Saturday, October 31, 2020

My Inspiration: Podcasts


The first Corona Lockdown we experienced rendered me emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted. Remember last spring?  We were in such a different place. I was emotionally exhausted from the fear of the unknown: how could I do what I needed to do while keeping myself safe. Wearing gloves in the store and wiping down every item I brought into my house on a sterile surface, before putting it in the cupboard or fridge. Mentally exhausted from doing full-on teacher training with the REED counseling team for REED teachers, literally from early morning till way after the sun went down. And physically exhausted because I wasn't looking after myself. I was sitting at the computer for 10 and 12 hours a day (if not more). The farthest I would walk would be from my desk to my kitchen to make something to eat. Towards the end of that lockdown my back was a wreck, I had put on weight and I was just a mess.  

Living on a kibbutz, I realized that I had open fields and empty perimeter roads along which I could safely walk. I discovered the joys of my smart tv where I can pull up yoga sessions of any length I have time for. That's when I realized that the only think standing between this "dilapidated me" and a "healthy me" was in my mind, alone. So now, each morning I walk for about 20 minutes and listen to a podcast, then do some yoga.

I'm in a very different place now. A much better, more comfortable and productive place. It's from within that place that I became addicted to listening to podcasts as I walk. (It's a sort of chicken and egg thing - not sure exactly which came first.) They are one of my main motivators for putting on those walking shoes, and one of my influential fountains of inspiration for work. As horrific as this pandemic is, I truly believe it has changed education and the way we teach, for the better. For ever. At least it did for me. So I'm sharing a few of my favorites here. I welcome you to listen and subscribe! Happy listening! 

SOME of my favorite podcasters (there are more):

Shake up Learning
The Cult of Pedagogy
Be Education
Spark Creativity
Google Teacher Podcast
House of #EdTech
Ditch that Textbook

Do you have a podcast that inspires you? Please share with me and I will add to this list!

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Long time - no write. It's not because I have stopped producing, rather I have basically moved over to YouTube for most of my tutorials. However since some people prefer to have instructions written, as well, I will try to include my YouTube tutorials here, in my written blogposts, more often. 

I have started making tutorials I call "It's a Quickie" for little things that make all the difference and require only a few seconds to explain. This one takes 3 minutes. It's an extension to Chrome called Sir Links a Lot. What it does, basically, is it changes the URL of your Googe doc, Sheet, Form, Slides or Drawings in a way that enables others to make their own copy of it without letting them edit YOURS by mistake. ESPECIALLY in these COVID-19 days when choice boards built on Google Slides and using Forms are becoming more and more popular, it is SO important to know just how to share them properly with your colleagues!

Until now (this week, literally) I have been explaining to teachers to delete the end part of the URL, and instead to write the words "copy" or "template/preview" but not all teachers felt comfortable know EXACTLY which words to delete, and EXACTLY how to share the link. This extension takes all the guess work out of it for you! 

Step 1: Go to your Google Apps Web Store
Step 2: Find the extension Sir Links a Lot
Step 3: Accept and then pin it in your Chrome toolbar
Step 4: Set the sharing settings of your document to "Anyone on the Internet can VIEW"
Step 5: Click on Sir Links a Lot
Step 6: Choose the format in which you want to share (my go to favorite is template preview - it enables the person first to see what it is they will be making their own copy of before clicking on the blue "Use Template" button.

That's all! Now that doc/sheet/form/slideshow/drawing is THEIRS to use as is, or adapt. If it's a form, the responses will go to THEIR account rather than to YOURS by mistake. Easy peasy. Watch and see!

Hope you find that useful!

Digitally yours, 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

A little "add-on" that will make spreadsheet work SOOOO much easier!

Do you LOVE Googleforms for collecting data but HATE trying to read the spreadsheets? If so, this is for you!

I use Googleforms for LOTS of purposes - with my students to collect information and feedback, as well as with the teachers I work with, as a counselor. It's GREAT for collecting a lot of information in one place, easily. The problem is that you have to read all those rows of information, which often go right off the screen, and you need to scroll, or hide columns or do all sorts of work-arounds in order to make sense out of that precious data you've collected. Luckily, Googledocs have things that are called "Add-ons" that can help us do that! 

Basically they are scripts added to the docs that use code to make your work easier. And the best thing about them is that you do not have to know code or script writing at all! All you have to know is what the name of the add-on is and what it does!

Watch this tutorial to see how to use the Save as Doc Add-on. It might just as well be called: "Save your sanity" ;-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Starting a new school year

People have traditions and ceremonies ... I guess it's in our DNA to develop and cling on to them. Some up us have a "Waking Up" ceremony before we get our day started, or "Going to Bed" rituals to help us wind down into sleep mode. Others have "Birthday Traditions" that run through the generations. I have a "New School Year" ritual.

