Mrs. Chelsey Croft

Future teacher, life long learner

The Human Factor — May 29, 2017

The Human Factor

When searching facebook or twitter or a news outlet, I often find myself reading a story/article of some sort, but that is not what really grabs my interest.  What really gets my attention is the ‘comment’ section attached to each article or video.  I guess I should mention these articles/videos are rarely your ‘happy go lucky’ variety that make everyone laugh and smile and want to live happily ever after.  No.  I read the controversial ones, the political ones, the ones that make you question humanity at times.  And then I read the comments.  They are brutal!  It is truly shocking what people will ‘say’ to one another when they are protected by their computer screen.  I think these comment sections replace the ‘human side’ of people and replace them with some mean, hating creature that wants to disagree and fight just for the sake of disagreeing and fighting.

However, both both Alec and Michael talk about the ‘good human side’ of technology.  About how amazing people can truly be when connecting with complete strangers from all over the world.  The pictures Alec shared about random people helping a man make his final picture of him and his mom together just perfect had me tearing up.  And the video he shared about senior citizens from the USA helping young teens Brazil learn English was one of the best uses I have ever seen of the internet.  Both of these help resotre some of my lost faith in humanity.  These people were being good, just to be good.  No reward was given, no money received.  They were just helping each other out because they now had the technology to do so.  Michael’s fun and happy discussion about how the original ‘Zuma Zuma’ video resulted in a chain reaction of people from all of the world having a genuinely fun time.  This single man from Jersey caused millions of people to smile if just for a few minutes.  And this was all possible because of a littel thing called YouTube.

This is how I would love to integrate this new ‘tech culture’ into my classroom.  I want to use technology to tap into the ‘human factor’.  It almost feels like a paradox to type that.  How can being alone in a room with a computer actually make us closer? Weird to think about, but the above examples prove it to be true.  I want to take my future students on field trips without leaving the school.  I want them to learn about other cultures not from a textbook but from students across the world.  I want them to put their concerns out into the world, and know that they world can actually hear them.  A “simple” device can now make that all possible.

I will also teach students in the new ‘tech culture’ about digital literacy.  Not just the ‘catfishing‘ that Alec talked about, but about what they, themselves are putting out there.  Do they want to simply be one of those meanies in the comment section, or do they want to be a kid from Jersey bringing smiles to people’s faces?  I will stress the important of the internet, and how once it is out there, it can never be taken back.  For me I think a good rule of thumb is, “if you would not say it to someone’s face, don’t type it either!”

In general, this tech culture has endless potential to connect schools and students from all over the world.  To learn things that would have been impossible in past generations.  I truly beleive this is now the best tool for any school or teacher to utilize, and to not teach our students how they can benefit from it would be a disservice for everyoen involved.  But I think there still has to be that ‘human factor’.  The thing that lets people connect and truly learn from one another.  In this day and age, I think the human connection is more important than ever.

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Mmm Mmm Pie! — May 28, 2017

Mmm Mmm Pie!

The title says it all! My applie pie was not only beautiful to look at, but it tasted delicious too!  Of course I had to ‘a la mode’ mine, because, well, I love ice cream!

I wish I had good enough camera video skills to create a one shot, step by step process of what I am doing, but I do not.  Plus, with two young kids, I usually am switching off between baking, playing with, feeding, or cleanign up after the kids.  With that in mind, I created 5 short videos that explain how to go about making the perfect, flaky pie crust, which pie had!

I was quite skeptical of my crust when I was finished making it, although I am not quite sure why as I did not really know what ‘good’ pie crust dough was supposed to look like.  I did, however, know what I wanted my pie to look like, and it was the fancy lattice pie top.  In roderto getthis right, I use this steo by steo YourTube video to show me how.  It was actually quite simple and easy to create, and makes your pie look super fancy.

