A Hundred Tabs Open: My Browser is Swimming 🏊‍♀️

too busy

As educators, our minds are often racing with a multitude of tasks, much like a computer with countless open tabs. Lesson planning, professional development, emails, schedule changes, weather updates, phone calls, personal matters, and the list goes on. It’s a reality that our students face as well. Navigating this mental maze is crucial for our own well-being and effectiveness, and I’ve discovered a few simple strategies that help me stay on top of things.

Bookmark Folders

As someone who regularly visits numerous websites, I’ve discovered that organizing them into bookmark folders significantly streamlines my browsing experience. One particularly useful feature is the ability to open all bookmarked sites within a folder simultaneously with a simple right-click. This proves especially handy when preparing for teaching sessions, as I can instantly access all relevant resources with a single click.

Search your Tabs

Struggling to locate a specific tab among a sea of open ones? Fret not, you can easily search through your open tabs to find the one you need. Additionally, you can access a list of the last ten tabs you closed, making it easy to revisit them if needed.

Pin Tabs

Keep your essential tabs organized and easily accessible by pinning them! Pinned tabs remain neatly tucked away, preventing accidental closure and freeing up space for other tabs. Pin as many tabs as you need without any limitations.

Group Tabs

For enhanced organization and efficient use of space on your Chrome Web Bar, consider grouping tabs. This feature not only bundles related tabs together, but also color-codes them for easy identification.


Last but not least, Control+Shift+T is my best friend. It reopens the tab I just closed very quickly! That one doesn’t need a title or video 😜

I hope these tabulating tips help out your computer, and brain, so you can move along just swimmingly!

Take care, friends.

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟



The Carp-e Diem of Back to School!

The Carp-e Diem of Back to School!

todays your day

Here we are, once again, about to return to school! There are so many emotions, it is both an exciting and anxious time.

Am I ready? What will this year bring? How will I juggle everything? Will they like me? Will I like them?

I’m always reminded at this time of year of one of my favorite tunes, from a band I grew up with: Green Day.  When September Ends was always my anthem as a classroom teacher.  Not that I would ever want to wish away time. However, I find that once September does end, we are in a groove! The chaos of the first few weeks has passed, and I feel like I have really gotten to know my students….which brings me to the focus of this post.  It is most important that we SEIZE the moment those first few days and get to know our students (Carp-e Diem!). We need to learn who they are, their likes, dislikes, and learning preferences. Getting to know our classroom family lays the groundwork for engagement and success.

Get to know each other  Bitmoji Image

Slides Activity:

There are so many great activities out there for you to get to know your students, but it is also important for them to get to know each other and build a strong learning community.

This activity below is a new favorite of mine from Tyler TarverClick here for the template to use with your class and File>Make a Copy.

I really like how students get to know each other and students will get to know their way around Google Slides. BONUS: Tyler included videos that show the students how to do EACH step! This frees you up to move around the room and have some of those great one-on-one conversations.

Identity Charts:

This article has a great activity with student identity charts. These could be a great visual to have up in the classroom and encourage relationship building. This could be done with paper or digitally, and lends itself to lots of creative ways to display one’s identity.

Example of an identity chart with the name "Stephanie" in the middle and characteristics in a starburst shape around the name.


Of course, I always love a Google Form survey. Ask your students about themselves in a way where they can tell you something that maybe they don’t want everyone to know.  Ask them about their learning preferences as well! Maybe one student loves group work, where group work may cause another student stress.  Here is an example of a Google Form you could use, and/or change, to your liking! This comes from another favorite teacher of mine, Sabocat!

For Fun:

Although this is a fun activity, it will encourage classroom bonding and get everyone up and moving.  These slides (there are THREE different decks!) are a take on four corners, where each corner is an answer.  Have students choose their answer (and maybe even write it down), before announcing the corners.  This way, peer pressure doesn’t hinder their choice.  Have students discuss once in the corner of their choosing.

I hope you have a GREAT first few days back, getting to know your classroom family and that these activities can help!

Take care, everyone!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟

Grading with Gills: How Rubrics Help You Catch the Best Work 🎣

Title generated by ChatGPT

crafts table

Rubric-based grading promotes fairness and consistency in the evaluation of student work. You can use a set of clear criteria and ensure that all students are held to the same standards. Additionally, rubrics can be used to provide detailed feedback to students, which can help them understand the strengths and weaknesses of their work and identify areas for improvement. Common rubrics can be a great resource across grade-levels and departments, so students learn the common language and expectations.

If you’re using a digital workflow with students, such as Google Classroom, having common rubrics and using them with students is both easy and effective. Bonus: providing mastery-oriented feedback is also a checkpoint in the UDL Guidelines. You can read more about that here. 

Let’s take a look at how you can use common rubrics AND possibly pair it with a digital workflow.

Template Gallery

Google Workspace provides a template gallery in all the Workspace applications. The Template Gallery allows for common items that may be used repeatedly among your school.  Common rubrics would be a great item to have in your school-wide gallery. When you upload an item to the gallery, it allows your organization to automatically make a copy of it and edit it as their own, in their own Drive. The template does not change your original, you can have the gallery create a copy of the original.  This gallery would be useful for school-wide or district-wide charts, logs, rubrics, slide designs etc.

