Why Blog?

I wanted to take the time to think about what blogging has meant to me over the course of this semester.

blog social
Photo Credit: photovs via Compfight

I really like the idea of blogging to help build and form professional learning networks. It has allowed me to see what other colleagues of mine are writing, as well as what other professionals in the field are saying about certain topics or ideas. I do not know how much this would be possible without having this personal space that you as the writer can control and share with the world what you value or believe. It is a great resource for employers to access and read more about you in a place that you control. It adds to your professional portfolio, and others in the field can comment and add to your thoughts to help you build upon and grow as an educator.

reflection
Photo Credit: Khawlah Ahmed via Compfight

Sharing your opinions opens up a scary place for some people because sometimes being open to what you believe or feel can cause backlash from viewers. I think that it is important to really think about what it is I value before posting online. If it is something that is true to me or a part of me, then the opinions of others are moments that can allow me to take a stand for what it is I find true to who I am. After all, if these opinions are important to me, then I hope others find value to them as well and will appreciate my words too.

Blogs have also been a great space for me to reflect on class content and my own inquiry. Mostly my reflections are in places that only I see and where I more than likely will never return to. I believe critical reflection for teachers is crucial. It helps me to expand on what I know, look deeper at my assumptions, and connect my experiences and examine them in order to learn and grow to become an effective teacher. Having an online space where I can blog some of these experiences for others to critique and collaborate with my own inquiries can be very beneficial. Having others contribute to my beliefs is a great way to tackle some of my assumptions and encourage me to work at things that need improvement. I hope to include more reflections later on in my future.

Having my own professional blog can be a great place to model for my students what a positive online identity looks like. Hopefully, my students can use mine and other online professionals blogs to inspire them to create their own. I will see down the road if I will have my future students create blogs of there own to share their opinions about class content or other things related to the class. I can see how starting at an early age to create a positive online identity can be happen simply by having a professional blog. Students can look back on these online reflections  later in the course or in life. It would be a great tool to see how students have grown throughout the years.

I’m simply asking how have you come to view blogging throughout your own experiences? What would you say about creating a place in the classroom for students to blog?

 

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16 Gigs of Learning! AKA Zack and Kara’s Summary of Learning Project

To those who may find this post of value or interest to them…

Below are the videos and links to our summary of learning projects. We realize the total time of both videos is quite long, but what we learned could not be summed up in any shorter length then that!

The videos are in two sections because of some issues when we attempted to  create longer screen-casts with Screencastify. Here are the links to video one and two in case there is any trouble trying to watch them directly from my blog (or if the image is blurry).

Enjoy!

 

A Summary of my Origami Journey

The time has come to summarize what I have been working on for the past couple of months! I am glad that I can say that I have really enjoyed the project I chose to learn. I never thought that I would have a reason to sit down and learn origami, and I am sure that I will continue on in the future (that is, if my budget allows me to!)

I started this journey with a simple and very rushed through origami fortune teller. It was clear that I had no previous knowledge on paper folding, so I was starting off very inexperienced.

origami #1

Over the past weeks, I have had the chance to consult various online resources for instructions on different origami designs. I wasn’t sure what style of instructions I would prefer. I simply thought that just by watching someone fold paper with or without written or verbal instructions I would be able to follow along. I found out right away that this wasn’t true, and I often became frustrated if I could not understand the instructions. There were many times because of this that I would not complete the design and start over. I usually would not try the same design, but instead pick another with different instructions. Re-creating the same design I had tried multiple times to fold was a huge challenge and the enjoyment I felt prior was no longer there. Experiencing this lack of motivation after defeat is very important to me because it shows me how easily my students can walk away from something if they lose confidence.

Snapshot_20150224_31p7

I believe if I had someone next to me who could push me to trying again and guiding through the steps I was struggling with, then I would not have been so quick to give up. Teachers really do serve a great purpose because technology can not simply guide me through my errors, see first hand my frustrations, and find a way to help without me asking for it. Sometimes our students do not want to ask for help, but teachers who see their students struggle can help them to succeed because of built relationships technology does not necessarily have.

