Saturday, February 17, 2018

How the Internet Works

In my quest for videos about the Hour of Code, I ran across this video "The Internet: How Search Works."  I found it fascinating, both as an educator, an #edtech-ian, and a learner. Given that, it warranted a post of its own!

I've heard reports that by 2028, ten years from now, half of the jobs out there will be ones that don't even exist here and today.  The reason: the growth in technology. Exponential growth! Given that, it's probably good for all of us to know such things as this... sharpening our tech and innovation skills along the way!


As an aside, here's a pretty cool "gifographic" (an animated step up from an infographic!) and kid-friendly information page on the concept as well from (You'll find a wealth of other information also at Mocomi's learning portal!)

Video from, gifographic from; Image from

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Be a Kidpreneur & Join the Polar Army--Kidpreneurs

 They say a picture can speak a thousand words, making art quite a powerful medium.

It seems to speak volumes more when the poignant and powerful message comes from kids.

That is both the meaning and the message behind Polar Army.

Created by Bryce Madder at the ripe age of 11 years old, Polar Army is an non-profit awareness website & mission to spread the message of climate change and educate other kids and the impact of carbon emissions on our planet. As a citizen activist, Bryce goes to show you that you are never too young to make a difference! He's in good company, with this list of young eco-leaders on which our 3rd grade centers their leadership on. Kidpreneurs are vital part of our entrepreneurial market these days!

Bryce Madder's tagline: "Make some art. Make a difference. Join Polar Army and its fight to save polar bears."

By the end of March 2016, Bryce had over 720 entries on his website on subjects such as arctic habitatsclimate changedevastating impacts, and polar bears. Each of these links will take you to his page of uploaded art on these topics.

Bryce's main message:

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Crash Course Kids

I love me some Crash Course... not the wreck-up, destructive kind, but the John & Hank Green variety. They have a phenomenal way of making history--and every other topic under the sun--come alive with their fast talking, zippy animations! You can find them a few places:

Well, there's a new kid in town. Crash Course Kids, to be specific!  Bringing the same brilliance and humor that Crash course offers older students (although I've used their videos with upper elementary), Crash Course Kids is a little more on the elementary level, starting with 5th Grade Science--complete with standards, and they'll be adding as they go. Here's a preview:


You can find their entire playlist here.

Categories at this writing include:
  • Engineering & Engineering Process
  • Earth Science: Earth's Spheres and Natural Resources
  • Life Science: Ecosystems and Flow of Energy
  • Physical Science: Introduction to Gravity
  • Physical Science: Properties of Matter
  • Space Science: Introduction to Stars
  • Space Science: The Sun and Its Influence on Earth
Crash Course Kids is addictive... in the best way! So go forth and gobble up the knowledge!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Your Food's Roots with Zoey Deschanel

Now that we're an official month into the new year, how's your resolutions doing?  The statistics of wayward resolutions that are long gone by the start of February is at about 80%. Ouch.

For many people, resolutions center around health, wellness, and better eating. Regardless of whether you are in the 80% or the 20%, actress Zooey Deschanel might inspire you to get back up and eating right.

"Your Food's Roots with Zooey Deschanel" is a video series created with ATTN and The Farm Project (founded by Zooey and Jacob Pechenik), to build "knowers" and "growers." In the episodes, Zooey conducts interviews with food experts

Their videos are accessible through both the Your Food's Roots by ATTN and the links are here below the trailer:

Episode 1: Zooey Deschanel Addresses Overfishing

Episode 2: Zooey Deschanel on What's In Your Bread

Episode 3: Zooey Deschanel Tackles Organic Vs Non-Organic Foods

Episode 4: Zooey Deschanel Looks for Alternatives to Meat

Episode 5:  Zooey Deschanel on How Far Your Food Travels to Get to Your Plate

Bonus Video:  The Meaning behind The Farm Project

Trailer video from; images from

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Reflecting on FETC 2018

There truly is nothing more magical than Christmas in January.

In Florida.

At a 3-day edtech conference, appealing to my ever-loving joy-of-learning self.

With one of my favorite people in the world, a former teaching colleague... reliving our time at last year's FETC (Future of Education Technology Conference), and making new memories this year!

With 70° weather, when what you have left behind is 40°, maybe 50° weather.

45,000 steps on my Fitbit... 10 sessions (amounting to over a dozen hours of insight and education) ... multiple dozen of booths and poster presentations visited... and what feels like that many photos, notes, and links to check out. January really is the perfect time for this conference (for more reasons than just the weather). There's plenty of time for implementation here in the next 4 months of school before summer.

