Independent Learning- The struggle is real-

I have failed this week at Photoshop, I worked on a photo for hours, and it is a failure. I was attempting to imprint a wordcloud onto a face. It is hard the tutorial man makes it look effortless and on my end I was scrambling and pulling my hair out. I was attempting to make a word cloud using the site suggested by the tutorial was Wordle, it would not work at all, sending me over and over to a “not working” link. How frustrating!  I used a different word cloud generator and it also failed. I didn’t have enough words for the cloud to look full and then couldn’t get it to successfully cover the portrait I had chosen. I am still tinkering with this project but I would have to say I feel a bit defeated this week. The poster would have been so awesome.

I am going to begin this project again, but I am afraid I might have bit off more than I can chew with this tutorial. I am not yet comfortable or good enough at photoshop to accomplish this awesome task, but I will be with a little more practice. I will not give up!

This one was by Jeff Clark Feb 2012 found via Neoformix.



Daily Create #5


” If this is what happens when you whip, and nae nae too many times, I don’t want do it”

Daily Create #4

“Yer Name goes here Pardner”                                                                      


sheriff j

Sheriff James and his men Wiley and Anison traveled 22 miles a day chasing the outlaw bandit ” Low Dog Lawrence”Low Dog” only traveled 12 miles a day. Low Dog was 36 miles ahead of the Sheriff on the day the chase began.  On what day did Sheriff James and his men catch up with Low Dog? 


I must admit, I kept reading about these courses, and weekly assignments and I was getting really nervous about what I was supposed to be doing. I saw some awesome videos and pictures on the website and I was thinking, “I don’t know how to do all of that! And I sure can’t do it in 15 to 20 minutes.” So as I waded through the website, feeling the water get higher and higher I decided to take a step back. I went to the Ds106 twitter page, saw the first Daily Create and just jumped in. I just did it, whether or not I uploaded it to the correct place I am not sure, I just did it on my blog, which is linked to twitter, so I hope you all can see it. I should say that it is not really my hope that everyone can see it per say, but because that is part of the assignment I guess that will be okay. I am not so scared of this 30 day challenge now, I think it is going to be fun!

I could see ds106 being a really neat thing to add into a classroom. I think that it could be used as a project that students could work on when they “finish early” but more than that we could pull from the site of challenges ideas that can be modified to fit the classroom.Students could share their creations on the class website and teach one another tips they learned using such tools as Movie Maker and Sound Cloud. The clips that are mashed up with different scenes could be used, they could create a mash up of presidential speeches, or stop the bullying campaigns. I think  some of the writing prompts could be used and publishing their create challenge could get students really exited. I would say that there are many things on this site that I would not want my students doing, or seeing, so I would perhaps create a shared folder with some of the assignment ideas rather than having them wade through on their own to find one.

I think I will enjoy the challenges of this site because there are so many tools introduced through the assignments that I did not know were out there. Such as Sound transit, I never have even heard of it, but what a fun way to get kids to write and let their imaginations out. You could even add an element of geography to this assignment to make it more meaningful. I love it!

Daily Create #1 2/24/2016

Assignment – Create a sound transit and write a story about what happens 

Open link- listen to transit, read the story

A handsome  man in black loafers and tweed pants ambles through a corridor that is littered with broken beer bottles, he smokes a Benson and Hedges and he pays no mind to the homeless man huddled in the shadows. He is searching for the red headed woman from the jazz club he played in the night before. Where could she have gone? She couldn’t have gone far, his heart justifies to his brain. His heart pleads for him to keep looking, and he does, feelings of being a fool distant to him. Just then he catches a glimpse of blue satin like her dress and heads up a flight of rickety stairs beside a building, gutters are overflowing with water, yet the sky is dry. Still he climbs, hopeful she will be there at the top. His shoes are slick but his grip is tight and as he reaches the roof of the building it is no longer a building. He has traveled through a portal to a beach, she is awaiting him glistening in the sun. They dance around one another in the water, stealing glances and kisses as the waterfall rages behind them. As she darts behind the fall he follows, the streets of New York have vanished and they have arrived in Paradise. 





Inquiry Based Learning

What is Inquiry Based Learning? What does it look like? How does it make a difference?

This is what was running through my mind, and while I looked at the list of different types of  learning I was drawn to this one again and again, because it seems to be so powerful, and a bit different from the traditional lessons and classroom, and I love that. Classrooms that are practicing inquiry based learning are sometimes at a very loud volume level, particularly during the beginning instructional phase in which kids are applying the scientific method. Kids are investigating through “I see, I wonder” often with dirty hands and desks full of “specimens, or discoveries.” Alterations of the KWL chart is often seen during or before this stage as well.  After they complete this part they move onto theorizing, testing, analyzing, experimenting, sometimes all of these things, sometimes only whichever is needed. Students then share and review, often this will include insight from outside sources to answer questions and invite guest speakers or ask and answer questions among one another which is very important to the development of the learner.

One big difference in the Inquiry Based Learning  is that instead of guiding the students to the goals, targets or standards, the teacher is there more to assist the learning that is happening, more like a coach then the sage on the stage. The questions developed are created by the students, the teacher lets the students arrive at the deep discoveries they need to make to meet the standards, and they do arrive at them.

I came across a great description of what Inquiry Based Learning is here. Also a 2nd grade teacher writes about her students and experience with inquiry based learning in  this blog.

