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.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

2 more Sheets Skills You Can Do

I'm back with two more skills you can master with Google Sheets! 

I am confident that you've been in a situation where you've been given a list of names. I'm going to guess you've felt the frustration of the list having the names in a single cell (probably lastname, firstname OR firstname lastname) but you really wanted them in separate cells. Or what about the reverse ... the list you've been given has the names in separate cells but you want them in the same (maybe separated by a comma?). Ugh. No need to retype the list! You can make your list be exactly what you want ... with very little effort!

I've made a video to demonstrate. It's right at 5 minutes. (Play it in 1.5 speed and will only take about 3 minutes). I've also tucked in a little *bonus* tip at the end ... did you know you can now specify the number of pixels tall you want your rows? Yep! I sneak that in, too! 

As much as I love Google Sheets, I am NOT a Sheets expert. I have a lot to learn. I hope you take these nuggets and add to your learning adventure, too. Sheets really is a very versatile tool. Is there something you wish you knew how to do? Comment below or reach out on social media. All my links are just below my photo near the top right. I'd love to hear from you!

Looking to do more with Google Sheets? Check out:

Sunday, November 14, 2021

2 Sheets Skills You Can Do

Sheets are one of those tools that I get a lot of questions about and most of the time, teachers don't feel confident in their use of Sheets. I haven't always used Google Sheets, but when I began heavily using Google Forms, I had to learn Sheets. And once I started learning Sheets, I found so many easy ways to make Sheets work for me. (And I actually enjoyed learning it!)

Today, I want to help you become more comfortable with Sheets. I am not an expert - I still have so much to learn. I don't do fancy formulas or complicated graphs. But I do use Google Sheets on a very regular basis ... and I love using them.

Learning a skill - or two - at a time, will pay off. 

Today, I'm sharing two of my favorite tips: freezing and sorting. Freezing is quite possibly the best skill to learn in Sheets. Freezing allows you to keep the rows and columns of your choice in view while moving through your data. Knowing how to sort your data is another crucial skill to master. Being able to organize and reorganize your data is incredibly powerful. Interested? Here's a short how to video demonstrating both! And I've tucked some Sheets resources below.

Would it help to have a copy of Sheet I used in the video? Here you go: "2 Sheets Skills You Can Do (public copy)." Click on the "Use Template" button in the upper right corner to make your own copy to play with and try out sorting and freezing. 

Level Up with Google Sheets (Summer 2021 webinar)

Stay tuned! Next week I'll return with a couple more skills to master in Google Sheets. But in the meantime ... what is your favorite way to use Google Sheets? Reach out and let me know in the comments below or reach out on social media!

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Chrome Remote Desktop Discoveries You Can Do

I make it no secret that working with teachers and students is my dream job. When I shared Freedom from Your Desk You Can Do two weeks ago, I wasn't sure where it would go. After all, it's an extension that has been around for awhile - but I had not used it until recently. After setting it up with one teacher, I also shared it out to all of the teachers in my district. Thanks to them, I am following up to share what they discovered and shared back to me! I think it makes this extension "that" much better.

I knew this extension would be helpful to a lot of teachers but what I didn't expect was that after I shared it, that I would continue to learn more. And these are super helpful things to know about what this extension can do! 

Here's what I've learned about this extension:

  • Jessica shared how she was able to print items from her desktop ... while she was in the copier room! That's right! Being able to trigger a print job from items on her desktop via her chromebook - wow! 
    • Guess who'll never "lose" another print job ... or have to make several trips back and forth to the copy room?
  • Leah shared how she uses the non-mirroring ability on her desktop (so her projector acts as a second screen) and with this extension she can see BOTH "screens" on her desktop.
    • It's kind of small, but possible. 
    • Think how many screens she has now? Unlimited on her chromebook and unlimited on her dual screens on her desktop! 
  • Amy shared how she was able to control her desktop from off campus!
    • She said she even printed remotely.
    • At home sick? Want to set your desktop up for your sub? Just needs to be powered on, right?

Anyone else's mind blown right now? No one goes into teaching thinking they know everything ... but this unexpected learning is always so fun!

If you want additional freedom from your desktop, I highly recommend the Chrome Remote Desktop extension. What will YOU discover? Please be sure to share back so we can all learn.

And with all of the shortages, is there anything YOU can share? It doesn't have to be a full lesson. It's doesn't have to be a big package or tool. Do you have tips or tricks or ways of doing things that make your teaching life easier? Can you share something ... even if you think it's silly or too small ... it might be "the thing" that helps one other teacher. 

