Google+ Communities Tutorial

Brief Summary:  Google+ Communities is a place where individuals are able to create, find and join groups that suit their interests.  Committees can be public or private and if private, members are able to post content and engage in discussion with other members within that community.  

Follow the steps outlined below to create a new Community:

  1. To create a Communities page, you must be logged into your Google account.  Click on the grid on the upper right hand corner of your Google page.  


  1. From the grid, available Google Apps will appear. Click on G+.


  1. This will take you to the Google+ homepage.  Once there, click on HOME to begin creating the community that you will moderate.



  1. Here, you will see communities that you have joined and others that you may be interested in joining.  It is also where you will find the clickable tab to CREATE COMMUNITY.


  1. This next step requires you to make some decisions.  You will have to choose between creating a public community or a private one.  A public community will be seen by everyone, whereas the activity within a private one is limited to just the members in the community.  Another implication of these two privacy settings is that anyone can join a public community, but a private community requires an invitation to join or an accepted request.  Choose carefully because once you have selected the privacy setting and created the community, you will not be able to go back and change this setting.


  1. Once you have decided on the privacy setting, if you will be asked to select a name for your community. Be sure that this title reflects the essence of your community.  This is especially important if your community is public because anyone who wishes to join should be able to decipher the focus of your community by its title.  
  1. If you are creating a private community, you will also be asked to choose the extent to which your community will be visible.  Choose between hiding it from searches (this is especially good for classroom communities) or allowing individuals to request membership.  Click CREATE COMMUNITY.
  1. You are almost ready to begin moderating this community, but first, there is a bit of OPTIONAL setting up to do:  You may add a descriptive tagline, choose a photograph, discuss the focus of your community in the ABOUT section and add discussion categories.

79. Examples of Discussion Categories for classroom purposes may include dates, unit or book titles. This is a great way to organize the content within this community so that users will be able to easily navigate the community and find information.


10.  It is time to begin inviting members to your community. If you are using this with students, simply type their names or email addresses, as well as a comment inviting them to join and click SEND.


11. If at any time you wish to adjust settings and notifications, click on the appropriate icons and you will adjust as necessary.  


Below is a video tutorial:

My Story

John 15 5

The story of my life is being crafted through my relationship with God.  Through prayer and purposeful living, I try to be present in every moment and live in a way that draws on my faith and reflects my beliefs.  As a child, I was taught about the interconnected nature of my life with a higher power and also with my family.  I feel like John 15:5 captures my life’s story perfectly because it is in God’s presence that I find my strength and comfort.

I chose this image to reflect my story because it is one that is very special to me.  On the morning of April 17, 2012, I went out to my front yard with my camera in  hand and took pictures of all the new and beautiful signs of spring.  That afternoon, I received a call that my grandfather had passed away.  This photograph, with the date stamped on it, is hanging in my family room.  Every time I look at it, it’s a reminder of the comfort that God gave me even before I knew I needed it.



Ends and Beginnings

Times filled with Sorrow and Anticipation

They are my favorite things

I am 12 years old and I am leaving my home

I am leaving my friends, my school

and moving to New York City

But as I leave, I am also leaving behind

the rich smell of food from my grandmother’s kitchen

the arms of my grandfather during my times of sorrow and times of laughter

the neighborhood women who sit and talk and sit and talk during lazy afternoons

the lessons of my Sunday school teachers.

I have arrived and I am ready to begin

Excited about my first day of school

But then disappointed when I find myself alone

Tomorrow will be better

Girls ask about my family and where I am from

I hide

They ask about what I am eating that smells so weird

I hide

Hours spent trying to lose my rhythmic accent–

the one that mimics the waves near the shores

where I walked with my mother

I succeed

at speaking like everyone else

at dressing like everyone else

at acting like everyone else

But I don’t feel like anyone else.

Now, when I put my daughter to bed

or when we make dinner together

or when I hug her during her times of sorrow and times of laughter

or when we sit and talk and sit and talk

I tell her about the girl who left, arrived and got lost

and then found herself again.  

by Reggina Kailan

Website Announcement

Welcome to Mrs. Kailan’s Website!

by Reggina Kailan on December 4, 2015

Site Screen Shot

This website was designed and created to be used as a resource for learning.  While my primary audience is my high school students, I have included content for other audiences, including parents, educators or anyone looking for information about various literary works.

