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08 Dec 2017
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18+ Books Everyone Should Read in 2018

I recently created an Amazon recommendations page for books and office supplies. For some reason it reminded me of a post I wrote on “Amazon Literacy” back in 2015. One of the things I mentioned in that post was the idea of trust and curation. Mark Cuban, on an episode of Shark Tank, makes the statement, “I think trusted curation is the future”. And I hope that in the last seven and a half years I have proved myself to be a trustworthy voice in the edusphere. While most of my blog posts and resources focus on iPads in education, summaries of professional development, and most recently note-taking andĀ how to teach students college and career ready communication skills, I have a few avenues of interest that I haven’t really shared (on this blog) as of late… professional development reads and office supplies… which I share ad nauseam on my new Instagram account NoteChef4u. šŸ˜‰ Whilst I was doing some bullet journaling, I decided to make a list of books that I read in 2017. That led me to the realization that I was one book short of 17… which was quickly remedied. Thank you Amazon. I was thinking about doing a post “17 Books for 2017” but then I realized I really have never done a post like this… so I decided I would just do a book list of my favorite books over the past 2-3 years. What you should know about the list is that I have read each and every one and would not put it on the list if I didn’t think it had value. That being said… not everyone likes mint chocolate chip ice cream so just because I like it… may not make it your beloved flavor.Ā But all of the books on the list are also highly rated on Amazon and you always have the Look Inside feature… so there’s that. I have also done sketch summaries of most of these books on my Instagram… so feel free to check out the highlights there too.

INDUSTRY BOOKS that are AWESOME for EDU

As not all of the books have obvious professional development impact (and we are currently experiencing a “snow day” today in Texas), I thought I would share (and had some time to) a quick snippet of information about each… so here we go:

  • The Secret Lives of Color –Ā I happed on this book after reading the two below. It looks at 75 different shades of color and discusses their historical, cultural, and literary origins and meaningsā€¦ as well as how they were made and which artists used them. For exampleā€¦ the pigment Prussian Blue was first used in blueprints and green appears in the flags of predominantly Islamic countries because ā€œparadiseā€ is synonymous with ā€œgardenā€. Other facts I gleaned were Emerald green was originally the cause of many deaths as it contains arsenic, in Shakespeareā€™s dayā€¦ green costumes were considered bad luck on stage, and French soldiers serving in Africa were given absinthe to ward off malaria. This book would be great as a companion for an Art History course or a way to enlighten or highlight a World History course or content students are reading in an English class.
  • Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks –Ā I seriously loved this book. I meanā€¦Ā as a kidā€¦Ā I did enjoyĀ diagrammingĀ sentences so thereā€™s thatā€¦Ā but this was just such a fun book to read and that is all due to the author. The chapter on the ampersand starts withĀ ā€œBorn in ignoble circumstances and dogged by a rival character of weighty provenance, the ampersand would spend aĀ thousandĀ years of uneasy coexistence with its opponent beforeĀ finallyĀ claimingĀ victory.ā€Ā I loved the personification and the fact that there were 67Ā pagesĀ of references at the back of the book. It is said that you have to understand our history so as to notĀ repeatĀ itā€¦Ā I think it can also be saidĀ thatĀ the better we comprehend the history of language andĀ symbolism, the better we can use it to make meaning.
  • The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter – If you follow my new Instagram account (@NoteChef4u), then you may have noticed that I devote that account to all things analogā€¦ including note-taking. I discovered this book and I truly felt vindicated. The first part of the book highlights the history and rebirth of vinyl, paper, film, and board games. I absolutely loved learning all about the history of the Moleskine notebook. Part 2 focused on print, retail, work, and school. The part on school was so-so but the rest of the book I really relished. As many things in life are recursive, I think this was such an excellent read.
  • A Book That Takes Its Time: An Unhurried Adventure in Creative Mindfulness – I stumbled upon this book in Barnes and Noble. It is the perfect mash-up of analog, creativity, and mindfulness. I read the book fairly quickly and was pleasantly surprised to find that it held multiple tips and research studiesā€¦ not just fun paper goodies (e.g. 2 journals, 16 postcards, 40 stickers, and more). It has great ideas that could also be adapted to a Writerā€™s Notebook for students too! It should also be noted that they run a wildly popular creativity and paper crafts magazine. I haven’t had a magazine subscription in over a decade… but this might just be worth it.
  • Reinvent Yourself – I am going to admit that I typically read books out of the edu field as I donā€™t like to silo myself. This book really is easy to read as each of the 47 chapters are truly just lessons learned from an interview or topic/theme (e.g. ā€œThe Twenty Things Iā€™ve Learned From Larry Pageā€, ā€œWhat I Learned from Chessā€, ā€œFive Things I Learned from Supermanā€, and ā€œSeven Things Star Wars Taught Me About Productivityā€). The format is great to emulate for writing and I really enjoyed the variety of tips and best practices gleaned from so many different industries.
  • Flawd:Ā How to Stop Hating on Yourself, Others, and the Things That Make You Who You Are – This book I ended up highlighting in chapter 6 of ā€œCultivating Communication in the Classroom: Future-Ready Skills for Secondary Studentsā€. The book is written by a girl that was bullied, ended up becoming a bully, and then recovered and decided to write a book about it. I really enjoyed this book. She is wise beyond her years. One of my favorite quotes was ā€œstrong beliefs are just the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself.”
  • Long Story Short: The Only Storytelling Guide You’ll Ever Need – If you are familiar with the MOTH live storytelling, you will love this book. So many tips for writing and speaking. It is a creative writing gem and I absolutely loved her voice and perspective. Margot trains people to develop and tell live stories and to that end she offers multiple stems and questions that encourage storytelling.
  • The Creativity Challenge: Design, Experiment, Test, Innovate, Build, Create, Inspire, and Unleash Your Genius – I have a problem with teal and turquoise booksā€¦ the problem is that I am instantly drawn to them and they just magically end up in my hand and/or Amazon cart and then of course on my home shelf. What I loved about this book is that each of the 150 creative exercises was divided into one of 5 categories (e.g, convergent, divergent, lateral, aesthetic, and emergent). If you are looking to add some creativity to your curriculum, there are great ideas to spark your interest and they are easy to adapt.
  • The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression – If you are focusing on social emotional learning in your district, this book is a must. While designed for writers, it highlights 75 emotions ranging from disbelief and insecurity to regret and sympathy. Each emotion includes the corresponding body language, thoughts, and visceral responses. I should also mention that this is a series. I also own “The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to City Spaces” and almost bought the “The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Personal and Natural Places”.
  • There Is No Good Card for This; What To Say and Do When Life is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love – Again, I love reading books outside of the edu genre and this one popped up in my feed and then in my cart and then at my house. It is written by two authorsā€¦ one is a social worker and grief counselor and the other is a writer and illustrator that of Empathy Cards. The book was excellent as it provided ideas for appropriately handing a variety of scenarios and offered lots of tips to be a better listener. It even delineated types of non listeners, types of listeners, and gave a list of go-to phrases to support people. The Gesture Wall and ā€œTry Not to Be That Annoying Personā€ instead of this (e.g. “I felt ______, when I ______ .”), try this (ā€œwhatā€™s than like for youā€) were exceptional!
  • 10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades (while studying less) – One of my teachers told me about this book. His psychology class had jigsawed it. You can get the PDF of the book FREE from the College Info Geek site but if you want the hard copy, you can order it from Amazon. A quick read but some really great stuff.
  • The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy – This book is about a man that spent a year researching and trying productivity hacks and writing about them. Some good tips in the book. The bookā€™s topics range from time management and attention to mindfulness.
  • Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody ToldYou About Being Creative – I have talked about Austin Kleon for years and absolutely love his books,. They are quick reads but offer so much to think about. While they may not have as obvious direct applications to the classroom, when you really dig into them, I think you will find there is much to learn about curation, creation, and getting to the heart of what makes you you.
  • Show Your Work! – Another gem from Austin Kleon. If you are working with CTE or mentorship students, this is a great book to have in your arsenal. With chapters like,Ā ā€œThink Process, Not Productā€, ā€œTeach What You Knowā€, and ā€œDonā€™t Turn into Human Spamā€, there are lots of life lessons and gems included.
  • 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success – The author of this book is a licensed social worker and hasĀ writtenĀ a version of this for parents too. Basically, the book focuses on 13 life lessons ranging fromĀ ā€œDonā€™t Focus on Things You Canā€™t Controlā€ and ā€œDonā€™t Shy Away from Changeā€ to ā€œDonā€™t Give Up After the First Failureā€ and ā€œDonā€™t Feel the World Owes You Anythingā€. Each chapter also ends with some action items.
  • The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users –Ā This is a gem from Guy Kawasaki. I gleaned some helpful tips about social media from this easy to digest book. If you are manning the social media for your school or district, this is a good read to help boost and spread your message.
  • The Art of Creative Thinking: 89 Ways to See Things Differently – Rod Judkins is a lecturer at Central Saint Martins. He talks about creativity all over the world. Each of the 89Ā vignettesĀ in the book focus onĀ gleaning creativity tips from renound leaders in creativity like Coco Chanel, Matt Groening, Frida Kahlo, and Frank Lloyd Wrightā€¦ to name a few.
  • Show and Tell: How Everybody Can Make Extraordinary Presentations – This book is a mashup of storytelling, visual literacy,Ā sketch noting, persuasive design, and presentation skills.
  • Draw to Win: A Crash Course on How to Lead, Sell, and Innovate With Your Mind – IfĀ youĀ are in toĀ sketch notingĀ or ideas for presentation skills, this book andĀ theĀ the one above are must reads. I ended up drawing from both of these (this one andĀ ā€œShow and Tellā€)Ā to develop some student-friendly tips for visual literacy andĀ presentation skills inĀ chapter 3 of ā€œCultivating Communication in the Classroom: Future-Ready Skills for Secondary Studentsā€. This book gets into the 7 basic building blocks of shapes and how to use the art of persuasion via drawings and storytelling.
  • The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever – I alsoĀ discoveredĀ this book during my teal/turquoise/blueĀ period. I got tons of great ideas for coaching from this gem. I also trulyĀ appreciatedĀ all of the research. He mentions the 3 Pā€™s (Projects, People, and Patterns) and each chapter chapter focuses on an overarching question (e.g. Kicktstart Question: Whatā€™s on Your Mind?,Ā FocusĀ Question: Whatā€™sĀ theĀ Real Challenge Here for You?, Strategic Question: If You are Saying Yes to This, What are You Saying No To?).

