Sunday, August 1, 2021

Summer Learning I did, and You Still Can Do

Before the new school year kicks in, I wanted to recap the learning I've done and shared this past summer. I'll be starting back to school in about 2 weeks. How has time has gone by so quickly?

This past summer wasn't as busy for me as the summer before, but I didn't sit around either! I needed a break more than I thought I did and I was grateful my family was able to go on our COVID-delayed vacation in June.

I know many of us are STILL taking a much deserved break, but some are busily preparing for the upcoming school year and looking for some learning. Rest assured, these learning opportunities aren't going anywhere and plenty of others will join them.

The first item I want to point out is the "Professional Learning" tab at the top of my site. I have been collecting free &/or low cost professional development for awhile now and have it all here on this page. There are filters at the top you can use to better guide your search along with the ability to do a keyword search. There is a TON out there ... so be sure to take a look. And come back in a week or so, I'm sure I'll be adding to it.

Next, I want to share the summer series I did with Dr. Desiree Alexander, of Educator Alexander. She is my Google Innovator Coach and who I also did an Intro to Google Series with during the summer of 2020. BOTH of these series and their resources can be found on our site, "Level Up with Google". The Level Up series is at the top and the intro series is at the bottom. There are 6 two hour webinars in the Level Up, covering Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drawings & Jamboard, and Sites. The Intro series has 10 two hour webinars covering Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drive, Classroom, Forms as Assessments, collection of Google Apps, Chrome, and Sites. 

AND I was able to do my first in-person presentations last week at a great conference here in Cincinnati called "High AIMs". Wow! Did it feel both great and weird at the same time! I presented twice - once solo, and once with a colleague. For my solo session, I share numerous ways you can use Google Sheets in the classroom (including pre-made templates you can go ahead and share). For the joint session, Brittney Priore and I share our brand new project, Tech With Littles. Brittney is a 1st grade teacher and she and I teamed up to create Tech with Littles to further help and promote the "purposeful integration of technology" in your classroom, with a focus on the littlest learners. I'm SUPER excited about this ... it's not just activities you can do, but also the thinking behind them and the WHY we need to purposefully integrate technology into our classrooms. Both sessions and their resources are on "My Presentations" tab. (You will need to search for earlier events, as they are over.)

My summer isn't over, yet, and I still have some presentations to go. The next will be at the G-Tech Summit this Wednesday, August 4. I will do 3 presentations. You can still sign up for this awesome, FREE, and virtual summit and join in all the goodies! Jon Corippo and Jake Miller will be doing keynotes so you definitely do NOT want to miss out! You can sign up - for FREE - on their website, G-Tech Summit. All of my sessions are showing on "My Presentations" tab already.

This week on Friday, I will present twice at the SPARCC Conference, hosted by Eric Curts and friends. One session is a pre-recorded session "Start Your Digital Year on the Right Foot" and one live - virtual - session "Start Google Classroom on the Right Foot". This, too, is FREE, and you can still sign up on the main SPARRC Conference site. You will find links to both the live and prerecorded sessions here. I'd love to "see" you!

And finally, to wrap it up, before summer wraps up, I will also be recording my presentations for Kasey Bell's "Shake Up Learning Back to School Conference". It's not until later in September, but being pre-recorded sessions, so I need to get mine done before school kicks into gear. As Kasey would say, I'm #SuperExcited for this! YOU can register - it's FREE, all on-line, and you can watch and re-watch as many of them as you'd like. There is the ability to upgrade your access with her "All Access Pass" and hold onto access to these videos AND so many more of her wonderful classes, if you are interested.

Bottom line - as much as I needed and wanted a break, my break didn't happen by turning my brain off. I keep learning everyday and I've enjoyed doing so. I hope you are interested in at least one of the above learnings - let me know which one helps you the most!

Reach out with comments below or any of the social media links above. I'd love to hear from you! Enjoy!


