Book Review: Payoff by Dan Ariely

I am back to reviewing books. After taking more than a year off from writing reviews I have realized how much I benefit myself to post my thoughts. I write notes and store them in various locations but I can never find them. My book review posts are to help me better organize my thoughts and like everything I hope you find something new to discover, read, and connect.

I am starting off 2017 with this nice short read. This book is part of the TED book series. What I liked about this book is that it helped me grapple with some things that I have struggled with mentally the last few years. The whole basis of this book is to look into motivation, what it means, and how to make it work for us. In the end what I took away from the book is that motivation works best when we simply treat people like people. Basically, treat people like we actually care about them, appreciate their hard work, and do our best to remain loyal to them.

The author shares many of his research projects, but in the end this is what I felt was the key for me.

For me personally, something that really resonated with me and for me made the read completely worthwhile was the following idea:

“THINGS THAT GIVE US A SENSE OF MEANING DON’T NECESSARILY MAKE US HAPPY”

I instantly think of parenting. It is not always a job that provides happiness. There is no template, no recipe, no guidebook to being a great parent. What works for one, fails with the other, and sometimes you just shake you head, brush off your knees, and try again. It is tough. However, parenting provides meaning to our lives. We want to do what we can to lead and model the best way we know how. It provides meaning that is hard to put into words, but there are many moments when happiness is the feeling we experience.

This is same for teaching and coaching. They all go hand in hand.

It is really like trying to build IKEA furniture and scratching your head with the instructions. They don’t make sense so you go your own way in hopes it turns out right and when it does you feel proud.

The other idea that stood out to me is that money is not what motivates us. We continue to push this myth into the workplace and society, but really people just want to be acknowledged and appreciated for their work. It is as simple as that. If we know that many of our motivations “spring from trying to conquer a sense of helplessness and reclaim even a tiny modicum of control over our lives”, then we must realize that in order to help people move forward they need encouragement. Criticism and negativity does not work and will kill motivation quickly.

I encourage you to read the book. It is worth your time. I skimmed some parts faster than others because it did not apply to me personally, but being a short read you can gain what you need in just a few hours.

Check out this Amazon deal: Payoff by Dan Ariely 

 

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How To Download Facebook Live Videos to Desktop

Have you ever been on Facebook and came across a video and wanted to download it to either share with others, use in the classroom, move over into a blog post, or for any other of the hundred reasons?

There are several ways to do this, but I have found one that is simple and quite easy to do that requires minimal work and effort.

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The Truth

Don't Fight Your Body or Mind

  1. Don’t copy others – Don’t try be someone else. In order to prevent copying others you must understand who you are. Don’t fight yourself. If you are not a morning person, then don’t force yourself. If you are a night owl, then embrace being up at night. Listen to your body and plan your success and details of your day accordingly.
  2. Study Your Pain – When you push yourself you reach new levels of tolerance and pain. This is what you must study. Not where you are comfortable. Pain is your compass for you to gauge where your potential is. Most people underestimate themselves. They don’t give enough credit to how strong and creative they actually are.
  3. Repeat what you enjoy doing, modify what you don’t. – Pretty simple logically. You cannot just stop everything cold turkey. You need to experience life and be happy, but you have to look at what is not working and fix it. One idea to is to think about what is it that you wish you could stop doing and plan to do the exact opposite.
  4. Turn bad days into good days – You will mess up and you will fall short of your goals. Don’t give up. Never give up. You have to adjust. It is all about your reaction to the situation. These tests of failure test your passion to the goal of reaching your target. If you want it bad enough you will find a way.
  5. Develop a vision of yourself. Who do you want to be? First, create a vision of that ideal version of you. Second, grab some inspiration. Find some idols, mark you channels of motivation online, read your books. Build up your library. Third, get to work. Move into action and start to get things done. Fourth, finish. You are now the marker of your success. You have one mission and this is to complete your challenge you have designed for yourself.
  6. Don’t get stuck on URGENT. Move onward to IMPORTANT. Every moment in our lives we could justify something that is urgent and needs to get done NOW! We must realize that most of the time these items are fake impersonation of important. Rather, they just clutter our lives with appearing to be busy. The problem is that because of all these urgent matters at hand we never get to important and fail to reach our goals. Essentially, don’t fool yourself by bragging how busy you are. That is a joke of a method to displaying how important you are. Instead, stop doing for just doing. Pick the right stuff. Do the right items on your list. Focus on what is essential. Apply the Derek Sivers Hell Yes method.
  7. Set Limits on Yourself. This does not mean reducing your goals. In order to achieve your dreams you have to set limits. You are not able to do everything. You are not some cyborg robot that can work 24/7. You are human. Turn things down. Say no. Close the small doors and wait for that opportunity. I cannot tell you what the process is to make these decisions(see #1), but focusing on no more than 3 items tends to be a great place to start.
  8. Schedule time for yourself. You need your own space. Schedule it on your calendar. Your calendar is more than scheduling other people’s time. Schedule your own. Treat yourself right. If you don’t take care of yourself, then you cannot take of others.
  9. To Do List – people love checking off boxes, but many times we can easily remove 90% of what is on our list. They are not essential. They are meaningless tasks. Instead try the why to do. Why are you doing these things? If you cannot give a purposeful reason give it the old scratch off and move on. Trust me it will always be there later if you feel it is indeed of importance. Don’t get distracted with being busy for the sake of being busy. Getting things done is not essential. Getting things done for you is important.

