Mrs. Chelsey Croft

Future teacher, life long learner

#LearningProjectComplete — June 29, 2017

#LearningProjectComplete

For my learning project I was so excited to include baking as my ‘skill’ to learn.  Not just baking in general, but specifically recipes that I had always been too afraid to attempt becuase they seemed difficult to me.  So, I guess you could say I was stepping outside of my comfort zone, although it was just a small step.

However, after seeing some of my classmates projects I was second guessing my choice.  Many of my classmates picked projects that could be used in a classroom, whether it be Laura perfecting the self-portrait, Lila and Darren’s crocheting skills, or Alexus learning ASL.  All these skills could be utilized in many different ways within the curriculum.  Yes, I know baking also has curriculum connections, but it is much harder to organize a time for a whole class to bake (especially if you want to do it often) than it is to pick up a crochet project, for example.

With that, in addition to baking desserts I was always afraid to bake, I also wanted to challenge myself to improve some technological skills that I could bring into my future classrooms. So yay! Two learning projects for the price of one!

To make things nice and neat, I will summarize my success (and failures) throughout this learning experience.

Week 1 – Cinnamon Buns

Oh my dreadful cinnamon buns!  I think I could have spent every single week trying to make these and they wouldn’t have turned out good!  On my first attempt I kneaded the dough so much that it became too stiff to even roll out!

 

My poor cinnamon buns

For my second attempt I lookedup tips for how to make sure the dough was good, and actually came across an even more helpful website that gave tips on the whole cinnamon bun process. Because of these tips, specifically the yeast tip, I was able to make a successfulbatch of cinnamon.  And by successful I mean I did not need to throw out the dough.  The buns were still kind of hard and didn’t have the gooey yumminess I was hoping for. Like I said, I think i could bake these every week and still not perfect them!  Believe it or not, I started with cinnamon buns because I thought they would be easy.  WRONG!

For my secret second learning challenge I made my first ever YouTube video.  The biggest mistake I made with this is I only videoed brief clips that really showed nothing at all in terms of the baking process.

Reese’s Pieces Cheesecake 

Glorious cheesecake!

My mouth is watering just thinking about this cheesecake.  I feel this was my biggest success in my whole learning project by far!  The biggest challenge for the cheesecake was to ensure the middle was fully baked, without making the outside too hard or burning the crust.  Cheesecake is not like ‘typical’ cake in that you can use the toothpick test to determine if the middle is fully baked or not. With cheesecake you have to really rely on your eyes and the ‘jiggly test’.  Luckily I nailed itand the cheesecake turned out so yummy!  I will definitely continue to perfect my cheesecake skills in the future.

I made another brief YouTube video for this dessert.  although it still did not show any baking skills, I think it was a smoother video and I was ‘better’ in front of the camera (somewhat…maybe not!).

Apple Pie

Fresh out of the over

I was super nervous to attempt to bake an apple pie.  I already had one (okay technically two) fails in the dough department and I DI NOT want a third!  However, I followed the recipe exactly and it surprisingly turned out really well.  I even learned a couple new things about baking, including pie dough calls for cold butter, but other doughs call for it to be room temperature!

I also used a food processer, something I had never used before, to make the dough, and it worked perfectly. My biggest challenge was going to be the top crust.  I wanted to ‘spice’ it up a bit and not just do a boring cover.  So, I found a great video that demonstrated how to make a lattice top.  Again, to my surprise it was not difficult at all.  Overall I would say this dessert was a huge success, even if it did contain fruit!

Lava Cake

I thought it was difficult to tell if a cheesecake was fully baked.  A lava cake is about a million times more difficult.  It need to be fully baked on teh outside, but not crunchy, and liquid on the inside, but not congeal-like.  This was a challenge.  When I cut open one cake after the recipe recommended time it just fell apart.  Nowhere near baked long enough.  After that I think I checked on the cakes every three minutes.  Not sure why.  It’s not like you know if it was a success or a fail until you cut it open!

