Hamilton: The Musical Based on the Man

The Teacher Training program I’m involved with usually goes abroad during the school vacation periods for additional training and cultural experiences in a Western country (USA, Canada, England, Australia, etc). However, since 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, travel abroad has been canceled.

Therefore, I was asked to present on American history or culture in order to provide a small taste of the experience they will miss by not going abroad this session. So, I selected Hamilton: The Musical because it tells the story of the American Revolution up to the founding of the US government through the eyes of one of its key members, the first Secretary of the Treasury, and the man on the $10 bill: Alexander Hamilton.

Additionally, Disney+ released the full Broadway musical as a movie in July 2020 during the pandemic, just before the first time I gave this presentation. The timing was perfect.


Why did I choose to introduce you to this particular musical?

  1. I was asked to present on American History & Culture
  2. This story tells of the foundation of the United States of America and its government – from the American Revolution against Britain to the establishment of the US government and the third US President (Jefferson)

Alexander Hamilton was a US Founding Father

  • 1 of 7 key figures (John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton,
    John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, & George Washington)
  • He wrote majority of The Federalist Papers (51 of 85), that argued for ratification of the Constitution
  • Hamilton is one of very few key figures to appear on US currency. His face is on the $10 bill
  1. It is one of the most popular & decorated (award-winning) musicals of all time (with 16 Tony nominations, 11 wins, and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama)
  2. It is musically, lyrically, a work of art – choreographed beautifully, with so many small details, hidden meanings, and foreshadowing, it would be a shame NOT to learn about it
  3. It was released as a full-length movie on Disney+ in July 2020, just in time for the first time I gave this presentation during the Covid-19 pandemic

Reviews of the Musical

“2015’s best rap album isn’t by Drake, Kendrick Lamar or Dr. Dre — it’s the cast recording of Hamilton, a vital companion to the most creative, most talked-about musical to hit Broadway this millennium.”

Billboard Review

“Yes, it really is that good.”

New York Times Review

Let’s start with getting to know the three most important people who made this musical / movie possible.

Rob Chernow

Rob Chernow is a Historian and Biographer whose 818-page biography about Alexander Hamilton served as the main inspiration for the musical. Chernow reviewed over 22,000 archival documents and research papers about Hamilton, including many of Hamilton’s own writings in order to write the book. After publication, it stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 3-months, and Chernow also served as historical consultant on the musical.

Other notable works:

  • The House of Morgan (J.P. Morgan) (812 p.)
  • Titan (John D. Rockefeller, Sr.) (774p.)
  • Alexander Hamilton (818p.)
  • Washington: A Life (904p. + Pulitzer Prize for Biography)
  • Grant (Ulysses S. Grant) (1,104p.)

“If Washington is the father of the country and Madison the father of the Constitution, then Alexander Hamilton was surely the father of the American government.

Rob Chernow on Hamilton

Lin Manuel-Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda is an actor, songwriter, and producer who wrote all the song lyrics for Hamilton: The Musical which first hit Broadway in 2015. Hamilton won 11 Tony awards (16 nominations), and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The Musical has been so famous and popular that it had 7 US productions, and 2 international productions (including Hamburg and Sydney), as well as a full-length movie released on Disney+ in July 2020.

Other Notable Works:

  • In The Heights (Broadway, 2008) – 13 Tony nominations (4 wins) + 1 Grammy
  • Bring It On: The Musical (Broadway, 2012)
  • Hamilton: The Musical (Broadway, 2015)
  • Moana (Disney, 2016) – He wrote the songs
  • Mary Poppins Returns (Disney, 2018) – He was the chimney sweep

“America then, as told by America now.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda on casting non-white actors for the Founding Fathers

(In the 2020 census, there were nearly 40% “non-white” respondents.)

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton was one of the seven most important Founding Fathers of the US (including John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, & George Washington).

Notable works:

  1. Influential interpreter & promoter of the U.S. Constitution
  2. Main writer of The Federalist Papers (51 of 85) that argued for ratification of the U.S. Constitution
  3. Founder of the nation’s financial system, the Federalist Party (which dissolved after his death), the United States Coast Guard, and the New York Post newspaper
  4. First secretary of the treasury & the main author of George Washington’s economic policies
  5. Led the federal government’s funding of the states’ debts
  6. Established the nation’s first two de facto central banks, the Bank of North America and the First Bank of the United States
  7. Established a system of tariffs & friendly trade relations with Britain

“I have resolved…to reserve and throw away my first fire, and I have thoughts even of reserving my second fire – and thus giving a double opportunity to Col Burr to pause and to reflect.”

Alexander Hamilton reflecting on & writing about his upcoming pistol duel with Aaron Burr

Hamilton: The Musical

Hamilton: The Musical is broken into two Acts with an Intermission between them. Each Act contains 23 songs on the album, although there is a 24th song in Act one that wasn’t released on the album. Additionally, each Act runs approximately one hour and eleven minutes:

  • Act 1: 24 songs, 1:11:11+
  • Act 2: 23 songs, 1:11:27

The following video shows the “Best 20 Hamilton Songs” as ranked by WatchMojo. For the most part, I agree with this list, but there are a few others that I starred in the lists below that I also think are quite good.

Overall, the entire musical is a lyrical phenomenon, so it’s hard to judge between them. But this is a pretty good list to get started with.

I’ve also provided links to the Wikipedia page for each song (where one exists), as well as the full lyrics, and the Namu Wiki page for my Korean students to have a better time understanding.

Act 1

In which Hamilton joins the Revolutionary Army in the battle for independence from England.

Act 1 can be broken into two parts of relatively equal length:

  1. The setup, situation, & characters
  2. War with Britain

The full synopsis of Act 1 can be read on Wikipedia here.

20Alexander Hamilton3:56Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
19Aaron Burr, Sir2:36Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
2My Shot5:33Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
**The Story of Tonight1:31Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
5The Schuyler Sisters3:06Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
Farmer Refuted1:52Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
16You’ll Be Back3:28Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
Right Hand Man5:21Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
A Winter’s Ball1:09Lyrics | 나무위키
9Helpless4:09Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
3Satisfied5:29Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
The Story of Tonight [Reprise]1:55Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
4Wait For It3:13Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
Stay Alive2:39Lyrics | 나무위키
*Ten Duel Commandments1:46Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
*Meet Me Inside1:23Lyrics | 나무위키
That Would Be Enough2:58Lyrics | 나무위키
6Guns and Ships2:07Lyrics | 나무위키
*History Has its Eyes on You1:37Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
1Yorktown4:02Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
What Comes Next?1:39Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
17Dear Theodosia3:04Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
Tomorrow There’ll Be More of Us1:08?Wiki
11Non-Stop6:25Lyrics | 나무위키


Act 2

In which Hamilton’s efforts in the birth of the fledgling nation takes an increasing toll.

Act 2 can also be broken into two parts of relatively equal length:

  1. Establishing a new government
  2. Affair, repercussions, political enemies, tragic end

The full synopsis of Act 2 can be read on Wikipedia here.

14What’d I Miss?3:56Lyrics | 나무위키
**Cabinet Battle #13:35Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
Take a Break4:46Lyrics | 나무위키
13Say No to This4:02Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
7The Room Where it Happens5:18Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
Schuyler Defeated1:03Lyrics | 나무위키
Cabinet Battle #22:22Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
***Washington on Your Side3:01Lyrics | 나무위키
12One Last Time4:56Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
*I Know Him1:37Lyrics | 나무위키
The Adams Administration0:54Lyrics | 나무위키
We Know2:22Lyrics | 나무위키
*Hurricane2:23Lyrics | 나무위키
The Reynolds Pamphlet2:08Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
8Burn3:45Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
*Blow Us All Away2:53Lyrics | 나무위키
***Stay Alive [Reprise]1:51Lyrics | 나무위키
18It’s Quiet Uptown4:30Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
15The Election of 18003:57Lyrics | 나무위키
Your Obedient Servant2:30Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
Best of Wives and Best of Women0:47Lyrics | 나무위키
***The World Was Wide Enough5:02Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키
10Who Lives, Who Dies,
Who Tells Your Story
3:37Lyrics | Wiki | 나무위키

The Duel

The duel with Aaron Burr is the most (in)famous part of Hamilton’s life, and before the Musical, probably one of the only things (besides his face on the $10 bill) that many children in the US would remember about his life.

And given the significance of this event, I thought it would be good to include the song from the Musical that details it.

In the song:

“Burr and Hamilton travel to New Jersey for the duel. Burr reflects on the moments leading up to the duel, stating that one of them will have to die. Burr and Hamilton walk the requisite ten paces, with Burr firing first, and time freezes as Hamilton reflects on his legacy, before throwing away his shot. Burr shoots him between the ribs and Hamilton eventually dies, mourned upon by Eliza, Angelica, and the rest of the cast. Burr laments that though he survived, he is cursed to be remembered as the villain who killed Hamilton.” (Wikipedia)

So, Hamilton is dead, but Burr’s life is destroyed. Though he was the third Vice President of the US, along side Thomas Jefferson as President, he would never again hold any public office.


As a final note, and to further prove the popularity and cultural relevance of Hamilton: The Musical, here is a “Weird Al” polka of Hamilton. In the US, you know you’ve “made it” to the big time whenever Weird Al does a parody or a polka of one (or more) of your songs.

Marvel vs. DC Comics

This presentation was put together as a kind of “cultural study” for the Jeonju University Teacher Trainer program in July 2020. I introduced DC and Marvel comics, and detailed many of the differences and similarities between the two biggest comic book publishers in the US.

“Slugfest: Inside the Epic 50-Year Battle Between Marvel and DC” by Reed Tucker was instrumental in helping me prepare for this presentation.

Usually, the Teacher Training program I’m involved with goes abroad during the school vacation periods for additional training and cultural experiences in a Western country (USA, Canada, England, Australia, etc). However, since 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, travel abroad has been canceled. Therefore, it has become the responsibility of the regular teachers of the program to provide that additional training and cultural experiences to the best of our ability IN KOREA.

As a part of this additional training, I was asked to present on:

  1. Superhero comics (due to the increasing popularity of Marvel and DC movies)
  2. American history or culture (I selected Hamilton: The Musical – the presentation can be found here)

To help me prepare for this presentation, I read “Slugfest: Inside the Epic 50-Year Battle Between Marvel and DC” by Reed Tucker (affiliate link), which I found incredibly informational and useful.

DC vs. Marvel

Let’s start off with a couple of pictures:

  1. San Diego Comic Con (Do you know about Comic Con? Did you know Korea has one too?)
  2. DC comic book characters vs. Marvel comic book characters
  3. DC vs. Marvel cinematic universe characters (complete movie checklist)

What do you Know About DC vs. Marvel?

