QR Voice

QR Voice


Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 12-7-2014

QR Voice (qrvoice.net) is a little web-tool that will convert 100 characters into a digital synthesized voice file.
The file is encoded into a QR code that can be resized, copied, and used to link back to the message.

The website has several language options:

QR Voice

The FAQ page will help with any questions you might have, and the authors definitely have a sense of humor…

QR Voice

How does QR Voice work? From the FAQ page, the steps are very simple:

QR Voice

1.    Enter a message up to 100 characters.
2.    Optionally choose a language in which the message is written, and it will be reproduced.
3.    Optionally resize the desired qr-code image to be generated using the slider.
4.    Click the “Generate Button”, (the one with a tiny qr-code in it).
5.    The qr-code will be generated in the center of the screen.
6.    You can scan it with your smartphone qr-code scanner app to hear the message.
7.    Also, use the link above the qr-code image to save/share/embed/print the final qr-code image.
8.    Use the social buttons to spread the word about your recent generated qr-voice.
The browser URL location is also bookmark-able.

QR Voice

As educators, our imaginations and creativity have no boundary in creating ways to use these little web-tools like QR Voice.
Don’t hesitate to share.
For more information, visit the QR Voice “Help Page” where all of you questions are sure to be answered.

One more thing.
Hover your mouse over the little blue “speech bubble” QR Code in the upper right-hand corner.
Just a little “fun” animation.
It’s a “smile generator”…

[Tweet “Learn how “QR Voice” works to change a given text message into a synthesized voice message…”]

William Tell

William Tell

classroom management tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 9-14-2014

When my kids were little,
I was their “Countdown Timer”.
When it was time to pick up toys, we would work together in a race while I “sang” (sort of) the William Tell Overture. Several times a day, this worked for years.
It wasn’t necessarily something I could use with my students.
(Although I won’t deny resorting to that every now and then.)

Now we have “digital tools”.
If you need a quick online “Countdown Timer”, try this one.
You can simply highlight the time and type in your personal preference.
On the lower right side is the option to toggle it to “full-screen”.
The best feature is found with the “gear” on the lower left side.
Click on that, and you will find an embed code.
You simply “copy and paste” it to permanently add this timer to one of your classroom website pages.
We have embedded an example below.

Another fun feature is the option to add an assortment of music as your timer counts down.
Try it when your class has five minutes to line up for recess, or seven minutes to unpack their book-bags and turn in their homework.

(Excuse the “ads”, but, again, “Free.)

And if you would just rather play Rossini’s William Tell Overture,
we can oblige you with that, too.

Have a great Sunday!
Get outside!
Have a great week!
And even if the weather isn’t perfect,
we hope you find the time to “visit fresh air” with your students, too.



Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 11-25-2012

My typing teacher would stand in front of the classroom and call out the letters as we clicked away on our manual typewriters.

In unison we would “punch” the keys while making eye contact with him at all times.

Absolutely NO peeking.

So, when one of my students would stand next to me and ask me a question while I was typing, I would turn, listen, answer, and continue typing.

The usual response was,
“Wow! How do you do that?! That freaks me out!”

During the last few minutes of class, as we waited for the bell to ring, one of the favorite things they enjoyed doing was to see if I could “win the race”. A website use to exist where you could race against other random participants to type a famous quote. Your little car would move along with your WPM speed, and the pressure mounted as other contestants fought a hard battle to stay with you. Sometimes another contender (with a name you couldn’t pronounce) would win, but it was always fun when you finished in first place.

This also worked as a motivator for students to work hard in keyboarding, as in “Take It Seriously”.

Sit up straight.
Don’t look at your keyboard.
Put on your headphones to eliminate distractions,
and work to beat your best WPM time.

Dance Mat Typing is the program we used at school.
It is found on the BBC website and part of the BBC Schools Collection.


And the kids love it.
(You can hear them giggle as they work.)

Another program that is very simple and easy to use is TypeFu.


While not as entertaining, it speeds up the process and puts you into “training mode” right now. Charts and diagrams track your progress with WPM, accuracy, letters most often typed and most often mistyped.

It’s your choice of what you will type:
  quotations, etc.

You can repeat lessons, and move ahead as you wish.

You can focus on the “home row”, or even numbers.

(Numbers on a number pad: I am a rock star.
Not so much on the QWERTY keyboard.)

And remember…
One space between sentences!
Go HERE if you want to learn why.

After you have bumped up your WPM speed,
we recommend some “outside time” while the weekend is still here.
I know I am headed for the woods for a walk and some fresh air.
(Let’s not talk about the “Pumpkin Pie” that was added to my rumpus over the weekend.)

iPad: Communication Possibilities for Autism

App Review iPad2 tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 10-30-2011

I stumbled up on this article and video yesterday,
and knew I had to share.

Even though there is a touch of skepticism in the reporter,
you could hear the tears and the joy in Lesley Stahl’s voice as she witnesses the personal way the iPad has made a difference in the lives of individuals with autism.

Please take some time to watch this video,
and below you will find links to the apps that are mentioned in the story.

As a teacher, and possibly a parent, be sure to have a box of tissues close at hand…

Click her to watch CBS News ~ 60 Minutes





Look in My Eyes

FREE Online Grading

classroom management tips

Monday Morning Message ~ 9-19-2011

We have just been introduced to a new website that offers a multitude of classroom management options!

