Contribution to the learning of others

Fotobabble of my community of learning.

What a FUN semester! I absolutely loved this class and I put a lot of effort into it. I enjoyed reading my peers posts and I was especially drawn to one of Gledi’s earlier posts where he talked about learning to do a muscle up. I appreciated his vulnerability and I let him know.

Gledi’s blog

I really enjoyed the class Discord group chat and I interacted a lot using this platform. I used Discord to post ideas I came across that other teachers are doing in their classrooms. I really liked the glass analogy and I wanted my peers to know about this too!

A conversation began with an article Jeron Kletzel posted regarding a student refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Some good group discussion happened and my comment included additional insight, citing what a football celebrity has done. Find my comment below.

Conversation on Discord, my response

Taylor’s blog was fun to read, watching her learn Italian! We are both new to RSS readers and spelling mistakes easily happen when we are not familiar with platforms!

I enjoyed posing a thoughtful question on Discord regarding the below meme I had come across.

The article Debunking Education Memes, Part One provided an alternative way of viewing this meme that I had not considered before. I wanted to know what my peers thought. Some fun comments followed.

In one of Janet’s blog posts she posted her desire to learn how to play the guitar. I loved this because I too have attempted to learn to play the guitar and I gave her the YouTube link to a fun strumming technique I had learned called the strum slap.

Me responding to Janet’s blog post.

Mingyeong’s blog was also fun to interact with because she choose to learn how to use polygel nails, which I have never attempted. This is certainly a skill that requires time, practice, and patience. I hope my encouragement helped her along her journey! I really enjoyed the title of her post: ‘First Try Never Goes Well’. I thought she was being too hard on herself!

The National Post released an article called: “Opinion: We’re failing our children- socially, mentally and physically- by keeping them out of school”. This came up for discussion in Discord and I gave a thoughtful reply in which I quoted directly from the article.

My response to the article.

In Rosalie’s blog I responded to her blog post in which she reflected on Twitter and Blogging.

My comments to Rosalie.

The Questions and Answers section within Discord was very helpful to both me and my peers. There were no dumb questions and I enjoyed reading them because I learned from the questions and I even knew a few answers, such as the one below:

Sometimes I had questions!

Brandy Mogg’s blog was fun because she took her readers through iMovie, step by step and I have not used this before. I have used other movie editors such as DaVinci Resolve though so I enjoyed reading how they were different.

My response to Brandy’s blog post.

Ashley Peterman also choose to learn to use iMovie and she gave gave detailed instructions on how to use it and I really appreciated this so I let her know.

In Gabby Hillis’ blog, she shared her desire to learn ASL and I love this because I think it is very practical. I think as teachers we will come across students that use this form of communication. Gabby also included her blog about her using Screencastify, which I appreciated because I was not familiar with this.

My response to Gabby.

Amberlee Dayman posted an article from The New York Times regarding the effect the pandemic has had on learning loss. This was interesting to me although it left me with more questions than answers!

Discussion on Discord regarding the impact Covid-19 has had on learning loss: should this be measured?

In Sarah Breti’s blog I read about her experience cyber sleuthing one of her peers. I appreciated Sarah’s reflection on Madison Holleran, although a difficult read, it is a reminder that online we are usually comparing our worst to other people’s best. Tragically, this ultimately cost Holleran her life.

My response to Sarah’s blog post regarding cyber sleuthing.

I responded again to another of Sarah’s blog posts. She was very honest and forthright about making mistakes during her learning project. It certainly was not a smooth and flawless journey!

Amberlee Dayman’s blog post regarding cyber sleuthing also caught my attention because of the title she gave it! She called it “Cybersleuth or Cyber Stocking”! Now whose interest is not piqued with a title like that!? There were a few spelling errors that made her post slightly tricky to understand. I did mention this in my comment to her although I did not want to offend her. I would want somebody to let me know so I decided to despite my hesitancy.

I like that in our Discord community we had a way to share resources and one resource that I have used a lot that nobody knew about is Morguefile. This website provides high quality pictures that do not require attribution. I shared this resource on Discord.

