Quick Tip #3 – New #Google Calendar – 3 Features in Your Settings

In Quick Tip #3 for the new Google Calendar I am going to focus on three features in your calendar settings. Many people are afraid of the settings on their calendar but there is nothing to fear. Anything you do can be reversed with a click or a drop down menu! So let’s give it a try.

Step 1

Identify your settings button on the top right of your calendar. It looks like a gear and I’ve provided a screenshot below with a red box around the settings button.


Step 2

Click on the gear and you will get a drop down menu with the first item listed as “Settings”. Click on “Settings


Step 3

You will now see the general option topics listed on the top left side of your screen (image 1 below) and then those options listed with what you can do within each topic in the middle of your page (image 2 below). Let’s focus on the sections labeled “Event settings” and “View options”.



Step 4

Let’s start with “Event settings’ and within that section we will work with “Default duration” (see image 1 below). Click on the down arrow on the right of the box labeled “Default duration” and you will see a series of choices (see image 2 below). Now select a new time. In this example I’ve pointed a red arrow to the time I’ve selected. You will notice 15 minutes is highlighted gray. Once you click the box you will then notice that at the bottom of the page Google will telling you “Settings saved”. Your meetings are now set for a default duration of 15 minutes. This allows you to adjust your standard meeting times based on your job, the type of meetings you hold or the minimum meetings you attend are held. I use 60 minutes.



Step 5

Let’s move on to “View options”(see image 1 below with the red boxes identifying the areas to be discussed.) and we will focus on “Reduce the brightness of past events” and “Start week with”.


Reduce the brightness of past events – When an event is finished you can keep it the same brightness as other events or have the color dull when the time has passed. I choose to dull it for the simple reason that it is an easy visual to see where my day is at on my calendar. Simply un-check the blue check box to keep the event color the same brightness (see the image below). Check the box and it will turn into a blue checkbox and the event will reduce in brightness when it’s a past event.


Start week with – Depending on your position you may or may not need to change the  day your calendar starts. For me, I use Sunday. Simply click the drop down arrow on the right side of the box and you can pick Saturday, Sunday, or Monday (see image below). In this example I’ve selected Monday (see the highlighted gray area around Monday in the image below). Once you click the box you will notice that at the bottom of the page Google will telling you “Settings saved”.


Using your settings for the New Google Calendar is that easy! Give it a try.

For more information on using Google Calendar and other Google Apps, check out Hacking Google for Educators.

If you have other features you use in Google Calendar leave them in the comments section to keep the conversation going. Good luck!


Quick Tip #2 for the New Google Calendar: Change Calendar View

In my first post in this series on the New Google Calendar I discussed how to quickly add an item to your calendar. In this post I am going to discuss how to quickly change your calendar view. The Google Calendar gives you six options and then two other choices within the view you pick. So open up your new Google Calendar and let’s give it a try.

Step 1

Identify the location to change your view. I’ve provided a screenshot from my computer below and put a red box around the feature we are going to work with in this tip. You will see it says “Week” and has a down arrow. The current view of my calendar is a week view.


Step 2

Click on the down arrow next to the word “Week”. You now have six options to select for your calendar view (see image below).


Step 3

Select a calendar view. Let’s select “4 days”. In the image I’ve provided below you will see in the top right red box the “4 days” view selected. In the large red box with the dates on the calendar, you will see it has 4 days listed. You can use the calendar as you usually do and enter appointments.


Step 4

Use the shortcuts to change your calendar view. Google Calendar makes it easy and quick to change your view. In the below image you will see a red box around the letters next to the various calendar views you can pick. Simply press the letter “D” upper or lower case, it doesn’t matter because it is not case sensitive, and your view will change to the “Day” view. Press the letter “W” and you will get the “Week” view. Give it a try.


Step 5

Check out the two calendar view features. The calendar view feature gives you two other options when you pick the view you like. You can “Show weekends” and “Show declined events”. If you see a check mark to the left of either or both of these events then you will see the particular option. Removing the check mark from “Show weekends will remove weekends from all your calendar views. Removing the check mark from “Show declined events” will remove events that you declined when invited. See the below image for the location of these options.


For more information on using Google Calendar and other Google Apps for educators, check out Hacking Google for Educators.

If you have features you use in Google Calendar leave them in the comments section to keep the conversation going.

Good luck!

Quick Tip #1 for the New Google Calendar

I’ve upgraded to the new Google Calendar, which has a lot of great features. I’m going to focus on a quick tip for the next few blog posts. Today’s quick tip is focused on  adding an item quickly to your calendar.  So open up your new Google Calendar and let’s give it a try.

Step 1:

Identify the date and time of your event and click in the space. You will then see these two items appear. The first (in blue) is the untitled event with a default time of one hour. The second (in white) is the information you are going to complete for the event.


Step 2:

Add a title. Click in “ Add title” and start typing. You will see I’ve typed “Send Monday Agenda”. I’ve created a red box around the title and a red arrow pointing to the appointment in the calendar that automatically updates when you type.


