Summary of Learning Presentation

Here it is guys! Thanks for being wonderful classmates all semester long.

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I Finally Made Some Characters

I have a few updates for you! I finished my triptych for my ART333 class. Take a look:

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All three of them together! 

So I completely scrapped the previous idea I had and decided to go for the above instead. I named it, “Dissolve.” I could talk about it all day but I’m going to save that for another blog post. Essentially, after having finished this, I was unhappy with the lack of personality the woman possessed. Sure, there’s some interesting things going on in the image, but that’s it. So, it spurred me onward into finally making up some character profiles for my comic.

I know it took a long while, but I just kept finding things that I had to go back and work on. I finally tried sketching some characters our and working out their basic details like my previous posts had suggested. Take a final look below:

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I know they’re just a bunch of preliminary sketches but I am so pleased that I finally got around to actually drawing some characters rather than doing warm ups endlessly. However, I think the work I did paid off. Character I had drawn previously were a little boxy and not very proportionate, but these characters I find to be more believable. I’m excited to continue working on my ability (or lack thereof) to draw diverse bodies, as this is something that I still need to improve on.

It has been a wonderful semester, and I’m glad that I set out on planning my world, because now it is in motion. I’m about to graduate, and so I’m going to have so much free time on my hands that I know I’ll finally be able to go into my art with full force and really improve my technical skills along the way.

Thanks for checking in on my progress, but don’t leave! I’ll be back and posting again soon!

How Have I Contributed to Others’ Learning?

Well folks, the end of my online course ECMP355 has come. It is time to reflect on how I have contributed to my peers’ learning throughout the semester. I have a series of images that I am going to share with you with some notes along the way of the varying things I’ve contributed to my online communities.

First off, my YouTube account.  These are the videos I’ve uploaded during this course:

While they are not terribly interesting, these videos announce my initial presence and my willingness to reach out to others. I shared my art tutorial on Twitter, and an old friend of mine from high school messaged me and asked me if I would like to become vlog buddies with her. Due to life being life and school being overbearing as usual, I haven’t engaged with this activity yet, but I fully plan on it after I finish up my degree.

On Facebook I like to make my political and moral beliefs known.

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I also like to build relationships with the many fellow students I have befriended over the past 8 years from both high school and university.

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I also like to share images about body positivity, gender and sexuality expression, and overall happy thoughts:

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But most importantly, due to the lessons that I’ve been learning throughout this course, I’ve started engaging with my friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter in a more educational sense. I inquired about keys for my art project on Facebook as well. Please look closely at the following:

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Another example is when I shared this post on Facebook. The responses were inspiring.

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I asked my friends to share my post and it got 12 shares! That’s not too bad! 

On twitter I liked to mostly re-blog tweets that I found useful or inspiring in regards to teacher education. I incorporated hash tags, tagged some of my inspiring professors and peers, and engaged in Sask Ed chats on the only ed chat that took place on a Wednesday because I work every Thursday evening. (If I had my phone out at work it would be thrown out the window, so I couldn’t risk it.)

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Thanks to Robbi for responding with words of encouragement. I appreciate the reassurance still. 

However, everything I have shown you so far just demonstrates that I was participating. Let me be real with you for a second.

During my internship I was totally at a loss for resources. I had some teachers offer some excellent stuff to me half way through the semester, but some other teachers offered materials that I didn’t understand or they were totally outdated. I also had a lot of difficulty in making a template for lesson plans and unit plans that were accepted by the people I was working closely with. It was frustrating because I had one template to work with that I had vaguely been walked through once in one class one time and it wasn’t sufficient. Most of the resources that I got were half way through my internship, and I honestly ended up buying some resources from Teachers Pay Teachers as a last resort. (Nice source of resources by the way.) What I would have benefited from was an abundance of resources before I entered my internship, because you do not really understand exactly how much material you really need until you are already there.

(Unless somebody warns you.)

In the name of my internship, my greatest contribution this semester was sharing and offering my resources to anyone who needed it. Even to those who didn’t. I took some screenshots to show some evidence below.

I sent a unit plan template to my classmates who were (at the time) in their pre-internships. I offered (and currently offer) to any friends on Facebook my lesson plans and unit plans that I have created. I went out of my way to make a blank unit plan template available publicly on my google drive. I’ve emailed almost 5gb of ELA 9 content that I made myself to a friend of mine who was entering his pre-internship, and to others as well.

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Here are just some of the documents I emailed to my friend.

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This is when I emailed my empty unit plan template to my classmates. 

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Me reaching out to my friends on facebook, to anyone! 

