Monday, January 16, 2017

Create Your Online Portfolio for your Next Interview: Tutorial

Looking for a way to impress the interview committee and show your tech skills?  An online portfolio is a modern tool being used by many candidates.  Let me share a little about why you might want to consider creating this online portfolio.

First Things First:  Why?

An online portfolio is a great visual representation of your achievements, your background, and digital proof of what you can do.    Digital media allows you to add a video introduction, images of you completing tasks that relate to the position, and a great place to add your Entry Plan, Resume, Reference Letters, and a Presentation.  Think of it as a HUB for all of your great documents.

What Software Should You Use?
If you are hoping to land a job right and looking for a FREE site, Weebly is my best recommendation.

It is easy even if you are a beginner in digital platforms.

STEP 1: After you create a Weebly account, pick the theme you that fits your needs.  Since we are wanting to create a portfolio, it only seems appropriate to click portfolio.

The Easiest Way to Create a Website.

Here are the choices of portfolio themes.  Don't worry about what it looks like because you can customize it.  Just find the theme with the LAYOUT that you like.

STEP 2: Start customizing your site.  This part is easier to show you with a video tutorial.  To view the video- you will need FLASH on your computer.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Customize your own picture slideshow

STEP 3: Password Protect Your Site
I highly recommend protecting your information on a site that contains all of your information.  If you do not, anyone can locate your site and view your name, address, telephone number, and any other information from your resumes and documents on the site.

STEP 4: Publish
The site cannot be viewed without clicking publish.

STEP 5:  
Place your link on your resume and other documents for the interview committee to use.  Make sure the link is hyperlinked properly so it works for the committee.  You can check this by placing the URL (link) into your address bar of your search engine (Google, Safari, Firefox, etc)

Make sure the committee has the password to unlock the contents if you decided to password protect your Portfolio.  

Need some interview questions and an entry plan?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

How to Print 600 Color Copies for less than $10

Printing has been a hot topic in my home.  I go through new ink cartridges in just a matter of a few weeks.  Before I know it, I'm spending over $70 to replace the ink cartridges in my printer.  Moreover, printing service companies are just as expensive as printing it yourself.

 I knew there had to be a better way.

I went to Best Buy and found a very nice man who understood my troubles.  He shared with me how he is a presenter/speaker on the side.  He prints tons of manuals using his HP Printer.  He told me about HP Instant Ink. Before the Instant Ink service, he was spending a ton of money on ink to print his manuals.

To be honest, I am typically a bit skeptical of this kind of stuff because if it sounds too good to be usually is.  But I was willing to give it a try.  I really had nothing to lose at this point.  All I knew at this point was I wasn't going to spend another $70 on ink this week.

Here are some pictures that help explain the program.


Make sure your printer is eligible.

I did purchase a new printer but, you may not need a new one.  There is a list of printers that will work with this program.  My printers (yes, I had more than one color printer) were in need of an update.  I decided on the HP Office Jet Pro 6968.  (Note:  Your printer must be eligible.  Just check the list to see if your printer will work with the plan.)

Using the image above, Frequent Printing (300-page plan):
As you can see I will only spend $120 this entire year on ink.  I will save around $700 this year on printing.  With the amount of printing I do on a normal basis, I really think my savings are more in the $900 range.

Simply pick the plan that works best for your printing needs.  If you have a lot of printing, go with the plan that gives you more copies.

I was interested in the $9.99 per month plan because of my printing needs.  I can switch month-to-month and pick a cheaper plan.  But I have a big conference coming up and I need a lot of copies.
I am on the $9.99 plan for this month.

What the plan does for me:

The ink will be shipped straight to my house.  The printer knows when I am running low on ink.  It keeps track of all my copies.  With my $9.99 plan, I can print 300 copies.  If I go over 300 copies, I can print another 25 pages for just $1. 

No more running out of ink or worrying about spending tons of money on replacing cartridges.  

When I signed up, I received an extra 300 copies (extra month free)!  This month I can print my 600 copies in black/white or color for less than $10!

If I don't use all the copies for the month, it rolls over!

It is that simple.  It is that good.


My ink cartridges are sent by mail.  Service is NOT based on how many cartridges you use, so print as many high-quality photos as you like.

You will receive the ink BEFORE you need it.  No more running out of ink!

Enjoy the freedom of not stressing over the costs and running out of ink.  It is totally worth my sanity and a lot less "heated debates" in my home.

Doesn't this sound great?  I am thrilled to have this feature.  If you're interested in the ease of printing and saving money, you can use my referral link, here.

You might find the information below helpful when making your decision.
Q and A's

What are the requirements to enroll? 
An eligible HP printer, Internet (so they know when to send you the ink), an email address, and payment for billing purposes.

