Lizzie Velasquez: How Do You Define Yourself

A friend of mine posted this video on Facebook saying, “She is just wonderful!”  But that’s not what enticed me into watching this Ted Talk. The reason I clicked on the link was because of the description caption “LABELLED THE WORLD’S UGLIEST WOMAN” that was posted directly under a picture of a woman who, sure, looked rather thin (I just thought she was malnourished) but was by no means ugly.  I couldn’t understand the label and so clicked on the link that lead me to watch this Ted Talk video. I am now posting it on my blog because I can see a huge benefit for showing it to my future students, both the females and the males.  It is an encouraging message for those who are bullied and it emphasizes the importance of not what others see in you, but what you see in yourself. I love this message. 


ECMP 355 — Summary of Learning

I cannot believe I have forgotten to blog about my summary of learning!  Well here it is now.

To summarize what it is have learned through this course, I made a simple screencast video. It is nothing fancy, but it was new to me and I think that, for it being just a screencast, I still found a way to be creative. Normally, a screencast is an entire video with the only visual being the computer screen and having a narrator describe and discuss what is happening. I added my own little twist by including myself in the video so that people would not lose interest as I catered to the need some people have for quick changing visuals.

In terms of what I talked about, I basically discussed in detail what I found fascinating in ECMP and what I want to take into my classroom with me.

I hope I made my main point and stated what my final thoughts on this course were. If not, they are as follows:

Educational Computers 355 has taught me the power of interaction both between teachers and their interaction with their students.  But, additionally, it has taught me the power technology has in helping teachers interact and collaborate with one another.  Technology has given teachers the power to educate their students in a whole new way.

ECMP 355 Final Project

So Sarah and I did our final project on teaching and learning algebra using interactive websites, videos, and apps.  Most of these resources are meant not to teach the lesson but only further apply concepts already taught by the teacher. However, there are of few of these resources (like Algebra Touch) that can be used by teachers to show students other ways of calculating the correct answer.

Also, Sarah and I only touched on a few resources. There are so so many more other resources on the internet that are available for teachers and students alike.  And as teachers continue to share and collaborate their ideas, there will only be more and more available for teachers.

Anyways, enjoy the video!
(Note: there are random times when the audio cuts out. It is beyond our control. We do not know how to fix it. Sorry for any inconveniences)


“TED Talk: Rita Pierson” Response

Today in my ECS 200 class we watched Rita Pierson’s TED Talk: Every kid needs a champion.

My first impression: I loved it.  She made a lot of good points, a few of which I wrote in my notebook during class.  The things I wrote down (and why) were as follows:

  • “education is all about relationships” — I could not agree more.  For myself, there were teachers at my high school that never taught me a class, but they taught me what is important in life, taught me that a successful life is one spent pursuing their passion, taught me that life is about laughing and loving, and so much more.  I learned from those teachers that took the time to build strong, personal relationships from me. And I learned so much more than what 2+2 equals. I learned lessons that will last me a lifetime.
  • “kids don’t learn from people they don’t like” — Again, I absolutely agree.  Thinking back to elementary school, I recall my Grade 1 teacher who helped us build snow forts during recess. And I remember that same teacher talking to us about the First Nations’ culture, and about how to tell time, and how to tell the temperature, and about the importance of reading.  I can honestly say I love my Grade 1 teacher and, because of that, hung on her every word and learned many, many things from her.  Whereas, with teachers who spent class time yelling at us for every small thing we did, I cannot, for the life of me, recall what I learned in that class.  I had a teacher who taught me French in Grade 6, 7, and 8.  THREE YEARS I spent with her and not a thing to show for it.  I did not respect the way she taught and did not want to get to know her because of how she made me feel. So yes, kids do not learn from people they do not like or respect.
  • “10% — find the good in it and celebrate it” — In the TED Talk, Rita discusses how she had a student who got 2 marks out of 20 and, instead of writing a big fat “F” on the student’s paper, she wrote a “2” and a happy face.  (The student hadn’t even attempted the other eighteen questions).  Rita decided to celebrate the two that the student did get right because she wanted them to feel confident and encouraged  for the next time an assignment like that went out.   Teaching, I have learned, isn’t about the failures and disappointments. It is about the small victories.   But from Rita’s video, I learned that teaching (because it is about relationships) is also about communicating those victories with the student.  Helping them feel empowered is the best thing you can do for them.

Rita Pierson has been inspirational for me.  I have seen many teachers teach for many years and lose their gusto and drive.  They want to come to work, get paid, go home.  But Rita, after 40 years of teaching, is still on fire for teaching and is passionate about making better educators of herself and everyone around her.  I want to strive to be like Rita.  I want to always find the good in my job, the good in my students, and seek to make them even better.

Octopus Tomfoolery — Experimenting with Scratch

In Ecmp355 today, we discussed computer programming, more specifically, Scratch. This is supposed to be one of the easiest programs out there where anyone can “Create stories, games, and animations and share with others around the world”. If you want more info, just click the word “Scratch” above (it is hyperlinked to the website).