Step 3:

Change the date of the event. You can change the date of the event from the calendar box. Once I’ve clicked on the date (I’ve put a red box around it in the image below) it opens up a calendar of the month. It then identifies the current date with a blue circle around the day (see red arrow 1 on the left), the date of the event in a gray circle (see red arrow 2 second from left), and then you can pick any other date on the calendar (see red arrow 3 second from right) and finally you can change the month with the two symbols that look like “< >” on the top right (see red arrow on the right). Let’s change the date to January 17th.


Step 4:

Change the time of the event. You can also change the time of an event from the calendar box. Click on 6:00am and you will get a drop down menu. There are two options before and two options after the current time that are divided in 30 minute intervals (see read arrow on left) and you can scroll through more time options on the right (see red arrow on right) by using the gray scroll box). You can now do the same for the end time. Let’s change the start to 7:00am and the end to 9:00am.


Step 5:

Click the save button. Your event is now quickly added to your new Google Calendar. 


Your event is now on the calendar (image below):


For more information on using Google Calendar and other Google Apps for educators, check out Hacking Google for Educators.

If you have features you use in Google Calendar leave them in the comments section to keep the conversation going.

Good luck!



Harnessing Your Gmail Inbox – 3 Simple Tips

I once considered email to be a convenient and efficient mode of communication. Today,email image hundreds of messages come into my inbox on a weekly basis and as a result it becomes difficult to manage and communicate properly.

Over the years I’ve tried a bunch of things to become more efficient. Some have worked and some have not. Here’s a few suggestions:


  1. Folders for everything – I once tried to create a bunch of folders to move messages to once I read and was done with them.  I found myself always creating folders and forgetting what folders were created or which messages went in what folder. It was too complex of a system.
  2. Responding to email I was cc’d on. Early on, I felt every email required a response. Business etiquette will tell you that being cc’d is an FYI. I now read and follow up with the appropriate person, when necessary.


  1. Creating one general file folder – I created 1 main folder to move read messages to all_read_emailonce done. I call mine “All Read Email”. I also have a half dozen other folders for specific large scale items that have a lot of emails coming in on the topic and I want to be able to quickly find those emails. Those include “Inclement Weather” and “Referendum” folders. I go to those often or I may need them quickly
  2. Filter your responses – We receive many emails with lists of people included. Resist the reply to all when you only need to respond to one or a few people on the list. I’ve found that once you reply to all, you get a waterfall of reply to all comments and they are often one word response… like, “Yes”, “Agree”, “Count me in”, “Got it”.
  3. Use the tags feature on your Gmail – This feature is awesome and a great Follow_up_Tagorganization tool. I have created tags for my email so I know what to do with the email after I’ve read it. Three of the tags I use consistently are “Follow-up” which tells me I need to stay on top of this issue, “Social Media” which tells me that the content is something we may want to post on our district’s social media feeds, and “Updates” which means I need to provide the information to a group of people (i.e. Board of Education members, principals, supervisors, faculty).

How to create folders and labels in Gmail are explained in Hack 3 of Hacking Google for Educators.

By finding features on email and procedures that work for you, your inbox can become an efficient communication tool and not a burden. Good luck! Feel free to share your ideas in the comments section. 

Fresh Start in 2018


Since 2012, I have blogged on this site and posted 83 times. That’s not a huge amount. But over the years the number of posts have decreased with every new year. Last year I posted just two blogs. There are numerous reasons for the reduction in production but after my second post in 2017, I made an important decision. I completely stopped blogging and started to observe what others were doing on their sites. I learned a lot from the information they were providing and I think I’m a better educator for taking the time to focus on the content of others. It was a great six months and as I start blogging in 2018 you will see a new look to this site and all the previous posts removed. It’s best if we take a fresh start from time to time in our careers, our learning, and yes… even our blog posts.

After taking time to learn from others, here’s what I bring to 2018 on this blog post:

  1. Shorter posts – getting to the point is important and people don’t have time to read pages of information.
  2. Useful information – I’d like to think everything I’ve posted over the years was useful, but let’s be realistic, it wasn’t. However, I’ll make an effort to provide useful information with the idea that readers can immediately use it.
  3. Celebrate educational trends and trendsetters – there is so much happening, so fast in education and so many educators doing awesome work in our profession. These trends and educational trendsetters need to be identified and celebrated. We learn from each other and what educators are doing in our profession. That’s how we evolve as educators and that’s how we grow our professional learning network. 
  4. Engage in a positive educational conversation – This is all that remains from what I first said in 2012 on this blog post, and what I’ve Tweeted on my Twitter chat, #satchat, since its inception. I believe if we agree to evolve as educators, we need to stay as positive as possible. Although there will be times this may be a challenge, we need to focus more on positive change versus negative. So I’ll continue to keep it positive as we move our profession forward. 

Have a great 2018!