Course Work, EDTC300

Give A Little Bit…

This is sooo sweet with the kids in the background! Have a listen…

Give a little bit? Yup. That’s the theme of this, my last post, of EDTC300. Officially? It’s a post about how I’ve contributed to the learning of others throughout this course. But honestly that makes a bland title. Starting with a great song is so much better, right?!?

“Giving a little bit” was what I did as I interacted with my classmates in EDTC300 as well in other professional spaces. When I look through some of the interactions I had, that I logged here, I realize that my go-to is to encourage my colleagues. Even when I look through my Twitter feed, I see the same trend. For example, I’ve become quite taken with an educator I’ve discovered through Twitter – Kristin Wiens. She puts together visuals that I find incredibly helpful, like this one

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I’m a visual learner, so her visuals make my brain light up! And so, my go-to reflex was to let her know…

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The great part about putting the good vibes out there, is that they come back! It feels good to know I’ve encouraged her. Working in education is tough slogging at times and if we can reach out with a kind word to one another from time to time, it makes such a difference.

In addition to my contributions on Twitter, on some of the blogs, and on Google+, I had many opportunities to contribute right here in the school I work in, with my colleagues. I’ve posted graphics I love (by Kristin Wiens, of course!) on the staffroom door, introduced teachers and E.A.’s to Web Clipper, Screencastify, SparkPost, SparkVideo, Feedly, AdBlocker, Zoom, among other tools, as well as talked up Twitter as a great resource for all of us educators!

Reflecting on how I’ve contributed to my classmates learning this term, I wish I’d done more. Reflecting further? I’ve been asking myself, why I didn’t. And I think it’s because in addition to being a part of this course, I am working full-time in the classroom and then go home to my own kids. So on the contributing spectrum, I’m on the “kinda maxed out” end. Now to be fair, that does not excuse me from developing and maintaining a healthy PLN (personal learning network), because to be an educator means to accept that “being maxed out” is a risk we must continually learn to manage. Prioritizing our own learning networks requires each of us to treat it as compulsory and integral to our personal and professional development, not as an elective.

However, in the midst of trying to strike this necessary balance in my own life, I also employed yet another one of my mantras (two of mine are mentioned here and here) – “Do what you can do. Perfection is not the goal, participation is.”

My Post (3)

made with SparkPost

And so I participated in contributing to the learning of others (and will continue to do so) because I value the concept even though I won’t do it perfectly all the time. And as I do it, I’ll grow in my capacity to do it better and better.

So it all comes back to the song this post started out with, “Give a little bit”. Giving a little bit is a great place to start and a great place to launch from. That’s my ongoing commitment to contributing to the learning of the folks around me and beyond.

Committed to cheering us all on to…

Keep learning,

Dianna

 

 

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Course Work, EDTC300

It’s In The Can! EDTC 300 – Summary of Learning

Whew! Well, that was a bit of gong show!

via GYPHY

It finally happened to me. I have been on the receiving of this line, dozens of times, but now I had to use it…

The computer ate my homework!

Yet another example of how becoming a student has made me that much more empathetic to my students! Two hours before I had to submit my “Summary of Learning” for my EDTC300 course, POOF! It was gone. I don’t know if it was pilot error (probably) but it sure gave me a chance to exercise having a “growth mindset”!

But now it’s done (again), so you can have a peek at it here.

I put my summary together using “Spark Video” which is a tool I’d recommend. It was fairly straightforward and didn’t take oodles of time to learn. I’m looking forward to getting students to try it out; I think they’ll enjoy the variety it offers! (If I have to watch another Powerpoint…)

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. I’d love your feedback!

As always,

Keep learning,

Dianna

 

 

 

 

 

EDTC300, Learning Project

Full-Bodied and Fragrant with a Long Finish

via GYPHY

You might think I’m referring to wine but no, these adjectives describe my experience learning to “yoga” these past few months. Other descriptors that apply well are “earthy”, “soft”, “spicy”. I think after I finish this wrap up post of my learning project, I’ll head over to our little liquor store and find a wine that fulfills those qualities!

Funny aside – Our liquor store here in Haines Junction is in the same building as our motor vehicles office. Yup, drinking and driving all mashed together in one place! you walk in the same doors and on one side of the room are all the appropriate “Drive Responsibly!” posters and with a slight turn of the head, you see the latest “Drink Responsibly!” Small towns can be such odd little places!