With Christmas in January, rather than holiday lights, the twinkling comes in the form of LED lights, iPad and laptop screens, and the idea-flashes that come with the inspiration of speakers of the 36th annual FETC conference last week. 

My favorite parts:

1. The 20 minute free chrome extensions presented by Dr. Lynn Herr. My reading specialists will be giddy and I can't wait to get them on our Chromebooks!

2. Getting inspiration from my girlfriend as we talked about her MakerLab and learning about all the things she found fascinating in her workshops.

Sir Ken Robinson
3. Hearing education guru Sir Ken Robinson and tech goddess Kathy Schrock share their own unique wit and wisdom.

4. Getting my book Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classrooms autographed by Monica Burns, realizing that we'd met about a decade ago as my partner in green and I visited her then-school (Alain L. Locke in NYC). With that partnership, later she and a team of their teachers came to visit us at our school to discuss our environmental initiatives. At the book signing, Monica and I discussed how both of our experiences at Alain L Locke ultimately and serendipitous led us both down our current paths.

5. Being able to walk away with at least 30 new-to-me websites and apps, ready to come home and more deeply explore each one... and eager to bring those back to my school to inspire both students and teachers alike!

6. Learning about the varied and amazing top 25 AALS websites (& resources there) from Shannon Miller... who's session last year at FETC 2017 turned me on to both Buncee and Padlet.

7. Speaking of Buncee...Hanging out with the Buncee crew, getting to meet other Buncee Ambasadors "live and in person," both at the conference and after hours.

It all reminded me how vital it is to step out of your daily routine, take a break, explore new things in your field (expanding the field of vision of those things you love), and to never stop learning or connecting.

My walk-away websites & apps to investigate, & you might want to check out too.

  1. Post-It Plus
  2. Chatterpix
  3. KidLit.TV
  5. Book Creator
  6. Little Bird Tales
  7. Flipgrid
  8. Booktrack
  9. Google Draw
  10. Google Keep
  11. Google My Map
  12. Classhook
  13. My Simpleshow
  15. Spreaker
  16. Write the World
  17. Sugarcane
  18. Baamboozle
  19. Vizia 
  20. Cite This For Me
  21. Formative
  22. Rewordify
  23. OER Commons
  25. Nearpod
  26. Adobe Spark 
  27. Listenwise
  28. CommonLit
  29. Media Smarts
  30. American Association of School Librarians Website: Tools & Resources
  31. Make Belief Comix
  32. Sutori
  33. Hyperdocs
Of course, as I look at them in number list here, my work is cut out for me! 

Maybe I'll take it a day at a time. Leading me forward, look at where I'll be a month from now! 

That's the beauty of being out in the learning world of FETC... you come away so completely rich! Yes, richer for the experience, indeed!

Pics from my camera and my experience down at FETC 2018.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Let it Snow: The Science of Real Snowflakes

Back in December, I wrote a post about the magical making of Faux Snow.

Today, we dive deep into the blizzard of information about the real stuff that makes up our Winter Wonderlands!

There's an amazing microscopic detail to snowflakes... and Crystallography is an actual science! A great place to learn a little more about it is from Kiddle, the Kids' Encyclopedia. (Which is a wonderful new school tool too!)

The video below shows how these crystallized minis form at the molecular level. (As a literal aside... there are a multitude of other videos on the YouTube right hand sidebar on this page for those of you who just can't get enough!) It also details how over 80+ years, we've gone from being able to identify 21 classifications of 121 different types!

For more on the science & beauty of snowflakes, check out the following resources as you marvel about these miniature works of art the next time it snows:
  • Winter-Themed Resources from the NEA for grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12

All 3 macro photos of snowflakes from Alexey Kljatov, found at Video from, The book Snowflake Bentley was purposely put in quotes above to not have it compete visually with the added links. Snowflake Bentley book image from

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Is Algae the Answer to the Petroleum Problem?

After reading my eco-reads of 2018 (Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World by Bill Nye and Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution by Peter Kalmus), thinking about innovative ways to solve our environmental and climate problems has been heavy on my mind.

That's why this video about Dave Hazlebeck, algae, & Global Algae Innovations speaks loudly to me.  Can fuel be made from algae? Could algae-biofuel be a potential future solution to our global and geopolitical problems? Could inspiration be around the corner for creating change? Fingers are crossed. These are the changes our world needs!

Here's an infographic that goes into more details.

Video from; infographic from; image from

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Great Green Wall

Here on our one year anniversary of America's Inauguration Day of our 45th President, I'm going to pay my tribute in this way....