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These are some of the documents I shared with other classmates. 

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I also post my presentations online if anybody wants to use them. 

 

Essentially, when I was in my internship I wholly relied on online resources that people put out there. I do not know how I would have done without access to all of these wonderful resources, and I’m hoping to be one of those people that young pre-service teachers will be able to rely on.

Thanks for following me on this online journey. I have one more post left to make in regards to this course but I plan on continuing my blogging as it allows me the opportunity to engage with my professional learning network and become a part of something that once helped me when I needed it the most.

Stay tuned!

Social Activism Online

Can social activism be meaningful and worthwhile online? Yes, it can. There is a concern that internet activism is creating a generation of lazy, good-for-nothing re-bloggers and re-tweeters who will do nothing more than click a button. I will not argue against that fact because it is true. There are plenty of instances in which the modern brain has tricked internet-goers that re-tweeting #blacklivesmatter is the same as actually doing something about the systemic racism and inequality that society faces today. However, the modern brain is not entirely wrong, either.

By re-tweeting and sharing movements, you are doing something. Granted, you could do more, and you should do more, but by tweeting and spreading the news, people will do more. By sharing and spreading these stories, people increase the involvement and population of the movement. By creating an online community that supports whichever movement it may be, it will extend the lifespan of the movement by keeping its followers up to date with any new information on the matter. Internet activism spreads information across the entire world. Therefore, millions more people can become involved. Compare it to the past:

Did information get immediately cast across the world through articles in a newspaper? Did delivery boys teleport across the world to get a letter to somebody? You know the answer to that. While it was not impossible to spread such information, it could take way too long for the information to spread, and it could easily be silenced. Letters burned, journalists fired, all sorts of things could prevent social justice movements from happening. With the internet however, it is nearly impossible to prevent the outburst of information. Even if an article is taken down, millions of people had the opportunity to respond to it, or take a screenshot to store the information for themselves. People cannot be effectively silenced on the internet, which means social activism has its place on the internet.

People take action when injustice has taken place to promote change in order to correct the injustice. Silencing the people is what prevented social activism. The internet considerably makes that less of a problem.

So yes, there is #slacktivism happening, but those who complain about it may guilt or spur any number of people into serious action because deep down they know that merely re-tweeting something about #feedthestarving or #blacklivesmatter doesn’t actually solve the problem.

Social activism and the internet get along great. It makes many things possible which haven’t been possible before. It gets more people involved, and it extends the lifetime of movements.

Online activism is more than worth it. 

My Favourite Show Used to be Code Lyoko

I’ve done the show a disservice.

I just tried to up my code game by frantically trying to code a mini scene in Scratch. It is a really cute website designed to get kids hooked on coding, but I must say; it is for all ages. I had a lot of fun doing the tutorial, trying out some games, and then trying to create on myself. It was honestly more difficult than I had imagined, and I learned that I knew nothing about coding. Here is the video evidence:

I had fun though; you can hear me giggling whenever something went wrong.

Serious thought though: Why do we not teach more coding to our students as a mandatory practice? The exercise it gives your brain is fantastic. You’re forced to think about cause and effect in a way that immediately takes effect as you’re doing it. It helps students become more familiar with thinking about their actions and their words. Also, it is a practical skill to have regardless. Our western culture is entirely dominated by technology yet we know so little about how it works or why it works. Teaching more students coding like this may help create young and innovative inventors. Teaching coding in such a way may help more women and young girls get into coding. The website does not market coding in any way to one particular gender; it is open to all!

This is a short post, but long story short: more teachers should teach their students coding, and the website Scratch is a great resource to implement such lessons into your classrooms.

Thanks for checking in!

Twitter in the Classroom

Twitter can be used for almost a thousand different reasons and used in a thousand different ways in the classroom. Just take a look at these few links below:

50 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom

13 Reasons to Use Twitter in the Classroom

60 Inspiring Examples of Twitter in the Classroom

Twitter can be a great way to get other folks from the community and from all around the world involved in your classroom. It is a quick and easy platform that does not require much time. You can use it to easily organize sources you share through hash tags. Twitter is one of those tools that can easily supplement students’ learning in the classroom.

However, I have some “beef” with Twitter. Do not get me wrong, I like Twitter to an extent, but I believe there are far more academic platforms out there.

First of all, the word limit drives me insane. I get that it is the point of twitter, the “Short but sweet” motto and all, but I do not want my students to be short. I really enjoy pushing my students to just blast their thoughts out into the universe at its full glory.

Yes, summarizing is an effective skill.

Do you need twitter to teach students how to summarize? No.

