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15 Sep 2019
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12 Time Management Tools for Students

Time Management is by far one of my favorite topics to discuss. I have always been fascinated with lists, life hacks, and productivity processes but over the past few years, I have really noticed that this is a skill that students desperately need support with as well. That’s why I felt so adamant and passionate about adding it as a whole chapter in my latest book, Creatively Productive. When I was asked to put together a session for students this year, I was elated for two reasons. One because I love talking about this topic and two because I love working with students.

As you know, I love curating resources as well as creating templates and goodies so I thought I would spend the rest of this blog post doing a bit of both.

Why is Time Management Important?

I always like to start with the Why. Before I put together any additional resources, I did a little more research and discovered two recent studies that both cited Time Management as one of the top 5 soft skills.

What is Time Management?

After I set the case for Time Management, I think it is important to define it, so we talk about all of the different skills and processes that are impacted by and/or are directly related to time management using this awesome article here. Some of the biggest take-aways are the ability to goal-set, prioritize, break down tasks, really know yourself, and audit and readjust.

Another fun activity is to take a quick quiz to get a feel for how one’s current time management skills measure up. Here are a few of my favorites:

What Tips and Tools Do You have for Time Management?

Tips and tools are really important as everyone schedules their time differently, so we talked about batching tasks (e.g. categorizing and grouping similar types of tasks… researching, creating, phone calls, social media rather than switching from individual task to task), and time blocking (e.g . blocking out time ahead of time to complete a task or project at a certain time of day). From there we dove into analog and digital tools.

Tips
  • Time Blocking: Time blocking is really just being aware of what needs to be done, how long you think it might take, and when in your day you will have the most energy to complete certain tasks and planning your calendar accordingly. Also, see “Time Blocking 101” and “Become a Timeblocking Champ with these Practices”.
  • Batching Tasks: Batching tasks is the idea that you take similar tasks and group them together rather than switch from one task to another. For me, I try to bundle all of my creative tasks in one chunk of time, my email in another, phone calls in yet another so I am not switching in between tasks randomly. It isn’t always possible but it is great to be at least be mindful about how your focus may drain throughout the day and plan accordingly. “How to Batch Tasks with Google Calendar to Increase Focus and Productivity”.
Digital Tools

Not gonna lie, y’all… I am more of an analog person when it comes to do lists and planners and such. I use a pairing of Google Calendar and a Passion Planner. That being said… I would never dictate or assume that one tool or type of tool is the best fit for everyone so I tend to share a variety of both analog and digital tools with students and suggest they explore, test them out, and decide what works best for them.

  1. Google Calendar: For this, we talk about time blocking and using Google calendar to set reminders (e.g. 2 days before a project is due, 1 day before a quiz, etc…)
  2. Wunderlist (now Microsoft To Do): This one is great as you can create folders, lists, star items, add sub tasks, create reminders, and add images and files.
  3. Google Keep: Google Keep is fantastic as you can label and color code notes, add drawings, have paper backgrounds (e.g. blank, square, dots, ruled), create checkboxes, utilize speech to text, and even convert images of text into text using OCR technology.
  4. Screen Time: iOS 12 released Screen Time. While this is not a to do list tool, it is great for students that need to set downtime and manage their distractions throughout the day.
  5. Forest: This is the only paid one in the list. It is like a gamified version of Screen Time. You set a timer to stay off of your phone and while you do, your tree or foliage grows. If you fail, the tree dies. If you succeed, you start building a forest. There is some altruism built into this too which I love.
  6. Self Control: I used this during my 30 Day Social Media Detox but it is really great to use anytime you just need to focus and you don’t want to rely on your own dwindling self control.
  7. Stay Focused: This is a Google Chrome Extension that works similarly to Self Control.
Analog Tools

I am a planner girl all the way. I use a blend of a bullet journal, planner, and reader’s notebook and I love exploring analog options… mainly because they force me into an environment in which I find less distractions and more focus … and somewhat because I love my Sharpie fine tip pens and washi tape. All of these ideas are shared in the time management chapter of Creatively Productive in greater detail but I wanted to summarize them here as well.

  1. Productivity Bingo: This is one of my favorites. The original idea is from lalalauren.creates. It is a gamified to do list where one places their tasks in squares and rewards oneself when they bingo. Her example here shows how you can break tasks into subtasks as well. Here is a student example and one of my examples here and one more here.
  2. MindMapped To Do Lists: Many times I need to either batch tasks by focus (e.g. creating, troubleshooting, planning, etc…) and/or include subtasks. This is a way for me to do that. (Example linked here and here).
  3. Things To Do Weekly Planner Template: This is one of my favorites. As you know, I love planners. Some of our students have them and others would prefer something simple and targeted to them so I created the custom template below. The front is fairly self-explanatory. The back includes a month display and a list of questions to support students with mindful planning. (FREE download can be found below in CP Digital Doc Locker).
  4. Project Planner: This is an idea I adapted from one of my teachers. It is really used to teach students to break down tasks and plan accordingly when they are assigned a group project. (FREE download can be found below in CP Digital Doc Locker).
  5. Time Management Forms: These have been adapted from the examples in the Overloaded and Underprepared book. It is really a way to support students with looking at how they spend their time during the evening and on weekends, what their commitments are, and how much time that will leave them for homework, sleep, etc… We have been using these at the high school level for the past 3 years or so. (Example linked here).

I had several students ask for the slide deck and I have been asked to come into another one of our CTE courses and share this lesson this week so feeling like this content resonated with them. Would love your thoughts. If you do something like this, please email me at techchef4u@gmail.com to chat and/or post in the comments.

STUDENTS NEED PD TOO!

As you know, I am a firm believer that Students Need Professional Development too. Here are a few more blog posts that detail topics and tips I share with students:

FREEBIES AND GOODIES OH MY!

Oh, OMT… The Things to Do template and Project Planning Guide and lots more digital downloads and goodies can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive a link shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

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04 Sep 2019
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Fake Instagram Template

It seems somewhat fitting that after my last posts on my 30 Day Social Media Detox that I would write about social media… well sort of. Also, most of my time that I do spend on social media… happens to be on Instagram @NoteChef4u so there’s that too.