Finding the Gallery

Are you reading this and asking, where IS this gallery you speak of? Well, the waffle comes in handy on this one.  Long into Google Chrome, go to your waffle, and click the desired app where you would like to store or access a template.

Turn on the Template Gallery

If you don’t see the gallery, visibility of this gallery may need to be turned on in the settings first.

  1. Choose the app where you want to work on templates (if you don’t see them…)
  2. Choose the three lines, click settings
  3. Check the box to display Templates
  4. Click Save


Now you should see an option for the Template Gallery

Click the words Template Gallery for the drop-down and access to your organization’s Templates.

Submit a template for district or organization-wide use.

⭐️The Magic: Using Template Rubrics in Google Classroom ⭐️

Now THIS is where the magic happens!  First, you must use the Google Classroom Rubric Template for this to work! You cannot write in any of the areas that are blank, or the rubric will not upload. Input your indicators, criteria, and then delete out or add any rows you may need. Be sure to including the spacing and formatting that already exists in the template.

Additional Ideas of how to Use Templates:

  • School Wide reading log in Docs – each teacher can take the template and add custom information
  • Prepare a Google Site template for student portfolios! By setting up a skeleton, students will have guidance as to what evidence they would need to provide.
  • Prepare a template survey in Forms that you want all stakeholders to use and send out
  • Digital Student Agenda – create the template to share with all staff, who then can use this master in Google Classroom>every student gets a copy!

In Closing

Google’s Template Gallery is a great resource all on its own, but pair it with common rubrics and mastery-oriented feedback and BOOM 🎆, that’s MAGIC! Not only will we have the benefits of rubric-based grading, but you also add a collaboration and consistency piece when sharing these rubrics in the gallery.

I hope you can grade with gills, and use these new skills to catch some great work!

Take Care, Everyone! 💙

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟

Hooked on Strong Passwords: Making Sure Your Account Doesn’t Get Reel-y Hacked

Like my title? I put the following prompt into an AI site...”Write me a creative title for a blog post about passwords using Fish puns.”  Incredible.  My current post comes from personal experience (AI cannot write this, lol).

creepy blinds

In December, when I was doing lots of Christmas shopping, I was hacked in one of my personal accounts.  It was very creative on behalf of the hacker, and I’m sure I’m one of many in the scam.

It was a Tuesday at 4am, and multiple orders were placed at a popular store for same-day delivery on a store account of mine. Normally, I check my personal email in the morning before school. When I checked it that morning, I had hundreds of emails that were spam, that did not hit my spam folder for whatever reason. I was so confused. Spam never hits my inbox, it has always gone into the spam folder of my personal Gmail. There were so many emails sitting there. It took me so much time cleaning them out, and I was so perplexed, that I neglected to check my “promotions” or “updates” folders, plus I had to get to school. I shrugged it off.

Then once I was at work, at about 9am, my cell phone started ringing non-stop with spam numbers, which distracted me even more from thinking about my personal email. Off to a meeting, I left my personal email until later when I was done at school.  While in a meeting, my cellphone (and watch) buzzes with a picture, “Your items from popular store were delivered.”  

I quickly glance at the picture on my wrist, and it’s not my home.  I knew I hadn’t ordered the item (a bookcase).  That’s odd, I think, and quickly check my popular store account. Sure enough, it had not been just one, but four different orders placed with my account using my credit card on file.  Since they were same-day delivery orders, by 12pm most items had already been delivered.  I called popular store fraud department and since the items were delivered, there was nothing they could do. However, the did suggest removing my payment information, changing my password and contacting my credit card.  How did this happen? Well, honestly, I’m embarrassed to say it – but I can tell you exactly how and why it happened and let it be a lesson for you.


My popular store password was certainly one of the ones that had that ⬆️ famous pop-up appear. It was one of my run-of-the-mill passwords that I used for everything, and I knew it. Additionally, I had this password on this particular site FOREVER, and today it doesn’t even follow most password rules as it is too short. After contacting my credit card (yes, I got all my money back) and reporting the fraud, it was on to changing my passwords and ensuring my cyber safety.  It had nothing to do with storing my password, but had everything to do with the fact that I used this SAME password in so many places.

Password Manager 🔑

Do yourself a favor, and take a look at your password manager if you store your passwords.  It will show you what sites your password was used on that had a data breach. Warning – it’s not pretty! Also, just because you do not store your passwords does not mean they were not in a data breach.  Password managers actually come recommended for this purpose.

Password Tips 💡

THIS I generated from ChatGPT, and I couldn’t of said it better myself:

  1. Use a long password, ideally at least 12 characters.
  2. Use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
  3. Avoid using easily guessable information such as your name, address, or common words.
  4. Consider using a passphrase made up of multiple words separated by spaces or special characters.
  5. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.
  6. Use a password manager to store and generate secure passwords for you. (I like the free Google Chrome Password Manager).