When I was finally brave enough to just say ‘THEY ARE DONE!”, I had waited too long and the chocolate in teh middle was started to became more of a jelly-like consistency versus a liquid one.  Luckily, chocolate is chocolate and they still tasted amazing!  In my opinion one could not master this unless they just kept baking them again and again, recording the exact amount of time it took to bake them.  Essentailly it is a “guess and check” type dessert.

For this week, I challenged myself to make a ‘time lapse‘ video.  This posed a couple new challenges that were different from making a regular video.  You can read about them here.  I love these kind of videos and I think they are great for baking as it speeds up the process.  The downfall is, you cannot hear any of the spoken words because well, it is in super fast motion!

 

Learning and Browsing Week

This week, instead of actually baking a dessert, I focused on something I SHOULD have done in week one – how to look up baking blogs and learn basic baking skills.  I have no clue why it took me this many weeks to realize that yes, maybe I should look for some general tips regarding baking in general.  I also found a bunch of great blogs that showcased different types of baking.  Although “healthy” (ish) desserts are not my style, I came across a great blog that only contained these tye of recipes.  I read over a bunch of them, and some of them even sounded kind of yummy.  If you are a health-freak (I mean that in a sincere way)  this is definitelya great blog to check out!

Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee oui oui!

This week I was brave enough to finally tackle Creme Brulee.  In my mind it was by far the most difficult dessert I would encounter.  It is a classic French dessert, and it seems like all French desserts, it required precise technique!  From pickign out even the tiniest pieces of the egg whites to performing the ‘jiggly test’ (see above) to even using a torch!  This dessert was not for the beginner baker.  I tried it anyway.  Just like with the Lava Cakes, I check my Creme Brulee so many times before finally being satisfied with the amount they jiggled.  They must be firm yet just a bit jiggly right in the middle.

I think I had more success with this than with the lava cakes because I had something (jiggliness?) to actually look at.  The only downfall of my result was the sugar “crust” on top of the creme.  Because I did not have a cooking torch, and was way too scared to use a “big” torch, I turned to the oven broiler, which resulted in the sugar to remained somewhat crystalized.  The dessert still tasted amazing, and for me the important part was the creme, not the brulee!

This week I also wanted to make more of a ‘step-by-step’ baking video.  I did this by taking a series of about seven videos and merging them into one.  I cutsome of the middles of each video as they dragged on quite a bit.  To do this I used a program called Movavi.  However, after spending a lot of time creating one single video, I found out that in order to do pretty much anything useful with it, you have to buy the full version.  I really wish this would have been noted somewhere before I created my video!  Needless to say I was frustrated with this enough to leave it be, knowing I would find a bettr solution next time!

Vegan Brownies

My final challenge.  Although I had a feeling vegan brownies wouldnot be difficult to make, I wanted to make them anyway because I have a slight (okay huge) bias against vegan desserts.  There are things in vegan desserts (ex. avocado) that just has no place being in a dessert.  And, although my vegetarian sister thought they tasted good, I thought these brownies tasted a whole lot like nothing.  I think looking back now, I would describe them as a very mild chocolate bread.  Needless to say, I will be sticking with the yummy, ‘fatty’ desserts I am used to!

For me the bigger challenge for this week was to successfully create one video out of numerous videos.  In this case I had four seperate videos.  This time I turned to YouTube Editor to merge my videos.  With this you can only merge two video files together (I think).  So I had to merge my first two videos together, then my second two, and then merge those two “final” videos together to get my end result.  With the help of a quick tutorial video, te process was super easy and worked perfectly.

 

That brings my learning project(s) to a close.  I feel I learned so much more than just some baking skills, and even more than some computer skills.  I learned how to learn in a way.  I learned that failure can actually be a good thing.  I learned that it is okay to move on from something that is causing you grief.  I leanred that it is good to be stubborn sometimes I try to be better at something no matter what. I learned that it is probbaly best to read up on skills before attempting them.  I learned to not prejudge anything (remember hwo I thought cinnamon buns were easy to make!).  I learned all of these things by simply trying to become a better baking.  However, the most important thing I learned is that I can step outside of my comfort zone and succeed.  Whether it be baking desserts I was scared to try in the past or learning a new skill on the computer, I learned you don’t know you can do something unless you try.  I think this is something I will take with me into the classroom every single day and something I hope to pass onto my students as well.