If we are going to build a wall anywhere, this is what we should build. The Great Green Wall is an project with the plan to counter the dry Sahara desert from growing. The plan--an 8,000 kilometer long and 15 kilometer wide green wall that is meant to provide food and jobs for the multitudes of people of people in the center of an area facing climate change.

Begun with the first planting in 2008, the Great Green Wall is destined to be the largest living structure on Earth and a modern day wonder of the world!

Videos from and; image from

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Good Life Project: Podcast, Living Creed, & the Maker Movement

If you have been hanging around for any amount of time over here at GTG, you know I'm a mega fan podcasts. It's a good way to get a daily dose of inspiration...especially when held captive in the era of being an uber-taxi-driving mama! (Though I will admit--the Hamilton Soundtrack is a close second!)

Jonathon Fields is the creator of the Good Life Project. It is a podcast with heart and soul, and I was struck by two elements, especially here at the start of the New Year.  One, his Living Creed for the Good Life Project is a striking manifesto creating the life you want to live. It reminds me of the One Word concept--though clearly a few more words than one! It also parallels the Maker Movement, and a similar Maker's Manifesto I've written about before.

The Maker Movement connection also spoke loudly to me in this particular Good Life Project episode. I love how he discusses "the touch economy," and how the more digital we all become, the more the maker movement is a growing trend in education (including the high tech, low tech, and no-tech sides of the maker movement). He also had some very interesting comments about the voice-only aspect of podcasts, and how it helps us all connect deeper to each other on the empathetic and emotional levels.

Jonathon Field's photo quote from;  Jonathan Field's Personal Manifesto/Good Life Project Living Creed from; Podcast from

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Bombas: The Socks That Give Back

For Christmas, despite the family gift exchange, one of my sister-in-laws had a little something for everyone. On the count of 3, we all opened.

Socks! She got us socks!

(Which I will say, as an adult, excites me far more than it ever did when I was a kid.)

And this year, it excited me more, as the socks came with a story. The socks were Bombas socks, and with every pair purchased, another pair is donated to the homeless.

My sister-in-law, with the help of us having feet and needing socks, donated about a dozen pairs of socks to help out the homeless.

The company was the inspired beginning with a Facebook quote that struck Randy Goldberg and Dave Heath: socks are the #1 requested clothing item from homeless people. That reminded me of a series I wrote about a five years ago when a college friend of mine did a 10 day stint at purposeful homelessness to experience what many of his patrons at Illinois' Freeport Area Church Cooperative. After doing the Susan G. Komen 3 Day//60 mile Walk for Breast Cancer, I even have my own personal experience on the importance of socks and footcare--especially in the rain! Good socks are a must!

These 2 videos show Randy & Dave in action, from inspiration, to 1 million socks donated, to 5 million socks donated!

1 Million Pairs of Bombas Socks Donated from Bombas on Vimeo.


So as I'm wearing my Bombas, and they are indeed feeling like the most important socks on Earth! Gifts that keep giving are perhaps the best ones to get!

Videos from and; images from and and

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Trio of Eco Reads for the New Year

My environmental library is pretty sizable for your "Average Joe." I think it's an occupational hazard for being an environmental educator for 7 years, and an eco-blogger for 9 years!

This Christmas my library has grown by 3 more books.  At this point, I've only read one and am currently mesmerized by another, but they all have been on the top of my bed stand stack.

In case you are looking for some eco-reads, here's my trio, and I'd say a great place to start!

Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World by Bill Nye (2015, 2016)

Bill Nye for the win, as per always. Fact-finding (and sharing) scientist, myth-buster, and engineer with a tinkering, designing, and curious mind, he lays out several issues and the creative innovation that it's going to take visionaries AND the citizen activism that it will take all of us to make small changes at home and big changes with our voting power. A voice of the ages indeed. I love the empowering aspect of his writing, taking us out of the fear factor and resignation that the climate conversation can sometimes bring.

Peter Kalmus is a climate scientist and a dad living in suburbia. This book is a bit about him slicing his own personal carbon footprint, living a simpler life and achieving greater happiness along the way. He and his family of 4 live on 1/10 the fossil fuels of the average American--giving inspiration to us all that it is indeed possible to live with and on less. Some of his approaches are definitely outside the box! Kalmus outwardly mentions his approach in combining science, spirituality, and taking action. Again, more optimism versus "doom and gloom," and a message that will get many thinking!
The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, & the Remaking of the Civilized World by Jeff Goodell (2017)
More weighty than the other two, as a harsh dose of reality splashed literally in your face. The sea-levels are rising--undeniable scientific data. Our shorelines and major cities will indeed be changing by century's-end. His writing comes from his experiences as he travels the world and reports from the front lines--detailing how the climate deniers are out of touch, merely ostriches with heads in the sand.  This book also was acclaimed as A New York Times Critics' Top Book of 2017, one of Washington Post's 50 Notable works of Nonfiction for 2017, and one of Booklist's Top 10 Science Books for the year.