2FA 👀

One tip, NOT given above, is 2-factor authentication.  As cyberattacks become more commonplace among schools, 2FA is gradually being rolled out as it now becomes required for cybersecurity insurance among schools.  What is 2FA? Anytime you are sent a text passcode to access a site, that is 2FA. It is an additional layer of protection, and I highly recommend it. Many financial sites offer it, and schools will start rolling it out eventually as well if they haven’t already.

Text Alerts 💬

In addition to changing my passwords, turning on 2FA, canceling my credit card that was compromised, removing stored financial information, I also turned on text alerts with my credit card. Had this been on previously, I would’ve had to approve the charge prior to it happening. I would’ve noticed the fraud BEFORE it hitting my card, thus saving me hours of phone calls (but not hours of changing passwords, lol).

Credit Report 📋

Lastly, and I know this because I am a banker’s daughter, you are entitled to one free credit report a year from the three big credit agencies.  So, upon seeing this fraud, I ran a report with the big three.  You can learn more about obtaining a free credit report here. 

In closing – How this relates to education:

According to Edweek (click here), it can be one leaked password that can lead to a cyberattack on a school, which can be a very serious matter (School Cyberattacks Explained).

Many of the passwords we use on our education accounts are the same we use on personal accounts. It may be an education site that was in a data breach and that same password may be the one you use for banking; conversely, it could be your banking password that was compromised, and you use that same password for school, all of which could lead to a cyberattack.

Secure passwords are a MUST for everything we sign in to. It’s not meant to scare you, only meant to assist in this world we live in! Be cautious with your passwords and also where you’re using them!

I truly hope that my experience and tips can help you. ☺️


Take care, everyone!

oFISHally yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟

All the artiFISHal Hype 🐟🤖💻

beep boop beep robot

With the FISH sound right in the word, I would be remiss if I didn’t make a long-overdue post about Artificial Intelligence and the explosion it’s had on Edtech, and education overall, over the past few weeks. Personally, I am very excited about all the hype and new tools popping up, as I see it as a HUGE opportunity for us to move in a new direction as educators.

👀 Check out an Example

A new site that came onto the scene is the reason for all the recent chatter. AI is not new, and in fact you can read about many of the ways we’ve been using it here, but ChatGPT is new and has made quite the splash.

🤔 How will AI improve Education?

Well, according to ChatGPT, an AI tool:

There are several ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) can improve education:

  1. Personalized learning: AI can be used to tailor the learning experience to the individual needs and abilities of each student. For example, AI-powered learning platforms can track a student’s progress and adjust the content and difficulty level accordingly.
  2. Improved efficiency: AI can help automate certain tasks, such as grading assignments or providing feedback, which can free up teachers to focus on more important tasks, such as engaging with students and providing support.
  3. Enhanced accessibility: AI can make education more accessible to people with disabilities or learning challenges by providing alternative ways of interacting with course material, such as through voice or touch.
  4. Greater scalability: AI can enable educators to reach more students, both in physical classrooms and online, by allowing for more efficient and effective delivery of course material.
  5. Enhanced learning experiences: AI can be used to create interactive, engaging, and immersive learning experiences, such as simulations and virtual reality environments, that can help students better understand complex concepts and ideas.

Overall, AI has the potential to greatly enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of education by providing personalized, scalable, and engaging learning experiences.

🤖 AI is here to stay, where do I go from here?

In my own graduate course I teach, my final project is for my students to persuade their administration or a colleague to use a Blended Learning approach in the classroom. I give students a variety of ways to do this, however, one option is an essay.  I realized, my prompt could easily be entered into an AI tool such as ChatGPT, CaktusAI, or Magic Write in Canva and then students could just turn it in.  How can I alter this….

Connect to Personal Experiences 💜

I quickly added to my prompt. It now reads, “Using examples and strategies from your own classroom experience, as well as resources used throughout the course, persuade your administrator or colleague to implement a Blended Learning model.”  If a student chooses the essay option, he/she/they will still need to cite personal experiences.  This could be applied to other areas as well; for instance, you can do a compare and contrast piece between a central character and the student’s life. Connecting the content to the student’s own experience also optimizes relevance and authenticity (a UDL guideline for recruiting interest!).

Offer Options where Students Create 🖌

This one may get a little tricky, as Canva is also putting out a new feature in Canva Docs that will use AI to convert your written document (where you can use AI to write it), into a presentation complete with visuals. However, it does NOT have to be only a slide deck!  You could have students record a podcast, perform a skit, create a video, draw, sculpt, sing, etc! You can get more ideas on my presentation here about various (digital) ways students can show knowledge.  Have students give a live demonstration in class; it could be to the whole class, a small group, or just you. Photomath may be able to complete math homework for a student, but if you take a small group and have students work out problems with you in class – that cannot be AI’ed.