Until I find that perfect wine, I’d like to propose a toast to yoga and all that it’s taught me so far, to me for diving in and going for it, and to you, my readers, (of course, I couldn’t leave you out!) for being a part of the journey with me.

To Yoga

Thank you yoga, for being that act of physicality that didn’t whisper “you can’t do this, you’re too fat, out of shape, and undisciplined”. I’ve appreciated the acceptance. And even better, the increased self-acceptance you have facilitated in me.  A special mention, of course, to Curvy Yoga, who whispered all kinds of beautiful, affirming and soul repairing words to me.

Thank you yoga, for gently nudging me when I’m avoiding my physical body. Thank you for being the matchmaker, introducing me to my body in new ways. We’ve begun (my body and I) a fledgling relationship that I feel pretty sure will grow into a mature, sensitive and caring bond.

Thank you yoga, for reminding me as I’ve journeyed along, what learning feels like. And why scaffolding lessons is important and that sometimes learning uncovers our insecurities and that we need to have gobs of empathy for ourselves and others. And thank you for reteaching me the idea that we are body, soul and spirit and that learning, really great learning, has an impact in all those areas!

To Me

Thank you. Thank you for picking a learning project that took you out of your comfort zone; there were easier choices but you embraced something that pushed you. I’m really proud of how you didn’t just “get it over with” but also took the time to be reflective about the impact it was having on you and you made some great connections. Way to go!

To You

To you, who’ve been a part of my yoga adventure, thank you!!! So many delicious words came my way, whether here in the comments, or on my Facebook. Such yummy words of acceptance that cheered me on! Each of you modelled a quality so fundamentally necessary in the world of learning. Encouragement. We all need it, everyone of us. And you gave it so freely. Thank you!

So raise your glass with me, (we’ll pretend we have wine in it for now)…

TO YOGA, TO ME and TO YOU. Cheers!

(seriously tho’, doesn’t just seeing Betty White, anywhere, doing anything, just bring a smile to your face!?!?) via GYPHY

As always,

Keep learning,

Dianna

 

 

 

Course Work, EDTC300

What’s Your Code?

Codes are everywhere.

Where ever are they? Can’t find them?

Keep looking. You will.

A silly start to a post about learning something I know very little about. Like haiku. And like my attempt at haiku, I wasn’t very good at it but I did it anyway!

This week my challenge was to learn to code for one hour. If this idea is new to you, hang in there. All that means is that I did one hour of “computer programming for the computer illiterate”. Now, the reality is that today we all use computers everyday, effortlessly and seamlessly. But truth be told, most of us haven’t got a clue about how they do the fascinating things they do. Well at least for kids growing up in Canada’s schools, that’s changing. Kids right from Grade One and up are starting to learn about what is involved in coding and as usual educators are developing innovative and fun ways to learn.

And it’s important! Frankly, we, as well as the upcoming generations, need the opportunity to learn about how this stuff works. For those of us in the older group, it will create increased appreciation and awe at what it takes for us to have the advantage of this technology. And for the younger folks, this is a HUGE trajectory in the area of careers. Unless they are exposed to these concepts, students won’t have the same opportunities to discover if this is their passion and maybe a career they want to pursue.

For my learning, I dove in and checked out Code.org. First I tried doing an independent project in the “Artist” space but quickly aborted mission when I realized I was in way over my head!

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So then I moved on to taking a tutorial which was much better. You can see in the top of screenshot below that I’m on level 8 but my level 7 needs work (indicated by the light green). I found it interesting to observe my learning during this session! I was feeling rushed (my “things to-do” list was nattering at me) and could recognize that in order to really think through the sequences needed, I needed to allow myself the time it would take for my brain to process things. Valuable self observation.

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By the time I progressed past level 7, I was at capacity for the day! (and my nattering “things to-do” list won out)

Via GYPHY

Next time I opened up Code.org, I looked at some of the games and found one just up my alley! My oldest son (gr.11) is presently in a performing arts program in Whitehorse and this May, they are putting together a full length adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. So this game caught my eye!Screen Shot 2018-04-07 at 7.00.49 PM.png

It was a perfect! Apparently my comfort zone in coding is “Grades 2-5” but no self-judgement here. We all gotta start somewhere. After I finished the game (awesome learning disguised as a game), I even received a certificate that I shared on Twitter, of course!

