Monday, June 21, 2021

Digital Business Cards and Visual Resumes


Hey all, long time no see. Like many of you, I've been really overwhelmed with... everything. We don't need to go into it. But I'm finally feeling a little more inspired lately to create new things and have more fun. Well, slowly but surely. It comes and goes in waves. I think you know the feeling. 

In any case, I'd like to share something fun I've been working on, inspired by a mini-assignment in my Google Certified Coach cohort through the Illinois Digital Educators Alliance (aka IDEA). We were tasked with creating a Google Slide to introduce ourselves, and it dawned on me how useful this could be for things like Twitter chats or email signatures as a sort of digital version of your business card... I mean, it's not like I've been giving away too many of my paper ones lately... !!!


This is pretty simple and fun to do... just lay out your design on a Google Slide by inserting a pic (or Bitmoji), your contact info/social links, any pertinent badges, logos, or professional affiliations... and then File -> download as -> your preferred image file type! 

PRO TIP: I like to use Insert -> Word Art for my name, as it gives me greater control over the color, outline, and sizing. 

Now, if you really wanna level up your game, you could save this slide as a .pdf so that any/all links are functional - making your digital business card a landing page out to all of your other related work and contact channels! My friend Beth did this on hers and it was pretty dang impressive. 

Yet ANOTHER option would be to add and save your final digital business card as a .gif! Then you could add a fun animation or other attention-grabbing element to your design. 

So, this assignment got me thinking about other opportunities to represent yourself visually... I decided to try out something similar with my Twitter banner/header. My goal was to create a visual resume of sorts, highlighting the things I would typically include in a written resume:

(Haha I just realized that at the time, I was only ONE person away from 6000! Help me out, y'all!) 

I was thinking, if someone had no idea who I was, and they were to click on my profile, what would my profile say about me? Twitter bios are quite limiting in size, so how could I get a whole bunch of info out there quickly? Using my iPad and my favorite app, Procreate, I created this collage of images:

You could create something just like this using free tools, like Google Slides/Draw, too!

My previous banner was our group photo from the Google Innovator cohort, so it was important to me to keep that as a prominent item, but I wanted to add information about being a presenter and PD provider, too. So, I added a series of pics of me highlighting these experiences, along with a photo from the Illinois State Teacher of the Year banquet where all of the finalists got to meet the Governor. I then layered ambassador badges, credentials, and other professional affiliations related to the pictured roles near each photo. I even snuck in the Coding to Kindness book cover on the screen of the last photo! 

I've been thinking a lot about re-designing my digital presence lately... this is just a start. I also am playing around with a new blog header, and possibly re-vamping some YouTube channel art and things like that. 

Do you get the urge to re-design your profiles and webpages every so often? Got any tips or tricks on what's worked for you?


- Mrs L.
Google Certified Badges: Level 1, 2, Trainer, and Innovator


Friday, November 20, 2020

FREE: School Library Social Media Calendar


School Library Social Media Calendar Title Graphic

One of my favorite, most relaxing things to do right now is to draw. If I can combine this habit with doing something productive, then so be it. One of the things that I spent some time on is a social media calendar for school libraries. 

If you have an Instagram account for yourself or for your school library, this un-dated calendar is full of ideas and prompts for posts throughout the course of an entire month! You could follow each day as listed, or pick and choose items as they are relevant to your situation. My thought was that if you have a rotating calendar of prompts, you can schedule posts ahead of time, or create content in bulk so that it's ready to go later on. 

Maybe you're lucky enough to have a volunteer or assistant that can help you run your school library account? Or, maybe your school has a social media club? This calendar would be a great way to give some structure or direction to someone else so that they can help out!


Click the image above to access a printable .PDF version of this school library social media calendar for FREE!

- Mrs L.
Google Certified Badges: Level 1, 2, Trainer, and Innovator



Sunday, October 18, 2020

FREE! Zoom Signs for Remote Learning

FREE Signs for Remote Learning Title Image

One of my favorite things to do is draw on my iPad. It actually helps me to relax! In fact, I did all of the book illustrations for Coding to Kindness on my iPad using the Procreate app.

Some projects, like the book, are big projects that I work on over time. Other projects, like these Zoom signs, are something that I do out of necessity for myself... and then I realize how helpful they could potentially be for others, so I like to share! 

Circular signs printed out and attached to popsicle sticks

It started out as a set of signs that I would print out for myself to use for my remote students (currently, I'm expected to teach both remote and in-person/hybrid students at the same time). 

