Call us toll free: 210-710-2434
Best WP Theme Ever!
Call us toll free: 210-710-2434
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¬†¬†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:


18 Apr 2018
Comments: 0

8+ Creative Ways to Use to Old Library Cards

As you well know, I love books, art supplies, and journaling. Recently, I started offering a session called “Notable Note-taking”. It is a mash-up of bullet journaling and a reader/writer’s notebook and I blend both analog and digital tools. One of my favorite analog tools is the library card. In the art journaling and mixed media realm and on etsy, this little gem is quite the hot commodity. In fact Heidi Pitri has just published a book entitled “Permanent Record” using this kickstarter campaign¬†that features artfully embellished ones. She refers to these cards as “borrower cards” or “signature cards” and has created original pen and ink drawings on these cards from classic titles and authors. Check her out on Instagram @heidipitreart. Oftentimes these library cards are referred to as ephemera (e.g. collectible memorabilia). And if you have a few hours, search “ephemera” on etsy. You will discover 200,000+ results. And a search on etsy of “library cards” provides well over 7,000 results.

Let’s Love on these Library Cards…

So… I thought I would share some ideas for using these library cards in the classroom… The idea would be to let students choose a card that speaks to them by the title alone and then…

  • Compose a Poem
  • Generate a List
  • Create a List of Suggested Books (like Amazon)
  • Compose a Soundtrack for the Book
  • Jot down the first and last Sentence of the book
  • Determine what questions this book Answers
  • Chart out the chapters this book would include
  • Draft the cover of the book
  • Imagine Who would Check Out this book (e.g. current, historical, literary, fictional)

And here are a few examples of how I have used them in the past in my own journal:

Truly, the sky is the limit for these and how they are used. And remember these can be app smashed with pretty much any tool to create something really amazing. Oh wait… I think I gave away the next part…. ūüėČ

Let Me at those Library Cards

Of course the problem with these signature or library cards is that they are indeed ephemera and at some point, they will run out… so I decided to scan 50 or so of my favorites and upload them here. The beauty of making them digital is that we will have them preserved forever AND now they can be mixed with digital elements. They can be annotated in apps like Notability, collaged and embellished in apps like Pic Collage, and augmented in Thinglink. I hope you enjoy. And if you come up with another idea for these and/or would like to share yours or your student’s creations… please email me at or tweet me @TechChef4u.


Literally Ephemera is Legit

I really try. But I am literally incapable of ending a blog post without leaving you with just a bit more… If you like this idea of ephemera and creative writing, let’s take a quick jaunt. I have curated two Pinterest boards of digital ephemera goodies here (Fuzzimo and Ephemera). These should be FREE downloads of digitally scanned in goods and papers. And if you are like me and want to wholeheartedly tumble down the rabbit hole, I will leave you with some other sites to soften the blow. ūüėČ These little analog… now digital gems are perfect for visual research papers and assignments as well as some pretty stellar creative writing projects too.

  • The Ephemera Society: They include an item of the month with a description and sometimes historical relevance.
  • Vintage Images Gallery: There are thousands of images included her and classified by section (e.g. labels, ads, movie posters, fashion, etc…)
  • Inspired Barn: There are many freebies on this site. Some of my favorites are the book covers and vintage mail.
  • Artefacts: This site is a treasure trove.
  • Clearly Vintage: Also fantastic. I love that she shares pictures with descriptions.

Sometimes I share fully baked ideas and sometimes I like to provide all the ingredients and see what you cook up. In this case, I have opted for the latter. Dig into these digital goods and consider how these historical artifacts can and should impact and inform our current art, writing, research, storytelling, and ideas.



If you want to get a head start on all things #ScrapNotes before my next post… check out these 5 posts and stay tuned for more:


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

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





13 Oct 2017
Comments: 3

How do You Teach Presentation Skills?