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I highly recommend Code.org! Give it a go, whether you’re an educator or not, it’s a great way to …

Keep learning,

Dianna

 

EDTC300, Learning Project

Just Keep Yoga-ing, Just Keep Yoga-ing!

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that my semester in EDTC300 is almost over! And that means I’m almost at the end of my Learning Project. The post after this, you can expect a wrap up of my learning in this project but until then I have one more post to share about my yoga-ing journey!

via GYPHY

This time it’s not about yoga and my body but rather about yoga and my mind and my spirit. Let’s start with…

My Mind

I have experienced depression and anxiety for most of my life. And yet my profile on Twitter reads,

I laugh loud and long and love cheering people on in their learning and their lives! My students think I’m outrageous and I like it that way!

So how is this also my reality? Counselling and medication. Counselling and medication. Repeat, as needed.

  1. Counselling has and continues to help me untie the knots that inevitably occur in my soul. Sure, I can untie a lot of knots myself now, but life continues to throw curve balls at us all, and at least for me, I sure appreciate getting a fresh perspective and wisdom from someone wiser than myself.
  2. Medication gives me the opportunity to live life from a level playing field. Life is challenging but with my particular brain chemistry, without my meds, I feel as though I’m living life from a ditch; everything is that much harder. I am sooo thankful that I live in a time where the shame of struggling with mental health is not what it used to be. I feel the same way about my need to take meds, as I felt about my grandma taking her insulin. Grateful. Period.

And now I can add yoga to my toolkit for being healthy mentally. Physical exercise is a tried and true tool for dealing with anxiety and depression that I have struggled to incorporate into my life for a number of reasons (in another post I’ll share about my total ankle replacement!). Yoga, and specifically Curvy Yoga, gives me the opportunity to get moving and activate all those great endorphins that contribute to great mental health.

My Spirit

I am a spiritual person. It’s a huge part of who I am. I identify as a Christian, which is somewhat problematic these days because I’m not in agreement with what a segment of Christians adhere to as critical to their faith. For me, being a Christian means Jesus is my rubric. If I want to live in such a way that “exceeds expectations” then He’s who I look to as THE exemplar. And ultimately he’s the one I’ve derived my k.i.s.s. mantra from. When he arrived on the scene he called out the religious leaders on how complicated they had made the spiritual life and said, “you’ve missed the point folks. It’s about LOVE. That’s the big idea” That’s it. LOVE. Now that doesn’t mean that he or I don’t acknowledge that faith, hope, justice, mercy aren’t important. But they are by products of the big idea, LOVE. They happen because people choose LOVE.

So what does this have to do with yoga? Well, there is a segment of people in Christianity who would be disapproving or at least concerned, that I, as a Christian, have embraced yoga, in spite of yoga’s spiritual roots in Hinduism.

Well, rather than threaten my faith as a Christian, yoga has been another area where I am experiencing LOVE. It has opened another door for me to experience LOVE flowing through me which ultimately means it’ll spill out of me. Loving others and loving ourselves happen in tandem and yoga has been a practical bridge for me to cross from my over-emphasis of loving others to a more balanced place of loving myself as well.

So there it is,

via GYPHY

For my body, mind and spirit.

Keep learning,

Dianna

Course Work, EDTC300

I have entered an alternate universe… 2.0

You might recognize this title from a previous post. Well, I’m experiencing the “rabbit hole” feeling again while trying out a variety of apps and tools to review for my #EDTC300 online course (Educational Technology and Media 300) at the University of Regina.

giphy

via GYPHY

Here’s my challenge. Given a list of dozens of apps and tools that I could choose from – there are sooo many great resources out there! – not only is it difficult to select one, BUT THEN I HAVE TO LEARN IT in order to do a credible review on it!

So what?

That’s where I run into problems. At least for me, learning takes time. With whatever I’m learning, it takes time for me to get acquainted, familiar and then proficient with what I’m learning. Now that’s no problem if time’s a commodity that I have a lot of. But I don’t. And there’s the rub and the focus of my review.

