Unlearning to Learn

Although it may seem like an oxymoron, there are some things you need to unlearn in order to learn. Will Richardson’s article “The Unlearning Curve” lists 10 of these things.

  1. We aren’t the only experts
  2. Kids may know more than us
  3. Learning is continual
  4. Teamwork is key
  5. Students need to self-direct
  6. Students learn differently from us
  7. Put yourself out there!
  8. Kids learn at different paces
  9. Don’t block everything
  10. Education takes a community

I agree with some of these more than others.  I know for sure that my students know much more than me in certain areas! I am continually learning things from them!  There have been numerous times that students will ask a question and I just have to be honest and say “I don’t know, but I will find out for you!”  However, I’m still not a believer that we need to unblock Facebook or other social media sites at the school.  For the days that we are teaching about Digital Citizenship, I can see that being important, but for all the rest of the year, I still think they should be blocked so students aren’t tempted to be getting on those sites at inappropriate times.

Over the last few weeks, I have unlearned some of my thoughts and feelings about technology and how it has impacted our lives.  I still don’t like that technology has taken over so much of our lives, but I do appreciate all of the wonderful benefits that it does offer us!  I love that my students and myself can look something up in seconds. I love that we can connect to people and things all around the world.  I love that it makes certain aspects of creativity possible!

I will continue to use Twitter as a news and communication source.  I will use Digital Storytelling for book reports and other projects.  I will use Independent Learning Projects.  I will use the audio books/stories.  I am excited that I had the opportunity to learn about these things and will now get to utilize them in my classroom!

I am surprised that I was able to figure out several different technological things by  myself this summer! Granted, I had to Google some things, but I still figured it out and did all the assignments/projects/challenges completely by myself! Considering my background in technology (or lack thereof), that is quite a feat!

As Richardson said, “So much of our traditional thinking about personal learning and classroom practice is being challenged by our ability to publish and connect and collaborate primarily because of the opportunities afforded by the Read/Write Web.”  I am a very traditionally minded person, especially when it comes to education.  I am now challenged and challenging myself about these ideas and trying to incorporate new, modern approaches as well!


{Unfortunately, the “Mindset of an Innovator” article was not available or working today.  I will still try to get it read, if it becomes available this week!}

Digital Storytelling

I had to reach way back in my brain (and course information) to remember what Digital Storytelling was all about! Luckily for me, the information was still posted so I was able to find the teacher’s guide to help me!  I also found this page that helped me figure out the steps to go through to design my own!

Creating my Digital Story was tricky since I am not a technology pro.  I used Keynote to create a slideshow.  I used pictures off of Pixabay to ensure that I used creative commons images.  After I had all the images and wording down, I added animation effects to make it more visually appealing.  After that, I recorded myself narrating the slideshow to add the personal touch that I wanted.

The sound was the hardest part for me.  I found a few sound effects that I wanted to incorporate, but I was unable to time them out correctly for the video.  Instead I found a free background music soundtrack that I thought fit my story well!

Poetry for Everyday Life was an interesting read for me.  One of the standards that I have to teach is about figurative language, which metaphors fall under.  I am surprised by how much we use metaphors in everyday life! That’s one standard that will actually be “useful” in real life for the students!  The article made me realize we use metaphors all the time without even realizing what we are saying!

For my teaching metaphor, I loved the idea of combining an improv theater with coaching.  Teaching is like improv theater because you never know what is going to happen! As I explain in my video, I can plan until I’m blue in the face, but that’s not necessarily how the day will go!  I am a coach literally (one-act and speech), but also metaphorically in the classroom.  I teach and show students how to do things and then I push them to do their best to achieve it for themselves!

I am quite proud of my digital story.  I know it isn’t perfect, but for my first time creating something like it and publishing it I would say it went rather well.  I am now trying to plan some ways to incorporate digital stories into my classes so my kiddos can showcase their skills and creative talents using technology!


