Middle School Teachers – FYI, grading periods are being set in Canvas

Canvas grading periods

Over this weekend, the district will be updating Canvas with the dates of the grading periods for all of our middle school semester and year long courses. Consequently, starting Monday, middle school teachers will be able to filter their grade books, assignments’ list, and students’ grades pages by quarter instead of having to view all graded content from the entire semester or school year. When grading periods are enabled, the due date of assignment will determine the grading period within which the assignment will appear in the Gradebook. If no due date is set, the assignment defaults to the last grading period available for the course. Please further note, students will only have view-only access to first quarter course content and will be unable to submit work for assignments associated with the first quarter (Q1) since it is not the current grading period. Finally, while teachers can edit their previous term’s course content, they cannot make further adjustments in the feedback or grading of any non-current grading period submissions.

Importantly, while students will still find their definitive grades in MISTAR, this grade period demarcation will also result in a more accurate current grade average, as far as their Canvas grade is concerned, since only the current marking period will be reflected.

*Please note elementary and high school teachers — it is very conceivable that we will similarly update Canvas for courses that span grading periods too, in the coming weeks, to allow for term filtering.

Please find quick overview directions and screenshots in this document.

Access to Flash-based browser content ends in December, 2020

Adobe Flash

Adobe Flash has been supporting online games, content, and interactive features since 1996. But due to the changing and evolving of newer technologies other mediums such as HTML5 which are more power-efficient and faster, Flash has become less and less popular. At one point 80% of the content on the internet was Flash-based. Since 2017, that number is down to 17%. Due to this, Adobe has determined an End of Life (EOL) date of December 31st, 2020 for the plugin.

What does this mean?

Many different learning websites including sites such as Starfall and CoolMathGames were entirely Flash-based. When the announcement by Adobe was made to end Flash (plugin player support/updates and distribution), many websites started to convert their content to HTML5 and other delivery mechanisms. However, it is up to websites to make this transition. So, as you are planning different learning activities for students, please ensure that you have vetted the website to see if it relies on Flash. A way to check to see if a site uses Flash, Right-clicking on any part of a website will make a box appear with options you can click on. If you see Zoom in at the top of the box and About Adobe Flash Player at the bottom of the box, then you know that you have Flash on the website.

If the site migrates to open web standards (such as HTML5), you shouldn’t notice much difference except that you’ll no longer see prompts to run Flash on that site. If the site continues to use Flash, and you give the site permission to run Flash, it will only work through the end of 2020.

For more information please check out these articles:




New Seesaw Feature!

Send Post Back to Student
If your class is set to email sign in or 1:1 devices sign in for students, Seesaw has added a new tool to improve the feedback loop between students and teachers. This feature lets you send back a post to a student so they can do another revision before it’s shared with classmates or families.
From the Unapproved Items screen, use the comment tool to leave them a comment, then tap “Send Back” to send the work back to them. They’ll be notified that the post was sent back and can edit their post and return it to you when they’re ready for another review.

Saturdays With Moodle

The Dearborn Public Schools Technology Department is excited to announce a professional development opportunity for teachers: the Saturdays with Moodle series! They will offer 5 classes all about Moodle and some of its more popular features. Attend as many classes as you desire, and leave with something you can use in your classroom the next week! All classes are at the Administrative Service Center, 18700 Audette in Dearborn, and run from 9:00 am-1:15 pm. Cost is $50 per class.

See this flyer for registration information.

Classroomscreen.com offers simple web widgets when displaying your screen


If you browse to ClassroomScreen.com you can find a set of possibly useful widgets that can be displayed.

Currently, there are twelve widgets you can use on ClassroomScreen. You can display multiple widgets at once.

