Tech Tuesday #2: Creating and Using a Habit Tracker to Reach Our Goals
Hey Friends,
I’m so glad that we’re together again for another Tech Tuesday. This is, in fact, the second Tech Tuesday. I hope you were able to tune into Facebook Live this week, but if not, you might have missed the fact that last week we talked about how we could make our goals visual and more compelling, so would be we would be more likely to do them. We used a free tool called Sway. I walked you through the process for creating a Sway and adding great visual content automatically. So if you did miss that, I invite you to go back and check it out.
But onward and upward as they say! This week, I want to break down the process for creating and embedding a habit tracker into your Sway. By having the tracker alongside your goals, you can see if you’re actually meeting them. Now I know it’s you holding yourself accountable, but there’s something about seeing and writing our goals that helps us to be a little more motivated.
In that vein, let’s talk about four reasons why you might want to track your habits:
Number one:¬†I don’t know about you, but I’m still a sticker girl. Yes, I mean literal stickers like you got when you were a child. The “gold star” method, you might say. For some reason, stickers motivate me. As a matter of fact, last time I was trying to meet my exercise goals, I was in love with them. Every time I did physical activity for thirty minutes, I would give myself a sticker. It’s always fun to see if we have a streak going, and stickers make that streak more colorful and exciting.
Reason number two. We don’t know what we don’t track. I know that in the education world, people say that testing students is overdone, and I’m sure that’s the case. However, measurement also helps us to know what we know. If we write down and track what we’ve accomplished, we have a record of it so that we know it now and we know it later.
Reason number 3 is that there’s a problem if there’s a habit we never do. First of all, I guess we really couldn’t call it a habit at that point, right? But if there’s something on our tracker that is never getting done, we need one of two things: we need either an intervention or we need to move on. We might need someone to step alongside us and help us do that habit, especially if it’s one that’s important to our health and well-being. Or, the “undone-ness” might be a wake-up call that we have been a little unrealistic with ourselves and need to abandon that habit in favor of one we might actually do. Looking at a blank box we never attend to is going to just lead to discouragement anyway, so we might as well re-frame what we’re doing.
The fourth and best reason that we need to track our habits is to get results. Maybe we’ve been using stickers or an online tracker as a dangling carrot, but if we think about it, the completion of the list is not the result. The new habit and the better lifestyle are the results. So if we really want to meet our goals, we definitely need to track them.
My Habits
Let me give you a few of the habits I plan to track this year. If nothing else, they will at least make you laugh about how your habits are so much more serious than mine ūüôā I have a sweet tea addiction. The problem is that every time I drink it, I start to feel anxious and I get a headache. But it’s so good. It’s the South’s version of the nectar of the gods, you might say. So every time I know I shouldn’t have it (especially if the meal includes a free drink, hello!), I still struggle and have it anyway. So that’s why one of my habits I want to develop this year is avoiding sweet tea.
Along with that, I want to avoid desserts and potatoes. I could eat a potato any way you make it, except sweet. (Isn’t that ironic but I like sweet tea and desserts but not sweet potatoes? Probably because they’re too healthy for me.) Anyway, I was not a dessert person until I met my husband, but now I feel like I have to have a little something sweet every time I have something salty. You see the issue. Thus…two more habits.
I definitely need to move more because of all this food that I love, so I’m making a small goal for myself in hopes that I will keep walking longer. I wrote it down as walking 10 minutes a day. My thought is that once I get halfway around the block in that ten minutes, I won’t just sit down in the road, but I will continue walking, ha ha.
Next, I want to drink enough water every day. My currently-chapped lips are just one sign of the fact that I live perpetually dehydrated. As a matter of fact, my husband Dusty once said he would call the cops on me for attempted suicide by dehydration. I replied that many teachers don’t get to drink water because they never have time to…well, you know.
Finally, I really need to buckle down and make sure I’m spending time with the Lord every day. That includes reading my Bible and praying, but I’m an intense kind of person when it matters. I don’t just want the little check off that I read five minutes. Or I threw some words God’s way. I want to really encounter Him every day. And if it takes me writing that down on the list to do it, I’m going to do what I have to do.
Creating Your Habit Tracker
So what about you? Do you have certain goals you’d like to track? Well if you do, I have good news. If you will watch my video below, you will learn how Excel online, a free tool, can be your perfect accountability partner. We will use conditional formatting, which is just a fancy way of saying that we will turn some of the cells green when we do them, and optionally, you can turn the ones red that you don’t do. The process is really easy, and you can have the whole sheet set up in ten minutes or less. What a great, quick accomplishment! So if you’d like to know how to do that, how to access your habit tracker on your phone, and even embed this habit tracker into a visual goal sheet on Sway, just click to play below.
¬†As always, I want to hear from you. It gets kind of lonely on the blog when I don’t know if anyone’s reading what I write. And the writing is kind of witty if I do say so myself ūüôā So do me a favor–leave a comment below if you’ve created and used the habit tracker. Even better, why don’t you share a link to yours so I can brag on you and be proud?
With Tech and Twang,
Suzy Signature Pink