The best part of it is the word “FREE”!


could very well be exactly what you have been looking for.

It offers free gradebook accounts to allow teachers to manage their classrooms in one place by keeping track of student grades and attendance, maintaining schedules, importing Google calendars, creating and managing lesson plans and curriculum, tagging standards to assignments and lesson plans, and much more.

Learn Boost offers a safe and secure platform where you can also share student progress with both your students and their parents.

Once again, it is FREE!

In the past we have struggled with grading programs that were installed on your computer at school and all of the work had to be completed at school.

We all know how much work is done at home, and now you can have an online program that can be accessed from any computer with just a login.

If you want to save time with parent/teacher conferences, communication, and grade reporting, this might be a perfect FREE solution.

It’s not too late to enter those grades for the first mid-term reports.

If you are interested, and would like to learn more about Learn Boost,
visit their “Tour Page” where you can view a short video.
We would love to hear how this works if you choose to sample it, and what your opinions are.

Have a great week,
and remember to spend some time outside with your students as we begin to move into the fall season.

Sharing Safely

classroom management tips

Monday Morning Message ~ 9-12-2011

You have just received a link to a YouTube video.

You watched it, enjoyed it, laughed, cried, or were moved in some way that you wanted to share.

Then you notice the comments below, or the sidebar with videos that were digitally linked…

and they are not things you want to share.

One solution is a website that allows you to share just the video.

SafeShareTV  provides a link that will place your video into a nice viewer without comments and without other videos.

In addition, you have the option of choosing a theme, setting the starting and ending point of your video, and editing the title.

Finally, there is an option to email or share your “Safe View” to all the major social websites.

Now, go and share something,

and have a great week!

Searching, Searching, Searching, Found…


Monday Morning Message ~ 8-29-2011

It’s called “Digital Literacy”…

…and it saves time.


Everyone is desperate for more time, and I recently read that 90% of US net users don’t know about this shortcut.
It’s no secret that we pride ourselves in our “Geek-y” personalities, and that we love to share little “Tips and Tricks” that we’ve learned working with hundreds of other “Geeks” like us.
This tip is a “Must-Know”.
Whether you are working in a document such as Microsoft Word, or on the internet,  if you hold down the “Ctrl Key” and the “F” key, you will be prompted to enter the word you are seeking, and, once found, all words will be highlighted within the document or the webpage.
Quicker yet, while on the internet, just hit the F3 Key saving you one keystroke.
If you are working in “Firefox”, the “Forward Slash Key” (  / ) will do the same thing.
With a little time and practice, you can learn shortcuts, and after teaching our students the basic functions of the digital world, we need to model and teach these “time-saving” steps more than ever.
If you missed an earlier post on shortcuts,
we invite you to read a March post “
Taking the Shortcuts”.
Make Monday count as the first day of the best week this year,
and remember to have fun!

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.

One Busy Week

Conferences SMARTBoard workshops

This week is going to be a super busy one! 

 We will be at the ROE in Charleston on Wednesday for an evening session.  Mom and I are going head-to-head for a Web 2.0 Smackdown!  Don’t worry, I will keep you posted on who wins.  If I had to predict, it would be me.  I might have a little competitive streak in me.  Just a little.

Friday we will be getting EARLY to head to Springfield for the IETC conference.  A SMARTBoard session is in order.  We have put together 10 Ways to Get SMARTer.  It was SO hard to decide what to include.  I wish the session was longer than 50 minutes so we could include more.  Including something for all levels of SMARTBoard users along with subject areas, and grade levels was a challenge, but I think we have managed to do it.

After the conference on Friday, we are heading up to Chicago to join @principalspage for the IASB convention.  While we have been attending this conference for quite a few years now, it will be the first time to present there.  We are teaming up with Dr. Richard Voltz for a Top 10 Technology session in which we will count down our favorite ways to incorporate the use of technology in our classrooms.  Dr. Voltz will be presenting his Top 10 and will explain how they apply from an adminstrator’s point of view.  We will present ours from the classroom perspective, obviously.  Can’t wait!

Updates will be posted once we have time to catch our breath.  It has been a super busy fall and I can’t believe that we have neglected the blog for as long as we have.  It is time for that neglect to come to an end.


Blogging Maniacs

Blog reflections writing

The start of school is behind us and we are into our 2nd week.  I introduced the students to our class blog which is being hosted at www.kidblog.org and I have been amazed at how excited and focused they are on their writing.  Not only are they generating thoughtful posts on which they are experts.  They are also generating thoughtful comments on each other’s blogs.  Now I have never been an expert on writing by any stretch.  But I do know that in the past I have struggled to get kids excited about writing.  By weaving technology and writing together, I have been successful at getting  a much higher level of buy-in from the students.  This is year is no different.  Plus, they are writing for fun.  Fun…that’s right…fun.  I am only requiring the kids to post one entry on his or her blog each week as part of the overall spelling grade.  Most kids are posting more than that already.  My daughter included.  Not because I asked her to.  Not because she wants to impress me.  Not because she wants to have the most entries in the class.  But because she WANTS to post.  She wants to have content on which others will comment.  The comments of the other kids and the feedback received by the parents of the other students in my classroom are driving her to want to post more work.  Will this be a phase?  Will it get boring and end soon?  I have no idea, but I am enjoying it while it lasts!

If you want to head over to www.mrsssmith.com and check out our “student blog” link on the homepage, I am sure the kids would love to have even more comments.