Crocheting Organization

When I first started crocheting I was concerned about my daughter getting into the projects and ripping all the yarn apart. It was frustrating enough when working on a project and having to rip 3 rows out just to fix one tiny mistake because I wasn’t paying much attention. Keeping my daughter out of the projects and yarn was a simple. I placed the yarn in two rubber maid containers, a smaller one for the yarn and project I was working on and a larger one for the extra yarn. Because I was working on a large project, I needed to keep track of the rows I had completed and what colour I was switching to, since I decided to use three different colours to create the afghan.

Keeping track of rows and colour

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Photo Credit: Me

This page is in a binder. I also have the pattern in a pocket in front of the binder so it was easy to reference.

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I also found it helpful to have a reference picture, so I was able to compare my crocheting to another’s for proper pattern creation.

20141202_151726_Richtone(HDR)Afghan

How did I do?

Just like when you cook too much, when you have leftover yarn, I ask what do you do with the rest of it when you know you don’t have enough for another afghan?

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I think I’m going to create granny squares, as I have other leftover yarn I can use. What would you create?

granny squares
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Another class bites the dust

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First and foremost thank you Alec (@courosa) and Katia (@kbhildebrandt) for opening my eyes to the world of social media and its use in education in the course #ECI831. The course was informative and overwhelming and I learned a lot from it which I will take back to the classroom.

In the process of creating a summary of learning, I can now add Powtoon to my repitoire of presentation  software. I learned a lot about timing and how much I can put on one slide as each slide could only be 20 seconds long.  To help me out in the creation of the summary of learning, as I never used powtoon until this class, I first went to see if they had a google plus community and they do +Powtoon.  Here you can find helpful videos but it wasn’t enough for me. I went to good old youtube and found this video helpful as someone who has never used the website before.

Not only did I learn about social media, but I also learned about the history of technology, which is interesting considering I’m an 80’s child and grew up with the ever changing technology. Just in the last couple of weeks I watched the documentary Video Games: The Movie on Netflix. It brought me back to our first guest speak  Rick Schwier as he discussed the history of educational technology. The question what will they come up with next? generally resonnates with me when technology is talked about. But it isn’t what will come next as the what comes next is already in development and just waiting for a release date. I remember a comment was made to me a couple years back that it would be neat if our watches were our phones. I commented back it is probably already in the works and here we are in 2014 with phones on our wrists.

Rhizomatic learning

The first time I heard this term was when we had dave cromier as a guest speaker. I went rhizomatic what? What does that even mean? What does it mean for my learning? What does it mean for my teaching? For my learning, I can learn anything I want in a matter of different ways. MOOC’s allow for me to learn something new. For my teaching, I need to allow students to follow through with an idea even if it isn’t “on topic” as they are learning and will be able to show what they learned.

Classmates:

I have learned a lot about different websites and apps that are out there for education. You have taught me the difficulties you had with them and ways to get around those issues. You shared interesting articles which I have booked marked for later reading and I look forward to continuing to follow your journey through twitter. Jennie Davies thank you for sharing a social media experience of Aurasma. I look forward to using it with my students as they are going to think it is so cool and it gives me a great idea to bring the ipads to the classroom. I look forward to introducing it to my staff as well. I think the app would be great for staff meetings especially if someone is missing from it.
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Good luck with the rest of the school year, studies and Merry Christmas.

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Being a Connected Educator

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What does being a connected educator mean to you? Alec Couros talk at the end of the semester  really helped sum up what being connected means to me. Being connected means:

1. Being vulnerable

2. Putting yourself out there professionally and personally

3. Leaving a positive digital footprint (digital citizenship)

4. Contributing

5. Learning

6. Changing

7. Time

The part about being connected which scares me the most is being vulnerable. The ECI831 has helped ease some of the vulnerability through a positive on-line learning experience. I am no longer afraid to state my opinion, share my learning experience, and ask questions.

As I start the planning process to return to work, I will definitely be thinking about teaching digital citizenship to my 5/6’s. I want them to know how to be a positive role model for other human beings. I want to let the world into my classroom a little bit more than I have in the past. I want my students to become better writers and blogging will allow that to become a reality as the more I read and write the better I become. It also helps to have people comment. I want my students to have a voice in the online world. I want them to be heard and know they can do more than just play games and watch youtube videos. I have a lot of thinking and reorganizing of my unit plans, so I can start the process of being a sideways classroom. How does being a connected educator help you in your classroom?

