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With this newsletter, I try to share a mix of things that I am currently working on or experiencing as I imagine many of you are as well. I also try to be a colander of content - truly sifting through a wide variety of ideas, topics, articles, etc... and only sharing the best. I hope you enjoy. ;)

6+ Jam Packed Creatively Productive Tips,
Tools, and Things to Love 

☺️Something We All Need to Remember: First and foremost I am a mom, a mom of both an elementary and a middle school student. And if any of you are currently raising a middle school boy, I give you mad props for your patience and perseverence. I was working on editing the latest of our speaker series for parents linked here and the most recent one I was editing was talking about performance anxiety. The speaker mentioned that for every time we are critical, we should give praise 5-6 more times. Of course I immediately googled this, and found an article...You can read more about this topic here. I think this is so important to remember our negative to positive ratio as parents as well as professionals.
✨A Game That is Perfect for the End of the Year: If you are looking for a way to reflect and fill everyone's metaphorical cups with positivity and praise, the game Totem is perfect. You can use this with staff, students, a PLC, or even at home with your own family. The game is only designed for 3-8 players so if you plan on using with large groups of 30, you would need to order multiple sets. The idea is that each player is dealt animal and quality cards and through their turn, the group develops a totem of positive qualities and attributes for each player.
🎥One of My Favorite Projects: One of my favorite projects here at the HS where I work is the Vietnam Memorial project. Students do first person research of Vietnam veterans and then create a memorial video. Over the years, we have accumulated over 4,000 videos. They are all housed are here. This project is such an amazing example of authentic learning. I love hearing every year form students about the families and friends of the fallen and how impactful this project is to them. Also, seeing the outpouring of photos, handwritten letters, and anecdotes about a fallen veteran shared with students for the purpose of this project is nothing short of amazing. Recently,Veteran online covered the project. Here is the article
😍A Word I am Pondering: I recently read an article from Austin Kleon on the topic of "operational transparency". It reminded me how important it is for us to share the behind the scenes of projects and the hidden work. As an Educational Technologist, too often I get asked, "what is it that you do exactly?". It is a helpful reminder to share my processes, successes, and my behind the scenes with my staff and the greater edusphere. After all, you are most likely doing things daily that impact students, staff, and parents and sharing those out in a weekly newsletter or through social media is vital to increasing awareness and your value for those you serve.
📱An Update You Might Be Interested In: I get the irony in talking about social media during a month that I am removed from it.... But my 30 Day Social Media Detox is rapidly coming to an end. I have kept a journal throughout the entire process and am working on a blog post. In the interim, I wanted to tell you that it has been enlightening and really helpful in prioritizing and using tools with more intention and purpose. I can also report that about mid way through the 30 days, I found I that I spent far too much time on refreshing my email and searching Amazon (because that was really the only thing left on my phone)... So I actually removed email, Safari, and Amazon from my phone for the last two weeks as an experiment. If you are interested in doing something like this, I have outlined the why, and how, and provided step by step tips and tools in this post here. And stay tuned for my reflection post on the whole experience in a week or so. 
😃A Week of Activities You Might Want to Try: As you know, I love habit trackers. I spent half of chapter 4 in my new book Creatively Productive talking about their value and how they can be used personally, professionally, and with students. April was Stress Awareness month and May is Mental Health Awareness month so we decided to increase awareness for how staff and students are doing on a daily basis through this busy and stressful time of year. There are many behavioral things that can positively impact mood. For example, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, getting daily exercise, listening to music, and getting exposure to sunlight, etc... Each day our team planned an activity during lunches to highlight one of these things that can positively impact mood. 

I also created a mood tracker in Numbers (available to be used on MacBook, iPhone, or iPad). If you are interested in an editable copy for personal use or use with your staff or students, reply to this email and I will send it along. 

Sharing #CreativelyProductive 

😊A Favor... Amazon reviews are how people locate and connect with books that they will love. If you have enjoyed Creatively Productive and/or found it helpful to you and your profession, please take a moment and leave an Amazon review. It would mean the world to me. 
👉The first Creatively Productive book study is totally under way. The Book Study will go through early June so there is plenty of time to join in. The schedule is listed above. Don't feel like you have to be there for the entire book study. You can always just pop in for a week or a favorite chapter. #OrEdChat is the place to be. If these dates and times don't work for you BUT you are interested in participating and/or hosting a book study in your time zone, please fill out this interest form.
Order the Creatively Productive Book Here
Where I'll Be: If you are looking for some IRL TechChef "Creatively Productive" sessions, I will be at Learnfest.
 
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