Here Is What You Will Find:

For Students

Nightly Homework Assignments

Class Handouts

Resources Pages for Various Units of Study

Links to Articles, Videos and Images

Multimodal Tutorials

Link to our School’s Homepage

Course Overview and Expectations

Student Content (Nonfiction Book Reviews)

For Parents

Mrs. Kailan’s Contact Information

Course Overview and Expectations Documents

Student/Parent Handbook

For Educators

Lesson Plans

Resources Pages

Multimodal Tutorials

Other Interesting Features

Link to Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day

Countdown to 2016!


Coming Soon:

Resources Pages for many more works including Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Various Memoirs, as well as Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby  and works by Edgar Allan Poe.  Also, keep a lookout for information on the Research Process!

Click here to view site.

Technology and Gender Equality

The inclusion of technology in education can most certainly help or hinder students, specifically the disenfranchised. When used appropriately, technology tools can allow users to reach beyond their immediate lives and situations to examine places, people, cultures and practices that they would not ordinarily be able to reach. However, when placed in situations where there are issues with inequitable access, anyone who is unable to access certain tools, can be at a severe disadvantage.  With regards to technology, there are many groups that, for one reason or another, fall under the “disenfranchised” category. One such group is females.  This  issue of inequality based on gender is nothing new. Unfortunately, it is one that women and young girls have battled for generations. Within the context of education, the inclusion of  technology  has the potential to bridge the gap between gender inequality.

In their Op-Ed piece, Setting an online example in educating women, Lisa L. Martin and Barbara F. Walter suggest that massive open online courses or MOOCs taught by professors in the United States, and extended globally, have the potential to reach  anyone in the world who has access to the Internet. What this means is that we have an opportunity to change the landscape of gender consciousness in the the world. One strategy for accomplishing this, as suggested by Martin and Walter, is for universities to be thoughtful about who teaches online courses. After presenting data that suggest some major universities are employing mostly male instructors, they recommend that these universities make a concerted effort to include females as well because, “by having female scholars teach online classes, U.S. universities could help empower women, which in turn could affect economic development, poverty, governance and more. Signal to the world at the very best scholars from the  best universities include women, and you signal to the world that educating women is important.” What this suggests is that technology, if used purposefully, consciously and fairly, has the potential to reshape cultural, as well as global, consciousness.  Of course, not everyone in the world will have access to these opportunities and arguably, those in remote places are the ones who would benefit the most, yet I do believe that it is a great place to begin.

In addition to playing a role in shifting global consciousness, technology also presents us the opportunity to reveal truths to our students that they may not otherwise be able to learn.  A few years ago, I found that many of my students, both males and females, were very much unaware of gender inequality in the United States and certainly around the world.  Consequently, I suggested adding Sold by Patricia McCormick to our sophomore curriculum.  

soldWithin this unit, students are able to hear the voice of young Nepalese girl who is sold as a sex slave by her stepfather.  Using her naive voice, she shows us the horrors of brothels and as readers, we witness her tremendous loss of innocence.  Each time we read the series of vignettes, several students would look to me and ask, “Did this really happen?”  It was then that some of my colleagues and I decided that we needed to bring them even closer to the realities of these children around the world who are about the same age as them. Of course, we looked to technology for help and found The Day My God Died, a heart wrenching PBS documentary about  sex trafficking in India. The end of the documentary features an organization that is dedicated to reuniting young women with their families.  After viewing, many of my students found themselves looking up that, and other organizations, which would allow them to help in some way, reinforcing how technology can widen one’s personal world, while at the same time, narrow  the space between human experiences.