  1. Heroes
  2. Villains
  3. Sidekicks
  4. Team-ups
  5. Themes

DC Comics History

DC Comics History on Wikipedia

  • 1934: Business opened as National Allied Publications
  • 1935: Superman introduced
  • 1937: Name changed to Detective Comics
  • 1939: Batman introduced
  • 1940: The first DC logo was created
  • 1966: The Adam West Batman TV show began
  • 1967: DC was purchased by Kinney National (now WB)
  • 1970: DC acquired artist Jack Kirby from Marvel (formerly worked with Stan Lee)
  • 1976: Jenette Kahn became the first woman directorial editor
  • 1980: The New Teen Titans debuted
  • 2005: Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins trilogy began, and a new DC “spin” logo was introduced
  • 2009: WB restructuring
  • 2011: The New 52 comic was released
  • 2012: DC rebranded, The Dark Knight Rises was released to close out Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and the Arrow TV show debuted
  • 2016: Another DC rebirth and rebrand, Zack Snyder at the head of the DCEU (Extended Universe)

Marvel Comics History

Marvel Comics History on Wikipedia

  • 1932: Marvel began as a magazine publishing company (under a different name) – no comics yet
  • 1939: Timely Comics #1 was released, it later became Atlas Comics
  • 1941: Captain America was introduced
  • 1961: Stan Lee & Jack Kirby working together as a team began Marvel’s rise
  • 1962: Spiderman was introduced
  • 1963: The X-men were introduced
  • 1986: The company was sold
  • 1988: Todd McFarlane’s Spiderman (darker and edgier) was released
  • 1991: Marvel IPO (40% of the company was sold)
  • 1992-1995: Numerous acquisitions
  • 1996: The company filed for bankruptcy
  • 1998: The company emerged from bankruptcy
  • 2000: 20th Century Fox produced the first X-men movie
  • 2002: Sony produced the first Spiderman movie
  • 2009: Marvel was bought by Disney for $4.3 billion
  • 2015: Disney + Sony teamed up to bring Spiderman in to Captain America: Civil War

Company Comparison


– old-fashioned style, more traditional
– slightly more sluggish as an organization, more conservative
50% sell-through rate
– edgier, hipper comics
– more progressive
70% sell-through rate
Gained popularity in the 1930s-40s
– Eisenhower was president
– Great Depression / WWII
Gained popularity in the 1950s-60s
– JFK was president
– Hippies / Vietnam War
Capes, yesCapes, NO
Targeted youthTargeted young adults


– Superman
– Batman
– Wonder Woman
– Fantastic Four
– Spiderman
– X-men
Depicted as gods, super-powered beings, who were struggling to be humanDepicted as humans, who were accidentally granted super-powers, and were struggling with their new reality
– They had “god” struggles (end of the world)
– Unlimited resources
– They were flawless, too perfect, clean & tidy, “boy scouts” (and boring)
– They were the born good guys, the “perfect” hero
– They had “real” struggles (part-time jobs, girls, etc)
– Limited resources
– They were flawed humans, imperfect, messy, regular people
– Sometimes, they were the “anti-hero” – and struggled with hard decisions


– The art was often perfect
– It lacked flair, danger, and energy (especially the covers)
– There were individual fiefdoms among the artists / writers (less teamwork)
– They didn’t read other books, nor use outside talent
– The are was imperfect and stylized
– You could “stand across the room and know a Marvel cover”
– There was a cornucopia of creativity (more teamwork)
– Not only read other books, sometimes they stole ideas and artists from DC (and vice versa)
– Their characters each exist in their own universes (fake cities, places) and rarely interact with each other
– The stories are “one-off” stories, disjointed, not connected
– The characters themselves were the stars of the show
– Their characters existed in the same universe, our universe (real cities and places) and could interact regularly
– There was a coherent, consistent Marvel universe
– The writers & artists often became stars themselves (Stan Lee)


The first (and best) to TV & movies
– 1966: Adam West’s Batman
– 1978: Christopher Reeve’s Superman I
Shoddy movie & TV work at first

The company was innovative in multimedia, risk-taking
– They retained all the rights to their characters
– Their live action TV shows were their best offering
More conservative and controlling of their universe (less risks)
– Sold the rights to their characters to multiple companies
– Their animated TV shows were their best offering
The first to publish European style “books” with no ads
– 10% direct sales
The first to do “direct sales”
– 20% direct sales
– Multiple covers for the same issue (collector’s items)
– Also offered collectibles and other merchandise

Cinematic Universes

Movies & TV

Zack Snyder (Man of Steel director) had been the head of the DCEU
– The DCEU was director-controlled
Kevin Feige is the head of the MCU
– The MCU is overseen from above
Heroes tended to team up first (Justice League), and branch out into individual films later onHeroes have individual films first, THEN team-ups (Avengers)
Ex: Superman v. Batman
– Characters are straight men (less humor)
– The movie tone is dark, gritty, violent
Ex: Captain America: Civil War
– Characters are pranksters (humorous)
– The movie tone is colorful, humorous, and light
The DCEU has little overlap in its films, and more variety (but this also makes the universe less cohesive, not as strong)The MCU has one unified vision – all the characters exist together in the same universe and cross over all the time (this requires more planning up front, but has a much bigger payoff in the end)

Scene Fights!

This subsection includes a list of 10 different video essays (from ScreenCrush) that attempt to show where and why one particular movie in one universe worked and another (similar) movie in the other universe didn’t.

DCMarvelFIGHT! (Time)
Batman v. SupermanCaptain America: Civil War9:50
Justice LeagueAvengers15:52
Wonder WomanCaptain America12:28
Suicide SquadGuardians of the Galaxy12:42
AquamanBlack Panther11:26
The Dark KnightLogan15:15
Man of SteelIron Man10:53
Wonder WomanThor20:48
Snyder CutJosstice League26:04

Snyder Cut vs. Josstice League

What is the Snyder Cut? What is Josstice League?

Zack Snyder (director of Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman) was the original director of Justice League. However, he stepped down from directorial duties in post-production to properly deal with his daughter’s suicide.

Joss Whedon (director of Avengers, and co-writer on Justice League) stepped in to take over post-production duties.

While Zack Snyder’s vision for the film was darker, Whedon lightened the tone significantly during reshoots, adding in more jokes, and turning it into something more like the Avengers (Marvel) than Zack Snyder’s vision for DC. Ultimately, much of Cyborg’s back story (who Zack Snyder has said is actually “the heart of the story”) was also cut in order to fit the time frame of 2 hours running time.

In late 2017, after fans were disappointed with the Joss Whedon cut of the movie, an online petition gathered over 179,000 signatures to release the original director’s cut. In mid-2018, a website called ForSnyderCut.com was created to support the effort, and later the hashtag #ReleaseTheSnyderCut became a trending topic on Twitter. Finally, in 2021, during the Covid-19 pandemic, WB released a 4+ hour Snyder cut of the film on HBO Max on March 18, 2021 which was try to the original director’s original vision.

The Snyder Cut received significantly higher fan and critic reviews than the Josstice League cut.

Here are three more videos detailing the differences between the two versions of the film:

  1. All Differences from the Theatrical Version
  2. 23 Biggest Changes
  3. Top 10 Biggest Changes

Upcoming Releases


  1. The Suicide Squad (8.6.2021)
  2. The Batman (3.22.2022)
  3. Black Adam (7.29.2022) (alternate fan-made trailer)
  4. TV: Titans Season 3 (8.12.2021)


  1. Black Widow (7.7.2021 – already released) (Honest Trailer)
  2. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (9.3.2021)
  3. Eternals (11.4.2021)
  4. TV: What If…? (8.11.2021)


  1. Venom 2: Let there be Carnage (9.15.2021)

Actually, this is a good time to introduce just how splintered the rights to different Marvel franchises remains to this day.

  • Sony owns: All of Spiderman, sidekicks, villains, etc
  • Universal owns: All of Hulk, etc (and Namor the Submariner)
  • 20th Century Fox owns: All of X-men, etc
  • Disney (Marvel) owns: Everything else


Do you prefer one company or its characters over the other? Which one? Why?

I wonder what the characters themselves might think…

Brand Battle!

For this final section of the presentation, let’s consider some famous rivalries between other big name brands. Do you have one you prefer over the other?

  1. Microsoft vs. Apple
  2. Android (Google) vs. Apple
  3. Microsoft vs. Google
  4. Samsung vs. LG
  5. Adidas vs. Nike
  6. Under Armor vs. Nike
  7. Pepsi vs. Coca Cola
  8. McDonald’s vs. Burger King
  9. Dunkin Donuts vs. Starbucks
  10. Domino’s Pizza vs. Pizza Hut
  11. Facebook vs. What’s App
  12. USA vs. China

Can you think of any other big rivalries? Other big comic publishers? What about Korean comics?


0-100: Cultural Differences Between the US & Korea

I’ve lived in Korea for 15 years, teaching English (and computers) to all levels, from kindergarten to adult. I spent my first 26 years of life & education in the US, from kindergarten to university. I grew up in a typical American family, and I’m now raising a typical Korean family.

For these reasons, I was recently approached to give a presentation on Cultural Differences between the US (my home country) and Korea (my residence) to a group of high school students in Jeonju.

Now, there are plenty of good blog posts, YouTube videos, and discussions about cultural differences between the US and Korea already available online, so I decided to take a different approach. This presentation will start with a brief overview of some facts and statistics that I’ve gathered from the CIA World Factbook. But then, we will dive into cultural differences that one may experience at certain milestones along a typical life journey “from birth to death” (hence, the presentation’s subtitle).

While I’ve experienced my fair share of culture shock and cultural differences during my 15 years living in Jeonju, I wanted to approach this subject from a slightly different angle. Therefore, I’ve selected a handful of “Life Milestones” that everyone will (likely) experience in some form or another throughout their lives.

I’ll compare and contrast different aspects of these Life Milestones and how each culture experiences them in their own unique ways. Some will be quite similar between the cultures, but others will have wildly different cultural expressions. I hope this presentation will be both interesting and insightful, and that we’ll be able to have a good discussion through it and learn a lot together.

Since I’ve lived for extended periods in both cultures (26 years in America, 15 years in Korea), I am quite familiar with the differences and similarities between cultures and can speak extensively from my own experiences.

Some Basic Facts

These facts have been sourced from the CIA World Factbook.

Compare & Contrast

  • Size: Area • Landscape
  • People: Population • Health
  • Money: Education • Military



  • USA: 9,833,517 km2 (#4 in the world)
  • Korea: 99,720 km2 (#109 in the world)

At that size, the USA is roughly 100 times larger than Korea! Korea is only:

  • Slightly larger than Indiana
  • And slightly smaller than Pennsylvania



  • Halla-san – the tallest mountain in Korea (1,950m) 
    • An easy way to remember its height is with a Korean expression that encourages tourism by using each number of its height in the sentence: “세요.” Actually, this is one of my favorite Korean sentences for this very reason. It says, “1번” (one time), “9경” (sightsee), “5세요” (come) = 1,9,5,0 meters high. Cool!~
  • Seoul – the most wired city in the world (1st for 5G)
    • Though this report is from 10 years ago, even in 2011, Seoul was considered the most wired city in the world. As the home of global brands like Samsung, LG, and Hyundai, and the first country in the world to launch 5G commercially, South Korea is still one of the most wired countries in the world, and a great test bed for new technologies.
  • Jeonju – largest hanok village in Korea (800+ hanok)
    • Jeonju is also a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, and the food capital of Korea! It is located in the heart of some of the richest farmland in Korea, and restaurants here serve the most variety, quantity, and freshest side dishes of any place I’ve yet visited in Korea. The food is incomparable!