As I mentioned in my previous post, one of my jobs as an Educational Technologist at a secondary 1:1 iPad campus is to provide professional development… to students. One of the most popular requests I get is for slide design and presentation skills. This tends to be also be the topic I have done the most research on AND delivered the most times. I have delivered variations of this presentation (see below) to Capstone, Mentorship, Comp Sci, Incubator, ELA, and SS classes alike.

The Secrets of Slide Design

The presentation I am referring to is linked here and embedded below:

Supporting the Secrets of Slide Design and Presentation Skills

I have also presented this topic at a variety of conferences to adult learners. What I have not done (and realized this only recently) is drafted a proper blog post with all of these resources. Honestly, what happened was… I started penning my first book, “Cultivating Communication in the Classroom: Future-Ready Skills for Secondary Students” and had to take some time off from blogging. The entire 3rd chapter is basically a more elaborate and detailed version of this slide deck… citing additional examples, rationales, and suggestions for classroom integration. But… this blog post is not a sales pitch and if you know me at all… you know that I spend hours creating and curating content for teachers to be shared freely. So whether you invest in the book or not, I wanted to share with you some additional resources to support visual literacy and presentation skills. All of these resources (and more) are linked off the companion site for the book:


  • Secrets of Slide Design for Students and Beyond: This is a quick infographic that basically takes the slide deck above and summarizes major points.
  • Slide Design Hacks for Secondary Students: This is an infographic that details some of the tools and sites I use to jazz up my slides.
  • Student Presentation Note-Taking Guide: I found when delivering this content to students, it appeared like it was the first time they had ever heard it. To scaffold the intake and processing of this info, I decided to create a Note-Taking Guide (pictured below and linked here).
  • Student Presentation Planning Guide: I also found it helpful to create a planning guide for students so they could refer back to sites and resources and quick tips (pictured below and linked here).
  • Student Presentation Planner (Communication Catcher): As a way to start conversations about designing and planning a presentation… I created a communication catcher. Think of these as instructional cootie catchers or fortune tellers (pictured below and linked here).

Feel free to download the PDF version of all of these and use them with you students and staff.



I thought… up until a few weeks ago, that this was a complete resource… but then I was sitting in a professional development that was designed to get collaborative (e.g. inclusion) and classroom teachers collaborating more effectively, and I had this idea. The presenters started talking about setting norms when these teachers work together and that got me to thinking about setting norms for when you have to craft and present a slide deck together… and thus… “Norms for Collaborating on Presentations” was born. Since I was in a professional development and because I have reverted to taking more of my notes in analog form, the info below is handwritten. It is more just some things to think about (for students and adults) when you present with another human being. The users of this info would answer the questions and then choose “need” or “don’t need” for each statement.


Now I think you are pretty caught up on visual literacy and presentation skills… Please feel free to email me with questions about the resources. I also love getting emails or tweets @TechChef4u about how you are using them.

If you are delivering similar professional development to students or find there are specific needs students have, I would love to hear about them. Please share links in the comments!


As I stated in the Note-taking post earlier this week, I am pausing my #ScrapNotes series to share some initiatives I have been working on:

Stay tuned for more…


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

And… Check out her latest creation… the book “Cultivating Communication in the Classroom: Future-Ready Skills for Secondary Students.”


30 Nov 2015
Comments: 2

5 Surprising Ways to Make Amazon Literacy Work 4 U

Amazon Literacy Header

Relevant Side Note: I have to admit I have been negligent with blogging these few months. My website went down in mid September and it has taken me much of the semester to transition and mold it to be what it is right now (more on that in an upcoming post)… But for NOW! ūüėČ

Sometimes it just takes a good kick in the pants¬†to jump¬†start blogging and that is exactly what Ross Cooper (@RossCoops31) did for me with his post, “Are You Amazon Literate?“.






Why Should This Matter?

So you might be asking yourself why does Amazon Literacy matter… Is this even a thing? Or is this a fictitious dish the TechChef is trying to serve up after the Thanksgiving break? Well, let me paint a picture for you. My go to for pretty much any initial purchase is Amazon.