The more I read, the more I'm convinced that the current administration is leading us the wrong way. In many wrong ways, but environmentally I'm for certain. As Peter Kalmus said in his title...we must "be the change." Scientifically, spiritually, and by taking action. May we all lead this 2018!

Book Images from each one's page, Eco Reads banner created by me on

Saturday, January 6, 2018

New Year, New You!

We're a week into the New Year... how are your New Year's resolutions coming along?

Or, are you more of a "One Word"
kind of person?

Or, are you like most of us,
with the energy and stamina
on your resolutions is already dwindling?

Here are some of my favorite Shawn Stevenson Model Health Show podcasts to energize you for the new year ahead! Take an hour or two and watch or listen to one or a few!

Image from; Videos from; v=RTregJr4EUI&;

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

One Word for the New Year

For the last 4 years, I've marked my New Year's Resolution by embarking on "One Word." The theory behind this is that one word will govern and oversee your year, with everything going forward. Words from my past four years include ChangeMakeUp, and Notice. The picture here is contemplative and perfect... though clearly it is time to reflect for the new year ahead: 2018!
Therefore... this marks my 5th year of going forward with "One Word" (which speaks to the heart of my Life Coach friend: Karin Mitchell. If you don't follow her blog Chart Your Course," please do!).

I've been doing a lot of thinking the last few weeks and I've generated a growing list of possibilities. (Who knows--maybe next year, one of these will be mine.) The words are as follows:

Fresh                   Aspire                   Patience                 Thrive           Breathe               Release               Grateful heart       Abundance        Energize                Stop                Flourish              Launch                  Embrace                 Delight                Uplift              Reboot                Reignite                Renew                    Clarity                 Sharpen       Swim                  Grace & Gratitude       Middle Way
After living with the options for a week or two, I keep gravitating back to this one.  My word this year:  8/-ate.

For 2018, there's a symmetry that I adore.

8 is both a visual with the annual date, and it's also iconic as well as symbolic on other levels too. Being a highly visual person, I adore this element of my word. It's also a suffix on some very important words associated with it that I want to focus on this year. The date--with it's 8--will serve as a constant reminder. I'm also a bit of a rule breaker at times--especially here--when it comes to "one word." But sometimes, this rule-following girl is indeed a rule-breaker! And those needed times are thrive-worthy!

My word 8/-ate is as follows. (There's really 9 parts to this word beyond the 2018 & 8 element of it):

--ate: What is it that I just ate--or want to eat? Is it good for my body and soul? Healthy? Nourishing? This is important to me at this stage in my life, and I want to stay focused on that!

--Hydrate: Water is the foundation to life. My mantra: Drink water--and also green tea for me. (I'm more than 9 months "Diet-Coke-free" and totally on the green tea bandwagon!

--Navigate: Guidance... particularly self-guidance is important. Especially with teenagers in my house. I sometimes need to check my thin-skin at the door and navigate in a way that isn't always natural for me.

--Radiate: Joy, happiness, love, energy, and positive spirit. I always say that my quirkiness and spirit are part of my effervescent charm, and I need to remember to be in this place and radiate this side of me!

--Meditate: As a girl who is always living in her brain and serving as a recovering perfectionism, meditating and slowing down are where I need to be. A year and a half ago when I had nose surgery for my deviated septum, I was able to breathe in a total new way that I didn't realize I'd been missing out on for years! Breathing is certainly important!!

--Percolate: Yes, a coffee word (and I'm sooo not a coffee drinker!)... but a thinking word. I seem to always have ideas percolating. Again, the perils of an over-thinker. Of course, it begs the question: is it a peril or a perk? May I always percolate when it comes to new and exciting ideas.

--Celebrate:  The joys, the wins (even those minor daily ones), should always be celebrated. So should our loved ones!! In big and small ways.

--Scintillate: Not your everyday word, which is part of its beauty! The dictionary tells us that this means "To send forth light in flashes; sparkle." I want to do this the new year ahead--for me and for my loved ones. Shall we all sparkle.

--Iterate: I'm a Maker-Tech Teacher. I teach my kids to fail forward and to iterate. May I iterate often this year ahead... at school, by example, and in life for me--even when it isn't comfortable. Because change isn't always comfortable, but it's always productively helpful.

