My Instagram Teacher Account was Hacked!

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

It started out like any other day. I was up early, getting ready for work, and still running late. But I made it to work right on time. Our staff meeting was canceled due to so many teachers being out of the building (panoramic teaching), so I set up my room for the day’s lessons.

This was our second day back from winter break, so on Monday, I made sure to spend time reviewing norms, expectations, and reconnecting with my scholars. They loved the New Year’s Goals in GIFS and PICS PowerPoint Project they worked on after they completed their Do Now (Math Spiral Review). To my surprise, Tuesday was a breeze, and they were ready to dig back into our work with fractions.

At some point in the morning, I received a message in my Instagram DMs (Direct Messages) from someone who I thought was my younger cousin, A. He asked for my number and explained why, and I sent him my number. No questions asked. That was my first problem. I gave my phone number to someone who I thought I knew without asking any questions.

I am going to tell you this now, NEVER GIVE ANYONE YOUR PHONE NUMBER WITHOUT CONFIRMING WHO THEY ARE FIRST! Also, if you have already given them your number, why would they ask you again without first saying that they lost your number?

Tip Number 1

Y’all! I didn’t ask a single question! I wondered, but I never asked why he didn’t ask his mom for my number. I didn’t ask what happened to his Facebook account which is why he needed my number. I didn’t ask why he was asking me and not someone else closer to him. I didn’t even ask if he asked anyone else. I didn’t ask him any questions until right before the damage was done, and it was too late. I responded with my cell phone number. That’s it. I was focused on work.

At this point in time, everything was fine on my end. I was still able to access my Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Later on in the day, “my cousin” reminded me to send him a link that showed up on Facebook so he could get back into his Facebook account. I don’t get on Facebook that often. As a matter of fact, I don’t even have the app on my phone, therefore it took several hours before I logged into my Facebook account to copy and paste that link into my DMs for him. He responded later asking if I had a chance to get the link yet.

I am going to tell you this now, NEVER SEND AN UNKNOWN LINK THROUGH YOUR DMS! NEVER! Especially if you have not verified (via text, phone call, video call, or another person) who you are talking to. Most likely the person you think you are talking to has already had their account hacked. I learned about 15 minutes after my account was hacked that my younger cousin’s account was hacked earlier in the same day. Had I reached out to his mom, I would’ve known that.

Tip Number 2

Once I got home, I sat down to help my son with his homework, I copied and pasted the link in the DMs, and asked if it worked. He said, “Yes, and thank you.” At this point in time, I started asking how he was doing and how college tours were going. He said, “Good.” I told him I was proud of him and that he is going to do great in college, and I ended by saying I loved him. I was slightly annoyed by his short responses and thought he was being rude, but he’s a teenage boy, we don’t talk that often, and I actually didn’t have time to talk or text at length. I thought about texting his mom later to see if he was okay. He is one of the sweetest boys I know. I should’ve known it wasn’t him. I ignored all of the red flags!

Right before I copied and pasted the link in my DMs, to who I thought was my younger cousin, A, I posted in my stories. I was about to work out and I shared that in my stories. But I had a limited amount of time before I had to be at my next destination. After I finished my workout, I planned to add a post-workout photo to my stories. I took the selfie. Clicked the Instagram application, and it said I was logged out of my account. I never log out of my account. So I simply typed in my username and password. It said the password was wrong and my email address had been changed to

I panicked. I knew what happened. Someone took advantage of me hacked my Instagram and Facebook accounts.

I was able to get my Facebook account back within 24 hours by uploading my ID to the site and filling out some reports, requesting password resets. I had to try multiple times, and at one point, Facebook told me I was doing too much and wouldn’t let me upload my ID anymore. Now that I am in, I can even see posts from my Instagram account via my Facebook Business page. BUT I STILL CANNOT LOG INTO INSTAGRAM!

Immediately after the hacking, I started getting text messages from people that had my number asking me if I changed my IG Handle to @the_renewed_teachuu. Of course, I didn’t. The hacker went in, changed my login, my password, the phone numbers linked to my account, and they even added two-factor authentication to my account which I had not even done yet!

I am going to tell you this now, if you haven’t done so yet, ADD TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION TO ALL OF YOUR ACCOUNTS! ASAP! Two factor-authentication is an electronic authentication method that allows you to better protect your online accounts only granting access to a website or application after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence beyond your login and password.

Tip Number 3

My hacked account has since been changed back to @the_renewed_teacher but I still do not have access as mentioned above. The person that has control is using my name and sharing screenshots of DMS in the stories that look like I made tons of money. I mean I wish I had the money, but this is not my money y’all!

I have asked Instagram for help, written them emails, done video facial recognition. I can still see my cell phone number linked to the account, I can still receive text messages and emails at my number and email address from Instagram to put in codes to unlock my account, but I do not have the 6-digit number for the two-factor authentication. I went back to my screenshots from 2018 when I first sign up for Instagram to see if I had a screenshot of the 6-digit code and I don’t.

When I started writing this post on Wednesday, January 12th, I wished I had a happy ending. I hoped and prayed to get my account back.