On the flip side, when I did experience success, I was quite happy and motivated to try more. Self-success is a great motivator and engagement tool. I was able to accomplish something that was my own choosing. Students need this self-motivation to help build confidence and the desire to want to try more. This can facilitate engagement for our students because it builds confidence, it is an activity they chose therefore it hopefully interests them, and students will more than likely want to keep trying other activities because they know they can be successful. The teachers role is to help them find these activities and support them when they are feeling discouraged so that they do not give up.

Here is what I was able to accomplish in order from beginning to end:

frog 9 - finished!crane 12heart6dragon 13butterfly11leaf7h12mod22f9

In between these moments were times of defeat. I realized that most of these moments were because the instructions were not clear or helpful to me. I learned throughout this journey that I learn best by first watching the instructions before I jump into it myself. I also need auditory and visual instructions that are very descriptive. When origami instructions became more challenging, I found it very difficult to follow without direct hands on help. I found myself struggling to really advance in difficulty because I could not follow the folds the instructions were giving me. As a teacher, I need to realize that not all of my students will be at the same level of competence, therefore my instructions cannot ignore those just beginning.

I realize that I have a long way to go, and I did not earn the title of “master paper folder”. I do not know if that is possible for me without working at it constantly and without someone being there to guide me when they notice my struggles. This was certainly a great experience for me and I am glad a chose this project! In my experience thus far, learning origami online was a perfect beginning place for me. In order to become more skilled at it, I would like to consult professionals or a hands on class. For me, I need that face to face instruction to encourage me to try difficult designs and point out where I have done wrong.

To sum it up, I found that starting online was helpful because I was able to chose which designs I wanted to try by comparing them to a variety of other designs, research different folds and styles that I found most helpful for my learning needs, and share what I learned with the online community.

 

Kusudama Flower

I can’t believe this will be my final post with a new origami! For my final piece, I wanted to do another kusudama because I like linking multiple units together to creating something beautiful.

I found this flower kusudama from another post from @OrigamiSensei on Twitter. I really have enjoyed finding different instructional options from those who have tried them and shared them for others to use. The instructions for the video can be found here. The instructions came from Origami Instructions and were very clear to follow. Although there was no verbal instruction, there was written instruction throughout the video. This was very helpful!

The flower required 5 units of the same shape and size. I did not have the same color paper, but I think that added to the originality of my recreation!

Here are the steps to complete the flower:

f1 f2 f3 f4 f5 f6 f7

In order to keep the petal together I needed to either glue or tape it together. This was very strange for me to do, and I am not sure how authentic this is. Non the less, I used double sided tape to keep the fold together.

f8

Once I had 5 units, the next step was to GLUE them together. This was also strange, but I could not see another other way to keep them together. I am not sure if I would make another kusudama this way, because I prefer to link the paper together without the help of any clips, tape, or glue. Traditional origami in my eyes does not use these aids, but rather comes up with creative ways to link paper together.

f9

The final product did turn out quite nicely, and the different colored petals was a decent substitute!

 

Lesson Plan – Christian Ethics 9: Intro to Justice Unit

Intro to Justice Unit – Christian Ethics 9

Goals: to engage with the students and have them participate in the opening activity

Intro Activity –          Have candy and distribute to students who have:o   Brown hair

o   Tall (over 5 foot 5)

o   Curly hair

o   Skinny jeans

Students who have multiple can have extra candy.

–          After the experiment is complete, ask students if they believe this was fair (just) or not.

Class discussion Ask students if they have ever been judged for something that they cannot control?Examples: have you ever been pre-judged because you are a teenager?

(give my personal example from work – people will ask me a question about politics, but then I overheard them asking a commissionaire (older man) and they said “ oh thank you that is very helpful) – did this have to do with my age? That I am a woman?) ageism example, could also be sexism

–          After students give examples, ask how did you feel? Was it just? Why not?

As a class  –

Why do you think these things happen? Try to see this injustice from the other person’s point of view – does it make sense when seen from another point of view? Was it right or wrong?