Discussion and Debate 🗣

There are standards where students ARE REQUIRED to write, and it may not be appropriate for the standard to connect to personal experience.  In this instance, have students discuss with you their writing. Have them debate or defend their stance or ideas with you or with peers. Discussion in itself is a powerful tool, and if a student truly understands the material they’ve written about (or the AI wrote for them), then he/she/they should be able to discuss it at length. Possibly count the discussion component as part of the grade (if you’re grading the assignment).

Tips and Tricks

Draftback 📝

Although plagiarism checkers such as Turnitin and Googles Originality Reports cannot catch AI written responses, one tool that may help, just a tad, is the Draftback extension.  This extension would allow you to see if a student copies and pastes an entire chunk of writing from another source, such as an AI site. See how that tool works below.

Version History 📜

Another useful google feature that could assist you in looking over student work is Google’s version history. This can give you a very detailed timeline of work being completed, both in Google Docs and Google Slides.

In Closing

AI cannot write me a blog post with a whole bunch of fish puns and examples of how I’ve personally used technology to assist in education.  It cannot create customized, quick, videos of quickly showing a skill. It cannot replicate my experiences that I use to connect with students, and I think this is where we need to go as educators. It is a very exciting time and I cannot WAIT to see where this takes us!

Thanks for the read! 💙

oFISHally (not artiFISHally) Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟


What you can CODtrol 😜🐟

back to school

Have they started yet? You know, those back to school dreams? I don’t know about you, but mine certainly have! This will be my 19th year in education and I STILL get those back to school dreams! I recently had the pleasure of training our new teachers on classroom technology and some of the tools we use in our district. The butterflies were going as I rode up to East Bridgewater Junior-Senior High School to meet twenty new faces.  If you had watched my first twenty minutes, I stumbled quite a few times!

Although I am not a classroom teacher anymore, I still understand those nerves that many of you face.  As a parent, I understand the little bit of heartache of leaving one’s kids after a fun summer together full of adventures, as I realize this time is fleeting. As an educator, I understand the stress and anxiety of teaching in a post-pandemic world (it is a little different). All of these feelings come together at night, and cause some restless, CRAZY, sleeps! However, what brings me peace is to let go of all that I cannot control and to embrace what I can:

Excitement 🎆

Even though we all may be a bit nervous to face the year, we are also excited! LOOK at what we get to do – TEACH the future. How GREAT is that? It’s amazing that each year we get a fresh start! Another chance to try again, to improve, to grow! Not too many professions get that opportunity. I truly enjoy and love my job, and I bet you do too – otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this, right? When you start to feel nervous, reflect on how great it really is to work in education, to work with kids 💙💛.

Relationships 🫂

Relationships are at the heart of what we do. Just think of all the new relationships you will get to make this year with students, families, and colleagues. Many of these people you will meet this year are going to make a lasting impact on your life, and YOU on theirs.  I had posted this link previously, but I really LOVE this strategy of working to build relationships with students.  Give it a try, I think it will pay dividends!

Forming those relationships with your students is critical to their success. Icebreakers and activities on the first day are a great start. Take a look at some of these ideas:

As we start academics, I really like this article on feedback and building relationships with students through various instructional models.

Connecting with families also helps build the classroom community, as they are our partners in education! Sending a video or audio message with a picture is always a great way to introduce yourself, and will allow the parent/guardian to feel that connection with you. Screencastify, Mote, Flip, or Vocaroo are all great options to send video or audio! Search my blog for tips and tutorials on all of these tools!

Goals ☑️

Setting goals is something we all do at the beginning of the year, students too! Continuously revisiting these goals and monitoring progress will assist your students in becoming expert learners.  Google is at it again, and developed a Goal Setting activity you could use with students on those first few days (and later revisit!). Check it out here.\

In Conclusion 💜

Focusing on what we CAN control will help us all to be better at what we do!

  1. Get Excited – you went into education because you loved it, and you still do!
  2. BUILD those relationships – focus on those in front of you those first few days and try to reach all of them – it can be tough, but I KNOW you can do it. Know ’em so we can Grow ’em!
  3. SET GOALS – for yourself, as well as for your students, and revisit them through the year!


Remember, I am here for you! Reach out anytime, and search the blog for other back-to-school posts if you need other ideas!

Take care everyone and thank you for your valuable time reading 😊

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟

FISHBuster Video 📹🐟

Recently I read the book UDL and Blended Learning by Catlin Tucker and Katie Novak.  Many of the concepts resonated with me, particularly around using video, so much so, I had to write about it.  Anyone who knows me as a Technology Integration Specialist knows that I really enjoy video as my medium to teach.  On my YouTube channel you can find many of my brief tutorials and tips.  I find that video provides a great visual and also has so many built-in accessibility tools, which is why I use it.  When watching my videos, you can pause as you go when you want to complete a step.  You can also turn on closed captions if you need to read and listen. You can pull the transcripts and just read all of the steps. You can have the closed captions translated if needed.

I first started making videos when I was a classroom teacher for my students. If you go WAY back in my YouTube channel you can see them. Here’s an example video of a math skill.  In addition to providing students a valuable visual they could refer back too, it also took the work off of me as the teacher.  I have this collection of content, where students hear my voice, and it would free me up to work with smaller groups of students or one-on-one.  If a student was absent, or needed the skill for homework, it was there. I could find a video out there on anything, but in the time it takes to find it, I can create it and so can you. Students like to hear YOUR voice (plus I bet you can make it better than the ones you find).

