Category Archives: LIFE + STYLE

6 Tips To Make Online Teaching Easier Right Now

April 23, 2020

It is going to be a long time before we ‘Get Ready to Roll Back to School’, and for one group of people teachers – both at school and extracurricular – that means adapting to being a remote educator. Online teaching can be fun and convenient, but it can also be challenging. Not only do you need to have a level of proficiency in remote working technology, but you’ll also need to prepare a different way of teaching compared to your traditional arrangement. For those readers who are teachers we have compiled six tips to make your job easier and to ensure that you can continue working:

1. Learn the tech

First thing is familiarizing yourself with what you need to teach online, such as your computer, internet connection, and the software and platforms you will use. Your computer should be able to handle video software and several high-memory using applications at once. The internet connection must also be fast enough to let you stream videos and make video calls without any lagging as this will affect your ability to teach and host lessons. As for software, your school likely has its own recommendations. But if the choice is yours, either Google Classroom or Edmodo would be perfect, as both have everything you’ll need for an online classroom while being easy to use and understand.

2. Show yourself

One of the tips shared in The Conversation’s article on better online teaching is to show yourself to your students. That’s because lecture videos or discussions showing the instructor’s face has been found to be more effective as opposed to narrated slideshows or PowerPoint presentations. However, you can still intersperse presentations/slides with videos of yourself, as long as these videos are short and informative. Anything over 15 minutes can be slow to download, and even distracting, so make sure everything is “bite-sized” and easy to digest.

3. Leverage asynchronous learning

Harvard Business Publishing identifies asynchronous learning as one of the great benefits of online teaching. This simply means that students have the ability engage in their lessons even when your online class isn’t ongoing. With that in mind, record your lessons, provide the necessary resources, and then assign thought-provoking tasks. Give your students leeway, but do set “hard and clear deadlines.” This keeps you from micromanaging your online class, leaving you with more time to prepare your other lessons and activities.

4. Keep things simple

A drawback of distance learning is that your students will have to tackle things on their own. This will require a great deal of focus and self-direction on their part. So, to make things easier for them, Edutopia suggests keeping things as simple as possible. This means designing learning experiences with clear, specific instructions, utilizing one or two resources only, and providing easily accessible PDF files. It also means being lean and concise with how you deliver new information, as conveying instructions across a screen is very different to doing so face-to-face. In keeping things simple, you’ll avoid over-complicating your lesson plans and activities, as well as unnecessarily confusing your students.

5. Use a good screencasting software

Some teachers aren’t familiar with screencasting software, let alone screencasting itself. Don’t let that be the case, as screencasts can serve as great visual aids. The best in this regard is Screencast-O-Matic, which is #1 in HP’s feature on the best screencasting software for teachers. Affordable and easy to use, Screencast-O-Matic lets you record, edit, and share videos for free. It even has a full version (for a $20 annual fee) that lets you hide your wallpaper when recording giving you added privacy. For a free and equally easy to use alternative, you can try Loom. It is basically like Screencast-O-Matic, but sans the subscription and green screen option. With screencasting, you’ll have plenty of options when making informative and engaging presentations.

6. Stay fluid

Instead of teaching while sitting down, consider teaching while standing and setting your laptop on a higher platform. This way, you can still stay mobile. If you want to take it to the next level, check out our review of balance board FluidStance, an omnidirectional board that lets you tilt to every direction, causing just enough wobble for you to burn calories without getting distracted. The perfect way to teach from home and stay fit at the same time.

 

photo: Julia M. Cameron via Pexels

Join the 100,000 Orchid Challenge by Gifting a Box of Orchids in time for Mother’s Day

April 16, 2020

For over forty years Californian orchid grower Westerlay Orchids has produced some of the Pacific Coast’s most beautiful blooms, shipping over three million plants annually to local grocery stores throughout the Western US. Now, the company issues a “100,000 Orchid Challenge” to uplift and inspire communities throughout California by sending orchids to front line workers and those isolated in quarantine.

“We’re showing our gratitude to those on the front lines of this pandemic, setting a goal of sending 100,000 flowering orchids to nurses, doctors, and other hospital staff in California,” explains Westerlay Orchids Owner Toine Overgaag. “We need the community’s help to reach this goal, so we are looking for significant financial sponsorships to help cover partial costs while ensuring the livelihood of our 120 employees and the survival of our business.

Starting locally, Westerlay Orchids will ship to several major Los Angeles hospitals within the week. Join the “100,000 Orchid Challenge” by visiting Box of Orchids and send a box of orchids at well below wholesale price to your Mom for Mothers Day, or anyone you want to send love to.  Orchids can be shipped anywhere in CA, NV, OR and AZ.

