Monday, April 28, 2014

SBAC Testing Has Begun

2014 SBAC Testing Is Off to a Great Start!
On Monday, April 28, Spurgeon students began the much anticipated SBAC testing. Our Spurgeon Cougars were well-trained by Mr. Zamudio and the Spurgeon science teachers, the labs were well-prepared by the SAUSD and Spurgeon technology teams (we miss you Mr. Ellison!) and testing began without a hitch! All students were able to log in and begin testing immediately. Students reported that although the SBAC exam covers difficult material, the testing system was not difficult to use. It was almost as if the students were born to test online! We will be on the special SBAC schedule through Tuesday, May 6, for 7th and 8th grade testing. 6th graders will begin testing in May.
 What does it look like when 160 students take the SBAC all in one lab at the same time?

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A Funny Thing Happened During SBAC Testing... iTunes

During our SBAC testing today, one frustrating occurrence is the spontaneous (apparently) opening of iTunes. Since it is disabled it as a login item, it must be something else that is triggering it. Thankfully, the Interwebs have the answer! Because the F8 key on a modern iMac keyboard is also a keyboard shortcut to open iTunes. Since the SBAC secure browser will not run with iTunes open, the easiest way to avoid this is to:
  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Select Keyboard
  3. Select the Keyboard sub menu
  4. Check the box "Use All F1, F2, etc. keys as standard..."
Be sure the volume control is visible in the menu bar so that students are able adjust the volume without the keyboard:
  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Select Sound
  3. Check the box "Show Volume in Menu Bar"

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Podcast 101

Let's Make a Podcast!

A podcast is a digital recording that is shared on the Internet. You are able to download these digital files to your mp3 player, such as an iPhone, iPod, Droid, etc. You can also subscribe to a podcast that is updated on a regular basis and listen to them with a web browser such as Firefox or Google Chrome at a website like Free Music Archive, with a podcast aggregator such as iTunes, or on a media website such as YouTube.

Today you will use the program Garage Band to create a musical introduction to your podcast. On Thursday you will use Garage Band to create your podcast.

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Creating a Musical Hook with Garage Band

In your podcast you will be able to open and conclude your podcast with a  musical hook, just like you hear in a professional broadcast on the radio or  the Internet. Here's a quick way to create your own piece of music that is uniquely yours, so you don't run into any copyright issues. You will then export your new musical hook to iTunes so you can use it in your podcast.
  1. Open Garage Band from your Applications folder.
  2. Select Magic Garage Band.
  3. Select a musical style: funk, reggae, blues, latin, etc.
  4. You are able to choose each instrument. Click on an instrument, click on the drop-down arrow, click on the headphones so they turn yellow to isolate the instrument, then choose which type of the instrument you want to use. After you have chosen the instrument, deselect the headphones (they will turn gray) so that you can hear the entire band. You will do this for all instruments or part: (melody, rhythm,  guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard) in the musical piece. You are also able to add your own instrument, such as your voice, if you plug the input to your computer.
  5. After choosing your instruments, click "Open in Garage Band" at the bottom right of the screen.
  6. You are now able to hear your new musical creation/ You may make any additional changes.
  7. Export your song to iTunes:
    1. Click "Share" in the menu bar.
    2. Drop down to "Send Song to iTunes"
    3. Name your song: "Period# + FirstName + LastName" in all four boxes.
    4. Click the "Share" button in the dialog box.
    5. Your song will open automatically in iTunes!
  8. Close your Magic Garage Band project after you have exported your song to iTunes.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Total Lunar Eclipse Tonight

Get ready to view the first total lunar eclipse of 2014 tonight beginning at approximately 10:40PM with the eclipse at approximately 12:07AM!

The April 15, 2014 Total Lunar Eclipse will be the first of two lunar eclipses for 2014. Tonight's lunar eclipse is also the first lunar eclipse in a tetrad, or a series of four lunar eclipses, with no partial eclipses in between.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Writing a Script for Our Podcast

Today we will write a script to use when we record our podcast!

Do you know what a script is? That's right! As 8th Grader Mario Chavez shared in period 1, it is "something that you read for a movie."

I want you to think about your topic. Please tell your elbow partner, what you want to talk about in your podcast.

Now that you have your topic, we will create a Google Doc to use to type up our scripts.

First, please type the name of your topic in the title box at the top left of your page. Please type the title on your document and center this title.

Now you will write a short script about your topic. Please left-align your script and add numbered items for each separate sentence you will read on your podcast.

Your first sentence must be your introduction, the rest of the sentences (minimum four) will be about the topic, and your final sentence will be your conclusion.
  1. "Hello, this is ____________________ and I am going to talk to you today about _________________________."
  2. Topic
  3. Topic
  4. Topic
  5. Topic
  6. This wraps up my podcast today. I hope you enjoyed the show!
Because this is a spoken piece of work you may use colloquial or "everyday" language when you write your script.

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