Gamification Twitter Chat July 2017

Interested in Gamification?

Check out this chat from Saturday’s EdChange Global #ecggamify hashtag! #ecg2017

  1. Q1. Join our #ecggamify chat if you're interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification

    Q1. Join our¬†#ecggamify¬†chat if you’re interested in making your class more engaging!¬†#gamification¬†
  2. Hi! Dianne 5th T from Simi, Ca. Gamifying is something I’ve been wanting to try but struggling with¬†#ecggamify
  3. Q2. Join our #ecggamify chat if you're interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification

    Q2. Join our¬†#ecggamify¬†chat if you’re interested in making your class more engaging!¬†#gamification¬†
  4. Hi I’m Laura and my male students particularly like a gamified classroom ūüôā¬†#ecggamify
  5. A2: Used badges for tech knowledge, like shareing a google doc or creating a Slideshow #ecggamify
  6. Q2. In my first Unit of every year for MS Ss we focus on Time Mgt. I’d badge that.¬†#ecggamify¬†#gamification
  7. @MViTDiTeach¬†Tech trainer like me I guess ūüôā love it and would be happy to share some resources if you’re interested.¬†#ecggamify
  8. Anything that rewards going beyond completion. Maybe tie into a #PBL unit #ecggamify
  9. @TweetMeego Awesome! I recommend @credly for badges. #ecggamify
  10. @cwilcoxKSU Yes! Look into mastery paths option in @CanvasLMS. #ecggamify
  11. Clearly def makes it easy to create and use Also to keep track of them in your class too #ecggamify …
  12. reward beyond completion…like overcoming/persevering through a not-desired outcome?¬†#failureisanoption¬†#ecggamify¬†@cwilcoxKSU¬†¬†‚Ķ
  13. Q3. Join our¬†#ecggamify¬†chat if you’re interested in making your class more engaging!¬†#gamification
  14. @TweetMeego @cwilcoxKSU Just the fact that kids desire to persist until they succeed is amazing. #ecggamify
  15. #ecg2017¬†still going strong! Into¬†#gamification? Jump in and share your ideas…#ecggamify¬†@reeder_cassie¬†@JaimeDonally
  16. Yes. Getting to those higher Bloom’s levels of creation rather than just completion for a grade¬†#ecggamify¬†¬†¬†‚Ķ
  17. Joining from Indep MO #ecggamify
  18. @jenepperson Hey Jen! Glad to have you. #ecggamify
  19. @cwilcoxKSU¬†@suzylolley¬†#ecggamify¬†When you create badges that can be “skipped” and go to the next level does this offer differentiation?
  20. Be prepared for it and plan tho. Maybe the Stu could create the badge even! 2 #ecggamify …
  21. Q4. Join our #ecggamify chat if you're interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification

    Q4. Join our¬†#ecggamify¬†chat if you’re interested in making your class more engaging!¬†#gamification¬†
  22. @cwilcoxKSU¬†Planning is key…Ss creating their own badges. Could offer peer mentoring/reinforcement if others can earn.¬†#ecggamify¬†¬†‚Ķ
  23. A4: I gamify my entire class. Give 1 mission for each essential Q in unit to demo learning in creative way. #ecggamify
  24. A4 cont. ex. Create an iMovie video explaining the cake methods. I teach culinary. #ecggamify
  25. A3 don‚Äôt look at gamification as a path for bad design – it won‚Äôt make the content better!¬†#ecggamify¬†ūüėȬ†¬†¬†‚Ķ
  26. What about other activities or tools? Using Kahoot, Socrative, Quizlet, Learning apps, Edmodo for example? Other suggestions? #ecggamify
  27. A3. #ecggamify Some of my Ss struggle with interpreting maps, esp. historic. (MS #SocialStudies)
  28. @suzylolley A2: I use give badges for best product quality in Culinary. Teams with best overall taste, texture, & app get badge holding XP. #ecggamify
  29. I love going in to watch Ts @cbarchers12 engage Ss using @quizlet live suddenly Gen. Bio is exciting! #ecggamify
  30. @tishrich¬†Yes, that’s more my approach.¬†#ecggamify
  31. Q5. Join our #ecggamify chat if you're interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification

    Q5. Join our¬†#ecggamify¬†chat if you’re interested in making your class more engaging!¬†#gamification¬†
  32. Julie joining in late! Culinary teacher who has been inspired by @tishrich #ecggamify
  33. Hi! Sorry for jumping in late! Tisha HS Culinary Tr from OR. Passionate about gamifying! #ecggamify
  34. I co-moderate #XPLAP chat on Tues 7PST with author of Explore Like a Pirate @mrmatera ! AMAZING book on gamification! #ecggamify
  35. A5 I am at the campus level so it might be badges for mastery of tech components- G-Suite, Email, EdTech tools, etc. #ecggamify …
  36. A5: master chef as a overall theme but do lots of different cooking show challenges. #ecggamify
  37. @TweetMeego @credly Ha! No I make on iOS pages and laminate. Ss love tangible badges. Keep in baseball card sleeves #ecggamify
  38. A5. I will be specializing in PK-12 curriculum around our new radio station. So, you are getting me started. #ecggamify @suzylolley
  39. @rice_julie An amazing crew is what makes it so great! #XPLAPcommunity is MIND BLOWING! Never cease to amaze me! #ecggamify
  40. @tishrich¬†Very true. Tangibles matter. Baseball card sleeves preserve and honor. Nice ūüôā¬†#ecggamify¬†¬†¬†‚Ķ
  41. A5: going on 3rd year gamifying. Masterchef in Culinary 2 and great food Truck Race in culinary 3! Ss love it! #ecggamify
  42. Q6. Join our #ecggamify chat if you're interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification

    Q6. Join our¬†#ecggamify¬†chat if you’re interested in making your class more engaging!¬†#gamification¬†
  43. A6: Ss on mission to earn Masterchef status. 1000xp=3×5 card on test, 2000xp=page notes, 4000xp=MC status. Exempt from test¬†#ecggamify
  44. @suzylolley Assign low points baseline tasks, increase points with task complexity, need points to level up, so Ss motivated to do #ecggamify#tlap
  45. A6: Ss earn privileges as they level up. Could be in the lab or in the classroom. Again all inspired or “stolen” from¬†@tishrich¬†#ecggamify
  46. @tishrich I would love to see your game. Posted somewhere? #ecggamify
  47. A6: MC status earns free cook day and Michelin star. 3 Michelin stars in semester & name goes on legacy wall & personalized apron #ecggamify
  48. A6. Kids love to “beat the game” “move to the next level” Need to harness that sense of accomplishment in school.¬†#ecggamify
  49. A6: added a “beat the teacher” component which was fun!¬†#ecggamify
  50. A6. I have taught History. I now think the archaeology dig we created needs to be a game. And my Santa Economics unit. #ecggamify
  51. A6: Ss can earn mystery badges & chance cards too to give special incentives and privileges. #ecggamify
  52. Been in/out of tweet meets #satchatwc #tlap #edugladiators#ecggamify; time to get ready for wedding of colleague T, thanks, everyone!
  53. Join @mrmatera and I on #XPLAP TUES 7PST to chat #gamification! Amazing community of passionate educators! #ecggamify
  54. @MDSAJohnson¬†Hey my friend ūüôā I still want to see your OneNote badge solution.#ecggamify
  55. Thanks for letting me jump in chat #ecggamify! Always love to chat #gamification!
  56. @MViTDiTeach Hi Dianne. Ive been gamifying gong on 5 years. Been blogging for a year at  if your interested. #ecggamify
  57. @TweetMeego @cwilcoxKSU Yes, I think some reqd and some optional is a cool thought. Pls share if you try. #ecggamify

My Gamification Passion! Avatars

I transitioned from classroom teacher to Instructional Technology Specialist for my district about three years ago. While I love my new-ish job, my heart will always be in the classroom, specifically with the stresses current teachers deal with.  One of the biggest stresses for me, and what drew me to the concept of gamification, was student motivation.
Teachers are regularly held accountable for what their students do and do not do, as well as¬†the grades that result from such choices. ¬†Gamification, or the concept of turning a teacher‚Äôs class into a game, has been show to increase work ethic tremendously. ¬†My online friend, Beth Box, has proven it with her civics class, and you can¬†check out her ‚Äúgamified‚ÄĚ class¬†here.
How can gamification help you?  That’s what I’m going to spend some time talking about on this blog.  With each entry in this extended series, I’ll share a trick for making your class more engaging.  Ready to get started?Let’s start with the basics.  If you’re going to restructure your whole class as a game, I’ve broken apart several of the components for you.  This video starts with the concept of avatars.

Are you using avatars in your classroom?  Do you have questions or want to make other points?  Leave a comment below.  I would love to hear from you!

Your Virtual Tech Mentor,


Recognize Incremental Learning and Increase Motivation with Badging

Let’s face it. ¬†Most students will find a subject that, no matter how hard they try, they just won’t get an A in. ¬†And while grades are a measure of what students know, and an important measure at that, for students who struggle, they seem unattainable, at least for certain subjects.

Enter badges, or as some call them, micro-credentials.  Every student, regardless of final grade, learns skills in a unit that add up to skills in a class.  Why not recognize those skills?  For example, in my previous days of teaching ninth grade literature, Romeo and Juliet was a major unit in the Spring.  During that unit, they learned drama terms, iambic pentameter, and the complex language and hidden meanings of the bard.

Had I known about badges then, I could have awarded one for each of those skills. ¬†And I don’t just believe in fluff! ¬†They would have had to complete a related assignment to prove their knowledge of that skill. ¬†Imagine how empowering that would be for a student–to know that they could learn parts of the whole and work toward the whole, but that their efforts wouldn’t have resulted in disappointment at the end of the unit. ¬†In the words of Cher, “If I could turn back time.”

In addition to Shakespearean language, which might not have as many practical applications as some other ideas, badges can be awarded for job skills in career-related classes in our high schools. ¬†I have one brother in graphic design and another on the programming side of the computer science field. ¬†My goal is to possibly connect some design/comp sci students with someone in the “real world” who could review their employable skills and award micro-credentials that would hold weight when they apply for jobs and internships after school ends. Badges aren’t just for fluff. ¬†They are for the latent skills not often rewarded by the traditional school experience.

Have I piqued your interest on badging? Check out this video on the basics.  I would love to help you begin badging in your classroom, so leave a comment.  Also, this post is the second in a series.  Check out this post about my gamification passion and integrating avatars into the classroom.

With Tech and Twang,

Suzy Signature Pink