 

(personal example: the visitors may not have meant anything by it – and that second clarification might have actually helped them understand further. Or perhaps the way he explained it was easier for them to understand)

 

Any other examples?

If students do not answer questions, provide pictures for them to make judgements upon 

(I have collected a few photos on a PowerPoint slide – may add to it or leave as is.

Who looks the most honest?-          Intelligent

–          Friendly

–          Mean

–          Funny

–          Helpful

–          Generous

–          Wise

Analyze – how do people make judgements about others? Did some respondents have a hard time answering? Why?

 

Explain this is judging because you do not actually know the person and you are basing your information on a very small factor – their appearance

 

–          Show video clips for further impact

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEuqMlv02aw – dirty laundry

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPZh4AnWyk

Churches answer Can share to the class:-          What keeps us apart? What guidance do you think the Church would give you in answering this question?

o   The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbour in his [or her] spiritual and bodily necessities…

Activity/Reading –          Read “A Fly on the Wall” – a retelling of the Good Samaritan story (Luke 10.29-37) on pages 126 – 128.-          Students will answer the reflection questions on pg. 128

When students finish that, they will move onto read “No more ‘Us’ and Them’” on pages 129-130

Discussion –          If time – discuss the story questions as a class or save for tomorrow.

 

A Fly on the Wall – Questions/Answers

  1. This is a retelling of the story told in Luke 10.25-37. When Jesus finishes telling the story, he tells his listeners to go and do what the Samaritan did. What do you think this means?
  • Helps others in need. You never know when it might be you.
  • Treat others as you would want to be treated (Golden Rule)

 

  1. Who in this story was prejudiced? How?
  • “Not the fighting type” – the guy that was attacked
  • Priest – if he had touched the attacked man it would make him defiled (tainted, ruined) and then he couldn’t have done his work at the temple
  • Levite – help from someone who has things in common with him – it feels better to get help from one of your own rather than from someone who is better than you”

“Of course it probably wasn’t as bad for him as it would have been for me – I’m sure he knows far more people than I do who’ve had that type of experience. I’m sure he’s the type who knows how to handle that sort of thing”

  • Samaritans and Jesus (less than Samaritans)

 

  1. In what ways are compassion and prejudice opposites?
  • Compassion – feeling for those in need
  • Prejudice – judge people without knowing them

 

  1. Have you ever felt like any of the characters in this story? Explain how you felt and how you responded.
  • Various answers

Lesson Plan – Native Studies 10: Unit 1 – Labeling

Labeling Lesson – Native Studies 10 Unit 1

Questions to cover for final exam during this lesson:

  1. How does labelling affect how a person views him/herself
  2. What happens when a label is placed on a person or group by an outside force?
  3. Do labels affect self-concept?
  4. Do First Nations groups have labels? Name three.
  5. Have you ever been labelled? Why? How did it make you feel?

 

Objectives:

Identify ways that legal and political appellations (titles/labels) affect identity

Recognize aboriginal people’s right to self-define

Bellwork 1.       Define Ignorance 2.       How can we eliminate ignorance?

(Questions taken from previous lesson)

Activity ·         List 3 physical traits·         List 3 cultural traits

·         How do these traits affect your identity?

·         As a class/group, students will complete the United States census “sorting game” on Race – The Power of Illusion

http://www.pbs.org/race/002_SortingPeople/002_00-home.htm

Ask students:

·         “Do you feel this was an accurate way of identifying someone’s race? By externally labelling them into categories.

  • In the Sorting People activity, the ID cards showed us that government race categories do not necessarily reflect the way people view themselves or their ancestry.
  • Given that there’s no objective way to classify people, discuss how you think the government should define racial categories. What definitions best help us remedy inequality?

·         Define Connotation: The suggesting of a meaning by a word apart from the thing it explicitly names or describes. Something suggested by a word or thing.

