How to Hear Alarm Sound Notifications with Google Calendar Reminders Without Getting Embarrassing Phone Calls in the Middle of Your Class

As a new teacher, I often have trouble keeping track of doing everything I need to in one day — from giving back the billion papers I just graded, to giving a student make-up work, to meetings, to making copies of assignments, to remembering to move on from one part of the lesson plan to another.

As a teacher, one problem about using your phone to remind you about all the tasks you need to do that day is that you can’t take calls during the day! So how are you going to hear your notifications with your phone set on silent? Of course you could set a separate alarm each day for everything you need to do. But it’s a bit cumbersome. I researched this problem for hours, hoping to find another way using Google Calendar. And there is a way — you can be the judge of whether it’s better for your needs. Hopefully this post will save you some time. Scroll below for some screenshots that will help you set up sound reminders/alerts/notifications in google calendar quickly and easily (or at least hopefully more easily than it was for me without the screen shots).

Here’s an overview (at least for Android phones, including LG, but probably others as well):

  1. Set up Google Calendar Reminders.
  2. Set your phone to Airplane mode.
  3. Now, go into Settings on your phone. Under notifications, you can set the sound that will notify you when you have a reminder. Now, you’ll hear an alert sound when it’s time to go to that meeting, or to switch focus so students have enough time for the cool part of the lesson you planned, or give students enough time to do their exit tickets so they don’t scowl at you on their way out the door. And you won’t get phone calls in the middle of class. Dignity maintained, hypocrisy averted! The downside is your calls will go directly to voicemail, but if that’s workable for you, then hey, it works.

Here is a slightly more in-depth explanation, with screen shots showing how to switch from Tasks to Reminders in Google Calendar, and set sound alerts at a specified time:

Scroll down to “My Calendars” on the left side, and click the little arrow next to Tasks. Then click “Switch to Reminders.” Not sure why, but you can only have one or the other at a time. It looks like switching from Tasks to Reminders in Calendar will still let you see your tasks in your Gmail Inbox. In the photo above, you see “Reminders” instead of “Tasks” because I already switched — and I think I’m going to stay with Reminders.

To make a reminder, click on a blank place in your Google Calendar, then click the Reminder tab instead of the Event tab.

Set a time.

Don’t forget to set the sound you want in your phone’s sound settings, and test it out before class in airplane mode. Also, make sure that your calendar is updated with all the reminders you’ll need for the day before you put your phone in airplane mode.

Now the only thing you have to do actually grade the next billion papers, and have the exit tickets ready to go when your reminder sounds. Good luck, hope this helps!

Note: There might be better ways to do this, but so far I haven’t found one. A big thanks to “melmoe” and “Hook” for their question and answer on this forum that helped solve the problem. Also, thanks to this article in Wired which also helped. This post is not affiliated with Teach Like a Champion, Doug Lemov’s book. You can learn more about that here.

Our humble beginnings

What formed first, you may ask, our mouths or our anus? It’s not completely unlike asking, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” The answer to both questions is the latter: the egg, and, at least for us human beings, the anus.

We human beings are deuterostomes, which means “second mouth.” Think of the book in the bible, Deuteronomy, which means “second book” or “second law.” Protostomes are those creatures whose mouth formed first, before the anus. They include worms, insects, crustaceans, snails, squid, and octopi. Deuterostomes include us, other animals with backbones like lemurs, lizards, salamanders, frogs, and also the echinoderms, spiny skinned creatures like starfish, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers.

Does this mean that we are more closely related to starfish than to octopi? It seems insufficient to count only the beginnings, when we may have taken different paths but arrived at similar places: with two eyes, and the keen intelligence to open jars to get at what’s inside.

Another surprise is that when the first cells divide after fertilization, they are determined in protostomes, but not for deuterostomes. Is this way a starfish are able to keep regenerating arms? Do the cells maintain that undifferentiated ability to become whatever is needed? And how were people able to determine that the early cells in deuterostomes remained undifferentiated? Did researchers actually go in and separate some cells of a fertilized egg/blastula, and all the separated cells became whole animals?