Call us toll free: 210-710-2434
Best WP Theme Ever!
Call us toll free: 210-710-2434
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? 😉 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! 😉

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):



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.”


21 Jul 2015
Comments: 0

How TechChef Makes 12 Tools for Creating and Curating Work for Her

Summer for me is difficult because I get out of routine… especially blogging routine. I truly don’t want to take a summer hiatus. In fact I find the mere process of blogging, reflecting, and creating content to be a much needed catharsis: it serves as both a brain dump and a way to archive ideas and resources. But I also find it difficult to blog and gather my thoughts during this time frame as new tasks, projects, and schedules emerge.

This particular post has been a long time in the making. It is hard to believe that I am embarking on year 5 with my blog (half a decade of posts) and I thought there was no better time to give a little back story…(If you don’t care for back story, and want to jump straight to the tools, I won’t be too terribly offended – scroll away.)

Why Did You Start Blogging?

My blogging origins were a blend of a few elements:

  • Ineffective Teacher Sites: When I worked for my previous school district, Ed Techs were provided with websites similar to Weebly. At the time I found the tool to be ineffective for organizing content and professional development resources and was searching for something to fill that need.
  • Loss of Content: I was also concerned that I was creating and curating a fair amount of content and resources that would essentially be shut down (for myself and everyone else that benefitted from them) if and when I left the district.
  • Lack of Educational Content Relating to the iPad: This was year 1 of iPads and there was little content available on the web. As I was navigating these waters, I sought to have a place to reflect and share these digital trials, tribulations, and successes.

So a WordPress blog seemed the most natural progression. I would retain ownership of the “rogue” site and found it easier to organize and produce content with the tool. For those of you interested in polishing your blog to starting one, I have delineated “21 Things Every Ed Tech Blogger Should Do in 2015” to guide and/or inspire you.

*** I contributed a vignette in Chapter 4 of Rafranz Davis’ new book, “The Missing Voices in Ed Tech” which details my call to blogging and shares some best practices. I am thankful for this platform to share the need for blogging and am a fan of  Rafranz Davis as she is not only an exceptionally honest blogger and author – she is a friend and a dear member of my PLN. 

The Missing Voices in Ed Tech

What is an Ed Tech Pollinator?

I have to say that it feels amazing to be in a field of work and at a district that I feels so passionate about. Honestly, I feel very blessed to have a profession that feels less like work and more like a calling. I feel like it is our job in this field to not only support students and teachers but to also share this support online… thus effectively pollinating the edusphere and allowing others to bloom and grow through this transfer of content and insight.

Be An Ed Tech Pollinator

So… (in a not so smooth segue) Adam Jones and I met at Miami Device last year. He attended a few of my sessions and wrote one of the most comprehensive and kind reviews I have ever read. Recently, he asked if I would do a show for his podcast, Adam Jones Ed. I agreed and I have to say of all the podcasts and interviews I have done – this was one of my favorite stylistically as well as professionally (Adam reminds me of NPR’s Guy Ross – the whole interview felt like having coffee with an old friend – sharing inspiring stories). It was a delight to share an hour chatting about education, pedagogy, and technology with him.

*** If you would like to hear this interview (mine is episode 11) or check out other Adam Jones interviews, visit his Education Podcast Archive. Adam’s blog is also fantastic!

What Are Your Go To Tools for Creating and Curating Content?

Part of the reason this post took so long to write and publish is my need to provide resources for my readers. While my origin story and philosophy on ed tech pollination might be interesting to some and will at least frame the 12+ tools I plan to share, I can’t in good conscience blog to just share that info alone.

12+ Smooth Tools to Create and Curate Content for Educators

I have had several inquiries to the tools that I use to create and curate. These ingredients seemed to be just the spice to complete this ed tech dish. While these may not be the most new and flashy tools in the edusphere, they happen to be tried and true ingredients in my kitchen for concocting and curating content… so I thought I would share.


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.

