BrainPOP Information Privacy Lesson

image of brain pop lesson

October is Cybersecurity month. How can you facilitate student learning about this topic? BrainPOP has videos and accompanying lessons for grades 3-12. Teachers of younger learners can check out BrainPOP Jr for more appropriate videos and lessons. P-CCS has a K-12 subscription to BrainPOP products and they are accessible via Clever. Check out this lesson on information privacy.


Meet OrbitNote (formerly the Texthelp PDF Reader tool)

The TextHelp PDF Reader has officially been reborn as OrbitNote!

Earlier this summer, the Texthelp PDF Reader was updated and became OrbitNote. This update included a new look & easier onboarding. P-CCS students & staff have access to all the PREMIUM features of OrbitNote detailed below.

If you’re not familiar with it yet, OrbitNote allows staff & students to transform and interact with PDFs and digital documents in a completely different way. It helps to create an accessible, dynamic and collaborative space that works for everyone.

You & your students can use OrbitNote to:

      • -Collaborate in real-time within digital documents
      • -Read text, including math & science equations, aloud with easy-to-follow dual color highlighting
      • -Type text on top of your PDFs with the Text feature
      • -Highlight and extract information with colored highlighters
      • -Add text and voice comments or use pushpins for helpful hints or instructions
      • -Use freehand or shape drawing to scribble and draw on your digital documents
    And more!

There is NO ACTION required for students or staff who were already using the PDF Reader; the new OrbitNote extension auto-updated. Students and staff may have to update permissions with the first use of the new tool.

Staff who have not used the Texthelp PDF Reader in the past will need to install the extension here.

For more information about using OrbitNote, including Canvas LMS integration, go to the RW4G@PCCS website:

The new OrbitNote Quick Reference Guide is available here.

Technical Support:

You might also want to check out this video of OrbitNotes used in Canvas and/or a comprehensive overview of many of TextHelp’s features:



OrbitDoc (now OrbitNotes) used in Canvas


Print Canvas New Quizzes

If you would like to have a paper copy of a Canvas quiz for certain students, you can easily do that in New Quizzes. Just click the 3 dots (or TimBits) in the upper, right corner to reveal more options.

option to print new quiz

After selecting the print option, you will be able to choose the preferred text size.

menu to select print size

One other enhancement with New Quizzes is that you can bypass the assignment details screen and get right into building question when you are designing a unit in modules. See below.

option to build a new quiz directly from modules

If you like these enhancements but mostly have Classic Quizzes in your course, you can begin the process of migrating them to New Quizzes with these directions.

New Nightly MiStar/Canvas Grade Auto-Syncing

Steps for setting up grade sync each night

If you would like your Canvas grades to automatically sync with your MiStar gradebook each night, that is now possible with just a few clicks.

  1. Make sure Grade Sync is enabled under Settings/Navigation
Showing grade sync enabled
Students do not have access to this page.

2. Once enabled and saved, you can navigate to the Grade Sync from the Course Navigation menu and toggle the option on.

Steps for setting up grade sync each night

If you need more information about the necessary set up for your Canvas Grades to sync with MiStar, take a look at the resources on the P-CCS Tech website.



Updates to Adobe Spark for Education Plan

Adobe Spark

Beginning in late October 2021, the K12 Adobe Spark for Education plan will start to include two additional applications, Adobe Photoshop Express and Adobe Premiere Rush. In or shortly after late October 2021, our users will have access to these applications.

Adobe Photoshop Express enables image editing and collage making and is available on both iOS and Android devices. To learn about this application’s capabilities, system requirements, and device compatibility, please visit the user guide.

Adobe Premiere Rush enables video editing and sharing and is available on both iOS and Android, as well as desktop devices. To learn about this application’s capabilities, system requirements, and device compatibility, please visit the user guide.

As a reminder, simply type in the Chrome browser and review these steps on how to access Spark for Education. 

And for more ideas on Spark, revisit our last blog post about it HERE.


Monday Tech Coffee Chat: Supporting Absent Students

This Monday, September 27, we will be holding another TIS Coffee Chat on the topic of Supporting Absent Students. We will talk about how to add an Absent button and set up your information page for Absent students. Sessions are only about 20 minutes long and take place over Zoom.

Start Times (feel free to attend at a time that works best for you):

Feel free to browse the Session Resources which includes a helpful, technical document for broadcasting your class via Zoom:

Check out the recordings of previous sessions.

Canvas Camp 2021 and Tech Coffee Chat #1 Recordings

Thanks to all who were able to join us during Canvas Camp 2021! We are happy to continue to support you with our Monday Morning Coffee Chats. Below you will find links to recordings from our August sessions.

Studio Q & A-This session covered a lot of the basics of Studio and looked at some more advanced features. The trainer also provided great ideas for how to use Studio as the teacher and how students can use it.

Canvas Q & A– In this session we talked a lot about copying course content. Toward the end, Cory gave a really great introduction to Groups.

Canvas Course Design Considerations– Here’s the session agenda. This training is great for all grade levels and also had a few good nuggets for elementary teachers.

TIS Face Off: Canvas Tips- Matt and Kaelyn face off about their favorite Canvas tips. Recording coming soon.

Last week we had our first Tech Coffee Chat centered around the Canvas Best Practice, Simplifying the Course Navigation Menu. Check out the recording and join us Monday, September 20 for tips on creating an informative, welcoming home page.


New Assignment Enhancements in Canvas

Canvas has made several adjustments and improvements to the student assignment experience. Take a look below.

image of assignment enhancements

If you choose “Text Entry” for the student turn-in option, student work will auto-save and they can submit directly on the page.

image of text entry

Scroll through the gallery below to see other assignment options.

If you feel these enhancements will not serve your students, you can toggle them off under Settings/Feature Previews.




2020-2021 Course Clean Up

Please make sure your 2020-2021 courses are closed. We have heard from a few students and parents that are still seeing their 2020-2021 courses. You’ll want to ensure your courses are closed or unpublished.

Navigate to or click on the “Courses” icon on the Course Navigation Menu and click “All Courses” You’ll see a list of your courses that are still published.

  • If you notice any from the 2020-2021 school year in your current enrollments you will need to take action.
  • If you see 20-21 published courses under Past Enrollments, that is as it should be and no action is required.

Image of published course list.You may be able to open the course and click “Unpublish.” If you are unable to do that, please submit a tech ticket.

Also keep in mind that any manually-created courses like a counseling group, club, or media center course should be closed out if they are no longer needed. Or students that have moved up to a new building level should be removed from the course.

These closed courses will still be accessible in a view-only format to students in “Past Enrollments.”


Introducing: TIS Monday Coffee Chats

In late August, the P-CCS Canvas Best Practices were published.

To help you carry out these practices, the Technology Integration Specialists plan to offer brief (20-25 minutes) sessions before school on Monday mornings. We will provide a rationale for the practice, a quick tutorial, and examples when appropriate. Be sure to bring your favorite morning beverage!

Start Times (feel free to attend at a time that works best for you):


  • September 13: Simplify Course Navigation
  • September 20: Create a Welcoming, Informative Home Page
  • September 27: Provide Clear Guidance for Absent Students
  • October 4: Post Assignments Online, via Canvas
  • October 11: Use Announcement Weekly
  • October 18: Use Modules to Organize and Distribute Content