ILP- The Wrap Up

I’m not sure if we are supposed to write about our last week working on our Independent Projects or not, so I’m being safe and writing it!  This week I tried my biggest challenge yet: A homemade angel food cake! Before you get all excited or impressed, let me just tell you that it failed. Badly.

I had high hopes for myself and my cake. I did research throughout the week.  I found an article that really got into the scientific parts of making an angel food.  I had always heard not to use rubber spatulas with it, but this article said it was okay to use. (Maybe I can blame my flop on that!) If you like science and/or baking, check it out!

I then found what I thought was a simple and basic recipe for the cake itself. I let the eggs get to room temperature (a very odd feeling, working with warm eggs) and followed the instructions to a t. I put it in the pan and felt very excited because everything had gone fairly well. cake 1

I baked it at the appropriate temperature for the correct amount of time. (A little extra actually since I like it more golden on top!) cake 2 Unfortunately, it was under-baked. I flipped it over to cool and the cake slipped right out. cake 3 And then it proceeded to flatten.  (It is currently even worse than the picture shows, but I have some pride left so I’m not showing it!

Looking back, I’m thinking that my oven could be screwy (remember the cookies that also were under-baked?) and not baking correctly.  Perhaps I didn’t whip the egg whites enough, or I went too long. Maybe I didn’t fold in the flour/sugar well enough.  There are so many variables! I will try it again, in a different oven hopefully!

I have learned that I enjoy baking, but when something goes wrong I really hate it! It makes me wonder what happened: Did I do something? Were my ingredients wrong? Is my oven messed up?  Someday I hope to have a gorgeous kitchen with a high-grade stove!

Baking and cooking seriously are SO scientific.  Recipes mean it when they ask for a specific amount of something. Always measure flour carefully! If a recipe calls for room temperature eggs, then set them out!

There is so much that I still hope to and need to learn about this. I’m left with questions and curiosity about the subject! I have enjoyed the opportunity to work on what I enjoy with the excuse of calling it homework!

Canva Creations

After reading Online Creation Tools and Take 5, I decided to try out Canva. I liked the sound of Canva because Karen said it had free items and several poster or meme possibilities! In my room I like to create these different visuals, so I thought it might be the most useful.

When I started using it, I was a little let down by the “free” options. There weren’t as many as I had hoped and they weren’t as cute as I imagined.  They don’t seem to have many good, free templates.  Under the “Elements” tab, my ideas changed.  They have TONS of free, cute little pictures to use.  I actually wasn’t sure what I would include in my graphic until I saw the different little pictures that I liked and felt that I could tie into my cooking/baking experience.

The challenging part of Canva is that only certain things are free, so you have to be careful with what you choose.  I also read some comments that mentioned how the graphics print out differently than they appear on screen as well as it apparently has other glitches at times.  I didn’t print my picture and I didn’t have any real issues (other than operator errors) while I was experimenting with it!

Fortunately, Canva seems rather easy to use.  I was actually able to create my poster rather quickly.  The time consuming part was scrolling through the options to find what I wanted to incorporate.  You just click on what you like and it drops it onto your page. You then can make size changes, and sometimes color edits.  I had an easy time playing with it!

I imagine myself using Canva in the future for several different things. I could create posters for the information being covered in class or for the book we are about to read.  There are many possibilities! I like that it allows you to upload your own pictures so I could really personalize it!

As a visual learner, I absolutely think there is value in presenting information in a visual or graphic style. As a teacher, I think it also allows me the freedom to decorate my room in a visually pleasing way that also adds to the information present in my classroom.  Useful posters are the best so that students can refer to them instead of asking me all the time!

