Monday, April 15, 2019

The Work Around Podcast: EDU Tangent



Last week, I did a new(ish)* thing for me: I was on a podcast! I was contacted via Twitter by Jon Fortney of FortneyTech.com to record an "EDU Tangent" episode for his podcast, The Work Around Podcast. It sounded cool, so I said yes!

When recording my story for this episode, I was given the direction to "...share a story (or stories) of events that led up to you becoming a teacher that helped you decide to be a teacher, stories as a teacher that were influential to your practice, and lessons you’ve learned along the way."

Because my story of "becoming" a teacher isn't really that interesting IMHO, I decided to tell my rollercoaster story of trying (and repeatedly failing) to move forward in my career. Perhaps my failures can be someone else's inspiration. :)

Here's a little trailer for the episode:

If you're interested in listening to the entire story, you can find it here. I'm very honored to have been asked to be on Jon's podcast, and he says extremely flattering things about me at the beginning that make me feel like he must be talking about someone else...! #impostorsyndrome

*[Fun fact/side story: five years ago, I was on a live Hangout on Air Podcast with the LadyGeeks talking about art. Want a blast from the past? Last I checked, you can still watch it here.]

- Mrs L.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

GSuite + Chromebook Activity for Middle School


A few days ago I tweeted a picture of an activity we were doing in class, and I had some really great feedback, including some requests to share! This sounded like a great idea for a blog post, so here we go: 


My original lesson for this activity included some tasks that are very specific to my classes (like "find the early finisher activity list" or "On the Creative Technology website, look for..."), so it wasn't as easy as just sharing the sheet as-is. I did a little work and cleaned it up to be less specific/more useful across a variety of schools and classes. When you click the image below, you'll be taken to a copy of this chart that you can actually edit and customize any way you want using Google Docs!

You can get your own (editable in Google Docs) copy of this BINGO board here! 

The way we use this in class is for students to eventually try and fill the entire board, but they can choose to do the tasks in any order that they want.

The first goal though, is to earn an actual BINGO: vertical, horizontal, or diagonal. Once a student has earned a BINGO, they get to pick a sticker from my collection (I keep a bunch in a basket from the dollar store). It's a good way to start the activity off with some excitement! Middle schoolers love stickers (and so do I!).

Do you do any choice board activities in class? I'd love to hear your tips! 

- Mrs L.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

I'm Turning 40 Next Week...


Hey all, sorry I don't get around to updating over here as often as I'd like. I've been super preoccupied with my Google Innovator project, ResetEDU, and you can always check out and keep up with what's going on over there! Have you seen the latest video, my first-ever collab?!


My stretch goal for 2019 is to reach 1000 followers on YouTube, and I'd love to have your support! My 40th birthday is next week (eek!) and you can give me an awesome FREE gift just by helping to spread the word about my project.

Since my birthday is April 9th, here are NINE ways that you can help:

  1. Subscribe to the ResetEDU channel on YouTube.
  2. Hit the "like" button on any/all the videos to help get me more views!
  3. Make a comment on any/all of the videos - this also helps with algorithm stuff and getting views!
  4. Follow ResetEDU on Twitter
  5. Follow ResetEDU on Instagram
  6. Re-tweet/repost any and all of the posts that you see on social media! Here's one you can RT right away!
  7. Make your own posts on social media about ResetEDU! Tag #ResetEDU and/or @ me so that I'm sure to see it! 
  8. Tell a friend about the channel. Send them the link to a specific video you think they'd enjoy. 
  9. Contact me to be a part of an upcoming ResetEDU project

Thank you! :)
- Mrs L.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Google Project Culture Shift


I've been participating in (yet another) project since the fall of this school year, called Project Culture Shift, through the Google Certified Innovator program. In this program, we were tasked to work with a group of teachers in our school district or building to create an initiative/project that would help shift the professional culture in your school/district.

I worked with a small group of teachers from our school leadership team to create an initiative that motivated teachers to start observing in each other's classroom (in a non-evaluative manner), to gather new ideas and spark conversations about professional practices as part of our regular habits.

You may have heard similar initiatives with names like Pineapple Charts or something similar, but we wanted to really personalize our project to our school culture - so we chose a popcorn/movie theme we dubbed "Pop-Ins." Our school colors are red and white, which lent itself perfectly to a traditional striped popcorn bucket theme... as well as tons of popcorn puns. Of course. :)

Just last week, our final showcase was live-streamed through Google channels. It was recorded, and you can go back and view it here:


I was super nervous to present and talk about our initiative (You know how you're always comparing yourself to others and you never quite feel like you're good enough? Uh yeah, that's me. Pretty much always.), but it went pretty smoothly, and I felt like I had enough content to discuss my project, so that was good.



I'm really proud that I pushed myself to do another thing outside of my comfort zone, and I know that the more I continue to present and talk in front of others, the less anxious I'll be. So bring it on!

How do you deal with situations when you're feeling nervous/anxious? 

