How to Help Students Run a Genius Bar

From the Ask a Tech Teacher team: ideas on a student-run genius bar:

How to Help Students Run a Genius Bar

Modeled after Apple’s popular tech support stations, a Genius Bar in a school setting is a student-run help desk where peers provide tech support, advice on digital tools, and assistance with various tech-related issues. Teachers play a crucial role in guiding students to run this service effectively, ensuring it becomes a valuable resource for the entire school community.

By providing the necessary support and structure, teachers can help students develop leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving skills through the Genius Bar. (more…)

June is Internet Safety Month

June is National Internet Safety Month, thanks to a resolution passed in 2005 by the U.S. Senate. The goal is to raise awareness about online safety for all, with a special focus on kids ranging from tots to teens.

Here’s a short list of internet cautions I got from an online efriend a few years ago. I reprint it every year because it covers all the basics, avoids boring details, and gives kids (and adults) rules to live by:

Not everything you read online is true

It used to be anything we read in print was true. We could trust newspapers, magazines and books as reliable sources of information. It’s not the same with the web. Since anyone can become published, some of the stuff you’re reading online isn’t true. Even worse, some people are just rewriting stuff they read from other people online, so you might be reading the same false information over and over again. Even Wikipedia isn’t necessarily a reliable source. If you’re researching something online, consider the source. Some poorly written, random web page, isn’t necessarily a good source. However, if you find a .gov or .org site, the information has a better chance of being true. Always look at who owns the website and whether or not they have an agenda before considering whether or not certain information is true.


World Environment Day: Living Responsibly with Nature

World Environment Day, celebrated annually on June 5th, is designed for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Established in 1972 by the United Nations General Assembly and first held in 1974, it has grown with participation from over 143 countries.


World Environment Day serves as a reminder of our collective responsibility to protect and preserve the environment. It encourages individuals, communities, and governments to take concrete actions towards sustainable development and to address critical environmental challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.

Activities and Impact

Mark the day with various activities such as:

  • Educational events: Workshops, seminars, and discussions on environmental issues
  • Clean-up campaigns: Community efforts to clean up litter and pollution in local areas
  • Tree planting: Reforestation and afforestation efforts to combat deforestation
  • Art and cultural activities: Exhibitions, concerts, and performances that promote environmental awareness

Getting Involved

People can get involved in World Environment Day by:

  • Participating in local events: Join clean-up drives, tree planting, or educational workshops.
  • Spreading awareness: Use social media to share information about environmental issues and advocate for change.
  • Making lifestyle changes: Adopt more sustainable practices such as reducing plastic use, conserving water, and minimizing carbon footprints.


World Environment Day continues to be a vital platform for fostering environmental stewardship and encouraging global cooperation in the fight for a healthier planet.


Subscriber Special: June Special Add-on with School License


Every month, subscribers to our newsletter get a free/discounted resource to help their tech teaching.

June 4th-6th:

Buy any K-8 School License

get 2 free print books of the grade level you purchased

(Please note: new orders only; domestic or freight-forwarders only)

Usually, you get one desk copy for each grade level included in your school license. Between June 4th-6th get two per grade level. That’s enough for a team to each have one.

To take advantage of this special, purchase from Structured Learning with PayPal or a PO. Email us (admin at structuredlearning dot net) with your proof of purchase. We’ll send the extra books.

What is a school license?

A School License is a multi-user PDF of most books (or videos where available) we offer–textbooks, curricula, lesson plans, student workbooks, and more–that can be used on every digital device in your school–iPads, Macs, PCs, Chromebooks, laptops, netbooks, smartphones, iPods whether they’re in a classroom, the library, one of the tech labs. As many as the school wants. It is perfect for private schools, independent schools, charter schools, public schools–any school with a 1:1 program, multiple computer labs, or classroom computer pods.

Benefits of a School License

  • provide an overarching curriculum map for using technology in your school
  • provide access to full text PDF from every digital device in your school, 24 hours a day. This maximizes productivity and student independence.
  • enable flexible learning paths as students work at their own pace, with the ability to review or work ahead as needed
  • share tech-in-ed pedagogy to infuse your school with technology 
  • enable teachers to vertically integrate with core grade-level teachers
  • provide multiple authentic and organic formative and summative assessments
  • provide free online Help via Ask a Tech Teacher (staffed by educators who use SL resources). 