I was a volunteer note taker in each class to help another student, which also contributed to class network learning. All my notes can be found here.

Learning to use Twitter was really fun! I had no idea this could be such a valuable resource tool. Ashley Peterman posted an excellent article regarding creativity in the classroom and I support that! Without Twitter, I would not have come across this article. Thank you @ashleypeterman_!

The first thing I needed to learn was how to use a RSS reader and what it was. I choose Feedly, although there are others. One of my favourite finds from Feedly that I tweeted about was music in the classroom. I am excited to use this idea someday! Another favourite resource I think all teachers need to be aware of is using games and activities.

Something new to me that I didn’t know Twitter offered was that someone can upload a project they are working on. Hailie P. gives an excellent example of how she was learning to code through playing Crossy Road, as uploaded to YouTube, shared via Twitter.

I really enjoyed the supportive community our class enjoyed on Twitter. Every day I saw encouraging comments such as these below:

Dozens of examples of the excellent giving and taking of ideas on my Twitter feed.

The last thing I want to comment on regarding my involvement with the learning of my peers is when we got to participate in the #SaskEdChat on Twitter. This was my first live chat and it was so interesting. There were many participants therefore the feed went very quickly and it was slightly overwhelming but I was still able to make a few comments and participate.

Thanks for a great semester! I hope you learned as much as I did!

I don’t remember the last time I was this frustrated!

I decided to play on the coding website for an ‘hour’ of code. An HOUR became several. I choose a keyboard exercise because I actually play the piano so I thought I would have some type of advantage. The first few levels I was able to navigate through ok, although I did run into a hiccup. Have a look as I walk you through my first hiccup.

I am very proud that I was able to work through this challenge as well as my next, which required a few more steps and involved more layers. Let’s have a look!

I get to my last level and this is where I spent majority of my time. I could not understand the ‘if, do, else’ block. I got very close and my project sounded the same as the one I was supposed to match but the program kept telling me “it doesn’t sound right”. I could not find the problem nor the solution. One very frustrating thing for me is that there is no pause button so once I pressed the play button I had to listen to the entire project from beginning to end. This was frustrating because I could tell very early on there was a mistake but I had to listen to the entire thing. The second thing I found extremely frustrating was the ‘Hints’ section. It would give me a few hints but I did not understand the hint. I could change a couple of things but I was not able to successful match/ solve the tune. I never did figure out the final level, level 9.

I realized after that I actually started at a grade 6 level, I thought I had started with a kindergarten level, oops. I need to go back and work myself up to understanding the ‘if, do, else’ .

I decided to try again the next day but I was still not able to successfully complete the project and I do not understand what I am doing wrong. The sample tune sounds the same as the one I have created and the “tips” section keeps giving me the same tip help, which is absolutely no help to me. This was a very frustrating experience and I am not anxious to return and retry. I felt I was left on my own to figure things out and I was not able to figure it out. How does one actually learn and understand this?

I feel like such a failure! I tried again another day with a different puzzle to solve and I did not enjoy the experience at all. I made sure to choose something under grade 6 so my new attempt was a grade 2+. I think I only made it to level 6 before I was so frustrated. I do not seem to understand what the computer is requiring and I certainly did not have the patience to sit and invest more time in understanding it. I am really not sure how kids can find this interesting or fun because for me it was so painful and frustrating!

Fake News in Arts Education

I am thrilled to be writing on this topic because, as an arts education student, this is my realm! The five art strands (dance, drama, literature, music, visual art) are meant to challenge ideas, question things, see, seek, ask, and value things from different and sometimes opposing and/ or uncomfortable standpoints. I’ve been trained to embrace social issues in the classroom, encouraging students to question and come to solutions and/ or conclusions, or make others aware of alternative ways of seeing, through their art. And fake news is a HUGE social issue! Art speaks to humans in a myriad of ways that nothing else can. For example, when you see this art installation are you not automatically, immediately, and intensely committed to keeping plastic out of our waterways?