Aside from getting chubbier because of all the dessert eating, this was an awesome experience!

 

If you want to try out any of these (mostly) yummy desserts, check out these blogs:

Ehren’s Kitchen 

Hugs & Cookies

Handle the Heat

Chocolate Covered Katie

Cinnamon-Spice & Everything Nice

Making Thyme for Health

 

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My Contribution to Learning… — June 28, 2017

My Contribution to Learning…

How have I contributed to the learnings of others?  That is a good question.  And  to be completely honest, I know I have gotten a lot more from students in this class than I could have possibly given them.  I truly have never felt so lost on a subject before.  ‘Educational Technology‘ is definitely new to me, but at the same time, I know it will become a very important part of my teaching philosophy….once I figure it out a bit more.

So back to the question at hand. I feel like I have been an active member in all aspects of our class platforms – Google+, Twitter, and our class Blogs.

Google+

Some of my recent comments and questions on Google+.

This site was a life saver for me!  I think I asked, on average, one question a week, and every single question got answered.  Not just a few word answer either, but an explanation or a video, or a suggestion to use another tool.  It was simply amazing how much help my clasamtes were able to give me when it came to my “dumb questions”, as I called them.  However, it turned out they were not so dumb.  It turns out other students would often reply saying things like, “Thanks for this” or “I am going to try that”.  So, I guess my main contribution was simply asking these questions.  Had I not asked them maybe they would have never been answered, and no one would be better off because of the answers they received.  I have alwasy considered myself to be a ‘questipn asker’, and in the case with this class and all the new technology tools involved with it, I think it definitely paid off for myself and for others.  I would try to reply to any questions my clasmates had if I was confident in my answer.  Sadly, witht he topic of technology this was far and few between.  This is something I will have to work on in the future as I continue to use spaces like Twitter to interect with fellow teachers from around the world.

Twitter

My Twitter page

 

Before this class I think my only contribution to Twitter was retweeting a funny joke or the odd political article, and, for the most part, I only followed people I directly knew, politcal accounts, and funny accounts.  In other words, I was not utilizing it as an educational tool at all!  Now, I look at twitter as a way to share teaching strategies, techniques and approaches on, with an emphasis on #EdTech.  I began to follow teachers from all over Canada (and even other countries)!  I never realized teachers were such a “close knit” group willing to help each other daily.  It was a great feeling.  With that, I wanted to contribute article/blogs/strategies/etc that I felt could actually be utilized in the classroom with students.

In addition to sharing articles and other resrouces, I learned about ‘Netiquette‘.  Saying something as simple as “Thanks for sharing” goes  along way and lts the person know you genuinely are thankful for what they shared.  It is a good feeling to both get and give one of those Tweets.

Some of the tweets I thought would be helpful to my classmates (and really any teacher):

Blogs

Although I already had a blog set up prior to this class, I never really participated in the “blog world”.  I would simply just write my blog and move one.  Now, not only enjoy reading other people’s blogs, but I also enjoy commenting on them and even linking them into my own blogs.  I would usually make two different types of comments.  One, to give my opinion on the topic, and say whether I agree or disagree with their blog.  And two, I would give some information that may help them out in a future similar situation.  I think both of these typesof feedback give the blogger knowledge via perspective.  Sometimes we are so set on our own “angle” on a topic that we cannot see other views.  By sharing my opinions and stories with other people, I feel it will help them look at topics from another side, or see that they are not alone in a feeling toward something.  Both offer great learning opportunities if you let them.

Within my own blogs, I wouldtry to contribute knowledge by hyperlinking terms that most people not be familiar with, or linking them a site that can provide more information on a topic, like another blog, or a newpaper site.