Additional Resources to help:

Sunday, October 17, 2021

URL Hack: Force a copy of a Google Calendar event You Can Do

I am constantly learning. And I enjoy it. (Probably a good thing I became a teacher, eh?) 

There are many different reasons why I learn. Sometimes it's because I am told I have to learn something; sometimes it's because I want to learn something; sometimes it's purely by accident; and sometimes it's because I am so intrigued that I am driven to learn something. This final reason is how I am able to write this today. It's going to be short and it has a VERY specific purpose. But, man! Was I GIDDY when I learned this!

I received an email from a group I'm part of announcing an upcoming event. Included in the email was a link to add the event to my calendar; it was not shared directly to me. I take advantage of this every chance I get. My Google Calendar is one of my top used tools and one of my favorite tools. This time, however, I stopped and wondered ... "How does Michael do that?" (Michael being the one who sent the invite.) I couldn't stop thinking about it. No lie. I Googled it ... I looked at the URL he sent ... I looked at calendar events I create ... for a day or so. 

Then I spied it.

Giddy! Seriously. I felt like I had discovered a secret treasure! I quickly sent Michael an email to ask if I had discovered some "Google-magic". His reply told me his process was a bit different and that he wasn't aware of this URL hack I was asking about.

Wait for it.

Ready? Each calendar event has a specific URL, right? I spied "/copy/" in his URL. I tried it & JACKPOT! It is so similar to the force a copy URL hack for other Google Apps that I wondered how I hadn't even thought about it before. 

It's far easier for me to do a quick little video to show you, so here it is:

Thank you Michael for inspiring me & responding to my question!

Did this help? I hope so ... I know I probably won't use this very often, but man! Learning this was exciting! Do you know of other URL hacks that I might be interested in? Please let me know - either below in a comment or reach out on social media - my links are listed below my picture.

Other resources like this you might be interested:

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Freedom from Your Desk You Can Do

Wow. What I had thought would be a week off from writing ended up being a little more than two months! I know I don't owe you an explanation, but here it is ... life got busy. And this year is tough. Tougher than last year. Something had to give. But I'm back today with a good one!

A few weeks ago, a teacher asked me about using an app on her phone to control her desktop. What she had wanted to try didn't work, BUT I had just had a conversation with fellow Shake Up Learning Trainer, Susan Vincentz. She had just trained her teachers on an extension that allowed them to remotely control their desktops. A quick message to Susan gave me the name of the extension and today, I'm sharing it with you. I've helped several more teachers set this up and it seems to me a huge improvement for teachers!

The set up isn't difficult, but it has several steps on two computers. In my district, each teacher has an iMac as their desktop and a chromebook as their portable device. Doing this it isn't difficult, but it takes a minute to wrap your head around it. They do not want to be tied down to their desktop as they present, but in order to control the tabs, slides, volume, and more, they'd have to be right there. With this extension - you can be FREE!

It's all about a single extension you add to your Chrome account that allows you to control your ENTIRE desktop via a second device. It really is mind-blowing the first several times you think about it. It's a 2 part process, so to help with this, I made 2 videos to share. Really, it's more about being confident in "following the clicks" as you install the extension. And be sure to write down your PIN! That is key in making this process work!

Part 1: Installing on your desktop (or your main computer)

Part 2: Installing on your second device

Congratulations! You've done it! I'm excited to share this with more people - if you use this, please let me know - I'd love to hear about it! If you have questions or comments, please reach out, too! All my contact info is near the top of this page.

Additional Resources to help:

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 ...


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.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Summer Sunday Tip #3: Stop Avoiding Things You Can Do

Many teachers I know take care of everyone else really well - their families, their students, their schools, their homes, etc - but they put off taking care of themselves. I'm not going to go on and on about self-care and how or even why you should do it. My message today is simple - take care of the things you have avoided (or put off).

Summer is the perfect opportunity to take a step back and say to yourself, what do I need to take care of? For me it's a lot of around the house items but also some personal items. Looking back at my 1st Summer Sunday Tip, Summer Sunday Tip #1: To Do Lists You Can Do, I focused on to do lists. I'm happy to report I've checked a few things off my to do list. They are not glamorous items - oil change, fixed an electric outlet in our kitchen, cleaned out all 3 of my girls closets, and met with our financial planner. But man! It felt great to get those items checked off.