  • Denali – the coldest mountain on earth (6,190m, -73°C)
    • The “crowning peak” of the Alaskan Mountain Range and the highest point in North America.
    • Permanent snow and ice cover over 75% of the mountain.
    • Glaciers up to 45 miles (72.4km) and 3700 feet (1127.8m) thick “spider out from its base in every direction.” (source)
    • Winds of over 150 mph (241.4kph) and temperatures of -93˚F (-73˚C) have been recorded, which is some of the coldest and most violent weather on earth.
  • Mauna Kea – the tallest mountain on earth (10,200m) above sea level (4,207m)
    • The highest point in Hawaii and one of 6 volcanoes that formed the island, it stands roughly at the same height that commercial airplanes fly.
    • It is one of the best sites in the world for astronomical observation and contains 12 sites with 13 telescopes, though the construction of the telescopes has been controversial (indigenous rights, religion, ecology).
  • Death Valley – the hottest place on earth (-86m, 56.7°C)
    • It lies near the border of California and Nevada (126.2 miles or 203km to Las Vegas), and is 3,000km2 (7770km2) – almost as big as Jeollabuk-do (8067km2)
    • The hottest officially registered temperature is 56.7°C in 1913.
    • But it may not be the hottest place on earth much longer.

Land Use

  • Korea
    • Agriculture (18.1%) = 18,049 km2
    • Forest (63.9%)
    • Other (18.0%)
  • USA
    • Agriculture (44.5%) = 4,375,915 km2
    • Forest (33.3%)
    • Other (22.2%)

That means the USA has over 242 times more land area devoted to agriculture!



  • USA: 334,998,398 (#3 in the world)
    • Demographics
      • 72.4% White
      • 12.6% Black
      • 4.8% Asian
      • 10.2% Other
    • Language
      • 78.2% English
      • 13.4% Spanish
      • 1.1% Chinese
  • Korea: 51,715,162 (#28 in the world)
    • 96.2% Korean
    • 3.8% Non-Korean (1.99 million)

Population Density

  • USA: 50% of the population lives in 9 states: Califonia, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Pennsylvania, New York
  • Korea: 50% of the population lives in Gyeongi Province & especially Seoul

Population Pyramids

Korea just isn’t having babies (1.09 children per woman – a negative birth rate), and longer life expectancy (82.78 vs 80.43 in the US) which means there is an aging population, and it’s only a matter of time before the total population shrinks dramatically.


You can see from the graphic that Korea wins on almost every metric.

The US is at least continuing to maintain its population (1.84 children per woman) as you can also see from the previous Population Pyramid.

And although the US does have more Physician Density per 1,000 people, the fact that the US spends more than double the amount of its GDP on healthcare means that this metric is (at least) a toss-up.

Mother’s mean age for her first child is additionally mostly a toss-up, because cultural factors may play a big part in this. But this might also be a big reason why Korea has a negative birthrate – because women are waiting so much longer to start having children. American women, by contrast, have on average 5 years more than Korean women to have children because they are starting earlier.

Nevertheless, all of the other factors, as well as Korea’s technological and economic advanced, prompted the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to classify Korea as a “developed” economy on July 2, 2021, and no longer merely a “developing” economy. This is the first upgrade for a member state since the body’s establishment in 1964!


GDP (purchasing power parity)

  • USA: $62,530
  • Korea: $42,755

GDP Composition

  • USA
    • Agriculture (0.9%)
    • Industry (19.1%)
    • Military (3.7%)
    • Education (5%)
    • Healthcare (16.9%)
    • Other Services (54.4%)
  • Korea
    • Agriculture (2.2%)
    • Industry (39.3%)
    • Military (2.7%)
    • Education (4.3%)
    • Healthcare (7.6%)
    • Other Services (43.9%)


  • Korea
    • Elementary (1-6)
    • Middle (1-3)
    • High (1-3)
  • USA (alt #1)
    • Elementary (K-6)
    • Junior High (7-9)
    • High (10-12)
  • USA (alt #2)
    • Elementary (K-5)
    • Middle (6-8)
    • High (9-12)

School Year

  • Korea
    • Year: March – July, September – January
    • Vacation: August, February (2 months total)
    • Hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm? (or 11:30pm?)
  • USA
    • Year: September – December, January – May
    • Vacation: December – January (1 month), June – August (3 months)
    • Hours: 8:30 – 3:00pm (or 6:00pm?)

More Education Differences

In the US:

  • No uniforms: only 19% of schools require uniforms
  • Students move classrooms: there is no “home room” so in the 10 minute breaks, students have to travel through the halls, go to lockers, etc.
  • Less days & times: US schools are in session for shorter hours, plus require less minimum school days per year
    • USA: 180 days (and way more holidays!)
    • Korea: 220 days
  • Extracurricular activities:
    • In school: students are encouraged to join sports, clubs, and leadership (Student Council)
    • Out of school: students get part-time jobs, date, and just hang out
    • But also, in the US, there are more fights, drugs, skipping, vandalism, threats, etc.

A Typical Day in High School


  • Korea: Compulsory
    • 1.5 years
    • $450 / month salary
  • USA: Voluntary
    • Typically 4 years minimum, up to a full career (11 years average)
    • Starting salary: around $2,000 / month
    • But also includes multiple bonuses, paying for school, etc

Break time!

Any questions?

Life Milestones

My wife brought home the “Visit Korea” book here the other day, and one of the first articles I noticed was touting some 8 top benefits of visiting Korea. I thought it would be interesting to compare these to my personal experiences in the US:

  1. Safe Streets & Low Crime Rate
    • USA: Yes, mostly, except in certain places at night
  2. A Country that Never Sleeps
  3. Foreigner-friendly Signs
    • USA: There are more Spanish language signs and announcements popping up than when I was a child
  4. Excellent & Fast Medical Services
    • USA: But much more expensive than in Korea (by about 10x in my experience)
  5. Wi-Fi Heaven
    • USA: In Starbucks… But there is no wide-spread wifi, nor Internet cafes on every corner.
  6. No Cash, No Worries!
    • USA: Yes, the card is king. But the US still uses LOTS of checks, and direct deposit, e-taxes, and other digital conveniences still aren’t widespread.
  7. Convenient Public Transportation
  8. Fast & Easy Delivery
    • USA: In my experience, only pizza, and maybe Chinese, does delivery. Perhaps that’s changed?

(Keep in mind, I am from a small town in Wyoming, so my experiences are not necessarily reflective of more developed and larger cities.)

Life Stages

I’ve broken these Life Stages down into three main sections:

  1. Youth – including childhood & schooling
  2. Adulthood – including career & family
  3. Elderly – including aging & retirement

Here they are in detail:

  1. Youth (~18% of life)
    • 0-5: Infancy
    • 6-11: Elementary
    • 12-18: Middle / High school
    • 16, 18, 21: “Coming of Age”
    • 18-21: University?
  2. Adulthood (~48% of life)
    • 21-30: Figuring Yourself Out
    • 31-40: Family? Career?
    • 41-50: Career! (Midlife Crisis?)
    • 51-60: “Over the Hill”
    • 61-66: The End (of career) is Near
  3. Elderly (~34% of life)
    • 66-70: The “Golden Years”
    • 71-75: Aging
    • 76-80: Slowing
    • 81-85: The “Twilight Years”
    • 86-100?: THE END

The remainder of this presentation contains many questions that I hope will lead to a good discussion with the participants. Each of these topics is lengthy and could lead to its own discussion or presentation, so I’ll try my best to keep things brief.

Youth: 0-18ish

0-5: Infancy



Walking & Talking

6-11: Elementary

First Day of School

Making Friends

In & After School

12-18: Middle / High School

Learning to Work


College Entrance Exams

16, 18, 21: Coming of Age

16: First Car / Job

18: First Love

21: First Drink

18-21: University?

Meet the Police

Experience Death

Move Out

Adulthood: 21-66

21-30: Figuring Yourself Out

On Your Own

First “Real” Job

First “Major” Purchase

31-40: Family? Career?

Getting Married

Buying a House

Having a Baby

41-50: Career! (Midlife Crisis?)

Changes at Work

Excess $$$

Midlife Crisis

51-60: “Over the Hill”

Family Again

61-66: The End (of Career) is Near

Retirement Party

Elderly: 66-100?

66-70: The “Golden Years”

“Golden Years”

71-75: Aging

Health Issues

76-80: Slowing Down

Nursing Homes

81-85: The “Twilight Years”

Last Will & Testament

86-100: THE END

The Next Great Adventure


Teacher Training Tech Tips

This presentation was for the Teacher Training program at Jeonju University. With this presentation, I coupled together (and updated) a few of my most well-used presentations for the program, including a PPT on Internet Security, the previous Teacher Tech Tips, and an overview of some of the technology options we had for things to study in the course.

Teacher Tech Tips Update

This talk is an updated version of a similar talk I gave in 2017. It combines that talk with another presentation I’ve given to my high school classes on Internet Security and Safety, as well as introduces possible app options to learn during this Teacher Training course.

There are THREE main topics to discuss in this presentation:

  1. Computer Security
  2. Professional Productivity
  3. Technology Learning options

Part ONE: Computer Security

The first section of this presentation will focus on THREE aspects of Security both on and offline:

  1. Phishing
  2. Hacking
  3. Social Engineering


What is Phishing?

Phishing is a type of social engineering where an attacker sends a fraudulent (“spoofed”) message designed to trick a human victim into revealing sensitive information to the attacker or to deploy malicious software on the victim’s infrastructure like ransomware.
– Wikipedia

In other words: Phishing is a false email or message you receive that purposefully attempts to get you to compromise your security in some way.

Questions to Consider:

  • Do you know someone who has been scammed? What happened?
  • What is the purpose of a scam? What are some tricks people use?
  • What kinds of personal information might someone try to get? How do they get it?

Commonalities in Phishing Messages:

  • They want you to verify your account information (online)
  • Because they alert you that “your account is in trouble!”
  • And there’s a sense of urgency
  • You can find English spelling or grammar errors (very common)
  • There’s often a link provided (which can be disguised)
  • Or some kind of attachment (also disguised, potentially hiding a virus)
  • Or the message sounds too good to be true (“You’ve won $1 million!”)
  • And often there is a generic greeting (“Dear Sir / Madam”)

The PPT gives THREE examples of phishing emails. Can you notice what is “off” about each one? What clues give away their phishing intention?