EDU-FOCUSED BOOKS

While I do read a lot of industry books, I also like to learn from my peers and others doing amazing things for teachers and students in the educational industry. The 6 books below are the educational ones that I read that I would also like to recommend to the batch or bushel:

  • Social Media Wellness: Helping Tweens and Teens Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World –Ā This book is ever so timely. It is very much the essential guide to navigating the ephemeral and transactional communications woven into the language of social media online and IRL. I loved all of the exercises and practical applications. I can’t tell you how many times I have pulled from or referenced this book over the past few months.
  • Intention: Critical Creativity in the ClassroomĀ – First off. The authors of this book are Amy Burvall and Dan Ryder… two of my favorite people. If you are looking to infuse your class projects with creativity… this is the book for you. The book is quite dense with exciting challenges like “phrankenword”, B Side Ideas, One Word a Day Diaries, and so much more. The book is perfect for any English or World Language classroom. But honestly… every classroom will benefit from their thorough compilation of creative dishes.
  • Along Came a Leader: A Guide to Personal and Professional LeadershipĀ – You know I have to say I am not one for books on leadership because they tend to be heavy-handed, dry, or overly prescriptive. While this book did provide several ingredients, it was the authorā€™s voice, experiences, and personal anecdotes that were thoughtfully baked in that really made this read a true gem. I found myself highlighting and jotting down quotesā€¦ and stopping frequently to ponder his thought-provoking and insightful questions embedded within each chapter. I know that I will be returning to this content throughout this coming year and really reviewing my own growth and experiences. Kelly also did a great job of including practical tips for maximizing meetings, solving problems and even introducing colleagues.
  • Hacking Project Based Learning: 10 Easy Steps to PBL and Inquiry in the Classroom –Ā I haven’t really delved into PBL so this book was a fresh and not overbaked read. I appreciated all of the practical approaches and easy way to get started into PBL… that don’t take 20 hours. Ross and ErinĀ tackled a complex topic and created a simplified straight-forward approach for any educator to dip their toe into PBL. I especially liked the “Overcoming Pushback” sections in each chapter where they addressed areas in instruction and assessment that might prove difficult to morph to PBL and shared solutions for each. This was a quick read and I am excited to put their ideas to action… especially their “Progress Assessment Tool”. I am also super stoked that Ross Cooper provided extra resources on his companion site like posters and question cards.
  • #FormativeTech: Meaningful, Sustainable, and Scalable Formative Assessment with Technology – Monica’s book is in the same vein as the Hacking PBL as you can pick it up and use it TODAY. It highlights multiple formative assessment tools that can be used across a variety of content areas and grade levels and matches them to sound pedagogical practices. The way she weaves in academic vocabulary makes the resource easy to access for a first year teacher or a veteran. QR codes are embedded within to instantly access resources and tools. Every step in the formative assessment process from data collection and evaluation to parent involvement is touched on and highlighted with tried and true staples of technology like Padlet, Kahoot, Nearpod, and Google Forms. My favorite resources were the examples of strong feedback and anchor charts for ā€œhow to make a quality commentā€ and ā€œin a backchannel, my job isā€¦ā€
  • Cultivating Communication in the Classroom: Future-Ready Skills for Secondary Students – While I am including my latest publication here, I will not say any more about it here. There are 30 thoughtful reviews on Amazon as well as 16 endorsements from educators all over the world within its pages. If the content speaks to you and you end up taking a gander and picking it up, please connect with me on Twitter or Facebook or via email… I would love to hear from you. šŸ˜‰

I should mention that the header image only showcases 20 of the 26 books. I really wanted to have all of the books neatly displayed on an actual shelf but I am a bit OCD with my bookshelves and creating a shelf for this post would have totally messed with my fine-tuned system (color-coded, genre, see my complete organization strategy here) so I had to go digital with a cover collage like you see in the header. But just in case you wanted to see my system… I included a Thinglinked version below. šŸ˜‰ Thanks so much for reading. Please remember to share your own book recommendations for 2018 too!

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 portfolioā€¦ visit theĀ TechChef4u speaking pageĀ for more info or emailĀ techchef4u@gmail.com. And… Check out her latest creation… the book “Cultivating Communication in the Classroom: Future-Ready Skills for Secondary Students.” SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave

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04 Dec 2017
Comments: 3

5+ Strategies to Deliver PD to Students

It occurred to me… sadly… only after I was done with my series on professional development for students that I never really explained what that was and how it differs from traditional teaching. So two things… I am an Educational Technologist so while I do support students and staff on a daily basis… I do not have a classroom of my own. Secondly, the content I share in these professional developments (while complementary to curricular content)… goes beyond the content shared in the classroom, will not be tested, and is information that they can readily apply to their personal and academic lives. So I guess that is the real distinction. Similarly, to each chapter of my book, “Cultivating Communication in the Classroom: Future-Ready Skills for Secondary Students”, where I made sure that each type of communication was steeped in SEL, each of these student-focused professional developments that I discuss weave in a range of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Competencies as well. For example, the session onĀ “Organizing Your Digital Binder” narrowed in on organizational skills, the session onĀ “Bonkers for Bullet Journals” targeted Self-Management skills like goal-setting and self-motivation, and the session on “Managing Your Digital Experiences” honed in on Responsible Decision Making skills and Self-Awareness.