I have several things I still need to check off my lists and a few things to schedule. My girls and I have dentist appointments coming up in July. Isn't that sweet? Yep, we have one giant appointment together. It's a great way to spend about 2 hours.

Female? You know what I'm talking about. Don't put those items off. 

How about some downtime for just you? I still set my alarm so that I have some quiet time in the morning all to myself. I love that time. I cherish that time. Maybe your vision of downtime is reading a book or two? I know I have a couple that I still want to read. 

And here's something else. How about some crafty time? I hope to paint my girls bathroom cabinet and maybe redo the floors, too. I'm half-way through a bit of a reorganization in my basement, so I need to finish that. 

I share all this not to tell you to go find things to do or to do the things that I am doing. But in summer, I use my time very differently than I do during the year. That is a benefit of this extended time off.

So ... what do YOU usually put off during the school year? Pick one thing to check off your list tomorrow. Then repeat the next day. You'll feel better. (It goes so well with my Summer Tip #1!)

And the next thing on my list of things we've avoided ... vacation! We couldn't do it last year, so no more postponing! I'm signing off to enjoy!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Summer Sunday Tip #2: Organize Chrome (in 5 Steps) You Can Do

Time seems to pass differently in the summer for me. It's still 24 hours in one day and 7 days in one week, but summer feels like an endless stretch of time, yet I know it's not. I don't spend nearly the amount on time on professional work during the summer - but I have things I really want to get done. This series of tips is meant to capture small chunks of time and use them productively.

Summer Sunday Tip #1 was all about "To Do" lists. I use to do lists to help organize myself daily and for long projects. One thing on my to do list is to take some time and organize my Chrome accounts. I try to be good during the school year, but if I take about 15-20 minutes at the beginning of the summer, I can get through my Chrome accounts and do some clean up work. School is fresh "enough", yet not breathing down my neck, so I'm sure to keep only what I really need.

Step 1: Separate Chrome Accounts
This is a huge problem for a lot of people - they don't 100% understand the difference between logging into their Chrome account vs their Google account. If you've ever not been able to find something in your account and you are shocked to find it in a different account, this is probably your cause. There might be a bit of work here ... but the bottom line is this - it's EASY to keep your Chrome accounts separate, yet easily accessible. You just have to know how.

Kasey Bell has a great video to show how to do this: 

Once you have your profiles separated, you can work to see if you have files that need to be moved to the correct account.

Believe me ... it is well-worth the time to do this! You will thank yourself later.

Step 2: Bookmarks - use the favicon!
I have a deep love of bookmarks. I will never forget my student, Juliana, who showed me how to use ONLY the favicon for bookmarks that I am super familiar with. (The favicon is the small image that is associated with the website ... the colorful triangle for Drive ... the colorful M for GMail ... etc). It saves SO much space & allows me to use the rest of my bookmark bar for additional websites. 

Check out the video I made showing how to make this happen.

Step 3: Bookmarks - use folders!
Another way I save space & keep my Chrome organized is to create folders on my bookmarks bar. Another super simple tip and goes a LONG way in helping keep my organized. As a classroom teacher, I had a folder for each unit and each chapter, saving me a ton of time year after year when I wanted to find the same great resources. I use folders as categories to group like bookmarks together.

Check out the video I made showing how to make this happen.

Step 4: Bookmarks - delete!
Something a lot of people might not think about when organizing their Chrome is to actually go ahead and delete the unwanted - or unused - bookmarks. When I sit down with teachers to do some organization in Chrome, many are often surprised the sheer number of bookmarks they have. "Wow!" or "I don't remember bookmarking that!" are common comments. It doesn't matter when, or why, you did, if you aren't using it, delete it. You might be surprised how much cleaner and easier it is for you when you are looking for the bookmarks you really do use. Another super simple way you can organize your Chrome account.

Check out the video I made showing how to make this happen.

Step 5: Customize your theme & profile for each account.
The final suggestion I have for you when organizing your Chrome accounts is to change the theme and your profile image. I have several Google accounts (a personal one, a school one, a Google Trainer one, and a couple of others). If they all had the same profile image and looked the same, I would struggle in knowing which is which. I have strategically used a different profile image for each and used the available Chrome themes to help me more easily see which account I am using. This is a MUST if you have multiple accounts.

Check out the video I made showing how to make this happen.