Can Twitter be used as a tool to teach students to be concise? Yes.

But that’s not my jam. It’s not even my toast.

After having taught in my internship, I found that almost every single student thrived when I offered them the chance to write as much as they want with no pressure hanging over their heads. We did journal assignments and journal prompts as often as we could.

What I’m finding is that students rarely get the chance to discover their own voices. They need the opportunity to just rant and binge on words without anybody threatening to judge them on their character or their ability to write. Students need a “low stakes environment” to embroider their thoughts through words and come to understand themselves. Younger folk used to do this all the time; diaries and journals used to be huge, but in this digital age, writing has fallen off the radar and children rarely are introduced to journaling in a private sense because nothing on the internet is truly, entirely private. Most young folk enter the digital universe for some form of interaction rather than privacy, and so few students are given the chance to be completely alone with their thoughts. I like to provide that for my students.

I like to give my students the chance to have a voice without ever taking that power from them. I offer them the choice to get feedback or written responses from me if they so choose, but otherwise I do not read their entries; I only give them a mark for participation. The only rule is that they have to write as much as they can and as much as their hand can keep up with their thoughts.

Rather than ask my students to document their learning through twitter, I would much prefer to ask them to document their learning through in-depth self reflection. Students need to learn how to write with unbridled determination first, and then move on to concise language. I feel as though its like learning to walk before you learn how to run.

Another thing about Twitter: I find it incredibly easy to become disinterested. Twitter seems so messy to me sometimes and a little overwhelming that I find it difficult to actually stop and give a single care to every post. There’s so many posts that are about the exact same thing and so many posts that aren’t worth my time with very little way of knowing which post I should dedicate time to. Usually they just link to longer blog posts or longer articles on the internet anyways. Twitter blurs in front of my eyes a little too easily, and I can’t imagine my students would have an easier time with it than I.

Another thing: If you asked students to have their own twitter account, chances are they will be looking at other content most of the time. It would be something they would have to do outside of class because there is no way to monitor all 30 students at once to make sure they are remaining completely on task and looking at appropriate or relevant content. They might be sharing memes and all sorts of other content (like I definitely do on my account) that has nothing to do with the course, which would make it confusing for the teacher to shift through (sorry Professor…). The only way to truly combat that is to ask them to create a separate account but I can nearly guarantee you that no student is going to enjoy having to sign in and out of their two accounts if they have their own personal account.

Maybe I’m being negative, but I just find that most of the uses teachers seem excited about Twitter for do not seem really efficient to me. I find that there are other, better ways to do most of these things . However, I do believe that I would use twitter over Remind as a way to post about homework due dates and special events, as well as supplementary readings or even videos that would assist students and parents in keeping up with the semester.

Twitter is useful in so many ways if you’re willing to put up with all the possible ways it could be a pain or extra effort on everyone’s part, but it really isn’t my method of choice.

 

 

Just Sort of a Reflection on Passions

Being in university is such an estranging experience to the rest of the world. It feels like we are constantly operating in our own little university-world. Everything revolves around university for me. What and when I eat, when I sleep, when I get coffee, when I work at my job; it all revolves around my schooling. Perhaps it is because I am in my final semester of my degree, but I am just so sick of my stress revolving around university, too.  Perhaps it is because I literally have not slept since 7:30am two days ago. Regardless, I’m done with dedicating every thought that passes through my mind to university. I want to take myself somewhere new so that I can see how creative I can be. I want to explore my place in the world before signing a contract to teach in some town I may never fit into. Not to mention, I have only ever known myself in a school setting. The thought of going straight out of school to begin my career in more schools without getting the chance to explore what its like to not be in school would suck the soul out of me. I know these thoughts sound depressing but to me, coming to the realization that I need a break is a huge relief in itself.

Lately, I’ve been day dreaming about what I’m going to do with my spare time when I am not constantly under pressure due to major projects coming up. I’ve been day dreaming about what it would be like to have my biggest cause of stress removed. What would I do with my time? After a really good chat with a classmate of mine, who has embarked on the exact same four year journey as I, I came to a conclusion. University is entirely hypocritical.

In my anti-oppressive education we constantly discuss how we can continue to dissect narratives that are overarching our society. We learn about classist, racist, and sexist narratives that dominate society and oppress those who fall outside of the so-called “norm.” However, as our professors collectively turn our eyes towards these narratives, they have been enforcing a narrative upon us, too. It is subtle, and behind the scenes, and taught as though it is a matter of fact. What exactly am I talking about?