- Mrs L.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Eduporium Teacher of the Month Jan 2019


Fun news! I was named the January 2019 "Teacher of the Month" by Eduporium! They did a whole blog post interview and all kinds of social media shout-outs! You can check out the whole post here:


- Mrs L.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

EdTechTeam Blog Post: Google Applied Digital Skills


Hey all! I wrote a blog post for EdTechTeam all about how we used Google's Applied Digital Skills curriculum in my 7th grade Creative Technology classes. Please take a moment to head on over to check it out when you get a chance!

Thanks!

- Mrs L.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Introducing: ResetEDU! (An Origin Story)


I'm really happy to have finally released my Google Certified Innovator #GoogleEI #LAX18 project into the world, ResetEDU!

ResetEDU is a web series where I strive to help educators hit their own professional “reset” button by applying Design Thinking principles to their teaching career, be it curriculum, physical spaces, or even professional relationships.

 

WHY YOUTUBE?

A lot of physical and mental energy has gone into this project, and well... will continue to do so! I really struggled with HOW to get my message out into the world. I've been a blogger for about 10 years now in one form or another. But the community isn't the same; people don't comment on and follow blogs like they used to. Podcasts are quite popular at the moment, but I wasn't sure if that was right for my project - there are a lot of podcasts that I already listen to that are done with such high-quality... and it just didn't feel like the right fit. 

I didn't want to create an entirely new platform or community. If I personally didn't want to sign up for another thing and have to check another "thing," I know I couldn't ask other educators to do so, too. I want to meet teachers where they already are. Facebook? Nah. I actually quit that last summer, and I've never looked back. I definitely haven't regretted that choice. 

So... I like making videos, and I have a ton of fun being goofy and creative using WeVideo tools and posting instructional videos on my teacher YouTube channel... so why not go that route? ResetEDU projects often involve quite a bit of visuals. Plus, I'm a visual person... former art teacher holla! Viewers can subscribe to the channel, and I can hopefully somewhat seamlessly integrate into a habit (watching YouTube) that already have. I want to make it as easy as possible. So that's my gamble. I'm also trying to keep the videos short - five minutes or less? - to keep it really convenient and easy to watch. 

GOALS

My future goals for the channel are to connect with people who have video production experience who are willing to donate time and/or services to help increase the quality of my work, and to help distribute the work load. (I'm 100% DIY right now!) 

My 10x goal is to make this my full time job; to travel around and help educators while creating video content that other educators can watch and apply to their own professional work! (LOL, who's ready to hire me - let's connect!)

INSPIRATION

When I first graduated college, my favorite tv show was an interior design show called "Interior Motives" with Christopher Lowell. He would decorate rooms, but use this process of steps that he applied to every space that he designed, like floors, ceilings, texture, lighting, accents, etc... I ate it up! I thought about it and applied it to my own spaces and I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Dang, I wish that show was still around! 

If I could have that impact, to be what Christopher Lowell was to interior design, what Gordon Ramsay is to kitchens and restaurants, or Jon Taffer is to the bar industry, that would be the 10x result of my dreams!

THE ORIGIN STORY

Both the name "Reset" and the logo of my project are really significant to me. Because I teach computers, the idea of resetting/restarting is like the golden rule around here. Something's not working right: Have you tried turning it off and back on again?


So, I wanted a word for my project that was simple, but expressed that same sentiment. Also, my son, Iggy, who is now six, used to (and occasionally still does) struggle with temper tantrums and meltdowns, as all kids do. My husband and I had a trick when he was younger where we told him to press his "reset button" when he was getting too upset. Iggy would literally press an imaginary button on his body to refocus and calm down (kinda cute, huh?). RESET was perfect! 

When designing the logo, I knew that I needed to incorporate the universal symbol for restarting/resetting: you know, the circle with the arrow thing. But the cloud is incredibly symbolic, too. The cloud is a nod to a YouTube video recommended to me by my #LAX18 coach, Michael Kosko:


"The Cloud" is the unknown area, the indirect path, between getting from point A to point B (or, often times, alternate point C). The Cloud is that area of uncertainty, confusion, and frustration, where in order to move forward, you must get creative, explore new ideas, and walk into the unknown, even if there's a chance that you could epically fail. The Cloud is not only where I found myself in the middle of #LAX18, but where I imagine a lot of the teachers who need a Reset exist. 

THANK YOU

I simply cannot forget to thank and give credit to my #LAX18 mentor, Kevin Jarrett, who has been incredibly patient and understanding throughout my struggles with getting this off the ground. His support (and directives to stop and take a break when I'm overwhelmed!) has been key. I've noticed how much even a quick text or check-in can help at times; just knowing someone is out there cheering you on is the best feeling. Thank you, Kevin!

Wow, this post became a whole lot longer than I had thought! I guess I've had a lot swirling in my head about all of this. I'm really excited about my project, and I hope that it connects with other educators, too.

Final thought: My project cannot continue without the support of as many other educators as possible. Please share my project with others. Please subscribe to the ResetEDU channel, follow the project on Twitter and Instagram, tell a friend... any and all support is appreciated! If you're interested in connecting with me on a ResetEDU project or episode, you can fill out the form here bit.ly/ResetEDU or contact me via the ResetEDU website.

#ResetEDU

- Mrs L.
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