Will I get cartridges every month?
NO, you will only get cartridges when your printer tells HP Instant Ink you need them.  The ink cartridges are extra high capacity, and they contain months-worth of ink depending on your usage.

Is the cost the same for photos, color, and black and white pages?
Yes!  You can print full-color photos, color documents, or high-quality black and white pages.  Each page costs the same.  Your monthly fee is based on the number of pages you print, not on the amount of ink you use!

When will HP send replacement cartridges?
HP will send you cartridges before you run out of ink.  When your enrolled printer is connected to the internet, your printer automatically orders ink for you because it knows when you are low on ink.  Cartridges are sent using standard shipping, so they might take up to 10 business days to arrive, however, your printer will take shipping time and regular ink usage into account when it orders your ink.

What if you do not use all of your pages in the month?
They roll over to the next month!

Where is this available?
Currently, the program is only available in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and France.  They are planning on expanding, so keep checking back on the HP Instant Ink site for updates on when HP Instant Ink will be available in other countries.

*I do not share products unless I totally believe in them.  This is my honest reflection of the service and how it has helped me.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

World's Best Grammar Checker for Free!

I have been blogging for three years now.  I have to admit I have made some careless mistakes over the years.  Several mistakes were just because I was in a rush or just flat out tired from a long day of work.  Since I spend a lot of time writing, I thought about hiring an editor.  However, hiring an editor was just not an option.  That could just get too expensive.   I didn't want to hire an editor to check every piece of work- emails, documents, social media, and campaigns.

A few months ago, I began searching the internet for just the right tool to use.

I found a solution.  My solution is a free tool called Grammarly.  It is known as The World's Best Grammar Checker!  Since Grammarly worked so well for me, I thought you should all know about this free tool too.

Since I downloaded the tool to my computer, I have never looked back.  This free writing app makes sure everything I type is easy to read, effective, and mistake-free.

Instant Grammar Checker - Correct all grammar errors and enhance your writing.

Take a look at my computer screen below to see how Grammarly works.

I omitted the "s" in the word challenges to show how Grammarly catches even the smallest mistakes.

Grammarly will appear in my emails and even in this blog with a green circle.  When it catches a mistake, the error will appear red and I'm provided a suggestion.
Grammarly Logo

Here are some other great features:

Punctuation, Sentence Structure, Style, and Spelling!

Grammarly allows for school accounts too.  You can set up an account for your entire school.  Students and teachers can simply upload their document or it can check it right inside Microsoft Word.

I decided many months ago to just install the free browser extension for Chrome and Safari.  This allows me to use Grammarly on every site on the web.  Adding Grammarly to my Safari and Chrome extension means that my spelling and grammar will be vetted on GMAIL, Facebook, Twitter, and nearly everywhere I write on the web.

Grammarly has a ton of extra features not included in the free version.  In Grammarly Premium, you can supercharge your writing performance and leave no error unchecked.  Grammarly Premium gives you vocabulary enhancement suggestions, detects plagiarism, provides citation suggestions, as well as, gives suggestions for different writing styles, including academic, technical, and creative.

This post was proofread by Grammarly

I hope you find this helpful.  If your profession calls for a little writing or even a lot of writing, check out Grammarly.  It's FREE!

Friday, January 6, 2017

School-Wide Student Incentive Chart

Super Star Squares- an inexpensive way to motivate students on your campus.  This is a great school-wide implementation but, it can be easily used in individual classrooms as well.

Take a look at Super Star Squares.  

How to use Super Star Squares:

Option A: Individual Classroom
Print the chart in 8x10 for individual classrooms. Teachers display the chart in a central location in the classroom. 

Option B: School-Wide
Enlarge in poster size for the entire school.  Display the large poster in a common area of the school.  For example, the main hallway or office door.  

2.  Students will sign their name to a square as they are caught being good or recognized for their positive behavior.  They can pick any square.  

When you see a student being good or displaying great leadership skills, instruct them to go sign a square.  If this is being implemented in every classroom, the students will sign the one located in the classroom.  If school-wide, students will sign the one large poster in the common area.

3.  Explain to students the "what, when, why, and how" of the incentives.  Students need to know what are the expectations to get to sign the chart.  Explain when the rewards will take place and what the reward will be.  The rewards can be as large or small as you see necessary.  Some suggestions- pizza with the principal, extra recess, special seating, etc... Pick a day for the reward and inform your staff so they can make this a priority in the classrooms.

4.  Draw a number or numbers from the draw pile.  Call the number or numbers out over the intercom.  The students will be listening for their number to be called.  These students will earn the reward.  If you call out the number 8, all the number 8's from every classroom will come to the office on the day of the reward.  If you have a small school, think about calling out more than one number so more students can participate.