Just as I did with my cheesecake, I followed the Apple Pie recipe perfectly.  Okay, so not perfectly, I had to make two minor changes:

  1. I used lime juiceinstead of lemon because I forget to buy lemon juice and I already hadlime juice in the house.
  2.  The recipe called for 8 cups of apples, which I prepared.  However, the pie dish I used was only able to hold about 6 cups. (Luckily I also had some extra dough too and created what I called a big apple perogy!)
    Ready to be baked

    Fresh out of the over
Technology….Ugh! — May 25, 2017

Technology….Ugh!

I have never felt more lost and confused then when I am trying out some new form of technology, whether it be an app, a new form of Windows, or even an update to my iPhone.  I know technology is our friend, but sometimes I feel like it can be my enemy!  Cue this week’s blog post…..’testing’ out a new, unfamilair app.

I started this journey by clicking on ‘PicMonkey’, I thought this was something that I could use in my every day life.  I love taking pictures of my kids, and was looking forward to learning to use this editing tool.  However, this quickly came to an end when I found out just to access the 7 day free trial you had to punch in your credit card info.  I can almost guarantee the point of this was strictly to get money out of people who would forget to cancel the subscription as soon as the free trial was up.  This would definitely be me! So STRIKE ONE on the app search!

Next I turned my attetnion to ‘Evernote‘ .  Much better luck with this!  To sign up you literally just put in your email address and make a password, so right away it was very user friendly.  This site has some very useful qualities for both teachers and students, including:

  1. ORGANIZATION!  My favorite thing when it comes to any type of school work, whether I am the teacher or the student, is being organized!  On this site, not only can you write a quick note about something that may interest you, or a list of things you need to do, but you can also create whole ntoebooks, which I think would be a great place to keep track of individual student progress, and also a place for students to keep notes on each school subject.
  2. Calendar.  This is still definitely  apart of organziation, just a different type.  You can set remindersin the form of a direct email.  This would be great for all types of deadlines, inside and outside fo school.
  3. Hyperlinks.  You add hyperlinks right in a note or notebook.  This is a great way to add in extra information about something you are teaching without re-typing everything.  This is great for time management, and it gives you a link directly to a source, which is great.
  4. Bookmarks.  As in you no longer need to bookmark your important because Evernote puts them in a nice, neat, easy to access list for you.
  5. Google drive.  You can essentially link up this to everything you type in google drive, in fact, it is very similar to google drive in the sense that you can share what you wrote with other people.  In my opinion, this may actually be a con, as it seems to be you could essentially just use google drive to accomplish anything you could with Evernote (but I am not super familar with either ‘tools’ so I cannot say for sure).

All in all I think Evernote’s main strength for a teacher is the fact that would allow them to be very organized.  I think if a teacher utilized everything this site had to offer, and did it well, it would make their lives much easier in terms of every day tasks that teachers must accomplish.  From simple things like keeping attendance records, to making detailed lesson plans that require additional resources.

Next up on the Menu….Warm Apple Pie! — May 24, 2017

Next up on the Menu….Warm Apple Pie!

I was super skeptical about the title of this blog post, but then I remembered that I am relatively old, and most of you will not ‘get it’ anyway.  Perhaps that could be a challenge for you young bucks in #ecmp355.  So, as the title states, I will be trying to bake a successful apple pie this week.  I have never made a pie in my life.  This is probably because most pies contain a lot of fruit, and I am very much against fruit in desserts, but here I am, stepping out of my comfort zone and making a “healthy” dessert!

The recipe I will be using was found on Pinterest and it claims to be “the best we’ve come across”.  I feel with a quote like that ‘they’ are just setting themselves up for failure!  But that is not important.  What is important is my ‘pre-baking’ prep, as I like to call it.  A day or two before I begin baking I always read over the recipe to ensure I have all the ingredients and tools to bake my dessert.  With this apple pie, it turns out you make the crust in a food processor, not a mixer.  The only food processor I have access to is my mother’s.  She told me she got it as a wedding gift in 1984!  This means I will essentially be playing Russian roulette with this old machine, hoping it does not give out before the crust is made.