16 Dec 2014
Comments: 3

Digesting Miami Device

It has taken me a while to digest all of the learning and experiences throughout my three days at Miami Device. It was a hearty medley of professional learning and networking sprinkled with a spice that only Miami and Felix Jacomino can add to the mix. I had been looking forward to the event like a delicious annual dessert for over a year and I can say with unabashed honesty… Miami Device did not disappoint! The food and ambience and attention to detail of the event was surreal… even down to the name badges…


Professional Development Delicacies

But what was really surprising to me during this epic assemblage of professional development delicacies… that not one… yes, not one session was mediocre or disappointing! I have to say that is somewhat of a rarity at other events. On Day 1, I had ample app-ortunity to sample a full platter of sessions. It was thoroughly refreshing to play the role of the learner and participant.

Comic Sans edit

Delectable Professional Development Recap

MD 2014 PD Recap

For all of you that could not attend this epic learning event… I hope I did the sessions justice with my interactive notes embedded below which includes:

  • 60+ Interviews and Videos
  • Thorough Archival of 30+ sessions from Tony Vincent
  • Recaps from Adam Jones and Jenny Ashby

… as well as my notes (using Evernote) from the keynote and each of the sessions I attended:

  • “Comic Sans Isn’t Professional” by Jeremy Macdonald
  • “Brining a New Dimension to Learning with Augmented Reality” by Brad Waid
  • “What’s New? What’s Hot? What’s Cool?” by Joan Gore and Janet Corder
  • “Student Digital Portfolios: Rethinking Assessment Using Google” by Holly Clark

Now I realize that savoring a delectable treat first hand and hearing about from a friend or seeing filtered pics of it on your favorite social media site isn’t quite the same… if nothing else perhaps I can whet your app-etite for Miami Device 2016 😉

And for your own personal enjoyment or perhaps my sense of whimsy, I thought you might enjoy playing “Where’s TechChef?” in each pic featured above? 😉

Keynote 2 edit

Kevin Honeycutt’s keynote was exceptionally super-charged. Don’t miss some of his epic quotes archived within my notes linked above. One of my favorites that I am truly trying to take to heart is…

Add a little bit of body text-5

I could spend another month ruminating over each morsel of learning and nifty nugget but at some point, sharing a mostly finished reflection is better than sharing none at all 😉

TechChef Presents…

As this post was devoted to TechChef as a learner, I want to take a moment to mention that I also presented 3 sessions and have posted the resources for each below:

As we app-roach the holiday season, remember learning never ends and your PLN is always a tweet away 😉

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?

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

13 Nov 2014
Comments: 3

Bringing S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR Back…

Last year I presented S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR at TCEA to a packed room. Flash forward a year, there have been many lessons learned. While the S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR Tackk, chocked full of questions and resources, proved popular at a host of conferences and schools this semester, in actual sessions the idea of attendees developing their own understanding of SAMR through the activities proved tricky.

The Evolution of S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR

Initially I had everyone complete a PDF survey (Substitution), and then stopped them and provided a Google Form (Augmentation) using the same questions. We discussed the pros and cons of each and then I offered a Google Slide Deck with full editing rights so each attendee could add their expertise and information to build their PLN (Modification). While developing the SAMR model in this context was revealing for some, others I believe struggled with this delivery method and wanted to simply be told what the SAMR model was. I too struggled to find a balance between discovery and divulging as well as meeting the needs of a diverse group of learners.

S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR 3.0 Revealed

So… I went to the drawing board one more time… and decided to create a resource that had 3 tiered sections. When I launched the session at Miami Device this past week, I decided to provide a little back story (as I have done above for you) so those that planned on taking the resources back and using them as professional development for their own staff could make the adjustments as well. Then, I gave a quick review of each level of SAMR and discussed the “That’s So Not SAMR” section as a whole group. Finally, I allowed participants to self-select their comfort level with SAMR and connect that to one of the levels within the bulb site that I prepared (pictured and linked below) and begin to explore the exercises contained in each level.