Level Up Your Work From Home Station With Fluidstance

March 28, 2020

Up your standing desk game now and thank me later, with Fluidstance.

We are trying to figure out this new WFH life. For so many of us – movement has slowed to a halt. Here’s a way to stay fluid and why you should…

WHY: The Science Behind the Balance Board


Your body isn’t made to sit in a chair for 8 hours a day, and you know it. 

Standing to work is better than sitting… but it can still leave you with posture problems, an aching lower back, and stiff knees and ankles.

FluidStance is an “omnidirectional” balance board – they let you tilt from side to side, front to back with 360-degree freedom. There’s just enough wobble to keep you burning calories — but not so much that it’s distracting.

If you want to stand more, choose the only balance boards backed by research from the Mayo Clinic. Your knees, back, and boss will thank you.

We are loving the classic Plane Cloud balance board, in 2 understated colors. It features the same carefully engineered, 360-degree-tilt geometry of their pioneering Level® deck, but with a smaller (and softer) footprint.

Stand comfortably for longer on the Plane Cloud’s cushy, textured foam top. Your natural micro-movements on this board will strengthen and stabilize your body, soothe stiff joints, burn calories, and keep you awake and alert — even through the overwhelming urge to curl up under your desk after lunch.

The Plane Cloud is made from 100% recycled materials, helping reduce landfill waste. Treat your feet AND be kind to the Earth? Talk about a win-win.

Also! Extruded plastic sourced from 100% post-industrial recycled materials used for the base of The Plane.

The FluidStance team has created a code for you guys!

It is GROOMED_15 and offers a 15% discount off the Level, Original and Plane Cloud decks!

The code is valid till April 30 for the time being. 

Smarty Pants – Wellness For Kids

With our ever-changing lives flipped upside down, we are home and focusing on our wellness more than ever. At-home workouts, recipes and more are inundating our inbox and I was excited to learn about SmartyPants a leader in whole family wellness, led by fellow mom Courtney Nichols Gould who launched the brand while on a mission to simplify health without sacrificing quality.

The product line currently consists of toddler, kids, teens, prenatal, women’s, men’s and 50+ with baby launching soon. As part of their commitment to the consumer’s health and best interest in mind, SmartyPants bases their formulas on the daily recommended intakes of nutrients as advised by the latest scientific research, their scientific advisory board and the most up-to-date recommendations by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences (formerly the Institute of Medicine).

The brand just announced their expansion with the launch of their newest product – Baby Multi & DHA—the first baby multivitamin with omega-3 DHA and lutein, designed to focus on cognitive development and healthy growth for the first years of life. The new product completes the company’s extensive vision to provide cutting-edge, science-backed supplements for all stages of life, from pre-natal through 50+.

The pediatrician-designed liquid supplement (naturally flavored) is made for children 6 – 24 months and includes 13 premium nutrients including omega-3 DHA essential fatty acids (from algal oil) for brain and eye health, vitamin D3 for bone health, vitamin C for immunity, and lutein, choline and iodine for cognitive development — all in one delicious serving without any artificial colors and flavors. SmartyPants designed its Baby Multi & DHA to help in the critical transition from breast milk and formula to a diet that emphasizes solid foods. SmartyPants focused on developing its product so it included important nutrients such as DHA, lutein, and choline as these nutrients become less prevalent in their primary food sources.

In our current climate, it is always important to give back, and SmartyPants isn’t short of that philosophy. For every bottle sold, a 1•for•1 nutrient grant is made to Vitamin Angels to help get life-changing nutrients to mothers, children and babies in need around the world. To-date, SmartyPants has made over 12 million grants, making it Vitamin Angels’ largest brand contributor.

SmartyPants Baby Multi & DHA will be available on Amazon and in the vitamin aisle of Target and other retailers early April.

For more information, please visit www.smartypantsvitamins.com.

Spring Things On Our Radar: ZIIP, WHOOP, MOBOT, CANVAS 1839

March 14, 2020

ZIIP: The infamous, one and only, from Melanie Simon – an electrical facial in the palm of your hand. Nanocurrents and microcurrents communicate with your skin cells, increasing their effectiveness, prompting them to heal, and encouraging them to make an abundance of collagen and elastin. The result is healthy, lifted, glowing skin that gets better over time. A no brainer must have.

WHOOP: High-performance tech  Balance your daily recovery, strain and sleep, train optimally and unlock the secrets to your body’s true potential…Whoop!

MOBOT: The foam roller/water bottle for everyday use and high-performance activity. MOBOTs are designed to carry with you and help you roll out anywhere. Sustainable, eco-friendly to help your body and planet.

CANVAS 1839 : Canvas creates the most bioavailable products on the market today in the cannabis space. All made with 100% ultra-potent, pharmaceutical-grade CBD and never psychoactive.