Last night I became a kid again.
No, I didn’t invent a time machine, but I was reminded of an important lesson, one most kids have mastered and adults too often forget. Yesterday, my school’s PTA hosted a “Valentines for Vets Family Fun Night.” This year, our students and staff have a goal of creating over 4,000 valentines to send to veterans and members of the military who are currently serving our country. Last night families gathered in our Multipurpose Room for about an hour and a half to make valentines. For 90 minutes, students and parents created original valentines and colored valentine templates while they snacked on goodies and listened to music. Folks had a blast!
I joined in as well. I grabbed a few valentines and markers, sat down, and began coloring. And then something awesome happened. The world slowed down. Despite music and probably a hundred people around me, the noise in the room seemed to fade. It was just the markers and me, focusing on coloring within the lines. It was peaceful. It was therapeutic.
And I told myself at that moment, “I need to color more.” We all need to color more. I would dare to say that most of us used to draw and color all the time when we were kids, but then we grew up and coloring went away. Because coloring is for kids.
But it doesn’t have to be. We need to remember to “color” once in a while, take a break from the stress and busyness of our lives and focus on something else. Maybe that means sitting down with your kids and coloring with them, putting your “to-do” list on hold. Maybe it means taking a trip to your local “paint your own pottery” shop. Maybe it means grabbing a book and reading for pleasure – not reading because you have to, but because you want to. I was reminded of how focused and peaceful I feel when I spend time with God, reading His Word. That’s how I need to color more.
Last night I became a kid again. And it felt good.
Are you in charge of planning/organizing an event? Do you lead a class of students or a team of players? Wouldn’t it be great if you could create a mobile app that would help you put information about your event or group in people's hands’ (literally)? With Yapp, you can! Yapp is an awesome, web-based service that allows you to easily create your very own mobile app for iPhone or Android. And you can do it in minutes. Yes, minutes. No coding experience necessary. No complicated software to download. No headaches. Oh, and it’s free!
Simply go to www.yapp.us and sign up for a free account. Then use the simplistic templates and themes to create your app. The user interface is incredibly easy to use. Try it. You’ll see. You can include basic information, a schedule, pictures, videos, a Twitter feed, and more. You can even add interactivity to your app by allowing users to post text and photos to the app. If you want to get really fancy, you can even send user-created posts as push notifications. Seriously, Yapp is awesome.
Once you’re done creating your app, you simply invite people to download it by sending them a URL to open on their mobile phone (or you can have them scan a QR code). This prompts users to download the free Yapp app (available for both iOS and Android). Once the Yapp app is installed on a user’s phone, your app can be viewed within the main Yapp app.
There are so many possibilities for using Yapp. If you’re a classroom teacher, you could create an app for your class(es). If you’re a coach, you could create an app for your team with schedules, game information, etc. Yapp’s website lists possible uses like weddings, conferences, book clubs, reunions, and fundraisers. I am a co-organizer of EdCamp Murrieta, and after recently discovering Yapp, I created an app for the event, start to finish, in about 30 minutes. It’s that easy. You can download our app by going to http://my.yapp.us/LVULN9 on your mobile phone or by scanning the QR code below.
As Yapp’s motto says, “If you can type and tap, you can Yapp.” Give it a try. If you create an app using Yapp, leave the link in the comments section, as I’d love to see what you create.
Brent has worked in the field of education as a teacher and administrator for 25 years. He is currently Principal of Alta Murrieta Elementary School in Murrieta, California. Read more about Brent here.
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