How to Be Amazon Literate

While Amazon is super easy to find products… it can be ever so cumbersome to locate quality professional development resources unless you are… Amazon Literate:

  • Cookie Crumb Trails: Think about it… to locate quality books on creative writing, I essentially have to find one really good one and then follow the cookie crumb trail of recommendations.
  • Visit Another Restaurant: Recently, I started falling deep down the rabbit hold of visual communication and slide design. I found one amazing book, “Talk Like Ted”, which is really a book designed for the industry… not necessarily the classroom. That moves me to my next point… oftentimes, we get comfortable with what we know – we stick to books and resources that are designed for educators when in reality many of the books designed for the industry are just as impactful and provide a more transparent window into college readiness skills and purposeful practice than any educational industry book alone could. Honestly, I learned far more about the creative process and authentic publishing from Austin Kleon than any classroom-focused text.
  • Don’t Let Reviews Exclusively Color Your Opinions:¬†I¬†do look at the customer reviews BUT I am also realistic. Sometimes one customer had a bad experience (that may or may not be directly linked to the product) and they have decided to lash out in the reviews. I try to scan the middle of the road reviews (3’s and 4’s) because they seem to be more truthful and authentic than the rants or superficial praise.
  • Take a Visual Bite Before You Order: I have to admit that if I can’t get nab a “Look Inside” for a book… I tend not to order it no matter how great the reviews.¬†Sometimes older books don’t have a sneak peek but they can be found on google. My hack for the “Look Inside” is to google the book and see if I can get nab a preview of a page or two that way. If I am successful and the book piques my interest and meets my expectations, then I go back to Amazon and order it.

Though these ideas can guide your searches, there is still a bit of practice needed to master this literacy.

Creative Writing Books

Before I share some ways to hone your Amazon Literacy acumen… I want to share yet another example to sell the skill¬†further. Below is a picture of 9¬†books that I ordered off Amazon to support creative writing and creative writing prompts AND only one of the 9 books can be found in the first 10¬†pages of an Amazon search for “creative writing” or “creative writing prompts”. Essentially, without a prowess for¬†Amazon Literacy, I would have never known about the other 9¬†books.

Blogger’s Note:¬†If you are interested in these 9 creative writing books …I have pinned all of them to this board “Books that Ignite Literacy”.


How Can I Practice these Skills?

With Amazon Two Day Prime and my constant need for books and learning… I have had multiple opportunities to hone these skills. In Ross’s Amazon Literacy post, he delineated a few challenges that might be useful in polishing your acumen for Amazon Literacy.

As I don’t want to regurgitate what Ross Cooper said in his post¬†and the superb list that he offered, I thought I would ¬†generate my own list of “5 Surprising Ways to Make Amazon Literacy Work 4 U”¬†(and yes, I totally realize that these are loaded tasks that are in line with my current reality and visual communication rabbit hole):

  • Beyond Education: Find a book that is not necessarily designed for education but could be purposefully used within the classroom. (Explain your rationale.)
  • Attention Grabbers: Share a book that grabbed your attention by book cover alone. (Explain what part of the book grabbed your attention… e.g. color, title, font, image and WHY).
  • Best Collection for a Purpose: You are a secondary teacher and you need to teach your students about slide design and presentation skills. Find the book with the best collection of practical resources, tips, and examples.
  • Accurate Search Terms: Discover search terms that work for you. As mentioned above,¬†a quick search for “creative writing” oftentimes doesn’t locate the books that I really want. Austin Kleon is an amazing author that supports creative writing and his books don’t even rank on the first page.¬†That being said… “The Emotion Thesaurus” does! This book is fantastic but I actually ended up using it with slide design and speaking skills because it talks so much about body language. If you search “body language” in Amazon, The Emotion Thesaurus doesn’t even rank within the first 10 pages. Determining¬†search terms that work for you is truly an art form in it of itself.
  • Surprisingly Educational: Locate a “Surprisingly Educational” book or resource… something that is more rooted in the¬†edutainment field but definitely could be incorporated in to a curricular setting.¬†My three examples for “Surprisingly Educational” are “Artists, Writers, Thinkers. Dreamers”,¬†“Medieval Lego”, and “Fictitious Dishes”. The Artists book is fantastic for blending biographies and sketch noting and the Medieval Lego book is stellar for inspiring students to summarize historical events and create visual scenes. The Fictitious Dishes one is a clever spin on dishes that could be drawn from literary works and offers up quotes and anecdotes to support the dishes.