Benefits of School License for Students

  • provide easy access to monthly lessons, how-tos, rubrics, project samples, practice quizzes, grade-level expectations, homework, images, and checklists (grade level Scope and Sequence and the Ready to Move On monthly keyboard workbooks lists, for example)
  • provide full color instructions that can be zoomed in on for greater detail
  • allow a convenient place to take lesson notes (using a PDF annotator)
  • encourage students to be independent in their learning, work at their own pace. This is great both for students who need more time and those who ‘get it’ and want to move on
  • enable a quick way to spiral up for quick learners or back to earlier resources for student needing to scaffold their learning
  • prepare students for the rigor of end-of-year summative testing


Harley Wade from State of Writing created 7 Tips for Creating a Budget in High School

It’s graduation time for High School seniors, that moment when they take over their own bills, budgets, and balancing income with outcomes. The Ask a Tech Teacher crew has some great times from Harley Wade on that subject:

Harley Wade from State of Writing created 7 Tips for Creating a Budget in High School

High school is the best time to start learning responsible financial management. If you get a grip on your financial literacy early, you will be able to handle your money more efficiently throughout your life. Financial literacy is defined as the ability to understand how to use financial tools, including personal financial management, budgeting, and investing. The following seven tips by Harley Wade from State of Writing will help high school students learn how to budget properly.

1. Understand Your Income Sources

The first step is figuring out how much money you’re bringing in. What does your parent(s) give you for allowance? How much money do you make from a job or a weekly babysitting or lawn mowing gig? Whenever you have a source of income, it’s good to know exactly how much you’re getting each month. This puts a strict limit on what you have to spend and what you realistically expect to save.

2. List Your Necessary Expenses

A famous Swedish proverb says, “He who buys what he does not need, steals from himself”. To avoid this scenario, list any and all of your regular expenses (phone bill, transportation, school fees, etc), separating wants from needs. Harley Wade from State of Writing suggests that you allocate some funds towards writing services for when you’re too tired or stressed by Googling “Who can write my coursework?”. This will help you find a budget-friendly writing service. Listing all your necessary expenses not only forces you to pay more attention to your priorities, but you’ll also notice where most of your money goes. It also forces you to be prepared for higher-than-normal expenses without your typical budget getting derailed.

3. Set Savings Goals

To get there, it’s essential to set goals about what you will want for yourself down the line. Here’s how you can do it:

4. Allow for Leisure Spending

There is nothing wrong with spending money on things you like! Set aside a portion of your money for entertainment and hobbies. This money can be for movies, games, or eating out with friends. Keeping money for leisure within a certain limit will ensure that you enjoy your money guilt-free rather than feeling like you are wasting it or that you are missing out on something.


5. Track Your Spending

Track everything. Here’s a simple guide on how to track your spending:


  • Use a Budgeting App. Install a budgeting app on your phone to log expenses easily. Apps like Mint or YNAB automatically categorize your spending, making it easy to see where your money goes.


  • Keep Receipts. Save receipts from purchases and log them weekly into a spreadsheet or notebook. This can help you remember cash transactions or small purchases that add up over time.


  • Set Spending Alerts. Many banking apps allow you to set alerts for when you spend money. This can help you stay aware of your spending habits and avoid overspending.


  • Review Bank Statements. Regularly check your bank statements to ensure all transactions are correct and to keep track of your spending patterns over time.


  • Reflect Weekly. Set aside time each week to review what you’ve spent and compare it to your budget. Adjust your spending as needed to stay on track with your financial goals.


By consistently monitoring where your money goes, you can gain better control over your finances and make more informed decisions about your spending.

6. Review and Adjust Regularly

Plan your budget now, but leave it open for review. Every month, go back and look at your budget and ask yourself: would this budget still work for me right now? Maybe your side hustle gave you a raise. Maybe it wasn’t realistic to budget $25 per week for dinner out with friends. Maybe rent money was more flexible than expected. Regular reviews allow you to tweak your savings and spending to adapt to change.

7. Learn from Mistakes

If you go over your budget, know that you’re not alone – statistics show that over 80% of Americans exceed their monthly budget. We all blow budgets from time to time – maybe we went over our food budget last month because our cousin visited and we felt like treating her, or we didn’t manage to transfer any money into our savings account because we got caught up with something else. Rather than beating yourself up, use these as learning experiences. Work out what you did and why you did it, and try not to do it again in the future. This can make your budgeting skills a lot stronger in the long run.

Building Financial Confidence

Juggling a budget and sticking to it in high school isn’t just about the money, it is also about helping develop the confidence to become more independent. The seven tips will help you fully engage in the present while paving the road to a secure financial future. Budgeting isn’t easy, but you can move towards your financial goals one smart decision at a time.

Author: Philip Richardson

Philip is an article writer and a financial advisor. He loves sharing tips on how people can budget and manage their money. His goal is to help his readers achieve financial literacy.

–image credit Deposit Photos

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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

10 Tips of Mastering Time Management as a Student

Effective time management will not only lead to success in achieving your goals, but also help you maintain your mental well-being. So, let’s learn more about it from the Ask a Tech Teacher team. Some of these tips you may already know, but others–never a bad time to save time. 

10 Tips of Mastering Time Management as a Student


Finding a proper balance between extracurricular activities, academics, social life, and personal interests can feel overwhelming.

And as human beings, most of us always want to make space for our loved ones too. However, unfortunately, we usually can’t achieve this because of not having enough time or not organizing our schedules properly. This is why effective time management is crucial for students.

It will not only lead to success and happiness in achieving your goals, but also help you maintain your mental well-being. So, let’s learn more about it. (more…)