At the start of this class I had no idea what a ‘Professional Leanring Network’ was.  NowI feel as though I have a good start to building one up of my own.  I think my confidence in what I share and where I contribute will continue to grow as I become a more conifdent teacher.  Right now, I feel as though i do not have much to offer other than good articles I find.  I cannot wait until I can share real experiences regarding what techniques work and which don’t and why. I also cannot wait to try out so many of the things I have accumulated and read about through the above spaces.  It hs never been moreto clear to me just how much being an educator means you are constantly learning and growing, and that you need a ‘Network’ to really reach your full potential!

 

Vegan Brownies……Yes, You Read that Right! — June 27, 2017

Vegan Brownies……Yes, You Read that Right!

Before I start to talk about my baking adventure this week, I must first tell you a story about my first vegan experience.  I was in Muai at a local farmers market when I saw a huge double chocolate chip cookie!  For someone who loves desserts and everything sweet, this was an amazing find!  I immediately bought the cookie, and was even able to resist from eating it until I got back into the car.  When I finally took the first bite I went from pure joy to utter disappointment.  The cookie crumbled in my hand.  The taste was even worse – dry, not sweet, and the “chocolate” didn’t quite taste right.  I grabbed the wrapper from the car floor (don’t judge me!) and then read one of the scariest things I have ever associated with a desset:  VEGAN.  It was a vegan cookie.  Vegan!  Why would someone do that?! Why didn’t they have a huge sign in neon printing stating it was vegan!?  I felt betrayed, and mostly I still felt hungry for chocolate!

Ever since that experience I have never ate another vegan dessert in my life.  With my learning project focusing on desserts I have alwasy been too scared to attempt, I figured it was finally time for me to face my fears.  So, I began searching vagan dessert recipes, and it was hard! There were literally 100’s of recipes at my finger tips, yet my small town and the ingredients I could find here made it very difficult to follow any recipe.  Did you know there is something called ‘egg flax‘?  Never heard of it, and frankly, it sounded quite gross when I read how to make it.  I decided right then that I would steer clear of any recipes that called for any egg replacements.  I am a vegan baker beginner afterall.  However, if you are brave enough to try some vegan baking, here is a great article/blog which includes egg substitutes for different types of desserts.

After searching for what seemed like forever, I finally came across a brownie recipe that seemed quite easy in terms of both the ingredients and the ‘vegan’ know-how needed.  This recipe was found on a blog that is geared toward whole food, healthy eating (not just vegan!).  I skimmed through a bunch of the recipes and I will definitely be trying some more, especially when gradnma’sgarden zuccini makes an appearance!

Okay, now lets get back to those brownies!  They were super easy to make.  In fact, the hardest part was restraining myself from turning the avocado in guacamole!  I did, however have to make a few ingredient substitutions, whcih I go over in the below video.  Other than those minor changes, they were super easy to make and, to my surprise, the batter even tasted great!  I was super excited to try the finished baked product!

Final Product

The final verdit: womp, womp, womp!  Although this was not the worst dessert I have ever ate, it was nowhere near the best.  I like desserts to be sweet, and this just did not have that.  They came across as tasteless to be me, and I think it that was going to be my dessert, I would just not eat dessert!  But, because I am clearly biased about vegan desserts, I had my sister, the vegetarian (trying to be vegan) sister give them a try.  She thought they were so good!  I was immediately sad for her becuase this is what she considered to be a yummy dessert?  So, apparently this is a good VEGAN dessert.  Without the ‘vegan’ in front of it though, it is not a good dessert! Hahaha.

Now please enjoy this video, which I think is great vegetarian/vegan humor!

 

 

Summary of Learning…..and Still Learning! —

Summary of Learning…..and Still Learning!

Before we get to the “main event” so to speak, I must first start with where my journey began in the #EdTech world.  Well, in a word, clueless!  I could us basic computer programs like Microsoft word and excel, and typical internet sites like Facebook and, actually, that was pretty much it.

In other words, this class scared the “blah blah blah” out of me!  But the world is changing, and I feel like as I teacher I must adapt to it, or be left behind to be known as a dinosaur!

