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

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What's Wrong With this Picture?

At my previous school, we had a morning assembly feature every now and then entitled "what's wrong with this picture." Our science teacher would share photographs of on-campus sights he'd seen. 

Usually the students would spot it immediately; and often times, the main offender would actually be a teacher! (This li'l nugget of information would typically only be known to those on the inside of the Green Team--mainly, myself and our science guy!)

Classic shots would include:

  • A half-eaten apple in the recycle bin versus the compost bin. (The container a foot away!)
  • A soda can in the trash can. (Again, with the recycle bin the container right next door)
  • An empty classroom with all the lights aglow on a sunny day.  (Many of our rooms had 2 walls of windows)

It was a great way of keeping the kids sharp with their eagle eyes on the lookout for making good recycling and environmental decisions.

In that classic's this week's trip to my grocery store. 
Can you tell what's wrong with this picture?

Riddle me this, Batman...

1. Why do peppers need to be individually-wrapped in plastic? They have an outer-covering which does a nice job of protecting it.

2. Looking closely at their shiny plastic outer-wear: these are organic peppers.  Why spend the time, money, effort, & nutritional value to grow organic peppers... to then spend the time, money, effort, and nutritional de-value to coat them in BPA plastic sheen?

I shake my head!

Photo from my camera, "What's Wrong With this Picture" illustration created at

Saturday, December 9, 2017

River Waste Flowing to Our Oceans

Pollution seems anywhere and everywhere.  When it comes to rivers, the gift keeps giving as the water (and pollution) just flows.  From Newshub's article "10 Rivers Causing 95% of Ocean Plastic Pollution," this list is a snapshot of the 10 worst rivers of 57 (and the seas they flow into)--not surprising, some of the largest and/or longest rivers in the world. It certainly causes you to take pause. Not surprising, the "mismanaged plastic waste" that hits many of these rivers come from being near high population centers... meaning a lot of people add a lot of waste and contribute to a lot of the problem!!
  1. Yangtze, East China Sea, Asia
  2. Indus, Arabian Sea, Asia
  3. Yellow River, Yellow Sea, Asia
  4. Hai He, Yellow Sea, Asia
  5. Nile, Mediterranean, Africa
  6. Meghna, Bay of Bengal, Asia
  7. Ganges, Bay of Bengal, Asia
  8. Amur, Sea of Okhotsk, Asia
  9. Niger, Gulf of Guinea, Africa
  10. Mekong, South China Sea, Asia
Here are 6 things you can do to help solve the problem where you are... may we all follow suit to help keep our waterways safe!
  1. Look to your hard outdoor surfaces to watch for stormwater runoff.
  2. Keep in mind--your toilet is anything but a trashcan. Don't flush away the nonessentials!
  3. Think before you sink... meaning: pay attention to what you are washing down the drain. It's not the place for chemicals or other waste.
  4. Don't let your puppy's poo get the best of you. Clean up after your pup.
  5. Keep your car maintenance in check so fluids don't improperly go down the drain.
  6. Donate your money and your time to river clean ups such as the National River Cleanup or Ocean Conservancy's: Fighting for Trash Free Seas.

Information & photos from; river clean up pic from

The Bad, Worse, & Ugly of Aspertame

I was a Diet Coke Girl.

I've talked about it here,
a time or two.

But now, I'm a changed woman.

I'm rounding out 9 months of being Diet-Coke-Free. Only Green Tea and water for me these days, Bay-bee!  (Well, yes, the occasional vino as well!)

And I really will say, regarding Diet Coke....I don't miss it. I thought I'd miss that zingy zip, but I really don't.  It might be because of the spicy Bigelow green tea that I love. (No fruity tea for me, thank you very much.)

They say recovering alcoholic are the worst in their attempted conversion. Same for smokers, over-eaters, & probably newly turned Vegans & more. Odds are high it's true for Aspartame addicts as well. I'm not trying to be in that category, yet I will say this video did strike me multiple times in my old Diet Coke department.

In the multiple episodes of Shawn Stevenson's Model Health Show I've listened to over the years, This is my go-to podcast! In it too, I've learned that food & intake are probably more important than exercise.

This video highlights that too. It also packs a punch with all of it's factual information. It's worth a watch!

video from no soda pic from;

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

NASA Shares 20 Years of Climate Change Impact

I've heard it said that as soon as astronauts hit outer space, they turned the cameras back on ourselves and our planet. I'd imagine, back in the day, being able to see what our giant blue planet looks like for the first time was probably pretty awe-inspiring.

December 7, 1972 was that first photo date. Our first planetary selfie. This now-famous photo was known as the "Blue Marble," and the Apollo 17 crew did a beautiful job with this snap shot.

NASA's still taking pictures of our planet, nearly 45 years later. This time, in video form. A pretty amazing 5 minutes and change.

This video is a compilation from NASA of nearly half of those 45 photo years.  This data visualization & compilation was released mid-November.  In it, you see:

  • The polar ice caps waxing and waning with the seasons...and shrinking over time
  • Oceanic colors that showcase the life that is (and is not) under the ocean's surface.
  • The green-ness moving further north, taking the place of where ice should be covering land.
Close analysis also shows algae blooms, a shrinking Lake Erie, and evidence of warmer temperatures further north.

In a world where climate change has become a partisan issue, perhaps data such as these will help open the eyes of policy makers so that our big "Blue Marble" continues to breathe, thrive, and survive.

To read more about this, check out this article.