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Head in the clouds

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Audrey Watters brought me down to earth with her talk of on-line harrassment of women, race, and sexual orienation. Companies are not doing anything about it. Why? Because the giants are ran by the white privileged male. Women have been fighting for years to have a voice. A voice politically, in education, in the real world and now we need to fight to have a voice in the digital world. The statistics scare me as a new mother, educator and female. Women need to be bold, loud and active and keep making noise, so girls who cannout even speak yet can be confident to share opinion and speak their minds without the feeling of what will be said to me, about me, threats they may receive. It is even scarier knowing our young boys are being influenced by older men in the gaming community. Who is responsible for teaching our young men it is not OK to______________. Do our parents even know the influence gaming with interactive chat has on a young mind?

After the discussion, I brought it up with my husband and he blamed the Westren world not encouraging our females to go into engineering, computer science, and other technology related field. He then went on to explain how in India women have just as much opportunity to get a technology degree as the men there. In some cases women get hired by big companies because their test scores were higher then a man’s. He continued to explain to me the situation with fact after fact after fact (insert eyeroll) (mansplaining). He completely missed the point I was trying to get across to him of the harassment issues online, as he interrupted me.

The statement “a man will interrupt an interject and explain whatever the topic is more loudly, more forcefully, with all the assurdness”, is so true as I experience it within my family. I have even got to the point where I have said I’m done listening because the topic has now become dead to me or I walk away because the men are not listening to me and I no longer feel a part of the conversation. They are talking over me. I wonder how this reaction will playout as my daughter grows up. Both my husband and I want her to be a strong, independent female, but what will her experiences be? Will she end up be quieted because she is not heard? Harrassed because she has ideas, facts and opinions which someone or group of people will disagree and feel she needs to be “put in her place”.

 

 

 

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Major Digital Project Final

I have been busily spending hours finishing up the afghan I have been working on all semester along with some small projects on the side. There are a few things I have learned about learning in an on-line community.

1. I need to watch 3 or 4 videos with different approaches to decide which way best works for me.

2. There are more than just videos as there are on-line communities in Google plus and the people in them are more than willing to help as long as I ask for help.

3. There are books with patterns available for a fee and free.

4. I can get tips, tricks and patterns via twitter with the hashtag #crochet

5. I am now following @crochetme and @crochet4kids thanks to @tara_3. You can read her blog here.

There are few things I still need to work on when it comes to crocheting, but I will keep working at it and I will get better.

My daughter made a great model for the products I created.

The headband

20141202_144911_Richtone(HDR) 20141202_144819_Richtone(HDR)I had a little help putting the finishing touches on the afghan as well.

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But when it was all done and gave it to her for the first time this was her reaction

I am so happy I learned how to crochet and was able to complete a few projects while working on the skill. In the process I let go of my fear of uploading videos to youtube and posting them for the world to see.

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Social Media and Family Life Balance

Update:

The semester for social media and open education class is  coming to a close. I continue to struggle to stay balanced, not sure how I’m going to balance staying a connected educator, and family life when I go back to work. I guess I will find out at the end of January.

stressed catPhoto Credit: greg westfall. via Compfight cc

How did I do this semester?

There were days I spent my daughter’s naps on social media and still did not complete any writing on my own blog. Even after she went to bed, I was still on social media. My husband continually still asked about the amount of time I spent staring at the screen. I did admit that my eyes hurt. The one app of social media I haven’t spent a lot of time on is pintrest and I really didn’t miss it. I spent about 20 minutes every couple of weeks scrolling through and pinning ideas or recipes to try. Like this Ferro Rocher cake. It looks so good, it is going on the table at Christmas time.

My facebook time is down to about 5 minutes a day. I still need to shut off twitter and email notifications so I’m not tempted to look. I have become better of ignoring the bird tweeting on my phone and look when I got a minute and just delete the notification. Overall, I’m getting better at balancing social media and family life. I have also started back into an active lifestyle, which has help with the amount of time spent on social media.

My husband the other day asked me to put down my phone, because according to him I was spending 24/7 on social media. This got me thinking. Am I spending 24/7 on social media? I started reflecting on all the time I spend connected, and asked myself what am I missing out on because I’m connected 24/7 according to my husband. This is what I have discovered, if I do not limit the social media:

1) I can get caught up and overwhelmed by all the great blogs and tweets that I can spend hours reading.

2) I’m missing out on special time with my daughter and husband as I am connected and may miss out on some milestones of my daughters.

3) My daughter is going to think that it is ok to be connected even though there is time for face to face conversation.

