Blog classroom management tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ July 12, 2015

Last week we shared “TweetDeck” in our Sunday post and how its use can simplify your management of Twitter.

But, wait.
You say you also use Facebook and Instagram?
What you need is an “SMMS”.

A “Social Media Management System”.

Introducing Hootsuite to take managing your social networks to another level.

With Hootsuite, you have plenty of options if you want to pay.
The good news is that with a “free account”, you can manage three of your social networks, and we think that is more than enough to spread the word about your classroom, school, and district.


What is Hootsuite?
According to Wikipedia:

“Hootsuite is a social media management system for brand management created by Ryan Holmes in 2008. The system’s user interface takes the form of a dashboard, and supports social network integrations for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, MySpace, WordPress, TrendSpottr and Mixi.

Additional integrations are available via Hootsuite’s App Directory, including Instagram, MailChimp, Reddit, Storify, Tumblr, Vimeo and YouTube.”

Creating an account is easy with your email or your Facebook account.

HootSuiteOnce you are logged in, you can create columns personalizing them with your tweets, mentions, feed, messages, and timelines.
You also have the option of how often you want your social streams to refresh.
It defaults to “Every 5 minutes”, but that can be changed.
You can also add tabs, and by clicking into the titles, you can personalize them.

Hootsuite. Helping you keep it simple.

[Tweet “Using Hootsuite to organize and manage your social networks as a resource for yourself and your students.”]



classroom management tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ July 5, 2015

Here’s another tip for our friends who are using, or plan to incorporate social media in their classrooms.
We have shared “TweetDeck” in our workshops, and how its use can simplify managing information.

What is TweetDeck?

According to Wikipedia:

TweetDeck is a social media dashboard application for management of Twitter accounts. Like other Twitter applications, it interfaces with the Twitter API to allow users to send and receive tweets and view profiles. It was the most popular Twitter application with a 23% market share as of June 2009, following only the official Twitter website with 45.7% share for posting new status updates. It can be used as a web app, a Chrome app, or a desktop app. TweetDeck’s interface consists of a series of customisable columns, which can be set up to display your Twitter timeline, mentions, direct messages, lists, trends, favorites, search results, hashtags, or all tweets by or to a single user. The client uses Twitter’s own automatic and invisible URL shortening whereby a link of any length will only use 23 characters of a Tweet’s 140-character limit. All columns can be filtered to include or exclude words or tweets from users. Tweets can be sent immediately or scheduled for later delivery. Users can monitor and tweet from multiple accounts simultaneously. For added account security, users signing in with their Twitter username and password can use Twitter’s own two-step verification, known to Twitter users as Login Verification.”

I use the web version of TweetDeck and I quickly access it through its own “tile” on my Symbaloo Home Page.
(More on Symbaloo with a link to a past post.)

With TweetDeck, you can manage your Twitter feed with columns that can be personalized containing live feed of your “Mentions”, “Notifications”, “Favorites”, and specific searches for hashtags, lists, and trending topics.


You can order the columns and add or delete them to meet your needs.
Ordering your columns is accomplished by simply clicking on the arrows to move them vertically.

tweetdeck4Finally, make sure you go down to the settings in the lower left hand corner to explore all of your options.
There you can see where multiple accounts can be added, as well as multiple users on each TweetDeck account.


TweetDeck. Helping you to keep it simple.

[Tweet “Organize and manage your Twitter stream as a resource for yourself and your students with TweetDeck.”]

Facebook Notifications

Facebook Notifications


Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ June 28, 2015

This summer we have provided workshop training in “Using Social Networks in the Classroom”. With the training, teachers were motivated to eliminate the monthly/weekly newsletter and replace it with a Facebook Page.

But there were also those teachers who were reluctant to return to the everyday drama of their Facebook Feed after eliminating the app on their phones.

We get that.
That seems to be the growing trend.

Here are a few tips on controlling your Facebook Notifications and your feed.

First, we need to understand that there are three options with Facebook accounts:

  • Facebook Profile-your personal account with your individual photos, stories, and timeline updates.
  • Facebook Page-generated from a Facebook Profile where you have control over managing notifications, messages and scheduled posts on the “Activity” tab. There are filters and numerous way to manage and get your message out using your page settings, and it’s free.
  • Facebook Groups-available as a “forum” type of page where people who share a common interest can share and collaborate. There are also different types of groups settings to control the level of privacy.