NASA logo from; "Blue Marble" photo from National Geographic: 
Video from

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age

I wrestle with my phone.

It's nearly always attached and it is the "remote control" to my world (I am a Tech Specialist by day, after all). It's my phone, my email, my camera, my calendar (though I will admit, my paper calendar is my #1 event planning place), my Internet, my Seesaw digital portfolio monitor, my "Words With Friends" portal, and my place to text, connect, troll Facebook, and sometimes even write this blog.

I wrestle with my phone because I live a connected life. It's a true love-hate relationship. I research lessons for school, read (& sometimes grimace at) the news, and stay in touch with the #edtech and #eco trends and information out there.

I don't always set the best example to my children. And I definitely wrestle with that.

A decade or 2 ago, I was the first to make fun of smart phones and crack a joke about "the CrackBerry" (errrr... I mean, BlackBerry, mobile-phone-wise versus fruit, that is). And now I'm living life on TechCrack.

A few months ago, we had Sameer Hinduja at our school talking to all levels about Digital Citizenship, good choices, bullying, and empathy. He was excellent. Today I landed on this video trailer which feels like a good revisit and "part 2" to the conversation.

Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age is a documentary by Dr. Delaney Ruston. In it, she details our diminishing attention spans, our thoughts that we can actually multi-task (we can't), and the fact that teens spend (on average) 6.5 hours on screen per day. She discusses how tech affects us all and how we can achieve balance.

I've not seen the movie, but the trailer alone has sucked me in.

SCREENAGERS Movie Trailer from lisa tabb on Vimeo.

Screentime has a wealth of resources on their site:
My plan--to find a place to see this or inspire my school to host a screening. What's your plan?

Screenagers Trailer video from; image from; phone handcuff pictures from

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Cows to the Climate Rescue

Cows have frequently gotten a bad wrap when it comes to the environment because they are well-known as methane producers. (Methane is 100 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Greenhouse gases are responsible for trapping heat in the atmosphere, causing ultimate rises in temperature, which contributes to climate change).

In classic philosophical logic, we could say the following is true:

cows are gassy animals 
bovine gastrointestinal distress causes methane
methane leads to raised greenhouse gas
higher greenhouse gasses lead to climate change

therefore: cows → climate change

What if the inverse was true:

If we could eliminate cows having gastrointestinal distress
we could diminish methane
we could diminish greenhouse gases
we could lower our risk of growing climate change!!

There seems to a way we in fact can do that. Dried seaweed seems to be the this cow problem and a couple others! Cheers once again to science and innovation!

Video from; graph from; cow meme from

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Have a #DeviceFreeDinner This Thanksgiving

Common Sense Media is the king of all things kid-friendly and tech-healthy!

Make your Thanksgiving Season one that's balance, safe, & tech-free by taking a pledge and making a commitment to going device free while feasting!

For some more festive and fun plans for your holiday season, check out the following links:

Image created using; Posted videos from

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Greatest Pumpkin Revisited

I love STEM/Design challenges, because you never know what you are going to get as they are so dependent on the individuals creating them. No two outcomes are ever the same.

Right before Halloween this year, I put duos to work facing the “Great Pumpkin” Design Challenge." The goal of this challeng: to create a transport system made of Legos to carry a mini pumpkin to the center of town, as led by their Playmobile guy. The designs were fabulous.

It is with activities such as these where you see curiosity, perseverance, thinking, engagement, and excitement all at play.

These are the elements that makes teaching elementary school one of the best jobs out there!

Photos from my students' cameras as recorded in their Seesaw digital portfolios; the designs are theirs as well!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Cup Monster Cometh

What is that eerie and looming creature over there? 
Is the Demogorgon or Shadow Monster from "Stranger Things?"
A meta-human from "The Flash?" The The Loch Ness Monster, perhaps? 

Some might call it even worse.  It's the Cup Monster!!

(Insert scary music here!)

In October, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson (as he was kicking off the 2017 GeekWire Summit in Seattle) was greeted with "Grounds"... the "Cup Monster" pictured above.  Created by the Bellingham, Washington group, Grounds was meant to be a major statement in his looming and eerie-ness.

Made of 500 used Starbucks coffee cups and sporting bloodshot eyes, Grounds was meant to pressure Starbucks to move to "100 percent recycled or tree-free cups."  This campaign (also known as the "Better Cup" campaign) stems from the 2008 Starbucks promise that by 2015 it would go to 100% recyclables or even reusable mugs. But here in 2017, we're not there yet. In fact,  The Better Cup Campaign claims that 1.5 million trees (in the form of 8000+ cups) are still being sacrificed and trashed for cups. The added problem is the plastic coating on the inside of the cup, which helps keep that coffee nice and piping hot, but makes it less likely to be recyclable in some areas.

If this is a campaign you support, you can show that by going to the Better Cup website and sign the petition to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson.

Starbucks cup & "We Call on Starbucks to:" images are screenshots from; Cup Monster pic from

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Honoring Our Veterans 2017

This week I’ve been doing a lot of compiling & editing videos created by our 5th Graders for our Veterans Day Assembly at school on Monday. In the videos, 5th Graders are interviewing a Veteran: their uncle, grandpa, dad, mom, or friend of the family.

In watching these & hearing the experiences & memories of so many our Military men and women...and in watching the interactions between the youngsters and their elders, this year’s Veterans Day is particularly meaningful and heartfelt! Thank you to all who have served on our behalf! 

For more on my thoughts on Veterans Day, go to my 2015 post.