Although my ‘Learning of Summary’ video appears to be poor quality and perhaps simple, for me it was anything but!  First off, I used a completely new program, called ‘Little Bird Tales‘ to tell the first part of my story.  This story telling program was so much fun! I loved that you could add in your own pictures or “draw” and create new ones.  As you can tell frommy ‘tale’, you can actually do both! Maybe it is just because I am a big kid at heart, but I found this so much fun, and I think students of any age would enjoy it!  Bonus, it is super easy to use!

For the second part of my video I used PowerPoint.  I know may this sound simple and boring, but honestly, other than putting texts and pictures onto a presentation, I have never utilized anything else in PowerPoint.  I found out there is a lot you can do.  First, I had fun just with the ‘transtions’!  I then found out that I could control how long each slide displayed for, plus I discovered how to make it so you didn’t need to click ‘next’ in order to switch the slides.  See I am horrible with this technology stuff!  My big accomplishment though was regarding a “song” and having it play in the background of the whole presentation.  This was the tricky part because I wanted to the slides to closely line up with the song lyrics.  This took a lot of adjusting, but I think it turned out okay! I wish I had ‘played’ around with this tool ages ago, because there is so much you can do with, and I know I have only scratched the surface.

The hardest part for me was merging my two videos together.  I do not kno why this was such a struggle.  Probably because I insist on downloading new software to do this, only to find that it does not work properly unless you purchase it!  In the end I ended up using good ol’ YouTube Editor, which I should have used from the start!  Luckily I even found a good YouTube video to show me how to use YouTube Editor…oh the possibilities with technology really are endless!

Before I show you my video, I must pre-warn everyone that I have no musical skills at all, and yet I found it necessary to include. Listen/watch at your own risk!

To sing along with my sweet lyrics click Rap!  Note:  I had to freestlye a little bit!

Now that ECMP355 has come to a close I am so happy with what I can take away from it in terms of integrating technology into my teaching practises.  I think everything I (we) learned this class has a direct practical use in the classroom.  Off the top of my head, I can almost guarantee I will be using some of the assessment tools like Mentimeter or Kahoot.  I also hope to have a classroom Twitter page and perhaps even a classroom blog.

I still know I have a long ways to go in terms of figuring out this thing called ‘Technology’, but I know I am a lot further ahead than I was six weeks ago!  Here to continuous learning and putting ones stubborness aside!

Tools I used to create this video include:  ScreenCastify, powerpoint, YouTube, YouTube Editor, Windows Media Player, and Little Bird Tales.

 

A New Type of Digital Citizen — June 22, 2017

A New Type of Digital Citizen

For this blog we (Ecmp355) were asked to think about some really tough concepts.  Can online social activism be meaningful?  Is it possible to have productive conversations about social justice online?  There is no black and white answer he for me, but instead many shades of gray!

In one of her blog posts, my professor states that “I have a responsibility to use my privilege to speak out and use my network for more than jusy my own benefit or self-promotion; not doing so is a selfish act.” In another post, she states that we need to move ‘digital citizenship‘ away from simply being about’cyber safety‘ and more towards becoming a justice-oriented citizen via social media (and hopefully in ‘real’ life too!).

Although I think it is important to use privilege as a way to communicate these injustices, I do not think it is my responsibility to do so.  My reasons for this are selfish.  Time.  When you are a single mother of two young children you MUST prioritze your time, and almost every single time my kids win that time.  No regrets with that decision ever.  However, this also causes me to think about kids all over the world that are not near as fortunate as mine.  Ones who struggle to live every single day.  This kills me inside, which usually prompts me to post a couple of the easiest found articles onto my facebook, in the hopes that someone will rad it and do some REAL about it.

This brings me into that first question.  Can online social activism be meaningful?  I think it can be meaningful but only if someone eventuall does some REAL.  As in not simply re-port something, but take real action.  Donate REAL money, or REAL time, or write REAL letters to their leaders.  In other words, I think by re-posting an issue you may indirectly be causing meaningful change or justice, but you are not really doing it.  To me that is like telling someone to donate blood and then they do it.  Yes, sure I did my part by making that person aware that they can donate blood, but they did the real work in actually donating it.  Weird comparison I know! But I think it needs to be said that although simply reposting something on social media might make a meanigful difference, actually doing something about it definitely makes a meaningful difference.