5+ Avenues to Deliver PD to Students

While these sessions could very easily be woven into a classroom or within the daily curriculum, I wanted to clarify the content, focus, and design… as I had had several questions over the past few weeks. The list below is in no way exhaustive… but does showcase 5 different topics for student professional development as well as 5 different methods for delivery:

  • A Whole Day: TheĀ session I delivered entitled “Bonkers for Bullet Journaling” was roughly 30 minutes long and was part of a day of choice-based (students chose from a schedule of experiences) learning for students. Ā 
  • Half a Day: The session I co-presented on “Managing Your Digital Experiences” was a 45 minute sessions and was part of a half-day rotation (all students attended each of the 4 sessions).
  • Stations During the Day: This session that uses the Base Camp model utilized 4 stations (lasting 8 minutes each) that all Ā students rotated through during one class period.
  • Class Pop-In’s:Ā This is probably the most traditional way to deliver professional development to students. Oftentimes, a teacher will ask me to lead or co-teach a session so I will come in to class for 10-30 minutes depending on the topic. The most popular one to date seems to be visual literacy and presentation skills.
  • Class Rounds:Ā This is similar to Class Pop-In’s but students come to us in a fixed location like the library and we meet with every class within a grade level (rather than just the teachers or classes that have requested the topic to be shared with their classes). The topic we focused on here is organizing a digital binder.
  • Lunches: This is a bonus one. I am working on doing a bullet journaling professional development that focuses more on setting up a bullet journal and a calendex in both December in January. The idea will be to be located in high traffic area… typically the library… during lunches with some supplies. As this session is optional, I will be promoting it on campus through fliers and our student-led announcements. Stay tuned for my post on how this one turns out.Ā 

While I work with teachers, my ultimate goal is to impact our students… whether it be through the training and support I provide to our staff… or working directly with our students. I hope this post helps you to think differently and/or creatively about the “professional development” you provide for your students. And as always… if you ever have any questions, feel free to reach out on Facebook, Twitter, or even email (techchef4u@gmail.com). I would love to connect.

Students Need PD too!

As you know, I am a firm believer that Students Need Professional Development too. My last few blog posts share some of the other initiatives I have been working on:

Thanks so much for reading. If you do something similar or have questions on this initiative (or any other), please reply in the comments and share ideas as well!

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 portfolioā€¦ visit theĀ TechChef4u speaking pageĀ for more info or emailĀ techchef4u@gmail.com.

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


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13 Nov 2017
Comments: 0

How Do You Teach Students to Be Wellness Stewards?

When I started talking about designing and delivering professional development to students, I had no idea that I would be writing Blog Post 5 in this series whilst on hiatus from my #ScrapNotes series. As fate would have it, this blog post comes full circle as it inches us closer to the #ScrapNotes series… with a focus on bullet journaling. Before we go bonkers for bullet journaling, I really wanted to give you some background on how this session and this event came to be.

Fit as a Middle Schooler

I doubt many people would use the phrase “fit as a middle schooler” and that is kind of where this story began. Five years ago a nurse and/or CLT (Campus Leadership Team) noted that they were tired of all of the fast food lunches that parents were delivering to students. They wanted to create some health initiative with speakers that would talk to students about making healthy choices. Heather Schubert, librarian extraordinaire, had created and ran the Teen Book Festival here in Austin so she had experience with organizing an event of this nature. And the rest is history. This event is now running strong with a five year legacy.

Fit Beyond Fitness

This was my first year being involved in this event. And by involved… I mean… I led a course. As I have spent the last 4 blog posts focusing on student professional development, I did want to highlight some awesome things about this day as I was so enamored with the event:

  • All Day: This is an all day event. The classes/sessions students attend are all related to Fit Fest (not typical curricular courses).
  • Student Choice: Students used the Sched app to choose which sessions they wanted to attend.
  • Variety: 3 Tracks (e.g. Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness) offered over 100 sessions for students to attend. Fitness courses ranged from warm-up drills and boxing to jazzercise, hip-hop, and yoga. Nutrition courses ranged from learning about food allergies and healthy substitutions to healthy after school snacks and smoothies for every mood. Wellness sessions ranged from meditation and concussion prevention to Bullet Journaling, CPR, and oral health.
  • Community and Parental Involvement: Many local businesses that catered towards fitness, nutrition, and wellness offered sessions as did parents that had a background in health or wellness. Um… and did I mention there was a Farmer’s Market and a Field Day?

This video gives you a general overview.

