Sunday, April 11, 2021

Slide Master You Can Do

It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted. Spring has been in the air and I've taken advantage of the nicer weather. And to be honest, I needed some downtime. I've tried to not feel TOO guilty, but I needed it. I wanted it. But I'm back today! And I hope today's little tutorial on the master slides is worth the wait.

I LOVE Google Slides. I love it for so many reasons - it's simple yet versatile, it's completely customizable. Slides is my "go-to" tool.  BUT ... I have been intimidated by one aspect of Slides until recently. The master slide. 

For a long time, I thought was a Slidedeck that I created with specific layouts and colors and just reused over and over. Ha! Nope. Slidesmania has taught me otherwise. (Thank you!) Last summer I forced myself to learn about it. I made a copy of a Slidesmania template and broke it apart. And while I am no expert, I do feel a lot more comfortable with it and the benefits of it. And I'd like to share that with you.

When you create a Slidedeck for your students, my guess is there are things you want them to be able to manipulate and other things you do not. And we ALL know kids will delete (accidentally or purposefully) and we want to create as little a headache for ourselves as possible. The master slide can go a looooong way in helping with this.

I'm going to break it down: First - what IS the master slide? Second - why use the master? and Finally - how do you adjust the master slide? I think videos are the way to go. 

Questions? Why not use the comments under the videos in YouTube? I'll respond, but others can also respond, too! 

What IS the master slide?

Why use the master slide?

BONUS! Why use the master slide? Special tip!

How to adjust the master slide?

There is so much more to the master slide - be sure to play around and check it out. Do you have questions? Feel free to comment ⤵. 

Or connect & follow me on any of these platforms:

P.S. I have Google Slides Wakelet collections full of tips, tricks, and other resources.

AND ... I've got a couple of upcoming presentations you might be interested in. Check them out on My Presentations calendar for information and registration. 

AND I'll be doing a "Level Up Google" series with Dr. Desiree Alexander again this summer!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Google Forms + Mote You Can Do

 Happy Sunday! This one is going to be pretty short & to the point. I totally forget about how Mote can work with Google Forms. (And all 3 of my daughters have sporting events this weekend keeping us busy!)

Earlier this month, I shared how you can use Mote - an audio feedback extension - with Docs, Sheets, Slides & Classroom in "Easy Audio You Can Do (& love!)". I didn't think about it at the time, but I had forgotten about Forms. That thought dawned on me this week and as with a couple of the ways I shared previously, using Mote with Google Forms isn't in the form Mote was developed for, but that doesn't make it any less useful. In fact, it might just give you the added ability in Forms you were previously looking for.

How about using Mote in Forms to provide an audio of the question &/or as an answer? I'll admit, it's not perfect, but it's possible and does work. I'll share a video below. And maybe ... once you see how I thought to use it, maybe you'll think of another way and share it, too!

***After thought, before publishing***

After I recorded the video below, I had a thought ... as the teacher, create questions that allow for students to submit a link to a Mote as an answer. It would be just like I recorded the questions and pasted the link in the description, but the student adds it as an answer. How awesome would that be? (Please make sure having students use Mote is approved in your district first!)

I encourage you to explore Mote and be creative on the many different ways you can use it with the Google applications. Interested in signing up? If I've persuaded you, be sure to click on this link that will give you 60 days FREE on the Unlimited tier. And as always, if you have comment or question, be sure to leave it below ⤵.

Or connect & follow me on any of these platforms:

P.S. I have Wakelet collections full of tips, tricks, and other resources for Forms & Mote:

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Personal Gmail Clean Up You Can Do

I have a couple of confessions to make: I'm a bit of a pack-rat and I love storage. I love of boxes and I love organizing. 

One of the things I absolutely LOVE about Google is the amount of storage I have (17 GB in my personal account & unlimited in my school account). But one of the things I struggle with is when Google makes changes. Now, I'm not worried about my school storage - and I feel like I'm pretty organized. But, I've not been as neat & tidy in my personal account. 

I have been creeping closer and closer to the max storage on my personal account for the past couple of years and I knew I'd have to do something. I believe I have plenty of storage but I see a need to do a better job organizing and prioritizing what I decide to keep. I am going to do this in chunks. I am going to tackle my Gmail first. Trying to tackle it all at once is both overwhelming and not feasible. (I'm a teacher and a mom, remember!) 

Everyone has a method of organizing, even if they don't know it. I could show you how I like to organize, but that doesn't mean it will work for you. I might have different categories than you or I might have a different comfort level in the length of time I hold on to items. It's ALL ok ... as long as it works for you. That means it's a system you actually use and like. And stick to. That's always the key - you have to stick with it.

This weekend I'm focusing on organizing my personal Gmail. I really need to do some purging. I've known this for awhile. Here is my plan of attack:

Before I published this, I got wrapped up in the purging. It felt good! My timer went off and I kept purging! I picked it back up today and I got through all of my folders. (Seriously, how many emails from 2013 did I really need to hold on to? Yes, I kept reminding myself of that!) I'm not quite done. I have one category to go through and clean up, but it's a biggie! It has close to 6,000 emails. I'm not looking forward to it. But I know it'll feel good to tackle it. One step at a time.

