Google Drawing

Memes in Google Drawing

I love a good meme. Who doesn’t? I also love giving students fun choices to demonstrate understanding. This year, one of the options I want to include is making a meme in Drawing. I’ve included a quick tutorial below so you can see the process and use it too.

Let’s look at a meme. It’s usually square (doesn’t have to be). The words are bold usually with an outline and placed at the top and/or bottom. Words relate to the image (usually funny).

Dwight Meme

  1. Open a new Drawing document.
  2. Insert an image. It doesn’t have to be square at this point in time.Meme 1
  3. Crop your image.


4. Move your cropped image into the top left corner & click the handle in the bottom right corner and drag it to meet your image.

5. Insert a text box and select a font to use. Anton works well.


6. Type your words and center them on the page. Repeat if you want words on the top and bottom.


7. I like to shadow my words. Copy and paste your words and color them white.You can nudge them in to place using shift and the arrow keys. You will have to change the order  (command down arrow on a mac Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 7.01.39 PM) to move them behind the the black words.

8. Now you can download your image. Go to File – download and choose the image type. I like .png but it depends on what you want to do with it.


How could students demonstrate their understanding with a meme? I can’t wait to see!

ISTE2016, sketchnotes

ISTE 2016

#ISTE2016 was three weeks ago. It was my first ISTE and hopefully not my last. I met so many new people, learned so many new things, met so many Twitter friends, learned so many new things… Oh wait, I’m repeating myself. The experience was a whirlwind and SO WORTH IT!  Rather than type the whole experience, I made a sketchnote of just a few of the things that stick out in my mind. I didn’t put anything on there about the WONDERFUL poster sessions, or reference ALL of the people I met (John Bergman who created flipped classroom), or note all of the sessions I attended, but I tried to capture the moment in a sketchnote (which I did learn a lot more about at ISTE)

ISTE 2016.png

Meeting Matt Miller and Alice Keeler was at the top of my list. Matt is the author of Ditch That Textbook and he and the #ditchbook team let me moderate the Twitter chat every now and then. Our DitchBook meet up was awesome despite the CRAZY hail and flooding and I met Evan Mosier who is another regular to the chat. Ditchbook is one of the best Twitter families and PLN you could be a part of.

Alice Keeler is someone my daughter says I “Twitter stalk”. She and I share very similar opinions about educating children and she is very passionate about what she does. Not to mention, she is a genius with all things Google especially Sheets. As a result of ISTE, she asked me to collaborate with her on a Google Expedition project for math using Sheets. It’s so awesome working with her and it’s going to be an amazing activity that I can’t wait to try it out.

I plan to submit a proposal to present next year. It would be awesome to present at ISTE! At the very least, I hope I get to go again.

Until next year #iste2016…thanks for the adventure…I have so much to take back to my classroom, students, & school.


Rethinking Failure

While at ISTE I sat in on a math mindset session. Kyle Pace (@kylepace) talked about using the motto WTF in his classroom. Now I teach high school, and I know WTF means something very different to my students than to Kyle’s. In his school it means Willing To Fail (your mind was in the same gutter with my students wasn’t it?) This is a phrase I’ve found myself adopting even though I’m still not comfortable with it.

See, failure has always had a negative connotation. Failure means that you’ve, well, FAILED. We don’t want our students to fail, we want them to succeed. In a recent Twitter chat, Brian Rozinsky (@brianrozinsky) challenged me on my thoughts about failure and sent me a link to this article by Alfie Kohn. Here is an excerpt from his article.

Thanks to its adjective, “productive failure” magically becomes a good thing by definition. (See also: “healthy competition.”) But the question is how likely it is that failure will be productive. And the answer is: Not very. The benefits of screwing up are wildly overrated. What’s most reliably associated with successful outcomes, it turns out, are prior experiences with success, not with failure. While there are exceptions, the most likely consequence of having failed at something is that children will come to see themselves as lacking competence.

While I don’t agree with all of what he says, what stuck with me was the idea that failure could be damaging, could frustrate students and make them want to quit. I’VE SEEN THIS. A student fails first semester so they quit trying second semester. A student has been a failure at math for 4 years and now they hate math and no longer feel they have the ability, nor do they have the desire to try.

So if “failure” is not what we want want to say, then maybe we just need to phrase it differently. Let’s look at the Michael Jordan failure quote:


Before all of the talk about failing forward, productive failure, WTF, I would have read this poster and called it PERSEVERANCE.


CONTINUED effort. I don’t think we should be focusing on failure. We should change our motto from WTF to the BIG P {keep your mind out of the gutter :-)}. When you think of perseverance, you think of success. It describes the journey to get there, which may have included some setbacks along the way a.k.a. failure.

We don’t want students putting the word failure in their vocabulary because we never want them to fail, we want them to persevere. That’s why I use Carol Dweck’s “Not yet” in my class. I show my students the video and we talk about what it means. I want them to see how they can be successful, how they can overcome obstacles, how they can persevere and learn, not fail.

So maybe it is just semantics (does anyone else always think of Lethal Weapon every time they say that word? “I’m up for some antics”-Martin Riggs). Maybe Kyle’s WTF really means willing to take risks and failing forward really means perseverance. Or maybe it’s just the educational door revolving.

perseverance (2).png

The conclusion I’ve come to is that I don’t want to discuss failure in my classroom. I want to discuss perseverance and success because this is what students should experience. Our class motto for this year will be the BIG P!

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.01.07 AM


ISTE2016, Notability, sketchnotes

Sketchnotes & ISTE2106

I’ve returned from ISTE2016 and I have so much to share but sketchnoting has consumed my brain so I’ll share this first and get back to the amazingness that was ISTE2016 in the next post (hopefully with a sketchnote to help describe the experience).

I was able to attend two sessions on sketchnotes while at ISTE.  Matt Miller @jmattmiller, author of Ditch That Textbook, the guy I talk about on this blog ALL THE TIME, had the first session. It was a great launching point and he had us make a sketchnote during Sir Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk. I SUCKED AT IT! Here’s all I was willing to post:dancer

I’ve created sketchnotes before (see here) but always AFTER a presentation has ended. This was tough! During the session I met Carrie Baughcum @heckawesome another FANTASTIC sketchnoter. AND… she was presenting later with Sylvia Duckworth and Kathy Shrock. I KNOW! MIND BLOWN!

Their session had a TON of resources & inspiration but also many examples of how students use it. Both presentations referenced brain research and how we learn better. I know this is something I want to allow my students to do. I think it will help my “doodlers” focus on my content a little more.

I wanted to practice so I found some websites to help me. The first was Sacha Chua on her blog Living an Awesome Life. This was a great beginning spot to practice. I used Notability (another favorite I mention on here often) and I tried some by hand also. Here are my practice pages.

Notability: Sketch note Practice

Next I went to the site Nuggethead where he has homework after each lesson. The lesson for day 2 was to create a sketchnote while watching a Ted Talk, one with editing and one without. Well… without editing didn’t work for me but here is the sketchnote completed. It’s from Aaron Duff’s @education_geek and his TEDx talk Hack(Ed)-disrupting the eduverse. It’s not perfect but I think I captured the essence of the talk.

Here’s my finished product: Aaron Duff TedX

Yes, that’s a ME sketch. I kind of like her. I’m excited to share this note taking option with students and I’m excited to get better at it myself. A special shout out to Matt & Carrie for inspiring me to get better!