If you don’t like random trivia or historical facts, scroll down to the horizontal line to skip my KDR nonsense.
Happy Unbirthday, America!
Who wrote The National Anthem of the United States of America? If you said “Francis Scott Key,” you’re the victim of inaccurate childhood civics lessons! The National Anthem is a piece of music? (US Code Title 36, Subtitle I, Part A, Chapter 3, Section 301, Subsection a makes it official!)
Francis Scott Key was a poet, not a musician. On September 14, 1814, while watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry, he penned a multi-stanza poem about the flag that still flew over the fort, symbolizing the Port of Baltimore’s successful defense against the British onslaught.
"The Bombardment of Fort McHenry, September 13-14, 1814." (ca. 1829).Oil on canvas. Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874).
The piece of music known as the National Anthem in the United States is a drinking song called The Anacreontic Hymn (which begins “To Anacreon in Heaven”) was composed by a member of the late 18th-century Anacreontic Society named John Stafford Smith.
While today is the anniversary of the composition of the poem The Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key, today is not the birthday of the music for National Anthem, which was written by John Stafford Smith. (And is considered one of the most difficult to perform and inaccessible national anthems in the world, so don’t feel compelled to sing it near your colleagues…) For the record, the National Anthem was originally written in G-Major, but is most frequently performed today in A-flat Major, much to the chagrin of Garrison Keillor.
And now, on to the latest updates!
Posting Grades = Thing Of The Past
APS is launching a new Parent Portal as part of the new platform, which will permanently eliminate the need for teachers to post grade reports online. You should remove any website references to grade reports. Any parents or students that ask can be informed that information about the Parent Portal is coming directly from central office this week!
I have to tell you, I’m really pleased about this change, not only because it provides better transparency and communication conduits between the living room and the classroom… but because it was a really cumbersome system. 21st century express, all aboard!
Nothing Could Be Finer (‘Cause There Ain’t No Finer Settin’)
To use the very finest precision orientation on your SmartBoard, switch from the traditional 9 or 12 point orientation to the highest setting, a 20 point calibration. How, you ask? Read on, fair colleague!
- Click the round Start button in the lower left hand corner
- Click Control Panel
- In the upper right corner search box, type Smart
- Click Smart Board, which appears in the list of options below the search box
- Click Smart Hardware Settings
- In the drop-down menu near the middle of your screen, select Orientation/Alignment Settings
- Select Fine (20 Points)
- Click OK
Orient your SmartBoard. Nice work. 20 points for you. (I’m keeping score, you know…)
New Wireless Access Points Added
Several “dead zones” at Yorktown have been corrected with the installation of additional N-draft wireless access points. The new networks (APS and APS.Guest) should now be visible and strong throughout the building. If you are not able to see the APS network when trying to connect wirelessly, please contact my office.
Orange Squeezed Out
The Orange instructional wireless network is going dark by the end of the week. Please refer to my September 9 blog post for details on how to access the APS and APS.Guest networks, which are now standard. This is a good thing, because by turning off Orange, our wireless efficiency will improve… and I just learned that Orange network connections don’t receive KACE updates. Forcing all machines over to the new wireless network will clear up a lot!
Color Printer Available
I am a firm believer in trust as default, with caveat where apropos. Raj and I have moved the large color printer to workroom 227, and you should be able to see it as an available network printer. Do not set it as your default printer. That said, yes, you are more than welcome to use it. I ask that you use best practices and use it judiciously.
Never, ever, ever print a PowerPoint presentation. Ever. EVER. PowerPoint is a screen-based technology, and is not intended for print. If you have excellent resources in PowerPoint format that you need to create in hardcopy, please take the time to collaborate with me so we can design a print-appropriate formatted resource. Remember: I’m not an IT guy. I’m a teacher. I am ready, willing, and able to collaborate with you to help format robust instructional resources, including those in color.
Setting Your Default Printer
- Click on the round Start button in the lower left hand corner
- Click Devices and Printers
- Find the printer you want to print to by default, and right click it
- Click Set as default printer
Wanna be progressive, digital, and resource-conscious? Select CutePDF Writer as your default printer, and create digital documents by default instead of hard copies! Digital data is easier to archive, faster to send, and far less costly than paper. One school in Northern Virginia recently saved over a hundred thousand dollars in a year by instructionally and consciously reducing their reliance on paper!
If your SmartBoard is not behaving properly, try the procedure below. If that doesn’t work, please send me an email including the location, the duration of the problem, and any troubleshooting you’ve already done.
- With your computer turned on and logged in, find the USB connection that plugs into the back of the computer, coming from the SmartBoard. The USB plug looks like the picture above.
- Unplug that connection. If your speakers are on, you will probably hear two tones (a descending Major Fifth, E to A on most PC speakers) signifying that a piece of hardware has been disconnected. (Your Smartboard will stop working when you do this. This is expected.)
- Shut your computer down entirely. Wait a moment, then restart it. Log back in. Why? We are ensuring a “clean slate” as far as connected devices are concerned. (I feel compelled to explain when I do tell people to reboot…)
- Insert the USB plug back into your computer. You will hear two tones (an ascending Major Fifth, A to E on most PC speakers) signifying that a piece of hardware has been reconnected. You may also see information in the lower right hand area of your screen.
- Important: Make sure all four pens and your eraser are in place in the tray.
Why did we do this? To reestablish a proper USB connection between your computer and the SmartBoard. The SmartBoard is nothing but a glorified mouse, and if that mouse misbehaves, we reconnect it. All pens and the eraser must be in place for this particular kind of mouse to work correctly. When the tray detects that, for example, the red pen has been removed, it tells the computer “all touches on this big mousepad should draw in red.” If the tray is confused, or can’t decide if you’re holding a pen or not, you may notice odd behavior, like seemingly-random switches between being a pointer (and dragging your clicked pointer would draw a selection box) and being a pen (like when you’re trying to write).
Long story short: We’re short on computers. It’s a complicated list of reasons why, but I’ve gotten several requests from teachers who ask for “my teacher laptop,” or “a laptop I can carry from room to room,” or “a couple additional student laptops.”
We don’t have any.
That said, I’m working on it, but it’s not a this month or in many cases a this year solution. We are not a 1:1 school, unlike Washington-Lee. This is because Yorktown hasn’t been refreshed on the same cycle, and Washington-Lee opted to do this on the previous cycle. We’ll get there, but it’s the normal part of computer hardware supply cycles that some schools aren’t aligned with other schools. Thanks for your patience and understand.
The printers in room A162 and 327 had been malfunctioning and may not have appeared as available to users on the network. This should be corrected at this time.
Computer Lab Confirmation Emails
The emails that you get in your apsva.us email account, sent from Google Apps after making a reservation, can be deleted. You do not have to accept the appointment in Outlook to retain your Google Apps confirmation. It’s just for your convenience if you want to use it.
H: and S: Drive Interruptions
This morning, there appears to have been an interruption to connections to the H: and S: drives. It also appears to be resolved at this time. If you are unable to access your H: or S: drives, please contact the help desk at 2847, as this is a user-specific issue, and control over user accounts is now centralized.
The Mystery of the Student Computer and the Missing Password
When a student computer prompts you for a password, the only solution is to restart the computer. It’s a bug caused by some of the new scripts not getting picked up by that particular computer. There is no password, which is why the only solution is to reboot. Sorry! Scripts are being pushed out in the background that will terminate this behavior.
That’s All Folks!
Thanks for your continued support!