What is Hacking?

Hacking refers to activities that seek to compromise (by breaching defenses, or exploiting weaknesses in) digital devices, such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and even entire networks.
– MalwareBytes

Can you read the following message? It’s written in Leet:

K33P C4LM 4ND 5P34K L337

In English, it reads: “Keep Calm and Speak Leet.”

Leet is basically a kind of modified spelling of English words that replaces some characters with numbers or symbols that look similar to the English letters they are replacing.

It’s also a GREAT way to stay safe on the Internet. By using a password or passphrase that includes symbols or numbers in place of similar-looking letters, you can create a password that is relatively easy to remember but hard to hack.

Password Tips

  • NO
    • Dictionary words or very common words (nor combinations of 2 or 3)
    • Not short – shorter = weaker and easier to hack
    • Not easy to guess information like your birthday, or your mother’s name, or any information that can be easily found on your Facebook profile
  • YES
    • $ymbol$, L337$p3@k (Leetspeak), etc
    • Longer = stronger
    • Sometimes patterns are helpful – for example, on social media, create a passphrase that reminds you of your purpose on each platform:
      • onFacebookIpostpics4family
    • A passphrase is much stronger than a password
      • For example: mymothertoldmetoalwaysbecareful even though it doesn’t use any special characters, numbers, nor Capitals, is MUCH stronger than 5@f3tY!1st (safety!1st) and much easier to remember

Stay Safe

Passphrases beat Passwords

The image below is a cartoon from XKCD.com that illustrates why passphrases almost always beat passwords:

Passphrases change lives

Want to read a great story about how a password changed someone’s life?

Single Sign-on vs. Traditional Login

Now, while we’re on the subject of passwords, let’s also talk about the difference between Single Sign-on methods (logging in with Facebook or Google, etc) and the traditional email/password login method.

These ARE NOT the same, so please don’t be confused.

In a basic sense:

  • Single Sign-on
    • Facebook or Google, etc manages your private data, user profile information, and so on
    • When you click the SSO button, you sign in to THAT site
    • Then THAT site provides THIS site with a special TOKEN proving you are you
    • Then you get access to THIS site
  • Traditional Login
    • THIS site records your email and password and stores it in its own database
    • THIS site manages your user profile information
    • When you click the login button, THIS site checks your email / password combination against its database to verify your identity
    • If your email / password combination is correct, you get access to THIS site

In sum:

  • Single Sign-on is managed by Facebook, Google etc, and retains NO email / password information for you in THIS site – you are logged in with a TOKEN
  • Traditional Login is managed entirely by THIS site, and THIS site retains your email / password data, which is used to log you in. There is NO connection to Facebook, Google, etc using the Traditional Login – it only remembers your email (but is NOT connected to it)
Pros & Cons

Personally, I prefer SSO logins to Traditional logins for a number of reasons:

  1. It’s easy and streamlined
  2. I don’t have to create ANOTHER account and remember ANOTHER password
  3. It already links to my verified profiles on social media
  4. With updated accurate info and profile pictures
  5. I can link other accounts to the service or site as well
  6. There are less failed logins
  7. Less abandonment of the site
  8. And greater user adoption

There are a few disadvantages we can talk about as well though:

  1. Security issues
    • If the major website is compromised (hacked), then your information that’s stored on it will also be compromised (but Facebook / Google are huge and have enormous resources – more than THIS site – to combat that)
    • Also, it can promote bad password practices like reusing the same password everywhere for convenience
  2. Privacy
    1. Additionally, by logging in to Facebook / Google on THIS site, you will be allowing these services to track your behavior and display targeted ads here
    2. Also, your social data is essentially completely “open” and accessible to THIS site once you login

But personally, I still find SSO to be far more convenient, and I can deal with the disadvantages it provides.

But remember:

  • If you JOIN the site with SSO
  • You ALWAYS have to login with SSO
  • You can’t use your email / password in the login fields

Social Engineering

What is Social Engineering?

In the context of information security, social engineering is the psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information.
– Wikipedia

One of the best movies that highlights social engineering is Catch Me If You Can (Amazon affiliate) with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks:

The most basic principle to always keep in mind when it comes to Internet, computer, or even building security is:

YOU are always the weakest link

Let’s take a look at some of the most common social engineering methods and tactics below. Click the links for more information:

Stay Safe

Protect yourself from social engineering by keeping the following principles in mind:

  1. Be skeptical (trust no one)
  2. Don’t open suspicious (unexpected) emails (or messages)
  3. Mark suspicious messages as “Spam” or “Junk” (this helps everyone)
  4. Don’t click links in messages (hover over them to double-check the destination, or copy-paste the link in your browser window as links can be disguised)
  5. Check URLs (look for HTTPS (“s” for “secure”) and make sure the URL is real)
  6. Don’t enter your personal information, particularly NOT passwords or credit card information into websites you’ve linked to from outside sources
  7. When in doubt, call customer service to verify the email or message
  8. Create strong passwords (passphrases)
  9. Always remember to install security patches and updates (which fix vulnerabilities that have been exploited)

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Part TWO: Professional Productivity

This portion of the presentation was originally given as part of a training seminar at Global Prodigy Academy international high school in Jeonju. Please view the following link for that presentation in its entirety:

The majority of that presentation remains the same in this updated version with the exception of Multiple User Profiles, in both Chrome and Windows, which we’ll look at in more depth after the Useful Computer Tricks section.

Useful Computer Tricks

The following are some of THE very best computer tricks for teachers I’ve picked up over the years (and use on a nearly daily basis):

  1. Browser Tricks
    1. CTRL + SHIFT + N = Chrome’s Incognito mode (doesn’t save passwords, browsing history, etc)
    2. CTRL + SHIFT + T = Re-open the most recently closed tab
    3. In Gmail, with keyboard shortcuts enabled: C = compose new message
    4. Also in Gmail, type SHIFT + ? to view a pop-up of ALL of Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts
    5. And in Google Docs, a quick way to Strikethrough anything you don’t want is to highlight it and press ALT + SHIFT + 5
    6. We’ll talk about Multiple Chrome users in the next section
  2. Windows Shortcuts
    1. CTRL + ALT + DELETE = Slow, additional step to Task Manager
    2. CTRL + SHIFT + ESC = FAST, direct Task Manager access
    3. Win + ← or Win + → = Move current window to half screen
    4. Win + L = Instant logout
    5. Win + P = Change Presentation (projector) mode
    6. PrtSc = screenshot & screen drawing (with the Lightshot app installed)
  3. Text Editing
    1. CTRL + V = pastes text into a Document
    2. But CTRL + SHIFT + V removes styling from the text you copy-paste
    3. CTRL + K = create hyperlink from selected text
    4. CTRL + Z = undo
    5. But CTRL + SHIFT + Z = redo

Multiple Users

For me, discovering that it was possible to create multiple Users in Chrome and Windows has been a real game changer.

I used to need to login to multiple different email accounts constantly throughout the day in order to get some work done. And after a time, some accounts would be automatically logged out. And I’d often loose track of what I was working on, or which tabs I needed open for different tasks.

But with multiple Chrome users, I’m able to separate the tabs and emails I’m using for different accounts quite easily, and keep them separate. I open a different User account whenever I need to switch tasks.

The same is true for multiple Windows users. By creating multiple users in Windows, I’m able to keep my files and programs separate from everyone else in my family who also uses the same computer.

In this way, whether in Chrome or Windows, each user profile, and all their content and settings, can be customized to the particular user who needs it.

Acceptable Use Policies

What is an Acceptable Use Policy?

An acceptable use policy (AUP) is a document stipulating constraints and practices that a user must agree to for access to a corporate network or the Internet.  Many businesses and educational facilities require that employees or students sign an acceptable use policy before being granted a network ID.
– WhatIs.com

This is something that came up a few times at the high school I was working at. In principle, the high school owns the email accounts and all the computers that students and faculty use while at school. So, any inappropriate use can be disciplined by the school.

Examples of inappropriate use:

  • Student: bullying classmates via the school email, looking at inappropriate things on the school computers, harassing or attempting to blackmail teachers with the school email
  • Teacher: job hunting with the school email, looking at (or showing) inappropriate things on the school computers, etc

General Guidelines:

I think it is always a good idea to remember WHICH email account you are using when you send messages, and WHO OWNS the email or the devices you are using. Here are some general AUP guidelines to help you stay safe:

  1. Keep things professional (at all times)
  2. Your school / company owns your school email, office device, etc
  3. Scheduling / socializing with students outside school hours (including instant messaging) needs to be handled with caution, and is not recommended
  4. Keeping door codes & computer passwords secure is important (beware of writing down passwords near your computer, or students looking over your shoulder as you type the password or enter the door code)
  5. A zero-tolerance policy for bullying and harassment might be advisable

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Part THREE: Technology Learning options

In this Teacher Training course – which runs for 18 weeks – we will study many of the following apps. I’m presenting this list to you here for future reference and also to see which you may have heard about and which you may be interested in learning more about.

Anything with a red asterisk * is what we will definitely study. After Row One (Google tools), apps are presented in alphabetical order.

  • Row ONE
    • * Google Classroom (Publish class content, collect & grade assignments)
    • * Google Docs (Collaborate on assignments, create books / journals)
    • * Google Sheets (Create schedules, calendars, lists, graphs, charts, grade books, etc)
    • * Google Slides (Create PPTs, PDF books, journals, posters, edit images)
    • * Google Drawings (Create images, graphics, charts, logos)
    • * Google Forms (Create surveys, quizzes, analyze student data)
    • * Google Sites (Publish digital portfolios, keep students & parents up to date)
    • * YouTube (Create, edit, & subtitle videos – good for learning reflection)
  • Row TWO
    • * Audacity (Create audio files, listening tests, etc for FREE)
    • Blogger (Let students show what they know, reflect, journal project progress, etc)
    • Book Creator (Web & iOS, create books, portfolios, audio files, etc)
    • Book Widgets (Create interactive exercises & auto graded tests)
    • * Canva (Create online graphics, books, presentations – a Korean-version is known as Miricanvas, but Canva includes design tutorials)
    • Code.org (Create programs, games, and animations with Blockly, an easy-to-learn coding tool)
    • Explain Everything (Whiteboard app that lets you draw, create content, record and narrate everything on your screen)
    • Flipgrid (A video-response platform where students record responses to published videos of their classmates)
  • Row THREE
    • Formative (Formative assessment tool that lets students respond by writing on their screens)
    • * Kahoot (Create competitive quizzes that can be done in class)
    • Metaverse (Augmented Reality magic for teachers and students)
    • * OBS (Open Broadcaster Studio allows you to record whole classes on your computer, including using a webcam and PPT, for FREE)
    • Padlet (Collaborate and share work or assignments with anyone in the class)
    • * Plickers (No-device-required interactive quizzes)
    • * Quizizz (Interactive quizzes like Kahoot with more quiz options)
    • Quizlet (A flashcard and spaced repetition quiz app)
  • Row FOUR
    • ReCap App (Students verbalize their thoughts and reflect on their learning with video and audio creation tools)
    • Screencastify (Record what happens on your screen with this Chrome extension)
    • Seesaw (A comprehensive digital portfolio app and website)
    • Socrative (A popular formative assessment tool that helps teachers gather student info from closed- and open-ended questions)
    • Soundtrap (A collaborative digital audio workstation for students to make audio files)
    • WeVideo (A web-based video creation platform)
    • Talk and Comment (Another Chrome extension that lets students leave voice notes in any web page)
    • * Zoom (The definitive video-conferencing app)


I hope this presentation was helpful for introducing this class. I look forward to learning a lot together with you this semester!

