Tuesday, October 25, 2016

#TechTipTuesday: Preparing for National Blog Post Month #NaBloPoMo

It's almost that time of the year: #NaBloPoMo and #NanoWriMo starts November 1st.

If you don't recall what these things are, here is the short version:

Write a Blog post every day...I mean EVERYDAY, for one whole month.

(#NanoWriMo:Write a novel in a month)

I took on the NaBloPoMO challenge last year and I am here to tell you, it was an awesome experience that I look forward to again this year.

You may be wondering: Why was it so awesome?

Here is why:

1. It felt good to have a daily challenge that was genuinely challenging.
2. The community support is phenomenal.
3. It helped me to stretch my imagination and creativity daily.
4. It helped me improve my writing/blogging practices

So I am back again this year to encourage everyone one of my educator friends to take this challenge on and here are a few easy ideas to get you started on what to put on that blog of yours everyday for the entire Month:

Keep it simple

  • If you are just getting started, try sharing a picture a day with a few words explaining or identifying the learning happening in your space

It does not just have to be you

  • Guest blog posts are great! Invite others to write something for your blog, then the next day you can write a reflection piece on their writing.

  • Share the great work happening in your learning spaces. 
  • Publish student work, have another student write up a reflection on it, and then you can write up a reflection on the reflection! (too meta?)
When in doubt...re-share
  • Some days you will not know what to write, try looking back through on your older posts, and re-share them along with a refreshed refection or update to what once was
  • Brand new to blogging and have nothing to re-share and reflect on? Search the #nablopomo and read a few posts, find inspiration from others. 
Lastly, keep a small journal
  • I decided last year I need a simple and quick place to jot down ideas when they came to me. I found this to be very useful so that when inspiration was lacking, I could flip through through my notes, (and sometimes write about how I had nothing to write about) 

No matter how you look at it, it is time to prepare to write/share, the key is to find enjoyment in the challenge and share your words with a bigger audience.

I can not wait to start this challenge again and I look forward to reading about your experiences as well!

Friday, October 14, 2016

From Bottle Flipping to Butter Flipping? : Guest Blog Post

Can the bottle flipping trend be useful?
A Science lesson - by: Sarah Loving, Webster Groves, MO - Oct. 5, 2016

    As the mother of 3 adolescent boys ages 9, 11, and 13, the recent bottle flipping trend of summer of 2016, while entertaining, as we move into fall is beginning to get slightly annoying at best.  Last week as I watched my 9 year old and his buddy out on the deck flipping, the 4th grade teacher in me from many years ago, thought surely something productive could come from this non stop flipping. 

The 4th graders had just done a pioneer days type field trip and I too had taught many a unit on this very topic.  I thought if you can churn butter by shaking heavy cream in a jar, than could you do it by bottle flipping?  At least they’d be accomplishing something while they spent 30 minutes of their playdate trying to “top it”!

    So for our friends next visit, I was prepared with my true Science experiment.  I was hopeful.


8 oz. mini plastic water bottle, 1 per student 
Paper cup for pouring out the water and drinking (keep the bottle sanitary)
2-3 oz. of heavy whipping cream per student
A pinch of salt, depending on your personal taste
A 12 inch paper towel per child, softens the flipping sound and helps if the cap leaks for quick wipe ups
Sharpie to label bottle

Crackers, bread, etc. for tasting
Plastic knife
Razor, if wanted, to cut off the top of the bottle but you can reach in with a knife.

It is best to stay indoors for temperature control, you really don’t want warm cream and they are already handling the bottle warming it up. Go outside if it’s late fall/winter.
Pour the water into a cup, drink it.  By not drinking out of our bottles we keep them sanitary for sharing our butter.
Label your bottle with your name and remove the wrapper so you can observe the churning
Lay out your paper towel
Add a pinch of salt or more to taste to the bottom of your empty bottle
Fill the bottle halfway with the cold heavy cream (this takes about 30-35 min. of flipping)  if you go one line lower on the bottle,  you will fill it about a third of the way and you can churn in 25-30 min.
Tightly screw on the top, I told the kids to stop and check the lid every 20 or so flips
Begin flipping.  After about 25 min. The cream will suddenly begin to take shape and separate into yellow fat (butter) and buttermilk.
If you want to make it even more scientific have them record their number of flips, rotations they typically make per flip and note when they begin seeing changes.  In the photos you will see there are a few stages.
As you complete and feel you are finished you can give it a few final shakes before opening the bottle and discarding the liquid buttermilk, leaving you with fresh churned butter.
Taste and see that you can actually do something useful with your bottle flipping skills.
Store in the refrigerator. 

I hope you enjoy sharing and trying this fun lesson with your class!  Who knew?

 Eureka! We found the answer, yes you can make butter by flipping.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

#TechTipTuesday - Lose all CTRL

It was recently shared with me that many people were not in the full know of the awesome power of the CTRL key.

So I thought it would be a perfect time to share a few of the simple and brilliant functions you can perform with the CTRL key.

Select All.
Highlights all of the text in a  given field or space. Great if you need to copy something into a new digital space. (Pairs nicely with CTRL + C copy, and CTRL+V paste)
Looking for a particular word on a webpage, or perhaps you are scouring a PDF, or maybe you are looking for a particular set of words in a Google Doc. (Protip:If looking within a Google Doc/Spreadsheet/etc, make sure the page has fully loaded and that you've clicked within the                                                                                                    document before you press CTRL + F )

New Tab
If you ever need to quickly launch a new tab to search for something, try using CTRL + T, it will launch a new Tab for you and you can start your search without needing to use the mouse/trackpad

Uh OH...Undo
Made a mistake or want to quickly revert something back to the way it was, try using CTRL + Z to undo the last thing you did.

Sorry this one only works in the digital medium, no CTRL + Zing that wall you just painted.

Please note: If you are using a Mac
use the Command Key instead of CTRL

NOTE: You DO NOT need to press the + key to perform these functions, just the two keys pictures

For more great keyboard short cuts check out this Wiki Article.