I created my visual as a kind of magazine cover.  I found each little graphic in the free folder and then I wrote a little “article” heading to go with it that ties into what I’ve learned or done over these past few weeks with my Independent Learning Project. Screen Shot 2017-07-22 at 11.21.39 AM

Attention Log Blog

As a teacher, I should be really good at paying attention and focusing on things. I wish this was true! This past week I have looked at myself with scrutiny when it comes to my internet behavior. Here were the specific results from my 5 self-monitored sessions:

  • Session 1
  • Date: 7-17-17
  • Space: Living room
  • Device: laptop
  • Duration of session: 2+ hours
  • What occurred: I started out watching Netflix while Pinteresting.  I found an idea for a schedule that I liked, so I went to my Google Drive to set it up and work with it.
  • What you did: Created a Google Doc schedule- Year long view broken down into the 4 quarters of the year, broken down into the 9-10 weeks in each quarter.  I almost finished one class’ year! 
  • How you felt: Very productive! I got a lot done.  I love being organized and having a schedule in place.  Since this is only my second year teaching, I’ve been nervous/anxious about it again.  Now I feel more secure…at least with that one class that’s basically done!
  • What worked: I burrowed down in my husband’s recliner, surrounded by all of my different schedules, standards, plans, ideas, and so on.
  • What didn’t work: I started out watching Hawaii 5-0, but I found myself getting confused trying to solve a crime and plan a year of teaching.  I turned off the TV, opened a window to listen to the rain, and worked for a couple hours! 
  • Other comments: I’m proud of what I got done and excited to continue working on it! 
  • Session 2
  • Date: 7-18-17
  • Space: living room 
  • Device: laptop
  • Duration of session: 30 minutes
  • What occurred: 
  • What you did: checked all 3 emails, did a daily create, worked on attention log, checked blog feedly- made a comment, added it to my blog comment record, checked Twitter
  • How you felt: productive, but kind of bored
  • What worked: I started to turn the TV on, but decided not to so I could have a quiet environment to focus in
  • What didn’t work: 
  • Other comments: If I have a goal or a purpose, I do well not getting distracted.  It’s when I don’t HAVE to get anything done that I find myself falling into the blackholes of Pinterest or Facebook! 
  • Session 3
  • Date: 7-19-17
  • Space: Living room
  • Device: Laptop
  • Duration of session: 30 minutes
  • What occurred: Sat down, opened computer to do homework and daily create. 
  • What you did: Opened computer and Facebook was open. Instead of closing it, I scrolled through it for about 10 minutes before actually closing it. Then I moved on to the daily create, twitter, emails, etc. 
  • How you felt: Like I have a severe lack of self-control today! I also felt a burden of things I needed to get done while I was slacking off. 
  • What worked: Eventually forcing myself to close Facebook.
  • What didn’t work: I need to make sure to close these naughty tabs when I close my computer so they aren’t the first things I see when I open it up again. 
  • Other comments: I want to continue working on my year planner so I decided to go to my classroom to really get in the zone and to be focused!
  • Session 4
  • Date: 7-20-17
  • Space: kitchen bar
  • Device: laptop
  • Duration of session: 15 minutes
  • What occurred: I stayed on track!
  • What you did: I quickly checked all my emails, Twitter, and did the daily create
  • How you felt: I felt really productive and proud of myself.
  • What worked: I had a short amount of time to get my school stuff done before running an errand with my Hubby. I knew I had a time limit, so I stayed focused and got everything done that needed done! 
  • What didn’t work:
  • Other comments: Being under a time crunch also helps me stay focused! Maybe that’s why I could never be a procrastinator- I love having the freedom to get sidetracked! 
  • Session 5
  • Date: 7-21-17
  • Space: living room 
  • Device: laptop 
  • Duration of session: an hour
  • What occurred: I realized I’m almost unable to just do one thing at a time! 
  • What you did: I checked all the usuals and worked on this attention log- as I was “watching” a devotional on YouTube. 
  • How you felt: Bad. I have all day to do things, but I feel the need to get it all done as quickly as possible. 
  • What worked: I didn’t get sidetracked by Facebook or Pinterest
  • What didn’t work: I wasn’t able to focus on the sermon like I would have liked. I was busy doing other things. 