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6 Teacher Tasks Google Classroom is Perfect For

From a classroom teacher’s perspective, what kinds of tasks is Google Classroom most effective for? How can Google Classroom enhance lesson planning, homework assignments, grading, and keeping parents informed? Come investigate how Google Classroom can help teachers manage the SIX most common teacher tasks. Can’t use Classroom? No problem, I’ve got alternative solutions available as well.

I’ve given numerous presentations on Google Classroom and G Suite before:

But for this presentation, I decided to refresh some of what I’ve already covered and take a look at Google Classroom from the perspective of a classroom teacher’s typical task list. i.e. What kinds of tasks would a teacher require of Google Classroom in order to make it useful for their work?

I came up with 6 common tasks that I feel every teacher needs to manage well.

6 common teacher tasks

The following YouTube video from Google demonstrates the application of Google Classroom to these 6 common tasks, and the rest of this article will be spent going over exactly HOW to perform them.

1. Organization

Keep yourself organized & on task!

Probably the number one best reason why I personally use Google Classroom is because it helps me better organize my own classes.

Even in situations where Google Classroom is not an option for students to use, I often utilize the Classwork Tab for myself because of the how well I can keep myself organized and on task with it. In the Classwork Tab, teachers can:

  1. Create (or reuse and edit) assignments
  2. Organize them by topic
  3. Write out full lesson plans or notes
    1. (Then refer to this when lecturing)
  4. Add relevant files to share or use in class
  5. Schedule the assignments for a later date


Whether or not your students can use Google Classroom, it’s still a great option for yourself as a teacher.

2. Distribution

Go paperless! Throw out the USB!

The second biggest reason to use Google Classroom (and Drive) is to be able to run a completely paperless classroom and get rid of your USB.

Personally, I haven’t used a USB stick for over 10 years because running around from computer to computer with an unprotected USB stick is like running around maskless during Covid-19. Eventually, some computer will infect your USB with a virus, which you’ll then likely spread to multiple other computers before you even realize it.

Additionally, Google Classroom keeps your class files organized inside class folders and assignment folders contained inside your Google Drive. When you Create an Assignment for students in your Classroom, you can virtually distribute a copy to everyone at once, and Google gathers those into a folder for you. You can access each student’s file later from within either the Assignment post in Classroom, or the assignment folder in Drive.

  1. First, be sure all students are already IN your class (with a join code or email)
    1. (If not, then when you distribute something with an Assignment, the students who aren’t in the class won’t get a copy, and you’ll have to do it again.)
  2. Then, in the Classwork Tab:
    1. Create (or reuse) an Assignment
    2. Add relevant files
    3. Set the distribution option to “Make a copy for each student”
    4. Assign it!

Can’t use Classroom?

I had a situation once where I had almost 50 students in a single class, but not all of them had Gmail accounts. Rather than forcing them all to register for a Gmail, and then join my class, I created a Google Site where I distributed handouts, and used Google Forms to gather self-graded homework.


3. Collection

Automatically collected & organized.

Google Classroom also automatically collects and organizes all your class files in a single folder inside your Google Drive.

As soon as your Create a new Classroom, Google makes a new folder for that Classroom directly inside your Google Drive and links it within your Classroom at various locations (wherever you find the folder icon as pictured above). Within the Classroom folder, Google additionally creates new folders for Assignments in two special ways:

  1. Whenever you create an Assignment to distribute to students, Google saves a copy of that file inside a folder in your Drive called “Templates – DO NOT EDIT.”
  2. And any time student work is distributed, Google also creates a separate folder for each Assignment where the student work will be automatically collected for you when the students hand it in.

After creating, distributing, and collecting a few Assignments, your Classroom folder structure (within Drive) will look like this:

  • My Drive
    • Classroom
      • Writing Class 101
        • Templates – DO NOT EDIT
          • [file] Personal Introduction (Original Worksheet)
          • [file] Book Report (Original Worksheet)
          • [file] Poetry Analysis (Original Worksheet)
        • Assignment 1: Personal Introduction
          • John – Personal Introduction (Turned in)
          • Frank – Personal Introduction (Turned in)
        • Assignment 2: Book Report
          • John – Book Report (Turned in)
          • George – Book Report (Turned in)
        • Assignment 3: Poetry Analysis
          • John – Poetry Analysis (Turned in)
        • etc…

Can’t use Classroom?

There are two main options for (digitally) collecting and organizing student work without using Classroom:

  1. Have students submit work via email. You can collect those and manually organize them in your Google Drive according to a similar folder structure as listed above (a classroom folder, then a folder for each assignment).
  2. Collect student work with a Google Form. Google Forms now allows you to include a “File Upload” Question Type. You can select allowed filetypes, quantity, and file size. (Be careful not to allow files that are too large, and keep an eye on your folder space usage, or you’ll quickly run out of storage space.)
Be careful of the storage space that is used up when students upload files so that you don’t go over your Google Drive limit.

4. Correction

Use a rubric, leave comments, assign a grade.

When creating an Assignment, Google Classroom makes it very easy to add a rubric to any Assignment, such as the one pictured in the right sidebar.

Additionally, in the right sidebar, near the top, you can view a collection of all the student’s Files for this Assignment. Then, after leaving comments (at the bottom, or in the Document itself – as pictured), you can also “Return” the Assignment to the student with the blue button at the top right. Or, wait until you’ve graded and commented on ALL the students’ Assignments and click the blue dropdown button to the right of “Return” and you can choose to “Return ALL” to every student at once!

Another great grading feature in Classroom is that Google is able to load consecutive student work at the click of a button. Underneath “Screenplay” in the upper-left side of the image, you can see a student’s name. To the right of the name are left / right arrows. When you click the arrows, Google loads the “next” or “previous” student’s work.

Or, click the student name itself and a dropdown appears with ALL the students in the class. Beside each name will be a status marking whether the work is “Late” or “Not Submitted” or a point value if it’s graded.

Can’t use Classroom?

You can still grade student work in at least two ways:

  1. If the assignment is a Quiz, create a self-graded (or auto-graded) Quiz in Google Forms, select the correct answers, assign point values to each question, distribute it via email, and wait for students to answer the quiz and their scores to be recorded.
  2. If the assignment is more subjective, like a writing assignment, you can highlight things, change things, and leave comments for students directly in Google Documents.
    1. Insert Comments with CTRL+ALT+M or by clicking directly in the light gray sidebar in Google Docs.
    2. Or, change the Document mode to “Suggesting” rather than “Editing” so that every change you make will be clearly marked and students will be able to “accept” or “reject” your corrections.

5. Analysis

Need a gradebook? Graphs?

Google Classroom automatically creates a gradebook for you as you start creating Assignments and grading them.

You can view the gradebook at any time in the “Grades” tab within Classroom to get a full overview of the class, including viewing or updating any grades. You can also see which students still have “Missing” work. If you update or assign grades directly in the gradebook here, you can click the three dots menu beside the Assignment name to “Return All” student grades and work at once.

Can’t use Classroom?

  1. As mentioned above, you can still collect grades with a self-graded Quiz using Google Forms. Google Forms also provides great tools like graphs of right and wrong answers for each question, individual reports, and so on.
  2. Alternatively, create your own Gradebook in Google Sheets. (Here’s a presentation of mine on doing so in Excel, but the concepts are the same.)

6. Reporting

Keep parents in the loop.

The feature to “Invite Guardians” only applies to G Suite for Education instances (where a school is using G Suite, not on personal Gmail accounts), but it allows a Teacher to link a parent or guardian email with a particular student email. Then, the parent or guardian also gets the same updates about the student’s progress that the student gets. This includes all Assignment notifications, grading, comments, and returned documents.

Can’t use Classroom?

If your account is a personal Gmail account, so that you can’t link guardian emails to a student account, or if you just can’t use Classroom, you can still keep parents in the loop with the traditional method of sending emails.

Or, take another look at the Google Site I created for one of my classes (shown in #2. Distribution above), and consider creating your own Google Site for parents and students to bookmark and use to keep updated about the happenings in your class.


The big takeaway from this presentation is:

Google Classroom is not perfect, but it is a tool that can (and should) be leveraged to your advantage for better classes.

I hope you found this presentation / tutorial helpful. If you’d like to learn more about other Google products, or G Suite for Education, I’d encourage you to go through Google’s training to earn your own Google Educator Certification!~

Using Quizizz in the Classroom

Quizizz is an app and website that is quite similar to Kahoot with a few interesting additions. Like Kahoot, a user can create a series of questions to ask a group of people who compete to answer them correctly and speedily. Scores are determined according to whoever answers correctly first.

Quizizz, unlike Kahoot, adds some additional features to the game itself including different Theme choices and Power-ups. And in Quiz creation, whereas Kahoot only has two “free” question types (multi-choice and true/false), Quizizz has a total of FIVE possible options:

  1. Multiple choice (one correct answer)
  2. Checkboxes (more than one correct answer)
  3. Fill in the blank (correct answers + alternatives)
  4. Open-ended (no correct answers, opinion based)
  5. Poll (multiple choice – or checkboxes – opinion based)

Quizizz also adds the option of connecting to Google Classroom to assign quizzes for homework to your classes.

Uses for the Classroom

  • Surveys (interest, voting, etc)
  • Competitive Quizzes / Games
  • Informal skills / knowledge tests & assessments (Reports)
  • Assign as Homework (Google Classroom connection)

Recommendation: As with Kahoot, Quizizz also has an app where it is possible to create and edit quizzes. However, I it is still slightly easier to find everything on the website (the screen is larger), and you will likely be hosting your quizzes from the computer. So it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the website first.

Step 1: Sign up / in

  1. Go to quizizz.com and click “Sign up”
  2. Sign up with your Google account (or email)***
  3. Select your role (Teacher)
  4. Select how you are using it (At a School)
  5. Welcome to the Dashboard

*** Important note about “Sign up”

In the Sign Up screen, you have TWO options:

  1. Sign up with Google
  2. Sign up with email

Whichever option you choose to sign up with MUST be used to sign in later (and they do not overlap each other). For example:

  • if you sign up with Google, you CANNOT use Email / Password to sign in later
  • if you sign up with Google, you MUST use Google to sign in later

Why “Google” and “Email / password” are not the same

The reason for this is because of the authentication (sign in) method used by the website.