To tie digital literacy into arts education in a grade 6 classroom I suggest using the outcome CR6.2 Investigate and identify ways that the arts can express ideas about identity.
The indicator that works best is b. Reflect on and discuss the intentions, problem-solving processes, and interpretations of own and others’ arts expressions including how they relate to the concept of identity.

Literature, as a form of art, comes in a huge array of possibilities which includes fake news. Provide the students with grade appropriate news stories and teach them how to identify what is fake and what is real. The most alarming thing I learned this week comes from Garry Kasparov, the chess Grandmaster and political activist, when he said, “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.” To annihilate truth!? We need to be very, very concerned and therefore I am committed to teaching young minds how to appropriately challenge and question what they see, read, and hear.

This video provides 5 steps of how we can help students make their way through the sea news they see on a daily basis.

The NCTE is committed to increasing “the quality of English Language Arts instruction at all education levels”. This can be further supported in this grade 6 arts education class because students need to construct meaning from what they are ingesting. When students create their art, their “comprehension of the text was profound” because they study the text in a different way outside of their English class.

Let’s look at another example, a grade 3 class. The outcome is:
CR3.1 Describe ideas and problem-solving processes used in own arts expressions and the indicator is:
a. Identify and describe how arts expressions make them think and feel;
c. Discuss own and group inquiry and creative problem-solving processes (e.g., the paint kept getting muddy so I cleaned my brush more often; the troll was bossy in the beginning; my partner and I thought it would look better if we jumped at the same time; we couldn’t hear the voices so we played softer).

Again, the teacher can provide grade appropriate art expressions, in this case, fake news stories such as the tree octopus. A class discussion will identify how the students are feeling and thinking regarding the fake content provided. A teacher led discussion can teach the students how to problem-solve. Websites such as Break the Fake dedicated to helping students learn how to separate fake from truth can be fun and informative.

Considering the NCTE is committed to “considering new instructional ideas, reflecting on tensions and challenges in our profession” it only makes sense to include digital literacy in our classrooms.

Perhaps you are still not convinced this can work in a classroom? Or certainly not in a primary classroom? Let’s have a look at grade one, outcome: CP1.3 Enter into the fiction provided by the drama.
a. Ask questions to contribute to inquiry on a drama topic (e.g., What if all the animals in the town disappeared?);
c. Listen to the contributions of others and seek ways to be inclusive of others’ ideas and points of view;
d. Collaborate with others in dramatic contexts.

Introduce this video to the grade one’s and invite them to choose one of the fake story ideas (Prime Minister has a pet alien, all rivers will be turned to ice cream by 2050, etc.) and invite the students to ask questions and contribute, listen to their peer’s ideas, and then collaborate with their peers to turn this into a short drama.

Teaching students of all ages and grades does not need to be difficult or time consuming. It can simply be added to what we are already doing, as in the three examples I just provided. By exploring these ideas, we can “find new teaching allies“, as the NCTE states, where we can “learn new ideas for delivering instruction“.

The Reveal!

Right off the bat I want to point out a few things I have learned while refinishing my wood dresser. The very first thing you need to know is that stripping the old layer of paint or stain off is NOT as easy as this Tik Tok portrays, or if it is, I certainly have done things very, very wrong. I also used the CitriStrip, as seen in the Tik Tok, but in my experience, it took a lot more effort than just running the tool up, removing the layer as you moved along.


In the process of stripping a whole vintage dresser. Trying to bleach the whole thing. #diy #citristrip #vintagedresser #workinprogress

♬ Work – Sonny Digital

The second thing you need to know is that when you see things like this: “bought for $50, made $525”, they probably worked for less than minimum wage completing the project.

And lastly, you need to know: DO NOT do this. Please do not line dresser drawers with wallpaper because it SUCKS to remove it when that design is no longer trendy.

Let me demonstrate:

Ok, now that we have that straight, let’s talk about what did go right! The finished dresser ended up with five coats of the Tung Oil. Each coat made it more and more shiny, it is really pretty. A top protective layer is unnecessary. Check out that bling hardware! What 13-year old doesn’t want that!?

