Google Tasks

Google Tasks

app email Google iPad tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 1-4-2015

It’s a new year with plenty of goals and projects ahead.
Have we mentioned that we are presenting at ISTE?
In Philadelphia?
Have we told you we are excited?
And then there’s travel, building a new home, and selling the old family homestead.
They’re all at the top of the list.

How in the world are we going to keep track of the “To-Do’s” involved!?
Let’s talk about Google Tasks.

We’ve shared Google Tasks when we present “Google Apps for Education”.
We first discovered it as a component of the Google Calendar,
and the calendar was our “tip post” two years ago.
Google Tasks can by synced across several platforms.
Starting in the calendar itself, the option to add tasks can be seen by clicking the “pull-down” arrow on the left side of your calendar where you find the option to enable “Tasks”. By clicking on it, your “Tasks” will appear in a “Tasks Bar” on the right side of your calendar.

Google Tasks 7

Watch the instructional Google video below that demonstrates adding tasks through your Gmail account which includes tips to manipulate your tasks in your calendar.

And there’s an app for that.
Our “go-to” iTunes app is “Go Tasks” which is free and has excellent user reviews.

GoTasks for Google Tasks

Another option is to make a “homescreen bookmark” as described in this Google video.

Finally, we encourage everyone to use the Chrome browser when working in Google.
There is an extension made by Google, “Google Tasks” which works well.
In researching and reading the reviews, though, we found another extension called, “Better Google Tasks” developed by Matt Atkins. I have installed it, and it does a great job. One of the features I like about this extension is that you can view all of your task lists at once.

We hope these tips help organize and simplify your crazy life a little.
We are working on ours, too. Enjoy what is for many of you, your last day of the holiday break,
and return with a fresh, revised attitude to make the rest of this year the very best for you and your students!

[Tweet “Simplify your life by syncing Google Tasks across your calendar, Gmail, browser, and your mobile devices.”]


classroom management Conferences email tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 4-1-2012

As many of you know,

I’m back in the classroom.

My “anchor” was thrown over the side of my little “retirement boat” when I agreed to finish the year for a very special friend who discovered that she was expecting her first baby.

Teaching the last five weeks of the school year in what was my own classroom, 

in my own school,

teaching the same curriculum,

(Well, sort of…)

seemed very doable.

Until the doctors decided that bed-rest was required for the expectant mother.

The five weeks turned into eleven, as in a full quarter, of what is the most beautiful spring I can ever remember.

The hardest part of this teaching assignment has been working without the technology that I had in place,

and the connections that I had built with parents that were used to support and enable student achievement.

Last Thursday, my dear friend was scheduled to deliver her new baby boy.

All day we checked our text messages, Facebook updates, and emails.

Finally on Friday, we received pictures and a text announcing the arrival of a beautiful red-haired 8 pounds 5 ounces baby boy. His mother had to have an emergency C-section, but good news prevailed with Lucas Kyle’s arrival and the news that everyone was healthy and happy.

It was checking my texts that made me think about a student that I had last year.

His mother would not answer phone calls from “unlisted” numbers, which is how our school number appeared to the Caller ID.

One day, Alex suggested that I “text” her.

“That is the only way my dad can get her.”

As reluctant as I was to text a parent from my personal cell, I felt it was worth it.

I can honestly say that the impact texting Alex’s mother had on his success in my classroom was amazing.

So, finally, I present this “tip” for my morning “Sunday Sit, Sip, and Sync” post.

Kikutext is one site that would be on the top of my list for implementation in my classroom.

For years I had emailed parents daily, and it was one way that enabled communication and connection that helped foster student achievement and growth.

Email, however, is no longer the only option, nor is it the best use of technology in terms of communicating.

Both Shannon and I check our email on our phones,

and a text will be answered much sooner than an email or a “call-back” from a message left on our voice-mails.

Just this Friday an important note went home from the nurse’s office,

and if I had Kikutext set up and running, I could have sent a text to parents notifying them to expect the note before their students got on the bus.

Students, in turn, would know and expect that they would be responsible for delivering the note, and expectations for student accountability would be raised and reached.

Kikutext is

  • free,
  • and easy to use.
  • It is web-based, so teachers can type and send texts from their school computers.
  • Parent contact information remains private and cannot be seen by anyone but the teacher.

The little video will explain a bit more,

and after watching it,

I encourage you to check out Kikutext and give it a try.

Have a wonderful Sunday.

I’m planning on a bike ride and a visit to my favorite garden center.

Whatever your plans are, I hope it includes unplugging and enjoying the day so you can return tomorrow fresh and motivated for your kiddos.

Lock It Up…

email tips

Monday Morning Message ~ 6-20-2011



I have way too many,
and too many user names.

