Flipgrid Live Event: Amanda Gorman

On November 4 from 1:00-1:30 PM ET, Flipgrid Live will be hosting Amanda Gorman and Loren Long. Amanda Gorman will read from her new picture book Change Sings and discuss the ideas in it. The illustrator will also talk about his creation process. You can go here to sign up to watch with your class live or on-demand.

Check out the Flipgrid’s Discovery Library to find a number of topics to help your students prepare for the event. You can also see other upcoming events or access past events here: https://blog.flipgrid.com/upcomingflipgridliveevents Many of the presenters help provide “windows and mirrors” for the students in our classrooms.

October Canvas Updates

Over the weekend, you may have noticed a few updates to Canvas:

  • Sticky Navigation Menus: Now when you scroll down a Canvas page, the Course Navigation Menu remains visible.
  • SpeedGrader Submission Status: You can now change the submission status of an assignment (late, missing, excused) directly in SpeedGrader (previously, you could only do that in the Gradebook).
  • Gradebook Assignment Search: Now you can search the gradebook by student name and assignment name. More Gradebook search updates are coming later this month!
  • Accessibility Checker Notification: Have you ever noticed the little Accessibility icon at the bottom of the Rich Content Editor? It allows you to check how accessible your content is, and now, it will have a notification alert if it finds issues. Be sure to click on it and check its suggestions before publishing.
  • Microsoft Immersive Reader: This is a great tool embedded on many pages that allows people to have text read aloud to them (at faster or slower speeds), translate text, have access to a picture dictionary, and much more. Previously it was only on Canvas pages, but now it is also available in Assignments and the Syllabus. If you haven’t tried it out before, check it out, it is next to the Student View button in the upper, right corner.
  • Course Notification Settings: You can adjust your notifications by course.

notification settings image

To keep up-to-date on upcoming Canvas updates or to view more information about these updates, visit this website: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Canvas-Releases/tkb-p/canvas-release


New Video Editor in Canva

Canva is a free online tool that educators can use that has an extensive library of images, templates, worksheets, presentations, etc. Recently they announced the ability to not only add video, but also the ability to edit videos and collaborate on videos. If you are interested in more information on Canva, and/or if you are interested in learning more about Canva, there will be an asynchronous course available to learn Canva on the PD day(November 2nd).

For a brief tutorial on the video editor, and its capabilities, we are including a video down below – see also our last blog post about Canva and how to access it HERE:

Put your cyber savvy to the test

Hacking quiz

Take the quiz: How vulnerable are you to cyber threats?
Are you putting the district or yourself at risk without knowing it? This security assessment will help you identify whether your cyber knowledge is up to par – or if you could use a little refresher. Take the next five minutes to see where you stand.


Two of this month’s Google updates

Google Updates

Every month tweaks and changes occur in one or more of our Google apps. Here are two of this month’s.

Create meeting notes in Google Calendar. Available starting in late October, quickly start and share a meeting notes document for your Calendar events.


Add image watermarks in Google Docs. You can now add image watermarks directly into Google Docs.


​Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Safety Tips Sheets, Posters, and Lesson Plans

Cybersecurity advice

STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ is the global online safety awareness campaign to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online. They have a large collection of posters, tip sheets, and videos that you can use to promote good online safety practices. They maintain a resource page with tip sheets to posters to videos and more, to help you stay safer and more secure online and better protect your personal information. All of these resources are free to use, download and share at home, at work and in the community.  We have embedded two of the many videos they have below. Here’s also a link to one of their advice posters.

Free Lesson Plans
Google for Education’s Applied Digital Skills lesson library includes a couple of lesson plans that align with Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

  • Avoid Online Scams is a lesson plan for middle school and high school classrooms. This lesson includes a scenario in which students have to identify the signs of a scam phone call and email then decide how to respond.

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: https://bit.ly/PCCS-OrbitNote

The new OrbitNote Quick Reference Guide is available here.

Videos: https://text.help/orbitvids
Technical Support: https://support.texthelp.com

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.