METC 2015

METC 2015

Conferences tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 2-8-2015

This Tuesday, February 10, we will be presenting at the annual Midwest Education Technology Conference
(METC 2015) at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, Missouri. It has been one of our favorite conferences and it is known as the region’s premier education-technology event. We compare it to a “Mini ISTE”.

We will be hosting two sessions:

Session T2 – Tuesday – 10:50-11:40 “Did You REALLY Read This?”
Strand: Library & Media Literacy

Session Description: “Reading is important at all levels across all curriculum. We know this. Where we stumble is how to motivate and how to foster independent reading. Join us in a session to give you some fresh ideas on how to manage independent literacy.”

Session T3 – Tuesday – 1:00-1:50 – “To Each Their Own”
Strand: Assessment

Session Description: “My mom always says, ‘It’s not how smart you are, it’s how you’re smart’. We all know students learn differently. How can we make sure all students have an opportunity to succeed? Attend this session to find ways to differentiate instruction and alternatively assess your students.”

If you are planning to attend the METC Conference, we recommend that you arrive early to secure easy parking, insure a shorter line to confirm your registration and pick up your “conference swag” (unless your last name is “Smith”), and to take advantage of the morning “coffee, tea, and crumpets” that will be available from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. outside the Grand Ballrooms

Take some time to download the METC 2015 app to pre-plan your sessions,
or scan through the online conference booklet to see all that is available.

METC 2015 itunes app
Click on the image for the link to download the iTunes app.


The keynote speakers will be be presenting from 8:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.
Gwyneth Jones will be featured on Tuesday and Jaime Casap on Wednesday.

Finally, remember to follow METC 2015 on Twitter and use #METC15 to stay informed.

We have been working hard on this year’s presentation and, as always, are looking forward to sharing some fresh, new ways to include technology into your curriculum. Join us and we’ll help you make your lessons a little more relevant, motivating for both you and your students, and of course, a little more fun!

[Tweet “Join us at #METC15 on Tuesday. We’ll be presenting sessions on alternative assessment and independent reading.”]

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!

International Dot Day 2014

International Dot Day 2014

tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 8-31-2014

So excited! It is almost here.
That time of year again. International Dot Day.
September “15ish”. The very first time we wrote about
FableVision and the teacher resources this company provides
was in a “Back-to-School” post three years ago. For links to classroom
resources, we encourage you to revisit that post. It’s been a year since our
post detailing “International Dot Day”. This event was founded by our good friend,
T. J. Shay, and it has grown exponentially. We had the good fortune of meeting up with
him at ISTE this past July when we were invited to a FableVision event. We were so excited
to also finally meet Peter H. Reynolds, the author and illustrator of “The Dot”. He presented
both of us with a signed copy of “Going Places”, the latest book written with his brother, Paul
Reynolds. This book describes “maker children”, a little girl and boy with big imaginations. Follow
the link to learn more about this book and its classroom resources. And now it’s, once again, time
for “International Dot Day”. A week ago, the count was up to over a million participants from 64
countries. Every year the number grows and the message is spread. This year, Terry Shay has added
“Celibri-dots” with inspired “dots” from authors. The first post was on March 9, 2012 and features
the dot submitted by Sharon Creech. This little blog is an endless source of inspiration with dots
that reflect the special talents and personalities of their creators. It’s the perfect stage to share
ideas and inspiration. But first, where to begin? Begin at the beginning. Begin with “The Dot”
written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Read the story of Vashti and her reluctance to
share herself on paper. With the encouragement of her teacher, she finds her inner
creativity and enthusiastically fills page after page with her mark. Then use your
imagination to help your students make their marks. We have listed many
resources below to help you and your students celebrate International
Dot Day with us. We are looking forward to seeing what your
students create and hearing your voice on #DotDay.
Only 15 days left! Let the planning begin,
and join us in and make your mark.



Listen to Shannon as she shares her own version of “The Dot” and the colorful “Marks” of Tuscola CUSD #301 students…

Format Free

Format Free

tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 8-24-2014

Many times our textbooks have online resources that we would like to use as hard copy.

In the case of an online quiz, it might be more appropriate than your printed resource material,
and you would like to use scheduled computer lab time for more creative assessments than multiple-choice tests or quizzes.

We’ve made a quick video tutorial to show you how to copy online material quickly and easily into a Microsoft Word® document.

If you have a website or blog, you might want to use Microsoft Word® to write your draft using spell and grammar check. It is always best to avoid copying directly from Microsoft Word® since it also contains formatting that might conflict with your website’s or blog’s settings. Copying it into a plain text document before your website will remove that formatting.