Sunday, July 25, 2021

Summer Sunday Tip #7: Goals You Can Do

This is my last Summer Sunday Tip and it's all about looking forward. If you've followed me for awhile, you know that I am a goal-setter. I am a BIG believer in goals and I think you should, too!

I set goals professionally.

I set goals personally.

I set goals physically.

I set goals mentally.

I haven't always written them down, and I've shared them out even less. I believe in goal setting, but I'm also afraid to share with others my goals, in case I don't succeed ... I know I need to be better about this. It's not that I'm afraid I won't reach the goal, it's more that I don't want others to see me as a failure. (It's crazy, right!?!)

This is my FINAL "Summer Sunday Tip" - set goals for yourself. 

Set short and long term goals. Set as many as you want ... and then prioritize them. Which ones can you do NOW? Which ones need to wait a little bit? Which ones will take you longer? Which ones do you need someone else to help you with them?

I write my goals out for the entire calendar year. Then I identify ones I want to achieve in each month. And then I write daily, ones that I want to do today to remind me of their importance. Nothing super fancy, I write in my notebook.

Here's a peek at some of mine:

* what's left of this summer 👉family pictures; finish overhauling the hall closet; paint the pantry; hang wallpaper in our 1st floor hallway

* upcoming school year 👉adjust to the shift in my role with the opening of a new building; publicize the Staff Help hub; create a better parent resource

* for my blog 👉try to publish once per week; work on improvements; get back to sharing on my TYCD: Resources

* for my joint ventures  👉work faithfully at sharing out

* physically  👉 keep up with running; regularly strength train; work on core strength

* family life  👉stay conscious of time and needs; be supportive; eat healthier ... minimize eating out; BE there

I hope that you set - and achieve! - the goals you set for yourself. Goals can always be adjusted, never beat yourself up over not achieving them. Heck, 2 weeks ago, I finished painting the cabinet in my daughter's bathroom that I had planned on getting done over Christmas break! But I don't give up. It might take me longer than I had planned, but I'll do it.

That's my ultimate goal - do what I set out to do, and do it to the best of my ability.

Next week, I'll return and share the learning adventures I've done this summer. I'll also share some exciting new adventures I'm taking on!!!


Sunday, July 11, 2021

Summer Sunday Tip #6: Clean Up Classroom You NEED to Do

I'm not a big fan of repeating myself so soon - but today's tip is a SUPER IMPORTANT step. And I'll admit, cleaning hasn't really ever been my thing. BUT with the last couple of years, I've become a big believer in keeping our digital spaces neat and tidy, just like our living spaces. While majority of my blogs are aimed towards teachers who use Google and its products, you can easily swap out any LMS for today's FINAL "Summer Sunday Tip" --> 

Clean it up.

Whatever that means. 

Return work, archive classes, recycle/trash what needs to be, and start this coming year with a fresh slate. I am familiar with a couple of LMS's, and see a ton of value in just archiving - makes it super easy to reuse assignments, materials, resources in the future. So depending on your specific LMS, you may need to adjust a few of the steps. 

I shared these Slides in early May and if you've not yet done these 4 things ... why??? I beg you - do it for you and do it for your students. 

Often, our students are stuck with what teachers don't take care of. You'd never want your new students to walk into class with their backpack still full of last years papers, notebooks, and work, right? That's what not cleaning up our digital space does for them.

This is all pretty easy and straightforward ... so waste time. Do it!


AND ... I'm over halfway done with my "Level Up with Google" summer webinar series. We've covered leveling up with Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms. This week we are looking at Drawings & Jamboard (in one webinar) and Google Sites. Whew! That's a lot of leveling up! You can find all of the information and register for these FREE webinars on our website: Level Up with Google

Also - make sure to jump over to My Presentations tab and check out all of the places you'll find me this summer.

Questions? Comments? Reach out using any of the contact links on the top right, under my picture. I'd love to hear from you?