Full disclosure: this current situation is an unsustainable logistical nightmare. I've never felt like a worse teacher than I do this year. But teachers keep plugging forward, doing the best that we can with what we're given, and this idea is just one of them. 

image/button/banner linked to download folder

It later occurred to me that a set of signs would also be a great tools for students! I can't even tell you how many times I've had students sit patiently with their hands up, and when I call on them, they ask, "May I use the bathroom?" 

...Aargh! You've been waiting that whole time? This is just one of the differences between elementary and middle school students. Middle school students don't wait. They'd just go. But those elementary students, they're so polite! If only my littles had a sign they could just hold up to silently alert me before ducking out for a minute, they could avoid waiting that whole awkward time! 

Screenshot of the "I need a break" sign

Is this the kind of thing that would help YOU out, too? If so, here's my entire folder of images - download them all, or just whatever you need! You can print them in color and cut them out into circles, or keep it simple by doing a quick black and white/photocopy printout, and square them off using a paper cutter. For the full treatment, print these out on card stock and laminate before gluing onto sticks. 

Keep a set for yourself, or create an entire class set to distribute and send home to students! And be sure to share share share with any other educators that you think might find this useful!  

Is there a sign that you wish existed, but isn't here? Send me a message via IG or Twitter, and I'll see what I can do! ☺️


- Mrs L.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Remote Learning Essentials: Teaching From Home (If You Are So Lucky...!)


As of right now, I won't get to teach from home. It's infuriating. I have asthma and ulcerative colitis, which is a chronic condition that comes and goes. I hadn't had a flare up since 2014. But it's here with full force presently, thanks to the stress I've been under regarding returning to school. Awesome.

Anyways, here's a blog post I've been meaning to write for those of you who ARE lucky enough to teach from home this fall. I have a really great work-from-home setup that does video conferencing and meetings pretty darn nicely, so I figured I'd share what works for me. I even have a whole pdf file with clickable links available HERE with complete details and recommended items.


SCREEN REAL ESTATE


One of the items that I STRONGLY recommend (if you do nothing else!) is to get a second monitor. You can purchase one on Amazon relatively inexpensively, around $100, or you can use an iPad or other tablet you may have... or even an old computer/laptop? I've even seen teachers use tvs from their house to use as a second screen - so get creative! 

DON'T BE A SILHOUETTE


Next on my working-from-home list is lighting. It's a pet peeve of mine when people sit in front of a window. Like, their backdrop is a window. And I'm talking to a backlit silhouette. Aargh! This is simple (and free!) to fix. Just turn around. Face the window and the natural light, it will illuminate you beautifully! I know sometimes your layout may not permit this, so you can also invest in a simple light setup for your space, starting with a desk lamp for behind your computer that helps illuminate your face. You can get all fancy with a YouTuber-style ring light, or even invest in a videoconferencing light like Lume Cube sells. I do have one of these, and they're pretty cool. 

BUELLER? BUELLER?


If your microphone on your computer is not-so-great, it's easy to hook up an external mic. Just figure out what your computer input is: USB? Bluetooth? 1/8" (headphone) jack? and decide how much you want to spend! You may not have even realized it, but your earbuds with the built-in microphone are actually really good! Just this last week I decided to really treat myself with a back-to school gift of some sweet black Pixel Buds. #fancy. 

download the entire pdf here

NO MORE HEADACHES


Have you noticed increased eyestrain and headaches from starting at a screen for so long? You might want to try some blue light glasses. I gotta admit, I really just love the fashion statement of glasses, so I searched out some funky cat-eye styles on Amazon. For $10-20 you can grab a pair (or switch up your wardrobe with multiples!) and see what you think. Some people swear by them, and others claim to not notice any difference. I have noticed less eye strain when I've got mine on. Even if it's a placebo effect, I'll take it. And they're cute. :)

SHE'S CRAFTY


I've seen a bunch of awesome ideas for setting up your mobile phone or iPad as a doc cam for filming demonstrations, drawing, writing, or books. My fave is to use a locker shelf! (Face it, kids are always throwing these things out at the end of the year - harvest them up for free when you can!) Of course, you can always splurge on a gooseneck-style holder from Amazon for around $25-30 bucks, so it depends on how much effort you want to put into it. 

GFB FACTOR


Lastly, do not underestimate the power of a comfortable desk chair! I splurged on a cushy upholstered velvety swivel one in the spring, and I haven't regretted it once! My old desk chair was molded plastic, and I had no idea how uncomfortable that could be until I had to sit in it for hours on end last spring. Eek! (NOT Good For Butts, as my husband would say re: his made-up scale for measuring chair effectiveness.)