Some of these days I behaved very well. I was focused and stayed on track for what I needed to get done. Other days, not so much.  I also noticed that during these monitored times it was easier to behave than other times, because I was kind of being kept accountable.  I need to start monitoring myself all the time instead of wasting mindless hours on Facebook.  On Pinterest I need to have a specific thing I’m looking for, get ideas, and then move on.  Internet is a resource that we can either utilize to maximize ourselves or we can abuse it and ruin ourselves!

Technology Anonymous

When Hubby and I go out on a date or I am somewhere else in public, I’m amazed by how many people are also out on a date  or with a group of friends.  The difference is they have their noses in their phones instead of enjoying each other’s company.  These people (and often myself) are addicted to technology.  So much so that perhaps we need Technology Anonymous!

Paul Miller’s TED talk was interesting and almost inspirational to watch.  I admire that he was able to cut himself off from all things internet related (although I think video games should have been included in the diet) for a year.  I only have a few technology things that are my “go-tos”: Pinterest and Facebook.  {I feel my online life is quite simplified! Now that I am required to do other things I have Twitter, blogs, email, etc.  Even though I only truly have two apps I use, I am quite mindless when I’m on them.  I’ll get on and scroll. And scroll. And scroll.  This summer has been the first summer I haven’t had a job, so I’ve had quite a bit of free time.  The time that I have when nothing needs doing, I find myself feeding my addictions.

However, not all of my time on these sites is wasted! I use Pinterest for SO MUCH of my classroom prep as well as my ILP.  My siblings are spread out across the country, so we keep tabs on each other on Facebook.  This is where, like Paul said, there is a balance.  Technology is neither good nor bad until we make it that way.

I do know that I need to stop multi-tasking.  I think I am quite good at it, but I realize it isn’t appropriate all the time.  Sometimes Hubby and I are realizing and watching TV together, but we’re both on our phones.  I constantly have 10 pinned tabs on my browser, along with about 8 or so others open.  There are so many different articles I’m reading or ideas I’m searching and researching and so on that I am not completely focused on any one of them.  Because of all of this, I’m not truly present very much.  I really need to do a better job of putting the computer down whenever my mom calls too!

I don’t want to be one of the people that is so attached to their device that they miss out on life! Hubby and I are going on vacation in two weeks and I really want to capture the moments and share them with family and friends.  But I also need to just live in the moment to truly enjoy it.  My goal will be to put the phone down and pick up the real camera whenever I want a picture!

My parents’ house has no internet, no cell reception, and only one (news) channel. {There’s also not much radio reception either!) I actually love going home for these reasons.  We play board games together and actually interact and talk! (For these same reasons, I haven’t been able to visit them all summer long, which I hate.)  I love being able to go there and unplug completely! People know that they shouldn’t expect to hear from me.  (There is a landline phone in case of emergency!) Since I enjoy unplugging, I am saddened by how hard it is for younger people to do the same.  The fact that they reportedly get anxiety and seriously cannot go without devises is scary.  What would happen if all the computer systems failed? How would people do things??

Everything in life needs moderation. Technology is no different!

ILP Cookie Disaster

The food in the house has been rather uneventful this week.  Hubby and I have both come down with what is appearing to be a mixture of the summer head cold and a touch of allergies.  Not fun.

Before we went downhill, I made a round steak supper with gravy, potatoes, and green beans.  I loved this meal because it was such a cheat! First of all, I used the crockpot which means hands-off cooking! I was able to start it and then let it go while I did other things.  (Crockpot meals are a farmer’s wife’s best friend during the busy times!) The gravy was the second part where I cheated. I used a can of mushroom soup mixed with a package mix of chicken gravy.  Super easy and super delicious! I seared the meat in a pan with butter and onion.  Then I put it in the crockpot and poured the gravy mixture on top.  When my husband was closer to coming home, I cleaned some potatoes and threw them in on top. It was a win of a meal!

