Summary of Learning in ECMP355

Well, as the ECMP355 comes to a close I find myself reflecting on the knowledge I have gained through the course.  In my summary of learning, I talk about the importance of digital citizenship, the uses of social media, and the highlights of the course.  Most importantly, I believe it is important to think and talk about how my learning in this class will transfer over into the classroom.  As you will see there was so much to talk about in my final post that I had to expand the time limit a fair bit.

I enjoyed creating this summary of learning, and although it isn’t as creative as myself singing a parody,  I am able to deeply go into my learning and explore many different tools to create my final video.  The amount of time spent playing with the tools, compiling and editing this video has taken numerous hours but has allowed me to explore programs and tools that I can use in my classroom.

Check it out!

A Never Ending Journey

Prior to the course, I have attempted to gain my PLN by sharing education articles, and tweeting about education.  I had previously used my blog for posts in other classes as well as sharing my experiences in internship and pre-internship.  However, I always felt that blogging in this scenario was a chore.  Now, I use it as a procrastination tool.

Over the last four months, I have been able to grow my PLN.  Through Twitter, my blog, and Google+.  I was able to have great conversations with my pre-service teacher colleagues as well as teachers in the field all over the world.  As you will see below many examples of the highlights of my PLN.


The most enjoyable, and most prevalent way of me expanding my PLN includes Twitter Chats.  Some of the Twitter chats that I was involved in include our very own #ecmpchat, #saskedchat, #starschat, #edchat, #bcedchat, #ntchat, #caedchat, #teacheredchat, #msmathchat, and #edtechbridge.  Through these Twitter chats, I was able to gain new resources that I am able to explore and hopefully integrate into the classroom.  Through participating in Twitter chats I was able to gain followers and be a part of other teachers and pre-service teachers PLN.  Below are a few of my highlights of developing my PLN through Twitter chats.

If you are interested in participating in Twitter chats, this site provides numerous opportunities to grow your PLN.

Even through simple retweets, and favouriting posts, or asking for advice on Twitter, provides a simple way to make connections and grow a PLN.


One of the highlights of my blog is the following post on Support for #LGBTQ and #DigitalIdentity. This post was one of my more popular posts.  The two comments by both Gillian and Cam both provided me with additional reflection, which contributed to my further learning of the link between religion and #LGBTQ and online social activism.

Through commenting on my colleagues blogs I was able to question and share my own opinions on their posts.  I also had the experience to comment on blogs from people outside our class. I was able to send many of my colleagues resources and contribute to their learning.  One of the comments that come to mind is on Marissa Quigley’s post “MineCraft, I get it!!“.  I was able to make a further connection and provide a resource for further exploration.

Additional posts regarding my PLN include:

Is There Such a Thing as an Honest Digital Identity?” by Ashley Arndt.  On the connection between public and private digital identities.

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As well as: “Slacktivism: Good or Bad?” by Nathan Bromm

I believe that it is important that we branch outside of our ECMP class for establishing my PLN.  For example, I noticed that Nathan Bromm, a teacher who is taking ECI831, posted on what is social activism, and whether or not it is just a cop out for so-called activists.  His post discussed some crucial understanding discussing Facebook and their “flag filters”.  Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 8.58.07 PM.png


Through Google+ I was able to be a part of our Google community.  Through the Google community, I was answering questions about the course as well as share my personal learning journey to paint. This allowed me to get classroom feedback on my painting journey.  However, I was not as prominent on Google+ as I was on Twitter.   Despite my lack of input into the ECMP community, I was able to connect through other communities on Google+.  I personally felt as many of the articles that I wanted to share I would share using the #ECMP hashtag because I have a much larger following on Twitter as compared to Google+.