Too often we live in an echo chamber when we search on Amazon… this is why Amazon Literacy is so integral to bettering ourselves as educators and honing our craft with appropriate resources.


Why Will Trusted Curation be Our Future?

At some point it is not going to be enough to just google something or search within in Amazon. With the vast amount of content being published each and every day, we have to search for trusted curators. In an effort to provide you with a springboard in to Amazon Literacy AND your holiday shopping cart…, here are 3 boards I have carefully curated to support you:

And… I have one more idea for you… Why not create a collaborative board to share all of the books that you and your colleagues have read that you find instructionally impactful? AND then each of you can comment with your review or how you used it with your classroom… Here is a collaborative board I created for my colleagues to house books that blend education and technology in innovative and meaningful ways.

Ed Tech Shelf: Books for Education and Professional Development
Many thanks to Ross Cooper for allowing me to expand upon his original post. Please don’t forget to read Ross Cooper’s original post, check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @RossCoops31¬†and please, please remember to share these ideas with others… as you begin to organically grow and hone your own Amazon literacy skills.


Where Will TechChef Be Next?

As you may or may not have noticed, the TechChef4u site has undergone a few changes in both design and organization over the past few months.

If you are interested in booking Lisa Johnson and/or would like to know where she will be speaking next… visit the TechChef4u speaking page for more info or email¬†

20 May 2015
Comments: 0

The Do’s and Don’ts of Slide Design for Students

I have spent most of educational technology career supporting secondary students. Projects and Presentations are always a plenty… but what I noticed is typically students have great presentations and poor content or great content and poor presentations.

“Rarely, are students able to deliver a compelling message in a visually stimulating and engaging way with purposeful use of media and graphics.” – Lisa Johnson

So… being Type A, a perfectionist, and someone that relies on visuals to communicate… I went a googling in order to create a comprehensive guide (and yes, I also staged a few Lego Minifigure pics in my back yard for emphasis too.)

3 Teacher Wishes for Slide Design

I’m Ravenous for Research… What Resources Do You Have For Me?

While I found several excellent articles, I didn’t want to share a list of articles and resources with students and teachers. That would be overwhelming at best and neither party has time to dig through each resource and make sense of it at this time of year (or frankly… at any time of year).

80+ Slide Design Tips and Resources


So, I combed through the 80+ articles, slide decks, and infographics curated above and condensed them in to one infographic with 7 distinct categories. My favorite resources I gleaned were:

After perusing the slide decks on presentation savvy… it became abundantly clear that it is not PPT or Keynote that is the problem… but the lack of slide design and visual acumen that plagues presentations… so I took the best tips and ideas from the pros and created a menu of Do’s and Don’ts for students and teachers alike.

Dos and Don'ts of Slide Design

What Have You Cooked Up For Us Today?

So naturally… I decided to put an end to the drama and support the visual literacy cause with the infographic below (offered as a FREE PDF download). I spent countless hours dissecting the 80+ slide decks, articles, and infographics from the pros to curate the Ultimate Guide of¬†“Do’s and Don’ts for Slide Design for Students” which addresses theme/template, ¬†layout and slide design, use of images, visuals, video, color, text and font.

Slide Design for Students Infographic by Lisa Johnson

Translating the Resource: Yolanda Barker, my former colleague now stationed in Qatar, asked me if I would share the graphic so it could be translated in to different languages… in her case… Arabic. If this is an interest of yours as well, please email me and I would be more than happy to share the Canva design with you so you can translate it for your students and/or teachers.

