6 Tips for Organizing Your Google Drive

Thursday, January 21, 2021

I recently heard that January is Get Organized Month, so I thought, if you are like me, you may need to do some organizing in your Google Drive. In Google Drive, you can store your Google documents and other files like PDFs, images, and videos. Like other document storage, Google Drive has folders that help you keep it nice and tidy. But if you don't use them, your Drive can become quite unruly! 

Digital Breakouts During the Times of Social Distancing

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Digital breakouts are an amazing way to gamify your classroom, get students engaged in content, and have them apply their knowledge in a variety of ways. "Breakouts" take the concept of escape rooms (you know those places that are popping up where you and your friends are willingly locked in a room and have to solve clues to escape it?) and helps you bring it to the classroom! Usually, students solve clues to unlock locks attached to a box to save the day, solve a problem, or just get the surprise inside!

You can check out my post on physical breakouts here.

However during our times of social distancing, physical breakouts are not quite as feasible. Students cannot crowd around the same materials all touching the same box and locks. 


digital breakouts during the times of social distancing

Using Google Sites and Google Forms, digital breakouts create engaging, problem-solving scenarios where students can apply the content they've been learning in an authentic way just without all of the "stuff" that a traditional breakout entails. Students can still be given challenging, thought-provoking tasks, just in a digital format. Familiar digital tools like Google Drawings and Google Slides can be utilized to incorporate a variety of engaging tasks. And if students need to do some recording (think: math problems!!) or for a sense of online/offline balance, some printed materials can be used as well.

On the Road to Creating Learners with Agency: 6 Tips for Goal Setting with Students

Monday, November 16, 2020

As an educator, this school year has likely been your most stressful yet, and it really has just begun! Whether you are in a hybrid or virtual learning environment, you are likely navigating previously uncharted territory. You are persevering and overcoming obstacles that come up almost daily. From planning your schedules and imagining how a virtual day will look for students to structuring routines for including ALL students EVERYDAY, many of you are stepping up in ways that we may have never imagined we would! However, even with the best laid plans, we may encounter challenges that we did not anticipate. Luckily, most of us have skills to help us take action when things go awry. But what about our students?

If you are like me, you have noticed that this shift to virtual and/or hybrid learning has caused students to struggle as they grapple with taking more responsibility for their own learning. In the past, when students struggled we could see it . . . we could provide scaffolds in class or monitor and adjust our lessons in real-time. However, when students are learning from a distance, we might notice them struggling, but we can't always know exactly what they are struggling with. This may be causing you new frustrations as you wonder how you can prepare students for the responsibility they need right now. You can be reassured, though, you are not alone! 

As a digital learning coach, a big part of my job is supporting teachers and students in using technology in a way that enhances their learning. With my local school district moving to a hybrid and virtual model, many of the students I work with are finding themselves being forced into the driver’s seat of their own learning and are struggling with this new level of responsibility. I’ve found myself not only helping them with tech but also addressing their challenges around virtual learning and empowering them to overcome those challenges and develop themselves into successful learners.

I'm Just Like You! Reflection of a Tech Coach on The School Shutdown and a Special Offer

Saturday, July 18, 2020
For me, it was March 16 when everything seemed to start changing. Up until that day, even with all the craziness around me, my life was still kind of normal. My daughter starred in the district's musical Wizard of Oz on Saturday. I went out to eat with my parents. I picked up my groceries like every other Sunday (except for toilet paper, that had already been bought up!). But it wasn't until that moment on March 16, when we were told "school's closed" that I realized it was real and things would be different.

Since I'm not a K-12 classroom teacher, I didn't have to scramble to get lessons together. I didn't have to worry about the ungraded assessments or the ones that I hadn't given yet. I didn't have to worry about the books or jackets that students left in my classroom. Yet, it was a struggle mentally because I was anticipating what was to come . . . how will we reach all of our students remotely?! 

My colleague and I did scramble to get resources together. We created how-to videos from our dining rooms. We replied to emails and phone calls from frantic teachers, parents, and students. We considered how our role must shift to support teachers in their new learning environments. And we made it through! It wasn't perfect, but it was what needed to happen in that moment. 

And now we find ourselves in the next phase: waiting and wondering! While our state has issued some guidelines, spiking cases of Covid-19 are continuing to cause shifts. The face-to-face summer program we were going to hold in July has been postponed and may be totally virtual or totally cancelled. Other districts are issuing their plans but my district is still assessing everything (including those other districts' plans) to make the best decision for our students.

I am not new to technology and learning. I completed my entire master's in educational technology online! I spent my last year in the classroom integrating technology into my instruction and the 3 last years helping other teachers successfully do the same. BUT . . . I'M JUST LIKE YOU! I was scared of the changes that came in the Spring. I am adjusting to new protocols just to leave the house. I am missing my students, my colleagues, and my routine (YES, I MISS GOING TO WORK EVERYDAY!). I am nervous, uncertain, hopeful, and just a little scared. And IF I were a classroom teacher, I would be incredibly anxious about being prepared for remote learning situations in the fall.

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