As you know, I love to create digital and analog goodies. There are many for FREE available for download on the Creatively Productive companion site. At the beginning of school, one of my teachers asked me to help her with a fake Instagram template as a get to know you activity for students. She was building it in Google Docs. I knew the power, potential, and possibility of creating it in Keynote… so away I went.

Using the Template

For now I just have this in Keynote. If I get more interest, I will definitely create these for PPT too. They are meant to work as a template so each of the gray tiles, including the circular one for the profile pic, is a placeholder. When students import a photo (or a video) within the placeholder tile, it retains the frame. Additionally, I built the slide deck to mimic the functionality of Instagram and to also double as an actual presentation tool so each of the squares will link to a slide that allows you to add a description and/or #’s and then link back to original 9 tiles.

Two Templates for the Price of One

Okay… technically, these templates are FREE (and they will work on Macbook, iPad, or iPhone). I just wanted to make sure that you knew there were two different versions:

  • Generic: There is a generic one that is just 9 plain photo tiles.
  • Specific with Prompts: As this was originally a get to know you activity, I also created one with specific icons and text prompts (e.g. favorite quote or song, favorite weekend activity, what you had for breakfast, someone that inspires you, and what’s in your backpack?). Some of these are very specific types of things that people post on Instagram and others are more of getting to know you prompts. Please don’t discount the specific one though… as you can use it with World Languages or even for a literary or historical figure reimagining.

Extending the Use of the Template

Sure, you could still use this as a get to know you activity with staff and/or adult learners BUT there are so many more quick curricular possibilities. Certainly not an exhaustive list… just something to help you percolate. Here are just a few:

  • Science: Each of the 9 squares could represent an element or one row of 3 could be carnivores, one row herbivores, and one row omnivores.
  • Math: Each of the 9 squares could be a polygon, type of angle, word problem, etc…
  • English: One could create a fake Instagram for a character in a book. They could also depict a poem in 9 separate icons, or 9 different vocabulary words, or 9 different scenes in a book.
  • Social Studies: One idea might be to have them create a fake Instagram for a cause or a historical figure. They could also use it to depict 9 important events.
  • CTE: This would be a cool way to play around with creating a fake resume and talk about what images and content they share online and what they would highlight for a job.
  • World Language: My German and French teachers jumped at using the template as practice for basic vocabulary. They actually used the specific template versus the generic one. You could give students prompts for each of the 9 and even have them add a video to one or all of the tiles instead of a still image.
  • Fine Art: They could use it as a portfolio for their work or a project, to highlight multiple parts of the project/piece, or to showcase 9 artists that inspired them.

Again, certainly not an exhaustive list. I really wanted to get this blog post out to you and share the idea so you could explore this tool with your students further. If you end up using it with students, I would be ever so grateful to be tagged on Twitter or Facebook @TechChef4u or email me at techchef4u@gmail.com if you would like me to share student samples (with permission of course).

Freebies and Goodies Oh My!

Oh, OMT… The two templates and lots more digital downloads and goodies can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive a link shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

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13 May 2019
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8 Lessons Learned From a 30 Day Social Media Detox

Well, I’m back after my 30 Day Social Media Detox. I have totally figured out my mission, have achieved work life balance, and discovered an infinite fountain of positivity and self compassion. If this sounds a little too good to be true, that’s because it is. In reality, a 30 Day Social Media Detox is not meant to solve every problem… more to allow you to go back to ground zero and really take a look at what role(s) social media plays in your life.

Since, it is May and Mental Health Awareness, I am going to be 40 this year, and because I think full transparency is necessary for authenticity and to help others. I struggle. I struggle with work life balance. I struggle with anxiety and depression. I struggle with balancing being a mom, wife, and full time educator with being an author, finding time to blog, and to share ideas with the greater edusphere. I struggle with self-worth and I don’t give myself nearly enough grace and self-compassion. Before the social media detox, I had pretty much done away with all personal social media and really only use social media in a professional capacity… to network, to learn and be inspired by others, and to share my own ideas and what I am doing.

I can also tell you that the hardest part of a 30 Day Social Media Detox is not doing it… it is coming back. Honestly, it was easy giving it up for 30 days. I regained easily 6-8 hours a week that I was spending consuming and crafting content. And it was easy to not watch everyone’s highlight reel play out in several feeds and then feel badly about myself, and the quality and/or quantity of what I do. So what now? What is the magic answer? Honestly, there isn’t one magic answer. Some people can spend hours connecting online and sharing with others. For some it energizes them. For others, while they love doing it and find purpose and value in it, it can be draining.

While I don’t have the perfect answer, I do know there are 3 things that matter to me most: 1) Alone Time: for me, I have to be alone with my thoughts from time to time. 2) Creating: I have always loved to create and this is how I make sense of things and share ideas worth implementing with my audience. 3) Respect: I truly want to create, communicate, and curate with respect and hopefully have people respect my narrative and the authenticity that it entails.

So, while I have made most of this blog post about me, I want to share some things I feel like will be useful for you. But before I do that, I want to be clear. These are my personal opinions and experiences. And everyone is different so some ideas may resonate with you and some may not… and that is totally okay. When I wrote Creatively Productive, I was clear that the strategies I shared were just that… strategies… not one size fits all magic antidotes. And the tips, tools, and tricks that may work for you today, may not work for you in another season of your life. What I can tell you… is that I never stop trying and exploring. If you aren’t looking to find a zen like balance with social media, then a 30 day detox may not be for you. And again… that is okay. For me, I was looking for a way to regain some control and balance and to clear my head and this 30 Day Social Media Detox was necessary for me to do just that. So now on to the lessons learned:

  1. You Have to Know Your Why but it Can Be Adjusted Along the Way: If you are going to embark on a 30 Day Social Media Detox, have a why. My entire Why and How is detailed in this blog post. For me, it was a way to reset, re-evaluate, refocus, and reconstruct. What I failed to remember, until a week or so in, was how busy and stressful the months of April and May are for an educator. I work full time as an Educational Technologist and I only have 24 hours like everyone else. The beauty of the 30 Day Social Media Detox was that it afforded me 6-8 extra hours a week during a time I really needed them. So if you are finding that there is a stressful month coming up, it might be a good time to consider one of these.
  2. Old Habits Are Hard to Break: While I removed access to all social media sites on my computer and deleted all social media apps from my phone (more on this process here), I quickly realized that the knee jerk reaction to refill the infinity pool of content was still there. I would randomly check my email and refresh it or go to Amazon and check my book’s rankings which were updated hourly (I know… not my finest hour… pun intended). So about two weeks in, I removed Safari, Amazon, and my email apps from my phone and found that my need to pick up my phone without purpose was slowly dissipating. I also realized I had a better work life balance because when I opened up my laptop, I could really focus on email rather than compulsively checking it, worrying about it, being distracted, and then waiting till I got to a computer to send a lengthier response. This process also allowed me to set better boundaries and be more proactive rather than reactive.
  3. You May Not Miss it As Much As You Think You Will: Sure there were times where I wanted to post a pic of my kid or share a cool idea. Instead I wrote those things down and oftentimes still shared them… just in my newsletter. The time away gave me a moment to pause and consider my purpose and relationship with social media. Now that I am back on, I am more mindful about the types of interactions I seek and the time I allot for those interactions… though this will be continually to evolve as I explore limits.
  4. You Will Discover What Your Real Relationship with Social Media is: I learned really quickly that I use social media as a cure for boredom and entertainment. And while there is nothing necessarily wrong with that… for me, entertainment is not messages I need to answer, feeds of comparisons, and the constant twitch to post content. Now please don’t misconstrue my message. I love social media and I find a lot of purpose to it but what I realized is that I can still have those interactions but if I need to relax or shut down my brain, a Netflix series, time with my bullet journal, a board game with my boys, a book in my hands, or going to bed early was better suited to my needs.
  5. Time Away Helps You Rethink Your Relationships with People Online (and IRL): A few days in I realized that many of the interactions I have with people in my social media PLN are many times surface level and ephemeral… in that they are based on quick feeds and textual conversations. It just made me realize that I wanted to connect with people on a deeper level. I immediately made a list of inspiring people in my PLN that I wanted to start connecting with more and plan on reaching out to them to do a monthly GHO or Skype. I also realized I wasn’t on my phone nearly as much at social In Real Life (IRL) events which helped me be a better listener, communicator, and more present for the people I cared about.
  6. Sometimes You Need a Visual Reminder: Towards the end of the detox, I realized I might need a visual reminder to keep me in check so I created this iPhone wallpaper (see below) to remind me of what my values are and to give me a way to check in with myself rather than aimlessly use my device. I borrowed some of the questions and phrasing from Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism and Jake Knapp’s and John Zeratsky’s Make Time.
  7. Make Sure You Have an Exit Plan: The next thing… is to have a plan… before, during, and after. My plan for before and during is detailed here. I also journaled when things came to me through the 30 days. The harder part was devising a plan for social media when the barriers were removed. I quickly learned that managing moderation is far more difficult than banning something entirely. This leads me to #8.
  8. Keep What Works: There were a few things over this month that I plan to keep in place moving forward. First, the only social media app that I reinstalled on my phone was Instagram (mainly because I love the filters and because there is no way to post on Instagram without the app unless you are using a tool like Planoly). The rest of my social media apps I plan to access via my laptop. I also am leaving the Self Control app on my Macbook and exploring setting defaults for time to use social media during the day rather than always having it at my fingertips… also because I know my self control is weak and setting defaults allows me to be more focused rather than hoping my will power will be in tact at all times. For now, I am also keeping Safari and email off of my phone. Many others have explored the idea of a Distraction Free phone and had success with it, and so far…so have I.

I can’t tell you that I have it all figured out, but what I can tell is you is that I am seeking balance. I am also hoping to draft another blog post 30-60 days out to share how this process is working and what tweaks I have made.


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03 Apr 2019
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30 Day Digital Detox/Declutter: Why and How

I have always been an observer and one that enjoys collecting and curating ideas. Lately, I have noticed some trends in books (see below… I highly recommend all 4) as well as some trends in peers’ online behavior:

I feel like these ideas and trends have led me to feel like I have permission to take a much needed break from social media for a variety of reasons. Now, you know that I don’t follow trends to follow trends… I have my own purposes too. ūüėČ

Why:

  • What am I modeling?: My boys are getting older and as I scroll mindlessly through Instagram, I start to wonder what digital wellness habits I am modeling?
  • Why don’t I have time to create?: My core value is to create. I have to… it gives me purpose and it is the way that I process and make sense of the world. The problem is that I spend so much time either crafting social media posts or scrolling through them that I am not living up to my creative potential. While social media is vital for sharing and collecting ideas and inspirations, I feel like all I am doing is filling up on appetizers and then never having any time for the real meat of my own content creations… blog posts, printables, videos, etc…
  • Why do I feel this way?: I have lots of thoughts and feelings. Everyone does. I also struggle daily with anxiety and depression and many times mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram feeds doesn’t do me any favors. With social media, I feel like I am being constantly reactive but not really proactive in creating content that really matters in the long run. I also feel like I am in need of a priority tune-up and the only way for me to really do that is to remove the external noise so I can take a moment and figure out what control, balance, happiness, and success looks like in this season of my life.

What I Have Already Done:

  • Alarm Clock: Got an actual Alarm Clock and Charge my Phone in Another Room.
  • Light up Pen: Bought a light up pen to put on a nightstand with a pad of paper for late night ideas (rather than using my phone).
  • Screen Time: Track my Screen Time through apps like Moment and Screen Time in iOS12.
  • Unsubscribe: Use Unroll.Me to unsubscribe from unwanted emails (more on this in Email Bankruptcy).
  • Desktop Zen: Create a Custom Desktop Organizer for Desktop Zen and Focus.
  • Facebook App: Deleted FB app from my phone (this is the one that was the biggest time suck for me prior to Instagram).
  • Facebook Shortcuts: Change shortcut to Facebook in toolbar to go to my Facebook page and not my personal Facebook feed so when I go to Facebook, I go with a purpose.
  • Analog Notes: Take Analog Notes to remove my digital distractions.
  • Books: Read predominantly Paper copies of Books and started a reader’s notebook to help with retention.
  • Planner and Bullet Journal: Got planner and bullet journal to help with time management and reflection (I go deeper into planners, bullet journaling, analog notes and reader’s notebooks in my new book, Creatively Productive).

