Wednesday, January 17, 2024

From Grading Papers to Conquering Lesson Plans: Level Up Your Work From The Couch Setup

While I hate bringing work home, it's an inevitable truth.  We all know the struggle: lesson plans that pile up like epic boss battles, grading marathons that stretch into the wee hours, and emails that multiply like pesky side quests.

I usually work from my couch and recently received a lap desk from CouchMaster.  This isn't your average, rickety lap desk. It's a premium workstation designed to conquer even the most demanding educational workload. It has cooling ventilation slots to keep your laptop from overheating. 

Comfort is key here and the plush cushions keep the lap desk at an ideal height so you don't have to hunch over.  Plus, the storage pockets keep your pens, sticky notes, and other essentials ready.  I will say that this is no small setup, so be prepared for it to take up a good amount of space on your couch. 

It was very easy to assemble (see my video below), but I have to note that the velcro on the removable pocket isn't very strong and the pocket fell off when I put my mouse in it.

Let me know what your setup at home is like.  Share your favorite WFH hacks and must-have tools in the comments below! We're all in this together, and knowledge is power (especially when it comes to surviving the teacher life).

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Cast your Android device to your computer

Vysor is a program I like because it works with Android and iOS and has wired and wireless options.  Of course, what I like most is that there is a free option.  You are limited to the wired option in the free version, but I actually like that because it glitches less.  Plus you don't have to worry about the devices being on the same wifi network.  I also like that can use your computer mouse and keyboard to control your phone.  One thing to note is that you have to enable USB debugging on your phone.  Here is a quick article on how to do that. 

The free version will display a short ad every half hour or so. If you decide to upgrade, in addition to removing ads, you will get some other features that include fullscreen mode, drag and drop files and the ability to share your screen with someone with the link.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Problem-Attic Test Generator

Problem-Attic is a website that provides teachers with a database of questions from state and national assessments to create tests and worksheets. 

If you are looking for a bank of question from the NYS Regents, SAT, AP Exams or other state assessments, Problem-Attic might be what you are looking for.

The video below will give you a quick overview of what it is all about.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Why you want to check out Microsoft Search Coach

Search Coach is a tool I learned about last year and think it's a tool that everyone should be using.  We use search engines everyday and this tool teaches students how to form efficient search queries and evaluate their results.  What I really like is that the feedback that Search Coach gives you are tips that you can use on any search engine.   The video below gives you a quick overview of what it is.  Microsoft has also created some lessons that you can use with your students. 


Tuesday, February 21, 2023

How to create an email group in Gmail

Creating an email group in Gmail is a great way to easily email a group of people such as students, parents, clumb members, or deparment colleagues.  Here are the steps to create a group (mailing list) in Gmail as of 2023:

  • Navigate to 
  • Check off the people you want in the group (a checkbox will appear when you hover over it)
  • Click the icon at the top of the page that looks like a tag (it will say "Mange Labels" when you hover over it) 
  • Click "Create label."
  • Type in the name you want to give the group.  I like to add in the school year as I might have another group with the same name the following year (such as 2022-2023 Parents or 2019-2020 Robotics Club).  Click "Save."
  • You will see your group on the left side under labels.
  • To add people to the group, you can repeat step 3 and select the name of the group to add more people.
  • To remove people from the group, click on the label and check of the people you want to remove.  Click on the label icon and uncheck the label.
  • Your contacts can be a part of multiple labels too.

You can now use the label to send emails to multiple people at once.  In Gmail, start typing in the name of the group and click on it when it appears. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

How to hide part of a picture in PowerPoint

Many of us use animations PowerPoint and Google Slides to strategically reveal specific information.  Usually, you would select the textbox or image, click on the animations tab and select the animation you want.  The trouble lies when you want to do something like hiding and revealing part of an image.  I made a quick video to show you the process I use for this.  (TLDR: use a shape to cover the part of the image you want to hide.)

As you choose your animations, I have some suggestions.  Don't overdo it; too many animations can be districting.  Along with that choose the right animation; you want it to emphasize key points not distract the kids.   Simple is better.


Monday, January 30, 2023

How to Convert Word to Google

You might be in a school that uses both Google and Microsoft or maybe you came from a Microsoft school and are now in a Google school.  Perhaps you downloaded some Microsoft documents and now want them as Google files.  Either way I made a short video to walk you through the process.
The short of it is that you can either convert files individually or set your Drive to automatically convert all documents to upload.