We hope this makes your life a little easier.
Wishing you a wonderful Sunday and a great week!


Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 8-17-2014

Last week we featured a post to help you download a small portion of a YouTube video to use with lessons.

What if you only want to embed a portion of a video into your blog or website?
The YouTube website will allow you set a “start time”, but does not allow you to adjust the “end time”.

Here is a free online tool that will give you, not only that “adjusted” embed code,
but a link for just that piece, as well.
And it’s FREE!

Below is a “chopped” video tutorial that will explain exactly what you need to do to use this tool efficiently.

This tool will generate both an embed code
(which is what we used to add this video)
and a link.

Have a fabulous Sunday and a great week!
Many of you have met your students and we have thoroughly enjoyed the “First Day of School” pictures!

For those of you who are still waiting for your students to cross your classroom threshold,
we extend our best wishes for a great “First Day”.

One of the best things about teaching is the fresh start we get every single year!


Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 8-10-2014

You only want to download a small portion of a YouTube video for a lesson.
You would like to skip the introduction and most of the ending.

Now there is a handy online tool that will allow you to do just that.
And it’s FREE!

If a picture is worth a thousand words,
a video will make it even easier.
Watch as we explain how this tool works and get ready to put more excitement into your lessons!

Remember, follow the steps that are in the video,
and don’t click on anything else.

Have a fabulous Sunday,
and we hope you find time for yourself!
The countdown has started for most of you.
We can feel the excitement in the air!

Monday Morning Message ~ 1-10-2011

Blog reflections tips

Monday Morning Message ~ 1-10-2011

With the new year, and some changes we foresee, the “Recess TEC Team” is making a new commitment.We have questions, too...

We are both asked many questions as we travel to different schools for training and presentations.
Our in-boxes are filled with more questions, and…
we often ask ourselves questions.

The difference between the questions we are asked, and the questions we ask ourselves is that;

1. most of the time we know the answers to questions asked, and
2. of the questions we have for ourselves, we know where to get the answers.

So Recess TEC has decided to share ideas, tips, suggestions, websites, and thoughts that might help you facilitate technology in your classrooms.
Our goal is to make technology fun for you and your students. We have worked with teachers who are frustrated with technology and have grown discouraged when they can’t get it to “work”.
What we do best is to break it down to the “least common denominator” and add fun and enthusiasm.
We always include things that are free, practical, appropriate, and relevant.

When we learn new things, we get excited about teaching.
And when we are excited about teaching,
our students are excited about learning.

So, check back with us each Monday, and we look forward to some “recess” time with you.

Looking Back… Looking Forward…

reflections workshops

With but a few hours and minutes left in this year, It is a perfect time for me, (no… us) to look back over the year as well as look ahead. I mentioned to a friend this morning that I wish I could see in the future. I know better than that. Life has taught me that it is best to take it one day at a time, and better yet, moment by moment.Hurry up and wait... Wasn’t it just yesterday when Shannon and I sat at the computer asking each other, “What do you think? Should we do this? Do you want to try?” We had no idea where this would take us and never imagined that we would be where we are today. Even as I form these words, I wonder what is still ahead of us. Every month we are asked over and over again when we are going to stop teaching and do this full time. And we wrestle with those choices. We love teaching. And we understand that, as teachers, we expect the people who train and teach us to understand and appreciate what our vocation requires. We don’t expect people who aren’t standing in our shoes to understand or relate. We understand that is one of the reasons we have been able to connect to our participants. We “get it”.

With that said, I finally committed to retirement. Waiting until the last week possible, I submitted my “Letter of Intent”. It is for the year 2013-2014, but nevertheless, a commitment. I had tried once before, but withdrew it minutes before the deadline. That was four years ago. What made me go through with it this time? What is different? I can honestly say that I have no less energy than I did the day I stepped inside my first classroom. My desire to learn and teach has increased exponentially, and I look forward to new projects and challenges. The same frustrations exist, just with different names and acronyms. This time, though, I have a future. Even though the path is dim and has no definitive direction, it is there. And it is exciting. We have had so many wonderful opportunities to teach and train, and at the same time, the enthusiasm and opportunities to learn from those we have met have made the last year more than memorable.

For now, Shannon and I teach our students, the children that have been loaned to us for a year. We still have this year with so much more they need to learn before we can allow them to step outside our classrooms. The future is filled with so much to learn and try, and the promises of exciting lessons keep us motivated to continue learning and trying. The future will work itself out.

And for now, this moment, I only need to say “Thank you” to my daughter for allowing me to share all of this with her and “Thank you” to all those who have been part of our workshops and presentations. We learn from you so much, as well. You and our children are what make our future so bright…