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Hello, everyone! I am Suzy Cox, the new Director of the Innovative Learning Initiative, and I am so excited to join PCSD. As I settle into my new position, I promise not to ask you to do anything new this school year. Instead, I will be here to listen and provide whatever support I can as I get a feel for what you need and where we need to go as a district. I look forward to engaging with you to build a culture of innovation that will prepare all of our students to participate in a global and digital society.

I will be coming to each school to hear directly from you about your experiences and needs. For now, use this super short form to tell me what support you need for your digital teaching.

Bite-sized PD for the week of Jan 17, 2022

CANVAS is the supported Learning Management System (LMS) for PCSD. While you have likely been using Canvas for the past two years, there are always things we can learn to help us use it more effectively. Here are a couple of probably-not-new tips for this week:

Modules are the best way to organize content in Canvas. You can put all of the resources for a lesson in one place and in the order in which you want your students to use those resources.

I like to start my modules with a Lesson Overview page that includes a description of the lesson, my learning targets, and a list of the activities students will be completing. The rest of the module then provides all of the activities and resources your students need.

Pages also help to organize the resources you are providing to your students by allowing you to add instructor narrative—your own descriptions of what the resources are and what students should do with them. I like to use pages within my modules to guide my students through the resources I have provided and to chunk the content. Each page might contain instructor narrative, followed by a video or link that I want my students to explore, followed by more instructor narrative, and so on. Keep pages short so students don’t get overwhelmed.

For those of you who are already feeling comfortable with Canvas, you might want to add NEARPOD to the mix! Every teacher in PCSD has a Premium account for Nearpod. This tool allows you to create interactive presentations that can be used both in class and for student-paced online learning. Nearpod has tons of features to help with blended and online learning. They also have a lesson library that can be searched by subject area and grade level in case you need a pre-made lesson to share with your students. You can even add Nearpod lessons as assignments directly in Canvas!