What Does This Mean for Teachers?

While I ultimately designed this resource for students… I can tell you that everyone benefits from a clear and compelling message devoid of extraneous bullet points, wonky text formatting, and awkward stock templates… Truthfully, many of these design principles can be adapted to our emails and other communications as well… so…

“the next time you send out an email communication or prepare a handout or presentation… remember a dose of design goes a long way for readability and retention…” – Lisa Johnson

My new favorite blog, “The Visual Communication Guy” posted this ¬†MUST READ article “Why Ugly Handouts Are Bad For Teachers (and everyone else)”¬†which not only provides a rationale for basic editing principles but a fantastic before and after pic too.

Why Ugly Handouts Are Bad

Beyond the need for clear communication, providing students with opportunities to excel at media literacy ultimately¬†prepares students for the labor force and beyond…

Stay Tuned for The TechChef Visual Design Summer Challenge

I didn’t learn and adopt visual design principles overnight… but I will say that I have come a long way from the original presentations I created 5+ years ago. If you are looking for a summer PD challenge, dig up one of your old or particularly bad PPT or Keynote presentations and stay tuned…



HAVE YOU SEEN THE LATEST TECHCHEF GAZETTE ISSUE? Preparing for Back to School and Beyond

TechChef Techucation Gazette:¬†Sign up to receive future issues of the monthly e-Newsletter:¬†There are many more learning app-ortunities and professional development toolkits to come. If you don’t want to miss a morsel of this techucation feast,¬†sign up today.

Cooking Up Keynote

***Where Will TechChef Be Next?***

Miami Device PD Recap (used with Evernote) #TechChef4u #iPad #Evernote-2 copy

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Fall and Summer PD and Workshops: or request booking here.

31 Mar 2015
Comments: 4

25+ EDU Lesson Plans and Resources for Canva

So… I was minding my own business… drinking my triple grande iced vanilla latte… when Terri Eichholz (@terriechholz) tweeted me that Canva had 27 FREE EDU PDF Lessons… and everything after that is kind of a blur…

Canva Lessons mini

So naturally, I stopped everything and began perusing them. Now you know… if you give the TechChef4u something inspiring and useful… the next thing she is going to do with it… is…pin. While I loved all of the lessons, I found them easier to glean through if they were all on one page and sorted by image… so I created a board for Canva EDU Lesson Plans...

Canva Pinterest Lessons

What Can I Expect From These Canva EDU Lessons?

20If you peruse the board, you can find lessons for a variety of age groups and content areas. My favorites are the Facebook banners for Scientific Elements, Social Media Profiles for Historical Figures, Candy Math Ratios, Author’s Point of View, and a Wedding Invitation for a Chemical Reaction.

Each lesson includes a sample and a PDF lesson guide to support you! All of these lessons can also be found on Canva’s most excellent EDU site!

And they have a FREE 30 Tutorial Design School perfect for students and educators alike!

Canva Design School

What If I Need Ideas for Using Canva Beyond the Classroom?

If you are an Educational Technologist or Instructional Support staff and you need ideas for how to use Canva with your staff and teachers… here are some samples. Canva can be easily used to create a newsletter, poster, infographic, or social media post as well as to curate resources for teachers or professional development.

Need More Inspiration… check out Canva’s 40+ Pinterest boards!

HAVE YOU SEEN THE LATEST TECHCHEF GAZETTE ISSUE? Preparing for Back to School and Beyond

TechChef Techucation Gazette:¬†Sign up to receive future issues of the monthly e-Newsletter:¬†There are many more learning app-ortunities and professional development toolkits to come. If you don’t want to miss a morsel of this techucation feast,¬†sign up today.

Where Will TechChef Be Next?

Miami Device PD Recap (used with Evernote) #TechChef4u #iPad #Evernote-2 copy

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Spring and Summer PD and Workshops: or request booking here.

