(Ctrl +) Shift (+ V) Happens

Use Ctrl Shift V to make pasted text match the destination!

We’ve all pasted something from a website into a doc, presentation, email or other destination before and experienced that annoyance when it doesn’t match your other font.  Fixing this is simple…  Just add shift to your ctrl+V keyboard shortcut to make your text match the destination font (including size, color, spacing and all style options).

Note: I’ve always been a little apprehensive about sharing this with students, because there’s no easier way to identify a plagiarizing student than a mismatched font with white highlighting . . . 

Be Honest with Yourself

One of the most difficult things to do as a creator of content – lessons, activities, blog posts, videos, art . . . anything that has an audience – is to be honest with yourself when you’ve created something not worthy of your audience’s time or attention. 

Tonight I spent 10 minutes recording a video and 45 minutes editing it before I realized . . . my intended audience doesn’t want this. It was longer than necessary and “clunkier” than I should accept. 

So, what did I do?  

I clicked delete. I was honest with myself. 

Have high standards. Self-assess. Give yourself real feedback.  Evaluate things honestly. Judge them based on quality and value, not the amount of time you put into them. I could’ve said “it’s not my best work, but deleting it would mean that I just wasted an hour.” First off – if we see it as an opportunity for growth, that time wasn’t wasted. And second – if it’s not your best, go back to the drawing board. Make it your best. Be honest with yourself. 

Levels of PROFESSIONAL Learner Engagement

The Levels of Professional Learner Engagement

Presenter: What brought you to this professional development session?
Attendee #1: I needed contact hours for my IPDP.
Attendee #2: This is something that I wanted to learn more about.
Attendee #3: My administrator said I had to come here.
Attendee #4: I want to be a better educator.
Attendee #5: I needed the credit hours.
Attendee #6: There were no other sessions that I was interested in and I had to choose something.

I was thinking about PD for educators recently and realized . . . we’re just like our students.  We have varying levels of interest and, therefore, varying levels of motivation.  It reminded me of Schlechty’s 5 Levels of Student Engagement.  And then it hit me . . . these are also the 5 Levels of PROFESSIONAL Learner Engagement.

  • Authentic Engagement—the educator is engaged and sees the PD as valuable, applicable and exciting.  They want to learn this.  They can’t wait to apply it in their classroom.
  • Strategic Compliance—the educator needs credits or contact hours in order to receive a benefit, likely in the form of a step up on the pay scale or recognition from their peers or administrators for taking the initiative to participate.
  • Ritual Compliance—the educator needs credits or contact hours in order to keep their license and/or job.
  • Retreatism—the educator attends the meeting, but does not pay attention or engage in the content.
  • Rebellion—the educator checks their email (or performs another task without hiding it), refuses to participate and/or complains.

Now, it may seem like I’m bad-mouthing the educators, but I’m not.  I’ve probably been at each of those levels at least once myself.  We all probably have.  So, what does that mean?  It means that I’m bad-mouthing the PD.  Who can blame them for not being “authentically engaged” in the professional development?  Authentic engagement is not a choice.  Either the activity engages them authentically or it does not.

So . . . what do we do?

We give these professionals a say in what they learn.  We give them time to explore the possibilities.  We give them an opportunity to investigate what may be useful for them.  We give them Dan Pink’s 3 factors of motivation: autonomy, mastery & purpose.

Why?

Because it’s what’s best for the kids.  And that’s all that matters.

 

Learn more about the work of the late Phil Schlecthy at schlechtycenter.org.
Learn more about Daniel Pink’s phenomenal book Drive and his other work at danpink.com.

The Text Styles Dropdown in Google Docs – Why it’s useful & how to update your Defaults

Efficiency is intelligent laziness.

This pretty well summarizes my approach to use of technology.  If I can find a way to trim seconds or minutes off tasks without sacrificing quality, I’m all for it.

In recent posts about Google Docs, I shared how to boost font formatting efficiency with the Paint Format Tool and the Select Matching Text option.  This post’s topic fits well with those 2.

Most people type in Google Docs and change fonts as needed without ever noticing the Text Styles dropdown.  They live in “Normal Text” mode, but change their fonts regularly.  But they are missing out!  There is hidden functionality in that dropdown . . .

  1. It allows you to change your default font styles.  Are you an elementary school teacher who always types in size 16 font?  Change your default!  Are you a professional basketball team owner who always types in Comic Sans?  Change your default!  Do you believe that Helvetica is the world’s best font?  Double-space all of the time?  Prefer blue font?  Like size 13?  Always typing in italics?  Change your default!
  2. Using titles & headings adds other functionalities to your Doc.  Do you have a 100-page Google Doc for your lesson plans and hate trying to navigate it to find the correct snippet?  Use Headings & Document Outline view!  Here’s how . . .

The quote at the top is often credited to David Dunham, though it appears that he’s not the originator of the quote).

Exploring Measures of Center with Google Sheets

My obsession with Google Sheets is no secret. I loooove spreadsheets.  And I think that they have a big place in education, especially in math (but elsewhere as well).

Recently, I posted about how you can prove the mean (or average) formula using Google Sheets.  In this post, I’d like to share with you how you can find all 3 measures of center (or measures of central tendency) and explore them in Google Sheets.  I love to change or add numbers in the data set and ask students to make predictions about what will happen.  It really is a great–and relevant–way for students to become more familiar with these statistical measures.

My thoughts on #GrowthMindset

I am a believer in the power of Growth Mindset.  While there are other characteristics that lead to success, I think that it is one of the biggest predictors of success, if not the single biggest predictor.

Anyhow, when a colleague of mine at Brady Middle School invited teachers to record messages to her students about our experiences with and beliefs about Growth Mindset, I jumped at the opportunity to share.

My goal was 1-2 minutes, but sometimes, when something is important to you, you have more to say.  Here’s the video that I shared with them:

Educational Duct Tape Quote

Don’t use duct tape just because it’s shiny. Use it because something is broken and duct tape is the appropriate tool to fix it.

Don’t use Kahoot just because it’s fun. Use it because you need to do a formative assessment and your students need to self-assess.

Don’t use a HyperDoc because you learned about it at a PD.  Use it because it’s the appropriate way to organize content and create a learning opportunity around a certain standard.

Don’t use VR Headsets because they’re neat. Use them because your students need to understand a rainforest habitat.

Educational Duct Tape:

Educational Duct Tape

Educational Duct Tape term, quote and infographic created by me, Jake Miller.  Feel free to use them, but provide attribution.

OneTab Chrome Extension

The OneTab Chrome Extension (one-tab.com) is typically recommended as a way to free up processing speed and reduce clutter when attempting to have a tab-tervention with a tab-crazy browser user.  And, well, that’s a true, but it doesn’t tell the full story of OneTab . . .

OneTab is actually a fantastic option for organizing, categorizing and sharing the sites that we mean to look at, read or follow up on, but just don’t have time – as well as ones that we intend to come back to repeatedly. Think of it as your website to-do list manager.  Check it out in the video below.

Pro Tip: At the school that I work at, our students are doing Passion Projects.  Each week, they have to reflect on their progress and growth in a Google Doc.  For 12 of the kids, I’m tasked with looking at that reflection weekly and providing feedback.  So, I keep the links to their reflections in a locked OneTab Group.