The expectation that my generation will get a degree, and then work the same job until the day I die, or retire. The way professors talk about teaching is as if it is the only possible answer. The terms and phrases used imply this. Not a single professor throughout my entire degree has suggested that it is acceptable to pursue another career after completing an education degree. My parents assume that if I get a job teaching, I will be doing that for the rest of my life. My grandparents assume that if i start teaching, I will teach for the rest of my life. Everybody I’ve ever talked to about life after university has only always assumed that I will teach for the rest of my life. This makes me feel like a failure, because this does not coincide with what I want to do. I feel inferior because of my life decisions, when really, I should not feel this way at all. There is nothing wrong with what I want to do.

After my internship, I began to doubt that teaching was for me. Granted, a lot of things were happening during my internship that I will never have to deal with again, purely because of the way internships work. If I get hired, I am free to practice my pedagogy so long as I can relate it directly to the curriculum. I will not have to sacrifice my personal teaching philosophies in order to have the right to stand in a classroom. If I get hired, I will be able to be my own, independent educator. However, I find that the educational system itself requires a lot of work. The right people are not always in positions of power, and even if I receive a degree, get hired, and start working in schools, my power can much too easily be taken away from me. Also, in light of the recent budget cuts to education, so many doors have been closed on my face for my future career. The wrong people are always in power, and I am sad to say that teaching anti-oppressive education is no longer enough.

Let me say it again:

Teaching anti-oppressive education is no longer enough on its own. We have to do more.

But how? Everybody tells me that the first few years of teaching are the worst. During my internship, the most  common comment that I heard was, “You think internship is hard? Wait until your first year of teaching.” It was incredibly negative and disheartening and my colleagues offered no support of advice beyond that. I felt as though they were trying to alienate me further and further from the profession that I just spent the last four years of my life working towards. So many doors have been closing on me and my career and because of this, I had to step back and truly, honestly ask myself if teaching is for me.

When I took a step back, I asked myself, “Do I really have to do this?” But in asking myself that, I realized that I’ve only ever imagined “this” as “teaching for the rest of my life.” Nobody talks about taking a year off. Nobody talks about furthering their education before they move on to teaching.

In a talking circle in my class last night, a peer of mine said the following.

“I started my post-secondary education late in my life. I know a lot of you are in your early twenties, and you are feeling apprehensive about moving on to your teaching career. Let me just tell you, looking back to when I was 22, I never would have been able to do this, so all of you are already years ahead of where I was at your age. However, I just wanted to add that there is nothing wrong with waiting to teach until you truly feel ready.”

When my peer said this, I cried. I had been stressing and stressing about teaching because after my internship, I do not feel ready, I feel even further away from being ready than when I was in my first year. When he said this, it was the first time I had ever imagined doing something other than going straight into a lifetime-career. I knew I needed some time off, but now I’m considering taking a decade off from school.

My professors have pushed on me, subconsciously, that if I do not go straight into teaching, I would be missing out on certain experiences and important learning experiences by not teaching right away. This is not true. My professors made it sound as though the only experiences in life that will ever matter are ones that are directly related to my pedagogy and education. This is also not true. I began to see the world around me as locked away or unavailable to me, because my professors all told me over and over again, “You are a teacher for life now, so you better act like one.” This terrified me. I felt like I signed my soul to the devil and in a way, I did. There are so many things in life that I want to do that I can’t do as an educator purely because teachers are expected to be above-perfect role models for society. In our digital age, everything I do can easily be discovered, so I can’t go out and do anything that anyone could potentially take offense to (Which could literally be anything at this point) and so I feel as though I am chained to my degree. Except now, my degree is a 10 ton anvil that is popping my leg right out of it’s socket.

Over all of the years I’ve lived and been in school (which is nearly all the years I’ve lived), I’ve been taught that school is the most important thing. It will always be the most important thing I’ve ever attended, or facilitated. This is also not true. I digress.

Here is where I hope you’ll understand me:

If I’ve done nothing but go to school for my entire life and my entire future, I too will be pushing the subconscious narrative that school and post-secondary school is the only answer to how you can achieve success. My students will be just as diverse as Canada can get, and so to enter my classroom while operating in such a perspective, I am bound to push this onto my students. I need to get my head out of this post-secondary coma I’ve been slapped into.

Don’t get me wrong, I think education is the best thing that has ever happened to me, but I cannot allow myself to push my perspectives onto my students. I like being able to share my experiences with my students but how can I relate to students who do not want to move on to post-secondary? I need to live a little.