How I Plan To Do a 30 Day Social Media Digital Detox:

  • Delete Social Media Shortcuts from Computer: Delete ALL shortcuts to social media from my bookmarks bar.
  • Really Restrict Social Media from my Computer: I have self control… I do… but sometimes I get bored and sometimes the habit of typing “Facebook” or “Twitter” into my browser bar is strong. So, I downloaded the FREE Self Control app. You type in the sites you don’t want access to and then it blocks them for a specific amount of time. In my case… I just block it for 24 hours every morning.
  • Delete Social Media Apps for Phone or Tablet: Delete ALL social media apps (turn it into a “distraction free” phone) from my phone (and maybe email if need be).
  • Let People Know: Put a graphic to my blog about the detox on all of my social media accounts (something like Roni’s) so people know what is going on and how they can still connect with you (e.g. in person, text, call, GHO, Skype, email, blog, newsletter).
  • Reading Reminder: Put a graphic on my phone to remind me to read a book (see Austin Kleon’s example).
  • Book Keeping: Keep an actual book with me at all times.
  • Remove Notifications: Turn off all notifications on my phone and Macbook (except phone and text).
  • Track and Reflect: Track what I do and how I feel throughout the digital declutter (will most likely use a combination of an app like Daylio and an actual journal).

I hope this helps. I will be blogging through the process and sharing my thoughts and feelings along the way. In the interim, check out Roni’s post “After the 30-Day Social Media Ban: What Surprised Me & What I’m Changing”. And if you want to take a super deep dive into the particulars of configuring your iPhone for productivity and focus, this article is for you “How to Configure Your iPhone to Work for You, Not Against You”.


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11 Mar 2019
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SXSWEDU 19 Recap

SXSWEDU is one of my favorite conferences to go to. It is the intersection of current events and trends, culture, and education and has the pulse of K-12 educators, higher ed, politics, and software/hardware industries.

SXSWEDU is different from many of the conferences that I attend in that it is more about big ideas and large scale practices rather than quick tools that you can use in your classroom tomorrow. That being said, there was lots to be learned and shared, and the 7 things I list below are worth checking out and investigating further. 😏

  1. No Tech4U – Students’ Stories of Tech Abstinence: Joan Hughes Ph.D., UT Austin associate professor, and Hsiao-Ping Hsu, UT Austin Ph.D. candidate, shared their research from their 24 hour tech abstinence challenge. They talked about 8 storylines of awareness that emerged (e.g. FOMO, Relationship Breaker, Relationship Connector, Real-Life Blocker, Personal Assistant, Distraction, Addiction, and Educational Benefit). I can’t do this session justice in a bullet point so I highly advise you to visit their session resources, slide deck, and research paper. (Link to slide deck / Link to everything) The full podcast of the session is also available! (Link to podcast)
  2. The Aerodynamics of Exceptional Schools: I have been a fan of Jennifer Gonzalez and her “Cult of Pedagogy” for some time now. In fact, I even highlight her work in my first book Cultivating Communication in the Classroom. Her keynote did not disappoint. It really addressed how to make progress and overcome negativity and self-doubt. She used a 9 step plan (e.g. take a breath, find allies, set precise goals, expect bumps, invite, validate, be transparent, praise, and dig deep). You know I love metaphors and visual literacy and this keynote brought it all. The full keynote is available here. (Link to SXSWEDU keynote)
  3. Dial Down the Stress Without Dumbing Down School: This session included Denise Pope Ph.D., author of Overloaded and Underprepared, and Ian Kelleher Ph.D., The Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning. If you are looking to use research-based and informed strategies with your students, this blog is for you! (Link to blog). This session was also recorded and the podcast is lined. (Link to podcast)
  4. Building Empathy Through Storytelling: 826 National and the Cartoon Network partnered to focus on SEL writing prompts that focus on a wide variety of topics. The site offers sparks, lessons, projects, and exemplars and you can sort by grade level and type of writing). You do have to create an account to access the resources and while they are FREE, there is the ability to offer an optional donation in exchange for using the resources if you choose to do so. (Link to resources)
  5. U Good? Empowering Students to Manage Chronic Stress: This session was put on by the American Public Health Association’s Center for School Health and Education. They had a lot of practical ideas for navigating this topic. The full podcast of the session is also available. (Link to podcast). My favorite part was the student created music video that tackled the topic of gun violence. The trailer for this video is posted here. I am told the full length video should be up soon.
  6. Reconstruction: America After the Civil War: This was by far one of my favorite SXSWEDU experiences. Henry Louis Gates Jr., documentarian extraordinaire, and Paula Kerger, President and CEO of PBS, talked about the upcoming 4 hour documentary “Reconstruction: America After the Civil War” which will air April 9th and 16th. Henry stated that the documentary would be a nuanced and balanced story using testimonies from 44 historians. His goal was not to preach propaganda but to get people to think. The 60 minute SXSWEDU keynote by the same name gives you an idea of what is to come. (Link to SXSWEDU Keynote) I should also mention that the podcast version of this talk is also available. (Link to podcast)
  7. Communities in Schools Mosaic Challenge: As you know, I love art and mixed media and writing. And when you bring all of these things together to promote awareness, you have a recipe to understand “the challenges and triumphs students across America experience every day.” What We Are Made Of is a mosaic portrait series. Each art piece tells a story of success and struggle through the objects included. This is another one that I won’t do justice for with my words alone SO PLEASE HEAD ON OVER TO THE SITE NOW! (Link to site).

But Wait… There’s More

Trying to keep this post short and sweet BUT if conference recaps totally float your boat, I do have a few more housed here.

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13 Dec 2018
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NCTE 2018

I attended NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) for the first time a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it. There were clearly two topics that I felt drawn to. The first… visual literacy and the second…females and their identities in literature.

I should also mention the phrase “mirrors and windows and sliding glass doors” that I consistently heard throughout the conference. Mirrors…the idea of someone like you being reflected in the book and knowing that your narrative matters and windows…exploring and seeing other people, cultures, and lifestyles. It was nice to be reminded that in addition to reading for pleasure, books can be vehicles for change, empathy, social justice, and exploring alternate world views. This Scholastic article goes a little deeper into the topic.

When I do one of these recaps, I am seeking to do two things, 1) organize and reflect on all of the ideas and resources AND 2) create a resource that is easy to navigate for others that may not have attended these sessions or NCTE at all. 