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EdcampYQR – April 9th, 2016

Edcamp was an opportunity to expand my PLN and meet some of the members of my PLN.  Through this experience, I was able to grow in my knowledge of improv. in the classroom, Project based learning, Google Apps for Education, and Genius Hour are all tools that I have gained knowledge about from teachers in the field.  Edcamp allowed me to meet with other like-minded educators, and overall was a great experience to network and expand on my PLN.  For a complete experience of EdcampYQR check out my recent blog post! What You Missed at #EdcampYQR.

In conclusion, I believe the growth in my PLN has been substantial.  Learning how to participate in Twitter chats, and how to make a good blog post are techniques that I will continue to use to develop into my teaching career.

For a larger picture growth of my PLN, the following Google Doc will allow you to see key connections made over the course.



What You Missed at #EdcampYQR

Today was my first day of experiencing Edcamp.  For those of you who do not know what Edcamp is, it is a PD event for teachers by teachers.  Teachers are able to express what they want PD on.  For example, Minecraft in the classroom, Genius hour, or classroom management and establishing a routine.  Through edcamp, I am able to network with teachers out in the field, and continue to develop my PLN.

My first experience of Edcamp was great.  I attended four 30 minute sessions that consisted of an education session on improv. in the classroom, a project-based learning session, Google Apps for Education (GAFE), and a session on Genius Hour.

Improvisation… my original thoughts, great… Something I’m not comfortable with, and I am going to embarrass myself.   However, Cam taught us the connections to Improv. and to teaching.  He focused on the idea that it is okay to fail.  Something that our students struggle to wrap their minds around.  He introduced us to three games, an introduction game in which we had to introduce ourselves to each other, in various ways.  One of which was “pretend you have just seen your best friend and do your special handshake”.  Other games we played was the “1”.  This game requires two partners, one partner saying “three”, other saying “two”, partner one say “one”.  This is an example of the game that we played.  We also played a “one word at a time story”.  These are great ways to introduce improve into the classroom.  Really felt like an episode of “Whose Line is it Anyway”.

The second session of Project-based learning Aaron Warner shared with us his experience and how to implement project-based learning the classroom.  He talked about how project-based learning differs from traditionally based learning with the following diagram.  project-based-learning-versus-doing-projects

He also shared with us some of the books that new teachers and pre-service teachers should check out.  One of which is Teach Like a Pirate and the other is Learn Like a Pirate.

My third session on GAFE focused on Google Classroom, and Google forms.  Through these apps, teachers are able to create a nice set up that students can receive feedback, and provides a nice hub for teachers to access.  Google Classroom is something that I have been interested in learning more about.


The fourth and last section on Genius Hour was excellent.  As a new teacher, it was important for me to understand how to structure genius hour in the classroom.  I learned that it is important that you begin by thinking of what you want your students to achieve. Example, being maybe public speaking skills.  Kirk told us to divide Genius Hour into 6-week sections.  Students will be able to choose whatever they want to learn about.  Gradually work it down to a skill.  Such as playing the guitar, learning to paint, cook, etc.  Genius Hour is about working towards developing that passion.

Overall, Edcamp was a great place for myself as a preservice teacher to expand on resources and participate in a meaningful discussion on education.

Digital Citizenship and Carol Todd

When Katia had sent us the email that Carol Todd was going to join us for ECMP355 and ECMP455 on April 30th, I wasn’t sure what it was going to entail.  I figured it was going to be a very gloomy class, as Amanda Todd’s story is tragic.  However, it was interesting to hear Carol’s perspectives on digital citizenship and digital identity.

All too often we hear when someone commits suicide that it is always at the fault of the parent. However, after realizing that this tragic incident should not be a blame game.  One of the questions that Carol answers went along the lines of “What do you think failed Amanda?”, Carol said it was a collection of everyone.  Blame could be shared between teachers, fellow peers, the RCMP, and the parents.  Society, in general, failed Amanda.  However, her story does not focus on this. If you have the chance to watch Stalking Amanda Todd: The Man in the Shadows – The Fifth Estate I would highly recommend it.