Left= before, Right= after

This last picture is what the wood dresser looks like in my daughter’s bedroom. We just happened to replace her flooring with hard wood and I think the wood on wood equals absolute perfection! Oh so pretty. Now she is begging me to paint. She is claiming she has outgrown the ‘baby’ purple. Oh, painting is another job where I earn less than minimum wage! OFF for another adventure…………

The End is in Sight!

I had a very busy week preparing my wood dresser by adding two more coats of Tung Oil (24 hours apart). I absolutely love that with each coat it becomes shinier and shinier! It looks glossy to me and I like that look. 5 coats of Tung Oil is actually not necessary. I choose that because I like the shiny look, however, if you prefer a more dull look then 2-3 coats would be completely fine. The first 2 coats soaked right into the wood compared to my 5th coat.

Left: 1 coat of Tung Oil, Right: 5 coats of Tung Oil

The next thing I did was wax the drawers because they were sticky and they did not slide nicely. I had only been told about this, I had no idea how to actually do it. I thought I had to melt the wax and somehow work with warm wax. Turns out, this was the easiest part of the entire project and this website was very helpful in educating me on this process.

I also made about 9 trips to Home Depot to purchase the new hard ware, an anticipated exciting part of the process but it was so frustrating! My 13-year old daughter claimed this dresser very early in the process even though she does not need it. This complicates placing it in her bedroom because it is a different style than her current dresser and, as it turns out, there are several different styles of dressers! That aside, she wanted to choose the hardware (you are in for a treat!) so she found the most bling possible. So I bought it and attempted to screw it on but my old dresser’s wood must be thinner than modern dressers because the screws were too loose. So trip #2 back to Home Depot to buy washers to act as a filler, otherwise the hardware knob would just spin around. Okay, problem fixed. But then I bought too many knobs and not enough pulls. Trip #3 to return and exchange and luckily Home Depot has an excellent return policy. Next, I attempt to attach the pulls but they are too long, they don’t fit! Are you kidding!? I did not know these were measured, I had assumed they were a standard measurement, but NOPE! Now I am nervous because my dresser is very old and I am concerned that my required size is no longer available (and I still need the 13-year old’s ‘bling’!). Trip #4 I discovered that there are many sizes actually available! Who knew! And they had the bling hardware, in the size we needed. So, okay, 9 trips was an exaggeration but 4 did seem a little excessive to buy what I thought was a simple (but oh so surprisingly expensive) step of refinishing! All said and done, the dresser has (very blingy!) knobs and pulls on it.

The part of this project I have yet to finish is removing the wallpaper layer from the drawers. This job absolutely sucks so I have left it for last. It is very labour intensive and quite messy.

Digital Identity; Cybersleuthing feels like cyber stocking

Cybersleuthing my partner was a creepy experience for me, not because there was anything weird about my partner but because I felt I was invading her privacy, like I was overstepping my bounds. I felt like there was something wrong with me, looking for anything I could about her. I came to know her, some very specific details of her life. I wondered how easy it would be to steal her identity. I have no idea how to go about this and I have no plans to but I think an experienced person probably could. My partner was easy to find on Facebook which did not really surprise me because we are about the same age and Facebook includes many in our generation. This made me reflect back to Katia’s lecture on June 3rd, 2021 when she said “that if you don’t have a Facebook, you are considered suspicious”. When I began cybersleuthing my partner and I discovered she was on Facebook, my immediate reaction was “oh thank heavens she has Facebook” (not because it made my cybersleuthing easier, but because her having Facebook somehow made her ‘normal’).

An area in my life I have taken great pride in is that I do not (think I) have a digital footprint. So imagine my surprise when I read the article Having Multiple Online Identities is More Normal Than You Think and discovered that many people have multiple accounts using multiple platforms! My own teenagers have “spam” accounts but I thought they were weird, the minority, the exception, not the going (and growing) trend! I do wonder how people have time to manage so many online identities because it sounds exhausting. The author makes this point as to why people have multiple online identities: “Different sites, different audiences, different purposes”. Taking a look at Jon Ronson’s Ted Talk reminds me that we need to be very careful what we post online because it all leans in to our digital identity, the good and the bad, the positive and the negative, our charm and our mistakes.