24 Feb 2015
Comments: 1

App-Smashed Benjamin Franklin Biography

I guess this is what happens when your mom is both an educator and an Ed Tech…

My second grader recently brought home a bottle biography project. We finished the written portion a few weeks ago knowing that we still had the craft module to complete. Now before I continue with my story, I want to clarify a few points:

  • By no means am I saying that all student projects should be digital.
  • By no means do I believe that projects shouldn’t be sent home.
  • By no means do I think projects shouldn’t involve crafts.
  • By no means do I think the whole assigned project lacked merit or purpose.

Purposeful Crafts

Please know that I definitely enjoy doing projects with my son and I think it is great bonding time‚Ķ I just believe that craft assignments should be purposeful in nature.¬†No matter how many projects like this we get assigned, I find that the ‚Äúcraft‚ÄĚ module of the project falls mostly on the parent to select and purchase the supplies and even assemble them. Now don‚Äôt get me wrong, my son helped locate rocks to fill the bottle to stabilize it and did assist with some of the assembly and design but ultimately most of the bottle project ended up in my lap. I then have to ask myself, “what did he ultimately learn from this craft?” So, this got me thinking… what could we do with this bottle craft project to elevate and extend the learning and utilize and incorporate the craft project?


Research and Extensions

I will say that we gleaned a lot through reading the biographies together and completing the provided biography inventory. Because I felt like my son had learned more about Benjamin Franklin than he displayed in both the bottle and the handout, I decided to add a few more guidelines to the project (based on the 2nd grade standards). Many of these extended the written, visual, and oral requirements for the project:

  • MindMap of 5 Adjectives: This included a hand-drawn image from my son as well as component of typing and allowed him to display his research visually. (used Popplet Lite app)
  • Locating Origins and Birth Places: This was simple but addressed a geography component and the ability to locate places of significance. (used Google Earth app)
  • PostCard to Benjamin Franklin: This creative writing assignment ¬†focused on expository text standards as well as addressing important contributions of historical figures. (used Bill Atkinson PhotoCard app)
  • App-Smashed Assembly:¬†As Toontastic is now free (since it was acquired by Google), and it had a Benjamin Franklin toon within its suite, we decided this would be the perfect tool for app-smashing the aforementioned content. Not only was this a great tool to assemble all of the digital media, it also addressed the standard of creating visual displays to convey research results and touched on the component of expressing ideas orally as well. (used Toontastic app)

Within the App-Smashed Assembly, we included a few more elements:

  • Reflection on Process:¬†I am a huge proponent of reflecting on the process – not just the final product so I made sure that my son included how Bottle Ben came to be with pics of the final product and a delineation of the materials.
  • Citations and Multiple Sources: While I am currently stationed at a HS, I have to tell you that I had my stint in elementary as well and have a special place in my heart for children’s literature. As some of the books that my son self-selected from the library proved to be above his reading level, I picked up a few from Amazon. In doing so, these books reiterated the content that we had read from his initial research and provided a diverse landscape for his learning.
  • Publishing:¬†Publishing and Sharing writing is a a big component of the standards and I can’t tell you how excited and proud my son gets when he finds out that other schools in the district (and schools across the nation) want to share his project with their students. In fact just this morning he smiled and said, “just say ‘yes’ to anyone that asks you.” ¬†ūüėČ

Ben Franklin copy

Final Project

So here is the final App Smashed project… One of my favorite parts is that the analog creations (e.g. Ben biography bottle and hand-drawn images) provide a introspective and unique landscape to the digital creation that could not be achieved through digital elements alone.

I have to say that had we to do this over again… I would make a few tweaks to the project:

  • Include all Original Artwork: I would have had him design a setting for Benjamin Franklin (hand-drawn) rather than using the Toontastic stock background.
  • Assemble a Timeline: I might also have suggested a timeline of major contributions or events created with Popplet Lite or¬†RWT Timeline.
  • Dramatize a Scene: I would also have him recreate an actual scene to meet dramatization standards.