  1. Google Sign In log you in with an authentication TOKEN
    • (A separate window opens where you log in to your Google account separately. Once you authenticate (login) with Google, your email service sends a unique authentication TOKEN to Quizizz in order to confirm your identity. So, in this case, Quizizz does NOT store your password at all, but rather relies on the TOKEN provided by Google to log you in.)
  2. Email / password will remember both your email AND your password
    • (The password is actually passed through a hashing algorithm in order to scramble it so it can’t be intercepted by another user. The scrambled password is matched with the scrambled password stored in the database for your user ID, and if the two scrambled passwords match, your identity is confirmed and you are logged in. So, in this case, Quizizz stores BOTH your email AND scrambled password in their database.)

That is why the two sign in methods are not compatible (interchangeable).

  1. Email / password = uses your email / password (and remembers both)
  2. Google = uses a TOKEN (and remembers only your email)

Step 2: Search for / Create a Quiz

  1. “Search” for quizzes to use
    1. You’ll be shown a list of relevant search results
    2. Select one to view (you can also Like or Save them to a Collection). From here you can Play Live, Assign HW, or Practice
  2. “Create” a new Quizizz of your own
    1. Write your own question at first to familiarize yourself with the Question Types
    2. There are FIVE Question Types shown above:
      1. Multiple choice (one correct answer)
      2. Checkboxes (more than one correct answer)
      3. Fill in the blank (correct answers + alternatives)
      4. Open-ended (no correct answers, opinion based)
      5. Poll (multiple choice – or checkboxes – opinion based)
    3. After you finish creating questions, you’ll still be able to Edit them
    4. Click “Done” in the upper-right to finish the Quiz (you must choose a grade level, and can also add additional details)
    5. The Quiz will then appear in “My Library”
    6. If you click on your finished Quiz, you can Play, Assign HW, or click “Edit” in the Quiz details box to edit it further

Step 3: Play / Assign a Quiz

To Play or Assign a Quiz as Homework, first select the Quiz you want either from Search or from “My Library.”

  1. From Single Quiz View
    1. Assign HW – brings up options for date, time, and class (linked to Google Classroom)
    2. Play – gives a few options like Team, Classic, and Test (choose Classic)
  2. The Teacher’s View shows the Quiz ID students need to enter to join the quiz
  3. Students navigation their Internet browsers to joinmyquiz.com and enter the ID
    1. Students may choose a Nickname (and other options)
    2. Then, select a Theme
  4. From the Teacher’s View, once the students have all joined, they may now “Start” the Quiz
  5. Students are show a question
    1. And may click their answer – they are awarded points and bonuses depending on their answers and time elapsed
  6. Teachers can watch student progress through the quiz
    1. And at the end of the quiz, they are shown a report with statistics from the quiz results
  7. Students also can review their own performance after the quiz

Step 4: Quiz Reports + Google Classroom

As mentioned above, at the end of a quiz:

  1. Teachers can immediately view the quiz results
  2. Students also have their own quiz results review page
  3. Additional Reports can be found in the “Reports” link in the left sidebar
    1. A single report view shows the full list of students who took the quiz as well as all their answers, and statistics about the quiz. It’s well worth investigating.
  4. Finally, Google Classroom can also be linked to Quizizz from the “Classes” link in the left sidebar

I hope that gives you a good overview of using Quizizz in your classrooms. There is much to explore, so just take some time to familiarize yourself with the program. Again:

  1. I recommend getting familiar with the website FIRST
  2. And then going back in to the app to learn it

Once you know what is available in Quizizz through the website, it’ll be a lot easier to find it in the app.

Good luck!~

Using Kahoot in the Classroom

Kahoot is an interesting app and website that allows one user to create a series of questions to ask a group of people who compete to answer them correctly and speedily. Scores are determined according to whoever answers correctly first (points are allocated in decreasing amounts to second place, third place, and so on).

Uses for the Classroom

  • Competitive Quizzes / Games
  • Informal skills / knowledge tests & assessments (Reports)

Recommendation: Although the Kahoot App also makes it possible to create and edit Kahoots, I remember doing MOST tasks on the computer because it is slightly easier to find everything (the screen is larger), and you will likely be hosting your Kahoots from the computer. So it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the website first.

Step 1: Sign up / in

  1. Visit kahoot.com
  2. Click “Sign up” in the upper-right hand corner
  3. Select your Account type (Teacher)
  4. Select your Workplace (School)
  5. Create account ***
  6. Select your Edition (Free)
  7. Provide additional info (optional)
  8. Explore the Dashboard (Get Started)
    1. See how it works
    2. Create kahoot
    3. Host kahoot

*** Important note about “Create account”

In the Create Account screen, you have THREE options:

  1. Email / password
  2. Sign up with Google
  3. Sign up with Microsoft

Whichever option you choose to sign up with MUST be used to sign in later (and they do not overlap each other). For example:

  • if you sign up with Google, you CANNOT use Email / Password to sign in later
  • if you sign up with Google, you MUST use Google to sign in later

Why “Google” and “Email / password” are not the same

The reason for this is because of the authentication (sign in) method used by the website.

  1. Email / password will remember both your email AND your password
    • (The password is actually passed through a hashing algorithm in order to scramble it so it can’t be intercepted by another user. The scrambled password is matched with the scrambled password stored in the database for your user ID, and if the two scrambled passwords match, your identity is confirmed and you are logged in. So, in this case, Kahoot stores BOTH your email AND scrambled password in their database.)
  2. Google and Microsoft Sign In log you in with an authentication TOKEN
    • (A separate window opens where you log in to your Google or Microsoft account separately. Once you authenticate (login) with Google or Microsoft, your email service sends a unique authentication TOKEN to Kahoot in order to confirm your identity. So, in this case, Kahoot does NOT store your password at all, but rather relies on the TOKEN provided by Google or Microsoft to log you in.)

That is why the two sign in methods are not compatible (interchangeable).

  1. Email / password = uses your email / password (and remembers both)
  2. Google / Microsoft = uses a TOKEN (and remembers only your email)

Step 2: Create / find a Kahoot

You may wish to investigate Kahoots that have already been created first to get an idea for the kinds of things that are possible. Click “Discover” in the top menu to do so. Later, you may wish to “Create” your own (top-left button).

  1. “Discover” Kahoots (top menu button)
    1. Search for a Kahoot that looks interesting
    2. Select it to view the questions
    3. Some Kahoots you may be able to Edit, or add to your own Library. Others you may only be able to Favorite and Play with your class
  2. “Create” your own Kahoot (top-right button)
    1. Create a New Kahoot or use a Template
    2. You can modify an existing Template
    3. Or, if you are creating a New Kahoot, type your own questions and answers
    4. Question Types:
      1. Quiz (4 choices)
      2. True / False (2 choices)
      3. Typing (premium)
      4. Puzzle (premium)
      5. Poll (premium)
      6. Slide (premium)
  3. After creating a Kahoot (or using a Template), find it in your Library of Kahoots under the “Kahoots” button in the top menu

Step 3: Host your Kahoot

To host / play your Kahoot:

  1. View your Kahoots Library
  2. Click “Play” on the Kahoot you want to host
  3. Click “Teach” to play it in class
  4. Select “Classic” in Game options (you may also want to change or disable the Lobby music toward the bottom of the screen)
  5. When you Start the game
    1. The screen on the right will appear on your projector / computer
    2. Students should go to kahoot.it to enter the Game PIN on their devices
    3. Students can choose a Nickname (caution: some students may try to choose joking or rude nicknames)
    4. Once all students have entered the Game PIN and a nickname, Start the Game
  6. Questions will be shown on screen with a timer
  7. Students select the correct answer from the group of symbols on their device
  8. After all students have answered (or time is up) the correct answer will be shown on screen
  9. Finally, a leaderboard will be shown and tally up each player’s points

Step 4: Kahoot Reports

You will also be able to see a detailed analysis of the results of a played Kahoot in the “Reports” tab.

  1. Click “Reports” in the top menu
  2. Select the Kahoot you want to view reports for
  3. Detailed analysis includes:
    • Correct %
    • Difficult questions
    • Students who need help
    • Students who didn’t finish

I hope that gives you a good overview of using Kahoot in your classrooms. There is much to explore, so just take some time to familiarize yourself with the program.

  1. I recommend getting familiar with the website FIRST
  2. And then going back in to the app to learn it

Once you know what is available in Kahoot through the website, it’ll be a lot easier to find it in the app.

Good luck!~

Learn JavaScript by Building a Shopping App in CodePen

Learn by doing! The best way to learn JavaScript is with projects, so we’ll be building a shopping app in CodePen.

In this tutorial, we’ll learn how JavaScript can manipulate data and the DOM to create a multi-screen, dynamic web app, right inside CodePen. We will walk through the app-building process together: from creating app screens in HTML & CSS, to adding basic JavaScript functionality with button presses, to adding basic data processing. This tutorial is aimed at beginner developers.

Lesson Outline

The following is a tutorial that was presented at JS Conf Korea 2019 on September 3, 2019. It is a 4-part tutorial. The first part (Introduction & Overview) is presented here, but the other three parts are part of an online course I’m creating.

  1. Introduction <this part>
  2. Building the Shopping List Screen
  3. Building the Store Screen
  4. Building the Cart Screen

Material required


As you may have noticed in my bio, my name is Aaron Snowberger, and I’m a frontend designer/developer who likes to dabble in backend and mobile technologies. My current passions include React, React Native, Node, and the WP REST API. I’m also a Google Certified Trainer who has taught computer science and graphic design in high school since 2013. I’m passionate about helping new learners discover the joys of JavaScript.

The web project this tutorial introduces is for a project that I built with my high school students in the Spring 2019 semester.

My class began the project with a review of HTML structure and CSS styles in order to create the overall look and feel of the web app. But the project’s main focus was to introduce my students to the beauty of JavaScript, and that is what the bulk of the tutorial will cover.