Remember, the most powerful thing you can wear is confidence.

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Smart Home AND Smart Classrooms

I have been experimenting with both Google Home and Amazon Echo for a while now. I love them. My kids each have a Dot and I think that this is just the start to smarter homes and more productive lives.

I was thinking the other day about Smart Homes and more importantly Smart Classrooms……

Are we creating a learning environment that challenges students in the correct way? If every classroom was equipped with a Google Home or Amazon Echo for students and teachers to use during class, during tests, and basically at any point in the learning, then are the challenges we are working to solve challenging enough?

My 5 year old daughter will hammer these devices with questions of curiosity. Do we entice the same curiosity in our classrooms where we can allow machines to do the low level work so we can dig deeper into thought, problem solving, and learning?

I challenge you to take out a test or assessment and ask one of these devices the questions you are posing. If they can answer, then what will you change? If they cannot answer them, then how will you take this opportunity to push to new levels of exciting learning?

Let us make sure we are not simply giving answers, but giving great problems to solve. Enough of the tech police, banning the use of cell phones, computers, and whatever tool is the choice at the moment and instead develop situations that these tools are simply tools to push to new levels of thought. Perhaps our fear of tech lies more in the idea that we fear our work is not good enough as opposed to tech actually being bad.

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January Bullet Journal Walkthrough

Video Notes

This is my walkthrough to the setup of my 2017 bullet journal to help me stay focused and productive in 2017. My goal is to take all I have learned from doing this last year to streamlining the system to make it work for me.

http://bulletjournal.com/

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Christmas Puzzles, Riddles, Games and More to Survive the Week!

The week before Christmas is always a tough one. It is a week when kids don’t want to learn and teachers hold on for dear life. The cold weather, the coughs, the sugar buzz, the excitement, and a nice break in the future make it hard to get much done.

School must go on. The bells will ring, the bus routes continue, and we must not lose our minds completely.

Over years I have gathered many puzzles, riddles, logic, puzzles, and more that have allowed me to survive when I was in the classroom.

Recently, on the Iowa gifted listserv a huge file was posted of many of these items. As I clicked on them all I was taken back to memory lane doing many of these in the classroom to break up the day.

I have decided to compile them into one document and add a few more that I used to use back in the day.

I hope you find them helpful, fun, and a nice way to enjoy these days with your students and maybe even your family. If you have others that you use that others could benefit from please reach out to me and I will add them to the document.

Enjoy and happy holidays. We are close!

Document of goodies

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Hour of Code: Where to Go?

Hour of Code is a global movement to make computer programming fun and accessible to everyone around the world. You and your students can learn to code! Many of your students have already dabbled in code and know how to code. Why not join the millions of others to code and push your brain into some new learning.

Below  are a bunch of resources to get started. Many of these have come through my inbox via newsletters and subscriptions I have. To be clear, these links and how they are describe are not my words. I have pulled them from the many emails I receive. I just wanted to curate it all into one place to help everyone out. Leave a comment if there are other resources.

LEGO

 VidCode

  • Code the News: Videos and graphics are all about tech, diversity, kids and coding! Finished projects can be added to your school’s website as the report on Hour of Code itself.
  • Bestie Greeting Card: Make a holiday-themed greeting card with code! Created in partnership with Girl Scouts of Greater New York.
  • Climate Science & Code: Research and record a video focused on a single fact about Earth’s climate. Code effects for emphasis.

Khan Academy

  • Drawing with code: Learn to program using JavaScript, one of the world’s most popular programming languages (ages 8+).
  • Creating webpages: Learn to make your own webpages using the basics of HTML and CSS (ages 10+).
  • Creating SQL databases: Learn the fundamentals of databases using SQL to create data tables and query the data (ages 12+).

Let’s join Microsoft, Google, Apple, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Malala, and millions of others around the world to make history. Have your child start their Hour of Code today!

Skype in the Classroom

Get involved today and invite one of our Technology Guest Speakers to your classroom or one of the Microsofties they will give your students a glimpse into what it’s like to work in tech! You can also connect your classrooms to discuss on their participation in the Hour of Code.