Fits Like a Journal

Yes, I realize I am stretching this idiom… but go with it. So… now that you have a better idea of the day’s events and focus. I am going to hone into the session that I delivered. Honestly, it will come as no surprise to you that I have been wanting to offer this session to students for some time. The crazy thing was… would anyone show up? Well interestingly enough I had 54 students spread across each one of my 4 30-minute sessions. It felt validating to see how interested students were in this process. As all middle school students have paper planners that they receive at the beginning of the year AND I only had 30 minutes with them… I decided to break up the 30 minutes like this:

  • Pre-Survey: I provided a quick survey that asked why they chose this session and/or what they wanted to learn AND how they took notes (e.g. Handwriting on Paper, on iPad, Handwriting on iPad).
  • Everything I Know… I Learned from Instagram: I had a brief slide deck that essentially gave the definition of bullet journaling and then showcased multiple examples of lists, reflections, and habit/goal trackers that were gleaned from all of the awesome peeps I follow on Instagram. As 30-40% of the students were also on Instagram, I mentioned a few #’s that I found helpful to locate people that are sharing examples.
  • Journals and Trackers Exploration: But seriously… this is where the real fun began. As I couldn’t buy journals for all of them and we only had 30 minutes together, I wanted to give them the experience of setting up some of these features but in a condensed amount of time. So basically, I took a sheet of paper and then made copies of Christie Zimmer’s journaling prompts* and two habit/goal trackers from Passion Planner* (Water Tracker and Habit Tracker) and let them go to town to create a sample spread.
  • Savvy Supplies: But wait there’s more. When I busted out fancy pens, planner stickers, and washi tape to use in conjunction with their sample page spreads… you would have thought I had just released a year’s supply of new SnapChat filters (or whatever is really cool right now). They absolutely loved it. As pens, stickers, and supplies can be costly and sometimes you don’t know what you like until you use it… I wanted to give students the ability to explore these tools before even considering spend money on them. And of course… you don’t need any of these things to bullet journal… but it is kind of like a cake. You can make a cake with icing and it is fine… but when you add the designs and the words and the fancy embellishments… sometimes it just makes you smile and part of the joy and process of bullet journaling is doing things and creating things make you feel good… that make you happy.Ā 

*I should mention that any time you print any of these proprietary items (even if you are using them with students or in a professional development setting) that you get written permission.

One could easily boil this whole session down to free time with arts and crafts but I think you have to dig deeper. My goals for students was multi-faceted:

  • Introduce Bullet Journaling and Where to Learn More About It (using various #’s and sites)
  • Expose Students to a Variety of Habit and Goal Trackers
  • Expose Students to Journaling and Reflection that can Be Quick and Meaningful
  • Allow Students to Engage with a Variety of Bullet Journaling Supplies

And what I found after reviewing the student pre-survey’s was truly enlightening. My description for the session was pretty basic but what I thought was interesting was the other reasons why students chose to attend (e.g. organization/plan/time management and how to take notes). These are clearly needs for our students… needs that I didn’t expect students to have when they chose to attend a session on bullet journaling… but needs nonetheless… which clearly means additional student professional development will be needed.

 

Okay whew… 1,000 words later and I am kind of winded. That about sums up it up. I am looking at offering another one of these sessions at the HS in December… so Stay Tuned. And my next blog post will return to my #ScrapNotes series and focus on all of the awesome peeps that I follow and the #’s that allow you to better discover and uncover these trends and ideas.

Figuring out Planners

I imagine a few of you are curious what the cost of running a session like this would be. There is some initial start up costs of purchasing washi tape and planner stickers (which are consumables). I suggest Michael’s for these and using your Tax Exempt info, a 40% off coupon, and your 15% teacher discount. Here is a link to some of the planner stickers I picked up at Michael’s. Pens tend to be expensive and the best place to find them is on Amazon (if you can wait for them to come in). These Sharpie Art PensĀ in a set of 12 are my favorite and they typically run $12-$13 on Amazon. My other fave is the Faber Castell Artist Pens with the Brush Tip – these typically run $13 for a set of 6 on Amazon. All in all I spent $75 (which included the $30 I spent on pens). The pens can be used over and over and I still have quite a bit of washi tape and stickers left over to do a session with our high schoolers. If you are interested in going head first down this rabbit hole, then I suggest you read “The Savvy Supply List” where I detail all of the products and how I use them. Oh OMT… I found these bullet journals in a clearance bin at Michael’s and ended up buying a few to give away as raffle prizes. Students LOVED them!


Before I leave you… I should also note that I plan on getting deeper into planners, trackers, and journaling in upcoming #ScrapNotes posts. This post was really designed to highlight student professional development and an easy entry point to the many facets of bullet journaling.

Revisiting #ScrapNotes

If you want to get a head start on all things #ScrapNotes before my next post… check out these 4 posts:

Students Need PD too!

As you know, I am a firm believer that Students Need Professional Development too. My last few blog posts share some of the other initiatives I have been working on:

Thanks so much for reading. If you do something similar or have questions on this initiative (or any other), please reply in the comments and share ideas as well!

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 portfolioā€¦ visit theĀ TechChef4u speaking pageĀ for more info or emailĀ techchef4u@gmail.com.

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


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08 Sep 2017
Comments: 1

#ScrapNotes: The Savvy Supply List

 

In part 3, “PD Note-taking”, I set the stage for how how to make analog notes interactive. And now the time has come to embrace… pens and stickers. If this is just not for you, seriously, no worries at all. I won’t be offended. Skip on to Part 5 “The Complete Guide to People, Ideas, and Inspiration.” But for those of you… and I know there are a few… that geek out over pens, items that are ROYGBIV’d, and clandestine visits to Michael’s and the washi tape section of Office Depot… then this post is for you… and please know that you are not alone. Art Journaling, Visual Note-taking, and Bullet Journaling is a very real thing and I have seen the pastime embraced by students of all ages (HS, College, Grad) and adults alike.