  • Language – Choose to display text in a large range of languages
  • Background – Customise your background with one of the images or GIFs provided. Or, you can upload or record your own background.
  • Random Name/Dice – Enter the names of students and choose one at random. Or, roll one or more dice.
  • Sound Level – Monitor classroom noise levels using the microphone on your device.
  • QR Code – Enter a link and a QR code is automatically generated. Great when students have devices like iPads — they can come up to the board, scan the code and go straight to a site.
  • Drawing – There are two sizes available where you can free draw. The larger sized canvas can replace the background if you wish.
  • Text – A simple tool to write instructions, reminders, learning goals and so on.
  • Work Symbols – Display one of four options: work together, ask a neighbor, whisper, and silence.
  • Traffic Light – Display a red, amber, or green light to provide a visual reminder of when to move around, begin a task, pack up etc.
  • Timer – Count up or count down, record “laps”, and more. You can customize the tone that rings when the time is up.
  • Clock – Shows the time as a 12 or 24 hour clock. Also shows a calendar.

Classroomscreen icons

Additional Feature: ExitPoll

ClassroomScreen’s ExitPoll tool lets you get feedback from students.

You can ask students what they thought about the lesson or check for understanding by asking them a question about the lesson content.

Students simply walk past the interactive whiteboard, tablet, or computer at the end of the lesson and cast their vote.

You can access the ExitPoll tool by going to https://www.classroomscreen.com/exitpoll.html or use the icon at the bottom right of your screen.

ExitPoll tool by ClassroomScreen

Rejoice, LanSchool is Ready to Go! (Grades 3-8)

LanSchool, the program the district offers teachers for student device management and monitoring, can now be used with dynamically updated student rosters. For those teachers who have students using Chromebooks, especially teachers of 3rd through 8th graders, you can now install and use LanSchool by following directions we are providing.  Please note, the following linked directions will NOT apply to new teachers or those new to Lanschool.  If you are a new-to-the-district teacher this year, OR if you did not install Lanschool last year, please submit a service request so that a technician can install LanSchool for you: Service ticket

Additionally, if after following the directions linked below, you cannot get LanSchool to load your student rosters, you will also need to submit a service request:  Service ticket

First, we’d like to apologize for the Lanschool delay. There were some unforeseen backend issues that had to be addressed related to rostering, Clever*, and Wayne RESA.  Our department spent many hours over several weeks working with staff from Clever, LanSchool and WayneRESA to address these issues and we’re not quite done, but for many of you, the install and load should now be doable without our further assistance. Please follow these directions ONLY if you were using LanSchool last year: Click Here

While the directions have a lot of “clicks”, it should actually only take a couple of minutes to load and install.

*A quick note about our Clever / LanSchool integration. Since Clever (Single Sign-on), syncs nightly with MISTAR, and then LanSchool syncs with Clever, unlike last year, class rosters in Lanschool can now be kept up to date and all classes a teacher has in MISTAR (including previously unavailable homeroom classes) can now be loaded in LanSchool.

Instagram, Middle School, and Digital Citizenship

Read about how one middle school teacher is using Instagram in her ELA and Social Studies classes to address a real and present need in Digital Citizenship. It’s no secret that kids have Instagram accounts, and potentially multiple accounts as early as elementary school. 6th grade teacher Sara Landis notes: “I think it’s so important for them because they’re going to wade into that pool anyway. So, you’re either going to teach them to swim, or you’re going to watch them drown. So we need to give them the information that’s going to help them make informed decisions.”

Read more to learn how she is addressing this issue in a very real and practical way. LINK

Scratchwork for Math Class

Scratchwork is an online whiteboard and video conferencing tool designed with math students in mind. The platform works like many similar services as it provides you with a whiteboard on which you can draw, type, and import images to annotate. Scratchwork is a little different than other services because it includes a Latex editor for writing equations.

Giving students an opportunity to use digital math tools is an important part of the modern classroom and allows students to:


  • Draw naturally… with what you already have: Turn your pen and paper drawings into digital objects with your webcam or phone. Or draw on a tablet and see the big picture on your computer.
  • Develop your ideas: Reorganize, resize, and mark up your drawings. Upload and annotate PDF documents, or arrange your ideas on virtual pages to export as PDFs.
  • Collaborate: Share and edit your boards with others in real time. Chat, audio, and video calls are built in.

There is a free version available that includes:

  • 4 boards
  • 100MB storage
  • 3-way collaboration + video chat
  • PDF export with watermark
  • Basic math recognition
  • URL sharing