May 2018 be a year of "8" for me, and perhaps for you. Or do you have your own word(s) that are going to be your navigational force for the year?

Images from; One word image from

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year 2018

May your New Year be your best one yet!

Image created on Canva.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

My wish for you Santa, and all of us this Christmas 2017

Buncee created by me:

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Let it Snow... Faux Snow!

 The other day we had one of those Hallmark Christmas movie snows. But
it was real! Big flakes coming down, landing on you, dotting your sweater with lasting white polka-dots. Best part too... it was quite mild out and you could really be out with just a sweater or light coat.

For a minute I thought I was in Christmas, Montana... Evergreen, Vermont... or wherever it is that Hallmark/Lifetime movies take place.

But I was really and truly in my own Hometown, USA... where the snow was real, and Hallmark Christmas movies are a staple of the season here at our house, especially during present wrapping time. 'Tis the season for that!

Unfortunately, when you are generating fake snow for a movie, it's a little less ice crystal & a lot more fabrication.

To find yourself slipping down a collection of faux-snow and see the ins and outs of all that artificial white stuff, check out the links below:
  • There's always the eco-friendly company Snowcel, where you can buy your own, ready-made.
  • Apparently, "Snowbusiness" is a "world leader in snow and winter effects" (according to their webpage).  They have been in the faux snow business for 30+ years and have the ability to make 200 different kinds of pseudo snow. (Who knew there were that many!!) Paper and plastics seem to be the heart of the materials, along with some micro fireworks that create a "snowy ash"
  • CGI is always there for the win as well... as this video shows.

  • Then there's always this (shhh... no spoilers)!

Hopefully this season ahead, you find some real snow to make yourself holly, jolly, merry and bright!

Images from (Illustration © ├ćnigma);

videos from and

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Hour of Code 2017

Technically, the Hour of Code has come and gone, but as with most things, it's really truly never too late.

The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week. The 2017 Computer Science Education Week will be December 4-10, but you can host an Hour of Code all year round. Their newly featured coding module for the year is all about Minecraft.

It has been amazing to watch the explosive growth of both since its beginning in January 2013--just shy of 5 years ago. This year marks the fourth Hour of Code, as the first one was during Computer Science Education week, December 2013

To learn more about the Hour of Code, check out these videos below.  Then if you missed it & want to check it out--or if you simply need more of it--you might want to take advantage of the holiday break ahead to dive right in, getting your feet wet with coding. Check out the Hour of Code website to find the right level for you and a multitude of activities that will get you programming like a rock star.

Logo from and; videos from

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Holiday Countdown Abounds!

Here on the 16th of December, we are on the 5th day of Hanukkah and progressing into the single digits of days toward Christmas.  While we are doing our counting and countdown-ing, here are some #edtechy ways to keep you busy!

Two Edtech bloggers out there have some countdowns going that are totally worth sharing! The first here is Eric Curtis' Control Alt Achieve: Transforming Education With Technology has his "12 Days of Tech-Mas" series for 2017.  Included in those are the following:

6 Googly Winter Activities"  includes....
  1. Build a Snowman with Google Slides
  2. Wintertime Magnetic Poetry with Google Drawings
  3. Holiday Greeting Cards with Google Drawings
  4. Pixel Art Ornaments with Google Sheets
  5. Wintertime Emoji Rebus Stories
  6. Holiday Lights Writing
There's a bunch of other goodies there, including (to date):
Over at EduTech4Teachers, you'll find the 12 Digital Days of Christmas for 2017 (Part VI).  Jamie Forshey created a ThingLink to touch on the clickable hot spots, making it a one-shot-stop to be able to link to her suggested holiday ideas/activities/apps. To date her "tech treasures" include:
  1. A Visit to
  2. Holiday Hideaways, a digital adventure 
  3. Sugar Sugar Christmas at
  4. How to make light up holiday cards using circuitry from Makerspaces,cin
  5. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" at the iTunes app store
  6. Santa Paparazzi puzzle game at
  7. Adventure Elf at
For her previous 12 Digital Days of Christmas ThingLinks, click the captions below!
Click below to get there. Screenshot from

Click below to get there!  Screenshot from

Click below to get there!  Screenshot from

Click below to get there! Screenshot from

And one last find.... read John Spencer's article "10 Creative Alternatives to Showing Movies Before the Break." Here, you'll get some wonderful high tech, low tech, and no tech ideas for rounding out 2017 before winter break that are all definitely high on the creativity side!!

Coining Eric Curtis' phrase.... may it be a very "Tech-Mas" time of year for you!!  I think this could keep you quite busy until well into 2018!

Images from, screenshots from (as listed above); and