Once we were rolling down the hill, Hubby asked me to make my Creamy Chicken Noodle again! Of course, I didn’t mind since it is one of my absolute favorites of all time!  Side note: When you make homemade noodles, always give them 2-3 hours to dry out before using them.  I didn’t do that this week because of a hunger time crunch and I could tell the difference! (It was still yummy and is now completely gone.)

Before our projects started, I attempted making my father-in-law some Chocolate Crinkles- His favorite cookie.  However, they didn’t turn out like they were supposed to.  They were flat, soft, and chewy instead of puffy and dry. (I like soft and chewy instead of dry, but it bothered me because they hadn’t turned out!) My mother-in-law and I thought it was because my baking powder or soda was old or because I hadn’t let them chill for a full hour before baking them.  I was also irritated because the recipe said it would make 48 cookies and I had about 16, even though I had shaped them exactly as it said to.  I wanted to test this out again so I bought new soda and powder and made sure to chill them for the full hour.  They turned out even worse than before! (Still tasting delicious, but not shaping up correctly!) I got the same 16 instead of 48 as well.  These cookies are going to be my new nemesis.  I will continue to test them and remake them until I can get them right!

What have I learned? 

  1. Being sick in the summer is no fun!
  2. There is a reason for culinary school.
  3. I’m pretty sure some recipes LIE!
  4. Even though I get frustrated, I still really enjoy cooking/baking!
  5. I wish I had a pro I could ask for help from!


If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know!

The New “Activism”

Technology has brought changes to several areas of life.  Dating, gaming, and now being active in different issues all have been transformed with the invention of internet.   Kids now can Tweet, Facebook, Tumblr, and so on to express their thoughts on different social issues.

My initial reaction was something pretty negative, to be honest.  Our ancestors fought for our freedom and did so much. Nowadays, young adults sit on their couches and type on their phones to protest, they don’t even go out for a sit-in!  I still have some of these thoughts, but I am also seeing a bigger picture.  This activism works better than you would think!

My Kids, A Cause, Our Classroom Blog impressed me with being young, using technology, and actually helping people. The fact that they do so much research on sugary foods and document it, sharing it with others is amazing! They aren’t just getting on and ranting or complaining about what they don’t like or think isn’t fair.  They’re actually based on facts and health!

TeenVogue put out an interesting article about girls around the world that use social media in powerful ways.  They are standing up for women and their safety.  This includes the “upskirting” ban and preventing teen pregnancy.  These issues are on the rise and teens are helping combat them by signing online petitions and posting their thoughts.

There is even a Teen Activist Award given to a teen that is changing things with social media.  The nominee I decided to look into is “God Loves You” of “Why to Stay Strong.”  This one caught my interest because I’m a Christian and I’m impressed that a teen would have the courage to stand up for what they believe in to that extent.  I love the Tweet shared on the information page for “Why to Stay Strong” about how to write a suicide note- Start by focusing on the things you love. This and other tweets send out positive, encouraging thoughts.

Technology has 6 functions when it comes to activism: Shaping public opinion, planning an action, protecting activists, calling people to action, digitally taking action, and transferring resources.  This sums it up perfectly! I can see how social media does all of these things for activists.  Feel free to go to the website and read about it in more detail if it interests you!

This module was an informational one for me. I’m still working on accepting the change between then and now on what we consider activism, but I am seeing the positives now more than before.  I’m not a very active person on social media with my opinions and thoughts though (with political or social issues).  I’m wondering if we should be as teachers? I also worry about the technological side of things- Like how you are more willing to say things online than you would in person.  I still don’t think that’s a good way to do things.

ILP Week 3

This week I got to do my independent learning project over my favorite holiday- the Fourth of July, Independence Day!! I love the 4th for so many reasons: warm temperatures, you can wear shorts and flip-flops, parades, candy, FIREWORKS, and, of course, wonderful food!

Over the previous few weeks, I “researched” what to serve my guests. Pinterest gave me some great ideas!