Authentic Audience

Nothing warms my heart more than to know that my son’s work is well received and that he has an authentic audience for his learning.

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 7.46.06 PM

Invest in Knowledge and Involve Me…

So I fortuitously happed upon this bottle of wine at Walgreen’s and in doing so learned that Benjamin Franklin had a repertoire of wine quotes as well. As none of these quotes were particularly app-licable or app-ropriate, I decided to share one of my favorite Benji (yes, we are now on a first nickname basis now) quotes about learning:

Benji Quotes.001 copy

HAVE YOU SEEN THE LATEST TECHCHEF GAZETTE ISSUE? Preparing for Back to School and Beyond

TechChef Techucation Gazette:¬†Sign up to receive future issues of the monthly e-Newsletter:¬†There are many more learning app-ortunities and professional development toolkits to come. If you don’t want to miss a morsel of this techucation feast,¬†sign up today.

Where Will TechChef Be Next?

Miami Device PD Recap (used with Evernote) #TechChef4u #iPad #Evernote-2 copy

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Spring and Summer PD and Workshops: or request booking here.

05 Feb 2015
Comments: 3

Curating and Creating with Care

I am often crippled by my need for perfection and to share what I feel is a thorough, complete, and exhaustive resource. For some reason, I also decided to dive very deep down the Lego Rabbit Hole and staged all of my slides with Lego MiniFigures as well.

Curation and Creation.001

Why the Need for Curating and Creating with Care?

I have to say that this session is definitely a long time in the making. And I really wanted to address the need for such a session and a resource:

  • Increased Access to Content: While students’ have a wide array of access to devices, it becomes very easy to simply nab or screenshot an image without even thinking about citations or appropriate use.
  • Increase in Digital Assignments: Furthermore, more and more student assignments and projects are transitioning from analog to digital and with that more student authored content is floating around online. With the flux of student creations and better ways to gather digital creations, there becomes an even greater need to teach students to protect their work with Creative Commons licensing.
  • Fire Hose of Content: With the rapid amount of content being uploaded and shared via the global edusphere and beyond, there is a need for “trusted curation” to battle the fire hose of content. With curation comes a need to discuss best practices to preserve other’s work online as it is reposted, repinned, retweeted, relisted, rescooped, and relinked.

Creative Commons: It’s Not Just a License: It is a Lifestyle!

As I created my own images for this session, I wanted to make sure that as they were shared, there was some way to easily attribute these original creations back to me. After a brief Twitter Chat with The Daring Librarian (@Gwyneth Jones), I decided to Creative Commons all of the images and then upload them to Flickr.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 9.51.22 PM

And BTW, if you have not visited the Daring Librarian’s site… it is most epic indeed and she also has an affinity for Legos. ūüėČ

Curating and Creating with Care Lego Quotables

So… here they are…TechChef4u Lego Quotables

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 9.01.52 PM

Curating and Creating with Care Research and Resources

As many of these images are based on research I gleaned while preparing for the session, I have also created a Listly with all of the resources and research that I used.

Curating and Creating with Care TCEA 2015

And many thanks to my fellow iVenger Debbie Smith (@dsmitheisd) for snapping a pic of me during my session as I was delivering my flare for curation and custom creations!


If you are interested in the other 4 sessions I presented at TCEA 2015, check out my conference resources here!


HAVE YOU SEEN THE LATEST TECHCHEF GAZETTE ISSUE? Preparing for Back to School and Beyond

TechChef Techucation Gazette:¬†Sign up to receive future issues of the monthly e-Newsletter:¬†There are many more learning app-ortunities and professional development toolkits to come. If you don’t want to miss a morsel of this techucation feast,¬†sign up today.

Where Will TechChef Be Next?

Miami Device PD Recap (used with Evernote) #TechChef4u #iPad #Evernote-2 copy

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Spring and Summer PD and Workshops: or request booking here.