Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Personal Fortune Cookies


Sammi and I went out for coffee the other day and came across this sign as we walked down the street. The big idea of finding the opportunity in every struggle is something we all do to one degree or another. Every one of us faces things that threaten to stop us, forever frozen in our tracks. Somehow we push though victorious, and maybe a little battle fatigued, to the other side.

Those struggles are what I call gold, we learn so much from the path less traveled. Those life lessons are what propel us to another level. They are the foundational pieces we need to face whatever is coming next.

Looking back at my own struggles, the details and lessons learned sometimes fad. Sometimes I don't always see the successes, big and small, because they have disappeared into the background of my memory.

These thoughts helped bubble up a story I read in a book last year. Watch this video for the short version.

I created this jar last year. Sometime over the summer it got buried somewhere on my desk. If you have seen my desk you would understand. Once I saw the sidewalk sign I suddenly remembered my jar.
my actual jar of awesome
My little jar now sits off to the left of my laptop. I just started using it again to help me focus on all the good that is happening every day.

The one side effect it had on me last year was I started to see all these little successes every day. It was everywhere.

I know if it had such an impact on me, what do you think it would do for your students?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Twitter: maximizing your time on the feed

Over the past two weeks we have talked a lot about twitter. I am a pretty big fan and have been using it for some time now. Over the years I have created a system that helps me maximize my time on the app while increasing the impact it has on me professionally. This post will show two of my tips.

Quick Tips - Efficient Use
Log into your twitter account.
Click on an account you follow, make sure it is one that offers some powerful ideas.
There are a few buttons near the top of the screen that hide the twitter gold.

Click Likes.
Anything the account likes will appear once you click this button.

Scroll down.
This is the best place to find twitter gold. 
If this is an account I respect, the likes are where I can find some very useful resources.

It is also worth your time to check out the Following tab.

Scroll down to see who they follow.
Click follow on the accounts you think will add value to your account.

Interested in learning more?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Posting to your blog from the web on a mobile device.

Sometimes it is just easier to use the web and avoid the Blogger app. There are a few things to be aware of when doing so, this post will demonstrate the process.

Open your blog.

To insert an image just click on the little picture.

The image I need is on my camera roll. To access it I can just click From your phone.

1. Select the image(s) you want to upload.
2. Click Add selected.

The image is now ready to go. Just add text and publish.

Note: this post started on an iPad and ends on an Android phone. The process is the same no matter what device you are using.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

My watch had me thinking.

I don't have any tattoos but if I did it might go something like what appeared on my watch the other day. There have been like a million little, and two big, things that have gone all wrong this week. So far we are only two days deep into a four day work week. What will tomorrow bring?!?!

It is like the path less traveled theory, we learn a lot more when the going is difficult.

Do we share those struggles with those around us? Do we share them with the kids we teach? I think these issues and how we hopefully rebound can teach our students more than we might realize.

Some days I want to host a coffee hour or maybe a LindberghU class to share our stories. Anyone down for that?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Is this fence weaker than it was last year? (STEM is everywhere)

I was driving from Dressel to Sappington and back again today. I happened to glance over at the Grant's Farm fence and noticed a bit of rust on it. As I drove I saw lots of rust running on the chain link running from one end of the property to the other.

It reminded me a lot of the USS Fredrick. I lived on the Fast Freddy for six long months. What was that like you ask? Kinda like living in your classroom for six months only not as nice. While on ship I noticed the Navy was constantly scraping and painting to stop the always advancing rust. Rust that was slowly eating away any metal surface.
USS Fredrick, LST 1184 Mombasa,Kenya

This metal eating rust has me worried about the fence. It also make me think about the wonderful STEM connections I saw. Here are the questions I started coming up with as I drove by the farm. They are random, maybe impossible but they all could start a conversation. Some I know the answer to and some I may never know. 
  • How much strength is lost when the fence rusts?
  • What might be some ways to remove the rust?
  • Are the animals so used to staying within the farm that the fence isn't even needed anymore?
  • What would it cost to replace the fence?
  • Are there metals that don't rust?
  • How can we build an invisible fence that doesn't involve electricity? Could it be a force field?
  • Could the fence, new or old, withstand a charging buffalo? 
Many of these questions could be STEMified. They might not be a clear answer but by posing such questions, or wonderings, we can help our kids think beyond what is right in front of our faces. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Making a portable you.

There are times when you can explain something so well that you wish you could publish that somewhere to help the kids when they are at home. Other times it would be sweet to clone yourself so you could help with all the individual needs in your classroom.

Have you ever considered creating short video tutorials? It is wicked easy and very powerful to the kids who just need that extra little boost, attention or guidance.

This post will show you how to use Screencat-O-Matic and some best practice ideas to help you get started.

Things to consider before you begin recording:
    1. Have a plan. I usually keep a bullet point list of what I want to say to help guide the video.
    2. Keep it short. Short as in a handful of minutes.
    3. Watch your video before you publish it. This is the best way to catch your mistakes.
    4. Patience. It takes a little time to perfect the art of video creation.
    5. Discovery. How will the students know where to access the videos you need them to watch?

Getting Started

Find the download and double click to install.

Click FREE Recorder to launch.

Screen is usually automatically selected. This means anything within the dotted lines will be recorded.
Click the red Rec button in the lower left to begin. 

You should see a red pause button and a timer when you are recording your screen.
Click the pause button when you are finished.

Ready to start the publishing cycle?
Click Done.

Click Upload to YouTube.
Note: Make sure you have a YouTube video channel already setup.

Select your school Google account.

Click Allow.

Make sure the privacy settings are set to public so everyone can view the video.
Click the green Publish button at the bottom.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Can I use my voice to type on a mobile device?

We showed you how to use your laptop to type by voice and that was pretty cool. Now check out how to do that on your mobile devices.

Both of these samples are using the Google Docs app. It is recommended that you download the app before you start voice typing.

Note: These screenshots are using the iOS 11 beta. Your screen might look slightly different.
Open the Docs app.
Create a new document.
Click the microphone on the keyboard.
Start voice writing.

1. You should see a wavy line at the bottom indicating the microphone is picking up your voice.
2. Click the check when you are finished voice typing.

Open the Docs app.
Create a new document.
Click the microphone.
Start voice writing.
Click the check in the upper left when finished.

Personal Fortune Cookies

  Sammi and I went out for coffee the other day and came across this sign as we walked down the street. The big idea of finding the opp...