Silver Linings

Brandi KellyBlog, Innovate Better, Tech Better


  • Through these difficult times, the emerging opportunities are our silver linings.
  • Some new tech tools to try are Google Keep, Time Timer App, Kahoot, Watchkin, Padlet, and more.

Teaching in a Pandemic

Throughout the last year, COVID-19 has created difficult circumstances for many people in our world. For example, sickness, lockdowns, and school closures have taken their toll on individuals. I am, however, beginning to see opportunities emerge as we strive to overcome our difficulties.

These silver linings provide hope in difficult times. I am always looking for the opportunity to inspire, empower, and motivate others to reach their full potential. There is greatness in each of us! Opportunities are abounding, but we have to be open to them! Are you open to finding the greatness within yourself, your colleagues, and your students?

Technology is a tool for improving teaching and learning. But there is no replacement for the teacher! Educators are amazingly creative, resilient, and innovative if given the right resources to act! Click To Tweet

Silver Linings: Tech Tools for Teachers

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the LTC of Illinois Remote Learning Conference. Wow! There are so many educators out there with so much knowledge and expertise. I have learned a lot about technology, tech tools, and how to best integrate these tools to improve teaching and learning. I am excited to share this information with my teachers in the coming weeks. Here is a brief summary of my new learning.

Google Suite

  • Google Keep is an underrated tool in G Suite. It can be used to create lists, take notes, etc. You can find this in your “waffle” icon in your Google Drive. It is also accessible in your browser or on your mobile device. Additionally, collaborators can be added. 


  • Time Timer App. Timers can be very helpful for educational purposes. This app is useful for self-regulation purposes. 
  • Kahoot provides interactive quizzes to increase student engagement. Easy game creation and the ability to host live quizzes with 2000+ live contestants are a couple of the highlighted features of Kahoot.

Chrome Extensions

  • Watchkin – When someone shares a YouTube video with you, just copy and paste the URL into the search box. You’ll be taken to a clean page to watch your video. No distracting or potentially offensive videos will appear. Other options:,
  • 360 Time Tracker Extension is a task planning timer for the 360 Thinking Executive Function clinical model.
  • Padlet is a type of discussion board. Padlet is an easy-to-use tool to share ideas and promote collaboration.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Additionally, there is also Nearpod, Flipgrid, Mentimeter, and much, much more. Technology is a great tool to use in order to engage learners! However, I want to encourage you to start small. If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. To begin, select 1-3 tools to explore based on your level of proficiency with technology.

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Silver Linings: Reflect and Innovate

Technology is a tool for improving teaching and learning. But there is no replacement for the teacher! Educators are amazingly creative, resilient, and innovative if given the right resources to act!

First, reflect on what you have done or what you are currently doing in an effort to find a silver lining during this pandemic.

Then, consider adding a few new tech tools to your “bag of tricks.”

Finally, implement and innovate! You deserve it and your students deserve it!  Have fun exploring! And feel free to reach out to me if you have questions.

About Brandi Kelly

Mrs. Brandi Kelly is currently a Middle School Principal in the Sangamon Valley School District. Sangamon Valley Middle School is a small middle school in Illiopolis, IL west of Decatur, IL. Brandi began her career as a school social worker in the Effingham School District. She has served as a building administrator in three districts to date: Ramsey School District, Mt. Zion School District, and Sangamon Valley School District. Brandi has been in the field of education for 20 years and has served as a building administrator for 9 years. Her goal is to build teacher and student capacity by providing tools and strategies that empower and inspire others toward greatness!

Brandi believes that everyone can learn and has the potential for greatness. Relationships are incredibly important to the learning process. It is necessary for educators to invest time in students to build relationships in an effort to maximize their influence and impact.

Brandi is a wife and mother of two children. She is passionate about learning, growing, and inspiring others to do the same. She is an inspirational educator and leader and works diligently to empower others each and every day.