THE SUPPLY LIST

With that being said. I am going to break this post into 3 parts:

  • Note-Taking Essentials:Ā 
    • NOTEBOOK: I prefer a notebook that has a hard cover, an elastic band, and plain pages. The Leuchtturm1917 is turning out to be my favorite so far.
    • PENS: I also love using Sharpie fine point pens. They are awesome and permanent and don’t bleed.
  • Note-Taking Nice to Haves:
    • LABELS: These cost like $1 or $2 at Michael’s but are perfect for accentuating quotes or making lists. As the notebooks I like have thinner pages, these are great to maximize the real estate of both sides of the page too.
    • DOUBLE SIDED TAPE: I love this for adding in items. I like to include library cards for lists, greeting cards for lexicon libraries, and postcards and such.
    • RULER: I can’t draw a straight line to save my life so this is a necessity to have!
  • Note-Taking Icing on the Cake (“Getting Fancy”):
    • STICKERS: I have loved stickers forever and these 3 brands are awesome. I am seriously in love with the 7 Gypsies Architexture series… it is the best!!! The Dylusions set is great because many of the stickers are black and white so you can color them to match your page.
    • WASHI TAPE: I think everyone geeks out over this stuff. Basically pretty masking tapes. And my favorite ones come from Jane Davenport.
    • GREETING CARDS: I use greeting cards in my notebooks to expand the real estate of the page. I typically use them to compose a lexicon library for the book I am reading or to make lists and thoughts that I would like to keep “more private.”
    • PAPERS: I love finding antique papers. They look great in a notebook and these library cards are perfect to make lists.

THE INTERACTIVE SUPPLY LIST and SHOWCASE

This post has actually been on hold for a bit because I have been trying to determine the best way to not only share the tools and why/how I use them but actual examples too. Finally, I had time to not only create an infographic in Keynote but also Thinglink it with all of these resources and examples (linked here and embedded below):
 

STAY TUNED…

I have also started delivering workshops on this topic of #ScrapNotes and “Notable Note-taking” or “Into the Notebook”. While I haven’t had a moment to share the slide deck or resources, I do have some of the support sites live…Ā check out NoteChef4u instagram for 160+ #scrapnotes examples and Pinterest for 230+ examples and resources to create the “Organized Brain” or at the very least… an organized notebook. I should also mention that all 37 of my interactive notes are posted here.

Erin Barnes at my "Into the Notebook" session at iPadpalooza OU

Erin Barnes at my “Into the Notebook” session at iPadpalooza OU

 

#scrapnotes… the NEXT CHAPTER…

Stay tuned for the next blog posts in the series (or catch up on previous ones):

 

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 portfolioā€¦ visit theĀ TechChef4u speaking pageĀ for more info or emailĀ techchef4u@gmail.com.

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



09 Aug 2017
Comments: 1

#ScrapNotes: The Complete Guide to PD Note-Taking

“Um… TechChef… we don’t mean to bug you or anything. We totally appreciate this #scrapnotes kick you are on… but you used to write about technology and stuff… and we were just wondering…” It is totally fine… I know you were all thinking this. I do typically share about technology iOS and web applications and processes. I have decided to broaden that definition, as of lately, to define technology as any tool that students have in their hands… and paper and pen… is still a reality… even in schools with 1:1 iPad, Chromebooks, or carts of iPads. But, I also don’t want to swim so far from the shore that it is too difficult to connect the dots back… so this post is somewhat of a hybrid. To date, I have whet your palette for #Scrapnotes with posts 1 and 2… and now I want to share my process for PD Note-taking which expands the horizon for what is possible with pen, paper, and a device.

My Note-Taking Evolution

Many times there is a multi-pronged goal to notes that we take in professional development. Clearly we want to return to them and utilize them in the future. But many times we also want to share them with staff that didn’t get to attend that session or that conference. Previously to finding myself in an extraordinary note-taking situation, I found myself exploring a variety of options:

  • Conference Collage: At first, I created a collage of images from the conference and then thinglinked it with my notes taken in Evernote or links to particular session resources. (Example: Miami Device 2014).
  • Interactive Maps: Then PhotoMapo caught my attention and I began using it as a point of reference. From there I would add pertinent links on top of the maps. (Example: ETT Austin and Summer of 2014).
  • Crafting in Canva: Finally in 2015, I experimented with creating my own image in Canva and using it as the landscape for Thinglink. This afforded me more customization (and the images were beautiful) but honestly it was far more time-consuming. (Example: TCEA 2015 and SXSWEDU 2015).

So at the end of 2015… I started dabbling with this analog note-taking as I mentioned in blog posts 1 and 2 (linked above). At first, my notes for conferences were still very text heavy. But I noticed very quickly a few benefits. I was more focused on what the speaker was saying as I didn’t have notifications popping up in my “notebook” or a plethora of tantalizing tabs open… including my email. I also was only jotting down what I felt relevant rather than trying to gather everything the speaker said in Evernote. Pretty soon I found myself drawing mind-maps and even icons. And sure enough… I found that this style of note-taking was not only better for me as a conference or workshop participant but provided far more insight and information to the people I then shared my notes with.