Carol, a teacher herself, shares her story to help others be aware of the hazards of online.  One of the key learnings I took from her discussion with us was her stating, “We can’t get rid of social media because of a negative experience. Just as we can’t get rid of cars if there is an accident.”  We can on the other hand make it safer for students and children to navigate the web.  As Larissa Mack tweeted:

I believe that this insight comes down to teaching what a positive digital identity looks like and illustrated the importance of teaching digital citizenship for our students.

These lessons from Carol are something that as we educators need to embrace and take forward as many other to promote cyber safety amoung our students .

Acrylic Painting Wrap-up

Hard to believe that this is one of my final posts for ECMP355 and convocation will be here in the spring.

Looking at my progress of painting from December to the first week in April.  I hope you can see an improvement because I sure can.  To bring those up to speed on my learning project.  For my ECMP355 class I was to target a skill that is complex to learn, worth learning, and of great interest, and online sources must be used to learn the skill.  At the beginning of the semester, my brother had shown me a video of Bob Ross.  His paintings were calming and relaxing to watch.  After internship I decided maybe painting would be something that is calming for me, as I don’t really have that hobby I can focus on.

Blog Posts on Painting 101 with Curtis

Exploring the Joy of Painting: 

Painting #1: Landscape Painting, The Waterfall:

  • My first painting following the tutorial by Allison Prior.
  • Ironically, this is one of my favourite paintings.
  • I learned the techniques of painting clouds, trees, water, waterfalls, and rocks.

Painting #2: Effective Shade

  • Second painting using the tutorial of 20160120_113719Clive5Art
  • Learned alternative strategies for trees and clouds, as well as stars.
  • Purchased a phone tripod and wanted to practice creating a video, using the video editor app available for Samsung phones.

Painting #3: Painting 101 – Painting with Curtis Snapchat-451535744142607535

  • Another painting tutorial of Allison Prior’s 
  • I wanted to try a variety of paintings, thus, I choose this country scene.
  • Practiced a sunset, grass, big trees, and a cabin.

Painting #4: Life’s a Beach

  • This is my least favourite painting.  I was 2016-04-04 09.01.11very disappointed and frustrated with how it turned out.
  • It is tropical beach scene tutorial by Allison Prior.
  • Focused on a new technique of wet-on-wet, a difficult technique for acrylic paint users.
  • I reached out to Allison Prior on Twitter, however never did hear back from her.

Painting #5: The Magic of Painting – With Curtis2016-04-04 09.00.46

  • This painting I decided I wanted to see what I could do with limited additional help.
  • I used previous techniques used in my paintings to make something my own.
  • The new technique I learned in this painting is the creation of mountains.

Painting #6: Fall Woods, Easy Beginner TutorialA Clive5Art tutorial, one of the top three paintings I have done.

  • Techniques include wet-on-wet, creation of shrubs, and birch trees, and using blending for the grass.
  • Gained experience filming my own video using a GoPro and iMovie.2016-04-04 08.59.31

Painting #7: Golden Glow, A Bob Ross Tribute

  • Bob Ross created a painting similar to mine, Clive5Art provides a tutorial using acrylic paintings instead of oil paints.
  • This painting is one I am very proud of. It is easily my favourite piece.
  • I was able to create my first stop motion video of me painting Golden Glow.  

For those of you who have followed along with my painting, and are thinking about learning to paint yourself, here are some excellent websites I recommend.

Will Kemp Art School – This website provides a beginner artist the basics about are (I found this halfway through my project). However, it would be an excellent resource for someone wondering where to begin.

Howcast – Provides painting tutorials, experimenting with different painting techniques.

Craftsy – A blog that goes over 13 different painting techniques.

These three websites will provide you some direction if you are looking into painting.  If you believe that you can’t paint, because you aren’t talented enough, or you think that you aren’t patient enough.  I can understand what you are feeling as I was the same way.  However, painting is not that difficult.  You paint in layers, and it requires practice.  However, anyone can do it.  Over a term of 4 months, I believe my progress has been massive.  If we compare my baseline painting compared to my last painting that makes my progress more visual, and truthfully the last painting wasn’t all that difficult.