Another option:  This is a great motivational tool for the cafeteria.  We all know the cafeteria can be wild.  Use the poster to reward positive cafeteria behavior as well.

5.  Repeat this throughout the year so students can earn rewards from the principal.

If you do not have a poster maker, here is a post about how I took an 8x10 piece of paper and created a poster from it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Monday Motivation - Easy Printables

Monday Motivation couldn't be easier with Merry Monday and a Happy New Week!  Everyone needs a little pick me up on Mondays.  This is a great time to pump up your staff and give them a bit of encouragement as they begin their week.

Mondays are a struggle.  We all experience a bit of hesitation on Mondays.  Merry Monday and a Happy New Week is like a cup of coffee- warm and cozy.  I created this to help bring a smile, a cheer, and a few words to uplift your staff.

Take a look.

Let me share how to use it:

1.  Email a page on Monday.  The file comes in both PNG and PDF.  

2.  Create a bulletin board in a common area of your school.

Here is a quick look at a sample.  It includes the quote and "food for thought" all on one page.  The second page is the quote in full color for a bulletin board display.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Culture of Accountability

A culture of accountability makes a good organization great and a great organization unstoppable.- Henry Evans 

In this blog post, I want to share with you Chapter 1 of this amazing book- Winning with Accountability.

In Evans book, Winning with Accountability, he shares how winning begins with accountability.  However, accountability has a very nasty perception and reputation.  Accountability is often punitive and comes up when something goes wrong or someone does something wrong.  It is often a pointing of the fingers and a blame game.

You cannot sustain success without accountability.  Period.  It is a vital part of winning and success.

Look at the definition of accountability as defined by Webster's Dictionary-

"the quality or state of being accountable; an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility for one's actions."

This does not sound punitive, right?  It is a positive statement- obligation...willingness...responsibility...

Evans says it is necessary for us to reframe accountability into a more positive mindset.  It is important that we view accountability as the secret sauce within our schools that can create or prevent us from reaching success. It shouldn't bring about fear, stress, or even those "punitive measures."

Accountability is not necessarily about holding everyone else accountable.  It is about each and every person holding themselves accountable for the results.  It is also about having a willingness to be held accountable by others.

So how do we change the perception of accountability to being more of a positive tone?  

It is all achieved by front-loading accountability.  Front loading accountability means the sender (leader, principal, director, coordinator) has to provide specifics, including clear expectations.  Both parties are responsible - the sender and receiver.  The receiver can ask questions for clarification or restate the message.  This two-way communication style builds trust and sets the road to success.  

For example, in my years as a principal, my superintendent would give an assignment or task to be completed.  She would give suggestions on how it should be handled, completed, and may even tell us how it should look.  The expectations were clear up front.  The specifics were provided.  There's no reason for it not to be completed on time or to the expectations being set.

Front-loading accountability helps to:
  • increase performance
  • allocate resources
  • increase employee job satisfaction
  • improve results
Taking this information and applying it to our school setting is very easy.  I know we need to change the mindset of accountability to be more positive.  Without it, we could possibly all be working on the wrong things or have a lack of direction and purpose. #keepyoureyesontheprize

His book, Winning with Accountability, is tended for business but it is a great read in education or even for personal inspiration too.  I truly think I can take every chapter and apply it to our role as school leaders.

Stay tuned for the next chapter!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Principal and Assistant Principal Organizational Binder


 I just can't help that I love gold.  I had no plans of making a change to my current binder.   The Floral with Gold Principal Binder is beautiful too.  I simply love it.  But I had a creative moment and before I knew it... A Texas Principal, Assistant Principal Binder was born.

Honestly, I know without a doubt what sparked me to sit down at the computer and begin to create a new binder.  It was this-a beautiful font called Be Bright.

There are two things I love, besides faith and family.  I love digital graphics and fonts.  I admit I have an obsession with these things.

So here's a look at the new Texas Principal, Assistant Principal binder.  It has editable pages so you can create additional dividers and additional covers.  If you are not a Principal or Assistant Principal, you can still use this.  Just create your own title on the pages.

The dividers keep all the important documents organized in our binders.  I don't include everything in my binder.  Some items I keep filed in my desk and the rest I keep in my binder.  It's important to arrange your binder with the most important things so you can transport it to all your meetings on or off campus.

New in this binder is a school drill reporting log.  This is a perfect addition to the binder.  Now we can keep better records of the monthly drills.  

Birthdays and Anniversaries, and Important Dates pages are also included. 
Take a look at the To-Do list pages.  They can be printed and placed on your desk or by your phone.  During the day, jot down all the things you need to get done and mark them off when completed.
I have also included a journaling notes pages as well.  

The calendars are nondated which allows you to use them year-after-year.