I promise, after doing these 5 steps, your Chrome accounts will feel organized. Each step should be fairly simple and easy to do.

Come back next week - Tip #3 will focus on doing the things we put off during the school year.

Questions? Comment ⤵ or connect with me on any of the socials - my links are above on the right.

Psssssst! Have you heard? I've got some upcoming presentations YOU can join me! Here's a quick peek, but for a list of all of my upcoming and an up-to-date list, head over to "My Presentations" page. (I just added a couple more of August, too!)

  • Tuesday, June 22 @ 1 pm EST - Level Up with Google Docs
  • Tuesday, June 29 @ 1 pm EST - Level Up with Google Sheets
  • Thursday, July 1 @ 1 pm EST - Level Up with Google Slides 
  • Friday, July 9 @ 1 pm EST - Level Up with Google Forms
  • Monday, July 12 @ 1 pm EST - Level Up with Google Drawings and Jamboard
  • Tuesday, July 13 @ 1 pm EST - Level Up with Google Sites

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Summer Sunday Tip #1: To Do Lists You Can Do

Fact: I love my to do lists. 

Fact: I have multiple to do lists - both personally and professionally.

Fact: There is something super satisfying about checking off an item on my "to do" list.

Today I am kicking off series of blog posts focused on small and doable things perfect for summer time. And the first thing I want to focus on is "to do" lists. 

Summer Sunday Tip #1 : create your own to do list for things you want to accomplish. This should take no more than 5 minutes. Use something as simple and handy as a notebook and pen. Or do something digital - Google Keep, the Reminders or Notes app, or even a Google Doc or Sheet. 

Not buying in? Here's why you should:

My to do lists often reflect and incorporate my goals. They are long-term and short-term as well as reminders. They are a means of centering me each day. They are also a source of brain-dumping where I can write out projects or ideas that maybe I can't do right now, but I can record, modify, improve on later.

I start each month with writing out a to do list of what I'd like to accomplish that month, broken into big categories. I don't have tons of items in each category and often there is carry over from the month before.

  • personal - family items, around-the-house projects
  • fitness - my Apple watch goal, a milage goal for running
  • school - items specific to school projects/activities
  • professional - my blogs, presentations
Next, I journal every day. The final part to my daily journal is my to do list for that specific day. Since I workout in the mornings, I start with my fitness goal. The rest of the list are items like blogging, laundry, scheduling "x" appointments, DIY projects, and my daughters' activities. If I'm in the middle of a project, I'll add a part of the project I'd like to get done. Most days, my to do list is no more than 10 items long.

Now, for school purposes, the school year is over. But that doesn't mean I've checked everything off my school to do list. Before I closed the book on the 20/21 school year, I wrote out a to do list so I wouldn't forget things. Most of these are items that I need to do in order to start the year off, but a few items are things I didn't complete before school ended.

And you might be asking why do I do this? I find to do lists to be both calming and overwhelming. I find my to do lists to continually grow and evolve and be revised. I sometimes refer to my to do list as a "to don't" list ... that's in the overwhelming moments. These lists are a way for me to jot down reminders and important items I don't want to forget.  My ultimate goal is to check things off - but not to be "done". Each day will require new "to do's".

Finally, how do I do my lists? You are probably assuming I use some app for my to do lists, but I don't. Believe me, I have tried. I have tried so many different apps and I just haven't found the same satisfaction as using a pen to check it off - or to add to it. I just love my colored pens and paper.

Next steps:

Have you grabbed that notebook (or app) yet? Go ahead. Reach for it. 
  • Do you have a fitness goal? Maybe you want to start a walking program. Maybe you want to increase your weights. Write it down.
  • Are there projects around the house you have been putting off? Right down. Have you been putting off calling the plumber for that leaky toilet? Write it out.
  • Need to pack for a summer vacation? To do lists will lessen the crazy last minute running around.
  • Random items you want to do? Jot it down.
I've got one more thing for you to add, "Come back next week to Tech You Can Do". My Summer Sunday Tip #2 will be about organizing Chrome. Just like this week's tip, it shouldn't take all that long, but it will pay off BIG time. And summer is the perfect time to clean it up.

Psssssst! Have you heard? I've got some upcoming presentations that YOU can join me! Here's a quick peek, but for a list of all of my upcoming and an up-to-date list, head over to "My Presentations" page. 