Flavored Ice Cubes These were a HUGE hit! I thought they would be cute, but I didn’t realize they would be a crowd favorite! Almost every single person that came over tried it and then drank them the rest of the day! sprite

Stained Glass Jello I couldn’t believe how easy this was to make and how adorable it was. (Also, very delicious!) I was worried about how the white part would taste or feel, but it was good too! jello

Monster Cookies These Monster Cookies have been my “secret recipe” for a year or two now and are a hit every single time I serve them! I even took them to some of my classes this year as surprise rewards and the students LOVED them! They are so soft and delicious! Only 4 were left when everyone went home! monsters

Apple Snicker Salad I was also surprised by how much everyone loved this! Somehow my mother-in-law heard about it and asked for some to be brought to her!  I changed mine slightly from the recipe- I put in one less apple and I left off the caramel sauce.  I love caramel, but I didn’t want it to be overpoweringly sweet! Apparently it worked! 😉 My Hubby was quite disappointed that it was all gone that night. (Sorry, no picture available! It was eaten too quickly!)

Fruit Salad This was self-explanatory and I just used the fruits that I liked and bought last week! It included watermelon, honeydew, grapes, strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries.  I liked being able to offer a healthy treat to anyone that wanted it! fruit salad

With the left over blackberries and strawberries, I made Hubby and I smoothies last night.  It’s a slightly less guilty treat for us!

Helpful Hint: After I made the jello, I realized I should wipe out the microwave.  It was SO easy to clean! Apparently getting some water to boil creates a lovely steam that then eases sticked on food! It all wiped right out! So next time you need to clean your microwave, make yourself a jello treat first! 😉

When I was on Facebook, I saw this amazing video! #goals! I’m hoping to do a cake in the next couple of weeks to try out my skills!

I hope you all had a wonderful, save 4th! 🙂

Digital Citizenship= A MUST!

Last year was my first year teaching.  I have to admit that it was a whirlwind of craziness that I just tried to survive!  One part I know I didn’t succeed at was Digital Citizenship.  It has a section of the state standards all to itself, yet I didn’t even touch it.  This year I’m hoping that will be different. It will be different.

I’ve had to do a lot of researching and learning on the subject this week and I’ve already found so much great information! I’m a very visual/physical person.  I absolutely loved the Digital Citizenship Survival Kit page.  Each object you put in the bag is a great representation of something to do with Digital Citizenship.  I really think my students could identify with the simple visuals and what they stand for. I think a fun opening activity would be to have students squeeze out a tube of toothpaste and then have them put it back in.  This would help them see that once it’s out, it doesn’t go back in!

As I continued looking around, I watched this YouTube video. It briefly pops up a screen with “identity theft, sexting, cyberbullying, plagiarism, predators” written on it.  This got me thinking; do students realize there are laws (not just rules!) about things that happen online?  I then started looking up state laws concerning these topics.  My research led me to the Attorney General’s website.  I sent an email asking for direct links to the state laws dealing specifically with these issues.  I really want to open my students’ eyes to the fact that if they participate in some of these behaviors, they will have very real consequences they will have to pay. (Hopefully I hear back soon.  I will share if I get anything!)

I also Googled myself to see just what the world knows about me.  I’ve always been pretty “quite” on social media.  I’ve also been very cautious of what to say or post. (Being raised in a Christian home definitely helped with most of the life choices that helped with all of that!)  When I looked myself up, all I found was my Facebook and Twitter pages, along with my school’s page with me listed as an employee.  Thankfully I didn’t see anything that I wouldn’t want my mother, students, or possible employers to see.

Since I was raised the way I was, I didn’t put Digital Citizenship as a priority for my classroom. I imagined it was common sense and that these morals or behaviors were taught at home.  However, I realize that most students  aren’t raised similarly and they don’t have that parental control at home to watch over them.  I have much higher goals for myself for this year and teaching Digital Citizenship!