In my role as a technology integration facilitator, I now create videos on the latest tech tips and updates; as well as commonly asked questions, such as how to bookmark: which is my first video as a tech integrator.  I receive many requests for short instructional videos around a skill. I also receive many thanks for these videos as well. In the grad courses I teach on technology integration, I also use video in an asynchronous model.  The data I have from YouTube, and their analytics, support my views on the effectiveness of video.  As of today, I have over 290,000 views. My sons who love YouTube make fun of me for this number. As a YouTuber, it’s pretty low, but as a teacher it’s incredibly high.  Any one of my tech tips gets hundreds of views, showing me that viewers (which I’m thinking are many staff here) do want and need the content.

When should you use Video? ⏰

According to Catlin Tucker, If you are going to explain the same thing, the same way, to everyone – make a video. It shifts control over time, place, and pace to the student (UDL and Blended Learning).  It allows students to manipulate the information in ways that are not possible during live instruction (accessibility). Recording a short 5 minute video would be more effective than providing that explanation live when students would only have one chance to “get it.” Unfortunately, when we dedicate significant amounts of class time to a basic explanation of the how for the entire class, there often isn’t time to think about supports and scaffolds that individuals may need to be successful – such as text, translations, pace of instruction, language processing etc.

Why should you use Video? 💡

This now allows YOU time to conference or have small group instruction with students potentially leaving some of that “grading” at school.  Conferencing and/or small group instruction also builds relationships and forms connections.  Video allows students who may be absent to now access your lesson, saving you time from catching them up. Videos also can provide parents with “windows into the work.”  This allows our teaching partners, as Catlin Tucker states, to have the supports they need at home to help our learners. Plus if a parent knows what a child is working on, they are more likely to provide support!

Think of how YOU learn new things.  What’s your go-to? Google? YouTube? Do you pause, rewind, fast forward? Do you have written text resources you can refer back to? Most likely you do not go sit with a person in live-time everytime you want to learn something new.  Having a video resource, that’s brief and engaging, allows for students to be able to go back and relearn, practice, and improve! It allows students to take information in visually and auditory – enable closed captions and they can read the transcript as well, activating all areas of the brain.  When YOU create the video, it adds personalization and familiarity which motivates students to watch it again and again.

Video Tips ☑️

  • Keep it short! Student engagement peaks at the 6-minute mark, so keep it brief enough. There is  subtle decline in engagement between 6 and 9 minutes and a dramatic decrease at 9 minutes. One suggestion is one minute for every year of  school (UDL and Blended Learning).
  • Chunk information, keep it simple.  Better to create a few short videos than one long video.
  • It is KEY to not overwhelm the viewer with irrelevant visuals, unnecessary info, or busy backgrounds.


Plan video instruction in three parts:

    • Pre-video activity- Assess prior knowledge, pique interest, drive inquiry, encourage prediction
    • Engagement around video content – embed questions or guided note template
    • Post-video activity – apply, extend, reflect

Video Tools ⚒️

To create video I’m a huge fan of Screencastify. I find it quick and easy! As a bonus, you can use the Screencastify link to collect data on if students watched the video. My previous blog post here, goes into more of the features of Screencastify! However, there are so many great tools out there to create video. You can even just use your phone and then easily push it to Google Classroom!

To engage with video, Google Forms or EdPuzzle are both great tools.  Embed the video you create and add some questions.  These tools also take away the YouTube clutter (if you send your videos there) AND give you some great analytics and formative data!

What a student (and current teacher) of mine said about my videos 🗣

I should also mention that I generally despise watching videos to learn how to do something (I promise I am going somewhere good with this!). I usually find videos are long with a lot of extra information and commentary – so I end up skipping around and missing what I actually need (I prefer written step by step instructions with screenshots). That being said, your videos are GREAT. They are short, to the point, no fluff and very accessible. I thought that having to watch the “how to” videos would drive me nuts, but it truly did not mind it. If you are willing, I would love to have my students watch them in the fall as I continue my technology journey.”

In Conclusion 💙

Once we embrace the reality that students can, in fact, learn without us monitoring every aspect of their experience, we benefit from exploring models that allow us to design lessons that create the space necessary to work with small groups of students. – UDL and Blended Instruction

Various models of instruction, such as a blended model, station rotation model, playlist model etc. allow us to meet students where they are, break down barriers, and maximize learning opportunities. Video can be one medium that allows us time as educators to implement various models.  We are not one-size-fits-all world, so our classrooms cannot be either. I encourage and challenge you to try just ONE short video to replace direct instruction and free yourself to work with small groups.  Use the video instruction above and see how it goes. Let me know! I’d love to hear!

Take care, everyone!

oFIShally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟


Perception 🔍👓

big mood

It has taken me some time to put this post into a concise, and thoughtful narrative worthy of your time to read it. Hence, my significant delay in writing it.  It is an area I am very passionate about, not only because of my role as a Technology Integration Facilitator but also in my role as a daughter and a mother.