·         Aboriginal peoples have been given labels by outside forces in the past

·         Sometimes labels are not very nice/endearing or even racist

 

Lesson/reflect ·         Conduct a discussion with students about the legal and political labels that are applied to aboriginal peoples by revisiting the definitions that they should have already written down (if not display now).Aboriginal peoples, Inuit, metis, first nation, Indian, Status Indian, Treaty Indian, Bill C-31

Aboriginal Peoples:

–          The descendants of the original inhabitants of North America.

–          The Canadian Constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginal peoples – Indians, Métis and Inuit.

–          Note: all three groups have unique heritages, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.

First Nation:

–          In the 1970s used to replace the word “Indian”.

–          Although the term is widely used, no legal definition of it exists.

–          The term refers to the Indian people in Canada, both Status and Non-Status.

–          Many Indian people have also adopted the term to replace the word “band” in the name of their community.

Indian:

–          Describes all the Aboriginal people in Canada who are not Inuit or Métis.

–          Three legal definitions that apply to Indian peoples in Canada are: Status Indians, Non-Status Indians, and Treaty Indians.

Inuit:

–          An Aboriginal people in northern Canada

–          Live above the tree line in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, Northern Quebec and Labrador.

–          Note: Means “people” in the Inuit language – Inuktitut. The singular of Inuit is Inuk. Therefore, one person from this group is an Inuk.

Métis:

–          People of mixed First Nations and European ancestry

–          The Métis have a unique culture that draws on their diverse ancestral origins, such as Scottish, French, Ojibwa, and Cree.

–          Metis are distinct from First Nations peoples, Inuit, or non-Aboriginal people

–           In English, it is pronounced, “mey-tee” while

–          In French and by many Métis Elders it is pronounced “may-tis”.

Status Indian:

–          An Indian person registered under the Indian Act

–          The act sets out three requirements for determining who is a Status Indian

Treaty Indian:

–          A Status Indian who belongs to a First Nation that signed a treaty with the Crown (the federal government)

Bill C-31:

–          Name of the 1985 Act to amend (make changes to) the Indian Act

–          Eliminated the section that caused Indian women to lose their Indian status when they married a non-Indian man.

–          This act allowed those who lost their status due to the Indian Act the ability to apply to have their Indian status restored.

Today, there is no single term that is acceptable to all Aboriginal peoples. Aboriginal peoples in Canada define themselves by their cultural group, their geographical home, and by their family. The following names are being used by the main groups of Aboriginal peoples within Saskatchewan:

–          Dene, Nakota, Anishinabe, Lakota, Plains Cree, Woodland Cree, Swampy Cree, Dakota, and Metis.

It is important to remember that Indian peoples, Inuit, Metis peoples, as well as any other peoples, have the right to define themselves; regardless of how others define or label them.

 

·          Ask students to notice that most labels that are applied to aboriginal peoples are external.

·         Tell students that some aboriginal peoples prefer original historical names, or the names they originated.

·         Ask students to notice that each group: First Nations, Metis, and Inuit; are distinct groups with unique heritages, languages, cultures, and spiritual beliefs. Therefore – could they or any other culture be labelled with 100% accuracy in the way the United States used to label people for their census? (obviously not)

·    Open to discussion:   So how can this effect your identity?

 

Think-Pair-Share ·         Students will think independently on ways that labels can effect a person’s identity·         They will then work in pairs and compare notes/create new notes

·         We will then come together as a class to share each groups’ thoughts

Exit Slip ·         Have you ever been labelled? Why do you think you were labelled? And how did it make you feel?

Notes from Curriculum Resource:

Before contact with European explorers, the original inhabitant of Canada referred to themselves and others by terms or names in their own language. For example, the people of the Ojibway, Saulteaux, and Mississauga Nations identified themselves as the Anishnabek, or “the people”. The people of the Blackfoot Nation identified themselves as Siksika. On the West Coast, the people of the Beaver Nations called themselves Dunneza, or “the real people”.

Each tribe or nation had a term that set itself apart from other groups that they came into contact with. However, all of the names gradually gave way to the name that Europeans identified them as: Indian. It is said that this name, “Indian,” was mistakenly given to the first peoples that Christopher Columbus encountered in the Americans. He mistook them for the inhabitants of India, and called them Indians. The name took hold and has been used for centuries throughout North America to identify Aboriginal peoples.

