Friday, January 1, 2021

A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit

It's the first day of 2021! Have you made a New Year's resolution to curtail your junk food habit or quit a similar bad habit? I did that a couple of years ago and have mostly been able to keep my bad snacking habit in check by using a simple method that I learned about through Dr. Judson Brewer's TED Talk titled A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit.

My big take-away from Dr. Brewer's talk was the idea of thinking about why I engage in a bad habit while I'm doing it as a means to breaking that habit. For example, my bad habit is eating potato and tortilla chips when I'm stressed out. Brewer's suggestion is to think about why I'm doing that when I do it and I'll be less likely to do it again. For the last two years I've used this strategy of using mindfulness to curtail my stress-snacking habit. It has worked...most of the time. Between using Brewer's strategy and regular exercise I lost over 30 pounds in 2019 and kept it off through 2020.  



Applications for Education
The concepts and examples that Brewer shares in the talk are ones that high school students can relate to. For that reason, with the exception of one “PG word” in the talk, you could use this video to create a mindfulness lesson in a high school classroom.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

How to Create Your Own Online Memory Games

As I do every year, I'm taking this week off from writing new blog posts. This week I'll be re-running a few of the most popular posts in 2020. 

Last week I was asked if it's possible to use the MIT App Inventor to create a matching game. It certainly is. In fact, I have a student who is working on doing that right now. It's a great exercise through which she's learning about all of the variables and parts of the app that need to be designed. If you're a little more pressed for time than my student is and you just want to quickly generate some matching games for your students to play, there are easier methods than programming your own app.

Educandy is a game builder that I reviewed last fall. Since then a couple of more game templates have been added. One of those is a matching or memory game template. To use the template you simply provide a list of words or terms and Educandy does the rest. Your game will be assigned its own URL that you can distribute to your students.


Matching Game is one of the many Google Sheets templates that Flippity offers. Like all Flippity templates you can make a copy of the template, modify it by adding your own words or terms, and then clicking the activity URL provided by Flippity. Try a sample Flippity Matching Game here and get the template here.

Three Ways to Share Docs in Google Classroom - When to Use Each Method

As I do every year, I'm taking this week off from writing new blog posts. This week I'll be re-running a few of the most popular posts in 2020. 

As you might guess, I'm getting flooded with requests for help with all kinds of things related to online teaching and learning. I'm doing my best to respond to all of them although I am placing priority on the requests from my colleagues at my school. One of the requests that I got was to create an explanation of the best ways to share documents in Google Classroom. That's why I made the following video that outlines three ways to share documents through Google Classroom, what each method looks like on the teacher and student side, and when you might want to use each of the methods.

How to Make Digital Bookshelves in Google Slides

As I do every year, I'm taking this week off from writing new blog posts. This week I'll be re-running a few of the most popular posts in 2020. 

This summer I've had more requests for book recommendations than I ever have in the nearly thirteen year history of this blog. I've also had a ton of requests for help making things like digital choice boards. So to address both of those requests I made the following video in which I demonstrate how to use Google Slides to create an interactive, digital bookshelf. The process is simple and can be used to create all kinds of digital choice boards.

In the following video I demonstrate how to create and publish a digital bookshelf with Google Slides. There are really only five simple steps to it. First, create a blank Google Slide. Second, upload a picture of a bookshelf. Third, upload pictures of book covers. Fourth, insert links to the books. Fifth, publish the slide. All of those steps are demonstrated below.



Here are the links to the books in my shelf:
Invent to Learn
Harnessing Technology for Deeper Learning
Draft Animals
Digital Minimalism
eSports Edu
The Boys in the Boat
The Joy of Search
The River of Doubt
The Ultimate Book of Dad Jokes

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

How to Play Kahoot Games in Google Classroom

As I do every year, I'm taking this week off from writing new blog posts. This week I'll be re-running a few of the most popular posts in 2020. 

This is the time of year when many of us are looking for fun ways to conduct end-of-year review sessions with our students. Playing Kahoot quiz games is one of the most popular means of doing that. Kahoot games are fun to play in a classroom and you can also use them for remote learning activities by using the "challenge" mode.

The challenge mode in Kahoot enables you to assign games to your students to play at home on their schedule. There are many ways that you can distribute the challenges to your students. If you're a Google Classroom user, you can distribute your challenges through your Classroom just like you would any other announcement or assignment. Your students then just click on the link to your Kahoot game to start playing it.

In the following video I demonstrate how to distribute Kahoot games through Google Classroom and how students can play those games right from the Announcements stream in Google Classroom.