Most often, we recommend the use of a Facebook Page in the classroom or school setting. We also recommend that you create your page using an account associated with your school email address. This will save you from the drama associated with your personal account and will separate your school notifications from your personal notifications. Next, create a “Page”. Your settings can be managed here:


Go to your “Settings” for your Page, and choose the options that fit your needs.
Make sure you click on each category on the left.

Notifications_11To help you manage your feed on your personal account, here are some suggestions:


This is my mom’s personal Facebook page. I want to be notified every time she updates her status. Under the “Friends” tab, I have checked “Close Friends” and “Get Notifications”. I receive an alert each time she updates her page. If you don’t want to receive notifications, choose “Acquaintances” and uncheck “Get Notifications”.

You can also remove any “Feed” from “Friends” or “Pages” on your personal account:

Notifications_2Under the “Follow” button, check it if you want to receive updates, or…


uncheck it if you wish to remove their updates from your “Feed”.

On the pages and groups that you follow, you can also manage the updates you receive in your “Feed”.
By clicking the “Pull-down Arrow” on the “Liked” button,  you can manage your Facebook notifications:


Easier yet is to manage all of your updates from one place:



Here you can check/uncheck to control what appears in your “Feed” without “Unfriending” them.


You can also control Facebook Notifications on your “Groups” pages by clicking on the “Notifications Button”:


We hope this has given you some more options and better control over your school Facebook Page and your Personal Facebook Profile Feed.
Keep it simple!

[Tweet ” Simplify your life taking control of Facebook notifications. “]

Feedly Mini Chrome Extension

Feedly Mini Chrome Extension


Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ June 14, 2015

Over two years ago, I wrote a post introducing Feedly, an RSS Reader that I have come to rely on to keep up with my favorite blogs and authors. The Feedly Mini Chrome Extension has simplified managing posts and sharing information through social networks.

This week, we traveled from upstate Illinois presenting in Quincy and then on to St. Louis, Missouri, adding several new followers to our Facebook page and new subscribers to this blog. I was asked about subscribing to our blog, and I thought about how I manage my subscriptions. We rely heavily on our Twitter Professional Learning Network to collaborate and to share new ideas and ways to use technology in the classroom. Blog posts and informational updates are essential in sharing resources, and we are both motivated and diligent in our attempts to stay as current as possible. Online resources are an invaluable tool, and organization and management of the information is a must.

The Feedly Mini Chrome Extension is free through the Chrome Webstore.

Feedly Mini Chrome Extension2

Once you have added it to your Chrome toolbar, you can access your Feedly subscriptions by clicking on the Feedly icon.

You also have the option of “showing” the Feedly mini icon in the lower right corner of your browser.

Feedly Mini Chrome Extension3

When you have found a page that you wish to follow, you can quickly add it to your Feedly subscriptions. You can also bookmark it to read later, and share it through email, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also tag it to enable faster access through your Feedly subscription search results.

You can read more about this extension here. In their words…

* Add websites to your feedly
* Save pages for later
* Email pages
* Tweet pages
* Share pages on facebook
* Save pages to Evernote
* Curate and tag pages

Feedly Mini is a Chrome browser extension that keeps you connected to your feedly, allowing you to easily save, tag, share or subscribe to the great content you find each day.

Feedly is the world’s most popular RSS and blog reader with more than 15 millions users. RSS re-invented.

We’re all about keeping it simple…

[Tweet “Use the Feedly Mini Chrome Extension to connect to your feedly,and to easily save, tag, share or subscribe to the relevant content you find each day. “]

Google Advanced Search

Google Advanced Search

Google tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ June 7, 2015

We rely on Google for many of the images we use for instruction, and we often teach our students to search using Google for the images they need for their projects. We would like to show you how “Google Advanced Search” will expedite your search and filter your results. Teach your students to search for images that are free for reuse and to cite their sources.

When searching for images, after you have entered your topic and have selected the “Images” search,


go to the gear located in the upper right hand corner. This


Select “Advanced search”, and choose your options. Make sure to choose “Usage Rights”,


and select the appropriate “free to use” option. After you have clicked the blue “Advanced Search” button, you will find the results of your Google Advanced Search.


Finally, just click on the picture that fits your needs, select “View Image”, and download or copy the image.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact us.

[Tweet “Learn to use Google Advanced Search to expedite your search and filter your results…”]

Embed Google Presentations

Embed Google Presentations

classroom management Google tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ May 31, 2015

Here’s a summer project.
Learn to embed Google presentations to provide quick access for student support and curriculum resources.