Educators are notoriously overworked and underpaid professionals. The amount of time and energy a classroom teacher spends, just staying one foot ahead of the students, is extraordinary. Regardless, they continue to not only strive to keep their heads above water, but also be progressive and innovative. So for all my teacher colleagues out there,  and in keeping with my k.i.s.s. mantra, this review is for you…

I’ve tried a tool out that fits the criteria nicely. It’s

  • Easy to learn
  • Easy to use

Web Clipper – Evernote

Web Clipper is an extension that you can add to your Chrome browser toolbar. Go to https://evernote.com/products/webclipper and sign up for the basic plan (free) and follow the instructions to install the extension. It hangs out up in the right hand corner unobtrusively waiting for just the right moment in your planning.
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I tried it out and liked it almost immediately! As I have begun this journey towards earning my B.Ed, I am inundated regularly with articles and resources that I want to keep track of and Web Clipper does this nicely. Let me give you a peek at what that looks like.

Here’s an article that the kind Cassidy Oesch brought to my attention that I want to take the time to read in detail. When I saw her recommendation, it wasn’t the right time to read it, so I made a mental note of it and liked it in Twitter so I could go back to it. BUT NOW LOOK WHAT I CAN DO! First, here’s the webpage…

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After hitting the Web Clipper icon, I saved the article and it looks like this…

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I’ve created a “Notebook” (to do that just hit the notebook icon I’ve circled in red) and called it “Cassidy’s Gems” where I can save all the great articles she tells me about. Now I don’t have to go on a lengthy treasure hunt looking for them, when I want to sit down and absorb some great info. Cool right?!?

When I hit that notebook icon, this is what it looks like so far. (“Note” is just their word for an article)

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I’d recommend this tool! I found it intuitive and simply laid out, easy to learn and easy to use. There’s a ton of value in having a handy resource like this to organize all the resources that come our way as educators! It drives me nuts when I forget where I saw something and can’t find it again! Like this…

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Back to my teacher colleagues. This is a tool worth checking out. Web Clipper will not only provide you a place to stash all those articles you’re wanting to carve out time to read, but it also provides a place for you to stash the articles (or portions of articles) you want your students to read! I think you’ll find it helpful.

There you go folks, if you try it, let me know what you think!

Keep learning,

Dianna

 

EDTC300, Learning Project

Coming Home To My Body

Have you ever started something because you know there is value in it and then become pleasantly surprised when you actually start craving it?

That’s what drinking water has become for me. It’s my one healthy habit. At least it used to be my one and only. Now I think I may be developing another one!

giphy6

via GYPHY

Yup. It happened. I actually craved doing yoga. I know, I’m surprised too! Let me explain.

Yesterday I was at low ebb. I had no spark. My brain was mushy and tired and a little sad. And in the midst of it, a little, wee, niggle of a thought whispered into my soul, “you could do some yoga.” At the time, I was sitting in one of our classrooms after school, unsuccessfully trying to get some classwork done. But, in response to that thought, I stopped, opened up a session of Curvy Yoga, turned off the lights, and did 15 min. of yoga. OH YES! I DID!

via GYPHY (Kid President is everything!)

My observations? It helped. It shifted something in me. Nothing mind blowing or crazy big, but I felt less at odds with myself. A little more settled. It was another confirmation for me of the fact that, for much of my life, my body and I have not been on the same page. Rather than being intimately connected, we’re merely acquaintances who give each other barely the time of day. And so, it’s encouraging for me that in a small way I experienced that tug to do yoga and I responded to it. In essence, I acknowledged my body and welcomed it into the process of me dealing with my “low ebb”. It’s a beginning, at least, to becoming more connected and healthier.

Not only do I think this is super important for me personally, but also, you guessed it, for my students. Gaining understanding about my own sense of disconnectedness and how to “come home” to my body makes me aware that many of the kids I spend time with struggle with the same thing and will benefit from empathy and guidance. I love that as an educator I have the opportunity to teach beyond “reading, writing, and arithmetic” to mindfulness, self regulation, and growth mindset (to name a few) in order to support students in their growth.

This learning project has been a great opportunity for me. Seriously, it’s something I’d encourage anyone who feels stuck in a rut, to embark on. Pick something to learn, give yourself a timeline, and reflect on what you experience in the process. How do you choose to learn? How do you handle frustration? or setbacks? Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset? Do you embrace the process or find yourself eager to just get it done? Your reflections will give you such insight about yourself and fodder for continued growth! Because, as usual, I want us all to,

Keep learning,

Dianna