I have decided after reading “How to Really Stop Checking Your Email Constantly,” that the article could apply to checking twitter, facebook, and pintrest.  These are all social media which I have been on constantly.  I’m not very productive during my daughter’s nap time as I’m constantly checking social media instead of focusing on the task which I need to do while she is sleeping.  These tasks generally consist of writing papers, reading, house work prep work for supper or baking.  I’m going to specifically set a time in the day where my daughter is napping to conduct the social media checks, then maybe I won’t feel so overwhelmed, my husand won’t feel like I am ignoring him and most importantly I won’t feel like I’m missing out on opportunities with my daughter as she grows.

Here is my plan:

1) spend no more than 30 minutes once a day on twitter and favorite blogs or links for later reading.

2) Facebook 10minutes. I love reading about what my family from across Canada is doing but sometimes it gets overwhelming as they are constantly posting.

3) 20minutes on pintrest and pin things for later read or to share with the class.

4) most importantly shut off notifications so I am not tempted to check.

This should take almost one whole nap time. WIth the time left, I can spend it blogging once or twice a week, learning a new skill (which I still need to decide fast as time is running out), or doing housework.  While my daughter is awake we can bake together, go for walks, read, swim and many other fun things to get my daughter interacting with the world around her.

During the second nap, I can spend more time reading and writing. Wish me luck!

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Slipping into the Unknown

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I have been working on this post for awhile know, getting my thoughts  around a different way of getting the students to interact with the material in my classroom. Throughout my curriculum and instructional class #eci831, I kept hearing the terms flipped classroom, blended learning, and sideways classroom. What is a flipped classroom? How do I start flipping?Would it work in an upper elementary school? How could I apply it to my classroom? What about those who struggle with learning? Does anyone in Saskatchewan use a flipped classroom? These are the many questions I have when I think about a flipped classroom.

What is a flipped classroom?

Wikipedia defines a flipped classroom as blended learning, when students watch videos and learn content online at home. The “homework” is done in the classroom with students and teachers discussing and solving problems. The flipped classroom draws on concepts as active learning, and student engagement. It sounds like a great pedagogy, since the goal of education is to get our students to become more engaged and active learners instead of the current passive learner.

A flipped classroom repurposes instructional time into inquiry based learning. Students become the teachers, and the teacher becomes a coach/mentor.  This idea of learning allows for students to master the outcome instead of just covering an outcome.

Flipped Classroom

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

How Do I start flipping?

The first thing I would do is read the book Flip your classroom: Reach Every Child Everyday by Jonathon Bergmann. And as many have pointed out in the #eci831 class start small, one idea at a time.  Educause (@educause)  also has a great handout called the “7 Things you should read about the flipped”classroom”.

Math seems to possibly be an easier subject to flip with resources like Khan Academy, youtube videos, as well as websites like mathletics.  Flipping Math would allow me to work with students who need extra support and the students who Math comes easy to can get to work right away on the “homework” or become student leaders and explain what they learned the night before to a classmate.  It would allow my parents to be a “peer” in the process of learning as the “new” Math is about teaching kids flexible thinking, not the standard algorithm to get to the answer quickly. (a video to share with parents)

As we know, the level of mastery of an outcome is to be able to teach it to someone else. I may also flip a Science lesson or two so we can spend more time working on projects than learning the background information as Andrew stated in his blog. Techsmith has posted 9 easy steps to flipping your classroom. One needs to be aware the blog promotes the use of Snagit to flip the class; however there are other tools you can use. Here are 6 ways to use video in the flipped classroom.

Resources or Apps to use to help flip the classroom

During the #ECI831 class, I have learned about a variety of resources which would help a teacher flip a classroom. First and foremost you need to get parents onboard with the idea of a flipped classroom.

These are just a few of the resources we have discussed in class or shared through the  Google plus community.  There is much more information and teacher blogs who have flipped their classrooms. The one thing I can take away from the research I done is to flip one lesson, one unit, one subject at a time. What is your experience in flipping? Do you have resources to add to the list?

Happy flipping folks.

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OHHHHHH, How Frustrating. . .

Wordle: digital storytelling

Well my morning started off great and I was on a roll with blogging about digital storytelling. Last week we had the privilege of hearing Alan Levine (@cogdog) share on digital story telling. It was the inspiration which fed my creativity to share some of my frustrations with technology this week.

How many times have you had something like that happen to you?

Bright Idea 

Hey, why don’t I create a short digital story to share the frustrations of today. Well, I spent my daughter’s afternoon nap (3hrs long) creating my story. There were a few hiccups along the way, but I got it all to work out. By the time I got to the point to record the story, she was up, so if you heard a small voice in the background, it was her.  Yes, it took that long to write, find the right pictures, chose the tool to create it (Photostory), place the pictures in the right order, find the headset with the microphone and then record the voice until the story matched up with the correct picture and there was no “click” sound in the background.