Rather than going session by session and transcribing my notes, I have decided to include the best ideas, resources, and books shared from the event. Enjoy. ūüėČ

Ideas and Instructional Practices

  1. 4 Quadrants: Harvey Daniels @smokeylit talked about looking at each quadrant of an image or piece of art and noting what you see, think, wonder, and infer. 
  2. Visual KWLs: Tanny McGregor @TannyMcG shared a KWL and noted examples of visual KWL’s which I loved. She has multiple examples linked here. And her new book Ink and Ideas: Sketchnotes for Engagement, Comprehension, and Thinking is available as well. 
  3. Gender in Art: This was probably my favorite. Nancy Steineke @nsteineke primed us with the question, “How does this art define women and men? Who they are? What they do? And the implied gender expectations? She then had us divide a sheet of paper into 2 columns: Men in Art (1200-1530) and Women in Art (1270-1519) and began to show us art pieces from that time frame and had us document our noticing. My Men in Art section had words like protector, violent, and active and Women in Art had words like madonna, care-taker, virgin, prim, matriarchal, religious, and passive. A fantastic idea to blend gender norms and visual literacy. (Presentation Linked HERE).

Resources/Links

  1. CBLDF’s Using Graphic Novels in Education (lots of resources for using graphic novels in education)
  2. Lion Forge Educator (lots of resources and lesson plans for using comics and graphic novels in the classroom)
  3. Fierce Females: Owning Their Strong Voices and Bodies (a fantastic curated tour through books and current topics like gender roles and strength, standards of beauty, love and relationships across the rainbow, confronting mental health, and much more).
  4. Fierce Females Book List (categorizes books about privilege and intersectionality, mental health and wellness, love and relationships, gender roles, and standards of beauty)
  5. KidLit Women podcast (“A podcast of interviews and essays focusing on women’s and gender issues, including non-binary and gender fluidity, in the children‚Äôs literature community and all its intersectionality!”)
  6. ALA Amelia Bloomer List (“an annual annotated book list of well-written and well-illustrated books with significant feminist content, intended for young readers (ages birth through 18).”.
  7. Lambda Literacy List (largest LGBTQ literary community in the world)

Nonfiction Books and Awesome Authors

  1. Ink and Ideas: Sketchnotes for Engagement, Comprehension, and Thinking by Tanny McGregor
  2. Mental Illness in Young Adult Literature: Exploring Real Struggles though Fictional Characters by Kia Jane Richmond
  3. Taming the Wild Text: Literacy Strategies for Today’s Reader by Pam Allyn and Monica Burns
  4. Worth a Thousand Words: Using Graphic Novels to Teach Visual and Verbal Literacy by Meryl Jaffe and Talia Harwich 
  5. The Write Thing: Kwame Alexander Engages Students in Writing Workshop by Kwame Alexander

 

Fiction Books and Awesome Authors

  1. Sharon Draper’s Blended and Tears of Tiger (and many more)
  2. Renee Watson’s Piecing Me Together and Watch Us Rise
  3. Brigid Kemmerer Letters to the Lost and More than We Can Tell (and many more)
  4. Gabby Rivera’s Juliet Takes a Breath
  5. Padma Venkataraman’s Climbing the Stairs and The Bridge Home (and many more)
  6. Abbey Lee Nash’s Lifeline
  7. Katherine Locke’s The Girl with the Red Balloon and The Spy with the Red Balloon.
  8. Kim Briggs’s author of Star Fall (and many more)
  9. Jennifer Holm’s Swing it, Sunny¬†(and so many more)¬†
  10. John Hendrix’s The Faithful Spy¬†and Drawing is Magic: Discovering yourself in a Sketchbook (and more)
  11. Nathan Hale’s Lafayette!: a Revolutionary War Tale (and so many more Hazardous Tales)
  12. Lauren Spieller’s Your Destination is on the Left
  13. Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X
  14. Nisha Sharma’s My So-Called Bollywood Life

But Wait… There’s More

If conference recaps and resources or a list of books totally floats your boat the way it does mine, I have a few more links you might like:


13 Nov 2018
Comments: 0

On the Dot 2018 Recap

I have been trying to figure out the best way to encapsulate all of the awesomeness that was jammed into one day of “On the Dot”s inaugural “See it to Be It Success Summit” and I think the best way is a list and a blog post. First, I feel like I should mention what this conference was NOT. It was not a conference designed for educators per se, nor one that directly focused on students or education. What this conference DID HAVE was a gathering of women focused around supporting each other and achieving success.

As I work at a high school that is focused on CASEL’s Social Emotional Learning skills and partners with Stanford’s Challenge Success program AND I spend a fair amount of time supporting students in our CTE (Career and Technology Education) courses like Mentorship and the Incubator, I felt like this conference had some answers to questions that we might be asking in education… but may not find in traditional events designed by educators and geared solely to educators. That is not to say that I don’t attend educational conferences. I do and I thoroughly enjoy them and learn so much from them. I have posted links to many of my recaps of those events here. What I am saying is that broadening our scope and connecting with businesses and entrepreneurs allows us to interact with people and ideas that we may not have been able to glean otherwise.

What follows is a little inspiration, a little instruction, and a little insight from some of the amazing women I connected with. And so, Lisa’s Listicle of Lovely Learning commences… ūüėČ

On The Dot

First and foremost… you have to visit On the Dot’s site. They have amazing blog posts with tips on a variety of topics ranging from entrepreneurship and STEM to Health/Wellness and Politics and Activism. They also have two kick butt podcasts. “Four Minutes with On the Dot”¬†and “On the Spot with Melinda Garvey”. Both highlight successful and inspiring women and provide a large range of topics to binge on. If you are social, follow On the Dot on Instagram and Twitter.

Quips, Tips, and Quotes

There were so many great tips, lessons learned, and quotes and I have been struggling to find the best way to share those out in a meaningful way. Recently, I started playing with Adobe Spark Post to highlight some of my favorite quotes from the books I have read this year. This seemed like a great way to share out some of my favorite quips, tips, and quotes as well. And it gives you a broad range of people and ideas to connect with. Feel free to share these quotes and images on social media or print them and post them around your classroom or campus to brighten someone’s day. The link to all of these graphics is here.