Now onto the second question.   Is it possible to have productive conversations about social justice online?  I think this one is definitely possible, given the right group of people in teh conversation.  Growing up and currently living in a very small, conservative town, I have had the Facebook confrontations with people who simply will not change on their views no matter what I post, or say, or facts I give.  In these instances I know I will not have a productive conversation about anything, let alone something about social justice.  However, I think it is definitely possible.  And I think it is things conversations that spark real actions, and possibly even real change for the better.  The hard part is simply being brave enough to stand up for something you believe in.

Tasties and Technology — June 20, 2017

Tasties and Technology

This week in my baking adventure I attempted to bake the perfect Creme Brulee.  It is a seeminly simple.  Only four ingredients – eggs, sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla. Should be impossible to mess up right?  WRONG!  In order to fully succeed at creme brulee, one must be very precise and exercise some technical baking skills.  Not for the faint of heart that’s for sure.

So what made me think I could tackle this difficult classic French dessert?  I wish I had a cool answer for this, but the truth is I just love the way it tastes and would love to be able to make it whenever I wanted it!  So once again, I turned to good ol’ Pinterest for my recipe. One immediate change I knew I would have to make is using vanilla extract instead of an actual vanilla bean.  Regardless, I was ready to channel my inner Julia Child and this dessert a try.

The lack of vanilla bean was just a minor inconvenience more than anything.  However, me not having a cooking torch could possibly result in teh sessert being ruined.  I mean, I was trying to make a creme brulee….the brulee part is pretty important!  Luckily, this particular recipe described a second technique that could give that ‘brulee’ effect.  In order to do this I simply set the oven to broil and kept the door open.  I then just kept a close eye on my desserts to ensure the sugar topping would not burn.  In the end, I think I was too worried about burning it and took it out a bit too early. Although it still formeda nice ‘crust’, it wasstill slightly grainy as a result of the sugar not being heatedlong enough.  Next time I will bite the bullet and use the actual torch I have.  I will just be sure to have a fire extinguisher on hand!

Baking the creme brulee was not my biggest challenge this week though.  Creating one single video depicting the whole baking process was.  In order to do this I took 12 different videos of my baking process.  I then downloaded a program called Movavi onto my computer.  This tool allowedme to merge these 12 videos into one, while cutting out parts I did not think I needed.  Because it was my first time using this software I messed up on one of my cuts, and took out a bit too much.  To make matters worse, whenI went to uploadthe video to YouTube I was informed that if I did buy the complete version of the software there would be a ‘stamp’ on my video and no audio! Oy vey!  I published it anyway, and am making it my goal to find a FREE editing tool for my next video!

Even if the dessert and the video did not work out perfectly, I was quite pleased with how I stepped out of my comfort zone and learned some new techniques with baking and new techniques with technology!  Until next time….

If You Have an Itch to Code, Just Sratch It! — June 18, 2017

If You Have an Itch to Code, Just Sratch It!

Coding.  It is literally like learning another language.  At least for me anyway.  It is just not my forte to say the least!

Before trying to learn this new language of coding, I visited an ‘Hour to Code‘ site, as well as a site called ‘Scratch‘.  Both of these sites are meant for students (yes, students!) to get an introduction into how to code.  After briefly looking over both sites, I decided on Scratch because you actually got to create your own program versus playing agame that mimics a program.  From first glance, I would say that ‘Hour to Code’ would be best for beginners (elementary students) and that Scratch would be better once you have a bit more coding knowledge (which I do not!).

My adventure with Scratch had be jumping in head first into the deep end thinking I could swim because a took a unviersity class about coding 6 years ago.  WRONG! It was much mroe difficult than I thought it would be and it took a lot of trial and error to produce the simplest programs/tasks.  I actually looked up a “helpfulp” tutorial, but became even more frustrated when I realized the person who made it, made it using scratch!  Like who was this genius!  They created a whole “how to” video using a program that I could barely complete the simplest tasks on.  Needless to say my pride got the best of me and I exited out of the tutorial and was determined to figure it out on my own! In hindsight it probably was not my best decision, but i stuck with it!

some things I quickly learned on Scratch was that I could create my own background with a ‘paint-like’ tool and that there was a full library full of many different sounds.  I had way too much fun just making funky backgrounds (that I didn’t use) and listening to all of the cool sounds (which I also didn’t use).  It is obvious that I can become sidetracked quite easily, especially if the thing i am being sidetracked from in CODING!