Sunday, July 4, 2021

Summer Sunday Tip #5: Rest & Reflection You Can Do

Going back to a more personal Summer Sunday Tip, when July starts, the newness of summer break has worn off and I start to feel a bit "unsettled". I feel a little panicky and out of sorts. I know I shouldn't, but July 1 always hits me ...

JUNE. IS. OVER.

How is this possible? How is summer approaching the half-way mark already? Yikes!

Now, there really is no reason to panic - I still have about 6 weeks before school starts. And just today I checked a big "to do" off my list - one that has been nagging for me to do since I put it on my Christmas Break to do list! Woot! Woot! I still have plenty of time to soak up summer and all the goodness it holds - the sun, the relaxed pace, extra family time, the late nights, the DIY projects, and more.

How do I do this? Honestly, every morning when I journal, I feel like I am also reflecting. It's nothing fancy and it's not difficult. What did I get done yesterday? What do I need - and what do I want - to do today? And by doing this, it helps me focus my attention on smaller pieces to my larger goals. If you are familiar with brain dumps, you know how helpful (and cathartic) it can be to jot down the things running through your brain. That's what journaling does for me each day. 

If you've not ever tried it, I highly recommend pulling out a notebook and try it. I've been faithfully journaling every day for the past 18 months. I even shared a blog about it last March in "Uncertain Times You (& I) Can Do". I don't buy fancy notebooks and my layout has evolved over time. (I do love a good pen - currently I'm loving the scrapbooking blue pen I'm using for the month of July.)

Now ... how about you? Are you staying up late? Catching up on books you've collected? Playing taxi and driving your kids around everywhere? Starting a new work out program? Lounging by the pool? Working on some continuing ed? DIY projects around your house? Binge watching a show on tv?

What ever is occupying your time this summer, I hope you are finding rest and recuperation through it. We all rest and recuperate differently, so enjoy it! 

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Summer Sunday Tip #4: Organize Drive - Yes! You Can!

This week my focus goes back to technology. I've been seeing in lots of places teachers asking about switching jobs and how to take their files with them to a new school. It's entirely possible with Google Take-out, but the Google admin has to have allowed it and you have to wait and hope that it works. I'm not against trying it, but I also think there are a lot of possible things to go wrong, so I have a different way of tackling this job.

Since it's summer time, it's a great time to go through your Drive and clean it up a bit because if you weren't aware - Google will be imposing some limitations on storage. Boo! I've had my time to cry over this - and now I'm ready to make the best of it.

Nearly 2 years ago, I wrote a post "Google Drive Organization You Can Do" where I shared 6 steps to help you organize your Drive. I am sharing it again today because the steps still hold value. Organizing your Drive is NOT easy ... for most teachers, it's not fun, so I cannot stress this enough ... set a timer and do it over several days or even a couple of weeks. (I talk about this in Step 3.) You can set aside 10-15 minutes and you'll be shocked at how fast the time goes.

Now, for those of you leaving one school and going to a different school - now is the BEST time for you to tackle this. I find that we tend to hold on to a lot of unneeded files. Take this time to go through your Drive and decide what you REALLY want to keep.

I'd strongly recommend the following proceed in conjunction with the 6 Steps from the post above:

  • in your CURRENT Drive make 2 folders "Keep" and "Don't Need"
  • go through your Drive using the 6 steps - and quickly make a decision as to which folder you need to move it to
  • once you're done, share the "Keep" folder to your PERSONAL account with editing
  • in your personal account, make copies of all the files (you can select multiple files at one time and use the "make a copy" to make copies of all of them at once)
  • you can un-share the "Keep" folder which will take the originals away from your personal account
Here is the slide deck with my 6 tips to Google Drive Organization.


Now, I suppose I should go practice what I preach and do some organization of my own!

Psssst! This week I am joining forces with Dr. Desiree Alexander for "Level Up with Google Sheets" on Tuesday AND "Level Up with Google Slides" on Thursday. Check out the website, "Leveling Up with Google"  devoted to sharing this entire series and the intro series from last year.

Comment below or contact me on any of the social channels - they are all linked above on the right side.