I am also including their social media info if you would like to connect with them that way too and/or to support women owned businesses:

Own Every Room

Lisa Mitchell did a fantastic workshop. She is a Body Language and Communication expert as well as a Certified Forensics Interviewer. You can connect with her on Instagram and Twitter and find her website here. She shared a couple of tips for interacting with people (versus transacting). While they were mostly geared towards businesswomen, I think there are some take-aways that could be meaningful to our educational practice:

  • Be Intentional: Set Your Intention – If I were to meet you in 30 seconds, what 3 words would you want me to use to describe you. For me, it might be competent, trustworthy, and creativity or kind. Lisa also mentioned that there might be 3 different words if you were walking into work vs. your house. Her tip was to set these 3 words before you walk into a room and think about what those mean for your interactions.
  • Take Control of Your First Impression and Gain Their Trust – Within 7 seconds of being seen, a first impression is made. Are you a threat? A friend? Neutral? Would someone have confidence in you? Something as simple as smiling, acknowledging others, keeping your head high, and not being on your phone when you walk into a room (or a classroom) are simple ways to gain trust.¬†And speaking of trust… Lisa talked about keeping your hands visible (as opposed to behind your back). These seem obvious but I work in a support role with students and staff so these were a nice reminder.

Millennials and The Future

The year you were born corresponds to a label. For me, I am smack dab in the edge of ¬†two of these labels… Gen X and Millennial. Perhaps I am a Xennial… who knows? I digress (if you want to fall deeper down this rabbit hole, here is an article that delineates this better). Millennials are very much in the work force and in education. Generation Z would basically be one of my children (the one in middle school) and the younger… Gen Alpha (the children of millennials)… which are in our classrooms as well… though mostly in elementary. I swear I am getting to a point. Deloitte did a survey of 10,000 millennials across 36 countries and 1,800 generation Z’ers from 6 countries.

  • Parents Shape Students: The students in our classrooms (elementary and middle school) are the parents of these Gen Z and Millenials and we all know that parents help to shape the values of their children so I think at the very least an awareness of what those values is important.
  • Importance of Flexibility and Business Ethics:¬†Some of the findings brought to light that these generations are more concerned with the ethics of businesses and flexibility within the workplace than in previous generations.
  • Lack of Soft Skills Preparation: They also feel less prepared for work in Industry 4.0 and are looking to businesses to develop soft skills like creativity and interpersonal skills.

Their quick video does a better job of describing these findings (linked here) and embedded below. This will come as no surprise to any of you that incorporate social emotional learning skills, flexible seating, problem based learning, or design thinking into your classroom BUT it is a helpful reminder nonetheless.

I am fairly certain this won’t be the last time you hear me talk about On The Dot, soft skills, or college and career readiness skills. I hope this post inspires you to connect with these amazing women, ideas, and resources. And please feel free to reach out to me¬†techchef4u@gmail.com¬†if there are additional topics you would like me to dig deeper into or share more of on www.techchef4u.com.

But Wait… There’s More…

If you are interested in additional conference recaps, I have provided some links below:

WHERE WILL TECHCHEF BE NEXT?

If you are interested in booking Lisa Johnson and/or would like to know more about her speaking history or professional development portfolio… visit the TechChef4u speaking page for more info or email techchef4u@gmail.com.

And‚Ķ Check out her latest creation‚Ķ the book ‚ÄúCultivating Communication in the Classroom: Future-Ready Skills for Secondary Students.‚ÄĚ


08 Aug 2018
Comments: 0

Values and Goal-setting

If you just want the FREE Values activity and tutorial, skip the first 3 paragraphs. I won’t be offended. ūüėČ BUT… if you would like a little more background to the activity, the next 3 paragraphs provide some context.

Context and Clarification to the Values and Goal-Setting Activities

I work at a High School so naturally college and career readiness skills are at the heart of what I do and at the forefront of my mind. The need for these skills blended with Social Emotional Learning skills was the reason I set out to write my first book, “Cultivating Communication in the Classroom: Future-Ready Skills for Secondary Students”. Flash forward a year or so, and I wanted to drill down into another section of college and career readiness skills that focused on self-management skills…which can be broken down into topics like stress-management, self-discipline, self-motivation, and goal-setting. These types of skills are at the heart of de-stressing and being successful in learning and in life. My second book (and much of my Instagram account) will focus on these timeless topics of goal-setting, time management, and reflection with practical tactics and will be released towards the end of 2018 via Dave Burgess publishing.

That being said… I also love deep dives into research. As such I like to read a variety of books from a variety of authors (if you are curious, I have a post on some of the ones I read in 2018 entitled “18 Books Everyone Should Read in 2018”).¬†Some write for an audience of educators and some write for CEO’s. Some books were brimming with productivity hacks and others are designed to provide strategies to achieve wellness in an unbalanced digital world. What I found so intriguing about all of these authors and topics is that each one started with values and goal-setting in some way or another no matter the audience.

Last school year, we adapted an exercise from this Taproot article and Ana Homayoun’s book “Social Media Wellness: Helping Tweens and Teens Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World”¬†(full disclosure… I got a pre-release copy of this book and had the opportunity to read it in depth. I highly recommend it and would not include it if I didn’t think it offered valuable insight and instructional best practices).¬†We had students essentially choose values that were important to them from the list offered and then put those values in categories with overarching themes. From there they could come up with a values statement (almost like a mission statement) or answer the question that was posed in Ana’s book, “How does your _____________ contribute to or hinder your ability to live up to the values you identified as personally important?‚ÄĚ. Last year this was done in analog and I have been searching my brain and the edusphere for a way to do it digitally. I have been enamored with the idea of Poetry Magnets so at first I thought I would create this activity in Google Slides. The downside is that while it played beautifully in Google Slides on a computer, it was a nightmare using the app on the iPad. It wasn’t till the Apple Distinguished Educators workshop that I attended a few weeks ago (full blog post with links and resources from this event linked here) that I was able to find the solution. In one of the workshops, they used a Numbers document, the shapes and icons within the spreadsheet, and locked certain pieces of the document so others could move over them… much like you can do with a SMARTboard.