This is why I will be moving away from education for a few years. I’ve never lived a life outside of school. I’ve taken a summer class every summer, or attended a camp every other summer. I have, in every sense of the word, never not been in school. What I hope to achieve by taking a few years off is life experience. I want to travel and meet all kinds of people who do not necessarily fall into the post-secondary community and culture. It is not the only life that exists. There are many ways to live one’s life and I want to get out in the world and experience this for myself so that when I eventually decide to teach again, I can come into the classroom with a well-rounded, not-naive perspective that myself and my students will benefit from. If I decide to go back.

Developing my World

Baby steps! I thought I’d swing by and upload a few more pictures of the notes I’ve made, and talk about the research I’ve been doing. I will include some images that have served as inspiration for me as well.

Here is the progress I’ve made the past few days:

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I’ve been building on the religions of the world and trying to establish if it should be for sure a real thing, or if its all speculative. Do they have proof of their higher power, Fate? Does she actually exist, or is it something they’ve conjured up? Do people have visions? I decided that their higher power literally, actually exists, and visits the world in significant times and places. Nobody questions her existence. Therefore, how does each culture worship her? Do they worship her? These are questions I have yet to answer.

Here are some images from a folder that I’ve labelled as “inspiration” for my learning project:

It is hard to explain exactly why these images spur my imagination, but they inspire me to create fantastical worlds in which my characters may interact. Moving forward, I’d like to try and sketch out a few characters and try developing more informational profiles first, and then move on to actual art of the characters. That’s all for now.

Thanks for checking in!

What Am I Really Doing?

I want to make my own comic.

Which is why I chose anatomy and diversity in drawing as my learning project.

I’ve been dreaming about this since I was a little kid. My best friend and I would go to the lake together and spend hours upon hours just dreaming up characters in a fictitious world. We used to create maps and design clothes and houses and stories and we would be endlessly caught up in a world of fantastical creatures that we had made up on our own. Now that we’re both older, we’re trying to create our own separate worlds. In some ways they’re very similar, purely because we’ve grown up together for so long that its quite difficult because we too are quite similar.

If this is my end game, then before I can start actually creating characters, I need to have a world established. If I make my characters before I make my world, they may not suit the environment, nor will they make sense in the story. I can’t make a New York Times publisher walk into a world of vampires and dragons. It just wouldn’t make sense.

What this means is that I’m now working on two different strands of my project. I’m practicing my basic drawing skill and anatomy, but I’m also working on creating an environment/universe in which my characters will interact. I cannot have one without the other.

So far in practicing anatomy, I’ve just been occasionally practicing (all over my class notes, in my sketchbook, and sometimes even in my text books) basic foreshortening. A cylinder is a great shape to use for this practice because it generally makes up half of the body. The arms, legs, neck, and even somewhat the torso are cylinders when the body is broken down into basic shapes. Therefore, I’ve been drawing cylinders everywhere. I won’t bore you with twenty pictures of cylinders, so I included my most recent one below. It really isn’t anything special, but it is important to practice drawing these shapes in different perspectives so that when I try to piece them all together, I’ll be able to make a body out of it.

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In regards to building a world, I’ve been trying to figure out everything that even needs to be considered in order to create a world. I’ve purchased a few books, my favourite being the image below:

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The book is great but there are no visual cues or examples to really go off of, or no recommendations as to exactly how I should organize all of my planning. It recommends everything you need to think of, but makes no recommendations on how to put everything together, which is rather unfortunate I would think. Either way, I jumped face first into my planning.

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I had to take into consideration everything. What types of land masses exist, what times of biomes exist, what different kinds of islands are called, what type of faith(s) exist in the world, how the world came to be, and so on. Then, depending on the land mass, the environment, the weather and so on, it changed the kinds of resources available to the people. Did they have electricity? Do they have magic? How do they organize their communities? Is it a patriarchy? Is it a monarchy? Is it ruled by spirits? There are so many things to consider that I’m finding myself overwhelmed.

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My notes seem a little strange because I don’t really have names for anything yet, but initials and abbreviations will do for now. Obviously I’m just starting this so of course nothing is supposed to be finished and ready to go. This will be a really long process that could potentially take decades, but I’m in it for the long haul.

In this post I had talked abut how making a list of names can benefit the writer because you can establish cultural connections to the names.  See mine below:

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I tried colour-coding based on the different cultures around the world I’m trying to make so that I have a bit of a reference for myself when I start creating characters that are from various places around the world.

This is all I have for now. As usual, thanks for checking in!

 

Making Realistic Characters

In light of my previous post, I’ve done some research on how to make and draw characters that are more believable. The first link that I investigated immediately gave me a lot of insight: