. Once the extension is installed, clicking on the icon will generate an instant QR code for any  website. Below are directions:

Ask One New Question

posted Nov 6, 2015, 10:30 AM by Doug Saunders   [ updated Nov 6, 2015, 12:09 PM ]


Henrico 21 award winner and all around awesome teacher Beth Lewis emailed the staff the other day about some great information she walked away with after having attended a Gifted conference. The conference was centered around a term I had never heard of before: Synectics. Synectics is a strategy that attempts to produce creative solutions to problems through the use of metaphorical thinking. The basic idea is that students are trying to look at familiar objects or ideas and view them in a new perspective while drawing on prior knowledge to defend their thinking process. Beth emailed the staff a super easy strategy that only takes minutes to implement!! Check out the text from the email below.

Try asking one of these questions as a warm up or as a closing activity. This can be done in ANY content area.

A generic question to get them thinking….. How is a sandwich like a crowd of people?  How is popcorn like a flower?
So imagine…..
  • In an English, reading class, asking this question: Which has more bounce, a book or tennis ball? Or Which is quieter, failure or embarrassment? Why? Which is more lasting, lost or found? (or take any character and compare them to any 2 unusual ideas)
  • in History/Civics:  Which is more fragile; a democracy or a monarchy?  Why?, or Which is stronger, a doctor or president? Or What European country is more like cheese pizza or supreme pizza? How is a Revolution like a teenager?
  • In Math: Which is more restful; a circle or a line segment? Why? Or  Which has more stretch, decimals or fractions?  or Is a variable more like ice cream or cake?  Why?   Is a set of negative integers more like WalMart of Target?  Why?
  • In Science: What piece of fruit is most like an atom? Is metamorphosis more like a classroom or a prison?
What you will find by asking these types of questions is that they must APPLY what they have learned, synthesize their knowledge, analyze and justify their answers.  All of this is activating higher level thinking skills in Blooms Taxonomy.

I challenge you to try this just once and see what kinds of conversations ensue!

Very cool. Thanks for sharing Beth!

Contact Card Update

posted Nov 5, 2015, 9:15 AM by Doug Saunders   [ updated Nov 6, 2015, 11:43 AM by Doug Saunders ]

Major Update: Below are the directions explaining how to add the shared Holman contact cards to Outlook 2013.

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