Watching Monika Lewinsky’s Ted Talk was hard because she made a mistake, right at the beginning of what has become known as digital identity. At the young age of 22 she “fell in love with my boss”, who just happened to be the president of the United States. People who did not know her, the situation, or most likely anything else to do with the circumstance made horrible comments that we now call “public shaming”. This “culture of humiliation” is inappropriate, very harmful and dangerous and we even risk losing our voice in a culture in which “voiceless people found they could now have voice” (Jon Ronson). I am sitting back, taking all this in, trying to understand and digest it all and I more clearly understand my hesitation to have a digital footprint. Is seems as though there is NO room online to make a mistake or to post anything less than what appears to be perfect.

Madison Holleran’s story is an excellent example of trying to achieve an online presence exhibiting only perfectionism. Holleran became so enthralled with the idea of perfection both offline and online that it ultimately cost her her life. She observed her friends unfiltered ‘perfect’ lives and she felt inadequate, that she could never achieve this level of happiness, of perfectionism. Unfortunately, it became too unbearable for her to bear.

Even when we are offline, we are online. There is no longer a difference. “We don’t have an ‘online me’ and an ‘offline life'”(Katia Hildebrandt, lecture June 3rd, 2021). The perfect example of this is Justine Sacco who made a Tweet to her few Twitter followers, jumped on an airplane, and by the time she landed, that Tweet had traveled around the world faster than she was, unbeknownst to her, and ultimately had her fired from her job.

My key takeaways from this lesson are:
#1: I need an digital footprint because if I don’t create mine somebody else will;
#2: By giving real life experiences, we can learn and be taught about digital identity;
#3: The internet works very quickly;
#4: If I need to push something further down the google search results then I need to be posting as much as possible to get people to click on those instead of the undesirable content.

Photo by cottonbro on

I’ve been looking forward to this!

Top view, stripped and sanded
Top view, Tung Oil coat #1
Top view, Tung Oil, coat #2
Top view, Tung Oil coat #3

I had to start with the pictures because this has been the part I have been most looking forward to! Getting the wood coat on! I was so excited to see the dresser come alive! I decided to use Tung Oil rather than a wood stain or wood paint because I liked that its purpose it to highlight the natural wood as opposed to completely changing the colour. The one thing you have to know about Tung Oil though is that it STINKS! And the smell lingers for dayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyys. I applied a new coat of Tung Oil every 24 hours. The directions indicate between 3-5 coats can be applied. With each coat it becomes shinier.

I took a few videos to highlight my process.

Sanding is more work than I anticipated!
Applying the first coat of Tung Oil

This dresser has six drawers and the drawers are each lined with wallpaper. I hate this! So I decided to remove it. Possibly a bad idea based on the effort it takes to remove!

My week has been extremely busy with this learning project partly because I want to apply 5 coats of Tung Oil therefore it requires my attention for 5 consecutive days. I did have to do some research on how to remove wallpaper from the wooden drawers because what I was trying (‘elbow grease’) simply wasn’t working. I sure wish I had looked at this website or watched this YouTube before attempting to remove the wallpaper! I feel silly now!

I still have a few things left to complete:
1. I want to give it two more coats of Tung Oil;
2. It appears it needs a ‘protective’ layer of some sort (this needs further research);
3. The inside of the drawers need more work to clean off the remaining wallpaper;
4. The drawer runners need a “wax” coat to make the slide smoother (this needs further research);
5. I need to buy 16 drawer handles.

I am excited about this project, happy with the progress, and how the dresser is coming together.

What do you know about Digital Citizenship?

The first thing I discovered about the relationship between digital citizenship and the SK curriculum is that there is not a lot designated towards learning about digital citizenship. Therefore, in order to incorporate digital citizenship into the curriculum I see myself integrating it in my classroom through creativity and developing cross curricular lesson plans. These lessons will require students to delve into the digital world in a safe and controlled manner, under the direction of their teacher. The following lessons for grades 5, 6, 7, & 8 are lessons that I would actually use in order to include digital citizenship in my classroom. Mike Ribble suggests 9 elements of digital citizenship that I need to be cognizant of in my classroom.

