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…”]

Google Add-On Lab Scheduler

Google Add-On Lab Scheduler

Google tips

 Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ March 1, 2015

Here is another tip we picked up at METC 2015 in the session, “Become a Google Ninja” presented by Michael McCann and Greg Lawrence. “Lab Scheduler” is a Google add-on that enables school personnel to schedule devices, resource rooms, computer labs, or resource personnel. We see “Lab Scheduler” offering far more uses than just device “sign-outs”. For visiting support personnel, training, special events at school when classrooms need to schedule special visitors, and anything that is tied into blocks of time/periods, this add-on will simplify the set up and keep it current.

Lab Scheduler


Lab Scheduler Overview

The video below from Greg Lawrence’s YouTube Channel explains how best to add and set up the “Lab Scheduler” add-on, and when I previewed the app itself, I was impressed with how slick it worked. This is a great little management tool for anyone trying to manage schedules in middle schools and high schools.

March made its entrance as the proverbial lion, and with nine inches of fresh snow on the ground,
I’m headed out to catch some snow shots this first day of March.
Stay warm and safe!

[Tweet “This tip from an #METC15 session: The Google add-on “Lab Scheduler” will simplify block /period scheduling management.”]

Time’s Up!

Time’s Up!

classroom management tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 9-7-2014

If you are like me, I never have enough time with my students in the computer lab.
It seems that when I look up at the clock, it is time to stop.
As in NOW.
Here are a few tips to add minutes to production time.
You can work longer AND still leave the lab ready for the next class.

Teach your students these basic keyboard shortcuts:

1.    CTRL + S = Save
Have your students do this when they first begin their project, and it will default to a “Save As…”.
At the end of the class, this keystroke will quickly do a “final save”.

2.    ALT + Spacebar (together) and then “C”.
This will close all open windows.

3.    Windows Key + L = Lock Screen
This is the final keystroke so students can log off and their computer is ready for the next student.

Windows-D4.    Windows Key + D = Minimize all windows showing desktop.
I use this when I want to speak to all students without their working windows open.
They know what “Windows-D” means.

We hope this give you a few extra minutes at the end of your “lab time” and saves you a few extra steps with your personal computer use.

Have a great Sunday.
It looks like “early heat dismissals” are finally coming to an end.
Make the most of that extra time with your students!

Google Calendar


Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 1-6-2013

Face Book + New Year’s Day = “Filling Out 2013 Calendar” Updates.

I remember doing that:
A new gift calendar for the year.
A hook in the kitchen.
Stickers or red circles on important dates.

Google CalendarGoogle Calendar

  • No more forgotten birthdays.
  • Reminders a month, a week, a day, and hours before the “event”, if needed.
  • Always a “click” away.
       “Does Friday, March 15th work for you?”
       “Let me check,”
    …as I take out my phone.

Shannon and I began using Google Calendar when Recess TEC was in its infant stage taking tiny baby steps.

We needed to coordinate any free days we had to schedule workdays and workshops.

With family and teaching, those days were hard to find,
and we did not want to have to schedule a “callback” to check with each other on available dates.

So, we each set up a personal Google calendar and shared them.
The only commitment we had was to always enter our events, appointments, and important dates.

To help you get started,

Is it raining outside?
Too cold for a walk?
Don’t want to grade papers or make lesson plans just quite yet?

Now you have a good reason to procrastinate.
Your life just got a little easier and a little more organized!

Get Organized!

classroom management News tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 9-16-2012

I know.

It’s a little late.
School has started and organization feels like it has slipped through your fingers.

If you are anything like me,
I knew where everything was,
but it was often  buried under a stack of papers/things on my desk.

Progress reports should be going out soon.
Some of you have “Open House” behind you.

Maybe with a chance to catch your breath,
you might find one or two things in this article that will help you feel a little more “together”.

Dana Truby and Megan Kaesshaefer have contributed a post titled:
100 Classroom Organizing Tips” for

Some of them are “techie”, so I invite you to search through all 100.

Good ideas submitted by real teachers with “real good” ideas!

After your morning coffee or tea, make sure to take some time for you and your family.
We hope that includes time outside and some good, fresh air!