  • Wednesday, June 9 @ 2:05 pm EST - #WakeletCommunityWeek: Wakelet for Everyone!
  • Tuesday, June 22 @ 1 pm EST - Level Up with Google Docs
  • Tuesday, June 29 @ 1 pm EST - Level Up with Google Sheets
  • Thursday, July 1 @ 1 pm EST - Level Up with Google Slides 
  • Friday, July 9 @ 1 pm EST - Level Up with Google Forms
  • Monday, July 12 @ 1 pm EST - Level Up with Google Drawings and Jamboard
  • Tuesday, July 13 @ 1 pm EST - Level Up with Google Sites

Do you have questions? Feel free to comment ⤵ or connect & follow me on any of these platforms:

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Wrapping Up the Year You Can Do

I've never run a marathon - the most I've done is half of one. But that is still 13.1 miles. I pushed myself during training and I pushed myself during the race. I feel like this school year has been a lot like running a half-marathon. And I don't mind admitting this - I'm tired. I feel like I've been pushing myself all year. And I'm exhausted. We will be crossing the finish line on Thursday. I've got to keep going until Thursday.

As I reflect on this, I ask myself what went well, what didn't go well, what are areas I want to improve on, what areas can be put aside, am I doing enough, am I doing too much, and so on. And as much I want to say I will close the door on the 20/21 school year and just enjoy summer, I am already looking forward to the 21/22 school year. Isn't that natural? How do you close out a year without looking toward next year?

Wrapping up a year with thoughts toward next year simply mean that you can put this year to rest while helping to ensure a good start to next year. (We didn't really get that last year, did we?) I've got some tips on wrapping up this year - with a look to the future - so that next year starts as smooth as possible.

Tip #1 - Take care of your Google Classroom (or LMS)

Two weeks ago, I shared "End of Year Google Classroom You Can Do". Don't skip this. Do it now and it will benefit you AND your students,

Tip #2 - Reflect

I have this included in Tip #1, but reflect on more than just your digital classroom. None of us liked all the restrictions, but let's focus on what and how we built relationships. What will you keep doing? What can you improve on? Did you "up" your communication with parents in a digital fashion? Did you like virtual conferences? Generate a few really positives and add a few things you'd want to keep improving on. (No need to list out all of the dislikes ... too many of them! And most we had zero control over.)

Tip #3 - Unplugging your school computer

BEFORE you unplug everything, take pictures of the back of your computer and where the cords plug in the wall. Don't rely on your memory to do this - a quick couple of photos will do a better job. Bonus tip: find those tiny colored dots or use washi tape to help you realign cord to outlet. 

Tip #4 - Turn everything off

Honestly, I love this because it does save some energy, but beyond that, it's just really good practice to unplug when you won't be using something for a period of time. (I recommend it at our winter and spring breaks, too.) And be diligent - your computer, your projector, your speakers, even pencil sharpeners. Everything.

Tip #5 - Student computers

Each district will probably share their own list of what to do with any student devices. But if not, at the VERY least, have students completely power down - not just close the lid - and then unplug from the wall. Just like your school computer and peripherals, no need to be charging them if students won't be using them.

Tip #6 - Do summer YOUR way

Every teacher has a method to their summer breaks. Some shut off their teacher brain completely for a period of time, some never shut it off. Some use summer to do professional learning, others don't. Some go on vacation right away, some wait until the end. Some have summer jobs, others don't. There is NO RIGHT way! Do it your way! Use your time in the summer to refuel however you want. And don't let others stress you out about how you are doing it. Me ... I don't turn my brain off. I use it in a different way, and I enjoy more free time, but it's always on. Below I've got some ways that I will be using my brain - and if they appeal to you, I'd love it if you join me!

I'll keep blogging here - probably about twice a month or so.

I'll be doing some presentations - be sure to check My Presentations calendar for these events!

I'll keep sharing on my Tech You Can Do: Resources blog.

I'm hoping to add some additional templates to Templates for Teachers.

Enjoy the rest of your year and the start to summer!

Do you have questions? Feel free to comment ⤵ or connect & follow me on any of the platforms. All my contact info is in the upper right corner under my picture. 

Sunday, May 9, 2021

End of Year Google Classroom You Can Do

The month of May always brings mixed emotions - excitement because that means warmer weather and a bit of stress because we are on the countdown to wrap up this school year. This year brings with it relief that we have made it through. We have learned we can do education in this new world ... and we have learned from our mistakes. Wrapping up this year highlights for me the need to do some cleaning up in a manner that is meaningful in our Google Classrooms. Not only will this help us NOW, but it will also mean we can start next year on a better "foot".