But in all seriousness, I think this is a great program.  I think it does a great job mimicing how one would create a ‘real’ code, with ‘if, then, else statements’ and ‘forever loops’, as well as a bunch of other things I am not quite sure how to use.  In addition to that, creating this type of code would be a great tool for inquiry based learning.  You could simply show students this site, maybe give them a brief example (as Katia did) and then let them loose on it.  I think some students would create amazing things with it, and others would struggle like I did.  No matter what the skill level, I think this type of activity would definitely help all students with their problem solving skills, plus it is something they could work on at home and see real results regarding their progress.  Coding in the classroom definitely gets two thumbs up from me!

Now for my not so amazing coidng video:

 

Dark Ages Parent — June 15, 2017

Dark Ages Parent

This past Tuesday’s ECMP355 class was an eye opening one for me.  You see, I was born in 1986 and did not have access to ‘home’ internet until I was about 14.  And even then it was dial up, and I think we only had so many hours of it a month before it cut out.  By today’s standards, I was living in the dark ages.

However, with those ‘dark ages’ came a sense of simplicity that will likely never again be experienced in the developed world.  My mother did not have to teach me about digital identity or that the wrong picture could literally cost me my life.  One word to sum up my feelings toward all of this new information I obtained in class is SICK.  As a parent to a 3 year old girl, it makes me sick that I will have to somehow educate her on a world I know really nothing about.  This non-understanding is almost a form of ignorance I could

In an earlier talk by Monica Lewinsky she describes her experience of being publicly shamed and ridiculed.  “A punch to the face” seemed to sum it up in a way that most people could likely understand, but hopefully will never have to.  In her TED talk, ‘The Price of Shame‘, Monica Lewinsky seems stronger and more like a survivor of something horrible.  The part that got me was when she said her mother would make her shower with the door open because she feared her daughter would do the unthinkable (suicide).  I could not imagine feeling so helpless.

In the case of Amanda Todd it does not end with such a story.  She ended her life because of a mistake she made.  You see, Monica was 22 when her mistake occurred.  Still young, but had at least been a part of the adult world for some time.  Amanda Todd was only 15! 15!  She made a mistake at 15 that cost her her life.  That is hard to even fathom, and I think I only can becuase something like this has never happened to someone close to me.

As shocked as I was with the above two videos, ‘Sext Up Kids‘ brought that too a whole new, scary level!  This documentary was truly a learning experience for me, as I had no clue ‘sexting‘ was such a trend, especially among such a young age group of girls.  It almost seem like it is the new norm in flirtation.  In fact, when I typed  ‘sexting’ into google, it primarily gave ideas on how to do it.  In other words, not only are young girls sexting, they are being encouraged to do it!

Whether it be sexting or any other form of public shaming, I truly do not know how I will bring up the topic with my future students, and even more worrisome, I have no clue how to bring it up with my children. Luckily, I have access to good ol’ Google, and was able to find some really helpful articles:

Article 1, Article 2, Article 3, Article 4, Aritcle 5

These articles vary from being written by a child psychologist to a pamphlet handed out by a school board to parents to simple blog-type opinions and stories.  All have very good points and ideas about how to deal with such a challenging subject.  My personal opinion would be to start these types of talks young and promote honestly and integrity.  It is easier said than done, and I will let you all know in about 10 years how my talk with my girl went! (wish me luck, I’m already dreading it!)

 

Te(a)chnology — June 12, 2017

Te(a)chnology

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat.  These are some of the social media platforms that students share their livs with.  I am sure there are many more social media sites I have never even heard of or know anything about.  We are in the age of te(a)chnology, so it is important that we incorporate these online tools and apps into all aspects of our school days.