Code.org

For 2016, Code.org, Microsoft and Mojang are announcing the all-new Minecraft Hour of Code Designer, a tutorial that lets students code their own Minecraft rules. This year, students can use code to control how animals and other Minecraft creatures behave—they can create a totally unique Minecraft experience, and then share it with friends or play it on their phones!

The new tutorial begins in a Minecraft world where sheep don’t move, the chickens don’t cluck, and nothing attacks: it’s a blank slate without movement or defined action. Over the course of an hour, students will bring this world to life using computer science. At the final level, they get to define the rules of Minecraft however they wish. If they want, the cows can lay eggs, sheep can explode, and zombies can run away from players!

If you used last year’s Minecraft activity, the new one provides a perfect way to expand your students’ knowledge of computer science. For new teachers, we are pleased to offer both tutorials, which require no experience to teach.

We’re thrilled to add Minecraft Hour of Code Designer to our list of activities for this year’s Hour of Code. If you haven’t checked out the expanded list yet, there are tons of new activities that you can filter on our site based on grade level, experience level, subject area, and more. Find the perfect activity for your class at https://code.org/learn.

Microsoft

Learn to Code with the Minecraft Hour of Code Tutorial

Help! The Minecraft developers have all gone on break and the mobs have forgotten what to do. We need you to save the day by programming the Minecraft mobs how to behave!

Last year, over 30 million students completed the Minecraft Hour of CodeTutorial. Beginning with Computer Science Education week in December and continuing, students were introduced to coding using loops, if statements, and low level programming that allowed them to move Steve or Alex around the Minecraft world.

This year brings a new Minecraft Hour of Code Tutorial, where learners of all ages will tackle basic programming concepts such as randomness, entities, sequencing, loops, and events to program Minecraft mobs how to behave. No previous coding experience is required. Students of all abilities can enjoy the tutorial.

To learn bring the Minecraft Hour of Code Tutorial to your classroom, start withwww.microsoft.com/hourofcode.

Raspberry Pi

Hour of Code – What could YOU do in one hour?

As part of our CSEd Week celebrations, we would love it if you took part in our annual Hour of Code. Visit our specially curated page that contains lots of cool resources, including two new ones specially written for the event!

All the resources on the page are designed to only take one hour, so they’re perfect to get you started.

Visit our Hour of Code page.

We’re also holding a live Hour of Code session here at Pi Towers, run by our Communities Manager Ben Nuttall. You’ll be able to catch a live stream of this on Wednesday 7 December on the Raspberry Pi Facebook page.

Other Links

Here’s Why I’m Going To Teach My Math Students To Code https://www.teachingchannel.org/blog/2016/02/25/coding-math-gbt/ 

Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) boots up Monday, December 5. More than 50 self-guided tutorials that emphasize math, such as:
  • Frozen’s Anna and Elsa in an exploration of snowflakes
  • 10 minutes of code for the TI-Nspire CX
  • a Python exploration of the four quadrants of the coordinate plane
  • drawing flags of the world with JavaScript to learn about shapes and coordinates
Join in the fun. Advocating “an hour of code for every student,” CSEdWeek occurs annually in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper. This year, students all over the world over have registered to participate in nearly 100,000 events, many as part of their entire school hosting an “Hour of Code.”

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038: Living On The Edge Of Chaos 2nd Roundtable Insanity Talk

We are back. Another Friday. Another crazy week. It was perfect to get together and make this episode happen. It was so fun and great way to end the week. Once again we had a blast with some crazy topics that will lead to great thinking, discussion, and further questions. Take a listen, and let us know what your answers are by leaving a comment. We would love to hear from you as well as what you thought about our ideas.

We would love to know two things

  1. What is your favorite topic of discussion this week?

  2. What questions do you want us to discuss? We are creating a random topic generator and need your ideas.

Please remember to leave a rating and feedback. We would love it if you took 3 minutes to leave us a rating.

Check out the show and episodes on iTunes

The image you see above was one of many paintings done on the Original Buddha Board.(buy one if you don’t own one). This has been a room favorite the last two weeks and during this show many paintings were created.

Shownotes

Topic 1: If you could pull one object out of any movie, then what would you pick and why? Here are our answers. Which one do you like best?

  1. Harry Potter Magic Wand
  2. Dr. Who Screwdriver
  3. Pulp Fiction briefcase
  4. Avenger Spaceship

via GIPHY

via GIPHY

via GIPHY

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Sidenote chat

  • Government plans for alien discovery

Topic 2: Is inspiration useful?

  • different from ambition
  • does it actually lead to action?
  • goals of education conferences to inspire – is this enough?
  • personal stories of inspiration and how they have carved a path for our current jobs and future goals

Topic 3: Are rappers modern day poets?

Topic 4: Mandela Effect

landscape-1438786521-berenstain-bears

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