Do you want to see more of my home office setup? I actually did a whole Reset EDU video on this topic, and you can watch it here: 



- Mrs L.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

#AllMeansAll: Tech Help Webinars for IL State Teachers

#AllMeansAll

During April and May 2020, I worked with Teach Plus IL, who, in partnership with ILSTOY and NBPTS, held virtual PLN groups made up of teachers across the state in order to provide support during COVID-19 e-learning and remote-learning initiatives. The project, named All Means All, was an awesome way for educators to connect with other colleagues who taught in the same subject areas and levels and receive a variety of support. 

My part in this campaign was to provide weekly tech help sessions via webinar for any interested teachers. It was really awesome to be regarded as a leader who had some knowledge to share! I love learning about and sharing tech tools that can help make a difference in the everyday lives of teachers, and that can help students better demonstrate understanding or obtain additional help and support as needed. 

I am so grateful to have so many awesome friends and ed tech connections in my professional learning network that I was able to bring some of them in to help me and give Illinois state teachers a better understanding of some essential tech tools for e-learning! 


Here's what we covered:

The sessions above are all linked to the accompanying 1-pager handout that I gave to webinar attendees (with the exception of Jamboard, which is linked to Kim Mattina's website full of awesome resources!).



Monday, May 4, 2020

A Message from ILSTOY Teachers to All Educators

A Message from the Illinois State Teachers of the Year

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! 


Ever since our stay-at-home-order, I've been pretty bogged down with not only teaching from home, but a lot of other outside projects, too. (Have you seen my media page lately? Lots of podcasts, webinars, etc... I know I don't even have them all listed there!) So needless to say, both this blog and Reset EDU channels have suffered as a result... :(

One of my outside projects is a weekly LIVE tech help webinar for teachers across IL state. It's an effort through Teach Plus IL and the ILSTOY network to create PLCs of teachers, no matter where they teach/live in the state, to help them with their remote learning challenges. It's been fun, but intimidating! The first week was all about Google Classroom, and last week we demonstrated Screencastify for teachers. I was lucky to have Nef from Screencastify stop by to take some Q&A from the attendees. This week will be all about Flipgrid, and Jornea has agreed to stop by! I'm pretty excited. Coming up after that are sessions on Jamboard (w/my friend Kim Mattina of The Suite Talk) and Google Suite for Education tools. 

Another project I'm involved with is the ILSTOY (IL State Teachers of the Year) organization. We wanted to do something to help show our support for teaching during our current situation. One of those things is to partner up with ASCD and PBS to support the #SeniorPortrait Campaign "to amplify the voices of millions of high school seniors whose class experiences were dramatically disrupted by the coronavirus shutdown."

Our other project was a short video that we released to show our support and thanks to teachers out there doing whatever they can to help support our students. You can check it out here:


I know that we would love to get as wide a reach as possible with this video! Please share this message on your social media channels and tag a teacher who you know could use a little boost!

- Mrs L.

Monday, December 30, 2019

I Like To Draw Stuff.


Creating things is what drives me in life. I figured out pretty early on that constantly creating is kind of like breathing to me. I work a lot, and I find it hard to say no to things, but I also LIKE to make things. 

Most people equate creating = ART, and for some of us, that's true, but honestly any kind of making is good with me. I waste a ridiculous amount of time finding the perfect image, graphic, font, color, etc. when I design slide decks for presentations, or I'm designing a lesson for class. It's all still creating, in my opinion. 

But, traditional art is also my jam. This past school year, I was dragged back into the art room to teach 8th grade art, and I was instantly reminded how much I love to draw. If we could just hang out for 45 minutes each day, free draw until the end of class, and go on our merry way, I'd be in heaven. But, you know, grades and such... hmph.

Ok, so I have a couple of drawing things going on at the moment. Like this Slidesmania template I got to collaborate on! I was so excited to come across a random tweet calling for some sketchnote-y drawings to be used on a slides theme! 


You can download this theme, called Doodles, for free (and read more of the story) here:
https://slidesmania.com/doodles-free-template-for-google-slides-or-powerpoint-presentations/

Shout-out to Omar Lopez for his sweet icon work in this slide deck, too!

For those wondering, I draw primarily on my iPad using an Apple Pencil and the Procreate app. My friends Manuel and Sadie first turned me on to these tools and I've never looked back - they're hands-down my favorites!

If you like these little sketches, I've got more exciting drawing plans in the future, so stay tuned!


- Mrs L.