Basically, my video is the result of me playing around with Scratch. I don’t think I feel confident enough to teach it to my class, but, as I’ve said other posts of my on other projects, it is definitely a website I would encourage my students to check out if they are into computer programming!

Anyways, enjoy!!

PowToon as Alternative to PowerPoint

In ECMP355 this past week we watched the Death by PowerPoint YouTube video which discusses the ways people have overused PowerPoint. As an assignment, us students were to create a short video or podcast using other methods than PowerPoint to present a topic of our choice.  I chose to present on how my first week at my volunteer placement went using PowToon, which I had never used before.  I had heard of it when I was in grade 6 from my sister who was in grade 8 at the time.  A teacher had given them an assignment where they had to use PowToon and I had watched her use it. I was absolutely fascinated. So when the opportunity arose in ECMP to use this method, I jumped right at it thinking “How hard can it be if my sister was able to use it when she was only 14 years old?”

This is what I was able to come up with….

It was actually a rather difficult program to work with. As sad as it sounds, I worked on it for about two hours just to get 57 seconds worth of content.  A tad bit pathetic.. Granted, this was my first time using it and I spent a lot of time looking through the different options they offered and, not to mention, I am a perfectionist and was trying to tweak every little thing to make it all work together.  It is definitely a program that you have to know rather well in order to use it efficiently and effectively.  As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect”.

In terms of incorporating this into the classroom, I would definitely offer it as an option for the kids to use but not make it mandatory.  I mean, the program made it easy to share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networking sites and the the uploading process onto YouTube was easy-peasy, but the time and patience it requires from the user is not ideal.

Comments from people who are efficient at using PowToon would be greatly appreciated. I would love to know if it gets easier and easier with time. And if you could leave some tips as to how make attention-grabbing videos with PowToon that would also be awesome. Thanks!!


Negative Technology for Students..

On Twitter I have been following @magicalmaths for a couple months now and have never really found any of their tweets particularly relative to what and how I want to teach in my classroom someday.  Basically, they’re one of those people you follow just in case they happen to put something interesting out there one day.  And sure enough, today I came by this tweet and thought that it might be worth checking out as I am a student myself as well as a pre-service teacher who would love to help students pass their exams swimmingly…

So I clicked on the link and it took me to this website:

And I watched this video…

My first reaction was that this was actually a spoof of sorts, that suggested that exams are not an effective way of evaluating a student’s comprehension — that exams only force students to regurgitate information that the teacher already knows rather than assessing their ability to recognize the overall concept. I thought it was a spoof because, only fourteen seconds in and there were silly spelling errors everyone learns before high school like “Lifes” rather than “Lives”.   But then I started to watch this video and I grew concerned as I thought that, just maybe, this was a very serious advertisement put out by a company who had realized that there were surely millions of students who were struggling to pass their exams because of their inability to memorize facts.  As I proceeded to read the comments on their YouTube video I noticed there were students from all over the world at the ready to purchase this technology as soon as possible.  Still, I was skeptical.  I checked out their website ( and found that, sure enough, the 24kupi is a real product sold internationally.

Products and advertisements like these used to scare me, making me question if I should even be a teacher in fear that I would not be clever enough to see cheating like this happening in my classroom. But as I have been continuing with my education, I have found that if I want to be a good teacher I should not seek to prevent this kind of cheating but rather eliminate the need to cheat by providing my students with projects or exams that encourage them to grasp the key concepts without creating stress and anxiety.

What are your thoughts about how technology like this has affected students in the long run, teachers, and classrooms?

Please also share any other thoughts or comments you have regarding this topic. Thank you.

Door Scene Project

I’m actually really proud with how this mini-project of ours turned out.  I mean, prior to this exercise for ECMP 355,  I had never used iMovie much less edited a video.  With that said, I am incredibly thankful that this was a group project verses a one-man-show simply because the collaboration gave us the opportunity to teach each other, to learn from each other, and to learn together when we hit a roadblock.

What I found most surprising was that the editing took at least three times longer than filming did.  My expectations going into the project was that we would be filming forever trying to get everything just right and then simply adding music to it on the computer.  Boy was I wrong.

In terms of applying this into my future classroom and having my English students using video, I am absolutely ecstatic because I think it could be a great tool to observe their comprehension of novels or short stories that we’ve studied.  I’m sure there are numerous other ways to utilize video-making projects into the English classroom.  If you have any other ideas or suggestions, please, please, please comment and share! I would love to know.


Experimenting with Podcasting..

Sarah Campbell and I made our first podcast show last week.  It’s a little rough around the edges and, if we had had more time, I would have loved to play with the volumes of different tracks so as to make the track more fluent. But, alas, this is what we were able to come up with.

We decided to make a mash-up as opposed to a voice recording because it gave us the opportunity to play with vocal loops, background music, copy-and-pasting options, etc.

We chose to create a podcast that would honour and encourage teachers who have been needing some inspiration lately. Feel free to share and comment on! Thanks!!