I will start with the ‘basics‘ – a what’s what for online usage ranging from digital access to digital overall wellness.  In addition to these basics, there are many online resources, training material, and supplemental information that help teachers (espeically non-tech savy ones like me) begin to teach about this stuff and integrate into their classrooms.

I think once myself and my students are on the same ‘page’ regarding what everything means, the easier it will be to go over the cause and effects of their digital actions.  Like what is wrong to do online, from copyright issues to online bullying.  A ‘classroom’ contract might be a great start to this type of thing.

From here, and this is where it gets really hard, I believe that this digital attitude or lifestyle, should be a part of every day teaching.  That it should be integrated into daily lessons across all subject areas. Right now it seems that it is taught as a stand alone subject area that does not really contribute to other subjects, other than to act as a medium for research.  I am guilty for thinking this way, but have since changed my tune.  I think the most difficult part of this tansition would be where to start.

Luckily, there are many online resourses to get the average, not so techy, teacher started:

Edutopia – This article tells which online resources are the best for single or multi computer classrooms, and what they can be used for.

TeachHub – This article describes specific ways in which you can use technology in the classroom.

50Ways – This article give 50 specific websites that students can use in all subject areas.

Education World – Gives specific ideas and links with how to integrate technology into everyday classroom tasks.

It looks as though te(a)chnoloy will be here to stay, so I am going to try and embrace it as much as I can!

 

 

 

 

— June 9, 2017

This week I am doing something a little bit different with my learning project.  Instead of baking (more like attempting it) something super yummy, I have made it my goal to find some online sources that can help me, or anyone out when it comes to baking.  Although it won’t have the yumminess of my previous weeks, I think it will be super beneficial in the long run.

My first goal was to try to find an online source where I could ‘store’ all of my baking recipes.  I know, I know, doesn’t Pinterest do this for me?  Yes it does.  But I find it is always time consuming to go through the many pins I have under ‘Desserts’ just to find one specific recipe.  Plus, you cannot make adjustments to these recipes on the site, which is not ideal becaise recipes often need little personal touches to make them better for you.

After doing a little web browsing, I cam across a great article from the LA Times.  This article gives a list of the best sites to collect recipes on. Perfect!  After going through their list, I decided that my favorite option was MacGourmet.  The main reason fro this was because not only can you import recipes/pictures from the internet (like Pinterest), you can also add in your own personal recipes and pictures.  This would make my life much more organized than the ‘recipe box’ I currently use to keep track of everything.  This site has one big con though.  It is only compatible for Mac. The good news is you can download an app on your iPhone or iPad.

My next challenge was to simply learn some common baking mistakes and how to fix them.  I cam across a great website for this.  Some of these tips I have learned by baking desserts for this learning project, including the fact that the temperature of ingredients makes a big difference!  Something I did not know was that ingredients like baking soda and yeast have a very short shelf life and that you should not use them if they are ‘expired.’  Pretty sure the yeast I used for my cinnmon buns in a couple years old…ooops!  I really wish I would have looked up these tips at the START of my learning project.

Reluctantly I also wanted to find a way to make desserts taste good but still being somewhat healthy.  Okay healthy might be stretching it.  But I still wanted to find desserts that are less fattening, I got baby weight to lose!  Plus I have a sister who is a vegan so I thought it would be nice to bake something she can actually eat!  This blog is amazing! She has tons of ‘healthy’ dessert recipes (and some mains too) and breaks them down into really easy to find categories.  Although I have not tried any recipes from her blog, I am hoping that I will get a chance to during this learning project.

Now to get back to the unhealthy, yummy, fatty desserts.  The way desserts were meant to be.  I found a wicked blog that has countless recipes for nearly every dessert you can think of.  My mouth was watering a I read some of her entries and recipes.  After I make a healthy dessert, I think I will come back to this blog and make a yummy, ‘bad’ dessert!  Again, this site is set up in such a way you can look at delicious pictures, and easily find the type of dessert you are looking for (ie. cookies, cupcakes, bars, etc).

I think all of this info will help my baking game, from the technical details I know nothing about, to new and exciting recipes!