Now normally, as in always, I only use traditional “written” recipes, where it states the ingredients and then the directions.  Simple and easy, at least for me.  This is made a bit more tricky using my iPad and recipes found online, mainly because baking is very messy and I like my iPad to be clean.  For this dessert I am going to try and up my technological baking game by using a YouTube video as well.  My plan is to find a good video that can teach me how to make a more complex upper crust then the typical ‘flat’ looking one with a few holes poked in it.  Right now I am thinking of doing the ‘basket weave’ design.  If I am feeling super ambitious I may even throw in a pretty leaf or two!

Final thoughts about apple pie:  since it is primarily fruit I think I will make it my goal to have it ready to eat as breakfast on Saturday morning (clearly I am super into nutrition)!

Cha cha cha cha cheesecake — May 22, 2017

Cha cha cha cha cheesecake

Before I begin to talk about my baking adventure this week, when you read the title of this blog please do so in a David Bowie “Changes” tune. I had the song stuck in my head the whole time I was baking, it just seemed to fit the theme of cheesecake.  Anywho….

The cheesecae was a huge success.  Honestly, it was probably the best thing I have ever baked in my life.  However, I may be abit biased as cheesecake in general is one of my favorite things ever.  Add a brownie bottom to that and peanut butter, how could it not be amazing!?

Fresh out of the over – the cracks are a good sign!

In case you may have forgot, my two main worries about baking this particular cheesecake were 1) the brownie bottom would burn and be brick hard, and 2) the center of the cheesecake not be fully cooked (that has happened before).  Turns out I was worried for nothing, because, as mentioned above, this cheesecake turned out perfect!  I think the secret to my success was to follow the recipe exactly!  Go figure eh?  Okay, so I may have added more chocolate ganache than the recipe called for, and I may have added more peanut butter cups on top of the brownie bottom than the recipe called for, but I made an exectutive decision, and I think it was the right call.

Cooked all the way through and delicious!

This cheesecake tasted absolutely delicious, but it is not for the faint of heart. If you do not like rich, sweet desserts, this is NOT for you.  This cheesecake if for people who take on desserts like an athletic event.  You must prepate for it, both mentally and physically.  It will test you and it may win.  My sister and Dad could not finish theirs.  They were too weak.  Lucky for me, I got to finish their pieces, but I am somewhat of a dessert warrior!

The biggest challenge to this baking experience is to step outside of my comfort zone and put myself in a video.  I never realized how annoying my voice sounds until I made these ‘YouTube’ videos.  You can’t unhear that!  Even so, I am going to continue to try and force myself in front of the camera.  I feel like I am about 80 years old when I try to figure out how to flip the camera from ‘selfie’ mode to facing out.  This technology I tell ya!

#Hashtag Noobie — May 19, 2017

#Hashtag Noobie

I have had twitter for several years now, but have always been a ‘lurker’.  I use it primarily for reading jokes/memes and for poltitical information.  I have probbaly retweeted/tweeted/liked no more than 25 times in the years I have been a part fo the Twitter community.  I guess I can hardly call myself part of the commnity with stats like that.  However, after exepriencing #saskedchat this evening it is clear to me the professional benefits Twitter can have.  Before tonight I would have never even thought to look to Twitter for classroom resources, let alone to interact with teachers from all over Sasktchewan or really all over the world.  I have no clue how I had never thought of Twitter as a legitimate source for learning, but I just hadn’t.

As far as the basics go – tweeting, liking, retweeting – I think I know what I am doing.  The part I will have to spend some time learning is how to find resources that are beneficial to me as a teacher and to other teachers as well.  I also must learn how to connect with other teachers.  I always find it so awkward to just tweet someone and ask them a question about teaching/learning.  But I guess if the Faculty of Education at Regina has taught me anything it is that teachers love to help other teachers!  I need to get over my fear, and start connecting!  Once I get over that, I think the world of Twitter will be limitless in my growth and development as a teacher and learner!

I would definitely consider using Twitter in the classroom, but I would utilize it as a strictly classroom account.  Meaning only myself, my students, and their parents would hvae access to it.  I love the idea of using as a way to communicate important things with parents and students, displaying work created by the students, and even posing classroom discussion on.  I think it is a great way to bridge the gap between students, teachers, and parents, as well as introduce students and parents to a very valuable source of technology.