By the 1960s, the term “Indian” took on negative connotations because of the stereotyping of Aboriginal peoples in the media and in films. The external labels that were put upon these groups of people have had far-reaching effects. Labelling Aboriginal peoples in a particular way, or stereotyping, has never had positive consequences.

Today, there are many ways in which non-Aboriginal people identify or label the first inhabitants of this land. Definition boxes on the following pages list commonly used terms that identify Aboriginal peoples across Canada. These are legal and political labels that are generally accepted and applied in order to distinguish certain groups from others. The proper use of these labels will help you to identify some groups from others throughout the course

My Very First Kusudama!

This week, I have been working on creating a kusudama. This can also be referred to as a modular, and I think I have found what I enjoy creating thus far! A kusudama requires several “units” of the exact same size and shape that link together to create a bigger unit. I found this weeks’ idea from a new source. The popular “Howcast” on Youtube created a “how to” on folding a neat modular that has several points and angles. The video can be found here.

In order for me to re-create this design, I had to by more paper! This hobby certainly isn’t cheap…

Anyways, I wanted to try folding a modular just because the finished product looks so intriguing. Something about connecting pieces together to create something beautiful really interests me. There were various different examples on the sites I was familiar with, but I landed on Howcast after looking at different ideas. The instructions were excellent, and the instructor explained the steps using auditory and visual directions. Just what I like!

The video explained how to complete one unit. Here are some of the steps to creating it.

mod1 mod2 mod3 mod4 mod5 mod6

The next step was to create multiple units (30 to be exact) to create a large kusudama! In the beginning, I wasn’t sure how many to create. I started off with a few and had some troubles at first connecting them together.

mod7 mod8

The video instructions explain how to link the first 3. It explains the basic idea of how to link more, but the rest was up to me. This was the fun part because I had the freedom to make whatever size or shape I wanted. I had quite a struggle trying to link all of the units together. After some time working on it, I was able to link 11 together to create a small modular.

mod9 mod10 mod11

I knew that I could make the modular larger, so I spent some time creating more units. I almost gave up after trying over and over to link the pieces together. At first, the points were not aligning equally and I ended up adding a square section.

mod13 mod14 mod15

This obviously wasn’t right, but it led me to creating a small square!

mod17

After some patience, concentration, and a few attempts I was able to find my mistake. I was adding pieces without thinking about the positioning. To figure this out, I focused on the outside to create the triangle sections that were developing. After connecting these together I made the final product!

mod19 mod20 mod22

There was quite a difference in size between the first and last modular.

mod12 mod21

This was a great learning experience for me. I have now found something I really enjoy creating! Unfortunately, I wont be able to make many of these because of the price, but it was nice to be able to try it out for this class. In the future, I definitely plan to make more of these and try different styles. Something like this would be great to teach a class if the materials were available.

 

Learning Another Origami Dragon Design

So after the “not-so-successful” penguin attempt, I looked for another resource. I came across another dragon design that I had wanted to try. This instructional video came from a user that sent in her design to twitter @OrigamiHQNet.

I knew right away that I would really enjoy the instructional video. The designer, Leyla Torres used very descriptive language and spoke while she was folding. She described what folds would be used, how they should line up, and where to put your hands. Sometimes, these descriptions are written, but hearing her speak the instructions was easier for me to follow. I didn’t have to look in multiple places just directly at the design. I could focus on her voice while watching h    er fold.

This design required two pieces of paper: 15cm X 15 cm for the body, and 7.5cm X 7.5cm for the head. Beginning right away, I was able to understand her clearly and the process was very enjoyable.

d1 d2 d3 d4 d5 d6 d7 d8

 

Next was to fold the head:

d11h1h2h3h4h5

h6 h7 h8 h9

After inserting both pieces together, the dragon was finished!

 

 

h10 h11 h12 h13

I was really pleased with the result, and I know that the instructions were a huge part of that. The instructor didn’t assume that the listener knew previous steps, so her instructions reflected that. When I have to explain a process, knowing the importance of breaking everything down step-by-step is really becoming clear!