Start with your “Parent Orientation” or your “Welcome Back” presentation while the changes you want to make next year are fresh in your mind.

Embed Google Presentations

If you already have a PowerPoint, tweak it and update it with clean, fresh images and concise information.

Embed Google Presentations

Next, log into your Google Drive and browse to find and upload your PowerPoint to your Google Drive.

Embed Google Presentations


Make sure you select the slides you wish to import and check the box if you want to preserve the original formatting and theme.


Embed Google PresentationsNext, name your Presentation, and choose under “File” the “Publish to Web” option.

Embed Google Presentations
After the window opens, click on “Embed”, and select your preferred options for your slideshow. Click on “Publish”,

Embed Google Presentations

and you will get an “Embed Code”.

Embed Google Presentations


Copy the code, proceed to the webpage you have designed for your slideshow, and while in the HTML view of your page, or using an HTML element, paste in the code. Your slideshow is now ready to view online.

The best part of this process is that when you update your Google Presentation, your “live” online presentation will automatically sync your changes. By having this presentation online and available, your parents and students will have access to it if they aren’t able to attend orientation or open house. It’s also a convenient way to offer support for new students and their family members.

[Tweet “Learn to embed Google presentations to provide quick access for student support and curriculum resources.”]

Google Bookmarks

Google Bookmarks

classroom management Google tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ May 24, 2015

Your 2014-2015 Planbook is either on, or near its last page. It’s time to create and organize your “Year-End Check-off List”. In terms of technology, we cannot stress enough one word.


I vividly remember sitting in an administration office working on a school website on the first day of summer break. In the next room, the district IT administrator was moving files and cleaning out network drives. I also remember the reaction when the entire junior high network drive was accidentally deleted. Although I understood the magnitude of what had just happened, I also felt confident that all of my files were safe. The last thing I had done was a full backup.

Once your files are secure, your next task might be to clean out, delete, and organize your bookmarks. If you are logged into Chrome, these can be accessed from any computer. In addition to Chrome bookmarks, Google has its own bookmarking online service that can be accessed from any browser. By adding a “Google Bookmarklet” to your web browser, you can easily bookmark webpages and label them to organize them. Make sure you have enabled your “Bookmarks Bar” to view the bookmarklet where it will be “dragged”.

These bookmarks are private, and currently you are not able to sync them with Chrome bookmarks. We are hoping this will be a feature that will be added as Google continues to expand its features. For now, you can share individual bookmarked links via your “Google+ Share” tab.


The main advantage of your Google Bookmarks page is the ability to store your bookmarks and to access them from any browser on any computer.

You will need to go to https://www.google.com/bookmarks/ and log into your Google account. You may discover that you already have some bookmarks. You can sort them by title, date, or label.


You can add a bookmark from the toolbar on the side, or you can use the “Google Bookmarklet” to add bookmarks as you clean out and update your Chrome bookmarks.


It seems as though there are endless ways to manage bookmarks, but we are doing our best to keep it simple for you.

Recess TEC extends our best wishes for this Memorial Day weekend as you spend the time with your family and friends and pause to pay tribute to those who died serving in the military.

[Tweet “Let Recess TEC show you how to compile and organize your bookmarks so that you can access them from any computer and any web browser.”]

Password Strong

Password Strong


Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ May 10, 2015
A “Recess Rewind”…

Whenever Shannon and I sit down to work with teachers,
there are usually a maze of usernames and passwords to work through before we can begin.
More often than not, passwords become a stumbling block to a quick start and access to accounts.
We’ve shared password tips before, and this past week I shared my solution to the seemingly thousands of passwords I use when working with technology.
The response was enthusiastic, and I thought it was worth sharing again.
Let us help you be “Password Strong”!

Don’t ever check the box to save your login information on a public computer.
Even if it is in a computer lab, you don’t want to take any chance that students will be able to log in to your online grades, email, or gain access to any other sensitive personal information.

Make a strong password. Too many times we have seen “teacher” used as a password.
Pick a word that you can remember. Make sure it contains at least 8 characters.
Preferably it should be a combination of more than one word, but something that has meaning to you.
You can also pick a phrase and use the first letters of each word.

Next, exchange some of the letters in that word with symbols and numbers, such as:

  • $=S
  • @=a
  • 3=e
  • 1=i
  • 0=O

Capitalize some of the letters, or use “&” to separate words when you are using more than one word in your password.

