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.