Breaking Down S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR 3.0

Each tier includes an activity with reflective questions:

  • Fancy SAMR is for those that have no knowledge of SAMR
  • Cheeky SAMR is intended for those that have a basic knowledge of SAMR but would like to have some ideas for how to connect each level to a classroom integration example
  • S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR is for more advanced attendees and takes a deeper look at the TechChef acronym intended to make SAMR (also an acronym… yes, the irony is not lost on me) a little more digestible and easier to understand

S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR 3.0 In Action

I do have to say that opening up a traditional sit-and-get session to be a more discovery and discussion app-ortunity is not without its own challenges, but I feel like the time spent on exploration and the thoughtful participant discussions that evolved during the session far outweighed the angst some may have felt by being asked to be “active” participants. After the discovery portion, each group revealed their insights and I closed with a quick history of the S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR acronym.


S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR 3.0: the Critics Are In…

I want to also give a shout-out to Adam Jones. He was an attendee at two of the sessions I delivered at Miami Device and he provided a very thoughtful and thorough reflection of both of my sessions as well as multiple others that he attended:

“Lisa has done a tremendous amount of work with SAMR – not just in her own classroom, but also teaching other educators how to make their classrooms more student-centric and project-based.  She said, ‘It not about evaluating teachers with this model, but rather deploying it as a structure to have an ongoing conversation about pedagogy…’ It is hard to overstate how valuable a maven Lisa truly is in EdTech.  Find her on social media and you’ll find a deep rabbit hole of carefully curated content.” – Adam Jones ED

Another shout-out goes to Joe Rommel, Instructional Tech Consultant from Southwestern Michigan that shared these kind words about my sessions:

“Miami Device was great. My favorites were Lisa Johnson’s “Sassy SAMR” and “Tech Chef” presentations. Her style was engaging, and she had an amazing collection of SAMR resources that she was willing to share for our own professional development purposes.”- Joe Rommel


Stay tuned for TechChef’s Miami Device Recap… Coming Soon…


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?


Home Button StudsUpdated Stock of Chic Geek iJewelry on etsy!

1,800+ iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Spring and Summer PD and Workshops:

“Differentiated iClassroom”  iTunes U course is now available!!!

05 Nov 2014
Comments: 0

Outlander SAMR… S.A.S.S.Y. Sassenach

*** Bear with me on this one… and please know that even if you have not read the book or seen the series… you will be able to relate and utilize the resources shared… ***

The Back Story…

I have been reading the Outlander series since my Senior year of high school. It only took close to two decades to bring this beloved epic historical fiction series to the screen. As I am hopelessly sucked in to the highlander realm eight episodes deep… the series goes on hiatus… until April (I know… heavy sigh….).

Coping with the Hiatus…

Trying not to fash myself… and knowing that I couldn’t blog about Outlander just to blog about Outlander… this TechChef had to find a way to tastefully blend her literary palette with a crafty instructional recipe. SAMR seemed to be the perfect framework for serving up this topic as the technologies we have available today have redefined how we can interact with the content and the series (cue Twitter chats).



As more and more literary classics are transformed for the screen… consider the possibilities of connecting with the actors and director and gaining insight as to their stylistic choices as they are being made. Thus, to bide my time until April… “Outlander SAMR was born…” – I hope you enjoy this S.A.S.S.Y. Sassenach 😉

The Birth of Outlander SAMR…


Installing the S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR 2.0 Update…

As I began wrapping up this post and prepare to reveal S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR 3.0 at Miami Device this week… it occurred to me that I hadn’t even shared S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR 2.0 in an official blog post. Have you installed the update complete with additional app-tivities and discussion questions?

See on


Back Up… What is S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR?

Great question! For those of you unfamiliar with the TechChef acronym to make the SAMR model easily digestible check out this blog post and S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR 1.0 interactive infographic.

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.

Hungry for MORE… EXPLORE the TechChef4u Alliteration Alliance!

Check out the other topics in the Ed Tech alliteration portfolio:

TechChef Presents!

Where will Lisa Johnson be sharing her app-thusiasm next?

1:1 Deployment and Interested in 1:1 Deployment or PD strategies and implementation? Looking for a dynamic presenter or interactive workshop? Contact TechChef4u ( for parent presentations, hands-on workshops, keynotes, and much more! Read testimonials about TechChef presentations.


Home Button StudsUpdated Stock of Chic Geek iJewelry on etsy!

1,800+ iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Spring and Summer PD and Workshops:

“Differentiated iClassroom”  iTunes U course is now available!!!

melbet промокод мелбет зеркало