I can't start a new school year without it. I learned it many years ago, in one of my first years of teaching from Pippa, who is no longer a teacher in our school, nor does she even live in Israel but blessed me with a ritual that I am now doing for the 33rd time. I used to do it with a pencil and ruler. Then it got a fancy word processing upgrade. For the past few years I have moved it over to Googledocs, which enables me to share it easily, print it out or just use it online so it can expand or shrink as need be.

Basically, the idea is to map out your entire year on both sides of one page (now that it's a Googledoc, it's less of an issue because the page is virtual). It has a line for each week of the school year, and columns according to the main skills and tasks that I will need to get done or achieve in each class I teach. I divide what I plan to get done in my text book over the year, I put in the test dates and dates for things like book reports or when I plan to complete a project. And even if I get carried away with one unit of work or another,  at least I know that there is a basic "game plan" to go back to, to adjust, to be sure that I fit in everything that needs to get done for that year. 

I am happy to be sharing it with you, here. Click here to duplicate the file, and make it yours. Do what you like with it. Add columns or topics. Delete topics. Make it yours. It's served me well - maybe it will be of use to you! If you have any helpful alterations, please feel free to share them in the comments!

So, enjoy the last few weeks of August and have a great new shool year!

Digitally yours,


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Hyperdocs ...Sounds complicated but isn't really

Sometimes you need to share a bunch of links with someone on a specific topic. There are different ways you could do that, but the easiest way is by collecting them all in a hyperdoc.


Here: Check out the YouTube! Because showing and telling is more effective than just describing in writing!

My first but I am SURE not my last posting about hyperdocs - because they have SOOO much potential - especially for differentiated learning!  I made this tutorial expeically for a team of teachers with whom I am working and need to share the digital products of their students, but I discovered such a useful tool, that this is just the start!

Digitally yours!

Please subsribe to my blog and my YouTube channel!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Bridging Text and Context - Digitalized

Before you digitalize a worksheet, ask yourself: "What added extra value will I get from digitalization?" Here's an example of something I felt gave me more bang for my buck regarding the time used in the classroom, and out, as well as the ability to get the message across in a more meaningful manner than I could have before.

As part of our literature program, students need to get background information about the culture within which the literature is set, in order to help them understand the text better. When you understand where a person "comes from" (period of history, place) it's easier to understand what motivates the characters you are reading about. 

For the play All My Sons by Arthur Miller, I have, for years, used an activity I originally learned from an former colleague (HT Barry Solomon) who is no longer teaching. The activity has the students learning about the posters that were used in the United States during the period of World War II to whip up patriotism and convince people to enlist or help in the war effort in other ways. Originally it was a challenge finding these posters, even digitally, sharing them with our students (we would have to get a comptuer room expecially so they could see the digital materials). Happily, these days, it has become even easier to share posters, songs and clips with the students, to make the subject really come alive. 

I had digitalized the activity to some extent in the past, using Barcode readers and augmented reality. (I thought this would be really cool, but my students complained about having to install programs that they didn't want.... they love their phones - but have a hard time with me hijacking them for educational purposes sometimes). 

This year, I have taken the worksheets and digitalized them completely by putting them in Googleforms. Watch this webcast to see!  (In the description section of the YouTube you can access some of the links I used, as well as make a copy of the form if you wish.)

If you found this helpful, please subscribe to my YouTube channel, so you don't miss anything! (I still blog here occassionally, but most of my "blogging" has morphed into "vlogging" ;-) So - hit the bell, Click "Subscribe" and join me in my quest to leave no teacher behind in the digital age!

Digitally yours!


Sunday, October 29, 2017

A useful Googledoc Trick: Force "Copy Document"

Sharing a Googledoc or Googleside in order to have your students work collaboratively is magical. But sometimes, you need them to make a copy of their own, of the document or the slide, to save in their Drive, share with you, and work on, on their own.

You COULD give them very CLEAR instructions for how to make a copy:

...and maybe most students will do it right.... aside from the 1 or 2 who don't read that carefully or don't really understand how to make a copy or WHATEVER.....

        ....and then they fill in your master file and other students copy it and - in short - a big mess.

So in THIS blogpost I want to teach you how to AVOID that.

It's easy.

In one sentence, you copy the link you want to force people to make a copy of, and replace the word in the link that says: "edit", with the word "copy".

This works for Googledocs and slides!

Need more of an explanation? Here is my DOUBLEHEADER tutorial for this week!

And if you are still not sure of how to handle those messages which force you to Copy Document, watch the tutorial that follows.

Hope you find that helpful!

Still got questions? Write me!
And don't forget to subscribe! Here AND to my YouTube Channel!

Digitally yours,