Friday, November 20, 2015

Coding: Girls' Edition

Hour of Code is quickly approaching. However, coding opportunities should not be limited to once a year. They should be made available at all points in the year. They should also target girls. As girls progress through school, their numbers diminish in the computer science field. By the time they enter the work force, very few are represented. With computer science jobs expected to rise to numbers we are not ready to fulfill, it's more crucial than ever to encourage girls to enter the field.

Think of the awesome innovations we could create if A) all computer science jobs were filled and B) if there was diversity in the voices represented.

To help get the momentum going, I've organized some of my favorite girls' organizations and computer science programs aimed at girls into one presentation. Check out for more STEAM resources. Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving break!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

#BeYouEdu: Finding Your Super Power

If you are not familiar with the #BeYouEdu movement led by +Dr. Will Deyamport, III , you need to get on it! It's one of my favorite posts to write each month. They are a great way to challenge you to think about what you bring to the table. I'm thinking of doing a similar series now with students.

This month's topic: Finding Your Super Power

I love this. It implies you have a super power.

I have more teachers than I should mention to me that "[they] could never do that." I see teachers who are confident in their subject area, but who are not confident in their risk-taking abilities. The problem is that the most critical part of learning is risk-taking. To learn is to take risks. And, it's not unique to teachers. I see the same problem in students. The fear of taking risks - the belief that we do not have a super power to offer.

And, that's why this topic is perfect. It already assumes we do have a super power. What many lack is the belief that they do have a super power. They lack confidence.

What happens to our confidence? I watch as my niece jumps from one chair to the next with a hulahoop in hand. She's not afraid. Perhaps, she should be. But, what makes a child stop taking risks? We will take risks, knowing the consequences, but won't when we don't know. We stop leaping because we don't know what may happen. We don't know what's on the other side. And, at some point along our journey, that becomes scary. We stop doodling. We stop creating. We think we could never do that. We compare ourselves to one another.

It's all of these things that prevent us from seeing and understanding our super powers.

The irony to this is that I have struggled with self confidence for as long as I can remember. However, I am not afraid take risks. I'm a skydiver, hang glider, parasailer, paraglider, mountain climber. And, I'm scared of heights to an extreme level. I want to learn everything. I'm not afraid to invest myself in learning something new. Though I lack confidence in how others perceive me at times, I have a super ability to take risks. I love change. In fact, I strive for it. I move a lot. I admire traditions and I hold them sacred. But, I love risks.

My super power is that I know I have a super power. That seems a bit ridiculous, but I've found many adults, teens, and children, who do not recognize they have a super power.

A fellow educator once told me we all know something that no one else in the world knows. I believe that. And, it's an amazing concept. She said that we should be out to find those things from each other. This concept makes us all unique and all super in at least one way.

I believe in risks. I believe in the impossible. And, that is my super power. It's what makes me determined and it's what leads to success for me.

What do you know that know one else knows? You have super powers - what are they?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

#YourEduStory: Giving thanks back to education

This week's topic: How do you give thanks to the students and adults you work with?

Technically, it's next week's topic, but since there is no topic this week and next week is meant to actually give thanks, I'm writing about it this week.

This topic was particularly challenging and, perhaps, that is not a good thing. I had to really think about how I give thanks to the students and adults I work with. Part of that goes to my work ethic.

It's no secret that I'm a hard worker and that I am very determined. It is through my work that I give thanks. However, in thinking about this post, I realize I should give more personalized thanks to individuals. I need to take time to take a deep breath, slow down, and focus on those around me who are also working hard. 

I think others who work to the point of exhaustion may feel this way. When working hard, I often don't take breaks to enjoy the work of others around me. If I'm told we need to get something done, I will work to get that goal done. If that means assisting others, I will. However, it also means that I don't take any breaks. It's during those breaks where you can appreciate what others do. Perhaps, my goal is to look more at the work my peers are doing. In writing this, I can't say I know too much what others are doing. I am very task-oriented. 

So, how does someone like me give thanks: through the work I do. I make sure that it is done in a timely manner. I make sure to go above and beyond to meet the needs of those around me. For my students, I research, research, and research innovative ways to teach. I spend countless hours finding ways to make the classroom more entertaining, more applicable. I give my time.

To fellow adults, I work to take the work-load off of others. When I say tasks that have no name on them, I complete them for others. It's this that is both a curse and a blessing. It's a blessing that I get it done for others. However, it's a curse that I no longer have time to observe the awesome things others around me do.

How do you give thanks in education? My goal is to slow down sometimes to take in what others are doing so I can give personalized thanks.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Get creative with #chrome! #snagit #screencastify #presentme

I live 100% on my Chromebook so I'm always on the lookout for tools that allow me to be creative on my Chromebook. And, thankfully, there are a lot of options.

I'm a WeVideo fan for creating iMove/Movie Maker style videos. However, it has since made a lot more features at cost. Though it's understandable, it's not always feasible to pay in a classroom. YouTube editor is great, but then you have to worry about whether or not YouTube is available to students. So, if you know of others that can make movies off of a storyboard like WeVideo, do share!

In other news, I'm a fan of MoveNote for doing recording with presentations. Unfortunately, it recently has given many of our teachers and students technical difficulties. I have been unable to get feedback from MoveNote so I went searching for other solutions. If anyone from MoveNote reads this, perhaps we can get some resolution :) 
  • PresentMe is just like MoveNote, but it is limited to 3-4 recordings a month. 
  • can just record your screen - presentation or whatever is open in Chrome - with a screen recorder like ScreenCastify or Snagit.
I use the latter two tools daily so I don't know why I had not thought of that sooner. I guess I just liked the interface of MoveNote and the video option. Regardless, the second solution is valid and a great way to add voice to presentations. 

Check out Chromium Creativity for more ideas and for all things Google and Chrome. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

#Google #Geo Tools for all users!

Though I taught English, I have a secret - or not-so-secret - obsession with maps and geography. To help with that obsession, I've been compiling a list of some of the best educational resources on geography and history in the classroom for the past few years.

Today, I added in a new resource: Google Maps Mania. I follow their blog daily on Google + and am amazed at how they combine data with maps. Last week, they showed all of the traffic deaths in the U.S. broken down by gender and age and type of accident. It's great inspiration for what students can do.

So, check out how to Geosize Your World and for more Google tools and resources!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Stylin' with Google Slides

I use Google Slides every day. I create advertisements, make presentations, make Website headers, make documents, and now...I make interactive presentations.

This fall, Poll Everywhere released an add-on to Google Slides that will insert live polls into Google Slides. While I love PearDeck, many of my teachers like to create their presentations in Google Slides - not in PearDeck. If you do it that way, you are VERY limited on the number you can create. So, this is a great solution for having quizzes embedded into presentations.

How does it work? Check out this post from Poll Everywhere. Then, check out Stylin' with Slides for more ways you can use Google Slides that you may not be currently using.

On, you can read about my favorite uses of the rest of the Google Apps. Check back each month for updates...and soon for a big update on Google Forms (I'm holding out until all of the features in the "old" Forms are available in the new Forms).


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Secrets of a Google Ninja...minions?

This is my favorite presentation along with "Let's Get Chromified." There are so many awesome projects associated with Google that aren't advertised enough. Over Halloween, the Google Data experts shared Frightgeist, an interactive site that showcases the top searched Halloween costumes. Now, it would be great to compare those searched with those actual bought and worn.

You can view more awesome Google "projects" on the Secrets of a Google Ninja presentation and at Check back each month for the latest and greatest!