Recently, I had the privilege of taking a mother-daughter trip to Florida with my 65-year-old mother. She has Kartagener’s syndrome (1:60,000) and as a result, is legally handicapped/disabled. She is on oxygen and requires a wheelchair for longer distances; her lungs simply do not support walking, especially in an already stressful environment. She can access the world as long as she has tools to break down her barrier: her portable oxygen and alternative ways to get around (i.e. wheelchair, people movers, etc). Thankfully, she is protected under the law for these options to be available to her. However, those who do not live in a world of barriers may not plan for all in every environment. It is challenging to foresee a barrier for someone else when you do not experience it yourself.  I found the world we live in today incredibly frustrating to travel for her, to the point where I thought: If this were me, I would shut down and simply not travel. It is the small tasks, that one may not perceive as challenging for oneself, that are challenging for others. For instance, lifting your carry-on into the compartment in the plane or providing someone to push the wheelchair from point A to point B in the airport at all times. The extremely long walk from the car rental location to the airport, where there aren’t wheelchairs available. Even parking! Handicap parking is available, but what happens when you need to take your placard to the vacation destination?! Barriers for my mother are everywhere. This experience translates to learning in a DEEP way, and it struck a chord with me.

If we DO NOT provide options for accessing the curriculum and plan for all, there will be students who WILL shut down.

At its core, technology integration first drew me in due to its nature of inclusivity.  Completed a math lesson today? Throw a video of it on Google Classroom (or your platform of choice) for students to review.  Have an article to read?  Throw it on Google Classroom so students can use a screen reader if they choose, enlarge the text, set the contrast etc.  Have a writing assignment? Use Google Docs so students can type, dictate, or (gasp) use paper if they want! Reviewing for a test? Use a popular game-based site to engage students; Blooket, Kahoot, Quizizz (this is GREAT blog post on that).  Many technologies were designed and implemented to make the world more accessible – whether it’s low tech (ramp, high lighter, pencil grip, calculator, etc) or high tech (Chromebook, amplification system, closed captions, VR, etc).


Perception is the FIRST level of access to learning. If a student cannot perceive the information given, he/she/they cannot access the curriculum, build upon knowledge and further internalize information.


It is very hard to sit outside of yourself and think of all the barriers that could exist in terms of students simply perceiving the information you are providing. It’s impossible really, to think of everything. So, what do we do?

Start Small

When lesson planning, and creating student activities, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Can the information I’m providing for students be easily seen? 👁
  2. Can the information I’m providing for students be easily heard? 👂
  3. Can the information I’m providing for students be easily translated? 🗣


Easily Seen eye emoji

Whether information is presented on the board, on paper, or visually, students need to be able to see it in order to access it.  This may seem like a fairly obvious point but, you may not be faced with a visual barrier.  We can make learning more accessible simply by enlarging a font.  Digitally, Control + or Command + on an Apple device will enlarge the screen thus enlarging a font to see.  As a teacher with print material, or information on display, we want to be cognizant of the font we use, the clutter on the page (or board), and the size.  Lexend Font or Open Dyslexic are both great choices for readability.  I love this article from Guy Kawaskaki about the 10/20/30 rule suggesting to use 30 point font, this size is great when presenting to an audience in terms of accessibility.  In the middle-to-upper grades, I am a huge advocate of placing the meat of the lesson in Google Classroom (or the digital platform you use). This allows students to access the information at any time and perceive it as they need. They can alter contrast, enlarge the font, and translate it as needed.  Look around your room, do you think your information posted is easily seen by all students? What is the contrast? The font? The size? The readability?

Easily Heard Bitmoji Image

Making sure students can hear your information may be a little trickier, but it is just as important as your lessons being seen.  As we know, not all of our students’ process information visually. Many, especially our early readers and non-readers, need to hear information as well as see it.  My own son, Chace, benefits from hearing information when he is reading it – he is an auditory processor! Often, I still hear him reading aloud in his room because that is what works best for him, even at 11 years old.  The easiest way to have your lessons easily heard is to read or summarize aloud to students or have students read aloud.  Having students partner read together, whisper phones, videos, are great lower-tech options for auditory information.

Video is also a great option – and you can turn on closed captions to have the video read as well. Screencastify is a great option to record lessons and you can enable closed captions. Did you know you can even slow down the rate of video on YouTube?   Screen readers are a great higher-tech option, with my favorite being Read and Write among many.  Amplification systems, like the Front Row Juno Speaker, are great for cutting out background noise so your students can best hear you. YOU may think you are loud enough, but for that student who has a barrier with background noise, amplification can really assist in perception.  Look at your lessons, can students hear the information easily?

