Sunday, January 16, 2022

Storage, Clean Up & Recommendations You Can Do

This year I am going to have to make some big changes to my Google Drive. I am nearing the max storage for my personal account and I am going to HAVE to take care of it. I have stumbled on a super easy way to see where my storage is being used and it comes with some suggestions on what I can get rid of.

Now, I AM talking about my personal account, but if I'm smart, I'll also pay attention to my school account because education domains will soon have limited storage as well. (For more information on the differences in storage and all features, please refer to Compare Editions.) And while I am not super worried right now, I DO know that if I'm going to share easy tips, I'm going to also go ahead and take advantage of them in my school account, too!

I have a LOT in my Google account. The line showing my storage is colored yellow ... I'm at 83% full. HOW? It's not that I am unorganized it's that I've been using Google for a long time and I've been loving how it saves to the cloud and I can access it anywhere. So I've been using it. 

I found a link to see how my storage was being used at the very bottom of my Gmail awhile back and now I also see it in Drive. But I ALSO heard on John Sowash's podcast, The Chromebook Classroom, the episode called "10 Links you should click (Jan 2022)" about Google One website. It's brilliantly helpful!

Interested in what you can see and tips on cleaning up your Google account? Check out this video:

After I recorded, I emptied the trash in my Drive and saved myself 10% of my storage! Easy peasy! (And most of them were videos I had deleted.)  WOW! I even noticed that clicking on the storage cloud in Drive will take you to a list of the largest files in your Drive. Easy way to delete your larger files that you no longer need, right? 

Don't put this off ... paying for storage is not a bad idea, but don't paying for storage when you don't really have to.

I didn't mention working on organization, but if you are interested in working on that, I've got a few resources for you:

Saturday, January 8, 2022

New Year's Goals I Can Do & You Can, too!

I had this whole blog written and then I realized I had it backwards. I do not make New Year's resolutions. I have made daily resolutions for the past 2 years. I have attempted to focus on 3-5 personal and 5 school related goals each day. I include big goals and little tasks. I include boring and routine items as well as exciting and thrilling. 

And then I read John Spencer's blog post, Using the SLIME Method for Setting New Year’s Resolutions, and I knew exactly what I had been missing (ok, I actually listened to his podcast, also linked in the article above). 

I LOVE John's proposal to do AND let go ... to keep doing AND get better ... and to have fun. And to wrap it up with the acronym "SLIME"? So fun! And be sure to read all the way through John's post. Near the bottom, he covers the difference between process & product goals. This is critical because I believe they go together. I realize that by having my daily goals/tasks, I am itemizing my process goals in order to achieve my product goals. After listening to John, I realize how important these daily goals/tasks are to me in order to achieve my larger product goals. Yes! 

Here are my 2022 SLIME goals/resolutions - I firmly believe that writing them down and sharing them makes me more accountable. 

Start: use Smore to share out resources in a more "collection" manner
Let go: of the stress & guilt I put on myself
Improve: my time spent with my family - both immediate & extended
Maintain: the new strength training consistency
Experiment: work on a top secret project (or two!)

Can you do this with students? Sure! They may not fully understand it without your guidance but John's graphics and built in suggestions can help. This could also make a great mid-year reflection and writing or video or creative assignment. 

Are you looking for other activities to do with your students at the beginning of this new year? I've started building "The New Year" Wakelet Collection.  If you have something I could add, I'd love to know about it! Please post it below or tag me on social media. We are better together!

Monday, December 20, 2021

Ctrl + F and other Shortcuts You Can Do

I'm going to wrap up the year with an easy Tech You Can Do share. Keyboard shortcuts are a favorite of mine and super helpful! I can remember when I first learned about them ... I wrote "Cmd + C = copy" & "Cmd + V = paste" on a post it note and put it on the lower part of my monitor. The sticky has long worn off and I've committed those two to memory, along with many others.

Today, I want to show how valuable the "Ctrl + F" keyboard shortcut is. [Remember if you are on a Mac, substitute "command" for "ctrl".] You can use this shortcut in several different places ... websites, Google Docs, Sheets, Drive, and even on most PDFs! 

If you find this shortcut helpful, add it to your repertoire & tell a friend or two! And if you are looking for more useful shortcuts, be sure to check out my Wakelet collection all about Keyboard Shortcuts! So many good ones tucked in there! 