I have been thinking about how to make these all more manageable.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Set up email accounts to handle different accounts.
    I have a gmail account for all of my “education” accounts and a YahooMail account for my “shopping”, and finally use our corporate email for everything associated with our business.
  2. I try to narrow it down to two user names whenever possible.
    If one doesn’t work, I only have one other option.
  3. Passwords:
    This week while logging on to some school networks, we were introduced to a new concept. So many password generators ask us to use both upper and lower case letters and to include numbers. Unless I use the same one that I can relate to, I have a hard time remembering these “Strong” passwords.
    Here is an idea that might help. Include numbers or symbols within a password such as “[email protected]” if you love Christmas, for example.


  4. Use a password manager site or app to keep track of your private information and passwords.
    Several we know of are:

To read some reviews and more about these managers, we suggest that you visit the PC World post “Best Password Managers:Top 4 Reviewed” written by Robert L. Mitchell.

We would love to hear any comments or suggestions that might help us and our readers.

Is Anyone Listening? (Part 4 of 4)

classroom management email tips writing

Monday Morning Message ~ 2-28-2011

Your Distribution List is made, and you are ready to send out your first note.

Remember, you promised your parents that you would keep their email addresses confidential!

It’s easy and the secret is…

Bcc (or “Blind Carbon Copy”).

The benefits of sending emails to recipients using the Bcc Option is that it

   1. keeps addresses confidential;

   2. protects recipients from receiving spam; and

   3. protects recipients from receiving a reply when
someone accidentally selects “Reply All”.

When writing your note, address it to yourself using your school address.
Next, choose the Bcc Option, and use the Distribution List contact name as the recipient.

Another benefit of using this option is that you will also receive a copy of your note, in addition to the one that is in your “Sent Folder”.

One more reminder:

You might want to use the day/date as your Subject.
This also helps parents keep track of notes/reminders.
If your note contains important information or deadline reminders, you might want to use that as your subject to get their attention.

You are now on the road to being heard, and more important, they are listening!

Have a great week!

Is Anyone Listening? (Part 3 of 4)

classroom management email tips

Monday Morning Message ~ 2-21-2011

Great! Every one of your parents responded to your email address request!

Now how in the world are you going to email every single one of those people every single day?

The answer is easy.

It’s called a “Distribution List”.

I have included step-by-step images and instructions to help you create this time-saver.

Finally, be sure to check back next Monday to see how to keep your parent emails confidential!

If this Monday you are observing Presidents’ Day with a day off from school, enjoy your day,
and be sure to do something for yourself…

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Is Anyone Listening? (Part 2 of 4)

classroom management email tips

Monday Morning Message ~ 2-7-2011

You read the word, “Email” last week, and now you will begin to see how a daily email note to your parents will solve a lot of “communication” problems.
Let’s start with the necessary steps to begin the implementation of your new system.

The first day of student attendance is quickly approaching.
Your weekends and days are filled with organizing your room, finalizing first lesson plans, and memorizing your student names on your new class list.
As youParent Signature Needed! fill your students’ “First Day Folders”, make sure you include the “Parent Email Note”.

Your “Parent Email Note” is the first step.

Send home this note on the first day, and then present it to your parents at the first Parent Orientation Night or Open House.
This note must be your first priority at starting your new year.
Getting every parent “onboard” is essential.
Remind them they can use any email address.
They may also use as many as they want.

Notice in your note that you make three promises.

Promise #1: Keep their email address confidential.

Promise #2: Write daily.

Promise #3: Don’t, and again, NEVER spam your parents’ in-boxes.

Remember many of your parents are professionals, as we are.
They use their emails to conduct business.
Also, an increasing number of parents receive their email on their cell phones.
Keep it short, and keep it simple.

Below we have provided a link to a template of the “Parent Email Note”.
Please feel free to adapt and use this to get started on the road to the best school year yet.

Finally, join us next week to learn how to keep the three promises.


Is Anyone Listening? (Part 1 of 4)

classroom management email tips

Monday Morning Message ~ 1-31-2011

You work hard writing, editing, and finally publishing your class newsletter. It’s filled with important topics like field trips, your week in review, and students’ upcoming tests.

Picture AND fundraiser money are due, and the permission slips for next week’s field trip.

Top that off with finding just the right piece of clip art and seasonal font, to make YOUR newsletter something you are sure will be kept in a memory box forever.

The reality is that today’s parents are different than yours were.
And all of your hard work is failing.

Parents are busy just like you.

Do you want to get through to parents?
Do you want to save trees?

Do you want to regain some of your busy life?

Everyone is busy every day all of the time.
That includes your students and their families.
Most of the time, student book bags are cleaned out, and after your notes and newsletters are skimmed through quickly, they go straight into the trash after mom or dad asks, “Hey, do we need this paper anymore, or can I throw it away?”

You have to get with the times if you want to get through to your students’ parents.

Face it.
The days of the mimeograph and ditto machines are over.
Telephone calls take up too much time, and callbacks waste even more of your precious time.

The solution to all of this is email.

We can’t wait until next Monday when we will continue with our four-part series to help you set up a quick system to get you on the road to productive, easy communication with your students and their parents.

In the meantime, enjoy your Monday, your week, and your students!