Google Drive Starter Kit // Google Certified Educator Training

What up! 

I'll keep this short and sweet like a miniature laffy taffy. 

If you're wanting to pass the Google Certified Educators Level 1 Training, I've made videos of the main things you need to know about Google Drive. 

They're linked below. 

Creating Presentations that aren't Garbage

Engagement is subjective. 

Don't think about that sentence too much, just blur your brain and pretend it doesn't breakdown under grammatical scrutiny. 

Different people become engaged by different types of presentations. 

Much more descriptive...but less catchy like a noisy fisherman. 

Through witnessing a vast array of speakers over the years, I have taken note of what engages me. What bothers me, what annoys me, and what just feels a little off. It's like when I edit a video...if it feels strange while I'm editing it, it is strange. 

I've had a chance to try and fail and try and be mediocre and try again with my own presentations. Over the years I've accumulated a few quick tips for creating a little more engaging presentation. 

Enough chit-chat, gimme the tips. 

Fine. Here goes: 

  1. Keep it Simple - too much clutter per slide is going to make it look more like scrapbooking than presenting. 2 chunks of content and a header are the max per slide. 
  2. Limit Animations - I don't wanna feel like I'm witnessing a boring version of a Saturday morning cartoon. Hear that Nick, Jr!!!
  3. Use Decent Graphics - Say NO to clipart. Find a decent pic or meme or gif or just leave the text. Let Clippy the Microsoft Word paperclip retire in piece (and don't use Word either, but that's a story for another day). 
  4. Mix it up - Keep the audience guessing. If they can predict your next slide, they're going to start making sure Facebook is still in business. 
  5. Don't Write a Novel - What is this, a school for ants??? My favorite quote I made up about this so imma make it bold: If you're reading off the slide, then the audience doesn't need you. 
  6. Use Clean Fonts - Google recommendation: Montserrat. Or just anything besides something that looks handwritten(ish). 
  7. Keep it Short - Sounds redundant because of #1, but it's directed toward the amount of time you're on a slide. Hit 'em with the facts, then move on. Unless you're telling a story and moving around the room, that slide needs to move. It's like a brain reset. 

That's what I've got. 

Here's one of the YouTube Education presentations I do to give you an idea. WARNING: Some of the short/simple slides won't make sense by itself, but that's why I'm there to explain and/or tell a story during it! 

Thanks for making it this far. You the real MVP. 

Did I miss any? 



Are Your Lesson Plans Helping You?

98% of all lesson plans are a waste of time. 

That statistic is 100% made up, but feels 110% true on a Sunday afternoon when you're spending 2 hours proving you're going to be molding young minds all week! 

Most lesson plans are submitted for compliance. Teachers are just copy/pasting what they did the year before and changing the dates. Most principals are check-listing whoever emails them their plans cause they're too busy with parents/students/teachers/compliance/duty to read them. 

But they could actually help you teach better...

and could be done quickly...

especially after your first year of building them! 


Curriculum maps. Lesson plans. Pacing Guides. I don't care what you call them, but they should help improve your instruction year over year. 

We're educators. Our goal is to make students smarter/better/faster/stronger than they were the year before. So why aren't WE trying to improve every year? 

Maybe you are. 

Or maybe it's just getting easier cause you know your curriculum better. 

Or maybe the way you set up your "lesson plan" isn't conducive to improving your instruction. 

Tyler, I can see you're getting at something so just say it!

Okay, chill. Here's what I've got: 

  1. Put your entire year in one document/spreadsheet. 
  2. Break it up into 18 weeks (one semester) or 36 weeks (full school year). 
  3. Place all of your standards, presentations, assignments, links, videos, etc. into that one doc/sheet as you're doing it throughout the year. 
  4. Then the next year, just pull from this "hub" of resources and either use, change, delete, or add to this database!! 

If you do this in Google Sheets or Docs (which you should), then you can just share it with your supervisor(s) so they can look at it at any time! No more emails!! Well, for that. I'm sure you'll still get your fair share of emails. ;) 

Utilize. The. Reflections.

Seriously. Recap your day for 5 minutes after that day of teaching and you're essentially giving yourself notes to read in the future. It's like having the ULTIMATE co-teacher...yourself! In the future, you can get notes on a lesson - what worked, what didn't - from yourself! 

If you're in a hurry and can't recap your whole day with all your resources, just highlight them real quick. 

  • Green - that resource/material/assessment was GOOD! 
  • Yellow - meh, it could be better
  • Red - not good! Find a replacement!! 

Here's an example of what that little guy could look like: 

Screen Shot 2018-03-23 at 11.24.10 PM.png

And you don't have to start from scratch! I've got a 36 week one you can have!!! 

Just click this link, and when it asks you if you want to "Make a Copy" just say Yes! 

I hope this helped just a little and I thank you for your attention in getting this far in! 

Have a great day and never stop learning! 

First Day of Class // Google Form Template

Summer is officially over. 

Winter is coming. 

Time for students!!!

My goal here is to provide you with:

A. Fun

B. Resources

C. Information

D. All of the Above

This one is great for start of the year information gathering. I like to call it the "Tell Me About Your Face Form," but the name is changeable. ;)

Here's the link to automatically create your own Google Form for First Day InfoFeel free to edit/delete/add anything you want. It's yours now, run with it. 

When I started teaching, I emulated Dr. Dykema by gathering student information via index cards, then I would use those to not only have parent contact emails (that never worked) and remember their names.

About as crazy as I'd go in questioning would be "Tell me one Fun Fact About Yourself." This would allow me to respond to them in front of the class, but I'd usually not give a lot of information. This allowed it to be a sort of inside convo to the class, which intrigued the rest of the students so they'd either ask then or later. It sometimes helped with student interactions, especially for those who didn't have the buddy system the day they entered. 

Now, it's 2017. An easy/free way to get to know your students is to know what content they consume on the Social Media. That's why I like this question, it enables itself to become a great conversation starter. Rapport, people, rapport. 

I also enjoy a quick look at how my students feel about my subject matter, because...ya know..pie charts! 

And you know ya boi gonna throw in a Harry Potter pic cause I gotta get them House Points up!

I hope that link worked, holla if it didn't! 



As the increase of information obtained from the Internet continues to jet skyward like The Rocketeer, it will become more and more crucial that people of all ages become proficient in discerning valid resources. 

I'm talking responsible digital citizenship, people.

With the amount of news that is skewed or labeled "fake" to serve the agendas of specific people/groups, as educators we must inform our students on how to be responsible consumers of information. 

People can contrive whatever they want on the Internet and publish it in seconds to potential audiences of millions.

Let's help our students/children decipher and discern credible information for themselves, and not blindly follow their newsfeed headlines. 

My thoughts/opinion/non-fact: 


Okay, so it feels strange to talk about myself, but my name and picture are all over the site so I don't think it could get much worse. 

If not, it will now...

I was recently approached and given the opportunity to chat with a super chill dude named Sam Pierce from the Arkansas-Democrat Gazette (Arkansas' main newspaper). We chatted about some education stuff and blah blah he's a legit writer not an ex-math teacher so read him write about it here instead of me rambling like I'm doing right now

One of my quotes that I totally made up and didn't steal (I don't think) // 

I was also contact by the exceptional Marva Hinton over at Education Week. She and I discussed different aspects of education and video and education video and video education!!! 

Thanks for listening to your brain read me talking about people who are talking about me. 

More than that, thanks for your time. 

When Teachers See Students Outside of School

Christmas break is over. 

Now it's time to get down to business like a tie on the floor. 

When you were a student, did you ever see your teachers out in public?'s stinkin weird. 

They're all wearing shorts and t-shirts and getting bread and looking like normal humans. 

Just, not right. 

Here is every teacher's response when they see students. 

How to Ace your Finals/Semester Tests

Tests are not fun. 

Well, tests aren't that bad. 

It's getting the results that hurts. 

Try some of the tips from this playlist and increase your chances tremendously. 

Like, Dragonball Z power level over 9000 type stuff. 

Good luck on finals, my friends. 

Click next to check out more tips in the same playlist.