Explanation of Values Activity and Document

With this idea in mind, I sought out to revamp our values activity with Numbers. The document below was created in Numbers on my Mac AND can be opened on any device (iPhone, iPad, Mac, iMac) that has the FREE Numbers app. I originally posted the idea on my Facebook page to see if there would be an interest in a longer blog post and as there was… I hope this post and the video are helpful. ¬†And I want to mention that¬†the document is fully editable (once you unlock certain pieces of media) so feel free to use and adapt it as you see fit.

  • Link to Document: The Numbers document is linked here.
  • Tutorial: The video (just shy of 5 minutes) is embedded below and linked here for your convenience.
  • Student Uses: I would definitely encourage the use of an activity like this with students before a goal-setting activity. Student’s values should serve as the foundation to their personal and academic goals. If values are not at the foundation, the goals tend to fall by the wayside because they are not intrinsic to who they are and what they value. In the video I have also suggested some additional ideas for how the final visual value statement could be used and stored.
  • Curricular Uses: I absolutely love creative writing SO I wanted to mention that this activity could also be turned into a values audit for a historical figure or a literary figure.
  • It is Yours: My whole philosophy has been around creating, curating, and sharing practical purposeful ideas/recipes with a dash of whimsy that could be easily adapted. So as a reminder… the document is FREE to use and can easily be adapted for other purposes.

If you use this resource and/or adapt it for your students, I would love to hear from you. You can email me¬†techchef4u@gmail.com¬†or Tweet me @TechChef4u. ūüėČ

But Wait… There’s More…

If you are interested in some of the other activities and sessions we have created for students, I am linking a few more ideas and formats below:

 


19 Jul 2018
Comments: 1

2018 Worldwide Apple EDU Recap

So much learning is baked into a week of an Apple Distinguished Educator Worldwide Institute. And this year 38 countries assembled in one location… Austin, Texas… my hometown.¬†Cathy Yenca @MathyCathy¬†and I shared a room and it was great getting to catch up (even though we are in the same district… we don’t always get time to hear about the awesome things each is doing at our campuses and beyond) so this was a real treat.

To capture all of the learning from the week, you can sift through the #’s #AppleEDUchat, #ADE2018, and the most recent #EveryoneCanCreate.

Though the #’s are present, they are jam packed with goodies so I really wanted to drill down into some of my faves. I have taken several notes, explored a plethora of tools, and been inspired by innovative ideas that I absolutely plan on sharing back with my campus and district. BUT…As you know, I have always been a proponent of curation and sharing beyond district lines to the greater edusphere so a blog post seemed to make the most sense to collect all of this in one place.

Workshops

We each attended 3 workshops of our choosing so I am providing my analog notes as well as the links and resources for each below the images (I would normally do that with Thinglink… but it is a long story so this will have to do for now).

“Capture the Moment with Clips”: I am fairly late to the game at perusing the FREE Clips iOS app BUT it really does have some good stuff in it. Picture a simpler iMovie with some graphics, stickers, labels, emoji and a way to do live transcripts on videos. So many classroom applications for this. To see all of them, follow the #classroomclips. To see the first one I created, click here. I have actually wanted to do more personally and professionally with video but wasn’t quite sure what the best tool would be for that. I think I found it though. So stay tuned for a new video series on organization, calendars, time management, goal-setting, bullet journals… via my @NoteChef4u Instagram account.

“Connect Math and Science through Creativity”: This one was excellent as well. Basically, they used a Numbers template to teach students the correlation between reaction time and sleep. The Numbers document had multiple colored tabs (corresponding to each of the numbered activities I mention below) which were useful for easily locating an activity BUT also great if you are using Apple Classroom with students so you can see what part of the project they are on. In addition to the Numbers spreadsheet, they also used the Reaction Timer game app to compose the data and record it in the table in Numbers. They mentioned a few support resources for Numbers that I wanted to share as well… Numbers for iPad Starter Guide AND Numbers for Mac Starter Guide.

“Improving Student Efficiency and Productivity with¬†iPad¬†: Though I had already designed some professional development around iOS 11 updates for my staff this year, I found some new ideas. I really liked the theme and the way they designed activities. They likened iOS updates to the evolution of music (e.g. record to 8 track to cassette to CD) and I found that to be a really nice metaphor. Some of my favorites were:

  • Timer: Do a long press on the timer in the new control center and it pops up this really nice slider so you can easily set a time.
  • Camera: I knew this one but it bears repeating because it is awesome. The camera scans QR codes.
  • Maps: You can see inside buildings, malls, airports, etc…

They have an additional # for their session #iOS11learning.

Wow: Amazing People and Ideas and Updates

The week isn’t just workshops though, there are developers that share updates to some of our favorite apps and fellow Apple Distinguished Educators that do showcases which are short 3 minute presentations “showcasing” an awesome thing they are doing with their students. And then there was the ADE Playground and lots of inspiring informal conversations. So… I scanned through my notes and my noggin and wanted to list out some of the highlights:

