Independent Learning Project: Finding a Meaning

I’m back to writing more about crocheting and how my independent learning project is going. If I’m being completely honest, it has been hard to focus on the last couple of weeks. With so much going on in my life, I have found it hard to do the same stich over and over again. That is why I decided it is time for a change. Currently, I am on the middle stripe of the blanket I am crocheting, so I went ahead and changed the stich to switch it up a bit. I had a friend come up to visit me this weekend and thought it was one of the most ridiculous things in the world that I was just changing the stich pattern on a cluster just for the middle stripe. It would look ridiculous and wrong if I changed the stich just for one stripe, that I should just keep going with the same stich.

 
As odd as you think that this post may start out, there is a meaning behind it. I promise. Here it is: Not everyone is going to be proud of the same things that you are proud of. People are going to think that what you are doing is ridiculous and that it doesn’t make sense. But that does not mean that you should stop what you are doing just because someone thinks what you are doing is dumb. As I’m sitting here writing my post, I’m thinking of my future classroom. How at times will there may be students like my friend? She was not really being rude in any means, but there will be students who, without knowing it, will put your other students down.

 
I understand that it is her opinion and I’m not hurt by it. But it made me really think into my teaching career. I’m 20 years old and have had to go through rough situations just like everyone else, but my students will not have had the chance to have those hard ships yet. They will take things personal and be hard on themselves because they are still trying to figure out who they are. We need to be careful that we do not crush their confidence and that we try to make sure that other students do not crash their confidence either. Let’s be the difference in the classroom, the kindness, and the educators that push our students forward.

DS106: Creativity Awaits

This course community began at the University of Mary Washington in Spring of 2010 when Jim Groom re-imagined the way the Computer Science Course in Digital Storytelling, CPSC 106, might be taught.
Since Jim Groom blogged about ds106 as an open and online experiment on December 7, 2010, this site has aggregated and archived 72434 blog posts created by its participants (ds106.us,2018).”
Digital Storytelling (DS) is important in a digital age. Let’s admit it, we use the internet for almost everything anymore. So, when I heard that I had to take so many classes that had to deal with how to use technology in the digital age and digital literacy, I though I already knew everything there was to know. Then I had the wakeup call that I maybe didn’t really know all that there was to know!
Today, I’m focusing on a website called DS106. What is DS106 you may ask? Let’s just say that it is a class like no other, there is creativity everywhere you turn, and it doesn’t take a huge amount of time to be a part of it every day. Daily creative topics are posted, then it is up to you to them to where you want to go! For example, on February 21, 2018 the topic of discussion was #tdc2235 Show us the Pitch. One of my personal favorites? A tweet about how Morgan Freeman meshed together an I phone and a cat. The interesting things that you can find!
The whole course screams creativity itself. All it took was one man who wanted to re-think and re-create how students learned about digital storytelling. DS106 is such a creative way where you don’t even have to spend that much time on it to get your creative juices flowing. Sometimes we forget that it is okay for use to be creative, relaxed, and silly for a little bit while in school. We always seem to be so serious because we want to get incredibly good grades. This is why I would bring this into a classroom. It gives students a chance to be creative for a little bit. Because the tasks are short, they don’t take up a lot of time, but it gives students the time to relax for a bit while stull having their brains work. I believe students would be more motivated to get to work. In order to test my theory, I’m taking the DS106 30 day challenge. I’m going to immerse myself into DS106 topics for 30 days straight and see if it helps my creative juices to tart to flow. I can’t wait to start!

 

Project Based Learning in the FaCS Classroom

Baking cupcakes using different types of flour, cookies using different types of butter, and cakes using different types and amounts of sugar. Project based learning is something that I feel is used in the Family and Consumer Science classroom on a daily basis. So, what is Project based learning and why is it important? Project based learning gives student’s an extended amount of time to really explore what they are learning in class.
A classroom that is a Project Based Learning classroom is often very expressive. There is a lot of discussion, experimenting, and teamwork happening. It may not be the cleanest classroom in the world, but that doesn’t mean that it should never happen. As educators, we shouldn’t be afraid to have a messy classroom at the end of the day, we should worry if our students are learning and having fun while doing it. Being a hands on learner myself, I know that sometimes you can teach all you can, but some students won’t understand a concept until they see it happening themselves with a project.
So, what are students typically doing in a classroom where project based learning is being applied? I would highly suggest readying the Buck Institutes for Education (BIE) article What is Project Based Learning (PBL). My personal favorite part is the bulleted list. It talks about sustained inquiry, understanding and success skills, challenging a problem or question, authenticity, student voice & choices, reflection of the project, critique & revision, and making the product public.
Organization of the classroom would be very important for a project based classroom. I can see a Family and Consumer Science classroom set up with the kitchen at one half of the room and the other half to look like a regular classroom. Students can be hands on and experiment with their project while also have space to learn. Time is spent in the classroom by both learning and exploring. A lesson that is spent learning about a subject and a project that goes along with it will keep the students motivated to learn and keep then interceded in learning new things. This is also why teachers would choose this approach, to keep students interested while having fun learning.
The advantages of project based learning is that, on top of keeping students engaged, it opens up a world of hands on experience and it is a way to understand how your students will think. It gives students a chance to see what they are learning and watch how what they are learning affects them. The disadvantage of project based learning is that this type of learning may take a lot of money that they school doesn’t have. But as creative educators, I’m sure there is a way we can work around it.

I have already been looking for ideas on how to incorporate project-based learning. Want to see some that I have been looking at? Click here!

 

BLOG BONUS: I have had the opportunity to explore Twitter this week and I have found some great teachers to follow! Seeing everything they post from their classrooms has made me even more excited to become a teacher! Go check them out!

Kirbie Macary

Miranda Bright

Ms. Lucas & Mrs. Subzwari

 

 

Independent-Learning Project Week 4

This week with my Independent-Learning Project, by the decisions that were made, I decided to re-think my design for the blanket I am crocheting. I have decided to toss out the want for it to be 5’7” by 6’ and just go with the flow. The blanket will definitely still be 5’7”, but I am going to use the yarn I have left and then see how the blanket turns out. In other news, I have decided to add more stripes onto my blanket. The stripes will go:

 
Navy Blue, Tan, Olive Green, Tan, Olive Green, Tan, Navy Blue

 
The stripes will be vertical instead of the horizontal I had originally planned to do. That is one thing I love about doing an independent learning project, it is you who is doing it, for yourself. That means you can change what you want to do or change your design whenever you want, and everything will still be okay. I had the chance to do a lot of my project this past week, I’m learning a lot about the importance of making time for yourself to calm down and de-stress a bit. Sometimes college can be hard and it can be easy to forget that, in order to keep your head level, you need to make some time to remember what you are grateful for and be positive for a bit. This week I learned a lot. I learned that, if you think about it the right way, crochet is like life. Don’t laugh at me just yet, and I know that you might already wonder what I’m talking about. Let me break it down for you.

 
Crocheting is something that you can work a long time on or a short time on, it just depends how much you want to be doing the same thing over and over again. It’s up to you to decide when you want to take a step back from it and take a break for a bit. It doesn’t exactly mean that you never want to work on it again. I find that this can happen in friendships. I had to learn this week that as much as you want to help a person, or crochet for a long time, there is a point where you just need to take a step back and take a break for a while. It’s what you do after that break that will make the difference. While you will never be able to control everything that happens, it’s being there in the end that will show what type of person you are.

 
So, I’m going to go back and pick up my crochet hook and olive green thread. I’ll continue to do what I do best and I’ll continue to learn.

PLNs, Uh, What?