It is important to know what exactly it is you want to accomplish when creating a digital story as some tools might not allow you to do what it is you want to do, where others will. For example, I first chose movie maker. I got my pictures all line up with opening and closing credits created and realized I needed to record the story using another program and I would have to work on timing to get the pictures to line up with the story. The program did not do what I wanted to complete, so I chose Photostory because I knew I could record my story based on the picture and that made life a little easier and allowed me to create the story a little quicker.

I now know how my students felt while working on their haunted radio plays and book trailers. Frustrating and rewarding at the same time. It can be frustrating when technology doesn’t work and when your just putting the finishing touches on a project and it “disappears” in to the unknown (note to self save often). Rewarding in the time spent playing, and creating to enhance learning opportunities.  It is also a feeling of accomplishment when you can see the response to the finished product from peers in the classroom to peers around the world.

There are many ways and subject areas to incorporate digital story telling. I have used storytelling in Arts Education, and English. In Arts Ed the students have created picture radio plays and stop motion animation. Students had a lot of fun creating, exploring, and giving voice to characters. In English they created a book trailer to the book their group was reading. How do you incorporate digital story telling? What tools do you use?

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Many, Many Hours

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Time is ticking away faster, and faster each day. Learned the basics of crocheting a few weeks ago and thought I would tackle a baby afghan before my daughter got to big for it. It will also serve as a keep sake. While I was growing up, I got the opportunity to have many hand made items and cherished each and every one of them and I want my daughter to experience the same thing. I’m finding kids do not appreciate what they have and I believe things that are made with love are the most precious as you never know when someone you love will not be around. I still have my babe afghan which my dad’s mom made for me.

What I didn’t expect?

I didn’t think it would take me what feels like forever to complete an afghan. It would probably help if could complete a row without making mistakes. I do not catch that I have dropped a stitch until I am well into the next row, so I end ripping out and re-crocheting about a row and a half. My grandmothers made crocheting look so easy (at least from what I remember). I guess it is going to take lots of practice and time to become really good at crocheting. I now have a row taking me about 20 minutes to . I guess all that ripping and redoing decreased the amount of time as I am now almost complete. I have about 15 rows left to make and then the blanket is done. Yahoo!

Things I’ve learned

1. it takes hours to create a beautiful afghan
2. I can whip up a fashionable head band in about 30 minutes
3. Yarn is expensive, so use it wisely
4. Do not crochet while my daughter is up as she likes to play with the yarn ball
5. I can learn from watching a video, but it is nice to have someone right beside me to help me out.

Goals for the week:

1. Finish afghan (less than 20 rows to go)
2. start and complete an infinity scarf (need to go get yarn and a bigger hook)
3. create a video and add it to this blog

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Tweet, Twitter, Chatter

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Reflection on Twitter Chat

On October 30, I was able to participate in my first twitter chat with #saskedchat. I found the experience to be very positive and excellent professional development. It felt great to get re-tweeted as it solidified I had a voice. Isn’t that what twitter, blogging and other social media should be used for? To have a voice. If you have not yet participated in a twitter chat, I highly recommend it. I have now experienced the power behind having a voice on-line and want my students to experience a similar feeling. I have lots of work to do before I head back into the classroom at the end of January, to prepare for student voices.

E-portfolios

The topic was e-portfolios, although I was unable to participate in the full hour of chatter with other educators from North America, I enjoyed learning about how educators use student portfolios. What I learned was students should be the owners’ of their e-portfolios with guidance from teachers. There are a variety of different ways to use an e-portfolios and it could be beneficial for parents to read through it before they come to 3 way conferences. The other concern from teachers in the chat was the amount of time it can take for students to work on and for teachers to use as assessments as the e-portfolio’s can become very large with pod-casts, videos, pictures, etc. The key to e-portfolios is it must reflect the growth of student learning over time. To help get you started on an e-portfolio with students @kwhobbes shared his example and his #smya presentation, along with examples on Pearltrees. A BC educator suggested the use of FreshGrade for e-portfolios. At first glance, the site seems simple and easy to use and may save teachers time in creating portfolios with students.

I know kindergarten teachers in Saskatchewan are encouraged to take pictures throughout the year of student learning, Do any other grades take pictures for a learning portfolio? If so, how do you use the pictures in upper elementary school?

 

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