Easily Translated Bitmoji Image

Last but not least, possibly the most challenging, can your information and/or lessons be easily translated? Luckily, there are many tools we can use low-tech or high-tech to assist.  In a previous blog post, I cover digital translation tools you can use such as Google Translate. Images and Emojis are also great options to use with our EL population as it is a common language for all our students.  Video offers excellent options for translation, as you can have the closed captions translated in live time on both YouTube and Google Meet.  What we want to avoid, which is not always easily translated, are PDFs.  Some PDFs can translate easily whereas others do not – it all depends on the source they came from! I always try to dissuade PDFs and encourage Googe Docs. Google Docs is the easy app in the suite that translates.

The End Goal Bitmoji Image

As educators, our end goal is to create expert learners. By making our lessons, activities, and assessments accessible we are increasing our students’ abilities to perceive information, build upon that knowledge, and further internalize it to become resourceful and knowledgable human beings. It can feel overwhelming to make our lessons accessible for all, however, start small by asking yourself the three questions above – seen, heard, translated. Try adding/changing ONE thing. Start small. We spend so much time planning GREAT lessons, we certainly want students to be able to access the learning!

I hope not to be away as long this time. I have so many deep thoughts floating in my brain after these past two years, with accessibility being at the forefront. Be well my friends, and reach out – after all, we are better together!


Take Care 💜

oFIShally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟

eFISHient 🐟

keyboard smash

May…my goodness, are you feeling it?  This has been the quickest, yet slowest, and certainly most challenging year!  It has been quick in the regard that we were always changing, keeping up, and doing our best to get things working the way we needed them to. We adapted!  It has felt slow due to the isolation and lack of socializing we’ve experienced this past school year.  I really miss seeing you in person!

In my opinion, the overall theme this year was maximizing our strengths so we could be most efficient and work smarter. We were already working as hard as possible.  Now, that we are in May, I don’t think anyone, or anything, is feeling the bulk and load of the year as much as the devices we’re on!  Have you noticed?  Technology seems to be running a tad slower with a few more disruptions as of late. I think the load of this year, combined with the rapid pace of updates being released, has slowed down our devices.  FEAR NOT, there are some tips and tricks we can put in place to speed things up and be more eFISHient! 🐟 🐟 🐟


So many of the technical problems I’ve fixed this year are due to updates that haven’t been installed. More times than not, it’s a hidden Windows update! Google has also been pushing out updates at a rapid pace, so students have really needed to be on top of the most recent updates in order for their devices to run eFISHiently.

Update Chrome Chrome | Google Blog

Google has been pushing out so many updates this year. Even though Chrome should just pull the most recent update, this isn’t always the case with the number of updates that have come out.  Manually checking for updates every once in a while is sure to boost your devices’ productivity.

Update Windows What is Windows?

Windows updates can be sneaky!  There are even optional updates that can hide and affect our devices. If you do not restart your device, you will surely get behind in updates and this can cause larger issues.  Take a look at the tutorial below which quickly goes over how to update your Windows 10 device.

Clear those Cookies Chocolate Chip Cookies - Menu - Speedy Café

Clearing your browsing data will certainly make your device run quicker.  Do yourself a favor and clear it out from ALL TIME, especially if you’ve never done it.  Have your students do this too – it will help a great deal with how the devices run.

Clean out Classroom Sign in - Google Accounts

By this time in the year, your Google Classroom is loaded with an extreme amount of content.  Every time a student loads Google Classroom, they are loading all of that content from the beginning of the course.  This may take the device, especially older Chromebooks, a significant amount of time.  As we know, time is a commodity in education and sometimes we simply don’t have it. We need things to load, and we need it NOW! I hate telling teachers to clean out their classrooms, since we can reuse them next year, however, consider “cleaning” it up.  If there are items you may not need for next year (due to the unique nature of this year), clear them out.  Clear out extra topics, emojis, and clutter.  This will help Classroom load a bit quicker on the student end.  If you still find that Classroom is slow to load, consider starting fresh and having students join a new classroom. I promise you – it will load super quick!

Uninstall Chrome Extensions Force The Cloud: 5 Must Have Chrome Extensions for Admins (+1 for developers)

The more extensions you have running on your Chrome Web Browser, the slower it will run.  Also, some extensions contain “bugs” and may infect your computer. If you’ve had popups or other programs not running, a bad extension could be the culprit. You can simply right click on an extension and click uninstall or you can try Extensity which is what I like to use (see below).  With Extensity, I keep all of my extensions yet only a few are running. This keeps my web experience running at a fast pace.


Clear those Downloads Downloads - PC Maritime we offer support to end-users of our products

Again, this is another task you can complete to make your device run more efficiently. Think of all the items you may have sitting in your downloads. Be sure to upload the files to your Drive or back them up another way before clearing them out if they are files you need!