A great tool connected to Inquiry based is the use of mind maps, these can me made up with an outline or the they can be created on the fly by students themselves, which is usually what begins to happen when kids learn how to process and organize their inquiries through this type of learning.

mind maps

Here is a video I discovered explaining what Inquiry based learning is. Enjoy.


This next video is an inspiring example of a creative, inquiry based classroom. While I was watching this video I was thinking to myself how I want to have a class that uses inquiry based learning. I also regrettably have never seen in it action in my district, I have been to a number of schools and classes and I have rarely seen a science lesson let alone an inquiry based lesson with the freedom and excitement such as these in this video.




Teachers to follow

These are the types of educators that make you want to stand up on your chair and say         ” Yes, that is how you do it!”




The force is with you…

I learned how to make an animated Star Wars text this week, and it is truly awesome! Presenting information and instructions in fun ways can easily get your kids more exited about an assignment.  I failed to learn how to upload this to my bog as an animation, it is harder than it sounds. So for now you can use your imagination and I will work on uploading it as a GLIF video file. I suppose I could always just have my computer plugged into my Promethean board to show it that way if uploading is as hard as it seems to be. Otherwise I would like to be able to share it on our classroom website.  This was a fun tool to learn this week because I think it will directly apply to my classroom, I now know how to make other animations and video timelines within Photoshop that should help me in the future.

I will most likely have a power point or another fun visual made up for the beginning of the day or week to discuss upcoming class targets, school events, or learning accomplishments. I will be using photo shop to enhance the way I present information to my students and to make my class more interesting. I am feeling pretty proud of myself for the choice I have made for my learning project.

With all success in learning there to comes failure… I attempted to turn this photo of my dog into a sketch photo and I did not make it happen. I think maybe the photo is to dark and that is why it did not work, so I shall try again.


Lane Drawing

I tried again with the sketch tutorial and did much better, I chose to keep a bit of color in this photo which took away from the sketchy aspect of it but made for a cool effect. Isn’t this awesome!



Personal Learning Network

I finally got this tweet embedded, the directions given on How to Embed A Tweet.. were a little off for me. I persevered and here we are gazing upon Professor Snape and my, isn’t it wonderful! Professor Snape is that teacher that somewhere in our education we all have eventually, they instill a bit of fear, they are a infinitely intelligent, and their voice echos in a students mind for years. Okay, maybe we don’t all encounter a teacher like that.   Almost six months pregnant and blogging, eating apple pie and studying for an anatomy exam I could relate to this tweet. I am a go get-er, a doer, and I believe that is how I will embark on my teaching career, but I bet I will feel the repercussions every now and again, because teaching is hard work.

I have began to cultivate my Professional/ Personal Learning Network and it is really inspiring. I have already felt that I have benefited from the educators I have began following on twitter and in their personal blogs. I have also noticed that there are people that are not benefiting me or fitting the network I am aiming to build and I have chosen not to continue following these few. I have noticed that a few people have already began to follow me back, and now I feel more than ever my duty or the actual pressure of my own goal I should say is to give quality information and knowledge that I come across back to others. I like this pressure, I thrive in creating my own goals and feeling like I have to live up to what I have taken on. I have taken on creating a network that will benefit me as a student, a teacher, and a leader. The challenges I believe I will face in feeding the network I am trying to build will include being side tracked with some particular aspects of education, and not keep the range wide enough to see and learn about all  I want to. I feel I don’t yet have the experience or confidence to be able to share advice type posts, yet I can and will share my ideas and goals; I hope that I will gain more insight through this project.

To add a blue sky..

blue sky

Oh Photoshop you amazing adventure, and deceivingly difficult task. This picture looks almost like I did nothing to it, yet I did, oh boy did I edit. There was not blue in the sky, one tiny sliver on the left side, which is what we were chasing on the motorcycle as it was. I watched a tutorial, paused 800 times, threw away five other pictures and finally learned how to “make a sky pop” with photo shop. It involved changing the curve levels, the red, green and blue levels and then balance it with a blending tool. Like many learning experiences as I failed to change the sky I learned that I was changing many other things. I kept washing the sky out totally but I was making the pavement an awesome shade of blue. I discarded my work with the road picture, reluctantly because my goal was to work on the sky.

I am starting small with the feats I aim to conquer in Photoshop but it is easy to spend an hour watching a professional do some amazing things and then remember “oh I don’t event know how to correct red eyes yet, I can’t turn this photo into a watercolor”. I will in time though, I am committed to that. I keep thinking about the awesome posters and handouts I can make for my classroom knowing the ways of Photoshop. Also I haven’t forgotten that I love photography, I love capturing beauty, drama, and memories with my camera. Though I have a deep passion for teaching I would love to explore my options as being a photographer on the side.  I actually know a middle school teacher in my town that is also a professional photographer and that just seems like the perfect balance of career and hobby combined.

My mom likes to take pictures as well, and she is a teacher, I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. She has tubs and tubs of pictures of all of the students she has ever had, doing Mars Odyssey, field trips, recess, you name it. I guess if I end up like that I hope to at least have the pictures on small SD cards instead of taking up tubs of printed pictures.

I am learning a lot with this Independent Learning Project and am excited to see more results. It really is fun to learn about your passion!!