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Photo CC- Jurgen Appelo

Personal Learning Networks, that is my learning objective for the week. If I’m admitting the truth, I had no clue what personal learning network were and as far as I knew, they could have been anything. I hadn’t even heard of the term in my college career so far until researching them for myself.
Personal Learning Networks, otherwise known as PLNs, are pretty much a way of life in the education field. Personal Learning Networks are everything and anything you do inside or outside of the classroom. You reach networks every single day of your life, not just as an educator. Don’t believe me? Let’s break apart the phrase and look at each word one at a time.
The Personal part:
Even if you don’t notice it all the time, you are making personal connections every day. When you smile at someone as they pass you by, you are making a connection. If you say “Hi!” to someone as you sit in the quad, you are making a personal connection. Sure, they may not even know your name, but you are still making that personal connection. Sitting in the Chadron State College Student Center while writing this article opened my eyes to the personal part of a personal learning network. We need to be aware that the personal part should be positive, even with strangers. I have seen many people making personal connections and they don’t even know it. It also happens with friends, peers, and bosses. You make a personal impact everywhere that you go, with every friend that you make, and every random person that you meet. You have the power to make a personal impact, use this power wisely.
The Learning Part:
You learn with every word that you read. Believe it or not, you are learning at this very moment. We learn on our own and we learn altogether. As a future teacher, I read blogs and articles to learn about what it is really like in a Family and Consumer Science classroom. When it comes to explaining the learning part of a Personal Learning Network, I believe that the Teacher Challenges blog has one of the best definitions found in their post Step 1: What Is A PLN?
“Having a PLN is about sharing ideas and resources, collaboration, and learning. We may share our learning, ideas and expertise in different ways; using different media and tools, but the essence is the same: the PLN is simply the best professional development you will ever participate in – and it’s available 24/7.”
The Network part:
Networking goes so much further than simply finding a teacher that has experience in the same thing you teach or want to teach in the future. It’s making those connections with everyone in every field that you encounter. It’s making relationships, then sharing information and contacts to help make everyone succeed in the projects that they are trying to succeed in. Networking can also come from social media accounts. If you have a Twitter, Facebook, or even Instagram and are sharing your ideas on that platform- CONGRATULATIONS, you are already networking!
After learning all of this, I wondered how I was going to use it. Then I remembered, I do all these actions every day. I have my personal learning network because I am learning from everyone in my class, I learn from my peers, and I learn from what I read anywhere and everywhere.

I’m here and I absolutely can’t wait to be The Next Teacher.

Independent-Learning Project Week 3

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Photo CC: Dvortygirl

Going into week three of my independent-learning project, I’ll admit, I needed some motivation. I have switched my yarn from the last of the navy blue to the cream-colored yarn and got right into crocheting. I crocheted for 2 hours on Monday and then lost interest for some reason. I don’t know if I just wasn’t in the mood to crochet or if I was doing what I usually did when it came to hobbies that try to work on: I get too busy. I’m not saying that I’m busy ALL of the time, but I get so into doing other things like homework, filling out applications, or living life that I am never in the mood to crochet when all things are said and done. I have even carried my project in my backpack hoping to find a time or the want to start back up on it again. (If you see me on campus, that is the reason my backpack is large, and yes, I do run into everything with it.) I’m frustrated that this is happening. I find that it always happens whenever I try to get into a new hobby. While the week has been busy, I am certain that I will find the gumption to crochet.

Learning to overcome frustration can be a major step in this task, but once a person learns the basics, crochet becomes a relaxing activity, with so many variations that there is always something new to learn to keep the activity novel.” – Nicole L. Cipriani

One thing that I have noticed, though, is that without crocheting, I haven’t really had the time to relax and calm down. Ever since starting, though not long ago, I have found some sort of peace in crocheting. I usually focus better in classes when my hands are busy, and crocheting gives me time to just think and work through everything that had happened during the day.

Crocheting acts as a mental and physical therapy and there are many beautiful things that are created in the process.” – Today’s Crochet World

As I sit here and write this article, I find a bit of my gumption is coming back. I’ll take a break from homework and everything else happening in my life right now and get back into what helps me the most. I’ll make a cup of hot chocolate, watch some Netflix, and crochet. I am determined to finish this blanket.

“What more do you need besides a crochet project and some hot cocoa?” – ChompCake