As another year kicks off, some teachers may feel burned out or overwhelmed from the past eighteen months of teaching during a global pandemic. And here we go again! No matter how big or small the milestone, CELEBRATE!

The Teaching Channel site provided a free download to the eBook: Self Care for Educators and a self-care plan template to remind teachers of goals, resources, support systems/people, and how to celebrate when reaching a goal.

One of my favorite suggestions is mindfulness.  According to, mindfulness is “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment with openness and curiosity.” The following are a few free meditation apps: read more

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We’ve all been there. We need to make a selection only to realize our choice is no longer available. Devastating! Or, if we ask students to select a research topic only to discover, most students chose the same issue. Now you are grading 20+ research papers on Sir Winston Churchill. [sigh!]

Google Forms Choice Eliminator 2 add-on enables you to select a maximum number each choice can be selected. For example, if you are a party planner for staff potlucks, you will want to create a form listing food items in a dropdown question: desserts, utensils, napkins, desserts, side dishes, main dishes, drinks, and did I mention desserts? Using the Choice Eliminator 2 add-on, you will establish the maximum number of side dishes, main dishes, and desserts. The Choice Eliminator 2 add-on is also a fantastic tool for scheduling appointments, meetings, and evaluations.

To eliminate choices on a form, follow the below steps:


  • Enter choices/options as a Drop-down Question type.
  • Get Choice Eliminator 2 Add-on by clicking the three-dots menu, selecting Add-ons, then locate and install from the Marketplace.

  • Click on Add-ons button from the top right corner. Select Choice Eliminator 2.

  • Click on Configure

  • Review the TAKE NOTE message.

  • From the Choice Eliminator 2 window pane, click on the first question you want to eliminate choices. Click on the checkbox. Then, click on the settings button.

  • Enter the maximum number. When the maximum number is reached, the option will be eliminated.

  • Exit from the Choice Eliminator 2 windowpane.
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    “Zoom bombing” is when uninvited participants appear in a Zoom class with the primary purpose of causing chaos. To help mitigate the obtrusiveness, you may want to implement the following safety measures:

    You will want to update the Zoom app and remind students and parents to do so, also. Zoom provides a pop-up notification when there is a new mandatory or optional update within 24 hours of signing-in. If you have the Zoom desktop client installed, you can check for updates by clicking on your profile image and then click Check for Updates.

    If you use the “Recurring” Zoom feature, it will not provide as a unique ID. Because the same ID and settings are used, it may make it easier for uninvited participants to access.

    By enabling the Waiting Room feature, students will not be able to join the Zoom call until admitted. The teacher/host will be able to review who wants access and admit one participant at a time or use the “Admit All” option.

    You can remove participants or send them to the Waiting Room.

    Once your students have joined the Zoom call, you can Lock the meeting. The Lock a Meeting feature will prevent unwanted guests from entering.

    When students join using a parent account, the teacher/host can rename students from the chat rather than letting students rename themselves. By disabling the renaming feature, it removes the temptation for students to take on a different persona.

    The Teacher/Host can always allow students to share their screens when needed.

    By turning off the annotation and whiteboard features, participants will not be able to draw over the teacher’s presentation.

    Do not share the meeting URL on social media so that uninvited guests will join the call. You may want to establish expectations with your students to not share the URL with people who are not in their class.

    10. Hide Participant Profile Pictures in a Meeting 📷

    When participants’ cameras are turned off, and the Hide Participant Profile Picture feature is enabled, only the students’ initials will show. The feature prevents the possibility of students sharing inappropriate images.

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    You can personalize your Google Classroom by creating an animated banner. The animation can represent the unit or theme your students are studying. The animation will add interest and excitement to your Classroom page.

    I prefer using free software to create. By using Google Slides AND Screencastify, you can create an animated image, record the screen, and download it as a GIF. Upload the file to your Google Classroom theme. The banner image will be animated. Super cool!

    Follow the below steps to create an animated Google Classroom banner:

    Design Animation in Google Slides

    1. Open a new Google Slides presentation.

    2. Change the size of the slides by clicking on File => Page Setup => Select Custom => Enter 800 x 200 PIXELS.
    1. Design the background of the first slide or insert an image. Add an image that you plan to animate. This could be your Bitmoji. To duplicate the slide, click on the slide => Edit => Duplicate.

    2. Slightly move the image/Bitmoji. Duplicate the slide. Repeat these steps until your image has completed the movement.

    Design Animation in Google Slides

    1. Click on File => Publish to the Web.

    1. Click on both boxes to place a checkmark. Then click on Publish.
    1. Copy the URL.
    1. Open a new Chrome browser tab. Paste the URL in the Omnibox (address bar). The 3000 number means 3000 milliseconds. To make the images move more quickly, enter a smaller amount (100, 150, 200) and press the enter/return key. If the motion is too fast, increase the number. If the action is too slow, decrease the number.

    Record the Screen Using Screencastify

    1. Add the Screencastify Chrome extension from the Web Store.
    2. To record the tab that is playing your Google Slides presentation, click on the Screencastify extension button.
    1. Record the browser tab.
    1. Trim the video clip.
    2. Click on Download. Select Export Animated GIF.
    1. Move the slider so that the size is closest to 800×200.
    Upload GIF to Google Classroom

    1. Open Google Classroom.
    2. Click on Upload Photo.
    1. Click on the Select Class Theme button.
    1. The animated GIF will appear as your Classroom banner.

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    Oftentimes, we find ourselves providing the same information in an email. This may be in response to a general inquiry. For example, when parents send an email asking for the yearly supplies list. You may copy the list and paste the information into a reply message and hit the send button. However, this still takes work. 😅

    Gmail offers a feature to create an email template that will contain your email response. You will enter a specific subject to the template message and ask others to use that subject when messaging you about that topic. The subject will trigger the template to be sent. Whenever I think of using Gmail’s Automatic Email Response, I recall the Rice Krispie advertisement. If you need a quick laugh, click here to view. 😆

    There are two parts in setting up your Automatic Email Response:

    1. Create the Email Template
    2. Create the Advanced Email Filter


    Create Email Template

  • COMPOSE an email and the message you want to send when receiving a message about a specific topic. Be sure to add a SUBJECT. The SUBJECT will need to be used by the person submitting an email to you to trigger the automatic message.

  • At the lower right corner of the screen, click on the MORE button.

  • Select TEMPLATES from the menu.


  • Enter a NAME for the template.

  • CLOSE the email draft message by clicking on the X in the right corner.

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