Author Archives: Holly

About Holly

Educator ~ Organizer ~ Doer ~ Researcher ~ Scotch Drinker

Trick Yourself

We all need that push to do what we don’t want to do or feel like doing. So, I have learned I have to trick myself.

5 Areas I’ve Trick Myself

  1. “I should really start reading that book.” The Trick: Just read the first 3 pages. You’ll most likely read a few pages more.
  2. “I’ve got to lose weight.” The Trick: Give yourself a 5lb Challenge. The hardest part about diets is starting & such a small goal like 5lbs is attainable. It’s not stressful feeling either. *I tried this with my sister and she lost 15lbs!
  3. “I don’t know if this ‘change’ is going to work.” The Trick: Tell yourself you will give it a year. Or 6 months. By saying this, you give yourself permission to relax and try “it” out. You don’t feel boxed in because you know you can change it in the near future.
  4. “I should stop looking at my Facebook, Twitter & Instagram so much.” The Trick: Remove the bookmark from your computer or sign out of each of the apps. Now it takes 2-3 steps to open them up so you check them significantly less times. Since making these changes, I check them 70% less than I used to. It’s just so darn easy to press those buttons several times an hour.
  5. “I need to get up earlier.” The Trick: Set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier. Do this for a week. Then up it in 5 minutes increments weekly till you get to the ideal time you want to get up.

We are lazy and knowing this is most of the battle. So I find that tricking myself helps me be a little less lazy and more brave to try new things or just do what I need to. And over time, we change ourselves for the better.


photo: unsplash:Chris Lawton

Let People Do Their Thing

stock photo mountain climber snow

At each stage in our lives we have the right to try out anything we want. Which means we have to allow the people in our lives that too, without our input.

Let me unpack this a bit.

In my 20’s I tried every diet from paleo to a vegan and all that lives in between. Now, in my 30’s, nothing is off limits and I eat everything in moderation. No labels, no rules.

BUT as we try out different diets or decide we want to learn ballroom dancing or whatever, our families tend to ride the waves of each new thing we try on. Sometimes they get annoyed but mostly they just go with it. And that is what we have to do for the people in our lives too.

So, instead of offering advice ( typically unsolicited) to our family and friends, especially our younger friends, just let them do their thing. Love people right where they are at. We all have the right to do what we want and see what works as we journey through each level of our lives.

Bonus: If we approach life this way, it will feel more freeing.

image: unsplash by Kalen Emsley

My Kid is a YouTuber

Gaming controller

So I am officially the cool mom: I let my kid start his own YouTube channel.

He’s officially a YouTuber. All the neighbor kids are like, “Wow, I can’t believe you are on YouTube, that is so cool!”

I have a feeling that my kids generation will value YouTubers more than movie celebrities. They share more of their everyday lives with the kids, which means they get to know their personalities and the kids genuinely think they care. We don’t really get to know celebrities.

I got him a Photoshop subscription also and he went to town making the channel art for YouTube and Twitter (oh, he set that up too!)

After a few videos, he leveled up and wanted to edit the videos and add sound. He found all the software he needed and just did it.  It gives me warm fuzzies just thinking about it.

The moral of the story is to give kids the tools they need and they will amaze you.


image: John Sting on Unsplash

Everyday Computer Tips

The 1st slide of a Presentation in Google Slides

Presentation Link

I’m giving a presentation to a group of teachers on simple & useful computer tips to help them be less irritated and more productive.

Some topics we will be discussing:

  • Clean Links
  • Internet Search Tips
  • Google Suites
  • Chrome Bookmarks
  • Chrome Extensions
  • Reputable Sites
  • Wunderlist
  • Favorite Online Presentational Tools
  • And more!

Take a look and I hope you find a few tips useful as well.

Too Legit to Quit

Pic of the Kraken

Is the Kraken real? Is it?!

In our latest computer class we went over how to determine the legitimacy of websites. Thanks to The Mozilla Learning Network, we had a fun lesson for class about whether the Kraken was real or not. Check out their Web Literacy section for more lessons.

A few things we can look for when determining if a site is legit or not:

  1. Questionable sites usually have a questionable URL, for example, probably is less reputable than a site with a person’s name/recognizable company name.
  2. A site with medical information with drug ads is less likely to be credible than a medical journal with the same information and no ads.
  3. Cross reference. Look up sites on other sites. Check them out on popular sites such as Twitter. People talk about the good and bad of sites.

Quick side note:  Because people search often for song lyrics and cheat codes for games, sites with song lyrics and game cheat codes often are scam sites. So, be careful.

Here are the slides to the class lesson. Have fun!

3 Practical Tech Tips to Teach Kids

Internet Search

Internet Search in google of "star wars" -yoda


We can show kids how to get better search results when using a search engine such as Google. If they want to know more on Star Wars without any info on Yoda, they can! And for fun, have your kids type “Do a barrel roll” into Google.



Shortcuts Copy, paste

Showing them how to do shortcuts such as cut, copy, & paste is a must. We tend to forget kids don’t really know how to do them and just how practical they are in their everyday lives.