I do have additional tips & tricks for Gmail if you are interested. I save them in my Gmail Wakelet collection ➜

Next up, cleaning & organizing my Google Drive!

I am also super excited to share I have TWO upcoming events you can join me in:
  • Saturday, April 17 - I will be presenting at the Power Up Conference. You can register at this link.
  • June & July 2021 - I will be teaming up with Dr. Desiree Alexander (of EducatorAlexander) for a 6 part series "Leveling Up with Google Tools"! All of the info & registration can be found at this website:

If you have a question about this blog (or any of my other shares), please feel free to comment below ⤵.

You can also send me an email -

Or find me on social media - all my links are above under my photo on the right side.

Have a great week!

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Easy Audio You Can Do (& LOVE!)

I am super pumped to share this today! I was crazy excited about a year ago when we could start inserting audio in Google Slides. I was pumped! I shared out "Insert Audio (... for kids!) You Can Do" a little more than one year ago. It's not super complicate, and it's definitely doable for both you and students, BUT ... today makes inserting audio CRAZY SIMPLE!

Today ... if you are sitting down ... get ready to jump for joy! I'm going to share something that I absolutely adore and it's many uses! Mote. This tool is my new favorite tool and I can't stop sharing it and finding new ways to use it.

I. Absolutely. Love. It!

Here's the general overview of Mote. It's an extension. Add it to your Chrome profile and it then shows up in your extensions bar, yes, AND inside Google Slides as well as in your comment box in Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Classroom. Now you can easily - and quickly - record your voice in all of these areas! And the voice notes all save to your Google Drive with the correct share settings so they are ready to be listened to! Voilá!

If you are interested ... Mote can do far more than record voice comments. You can also provide transcriptions (in over 20 languages) and edit the transcriptions. And you can record "Motes" to be shared in places outside of the Google Apps listed above. (That's a topic for another day - of go to their website and learn about their other capabilities.)

Have I convinced you to give Mote a try? If so, I can offer you the chance to have a 60 day FREE trial of the Unlimited tier. Yep - that's right ... click on this link and you get 60 days FREE on the Unlimited tier. Woot!

I thought it would be best to demo each of the ways you can use Mote in the following short videos. While these are ALL awesome ways to use Mote to share audio feedback, I'll give you a tip - I saved the BEST for last ... promise!

Using Mote in Google Docs Comments

Using Mote in Google Sheets ... TWO different ways

Using Mote in Google Slides Comments

Using Mote ON Google Slides

Using Mote in Google Classroom Comments

Using Mote in Google Classroom's Comment Bank

If I've persuaded you, be sure to 
click on this link that will give you 60 days FREE on the Unlimited tier. And as always, if you have comment or question, be sure to leave it below ⤵.

Or connect & follow me on any of these platforms:

P.S. I have Wakelet collections full of tips, tricks, and other resources for many of the applications I shared in these videos. 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Have an idea? You can do it!

Quite often, I have conversations with other teachers that start off with, "Sarah, I wish ..." or "I'd really like to try ..." or even "Do you think I could ..." I always feel a little spark in my heart and it brings a smile to my lips when I hear this. 

These conversations are really what gave me inspiration for my Google Innovator project. I spent 14 years in the classroom and often had these same thoughts. I was always lucky enough to have colleagues who would listen and bounce ideas around with me. I always had supportive administrators who allowed me to try out ideas. Now that I am in a tech integration role, my job is focused on supporting teachers and integrating technology in meaningful ways.

I want to focus on what I consider the most powerful part of my Innovator project today - the "Idea Investigation". I created "Innovation You Can Do" to be a comprehensive and flexible workflow to take an idea from spark to launch. Over the past month, I have used the Idea Investigation to give structure to several ideas. Three are ideas of mine and two are ideas others have shared with me that they want to work on.

Upon completion of the idea investigation, I see the foundation of my next steps. I see where I need, not just want, the project to go. And, I have a reference guide to this idea in the event that I cannot focus on this idea right now. I see how having it down on paper forces me to think through and solidify the idea. And yes, I have printed out the Idea Investigation and physically written it out - it makes it more real.

For one of the collaborative projects, I gave the Idea Investigation to the two people who suggested it. It was insightful to have all 3 of us fill this out and when we brought them together - the bones of it was the same, but we each had a slightly different perspective and a few different - but necessary requirements - came to light.

This isn't just something that works for me, this can work for you. I hope you take a look at it and try it out with an idea you have. I'm sharing this because I believe in sharing what works. I believe that too many great ideas won't make it beyond the spark phase because the creator don't know where to start. You can start here. You can start with this "Idea Investigation". You CAN do this.

Here is a link to the whole "Innovation You Can Do" workbook. You are welcome to use the entire workbook to guide a timeline, meetings with others as you work through your project, and reflections. If you only want the Idea Investigation, it's Slide 3. Feel free to print it out or keep it digitally.

And if you are looking to bounce ideas around, feel free to comment below ⤵ , email me ( find me on social media:

Twitter - @kiefersj
Facebook - Sarah Kiefer
Wakelet - @kiefersj
YouTube - my channel