Monday, October 3, 2022

Using Focusable as a Progress Journal

Disclosure: Focusable is an advertiser on my websites.

About a month ago I started using Focusable to help me focus on my work even when I really didn’t want to. That includes working on a particularly frustrating project that I have to get done. The project is rebuilding my Practical Ed Tech website from the ground up. That includes rebuilding and or editing some databases and doing a lot of quality assurance checks. The work is rather tedious, frustrating, and something I’d just pay someone else to do if I could.

I started using Focusable to help me focus on the work of rebuilding my Practical Ed Tech website. It has helped a lot! I’ve gotten more done in the last few weeks than I did all summer. Last week while recording my reflection in between time blocks in Focusable I realized that I was journaling my progress. In each reflection I was stating what I had just tried and what I was going to try next.

When I start to work on my project again today after a weekend away from it, I’ll watch my last Focusable reflection video to remind myself of where I was when I stopped and where I need to start the next step of the project.

Applications for Education
Focusable was built for the purpose of helping students learn how to focus on their work while ignoring distractions. An ancillary benefit of using Focusable is creating a little journal to document progress on a project. If you give students a little direction like “state what worked and what didn’t,” they can use Focusable to develop the skill of focusing while also documenting their progress on a project. You can then use your Focusable teacher account to view your students’ progress.

See A Great Tool to Help Students Learn to Focus for a complete overview of how Focusable works.

Webinar This Week - Search Strategies Students Need to Know

Many students will spend just a minute or two looking at search results before declaring, "Google has nothing on this." If you have ever had a student say that to you, you know that they think of search as a function and not a process. In a webinar this Thursday I'll teach you how to get students to approach search as a process and employ a variety of strategies to discover new information. 

During Search Strategies Students Need to Know on October 6th at 4pm ET you’ll learn the tools and strategies that students need to know to conduct good online research. Register Here!

Highlights of this webinar include:
➡ How to formulate search lessons for your students.
🔎 The alternative search tools students often overlook.
🔖 Tools and tips for organizing online research findings.
🏫 How to make your own school-safe search engine.
🤔 Why you should be on a first-name basis with your school’s librarian.

Join Live or Watch the Recording!
The live webinar is at 4pm ET on October 6th. It will be recorded for those who register in advance but cannot attend the live session. Register here!

Physical Education With a Halloween Theme

Justin Cahill runs a great blog called Keeping Kids in Motion. One of the regular features of his blog is a monthly thematic challenge. Those challenges are accompanied by printable calendars and handouts for teachers. The challenges for this month are Trick or Treat, Move Your Feet, The Pumpkin Dice Latte Challenge, and The Fitness Spooktacle.

Trick or Treat, Move Your Feet is a kids fitness challenge for the month of October (adults can do it too). There is a downloadable calendar of little workouts that you can do with your students throughout the month of October. Each workout is represented by either a jack-o-lantern, a skull, or a bat.

When students complete the Fitness is Spooktacular challenge they can receive a certificate. Certificates are available for teachers to download and print for free from the Keeping Kids in Motion blog.

Applications for Education
Keeping Kids in Motion is a blog that's great for elementary school physical education teachers as well as anyone who is looking for ideas on how to encourage kids to stay physically fit. The blog is full of ideas that can be implemented across a school and not just in the gym.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

The Science of Pizza, Diets, and the Esophagus

Last week two of my favorite YouTube channels, TED-Ed and SciShow Kids, published new videos on the topics of food and weight loss. And those videos reminded me of the Reactions playlist of 76 videos about food science including Better Pizza Through Chemistry. Between the three videos there are lessons for elementary school, middle school, and high school students. 

In How Does Food Get to Our Stomach and More Answers to Your Questions SciShow Kids explains to primary grade students the role of the esophagus in getting food into our stomachs. The video also explains the difference between the esophagus and the trachea and what it means when we say "something went down the wrong tube." Jump to the 3:03 mark in the video for the lesson. 

Is It Possible to Lose Weight Fast? is a new TED-Ed lesson that explains the basic concept of weight loss and what happens in your body when you have a calorie deficit. The video gives a scientific explanation of why just having a calorie deficit or using a "detoxification" diet in which you entirely avoid certain types of foods don't work in the long run. Unlike some TED-Ed lessons, this one has some good questions to support your use of the video in your classroom.

Like a lot of families, every few Friday nights is pizza night in our house. As you can see in the picture in this post, even our cat gets in on the fun. And try as we might, we just can't make pizza that turns out as well as pizza from a local pizza restaurant. But that could change if we utilize some of the tips in the Reactions video titled Better Pizza Through Chemistry. The video does a nice job of explaining the science of making a good pizza dough including why we need to give it more time to rise and need to bake it at a much higher temperature.

Join Me and Rushton Hurley This Tuesday Evening for a Free Webinar

On Tuesday, October 4th at 8pm ET/ 4pm PT Rushton Hurley and I will be hosting the second episode of our third season of Two EdTech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. Just like the title says we take questions, answer questions, and share some cool stuff that we've found around the web. We'd love to have you join us for this fun and free half-hour webinar. You can register here to join us live

If you have a question for us, send it to me at richardbyrne (at) or just join us live and drop your question into the chat. And to see what our little webinars are all about, watch the recording of the first episode of season three

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