Finally, somewhere in your password, insert a letter or an abbreviation for the account that you are using, such as a “G” if it is the password for “Google”, or “FB” if you are setting your password for “Facebook”. This unique letter(s) should be inserted in the same place for each password.

For more details included in past posts,
you can revisit:
“Password Fail?”
“Lock it Up…”

After showing one teacher,
she has added “Update all of my passwords” to her “Summer-To-Do’s” checklist.Next, throw away that long list of passwords that is always inside your Planbook on your desk.
It’s nice to eliminate one more piece of paper in your life!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of those teachers who celebrate with their children and grandchildren, their mothers and mothers-in-law, and their wives!

[Tweet “Don’t waste anymore time with forgotten passwords. Let us help you be “Password Strong” with passwords you can remember.”]

Chrome Updates

Chrome Updates

Blog Google tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ May 3, 2015

We highly recommend using the Chrome browser,
especially when working in Google Drive and Google Classroom.
It is important, though, to frequently check for updates to keep Chrome running smoothly and efficiently.
Our tip for this Sunday will help you complete that process in just a few minutes.

On the upper right-hand corner of the Chrome Toolbar, you’ll find a “Customize and Control Google Chrome Icon”.
This is a square made up of three horizontal bars. Click on that and you should see this menu:

Chrome Update 2

If your browser needs updating, you will find the “Update Google Chrome” message.
Clicking on the message will launch this window:

Chrome UpdateAfter you click on “Relaunch”, your Chrome browser will close, update, and reopen with the same tabs that you had before you updated.

Once the update has completed (and this takes about a minute), the menu should now look like this:

Chrome Updates 5

Click on the “About Google Chrome” bar,
and Chrome will once again check for updates.
With the update that was just completed,
it will only take a few seconds for the update check to run resulting in this message:

Chrome Update 4

We recommend checking for updates on a regular basis to keep Chrome running smoothly for you and your students.

Another beautiful day is promised for Central Illinois,
and we hope the same is in your forecast.
One more tip is to find some outside time with family and friends.

We would also like to highlight last week’s post if you missed it.
We are heading to EIASE once again this summer to host our own workshops.
If you haven’t already registered, we invite you to follow this link to do so online.
We’re featuring Google Classroom, iPad workshops, and general technology integration in your curriculum.
Each session is two hours long, and we promise to jump right in and give you what you need to get excited about next year!

[Tweet “Our tip includes a “how-to” with Google Chrome updates to keep your workflow running smoothly…”]

Recess Summer TEC Camp 2015

Recess Summer TEC Camp 2015


Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ April 26, 2015

We’re back!

It’s been a few years since we’ve hosted a “Recess Summer TEC Camp”.
Shannon moved from the classroom to embrace the responsibilities of Technology Coordinator for the Tuscola School District. We spent the summers traveling to school districts providing professional development to great teachers throughout Illinois and Missouri, and with Shannon’s new position, we focused on providing workshops for the Tuscola teachers. We have had several people ask us if we were going to ever offer our own summer series again, and this summer seems perfect to go for it.

We invite you to visit our webpage where you can sign up for technology sessions that have never been included in our series before. You can register HERE.

This summer we’re offering 2 hour sessions to make the most of your time. We will have laptops, Wi-Fi, and EIASE is an amazing venue that maximizes the learning environment with comfort and no technical “glitches”.

Included in our Recess TEC Camp sessions is Google Apps for Education, a popular series that we will be presenting at several school districts this summer. Professional development in the use of iPads is still another often requested workshop. YouTube is gaining popularity as more and more schools are opening up their filters to allow teachers to use this powerful platform to support their curriculum. We’ll show you how to maximize the many options that are available to you. And finally, one session on the basics of SMARTBoard is offered for teachers who are new to the classroom and this piece of technology. We still find there are many teachers that, without the knowledge of the basics, aren’t able to tap into the power behind its interactive potential to motivate and engage students.

So please join us. We’ll provide snacks and fun.


Recess Fun

We promise you there won’t be a boring introduction of why we are qualified to “enlighten” you about technology in the classroom. And we promise you that we will jump right in, fill your 2 hours with exactly what you need to get motivated for your new year in the classroom with new ideas to get you excited and to get your kiddos stoked to learn.

Sessions sponsored by A2K Partners

[Tweet “Recess TEC is hosting a Summer TEC Camp with workshops focusing on iPads, Google Apps for Education and YouTube in Education. Join us!”]