As of Sunday, January 16 at 12:29 am, The Instagram Team came through! I NOW HAVE CONTROL OF @the_renewed_teacher!!!

You can’t hold a good woman back or keep a good woman down!

I have shared three tips on how you can prevent your account from being hacked:


In my next blog post, I will share what I did to get my account back in case the preventative tips above do not work.

Stay tuned for updates and more ways to renew your passion for teaching in the coming weeks!

You can’t keep a good woman down!

Happy Teaching,

Krystal L. Smith, The RenewED Teacher


How to Create a Bitmoji Classroom with PowerPoint

Recently, I posted this video Instagram and Facebook  and had many teachers requesting to help them create their Bitmoji Classrooms in PowerPoint, embed videos into PowerPoint, and get their Bitmojis to dance or as I said, “Bust a Move!” Although I am a classroom teacher, creating tutorials is not something I am used to doing for adults…yet! But I gladly obliged. Why? Well, Bitmoji Classrooms are a way that RenewED Teachers can try new things! See Day 8 of What is a RenewED Teacher?

Why PowerPoint? 

Because of Covid-19, we were forced to teach from home or not at all. Those of us that taught remotely…let’s just say when I say we showed up and out during quarantine, baby I mean we took over remote teaching and learning as if it was second nature. That’s the thing about us teachers. We are not often respected for our ability to adapt, innovate, shift with movements that occur. But we did just that! Between Zoom, Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams and other digital platforms, we made learning as conducive, relevant,  and hopefully as fun as possible for our scholars.

Because my district used Microsoft Teams, I used everything Microsoft including PowerPoint. Back in late mid-to-late April, I started seeing Bitmojis popping up online everywhere. I was already using them in my classroom as part of the decor, but teachers were putting their Bitmojis in digital classrooms! It looked like a video game to me. The thing is, most of the YouTube videos, Blogs, Instagram and Facebook posts I saw used Google Classroom. I didn’t have the time to learn a new platform, so I taught myself how to create Bitmoji Classrooms Using PowerPoint.

Let’s Get Started!

What you will need:

  • A blank PowerPoint slide
  • The website
  • The Bitmoji Extension or Bitmoji App on your phone (You can save to Google Drive or email Bitmojis to yourself)

Steps to Creating your First Bitmoji Classroom:


The RenewED Teacher

If you are a visual learner, here is a video tutorial that will help get you started with your Bitmoji Classroom as well!


Click the Classroom to access the Bitmoji Classroom Tutorial Video

Adding your Bitmoji to your Classroom Scene:


The RenewED Teacher

For more #TeacherTipTuesday Tips, click on the link to the tips on my Instagram Page @the_renewed_teacher.

I hope these tips are helpful! Here is your call to action! If you would like to sign up for a live Bitmoji Classroom Tutorial via Zoom, please send me an e-mail at, and I will follow up with you!

Here are some samples of student work from the last Bitmoji Classroom Tutorial I hosted!

Until next time, Remember to Try New Things and Happy Teaching!

Yours in Education,

Krystal L. Smith


Teaching Online: It Just Got Real

Screenshot_20200330-021809RenewED Teachers are always looking to see what is new, and how they can enhance their skills in the classroom! However, COVID-19 has most of the teachers in our country (perhaps the world) outside of their classroom these days. Because of that, many of us are moving towards some version of Remote/Distance Teaching and Learning, E-Learning, and/or Digital Instruction.

While many teachers have dabbled in flipped instruction, not all classroom educators, especially K-12 teachers, have experienced teaching 100% from the comfort of their home. According to, a flipped classroom is a type of blended learning where students are introduced to content at home and practice working through it at school. In addition to this, face-to-face instruction is mixed with online (internet/web-based) instruction. I started dabbling with this in 2011 with,, and  today with ClassDojo.


There is no blended learning right now. It is all online in the event that our Governor extends the Stay-at-Home Order beyond Tuesday, April 14th. (Update: President Trump extended social distancing through the end of April).

Now many educators have already began their digital journey and appear to be killing it! Many have been using Zoom and Google Meets. I am familiar with both, but when my district sent a survey asking how familiar I was with Microsoft Teams, I had to type in a one on that scale. That’s when my search began. And like these other educators killing it on Zoom and Meets, we are going to kill it on Teams!

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a web-based program that has capabilities for “students, teachers, and staff [to] seamlessly work together, create content, and share resources all from a single, easy-to-learn and simple to use platform” ( Microsoft Teams allows teachers to create classrooms, keep students remotely engaged, facilitate remote learning, collaborate, communicate, and personalize online instruction.

Teaching and learning online is our inevitable future. I have come to accept that this will be our new normal for the next few weeks. With that, I have continued to do research. I have also texted links to my colleagues and posted helpful sites on my Facebook page and groups I am a member of. The resources are plentiful.

Although I do not feel overwhelmed at the time, I am sure that other educators are, and this blog is here to help teachers focus on self-care. Part of healthy self-care is being pro-active and being prepared for what is here or may come. To help us all prepare for this digital instruction we are about to participate in, I am sharing the 10 resources I have come across throughout my research. It is my hope that this post will be an easy access point, a hub of sorts where teachers can visit and get tips on how to use Microsoft Teams.Screenshot_20200330-014232

P.S. If you haven’t already done so, download the Microsoft Team app to your phone or tablet.