Do you have a shortcut I can add to the collection? Just give me a shout on the socials or in the comments below ... I'd love to add on.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Spelling Lists You Can Do

I've have used and shared about Flippity numerous times. [Check out my posts about Flippity - they are listed at the bottom.] Today I am sharing it for another very specific purpose. "Spelling Words". Spelling is something students need to learn and with access to technology, Flippity will allow some independence during this learning. I have even used it very successfully with my own daughters!

Flippity is created from a Google Sheet. The template for each type of Flippity you want is included on the website (along with instructions and a demo). provides at least 25 activities you can customize for your students. Everything from a digital breakout, to a name spinner, to mad libs, a leaderboard, and even printable bingo cards! I could share about all of these - and I encourage you to check them out - but, let me get back to spelling.

Here's how Flippity has impacted me personally -- all three of my girls brought home the standard list of 20 or so spelling words and we struggled to study. I randomized the order and included a sentence and they hated that. I explained they needed to master the spelling, not memorize the order. The didn't like that I did it different from their teacher. So when I found Flippity's Spelling Words, the arguing stopped. They were in control!

Here are several ways you might use Flippity in your classroom to help students master spelling and save yourself time in the long run!
  • Create 1 Flippity for your entire class - this would be if all students learned all the same words at the same speed; each week 
  • Create 1 Flippity for each student - this is a perfect way to differentiate and give each student the "right" words at the right speed for that child
  • Have students create their own - definitely a step up, but again allows students to have a very differentiated learning experience.
There ARE additional bonuses:
  • it's FREE!
  • easily duplicate the template
  • sharing is super easy - make sure you share it with parents!
  • sentences can be included for context, but not required
  • will speak the words (& sentences)
  • 3 ways to study - List ... Practice ... Quiz
  • possibility of getting very basic results via email

Here is a quick overview of Flippity's Spelling words in action:

Other posts about Flippity you might be interested in - clearly I love sharing about Flippity!:

How can YOU use Flippity in your class?

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

PDF to Google Doc You Can Do (& why you should!)

Teachers use a wide variety of tools and resources on a daily basis. It never ceases to amaze me when I talk to teachers what, how, and why they use all of them. My absolute favorite conversations are when our conversations move to the pain points and I learn through all of the tools in their tool belt, they still have more to learn and I can help with the pain point. PDFs are one of these pain points.

Let me be clear - PDFs are great! They have a very important place. But inside a classroom ... with students? I think our goal needs to be to use fewer PDFs. For all the reasons they are great, they limit the interactivity and accessibility for our students. Here are just a couple of reasons why PDFs are great ... and problematic in the classroom:
  • "locked" ➣  GREAT - retain the shape shared in; TROUBLE - students can't manipulate/interact with
  • easy to open ➣ GREAT - PDFs really can be opened regardless of program, software, or device; TROUBLE - depending on the type of PDF, may not retain accessibility for screen readers
For the first reason, yes, 3rd party software and tools can allow for annotation and accessibility, but WHY use a 3rd party when you can provide that without forcing students to use one more set of tools? This is a specific pain point I've witnessed over the past 2 years, both at work and with my own daughters.

Pause and look at all the tools and programs YOUR students use on a daily basis. It's truly amazing ... and you might find it is a spot you can ease up. There IS value in using fewer tools and programs and getting REALLY good at them before adding one more.

Sound familiar? As a teacher, don't we ALL feel that way? "Please do not give us "one more" thing/tool/ program/requirement ..."? Your students are on the receiving end of this, too.

Ok! Get to the point! Here's my point:

We ARE in control and we CAN choose differently for ourselves and our students.

Let's turn more of our PDFs into tools that our students are already familiar with and can interact with and have the accessibility they need. Let's turn those PDFs into Google Docs (or Slides, if you prefer)!!! And, it's super easy! After 4 simple steps and a little bit of formatting clean up, you can take any PDF and turn it into an editable Google Doc that you can share and/or manipulate. To better demonstrate, here's a Slide deck you can reference and share out to others.

Check it out ... I promise it IS easy and you can do it! And I promise you WON'T regret it.

*UPDATE - Dec. 10* Here's a video of the process in action! 

Questions? Need or want some help? Be sure to reach out on the socials - all my links are below my photo. I really do think you will find value in making this shift.