  • Stephanie Thompson: I was blown away by Stephanie¬†@traintheteacher and the Equity Maps app. Wow. This app basically helps you see and adjust for gender equity within class conversations by creating a platform to document time spoken, times spoken, directions of conversations, etc… Seriously, I was sold (yes, it is a paid app but technically you would only need one copy for your classroom). AND she even has a video of her students talking about how they use the app and the impact it had on them and their class. AND if that isn’t amazing enough… she has a blog post too!
  • Brendan Kelly: I got to meet Brendan Kelly @MrKelly027 in my homeroom group and absolutely loved hearing about how his students are creating and 3D printing braille puzzles for a fellow student in their class. I am not going to do this story justice but this video he shares does.
  • Rhea Flohr: Rhea @RheaFlohr was also in my homeroom group and seriously she ROYGBIV’s her apps in folders on her iPad so I instantly knew we would be friends. ūüėČ She also built this amazingly color-coded app site to list and categorize and provide info about each one for her teachers. I have been looking at doing something similar and you know I love me some color coding so this was just the inspiration I needed.
  • Joe Welch: Wow! Joe Welch’s @nhsdwelch Middle School Students have published 4 iBooks based on oral history primary research projects. Here is a link to the first book!
  • Sketchnoters: I am constantly in awe of amazing sketch-noters. Some of my favorites from this week were Sharon Drummond¬†@Sharon_Drummond, Ingvi H. Omarsson @IngviOmarsson, Faye Nicole Ellis @fayenicole, and Karen Bosch @karlyb¬†just to name a few.
  • Podcast Mic: I learned about a noise canceling podcast microphone, Samson Meteor, and the podcasting app Anchor¬†from Martin Coutts @mcoutts81 and Rachel Smith @lanclassarach. And Martin recently published a FREE iBook to walk people through the process of starting their own podcast.
  • Merge Cube: Got a Merge Cube from Dr. Theresa Cullen @DrTerriC and couldn’t wait to download the AR Adventure app 57 degrees North.
  • Battle Mania: Shaun Booker @lostarefound created a 5 minute video highlighting some of the best hidden tips and tricks from the iPad Battle Mania and it is most epic indeed! I mean… did you know you could move multiple apps at once?
  • Joy of PL (Professional Learning): I adore Kurt¬†@meesterkurt and Christine Klynen¬†@ckklynen. While I knew they and their team offered all of these awesome FREE iBooks, I had no idea that they also offered a full catalog of analog board and card games too like the Hashtag EDU game, Apple Teacher Dice, Urban Dice, School Character Cards, Team Role Cards, and Teacheropoly just to name a few.
  • Creativity Resources: Apple offers two new iBooks designed to inspire creative projects with video, photography, music, and drawing. The books include¬†“student work samples, learning objectives, and ideas for adapting the activities to subject-specific topics.” Here is the FREE¬†Teacher Guide and the Student Guide.
  • Pages: The Pages app now has SMART Annotation, Audio Recoding, Presenter Mode (which essentially turns your device into a teleprompter).
  • GarageBand: I had no idea about the toy box educational sound effects pack that includes sounds from wild animals, vehicles, soundscapes from outer space, or counting to 10 in a variety of languages.
  • Keynote:¬†As you know, ¬†I love me some keynote BUT wow… the draw and tap to fill and the animated drawings are beyond amazing. And oh the masking live video… I am over the moon. Rather than wait till I get home to create examples of these (as my son has commandeered my iPad Pro which has my iPad Pencil and used it to play Fortnite whilst I was away), I borrowed some from my amazing Apple Distinguished Educators via the thread #EveryoneCanCreate. Seriously, the drawing tools, the live animation, and the magnificent magic move… can’t wait to share these with our students this year!

While this list is in no way comprehensive, I hope it does inspire you to explore some of the updates, links, and resources, and connect with some of the awesome people I have mentioned throughout the post. I have included Twitter handles and direct links to their profiles to encourage the conversations and exchange of ideas beyond this week. I too was inspired to create my own project… a way to really hone in on the instructional design and thought processes that go into designing mass professional development for our students. Here is a link to the infographic I created for that purpose. And linked here is a Clips video I designed to introduce it.

But Wait… There’s More…

If you are interested in my typically interactive notes or additional conference recaps, I have provided some links below:

WHERE WILL TECHCHEF BE NEXT?

If you are interested in booking Lisa Johnson and/or would like to know more about her speaking history or professional development portfolio… visit the TechChef4u speaking page for more info or email techchef4u@gmail.com.

And‚Ķ Check out her latest creation‚Ķ the book ‚ÄúCultivating Communication in the Classroom: Future-Ready Skills for Secondary Students.‚ÄĚ

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20 Jun 2018
Comments: 0

The Complete Guide to Visual Note-takers, Bullet Journalists, and Inspiring Peeps

The Complete Guide to Bullet Journaling, Visual Notes, and Planners for Educators

“Creatively Productive”: People to Follow

So many of these people are mentioned in my second book “Creatively Productive: Essential Skills for Tackling Time Wasters, Clearing the Clutter, and Succeeding in School and Life”. Rather than just listing them in the book, I chose to make this list evergreen and digital for two reasons: 1) now anyone can connect with these awesome people… not just those that have purchased the book (though I very much appreciate my #creativelyproductive PLN) AND 2) the list will be constantly updated and have direct links rather than be a one and done resource.

Throughout the book, I have shared interesting and intriguing people to follow on Instagram. Below is a collection of the ones that I mentioned throughout the book and several more for good measure. As many of these skills and products shared throughout the book are highly visual, it only makes sense that these individuals would choose the most visual social media platform to share their ideas and insights. While the list encompasses Instagrammers, check out their bios. Many of them have YouTube channels, Etsy stores where they offer analog and digital downloads and templates, and websites with blogs where they dig deeper into the ideas and topics from their feed.

I tried to separate these into categories of interest. I will say there is a lot of crossover in this field (e.g., many that use bullet journals also share illustrated notes, and those who share planners also share bullet journals). I tried to add people under the title that best described what they do, but know that many wear multiple hats. If these topics are of interest to you and/or your students, I highly encourage you to follow these people and connect with them. It should also be noted that I curated a longer list of bullet journalists than any other category. The reason being is that I wanted to showcase bullet journalists from a variety of walks of life and careers as well as geographic locations to highlight the massive reach and appeal that bullet journaling has as well as share how each one of these people makes the phenomenon their own.

 
Bullet Journalists
Student Bullet Journalists
  • @focusign: science student and bullet journalist.
  • @tbhstudying: high school student with amazing bullet journal and illustrated notes
  • @emtudier: teenager who shares her bullet journal and illustrated notes
  • @study.meds: medical school student who shares her bullet journal and illustrated notes.
Digital Bullet Journalists and/or Note-takers (Many Are Students)
Illustrated Notes and Sketch-noters
Planner
Journaling Prompts

Okay, perhaps this is not a “complete” list in the sense of “comprehensive” BUT what I can tell you is that if you follow these people, you will surely discover others. And pay attention to the #’s they use. Following those will definitely allow you to really target the specific rabbit hole you want to topple down.

 

REVISITING #SCRAPNOTES

If you want to visit or revisit all things #ScrapNotes or get a feel for some of the ideas and practices that inspired the book, check out these 5 posts and stay tuned for more:

WHERE WILL TECHCHEF BE NEXT?

If you are interested in booking Lisa Johnson and/or would like to know more about her speaking history or professional development portfolio‚Ķ visit the TechChef4u speaking page for more info or email techchef4u@gmail.com.

And‚Ķ Check out her latest creation‚Ķ the book ‚ÄúCultivating Communication in the Classroom: Future-Ready Skills for Secondary Students.‚ÄĚ

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