Why JavaScript

There are many reasons why JavaScript is a particularly useful programming language for new learners. Here are just a handful of them:

  1. JS is the third leg of the code-tripod that builds websites. Whereas HTML & CSS are not really programming languages per se (they are markup languages concerned with presentation, not function), JS is actually a functional programming language that can create interactive applications – and not just online brochures.
  2. JS is everywhere. The majority of the world’s websites utilize JavaScript somewhere – it provides much of the interactivity on a site – and it can also be used to build mobile applications (React Native, NativeScript). As such, the majority of the world’s population with access to the Internet is in contact with JavaScript on a daily basis.
  3. JS is noob-friendly and (relatively) easy to learn. Compared with many other true programming languages, JavaScript’s syntax and key concepts are rather straightforward and relatively easy to learn. So much so that middle school and high school students can pick it up, and there are even some block-building languages (like Blockly and Scratch) which are based on JavaScript and taught to even younger students. JavaScript is also one of the easier languages to debug.
  4. JS is also quite powerful. Some of the top websites in the world like Facebook, Instagram, AirBnB, and Netflix utilize JavaScript in their webpages and mobile apps. JavaScript can be used to power either the frontend or the backend of websites, and there are hundreds of very powerful frameworks and libraries of code available to work with.
  5. JS is undoubtedly fun to work with. By its very nature, powering websites and providing their functionality, JavaScript is highly interactive and visual, giving you the ability to build animations, powerful UIs, games, and apps. Plus, it’s even more fun when you realize you can build something that millions of people around the world can enjoy together.
  6. Learning JS can lead to a bright future. The JavaScript ecosystem is rapidly evolving and has seen much growth and change in recent years. As such, JavaScript skills are in high demand and salaries for skilled JavaScript developers are also high. Additionally, by learning the fundamental concepts all programming languages share (loops, conditionals, functions, classes, and so on), students can more easily pick up skills in additional – or more difficult languages as well.

About the Shopping App Project

AKA “How we’ll build this…”

JavaScript is primarily used to access and modify elements within a website. Therefore, we need to learn JavaScript by coding a project that has multiple moving parts, buttons, and interactive elements. A shopping app provides just such an opportunity.

Project Considerations

Each of the three “screens” in this app will be discussed in more detail below, but here is a quick overview of what we want each screen to do and how.

  1. Shopping List Screen
    • Performs like a To-Do List
    • We click a button to “add” or “remove” an items from the list
    • Type in the input field to “create” a new item (task)
    • Drag an item to the side to “delete” it (animate this)
    • Include Reset buttons to restore the original list to its defaults
    • Also include additional visual feedback (CSS animations) so the user can see what effect their interactions are having on the app
  2. Store Screen
    • This needs to include a collection of data – say at least 20 different items we can Search through and Add to our cart
    • We want to be able to change the View Type (from list to grid and vice versa – CSS Grid is a perfect tool for this)
    • We want to include filters such as Category, Price, and so on
    • We also want the Store to be searchable
    • We need to include some functionality to “Add” items to our cart so that when we click over to the Cart Screen, those items are there
    • We also need some kind of animation or visual feedback for the user (this can be handled with pop-up “Toast” notifications)
  3. Cart Screen
    • The cart will contain “cloned child nodes” from the Store Screen when the user clicked “Add to cart”
    • It needs to be able to dynamically update quantities and prices
    • And we also want to include some kind of nifty Checkout progression or modal and possibly a nice “shipped out” animation

First, some notes on HTML & CSS

  • HTML Structure
    • Use semantic markup (<nav> or <aside> rather than always <div>) & descriptive class names (like "shopping-list-item")
    • This helps you to think in a more modern, modular style when you build the structure (like components) first
  • CSS Style
    • Some useful visual indicators and design tools include:
      • My personal favorite design touch is using a dark bottom-border and light top-border on each list item – to give the appearance of three-dimensions and shadows
      • Transitions for everything are useful
      • Animations & keyframes also allow us to give visual clues to the user by doing things like jiggling the Cart icon when an item is added or removed
      • Additionally, transforms, opacity, and positioning can help us a lot
    • CSS Grid & Flexbox are also particularly useful tools (especially since React Native utilizes flexbox, so it’s good practice here if we want to work with React Native later)

1: Shopping List

Originally, this shopping app was designed to behave primarily like a To-Do list. So, it was more like a shopping list app that incorporated the following:

  1. A pre-built list of items
  2. To which new items can be added (input field)
  3. Items can be clicked on and marked as completed (purchased) with a strikethrough
  4. Or items can be removed from the list altogether (by dragging it off the screen)

After these initial functions were built, it seemed like a good idea to allow users to also do them in bulk, so the following buttons were added:

  1. Empty Cart – systematically goes through the list of items and removes the strikethrough, also returns the cart number to zero
  2. Delete List – systematically (and programmatically) removes each item from the list by “dragging” it off the screen in order
  3. Reset All – systematically resets the list to its original defaults by adding all the items back in

In addition to the functionality listed above, in order to provide adequate visual feedback to the user, CSS transitions, animations, and pseudo-elements were added to make the app appear as though every button click or input was having a (non-simultaneous) effect.

This meant that all the functionality of the app was given a 300-1200ms transition, for adding, deleting and so on. “Purchased” items appear to float up “into” the shopping cart, and bulk actions don’t happen all at once, but sequentially with a short delay between each item.

Shopping List Toolbox

The following is a list of necessary JavaScript knowledge to add to our mental toolbox in order to build the Shopping List screen:

Let’s build the Shopping List Screen!

Checkout the finished product in the CodePen below. Investigate the JS code in the editor to learn how it all works.

Completed Shopping List Screen.

2: Changing Screens

Technically, this is not another screen that we need to code, but rather the ability to seamlessly transition between screens. Therefore, it deserves its own subsection in which to discuss WHAT we want to do and HOW we want to do it.

  • Considerations:
    • Let’s make the screens appear to shift from left to right as we click between them. This means we need to make the width of our app <div> at least as wide as three screens, and then we want to absolutely position it where it needs to be for each visible screen.
    • Additionally, we need to change how the input field works:
      • On the Shopping List Screen, it adds items to our list
      • On the Store Screen, it should search the store
      • On the Cart Screen, it should search the cart
    • And of course, we want to add some Toast notifications (pop-ups) to indicate to the user what is going on

Changing Screens Toolbox

The following is a list of necessary JavaScript knowledge to add to our mental toolbox in order to build the Change Screens transitions and functionality:

  • JavaScript
  • CodePen
    • Additionally useful is being able to Add External CodePens into your next working model with CSS or JS code pre-built. This can help you to separate out different features and keep you CodePen code a little simpler.
    • For example, after building the Shopping List Screen in the previous section, I load its CSS and JS into every other CodePen I create (all the other Screens) to carry over its styles and functions.

Let’s build the Change Screens functionality!

Checkout the finished product in the CodePen below. Investigate the JS code in the editor to learn how it all works.

Completed Change Screens transitions.

3. Store

This is Screen #2 that we will build, the Store. You can see from the screenshot that this screen adds our collection of data (stored in a JavaScript array), a few interactive buttons on the store itself and on each item, and changes the input field to search for items in the store. Let’s run over our considerations for the Store Screen once again:

  • Considerations
    • Collection of data – say at least 20 different items (stored in a JS array)
    • Buttons to change the View Type (from list to grid and vice versa – the grid icon at the upper-right corner of the store is what we’ll use)
    • Filters: Relevance – Lowest Price – Highest Price
    • Search bar: although not instantaneous search, when ENTER is pressed, it returns (and displays) an array of the relevant items as well as a notification for the results it found (and an “x” button to clear the search) – see below
    • When “Add to Cart” is pressed, we need to clone the DOM node and add it to the array of items that are present in our Cart screen (so that when we click over there it will already be in the Cart)

Store Screen Toolbox

The following is a list of necessary JavaScript knowledge to add to our mental toolbox in order to build the Store screen:

Let’s build the Store Screen!

Checkout the finished product in the CodePen below. Investigate the JS code in the editor to learn how it all works.

Completed Store Screen.

4. Cart + Checkout

The third and final Screen we need to code for our app is the Cart Screen which will include a Checkout modal. Each item that we “Added to Cart” in the Store screen appears in our list here (as cloned DOM nodes).

Beneath the Cart list (not pictured) is a “Checkout (3)” button – with the quantity of items to purchase, and a “Total: $” field, both of which are dynamically updated as we add (or remove) items in the Cart.

Above the Cart list, is the Checkout modal progression: REVIEW – PAYMENT – COMPLETE. When we click the “Checkout (3)” button, this should take us through the full payment process to a “shipped out” animation at the end.

  • Considerations
    • Cloned child nodes are absolutely necessary to make the app function seamlessly between Store and Cart screens. This is because we are not actually loading different screens and passing data between them, but instead we continuously remain on the SAME page, and just push a different area into our iPhone screen based on the section of the app we want to load. Therefore, when we “Add to Cart” we actually need to create an identical copy of the DOM node that contains the item and add it to the Cart section.
    • Dynamic updates (in price or quantity) are controlled and managed with JavaScript’s MutationObserver that detects changes in the DOM and can respond accordingly, as well as custom HTML data attributes to retrieve the relevant information we need.
    • The Checkout Modal is a straightforward implementation that requires no special implementation methods.

Cart Screen Toolbox

The following is a list of necessary JavaScript knowledge to add to our mental toolbox in order to build the Cart screen:

  • JavaScript
    • Useful functions
      • .cloneNode() – to copy the DOM node containing our desired item
      • .appendChild() – to add the cloned node to the Cart
      • MutationObserver – to listen for changes in the DOM
        • This JavaScript feature in particular was the most important thing that I discovered while building the app. There is no other way to listen for changes in the DOM and respond to them without reloading the page.
      • parseFloat() – to deal with updating our prices
      • .toFixed(2) – also for updating prices (limit the decimal to 2 places)
      • .forEach() – to perform the same action on all DOM nodes in an array
  • HTML data attributes – we are using data-item-price

Let’s build the Cart Screen!

Checkout the finished product in the CodePen below. Investigate the JS code in the editor to learn how it all works.

Completed Shopping List Screen.

Just Keep Learning

I hope you found this tutorial session informative and interesting! And I encourage you to always “Just Keep Learning” and experimenting, building new projects, and trying things out. Below is a list of helpful resources you might find useful in your journey.


View the FULL CodePen Collection (including Start and End points for every screen) here:

Full Circle: (W)holistic Life Management

With this presentation, I wanted to start a discussion about how to “be better” in your own life, how to exceed your own expectations, how to push beyond your own limits. I was inspired by numerous references that are mentioned.

To begin, I thought it might be beneficial to give you an overview of who I am and what I do.

So, you could say I keep myself pretty busy.

Full Circle: (W)holistic Life Management

It’s my goal that this presentation will spur up a deep discussion about how we can better put our lives in order to live as the kind of people we most deeply desire to become. The presentation will be broken down into three parts: the WHAT – WHY – HOW of (W)holisitc Life Management.

WHAT is (W)holistic Life Management?

Actually, the correct spelling of (w)holistic does not include the “w.” But I’ve chosen to include the “w” to emphasize the key point: that (w)holistic is the idea that the (w)hole is more than merely the sum of its parts.


(Oxford Language dictionary)

  • PHILOSOPHY: characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole
  • MEDICINE: characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease

WHY (W)holistic Life Management?

In other words, in order to fully understand your life, and your experiences, you cannot merely view each piece of your life as an individual part, unrelated to the others or the whole. Put succinctly:

  1. Your Body affects
  2. Your Mind, which affects
  3. Your Spirit, which makes up
  4. Your Self.

Each of these pieces of you is intimately interconnected to the others, so a change in one will affect them all.

For example, if you get injured in a car accident (body) and have to stay in the hospital for a while, you may begin to get depressed (spirit), and begin thinking negatively (mind) about your recovery time, or about the people who visit you or come to help you.

Or, someone close to you dies suddenly and causes you great grief and sadness (spirit). This leads you to withdraw from other people for emotional support (mind), and you may spend all your time at home in front of the TV stress eating (body).

But these three: SPIRIT – MIND – BODY are by no means ALL the parts of you that are intimately interconnected and may have an effect on the other parts. The following illustration is a better representation of some of the additional pieces within you and surrounding you that may affect your life.

From the illustration: What is Holistic Health?
  1. Spiritual: Expands our sense of purpose and meaning in life
  2. Intellectual: Recognizes creative abilities and finds ways to expand knowledge and skills
  3. Emotional: Copes effectively with life and creates satisfying relationships
  4. Physical: Recognizes the need for physical activity, diet, sleep, and nutrition
  5. Socio-cultural: Develops a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system
  6. Financial: Satisfaction with current and future financial situations
  7. Environmental: Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being
  8. Occupational: Personal satisfaction and enrichment derived from one’s work

All of the above factors influence your overall Life Wellness. And a dramatic positive or negative change in any of them can equally dramatically change your entire life situation.

In fact, it is a good idea to semi-regularly (once quarterly, or once yearly), consider for yourself where you stand in regard to each of these on a scale of 1 to 10. Because you cannot significantly increase your overall Life Wellness and Life Satisfaction if one or more of these factors remains low.

Instead, in order to raise your overall Life Wellness / Satisfaction level, you may need to increase the level of each of these factors. By doing so, and specifically by concentrating on the factors that need the most improvement, you will raise every level at once (and therefore your overall Life Wellness as well) due to their intimately interconnected nature.

HOW to perform (W)holistic Life Management.

Now we get into the real “meat & potatoes” of this presentation.

For myself, I like to perform a THREE-step process that can be thought about in a similar way to how a doctor would see a patient.

  1. Life Check-up (a regular review)
  2. Self Diagnosis (thinking time)
  3. Self Prescription (atomic habits)

#1: Life Check-up

As mentioned above, I often like to set aside time to review and reflect on my personal life satisfaction and progress. This helps me to review what went right and what went wrong in the previous period in life, and better set my direction for where I want to go in the next period in life. Because without a clear direction in mind, I would just end up going anywhere, and doing anything.

Everyone ends up somewhere in life, few people end up there on purpose.

Craig Groeschel

Practically speaking, for my Life Check-up, I usually do the following:

  1. Once per Quarter (or per semester)
  2. Set aside at least a half-day (on purpose)
  3. To go to a favorite (quiet) coffee shop
  4. And indulge in my favorite (rarely purchased) coffee / snacks
  5. With my favorite music (or a motivational message)
  6. To get myself into the right head space
  7. And rate my life from 1 to 10 in each of the (w)holistic factors
  8. And write down all the good and bad from the previous Quarter

A good (long) example of my process can be seen in my 2016 Year in Review.

#2: Self Diagnosis

The Life Check-up / Review leads quite naturally into a Self Diagnosis. The reason I like to set aside at least a half-day for this process is because DEEP thinking about your life and your future direction takes time.

The Road Less Stupid, by Keith J. Cunningham
Start with Why, by Simon Sinek

One of the best books I’ve read recently includes a section at the end of every chapter called “Thinking Time” where the author presents a series of questions based on the chapter and asks readers to go and spend some serious time just thinking. (The Road Less Stupid, by Keith J. Cunningham)

Another good book that really gets to the heart of the issue is called Start with Why, by Simon Sinek. In this book, the author presents the idea that:

  • “Followers start with WHAT” but
  • “Leaders start with WHY”

WHY is the heart of the matter. WHY did this or that go wrong? WHY do I still not do this thing I want to do? WHY am I not fully satisfied in this part of my life? WHY is the best place to start because WHY helps us to see the underlying causes and motivations for whatever worked or didn’t work in our lives.

Then, from WHY, we can build up to HOW we want to change – in what (w)holistic areas we need to make adjustments. And from there, we can determine particular steps to take, or WHAT to do, to see things through to a better future.

Too many times we try to start with WHAT we want to change first, without considering the true, underlying conditions that are causing things to be out of whack in the first place. Starting with WHY is a much better tool for Self Diagnosis.

#3: Self Prescription

Once you’ve gone DEEP enough in your Thinking Time, you’ve rated yourself (w)holistically, and have discovered the deeper underlying causes or motivations (your WHY) for your previous successes and failures, then you’re finally ready to start working on your HOW to change and WHAT to change for the next period in your life. For that, I have two main recommendations:

1. Learn to Bullet Journal

The concept behind the Bullet Journal is simple: ONE, centralized, consistent (analog) location for ALL your “Thinking Time,” plans, and reviews.

The reason an analog (pen and paper) solution is preferable to a digital solution is because of the ease and versatility of getting things out of your head and on paper quickly whether through text or drawings. Digital tools may be powerful, but we often find ourselves spending more times switching between editing tools than actually writing, drawing, and truly thinking.

Buy a nice moleskin notebook, and use it regularly to keep track of everything that is going on in your life and your plans for the future. You can use it during your Prescription period to help you determine what new habits to form and what new direction to take. And then you can look back on it in a few months when you do another Life Check-up / Review to see how everything went.

The inventor of the Bullet Journal, Ryder Carroll, also has a great book out on the subject (available in 28 languages) that will teach you all about how to use this kind of journal to your greatest advantage in planning and living your life.

2. Develop Atomic Habits

I’ve previously presented on Habits in various settings and contexts, but one of the best books on the subject of Habits in recent years is James Clear’s Atomic Habits (highly recommended).

The basic idea is this: the majority of your life (over 50% of every waking day) is dictated by your daily habits. Change your habits, change your life. And Mr. Clear does an excellent job of laying out all kinds of principles regarding your habits including:

  1. How to Break a Bad Habit (chapter 10)
  2. How to Build Good Habits (chapter 3)
  3. Your Environment matters more than your Motivation (chapter 6)
  4. The Secret to Self-control (chapter 7)
  5. How to Stop Procrastinating (chapter 13)

You can also take a look at my previous presentation on the topic for more information.

But for a quick overview of how I’ve used these principles to create my own “Atomic Habits,” let’s take a look at my current daily schedule.

My Daily Habits

  • 4:40am – wake up, do computer work when my brain is fresh
  • 6:00am – go to the gym, keeping my body strong and fit is important to keep my mind and spirit strong and fit
  • 7:00am – bike to work, cardiovascular fitness is at least as important as muscular strength to keeping me (w)holistically healthy
    • I also do stretching to improve my flexibility
    • Some reading, to increase my knowledge and spend some time thinking
    • And Wim Hof deep breathing exercises as a kind of meditative / prayer practice for my spiritual health, to center myself and prepare for work
  • 8:40am – I begin my work, teaching English at a Korean university
  • Lunch – Eat, have a cup of coffee, and take a rest to recover my physical and mental energy for the afternoon work period
  • Before 6:00pm – bike home, this biking also helps me mentally separate my work life from my home life so that I can be fully present with my family
    • I often do some additional bodyweight exercises like pull ups, push ups and sit ups on the way home
    • I take a cold shower to refresh my body and mind
    • I have dinner with my family
    • Then do the dishes with an audiobook to continue learning and thinking
    • Then, I play with my kids or read to them before bed
  • 8:30pm – get ready for bed, we start to help the kids wind down, shower, brush their teeth, pick out clothes for the next morning, and so on
  • 9:30pm – lights out (for kids), during this time I like to read a paperback book or write in my Bullet Journal at night
  • 10:30pm – sleep, I try to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night

So, the habits I’ve laid out above are some that I’ve worked on through many iterations of my (W)holistic Life Management plan and have found they work the best for me (for now). But, in due time, I’m sure some things will change.

For example, I’m striving for fluency in Korean, but don’t (yet) have a good place for Korean study in my daily habits. This is something to put to myself to solve in my next (W)holistic Life planning session.

Thanks for your attention to my presentation!~ I hope you found beneficial. And be sure to check out the books below (affiliate links) for more.


(affiliate links below and throughout the blog post)

Personalize VS Code

I’ve really been enjoying VS Code for development these days. Here are some of the things I’ve done to customize my new favorite code editor.

While I’ve used (and enjoyed) a number of different coding environments and IDEs in the past (NetBeans, Atom, Brackets, Notepad++), these days, I’m really enjoying VS Code. The following is a list of what I’ve done to customize my WordPress development environment.

1. Customizing Visual Studio Code

Extensions (CTRL + SHIFT + X)

  1. Beautify
  2. Debugger for Chrome
  3. EditorConfig
  4. ES6 String HTML
  5. ESLint
  6. Express
  7. GitLens
  8. HTML CSS Support
  9. IntelliSense for CSS
  10. Live Server
  11. Markdown All in One
  12. PHP Debug
  13. PHP DocBlocker
  14. PHP IntelliSense
  15. PHP Server
  16. PHP Code Sniffer
  17. Prettier – Code formatter
  18. REST Client
  19. Sass
  20. Settings Sync (special note: Use this Extension to sync your Settings across multiple machines once you’ve got things the way you like)
  21. SVN
  22. Terminal


  1. HTML Snippets
  2. JavaScript (ES6) code snippets
  3. jQuery code snippets
  4. React-Native/React/Redux snippets for ES6/ES7 Standard


  1. Atom One Dark Theme
  2. Fresh Material
  3. Material Icon Theme
  4. Material Theme
  5. Palenight Theme
  6. One Dark Pro
  7. One Monokai Theme
  8. VS Code Icons

Settings (CTRL + Comma)

Most of these Settings can be found and edited within the Settings interface of VS Code. But to do workbench.colorCustomizations, you’ll need to edit the JSON of your settings. So, it’s easiest to simply Search for that in the search bar, then copy-paste the following into the JSON Settings.

"editor.fontFamily": "'Noto Mono', 'Fira Code', Hack",
"editor.fontSize": 16,
"editor.fontLigatures": true,
"editor.formatOnPaste": true,
"editor.tabSize": 2,
"workbench.iconTheme": "material-icon-theme",
"files.autoSave": "onWindowChange",
"workbench.colorTheme": "Palenight Italic",
"workbench.colorCustomizations": {
"terminal.background": "#1F2330",
"activityBar.background": "#7e57c2"


My preferred Settings above require some additional fonts. Here they are:

  1. Fira Code
  2. Noto Mono
  3. Hack


For more tips on using VS Code, check out the following video lessons.

  1. VS Code Power User by Ahmad Awais
  2. Learning Visual Studio Code by Reynald Adolphe on LinkedIn
  3. Visual Studio Code for Web Developers by Joe Marini on LinkedIn