I want to focus in on 4 areas of great importance - reflection, Google Drive, Classroom, and Calendar. I believe spending a little bit of time on them now are the keys to wrapping up the year in a productive manner and will go a long way in starting next year off well.

I hope this helps you wrap your year up! Don't hesitate to reach out with questions. The final slide shares a few other resources - I'm not the only one who believes in wrapping up Google Classroom.

I also want to share some exciting news! With summer approaching, I'll be adding a few presentations I'll be doing (most are still virtual) so be sure to check out My Presentations tab. 

Also, I'm #SuperExcited to share that I will be joining THE Kasey Bell and Shake Up Learning team to provide professional learning for teachers! This is a part-time, consulting basis. Yay!

Sunday, April 25, 2021

MORE Slide Master You Can Do

FYI - "Slide master" now is called "Edit theme"

Yowzer! I've had such a positive response to my previous blog "Slide Master You Can Do" that I'm adding to the video collection today. I break apart several of the components of the master slide so you can see a detailed - but quick - view of how it impacts your entire slide deck. I've also collected these all in my "Google Slides: Master Slides" YouTube playlist. Feel free to share this playlist with colleagues and your students! (I'd also love it if you click the subscribe button.)

Adjusting the theme & its impact

Font, text boxes & text placeholders

Changing the theme colors

Renaming the master slides

There is so much to the master slide - be sure to play around and check it out. Do you have questions? Feel free to comment ⤵. 

Or connect & follow me on social media - all of my links are in the top right corner of my blog under my picture.

P.S. I have Google Slides Wakelet collections full of tips, tricks, and other resources.

AND ... I've got a couple of upcoming presentations you might be interested in. Check them out on My Presentations calendar for information and registration. 

AND I'll be doing a "Level Up Google" series with Dr. Desiree Alexander again this summer! You can find all of the information and registration links on this website - Level Up with Google. You will even find the "Intro to Google" series I did last summer as well.

*** Every Monday, I share a newsletter with a collection of Tech You Can Do resources. It is delivered right to your inbox. Interested? 
Sign up here!  ***

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Slide Master You Can Do

FYI - "Slide master" now is called "Edit theme"

It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted. Spring has been in the air and I've taken advantage of the nicer weather. And to be honest, I needed some downtime. I've tried to not feel TOO guilty, but I needed it. I wanted it. But I'm back today! And I hope today's little tutorial on the master slides is worth the wait.

I LOVE Google Slides. I love it for so many reasons - it's simple yet versatile, it's completely customizable. Slides is my "go-to" tool.  BUT ... I have been intimidated by one aspect of Slides until recently. The master slide. 

For a long time, I thought was a Slidedeck that I created with specific layouts and colors and just reused over and over. Ha! Nope. Slidesmania has taught me otherwise. (Thank you!) Last summer I forced myself to learn about it. I made a copy of a Slidesmania template and broke it apart. And while I am no expert, I do feel a lot more comfortable with it and the benefits of it. And I'd like to share that with you.

When you create a Slidedeck for your students, my guess is there are things you want them to be able to manipulate and other things you do not. And we ALL know kids will delete (accidentally or purposefully) and we want to create as little a headache for ourselves as possible. The master slide can go a looooong way in helping with this.

I'm going to break it down: First - what IS the master slide? Second - why use the master? and Finally - how do you adjust the master slide? I think videos are the way to go. 

Questions? Why not use the comments under the videos in YouTube? I'll respond, but others can also respond, too! 

What IS the master slide?

Why use the master slide?

BONUS! Why use the master slide? Special tip!

How to adjust the master slide?

There is so much more to the master slide - be sure to play around and check it out. Do you have questions? Feel free to comment ⤵. 

Or connect & follow me on social media - all of my links are in the top right corner of my blog under my picture.

P.S. I have Google Slides Wakelet collections full of tips, tricks, and other resources.

AND ... I've got a couple of upcoming presentations you might be interested in. Check them out on My Presentations calendar for information and registration. 

AND I'll be doing a "Level Up Google" series with Dr. Desiree Alexander again this summer! You can find all of the information and registration links on this website - Level Up with Google. You will even find the "Intro to Google" series I did last summer as well.

*** Every Monday, I share a newsletter with a collection of Tech You Can Do resources. It is delivered right to your inbox. Interested? 
Sign up here!  ***