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Golden Glow, A Bob Ross Tribute

My Golden Glow is based on Bob Ross’s painting “Golden Glow”.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch the grace of Bob Ross.  Check it out below.

Bob Ross uses oil paint and a wet on wet technique.  Just some background information, oil paint takes a long time to dry, up to a day.  Acrylic paint dries a lot quicker than oil paint, thus makes it more difficult to use a wet on wet technique.  Clive5Art uses acrylic paint but also has additional liquids, what he states is “liquid clear” to enable the paint to stay wet to work with it. I was unable to find liquid clear at Michael’s when I went to restock on paint.

I used Clive’s video once again to base my painting on. I enjoy his videos because it is clear, and to the point, and be provides different levels of paintings for the viewers.  As I did not have all the colours and supplies that Clive has, improvisation was needed.

In my painting, I was very impressed with how it turned out.  It is my favourite painting that I have done in my learning project.  Furthermore, I was able to tackle my goal of exploring iMovie and the YouTube video editor.  In my video, I decided to do a stop motion video of a picture every 30 seconds.  This allowed me to shorten my video extensively.  Through my short clip, one is able to view my painting process.  Below is the painting that I completed.



Fall Woods, Easy Beginner Tutorial

Fall Woods is a painting that I did a couple weeks ago.  It is a quick painting that anyone can do.  It is another tutorial that is done by Clive5ARt.  Clive did this painting on a smaller canvas than I have. I was a little concerned as for this was going to be difficult to adapt.  However, I was able to make this my own.

Through this painting, I was able to explore painting a landscape scene without water.  I 2016-03-16 14.20.01really enjoy the paintings with water, but I wanted to make this a diverse experience.  However, my learning through this painting was using iMovie and my GoPro.  I haven’t had the opportunity to use iMovie so it was a great learning experience to learn how to use video software.  Through iMovie, I was able to speed up my painting. After uploading the 30-minute 1080p video to YouTube.  I attempted to add music to it using the free music youtube provides.  However, I struggled to attach multiple songs to the video clip.  This is something that I will continue to work with in my next art piece.

Let me know if there is anything that you would like to see in the future, or are wondering how to paint.  I can send resources or tutorials for people that want to learn how to paint.

Check out my video below:



Coding? How can I use code in the Classroom?

According to an article by International Business Times, “Coding is basically telling a computer what you want it to do, which involves typing in step-by-stepcommands for the computer to follow”.

Through my experience in coding using both Code Academy and Hour of Code I began to learn the basics of coding.  Through Code Academy I was able to create the earth orbiting the sun, as well as my name in bubble letters (shown below).  I am still curious as to how people can write this code and create brand new things on computers.  None the less I believe that code is becoming more popular and is an option for students to explore. Hour of Code and Code Academy are excellent tools to introduce coding in the classroom.


Coding is important according to International Business Times because it is estimated that in the next 10 years there will be 1.4 million jobs in computer sciences and only 400,000 graduates to fill them.  Students should be exposed to computer science as it is becoming more and more relevant in the 21st century.

25264554055_f28a283640.jpgPhoto Credit: timsackton via Compfight cc

Some teachers may question, How can I teach code when I have no experience in coding? “According to a post by Edutopia, One of the solutions is to provide students with the resources and send them on their way.”

As Chris Bosh said in the video, “Coding can be intimidating. But what isn’t?”.  I think this hits the nail on the head for my experience.

These are some tools that you teachers can use to add coding to classroom learning.  Code_by_Math, Code Avengers, Made with Code, or various apps that can be found through Common Sense Media.

Just remember: “You don’t need to be a genius to code”.