But these notes were still flat and to make the learning adventure accessible to everyone… I had to go beyond the page. The beauty of this was simple… I could take a picture of the notes (with practically any device… as Thinglink is device neutral) and then add additional thoughts, links, resources on a dimension above the page… so to speak. I received multiple thanks from a number of staff on this process and I found that having the notes in two places made it easier for me to easily retrieve them whenever I needed to refer to them or share them.

My Process

Now I know you might be wondering which way you ought to go from here? šŸ˜‰ Once you have the notebook you decide to use for your PD Note-taking, I did want to break down my process a bit:

  1. Tabs: I bought Post-it tabs for my notebook (more on supplies in post 4) that I use to separate the notebook for each conference I attend. My intent is to print out labels with titles on them as well… just haven’t had a chance. All of my notes are chronological so this allows me to easily find the notes from the conference or session.
  2. Dates and Titles: In the upper right hand corner, I always include the title of the conference and the date. In the upper left hand corner, I include the name of the session and the speakers and their Twitter handles and emails (if applicable). These get Thinglinked later.
  3. Session Notes: From there, I take notes. I draw icons, build mind-maps and really only write down things that speak to me. Drawing the icons is especially helpful to organize the content. I typically have my phone next to me and I search for an icon and then sketch it while I am listening to the speaker.
  4. More: I oftentimes will go over the notes after the session and add bullets or A, B, C … just to make them a little easier to follow. I will also use the right hand “Action Steps” column in my Behance Action Journal to jot down tools I should look at, next steps, great ideas, etc…

Once the notes are complete, then I snap a pic and Thinglink them with additional info. Below is an example of the interactive Thinglinked notes from the header in this blog post:

I won’t leave you with the lip service… “practice makes perfect” or even “practice makes better”… what I will tell you that with practice… you find your own style and I quite agree that is the best kind of ending… or beginning! šŸ˜‰

Please don’t forget to check out NoteChef4u instagram for 80+ #scrapnotes examples and Pinterest for 180+ examples and resources to create the “Organized Brain” or at the very least… an organized notebook. I should also mention that all 31 of my interactive notes are posted here.

#scrapnotes… the NEXT CHAPTER…

Stay tuned for the next blog posts in the series (or catch up on previous ones):

 

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 portfolioā€¦ visit theĀ TechChef4u speaking pageĀ for more info or emailĀ techchef4u@gmail.com.

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


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03 Aug 2017
Comments: 1

#ScrapNotes: The Complete Guide to Book Summaries

With my last blog post “#ScrapNotes: How to Begin Your Journey Down the Rabbit Hole”, I hoped to pique your interest and provide information. With this post, it is my intent to share my process. You may have had a sip of the #scrapnotes potion and now your ideas are so big that you can’t seem to fit them through the door… or into your notebook. I may be a bit mad… but the process that I share should help you keep the journal jabberwocky at bay or at the very least… tame him or her. šŸ˜‰

But before I do that, I would like to share a disclaimer. Please know that I am not one for fads. I am, however, one that shares ideas, tools, and processes that work for me… in hopes that they may fill a need for you too. I also think that the pendulum between analog and digital is always swinging. I went all digital with notes several years ago and for some things… it totally makes sense. But for others… it doesn’t. I began navigating this analog terrain again at the end of 2015. Since then, I have filled up 4 notebooks and started 3 more and I have to say I haven’t felt this organized and happy in years.

MY HOW

With that being said… I would like to snap (wait for the pun… or the Snapguide… in the case) my fingers and share with you my process. For this I felt like returning to the tried and true tool, Snapguide. There are many different things you can do with a notebook and we will cover a multitude of them in the next few blog posts. For this post… I wanted to narrow in solely on the process of reading or book summaries. I enjoy reading (both personally and professionally) and I am one of those people that loves to highlight in my book. What I was discovering is that I had a bookshelf of books with highlights and post-its but no easy way to commit that info to memory or practice… or to easy access…. until now. So here is my process:

  1. Read and Highlight: Read a book and highlight as I read.
  2. Tuck Away: Set book down for a few weeks.Ā I find that by putting the book down for a bit, I tend to make better decisions about what highlights were really important a few weeks later and only transcribe and #scrapnote those.
  3. Title Page: Create a page that includes the title of the book and the author and the date I am transcribing the notes. I like to mimic the font and color of the book just for fun.
  4. Review Notes: Review the book’s highlights and begin adding info to your notes.
  5. Create a Color Hierarchy: Use only 2-3 colored pens.Ā I try to match the color of the book or the theme. I tend to use one color for headers and one color for subheaders so it provides a nice visual hierarchy.
  6. Visualize with Icons:Ā Icons tend to encompass a multitude of ideas and are easily recognizable. While I can’t conjure and draw these visuals from memory, I am able to look at icon sites and recreate similar visuals.
  7. Embellish Away: Embellish notes with washi tape, stickers, labels, and mementos. Washi tape and labels also serve as a great way to create sections on a page or a visual hierarchy and/or divide.

I think it helps to see visuals for each so I crafted a Snapguide (linked here) to do the trick.