On a PC

On a Chromebook

I hope these little tips help! What helps YOU to operate more efficiently? For me, it’s a good 5 mile run 🏃‍♀️. Clears my head and allows me to decompress. Be sure to take care of you, so YOU can also be eFISHient! ❤️️

Take care, everyone!

oFISHally yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟



SO many of us are now back, full-time, in-person.  It looks a bit different, but it is SO AMAZING.  As a mother of three school-aged children, my heart is so full hearing of their learning experiences now that they are in the school building for 5 days. I also love hearing about their new friends from the other cohort, new recess options, new bus friends, etc. It’s great and they are so happy. When they are excited about school, they are more engaged, and ready to learn. I’m finally hearing “I can’t wait to go to school tomorrow.”   However, as we think about how great it is to be back we cannot dismiss all of the extremely hard work we did to get to this point. There are so many silver linings of the last year that we need to hang onto as we get back to “normal” (whatever that is). These are the “Keepers” I would like to see stick around:

Collaboration 🤝

This is EASILY the number one silver lining to come out of this year.  Obviously, teachers and departments have collaborated in years past, but this year I’ve seen collaboration become a necessity to survive. We leaned on each other more than ever before.  We divided and conquered the lessons, we planned, we borrowed, we shared, and we succeeded. We NEEDED each other, and as a result, we saw HUGE benefits in terms of working smarter, and not harder (because I don’t think we could have worked any harder). Let’s not lose this – let’s learn from it and keep it around.  As a parent, I LOVED seeing that my children were getting lessons that teachers planned together. They were on the SAME page – and with twins, to me, that’s very important. Every teacher can bring their own flair to the lesson, but planning the lessons TOGETHER is equitable for all children.  I’ve also seen so much more collaboration between schools as well; teachers sharing digital lessons with each other, ideas online, so many new Facebook groups. Sharing is caring – let’s continue to care.

Google Classroom Google Classroom - Wikipedia

Oh my goodness, I’ve never been MORE PROUD of the Google Classroom use I’ve seen this year.  I hear teachers talking about Topics, using Emojis in Classrooms, having a “Master Teacher Classroom” that they pull from, reusing posts from their team members, and the list goes on and on. Many of these features have always been available, but not until the pandemic have they been used at the rate they are now.  I truly hope to see this continue as I firmly believe that posting everything in Google Classroom makes it accessible for all learners. Google Classroom was such an essential tool during hybrid and remote instruction, but can also be essential during in-person learning as well. For students to ALWAYS have access to lessons is a wonderful thing!

Technology Integration 💻

I’ve been an integration facilitator now for 5 years, with this being my 6th. Prior to this year, I had some teachers I knew that maybe were never really going to integrate technology into their instruction no matter how hard I pushed.  Then, Covid hit, and it was these teachers that relied on me the most. We had many tears, but we persevered and now all of us have so many new tech tools in our repertoire. Although technology doesn’t make a great teacher, it can GREATLY affect our students and many need it. I think the forceful integration of technology due to a pandemic allowed many to see the need for some technology purposefully integrated into daily instruction.

Virtual Meetings Meet

I have to admit, I would be so happy to NEVER see my own children on a Google Meet again in their school years. Conversely, I think virtual meetings are something we should not lose.  Having virtual meetings for PD was amazing because now we didn’t have a cap for space. I could also attend PD events all over the world without leaving my town, which is a first!  Using virtual meetings for parent-teacher conferences was awesome because more parents could attend, making it a bit more accessible to those who may have tough work schedules. I know as a parent myself, I loved the virtual conferences because I didn’t have to worry about being late by running in between each one. Virtual meetings could be used before school or after school for extra help for those who don’t have transportation.  I think we used virtual meetings in excess this year and may need a break, but they still should be “kept” around as an option going forward.

Quick Hits 💡

Lastly, I have to mention the tools that I’ve seen most used that I hope we “keep” using:

GoGuardian - YouTubeGoGuardian Teacher Dashboard – AWESOME to see teachers having this running so kiddos can ask questions in a safe space. Not all students feel comfortable raising their hand in class or approaching you. Keeping this running in-person provides a space for those who may need it.

Screencastify - YouTubeScreencastify – Using video to show and/or explain will always have a place! Making videos can be used in centers, or for students to review at home. We still may have students who have to quarantine, providing video models will give them access!

Pear Deck for Google Slides — Pear Deck PearDeck – Making your lessons interactive engages learners! Don’t just talk AT students, engage them and have them “talk” back. Again, this is another tool that may give some of your more quiet students a space to interact.

EdpuzzleEdPuzzle – Make those videos, then include questions and track WHO watches them! A GREAT TOOL for students to use while you meet with other students in class. The best part – it grades FOR you! Edpuzzle also has an amazing library of lessons already created by teachers – again, collaboration!

Google Guides - EdTechTeacher Google Tools – We have used Slides, Docs, Jamboard, and Classroom at such a high rate this year. I hope we continue to use these tools so we can reach all learners.  Not all children learn the same and by using tech purposefully in class we may reach more students than without it.

In closing❤️️:

I honestly have to say – I am so happy to see paper and pencils back out again in classrooms and the Chromebooks closed.  We all need balance, and MY GOODNESS, we have had a lot of tech this year! Of course, I went on and adopted MORE tech – be sure to check out my new Tik Tok channel for some quick tips! I’ll still post here, and to my YouTube channel. I try my best to reach ALL learners using different avenues 😍.

Take care everyone, I hope you “keep” me around!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟🐟🐟