7/28/17

Keep Up with Reading!

I have always loved reading, and I constantly add new books to my shelves (and Kindle app); however, I am still working on ways to take notes while reading to keep up with favorite passages, quotes, and ideas.

In the past year, I have...

  • annotated passage within the book,
  • written paper notes/post-its to stick on the book,
  • created #booksnaps
  • tried #sketchnoting the books on the iPad, and
  • tried #sketchnoting the book using a Rocket book

For my next attempt at keeping up with my reading, I'm trying Google Keep for my book notes, and so far, I love my new system! Keep is a digital post-it note app within G Suite. Because it's part of the Google family, it includes a powerful search feature and the ability to add collaborators to the notes. Furthermore, notes sync between devices.

As I start a new book, I take a picture of the cover to add to my Keep header. Next, I add a few labels (including "books") based on the subject. 

What's on my shelf now...

As I read, I  take notes on any available device, so that's one huge plus. I also pin current books to the top of my Google Keep, and that's a visible reminder to keep reading. Because my "pack" of notes continues to grow, I am thankful for the search feature, and I have become much better about fine-tuning the names of my labels. I have not (YET) created a color-coding system for my books, but that could be the next possibility. I can add reminders and alerts, and from a mobile device, I can even start a new note by recording a message.

The other part of this workflow that is a bonus for me is that I can now easily access my Keep notes within a Google Doc. Most of these books are for work, of course, so as I'm planning a session, I can open a relevant book in Keep, and add those quotes and notations directly into my Google Doc! I am getting so much better at adding page numbers to my notes, so it's incredibly easy to copy, paste, and create the book citations as I plan for upcoming PD sessions.



By the way, The New Pillars of Modern Teaching has been my favorite edu-read from the past year, and I think I documented my reading in every other way mentioned above! I may need to go back and take notes in Google Keep!





Do you have a tried-and-true way of taking notes about books?

I'm so happy when I'm reading, and I'm always up for learning!
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7/14/17

Joy Bots!

Don't you love it when you're inspired by a single sentence? I was scrolling through Twitter during a session lunch break, and this Tweet caught my eye:

Lilly works in a nearby district, and she has an awesome after school program called "Gadget Girls," where she works to encourage elementary girls with STEAM related projects. Her Tweet and the search for @botjoy inspired a fun summer creativity project, and I can't wait to share it with others!

The "bots" are actually hand-painted dominoes, and the idea is to pass along the bot to someone who needs a little physical reminder of joy, love, confidence, etc. The artist, Gary Hirsch, also leaves his Bots in the world for others to find, and he has instructions for how to "program" and activate your Bot on botjoy.com.

There are Joy Bots, which are programmed to bring you instant joy and outrageous compliments; Love Bots love you unconditionally, and there are Brave Bots, Idea Bots, Collaboration Bots...you name it! The project ideas on the website are perfect for school groups, community service projects, and others who want to create and share. In this video, Gary explains his project, and the only supplies you need are white dominos, oil-based markers, and a quick polyurethane coat for protection.


I am not an artist, but I keep reading about the importance of creating and making, so I love this idea as a #growthmindset project. I knew someone at work who would jump on this project too (and she is an artist!) so the first #R10bots have been deployed, and more will be activated soon. :)
One person at this meetup taught 5th grade, and she was so excited about the Bots! She plans to have her students create Bots and then write their stories. Others at our #CoffeeEDU loved the idea so much that we're meeting next week to create Bots together.

I gave away a few Bots during a recent session (for the winning team during a quick contest) and the teachers were thrilled! For the rest of the summer, I will be in and out of various classrooms, so I plan to leave a Bot and card as a thank you note for the use of a room.
Gary Hirsch's 2013 TED talk explains how the Bots were born, and his story is all about collaboration, so it's a wonderful message for everyone.


Have you heard about Joy Bots? Is this a project that your students or teachers would enjoy?

I'm inspired to create, and I'm always learning.
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7/4/17

Inspired by ISTE

This week marks my 2-year anniversary at my "new" job, and I continue to learn, grow, and connect, thanks in part to opportunities provided by my work. Attending last week's ISTE conference was one awesome job perk, and what an incredible learning experience! I attended ISTE last year too, but this year, I tried to be better prepared.

Inspired by advice on Twitter and blogs, I created a few ISTE goals and even sketchnoted my priorities:

I feel I really succeeded at goal #1, and I've decided connections and collaboration will be a priority as I begin year 3 on my job. I know (especially) at tech-focused events, participants are often engrossed in their devices, so at this conference, I was determined to be intentional about striking up conversations, really listening to people, and looking for ways to connect with others. (Such a stretch for me, but it was only for 3 days!) Since ISTE was held in San Antonio, which was a tiny flight or a manageable drive from DFW, I kept running into people from our region, which was so fun! And when I started asking what people were learning and really listening to what they were looking for, I started making connections and started thinking about building bridges, like these...


The past several months, I worked to connect departments and to breach a few silos in the office. It's now time for me to move beyond the workplace and be on the lookout for building those bridges across the region. "You're rural district X and you're just getting into Google? Let me connect you with some leaders in a similar district Y, and they just finished their first year of implementation..." "You're starting a district-wide digital citizenship plan? Let me introduce you to Z who is doing the same thing!" With two years of meeting people and working with more districts and teams, making connections should be a priority!

Bottom line, it always goes back to building relationships, doesn't it?!

Always learning.
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