Professional Development Options


Our classrooms are becoming more and more embedded in the digital world. As educators we need to continue to learn how to improve the use of technology with instruction.

Whether you are just starting off with integrating technology or in full swing here are some FREE courses you can take over the summer for your own professional development.





Microsoft Classroom

Great News! Microsoft is going to pilot their new Classroom Notebook and we are going to be part of the pilot.  Currently we have about 10 classrooms using OneNote Class Notebook with their students.  Teachers find it to be a powerful tool.  Some of the new tools will be students can get assignments from the teacher and submit them back plus teachers will be able to share, track and grade assignments.

Check out the announcement!


Technology and Plagarism

copypasteTeaching with technology is becoming a norm in most schools today. As we sat down to reflect on how we are teaching our kids about digital citizenship and what we need to change for next year most teachers were shocked with the amount of students plagiarizing or better known as cut & paste. We are a 1:1 iPad school, students have access to the internet literally at their fingertips.  The following article will highlight many different plagiarism checkers you can use to scan students work.  As teachers we need to rethink the questions we are asking our students to learn.  Asking higher-order thinking questions will make students apply their learning instead of just finding the right answer and then rewriting it or not rewriting it – plagiarizing.

List of the Best Plagiarism Checkers for Educators

Hour Of Code

This is my 3rd year doing the hour of code with students and I’m so excited!  RJK Middle School in Monticello, NY will participate in the Hour of Code Global Event.  Here is a map showing over 107,000 events around the world.


The kids are super excited that Minecraft has been added as a tutorial.


Here is a great resource that gives step by step instructions to getting started.

Happy Coding

  • Donna


The Genius Bar Goes to School: aka/ RJK iHelp Cafe

rjkihelpCreating Student and Teacher Technology Leaders

The Basics

In our school we thrive to create a school culture that will foster good citizenship, respect, and responsibility.  We actively try to engage students in their learning and promote lifelong learners.  Our goal is to create an environment to share, help and learn from each other.  By using the model from the Apple “Genius Bar®” we can leverage teachers’ and students’ interest in technology to create a support system for our 1:1 iPad Initiative at RJK Middle School.  With training and a commitment to service, we can create a school culture of collaborative support and high expectations for technology integration.

This document is written and intended as a live document to show our process of implementing a teacher and student-led Genius Bar-style program at RJK Middle School, Monticello, NY.

begin1 beginihelpborn

What is a “Genius Bar” and why is a good model to follow?

The Genius bar is a place in an Apple Store where customers can go with a problem, ask questions, and get help. This is a great model of informal, friendly support. Having a help desk in our school gestures that we don’t know everything and getting help with technology is part of our day. We have created a hub in the lobby of our school building to make it accessible to all.

Many “tech support” issues are simply both students and staff who need a reminder about how things work or need a question answered. Providing a service like a Genius Bar will aid in helping each other and building a school culture around service support. At the same time empowering students and teachers to show what they know.

Finally, having a Genius Bar creates leadership opportunities.  Students will learn technical and people skills that are valuable and empowering through providing a service to their school community.

Who should be Geniuses?

Our next step is to establish procedures for who should be Geniuses. This is not just for gifted and techies but for a wide variety of students and teachers open and willing to give time. Stay tune for more to come.

Three Tips for Managing a Classroom with Devices

Most interesting to me was the restructuring of the classroom. I hope school districts begin to look at that as a possibility. Take a look at the video.

Indiana Jen

This is reblogged from my post at Daily Genius.

When adopting technology in the classroom, one of the key concerns for educators is classroom management. Often, they believe that with devices come three options:

  1. Ban devices outright (Good luck!)
  2. Lock them down
  3. Open your classroom up to the Wild Wild West!

However, I have found that many traditional methods of classroom management readily translate to a technologically rich curriculum – with some modification.


Most of us teach in “traditionally” structured classrooms – the teacher is in front and the students sit in rows looking at the teacher. However, this is a poor setup when students are using devices. With screens faced away, it’s easy for students to give into temptation and get off task. After all, the teacher can’t see what they are doing.

Moving away from a teacher-centered learning space and building on a student-centered…

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