Check out How to Create #ScrapNotes Book Summaries by Lisa Johnson on Snapguide.

MY PROCESS

I would like to get a wee bit more granular with this as multiple people have asked me about the organization of this process. While I am transcribing notes, I typically keep a page for:

  1. Research: I am always collecting research and I don’t always want to return to the book to recall a percentage or study. This page is typically a bulleted list. If the book is super research-heavy, then I include 2-3 pages devoted just to this.
  2. Lexicon Library: I am an author and I have always loved words and phrases. Anything that strikes my fancy gets added here. As this is not the main point of the book, sometimes I will paste a card to a page so I can add this info in there so it doesn’t detract from the rest of the content I am summarizing.
  3. Quotes and Insight: I have always had a hankering for quotes. Anything I find especially pertinent gets added here. I do try to use shorthand and abbreviations as much as possible. I also include page numbers. This is also where I start adding icons, illustrations, and visual equations.

The best advice I can give you… is just start. My process has evolved and been fine tuned over the past two years. If I had waited for it to be perfect, I would never have discovered which way to go. After all… sometimes when you wonder… you find your path.

#scrapnotes are BORN!

If I am using my Moleskine or Luechtturm1917Ā (which I do for my book summaries), then the pages tend to be a little thinner. This is when I take notecards, postcards, scraps of art, or really anything that adds to the content (both in idea or visually). I add these items in with permanent double-sided tape. Then, I get fanciful with my embellishments and add washi tape and stickers. The items also provide a nice visual hierarchy. Honestly, you could totally leave the fanciful embellishments out, but I have to tell you… this is one of my favorite parts and what makes me so happy each time I open a page to review my notes. Another thing I have noticed is that these visuals tend to heighten my memory for the book and the process. I can often remember where I was when I took the notes and what I was doing at the time.

Please don’t forget to check out NoteChef4u instagram for 80+ #scrapnotes examples and Pinterest for 180+ examples and resources to create the “Organized Brain” or at the very least… an organized notebook.

#scrapnotes… the NEXT CHAPTER…

Stay tuned for the next blog posts in the series (or catch up on previous ones):

 

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 portfolioā€¦ visit theĀ TechChef4u speaking pageĀ for more info or emailĀ techchef4u@gmail.com.

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


SaveSave


26 Jul 2017
Comments: 0

TechChef Breaks the Silence…

Ā 

 

The Silence

Twenty years ago I graduated high school. We didnā€™t have texts, tweets, or chatsā€¦ we had a spiral bound notebook that we passed back to each other in the hallway between classes. One day a friend of mine and I had a spat. Rather than blocking me or unfriending me, he wrote ā€œEnjoy the Silenceā€ in the notebook and nothing else. This was clearly a reference to a popular Depeche Mode song at the time. Honestly, I have no recollection of the lemon that turned our friendship milk sour that day. But that moment stuck in my brain when I was thinking about youā€¦ and I feel like I owe you an apology.

 

The Story

You did nothing wrong and I totally abandoned youā€¦ without a word. You didnā€™t know how much stress I was under or how the book writing gave me a bit of tunnel vision. You couldnā€™t have known that I was also diagnosed with adenomyosisĀ two years ago and that it has literallyĀ reekedĀ havoc on my body, my productivity, and my personal and professional life.

 

All you saw was my last blog, ā€œCoJournaling as a Way to Nurture Positive Tendenciesā€, posted Ā a year and a half ago. At that time, I felt drained both emotionally and physically. Sadly, the tool and platform that allowed me to unleash my creativity and bear my soul was the very tool that went by the wayside. It became one more thingā€¦ like some friendships do.

 

The problem was I didnā€™t realize at the timeā€¦ how much I needed that friendshipā€¦ I kept up appearances on social media and periodically shared ideas and curated topicsā€¦ but I remained silent. The longer I kept my silenceā€¦ the harder it was to break it. Some people schedule a sabbatical to grow and reflect. I, the non confrontational type, decided I could just let blogging go without a word. I was wrong. Blogging is so much more than a task and a checklist to meā€¦ it is my passion and oftentimesā€¦ I feel like my duty or purpose.Ā The book, now a wrap, and surgery on the horizonā€¦ I feel like I can finally come up for air.

 

There is so much I want to tell youā€¦Ā so much I want to share. I hope you will forgive meā€¦Ā let bygones be bygones and let us reconnect again. I hope youĀ didnā€™tĀ ā€œEnjoy the Silenceā€ā€¦Ā I know I didnā€™t.

 

So there it isā€¦ my last 18 months in a nutshellā€¦ a difficult timeā€¦ and only a handful of friends really knew the physical, emotional, and mental toll it took on me. But you knowā€¦ we were friends too. And I hope we can be friends again. I hope you can forgive my lapse in communication. I hope we can once again learn and share together.
 

The Sharing

Over the past 18 months and changeā€¦ I have been busy adjusting and creating a new normal and really experimenting with different styles of learning and creating that work for me. As you know, I love to share these ideas with others because I know that the more we share… the more we inspire and support others on their journey as well. So here goes:

 

I know we have lots to catch up on so I canā€™t monopolize all of your time in one sitting. You will hear from me again shortly… I promise. šŸ˜‰

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