Subject: Pep Talks

Hello. Here are two links for you to look at and decide which one looks better.

  2. Kid President Pep Talk

Have a nice day,


gmail compose options


When our kids have an email account, we must show them some email etiquette. Such as, how to layout an email and how to use clean links so their email looks nicer. Point out how #2 looks so much better than #1 in the example above.

Why are simple tech tips important anyways?

It’s important to teach simple and useful tips to our kids because they will easily relate to them, feel empowered with their new knowledge and want to learn more. Which is what we want to achieve. We want to hopefully give them a thirst for more so they keep desiring to learn more and continue to add more to their tech repertoire.

Sometimes the hardest part is just getting kids to the point of wanting to learn more complex coding concepts. But if we show them how empowering tech can be in their lives in these useful ways, we will help create kids who may want to dig deeper and go farther.



Learning Computer Science Is Just Like All other Subjects

LEGO mini figs from Back to the Future movie and a laptop with a DeLorean sticker

Recently President Obama made an announcement that he was pledging 4 Billion dollars to Computer Science education for kids.

As a Computer Science teacher, I am happy to see the spotlight put on this subject.

However, with all the new attention it can quickly stir up an urgent feeling in parents and educators to get started ASAP. We don’t need to feel rushed to figure it ALL out today people!

I see computer science/coding like any other subject matter. We start at the basics, just like we do when learning math. We teach addition & subtraction and then build on that as we go along, year by year. It’s exactly the same with computer science.

There are many awesome resources out there to use when getting started. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel and make up new curriculum.

Here are 2 sites to Start With:

1)  Brain Pop

It has a whole section on topics related to computers. They are very entertaining, short videos that kids will love. A robot and boy teach the subjects. It is a tool many teachers use in their classroom because it really is the best. There is also Brain Pop JR for younger kids.

I sometimes build classes around a topic from Brian Pop videos.

Here is a screen shot of some subjects it covers:

Brain Pop Computer Science Subjects

2)  Scratch by MIT

Sign up for a free account and have the kids go through the short 12 step tutorial to get familiar with the program, then let them run loose.

I put together a few quick Scratch lesson on Enboard if you need some projects. Some projects include Pong, A Witch/Key game, and B-Ball game.

When you start the search for the perfect curriculum for computer science, you will find a lot out there, which will feel overwhelming. But just start with one site you like and build a few lessons with that.

5 Core Tips When Teaching A Kids Coding Class

HTML tags making a box

1) Give the kids a voice right away in class.

Have them say their name & their favorite game they like to play. You can give them each a piece of candy after each of their intros (or throw balloons at them). It shows them this is a fun class and it’s really about them. AND they don’t care about us. That shouldn’t be a shocker. So, no long intro about yourself & the past 10 years of your life.

2) Go over the details of the program you are using.

Go over all the tools, workspace, features, buttons, etc before they start using it. This way when they start to use it, they won’t feel as intimidated. It’s like when we learn a new card game. If we know a few instructions or rules to the game then we feel less lost as we play for the 1st time. workspace for Hour of Code


3) Go over one concept per slide.

Having too many ideas and stuff on class slides will lose them. Things will stick better with the kids if you have one idea per slide.


4) Show a clear visual of harder concepts like variables and give an example.

Having a small understanding of a new concept empowers the kids and makes them feel more connected to what they are doing.

Coding word: Variable shown as a picture


5) Talk to the kids not down to them.

Kids are people and when you talk to them with respect they will level up but you have to 1st.

I share more ideas on my site, so poke around a little. I also made a board with other kid coding resources.


photo 1: Mozilla
photo 2:
photo 3: Scratch Workbook

The Hour of Perseverance

google chrome dinosaur dino-404error

During the Hour of Code week I helped lead a team at a local middle school. Straight away we had technical issues. We couldn’t get on the network. So we couldn’t show any videos to the kids and they couldn’t play the puzzles for the hour of code. Basically the whole reason we all come together that day.

But that didn’t stop us. Three of us volunteers had our personal laptops with us so we used the hotspot from my phone and put those laptops on it. Then we split the classroom into 3 groups and had them work together through the games. It wasn’t ideal but they all did really great working together.

So, this became a teachable moment in class. Coding and technology will have issues and bugs but you will figure it out, eventually. And sometimes trying to figure out the workarounds proves to be better in the long run anyways!

It’s ok to have problems. It’s not ok to give up.

The Hour of Code is Back!

LEGO Darth Vader on a motorcycle chasing LEGO Luke with R2D2

I am stoked the Hour of Code is back December 7th – 13th. It is an opportunity for students (or anyone!) to try computer science for one hour.

This year added a Star Wars and Minecraft puzzle to their repertoire. I have tried them both and they are great. I was even stumped a few times! But I kept iterating until I got the solution. Which is kinda the point. It’s great to stretch our brains and push through the challenge till we get the solution.

So check out for the Hour of Code and try a few puzzles.

May the force be with you.