Life in a Hyper-Sexualized World

After watching the CBC documentary Sext Up Kids.  I didn’t find it over surprising to see how sexualized our society is becoming.  A simple Google search of “girls” shows just that.  I decided to do a quick experiment what would show up if I typed in “girls” and hit the image search.  This is a screenshot of the front page results. (Makes you wonder what the “safe search” filter standards really are).

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 10.14.45 AM.pngWhat message is this sending to young girls? What message is this sending to young boys? Well, it’s not a very positive one.

What is the effect of our sexualized society on our students? How do we teach students what is public and what is private? How does this relate to digital identity?

Young kids have the ability to search whatever they want, usually with limited supervision.  What is scary is the effect on teens and tweens in our society.  All too often we see on Facebook, Twitter, etc. many young girls trying to conform to the norm.  Which is now “sexy”.  Jesse Miller the Social Media Consultant in Sext Up Kids, says that most kids are in the time where what was private 15 years ago is now becoming increasingly public. Many students believe that things that are private is equal to shameful.  “Just because technology is easy, doesn’t make it smart”.  I believe that this is what we need to teach our students.  Students need to realize that the sharing of inappropriate photos and sexting can be shared with others, and chances are it will.  In the digital age what we share online is and can be difficult to erase once posted to the internet.  The world of pop-culture is becoming blurred with the world of porn-culture. We can see this in music videos, movies, video games.  With sexualized content that young people can access it alters the views of what relationships can look like.  This can lead to aggressive behaviours and false ideologies of what relationships should look like.  These ideologies further perpetuate the ideas of slut-shaming and further promote a sexualized society.

If we look at Halloween costumes, it is clear that the holiday has become oversexualized for females.   For example, searches for teenage girls we find the following results:

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As compared to Halloween costumes for teenage boys: Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 11.11.29 AM.png

Strange how different these two searches can be.

However, as a privileged white, straight, male I recognize that I have privilege, and am essentially at the top of the chain.  However, it is important to change these hierarchal views.  As an article from the Huffington Post states, “sexist Halloween costumes are the beginning when it comes to discrimination girls and women face over a lifetime.

I feel as this video shows the vital lesson of young boys can grow up to be powerful, and do what they want.  “And girls grow up to be… cute.” The video shows some of the privileges that a person has just by being born male.

How do we combat this? We need to teach young boys what respect is.  We need to teach girls that they do not have to act, or dress sexy to receive the attention.  Far too many teens have been affected by bullying and have committed suicide from sharing an inappropriate photo that had gone viral. As educators, it is not our job to be censor police, but as David Wees tweets:

It is not our place as educators to be “Morality Police” to police what students wear, view actions outside school.  However, it is our place to instill opportunities for students to think critically, as well as provide students opportunities to see themselves in positive representations in curricular content.  As well as addressing the elephant in the room, the hidden curriculum and how that affects students’ learning.

The Magic of Painting – With Curtis

20160306_125022I completed my first painting with limited use of tutorials.  On the painting, I just did I used many different types of techniques that I had used in other paintings.  I decided that I would give it a try and see what I would come up with.  Again, I was following Allision Prior’s art techniques for the painting of the sky, and the rocks, and water.  But I decided to put some mountains in the distance.  The mountains is what I needed some assistance with.  I followed a YouTube video, narrated a video by Microsoft Sam, which gave me the outline of what to complete.

I took his technique and applied it to my own painting.  The mountains turned out pretty good.  I enjoy how the darker mountains appear closer than the lighter coloured mountains.  Overall, I was pleased with the way that these mountains turned out.  The one downfall that I found using the layering method of painting is that it is very time consuming as I have to wait for each step to dry.  One painting can take up to 3-4 hours allowing each layer to dry.
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The next step I followed the videos from my first painting, Landscape Painting, The Waterfall, and tried to recreate it the best I could.  However, I don’t think it turned out exactly how I wanted it to be.

Overall I was generally impressed as this piece was used with very little tutorials and I was able to use techniques I learned from other paintings to create this waterfall painting.  The finished painting is below!

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