10 Helpful Microsoft Teams Resources for Educators 


1.Microsoft Teams Interactive Demo


Demo Screenshot

2. How to use Microsoft Teams for Remote and Online Learning


3. Explore How Microsoft Teams Can Be Used in the Educational Space


4. Online Lessons using Microsoft Teams for Remote Learning

5. Top Ten Tips when Teaching with Teams

Articles/Websites/Blog Posts

6. The Microsoft Team wrote this article titled, “How Schools can ramp up Remote Learning Programs Quickly with Microsoft Teams.”

7. Jenifer Gonzales, the author of The Cult of Pedagogy, discusses her experience using Microsoft Teams.

8. From Tony is Here, Tony Phillips provides a “Teacher Guide to Presenting Remote Remote Lessons using Microsoft Teams.”

9. Dr. Monica Burns from Class Tech Tips discusses collaboration and feedback.

10. Because I foresee teaching changing due to the impact Covid-19 has had on the world, I believe this article by Steve Forbes titled “How to Improve Productivity Using Microsoft Teams” will be beneficial to us in the future.

By doing a basic Google search or going to YouTube, you will find a plethora of resources on Google Teams. This is just a starting point. I hope you enjoy these resources, and I hope they are helpful.

Have you used Microsoft Teams before? How have you found equitable ways to include ALL of your scholars? Share tips and additional resources in the comments section.

Until next time, Happy teaching and learning!

Krystal L. Smith

Communicating with Your Scholars and Families Amid Covid-19

This week was a roller coaster! Between daylight savings, a full moon, Friday the 13th, Corona-virus, and the excitement of Pi Day and the half day we had last Friday, I cannot believe we all survived!


Roller Coaster of a Ride. Image courtesy of Pixabay.

On Friday, March 13, teachers in Pennsylvania received news from our Governor, Tom


Closed for 10 Days. Image courtesy of Flickr.

Wolf that all K-12 schools would be closed for 10 business days effective Monday, March 16 due to the pandemic spread of Covid-19 in the commonwealth. This announcement was made after our scholars had been dismissed from school. Students had a half day of school while teachers stayed for professional development. During that time, we discussed Covid-19 and began preparing for schools to close as the virus continued to spread throughout the nation. We originally thought teachers would be in school on Monday and Tuesday. Students would come on Wednesday for a half day, and then we would be out for 10 days. Governor Wolf wanted all schools closed immediately. On Saturday, two cases were reported in Allegheny County. Two more reported on Sunday. Currently, there are 6 or 7 confirmed cases in the Pittsburgh region. (The data is changing rapidly.) State wise, as of Monday, March 16, there were 76 confirmed cases. On Thursday, there were only 22, and on Friday, there were 41.

With many people following the Governor’s order to socially distance themselves from family, friends, and other large crowds, how do we help the families of our scholars remotely when our schools or districts are not necessarily set up to do so?

Here are three ways I intend to do so:

Class Dojo

  • Class Dojo is an educational app and website that connects teachers, students, and families, through communication features such as feed for photos and videos from the school day, and messaging. I messaged the families of my scholars today to check in with them. I informed them that ALL schools in the district would serve food throughout the week from 11am-1pm. I also shared that an academic packet would be ready for them at the school when they arrived. In addition to this, I left them with more contact information. I sent them my e-mail address and Google Voice number.Google Voice
  • Google Voice is a telephone service (app) that provides a U.S. telephone number chosen from selected area codes, call forwarding, voicemail, voice, and text messaging services for Google Account customers for free. Because I prefer to not give my personal cell phone number to the families of my schools, I have chosen to use a Google Voice Number. What is really cool about this communication service is that I can receive and make phone calls with my Google Voice Number on my cell phone. When I call families, my Google Voice number shows up on their Caller ID. Two parents called me today, and I was able to give them more information about how long we were going to be out of school, the food at the school, the academic packets that were being sent home, and just to help relieve some anxiety that some family members
  • E-mail, well we all should know what that is, but just in case, e-mail stands for electronic mail and is a way to exchange messages between people using electronic devices via the internet. While I attempted to upload the 110 page document to Class Dojo for families to have access, I quickly learned that the file was too large to upload. I therefore e-mailed it to one of the families that e-mailed me earlier in the day, and then returned to Class Dojo to ask families to send me their e-mail addresses. However, I later learned that Dojo was having a few glitches throughout the day, and about 10 minutes ago, I was able to upload the academic packet to Class Dojo! Yay!!!

With all of this uncertainty, I think that we teachers should enjoy being at home with our families. However, I also believe that we are all in this together, and our scholars as well as their families need us to support them. These are three ways we can reach out to communicate with families amid the Covid-19 takeover.

How are you keeping in contact with your scholars and their families? What do you recommend? I have seen some really cool remote ways of facilitating communication and learning (Zoom, Google Classroom, Quizlet Live) these last few days, and I would love to hear some details on how it works and how well it works in your world!

Until next time, happy teaching from home,

Krystal L. Smith, The RenewED Teacher