Reflecting on my Origami Progress

This week, I had trouble deciding what I wanted to fold. I had spent some more time looking on twitter for different ideas. I am starting to become more interested in adding pieces together – which obviously requires more paper. The complexity of some of these designs can be quite challenging, and I do not have the resources for folding many pieces to put together. For example, some require 12 of the same style paper, and I do not have that at my disposal.

I decided to try a penguin design folded from the YouTube channel, Joe Nakashima.   I found this designer off of one of the twitter users that I follow. This was a different style of folding then I was use to. I was quite interested in the beginning, but when it reached a certain point, my frustration kicked in and I no longer had the patience to try and figure out what fold he was making. The directions were from a video and written, but I simply could not grasp how the fold should look.

Here is what I managed to accomplish before scrapping the design altogether.

p1 p2 p3 p4 p5 p6 p7

Where I had trouble was when he required a regular “mountain fold” (meaning the fold is down as if to resemble a mountain). Folding this on the left side had its challenges, but on the right side I can’t seem to get a mountain fold. Instead I keep folding a “valley fold” which is the opposite (the fold faces up like a valley). After trying again and again, the paper was too soft to resemble much of anything.

When I get to this point, I really lose the desire to keep trying at the design. I believe that if this were in a class with an instructor helping, then I would have an obligation to keep trying. Learning online, choosing which instructions to follow, or what designs to make, I feel less of a desire to stick with it. This obviously has an impact on my learning and the progression of it. Attempting more difficult origami is such a challenge for me at this point, and it is not easily accomplished when I quickly lose patience.

At this point in my learning project, I have made various origami and spent hours folding and reflecting on my progress. The reflection is a very important part, as well as watching instructions repeatedly to ensure success. I do not know how well learning origami online is working for me. I already knew that I need examples and video to show me how to learn. I am starting to see how important hands on and face to face instruction is to me as a learner. I am not necessarily saying that I cannot learn online this way, but my patience quickly wears thin. Without the patience and desire to keep attempting folds, I can’t progress as much as I would like.

I am still very much enjoying my learning journey, and I am looking for more designs that interest me. It is clear that certain folds are more challenging for me and having the resources to create certain designs aren’t available to me. This learning journey certainly won’t be over at the end of this course. I am still hoping that I will be able to create something I am really proud of. I do not know what this will be or look like, but I will keep at it until I do.

Scratch: Coding Made “Easy”

This week I used the coding website Scratch to learn how to make a short (I repeat, short) story. After a long and somewhat painful experience, here is what I created.

It’s easy to say I would need a lot more time to teach myself how to use this program. The story I created is very short. There were a lot of times that I really struggled with just the basics of the program and many times I had to start over because I did not understand where or what I did wrong. It took be a couple hours just to understand the really basic commands and after having to restart and click back and fourth to adjust my settings, I was running out of patience to make anything much longer. Having the help setting on the side was really beneficial, but it only went so far to explain different commands.

As a student trying to learn how to code, and even using such a simple program like this, I predict would take a very long time. If teachers had the time to teach their students how to use this, then the benefits would go a long way because many job opportunities would open up for students who know how to code. The trick would be that the teacher would have to know the basics as well. There were many more opportunities that could be done using Scratch, but to be frank I do not think I have what it takes (mainly patience), or the desire to get at these possibilities.

Perhaps one on one interaction in a classroom setting where someone could teach me different tips and how to use the program would cause me to want to learn more about it. Each student would react differently to the idea of learning how to code. Some may absolutely love the idea, whereas some may really struggle and find no interest in it. I can see this being a challenge, and there would need to be some flexibility when assigning this to the class. In the long run, if teachers had the class time to teach how to code, students might get more out of it. Ultimately, if it were a completely separate class where students chose to take it, then I can see the benefits in teaching students to code because the desire would be there. Other than this, the basics could be taught just to show students what coding is and to give them to option to learn (either in class or on their own time).