Grade 7 Health Education requires students to learn about the importance of harmony in relationships. In the world now these relationships are also found online and are just as important as face to face relationships.

Outcome USC 7.4 Demonstrate a personalized and coherent understanding of the importance of nurturing harmony in relationships (with self, others, and the environment), and apply effective strategies to re/establish harmony when conflict arises.

Indicators: (there are 16, all could fit, I’m only including a few)
a. Express insights into what makes a relationship harmonious.
c. Create an informed personal definition of conflict.
d. Analyze potential sources of conflict.
h. Examine feelings associated with conflict.
p. Demonstrate the basics of two or three strategies for reestablishing harmony and for resolving/managing conflict.

I would incorporate Mike Ribble’s element of Digital Etiquette in this health lesson because the outcome is requesting students learn the importance of harmonious relationships, and this now needs to include the digital world. Examples of poor harmonious online relationships are easy to find online, which students are exposed to. Examples such as these can create conflict therefore this becomes an appropriate way to teach grade 7’s about how to apply effective strategies to re/establish harmony when conflict arises. Digital etiquette is a skill that needs to be taught at school because adults are not always great at this either.

Grade 8 Science class requires students to research various ideas and theories, past and present.

Outcome: CS8.3 Distinguish structural and functional relationships among cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems in humans and how this knowledge is important to various careers.

Indicator: b. Research various ideas and theories, past and present, used to explain the composition of the human body (e.g., living organisms were made of air, fire, and water; and body is animated by spirit).

I would consider Mike Ribble’s element of Digital Access for this grade 8 science class because the students are asked to do research on something from the past. Although the indicator does not specify where and how to complete their research, it can be assumed some students could turn to the internet. This could cause a barrier for some students though, especially remembering 60% of the world’s population remains offline, because not all students have equal access to computer devices, or even the internet.

Grade 5 Arts Education encourages students to create a dance based on popular/ current dance trends.

Outcome: CP5.1 Create dance compositions inspired by pop culture (e.g., street dances, current dance trends in music videos).

Indicators: a. Investigate potential sources of ideas for dance related to pop culture (e.g., current street dances, popular dances of different eras, TV dance competitions).
b. Pose questions about pop culture to explore through a dancemaking inquiry process (e.g., What popular dance movements, styles, and conventions could we include in our own dances?).

I would consider Mike Ribble’s element of Digital Communication in this lesson because we need to be careful what we post online and “how that will be conveyed online in the future” (Katia Hildebrandt, lecture June 1, 2021). This class outcome has students create their own dances based on current dance trends found in music videos. The following videos have been uploaded to YouTube within the past few years, therefore are considered “current dance videos”. The teacher’s job is help the students understand what is appropriate to put online and they can use the THINK model to help them decide what is appropriate. Using the following videos as possible guides, the teacher can help the students understand what is appropriate to post online (the first two videos are examples of inappropriate dance moves for grade 5’s to post online). Even though the outcome does not require the students to post their final dance composition online, many students do post dances online, therefore they need to understand how to safely and appropriately do so.

These two following videos are more appropriate for grade 5’s to post of themselves attempting similar moves online:

Grade 6 Social Studies encourages students to examine power and authority.

Outcome: PA6.1 Examine the relationship between an individual’s power and authority and the power and authority of others.

Indicators: b. Give examples of the forms of power (force: gangs, bullying; authority: leadership of an organization; influence: clergy, charisma) in the local community.
e. Describe diverse ways in which groups and societies, especially those groups involving young people, deal with competing claims for power.

This is a great way to integrate Mike Ribble’s element of Digital Literacy because so much false information floats on the internet in regards to power. This would be a great lesson for students to learn how to research if something is true or not. Our students need to learn how disinformation leads people astray by giving false information. The below meme could be used in this grade 5 lesson:
Are these quotes properly attributed? How do you know?

The above meme started circulating online in about 2005, however, it is actually unknown (and unlikely) if Benjamin Franklin actually said the above quote that has now been attributed to him. The students can begin to understand digital literacy in regards to this lesson on power.