Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Secret to Getting Things Done

I came across this phrase yesterday..."half the battle".

Here are some definitions of Half the Battle.

1. to be the most difficult part of a process so that once you have finished this part, you have almost succeeded (Cambridge dictionary)2. a significant part of an effort. (McGraw-Hill Dictionary)

This got me to thinking...

The difference between starting and finishing is this formula:

Half the Battle + 1 = Finished

This means that if you can get the first half done (whatever the hard part is) and a "scootch" more...then it is smooth sailing to the finish.

So essentially, if you can figure out a system, an easy routine, a habit for the first half (plus 1) of what you want to accomplish you can...finish what you start.

What does this look like? I actually haven't thought that far yet...but it gets me wondering. I will check back soon.

How about you? What is half your battle to accomplishing great things?

Until Next Time,
Lit Maven Out!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Boxing Day! I Celebrate In-Boxing Day with new Google Alerts!


Sounds so dangerous...but let's be serious..

Can you be serious, Lit Maven?


But seriously, I love alerts!

Love as in, I can have cool things sent to my inbox without much effort.

Like a little personal shopper Minion combs the internet while you sleep, collecting articles for your enjoyment.

"Oh! The Lit Maven will love this..." it says...


Imagine my high levels of already high impact nerd behavior, I discovered that in addition to Google Alerts sent to my Gmail, I can have Google Scholar Alerts sent to my gmail.

What a an inbox surprise, or make that an In-Boxing Day surprise to find several academic articles in my inbox this morning.

This one I found to be really interesting...on Student Blogging . 

I don't think students blog enough. Did they stop? Did they even start? Google has this tool for a reason. It cannot be replaced by Google Sites, Classroom or Docs. This is perhaps another post, for another day.

To set a Google Scholar Alert, select the three bars or pancake stack, as it is called in my circles, and you will see the option to select "Alerts."  Then select create an alert. It is that easy

Until Next Time,
The Lit Maven

Monday, December 25, 2017

Live Binders! J.K. Rowling says YES!

Well, maybe...

We all know about the Hogwarts' textbooks...ahem...Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Here's the thing...back in the 2014 I blogged all the time about LiveBinders. These are, if you didn't know, digital binders...just like real binders...without the ring pinches!

I just went back to mine and discovered something pretty cool.

If you click the square along the top left side of the banner, the binder outline appears.

And here is where it gets exciting...

Really? Lit Maven?


If you were to write a nonfiction book, you would be collecting research.  If you built a LiveBinder to collect your research, naturally adjusting tabs (left to right) and ordering subtabs (left to right) in the end you would have your desired structure. This may be obvious..or not. But what I love is that when you click on the outline view, the outline of the LiveBinder is completely revealed, in a very obvious way...the order of chapters for your book. In addition you can see where things might be out of order or need more research.

Cool! Lit Maven?


I know it's not a huge deal but for me it is the little things. If I go back to visit all of my LiveBinders, the outlines reveal something new to me and help to focus my thinking.

Although, I have not made a LiveBinder in awhile, I'm back now! And there have been changes.

One of the new changes, as you know my journey is Google right is suggested that you can now send your Live Binder link into a Google Classroom. This has huge implications for teaching, especially if a digital textbook is something that you wanted to build.

J.K. might like this idea for a new class at Hogwarts...or not...but here it is for you.

Well, that's enough info to blow your mind today....

Until Next Time,

The Lit Maven!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Home is Where the Start Is!

Last week, in the staff room...or as they call it on TV...the Teacher's Lounge..this conversation happened.

Co-worker: Who uses Google Sheets? I can't find a use for it.

Me: I use it at home to organize my library.

Then I paused, how much of my nerdiness should be shared at work?

Now to the point, I am sharing this story with you as it relates to my belief in trying most new things.

When trying something new, try it with content that you already know and love. 

Because when you are learning something new, it takes a lot of focus and energy. If you are working with new content and new tools, it can be overwhelming.

I know my books. I love my books. I have this unhealthy need to purchase many books. Thus the need for a tool to organize my books. 

I looked at Google Sheets and thought, yes, this will help me organize my books. I created a spreadsheet with sections for author (first and last name) - title and genre to describe the book.Here are my genre selections....

Creativity-Entrepreneurship-Fiction Tips-Non Fiction-Productivity-Publishing-Revision-Social Media-Spirituality-Word Play-Writer's Life-Writing Exercises-Oversize.

So using this love of books and combining it with a new tool, Google Sheets, I could focus on the tool because I knew the content and thus I was not overwhelmed by the process.

So the learning here is...before trying these tools at school, try them at home.  

What could YOU do with Google Sheets?

Until Next Time, 

The Lit Maven

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Getting Your Feet Wet with Google Apps for Education

Getting your feet wet means to edge slowly into something. It means that you are playing with the possibilities.

I was introduced to Google docs, spreadsheets, slides, classroom and calendar last fall. It might have been earlier. But like all things new it's hard to remember exactly when, unless of course you are keeping a Google journal.  Which now, I am.

Blogger, I have known since 2010 and Gmail a bit later. Both feel like second skin. How do you get to that feeling with anything.? Well you try it out...casually. It's like you are saying, "Hey, you...just going try this...don't be alarmed...just playing." When you act casually, whatever goes, goes. The need to be the expert goes out the door. It's like using crayons to color a place mat at a restaurant. You aren't coloring to create a masterpiece, no you are just trying it out. Something magical might happen, something might not. You are not tied to the outcome. It takes the pressure off and the inner critic stays locked away.

One of my first experiments was Google docs. Two things I love are the anytime, anywhere possibilities of Google docs. Back in the day, as a Language Arts consultant, even just a 10 years ago, I had to carry my presentation in a wheeled cart.  I needed a laptop, extension cord, speakers, projector, back up projector, paper handouts...the works!

Now...I need a link. A link...a digital link to the documents, to the presentation. No cart. I don't even need a bag, not even a tiny bag. Well, there are the books. But that is whole other post.

TRY it out at home!
Something simple I have tried this holiday season is to keep an Xmas present list on Google Docs. I have used it on my iPhone and on all my other devices to add a keep track of purchases. Updating the list, even as I leave the store. I have liked that is synced everywhere, on all my devices, unlike notes.
Also, it is not a cumbersome piece of paper that I need to remember to bring.

TRY it out at work!
As a learning coach, I used to create a schedule in word and then send it out as an attachment. Now, I create a schedule that teachers fill up. It is a collaborative. The link is live, no need for updates. This has saved so much time.

So that is it, a little bit of my journey. The message I am trying to get across is to try a Google app with something that you already do. Ask yourself, does it improve your lifestyle? Save time or increase access to information. If so, repeat...if not...try again.

Let me know how it goes...

Yours truly,

The Lit Maven

Friday, December 22, 2017

I Am Back!!!

Yes, it has been a few years. I have been off doing other things.

Now though, I am a Google Ninja! This means that I am in the process of earning my Level One and Level Two Google Certification. I will be using this blog to share my journey.

So many years ago...I was the Lit Maven and in so many ways I still am.  My journey includes a change from a district Language Arts Consultant to a Learning Coach to a Learning Coach/Junior High Art a brand new Pre K to grade 9 school.

Pop culture is still very much who I am. I have ventured into watching Stranger Things and Riverdale. Now that my daughter is a teenager we enjoy these shows together.

So...stay tuned as the Lit Maven begins to share more...literacy, technology, pop culture...OH MY!

Yours Truly,

The Lit Maven

The Secret to Getting Things Done

I came across this phrase yesterday..."half the battle". Here are some definitions of Half the Battle. 1. to be the most ...