While technology can be used to gain information that can lead to a greater awareness of, and hopefully actions toward, gender awareness, I have not found much evidence in my own classroom to suggest that it affects student performance and participation differently based on gender.  When presenting my students with technology tools and opportunities to advocate for themselves using technology, I am very thoughtful about how those tools will support their learning experiences. I find that the willingness to engage in thoughtful and sustained online inquiry is something that all of my students are working on and those that struggle cannot be categorized based on gender.  I do acknowledge that in some situations, like the ones discussed in App Allows Shy Students To Ask Questions Anonymously, female learners can sometimes experience difficulty, especially in competitive situations where they lack a supportive network.  In those cases, reaching out through technology to sites like Piazza can support their performance and participation.

Like any other teaching tool, when used appropriately, technology can help gender equality in the classroom in that it increases exposure and brings us all a bit closer to truths and understandings that might conflict with those that we hold.  It is in these moments of confrontation that, if we are are open to new revelations about ourselves and others, we can begin to shift our beliefs and if enough of us do it, we can shift our collective consciousness.

Image Source for SOLD by Patricia McCormick



Reflective Thoughts (and Plans) for My Digital Hub

One of the things that I have been thinking about in regards to my digital hub is how it can be a relevant and integral part of teaching and learning for my students, myself, as well as anyone who visits it.  At the beginning of the school year, when I first created my hub, I was unsure of how it would support my teaching and student learning. However, as I continue to use it more and more, I am finding ways to make it a living part of what I do each day.

In my opinion, the best feature of my hub is the section of  homework pages for all of my classes. On these pages, I post handouts, information about daily class lessons, homework assignments and due dates.  Although I encourage students to still use their planners and digital calendars, I am pleased to be able to provide a space where they can always go to access relevant information about our course. This comes in extremely handy when students are absent from class and also when parents need to check to be sure that their children are completing assignments. A more recent bonus has been with homebound tutoring. Although I have not started this yet, I plan to use my hub as a means of direct communication with both tutors and their students. At this point, I am unsure as to whether or not I will create a separate section on my sidebar dedicated to tutors or if I will simply direct tutors to the appropriate pages. In any case, I feel that sharing this content online will allow for easy access by anyone who needs it.

I am also looking forward to adding content that has been created by my students.  Most recently, students in my freshman classes have started to create book reviews for nonfiction choice texts, as well as visual components which includes either a digital book jacket, a commercial using platforms like Windows Movie Maker, iMovie, Animoto, and also a digital storyboard. Although I had some questions about the legality of posting their reviews and visuals on my hub, I think that I have come up with a good solution, which is to have students select an excerpt from their reviews and tailor it for the purpose of posting online. I will then create a page where those reviews are reflected without names.  Of course, there is a huge part of me that wants to attribute credit to my students for their work, so I will continue to investigate what I can actually post and whether or not their names can be included. I feel as though with this future addition of content, my hub will serve an additional purpose which will be for a larger audience.

Another feature of my hub is that it has pages for various works that we have been studying.  So far, I have created a page for  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury on which I included an interview that students were required to watch on their own, a Ted talk from Sherry Turkle which related to our study of the text, several articles that are conceptually linked to the text and a full text version of the novel. I have also created pages dedicated to short stories written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. So far, I have full text versions of two short stories and an article from the Wall Street Journal that we will be exploring during the unit. I have found that these become valuable resources that my students are able use during their studies.

Although my hub is functioning somewhat well, I am considering many improvements.  First, I would like to change the layout of my hub. When I created it, I chose a default theme; however at this point, I feel as though I would like to update its look.  One of my concerns with changing it now is that my students have already become acclimated to it and its look. If I change it now, do I have to help them become reacclimated? I think the answer is yes but it might be a quick announcement to students that the appearance has changed, but that all the pertinent information is still there.

If I were to choose a section of my hub that needs the most work, I would say that it is the attention to various audiences. Currently, my main audience is my students and as such, the pages are separated by different classes. My plan is to extend the audience, which means that I need to create sections that are dedicated to educators and perhaps even parents. Further, I need to define sections dedicated to multimodal tutorials, lesson plans, etc. I would also like to include some other cool features including a “word of the day,” but I need to figure out how to accomplish that.

In short, I feel as though my hub is becoming a key part of my professional identity and I believe that over the next few months and even years, it will reflect me as an educator, the work that I do, and my desire to share important content with targeted audiences.