My first experience at #saskedchat was a bit overwhelming, as things went so fast.  I found myself so worried about answering the questions that I did not take the proper time in reading everyone else’s responses.  I think when I visit the chat again I will be more of a “listener”.  Even witht he fast oace of the chat, it is clear to me that this is a valuable resource, not just to discuss important issues, but to simply connect with other educators.  For me, I think that is where I will get the most from this chat – the connections.  From that talk alone I was able to follow numerous people who know far more than me about integrating technology in the classroom and, well, teaching in general.  I hope from this chat my online community will grow, and I will be able to add my own valuable resources to it in hopes of helping other educators as well.

I still have a lot of learning to do with Twitter and builidng my online community.  In addition to ECMP 355, I will likely use good ol’ fashioned trial and error to navigate my way through much of these technological plaforms I know so little about.

 

 

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins…..Saaaaay Whaaaaaat!? —

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins…..Saaaaay Whaaaaaat!?

Those bunnies didn’t stand a chance!
ADVISORY WARNING: All my baking will include these little fingers dipping in them!

So I know I am not a great baker but for the most part I do alright.  However, those cinnamon buns were not great, or even good. That really bummed me out, and hurt my baking ego!  I needed something to boost my confidence in the baking department, so I decided to make a couple batches of banana chocolate chunk muffins.  This was also a great way to get rid of the many chocolate Easter bunnies me and my daughter had left over.

This is a fool proof recipe I have perfected (I think) over many attempts of making the perfect banana muffin/bread.  For me the kicker (shout out to Guy Fieri) is adding in cinnamon and nutmeg….gives it anice spicey taste that goes great with the chocolate.

Just as I had anticipated, the muffins turned out amazing and delicious, and will hopefully serve their purpose of giving me back my good baking vibes!

Tomorrow sometime I will attempt to make my first brownie bottom cheesecake.  Cheesecake in general gives me grief.  I always get nervous that the middle won’t be fully baked, and the though of raw eggs in anything grosses me out!  The brownie bottom will be an added challenge as I am told it is very tricky not to burn it.  I always like to let cheesecake ‘set’ for over night, so I will not be putting on the finishing touches until Saturday, at which point I will eat the whole cake to myself!

 

Please Feedly the teachers! — May 17, 2017

Please Feedly the teachers!

Every time an ECMP 355 is over I realize just how little I know about technology.  Not like I thought I knew a lot, or even anything for that matter.  It blows me away how many ‘tech tools’ I can utilize as a teacher, both as resources, for classroom convenience, for tips on teaching, and about a million other things.  What a time to be alive I tell you!

Enter Feedly.  A site that is essentially everything and anything you can imagine in blog form.  The site seems simple enough to navigate, lucky for me.  I simply began my search by typing ‘education’ in to the search bar.  Many blogs came up, and I followed a lot of them.  Most of them, if not all, had different hashtags attached to them.  One that caught my eye was #edtech.  I clicked on it, and it seemed clear that it brought me to all the blogs that were associated with incorporating education and technology together in some way.  I just began clicking ‘follow’on anything that seemed even remotely helpful to me, which was a lot.

The blog, ‘Educational Technology and Mobile Learning‘ caught my eye right away as there was a post ‘talking’ about what ipad apps that were good for elementary students to learn.  Having a 3 year old at home who already knows how to use an ipad, this is something I was eager read about.  After further investigation of this blog it seemed as though it focused on 2 main things: 1) different apps specific to a particular type of learning (ex. apps for elementary students, coding apps, apps for digitial story telling, etc) and 2) helpful sites for teachers.  The blog posts that were directed more at teachers included things like how to use google drive (something I should really watch and read about), where to find online sources  (sites & videos) to help with lessons, and ‘tech tools’ that teachers can bring into the classroom to aid in student learning.  This blog is relevant to teachers and students in so many ways.  It provides direct sources to learning throughout every step of the process.  From providing teachers with the tools and resources they may need to teach lessons, to providing specific apps that are geared towards particular groups of students.  This will definitely be ablog I can see myself visiting frequently to keep up with the new ‘in’ teachnology and apps to use in a classroom, expeically during my internship.

I look forward to further exploring Feedly, and not just for educational purposes but for personal use as well.  i am sure I will be able to find many good baking blogs to help out my lacking skill!

Cinnamon Buns – Take 2 — May 16, 2017

Cinnamon Buns – Take 2

This icing was definitely a hit!
Dough so perfect a 3 year old could roll it

Last night just before supper I decided to tackle cinnamon buns again.  For fear of completely ruining my dough again, I decided to make a couple changes the “my” recipe.  The first being I would not add asmuch flour!  Secondly, I decided not to use the ‘bread hook’ on my mixer, but instead use the paddle attachment.  Luckily both of these adjustments paid off and the cinnamon buns were, in my opinion, a success.  Sure they were not that perfect golden brown color, nor did they form a perfectly tight spiral, and okay, they may have been a bit too hard on the bottom, but they still tasted pretty good…..not great, but good.  The best part was the yummy cream cheese icing I made to go on top of them.  I dipped my cinnamon bun in it as if I were eating veggies and dip…..cream is a weakness of mine!  Overall, I am calling this a win and moving on, and likely never baking cinnamon buns again.  I mean they are not even very expensive to buy!

The part about not baking cinnamon buns ever again was likely only ‘big talk’ from me.  I have alrady decided that if I get through all of my other desserts with better success than the cinnamon buns I am going to try to make them for a third time!  I really want to get them just perfect! Aaaaarrrrgggg!  Stupid cinnamon buns!  Okay happy thoughts….cheesecake.  Yes, I think I will try cheesecake next.  My plan is to bake a Reese’s Pieces cheesecake on Friday, have it cool over night, and then BOOM!  Breakfast Saturday morning.  And before you jusdge me, cheesecake has cheese in, albeit, cream cheese, it has eggs, and it has milk.  It is basically an omelette.

Pre Oven (not the prettiest)
Finished product (still not the prettiest)

 

***Note:  I did have a video, but it was a horrible attempt at a ‘selfie video’ that no one will ever see, ever!***

Cinnamon Buns – Take One! — May 14, 2017

Cinnamon Buns – Take One!

Sooooo, I tried to make cinnamon buns yesterday afternoon.  I got all my ingredients ready, the bowls and rolling pin set out and ready to go, and I had the cutest sous chef helping me out.  “Igot this!”, I thought.  Ummmmm….WRONG!  To say I was unsuccessful would be an understatement!  It was a straight up fail and disaster.  I started this project out with cinnamon buns because I truly thought they would be easy to make/bake, again WRONG! I am now beginning to think that it may take me the five weeks just to make these darn cinnamon buns, nevermind all the other desserts I want to attempt!

My adorable sous chef, Leighton

Dough! Bleeping dough! Can I even “say” ‘bleeping’ on here?  Who would have thought making dough could be so difficult.  Clearly not me as I thought it would be a breeze.  It was just a mess.  It would not roll out, it was think, it did not stick together properly, and it just looked really dense.  I think I mixed in too much flour, but I cannot say for sure until I try again.  Needless to say, it ended up in the garbage.

Now I am the first to admit that I have a pit of a short temper and lack patience when it comes to myself and learning new things.  I know what I am good at and try to stay in that particular ‘pool’ of things.  Baking is NOT one of those things.  I am also very stubborn and know that I will keep trying to bake these cinnamon buns until I get them just right!  The plan is to try and again sometime today but just typing about my fail is getting me all fristrated again, so I may need another day to mentally prepare!

To add to my frustration, I actually had to youTube how to use YouTube, ironic I know. I have never uploaded something to the site, so went over a quik tutorial, and quickly realized it was pretty simple (I think/hope).  With that, I hope you enjoy my videos. I hate being on video.  Wish me luck on my next attempt!