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!