Photo Transferring on Wood

I saw this interesting activity on Pinterest awhile ago and I recently was browsing through the board I made of art projects. When I was in high school I took a photography class and I actually got to transfer a photo onto canvas. A more expensive project it was and very stressful so I was a little hesitant to start a photo transfer onto wood. The instructions and material list was quite simple. I needed a picture printed on a regular piece of paper, a block of wood (smooth, sanded wood is recommended), gel medium, Mod Podge, and some paint brushes.


I began by covering the piece of wood with the gel medium and placing the paper with the picture facing down. With my hand and an old plastic card I smoothed out the entire surface of the paper. Getting rid of the bubbles in the process. After these few steps I let it sit to dry overnight. The tiger, lion and lioness, and the giraffe were the pictures I decided to transfer.

The next day I got a slightly wet cloth and soaked the paper with it. I made sure there weren’t any spots left in-soaked. I noticed then how easily the paper came off, leaving the picture underneath imprinted on the piece of wood. I continued to rub with my fingers until it all came off. I took the cloth and cleaned the leftover residue of paper off the wood. Finally, I covered the entire picture with some Mod Podge and let it dry for a bit.


And finally I was done!

These turned out alright. During my learning process I first began with the tiger transferring and I soaked the paper to try and get it off with my fingers. This took forever and the color didn’t go into the wood as well as I expected it to. I was a little disappointed that what was on the wood wasn’t what the picture previously was. When I was working on the giraffe transfer I wanted to throw it into the trash. I wasn’t liking how it was turning out and I had to sit down to keep working on rubbing the paper off. I’m not sure what went wrong. Some possible ideas is that I didn’t add enough gel medium before placing the picture on top, I didn’t let it sit long enough before soaking it, or maybe I shouldn’t have used black.

If I did this project over again there would be some things I would change and differently things I would try.


Podcasts and Digital Stories

Photo Taken from BuildFire

Listening to a podcast is very new to me. When I was in school there was nothing like incorporating a podcast into the lessons and I think that’s really sad because there’s so much students can gain from it. The benefits from having students listen in to a interesting podcast can improve our students’ listening skills. Which is one of the essential components of the new education mandates, and by using audio in the classroom it can be an effective way to promote listening. So many of our students zone out because of a boring topic. After reading the article “What Teens are Learning from Serial and Other Podcasts,” I was drawn in. “Serial” would be a podcast I would be willing to listen to because of the adrenaline and mystery that stories like this gives me. I like the fact that the podcast doesn’t spend 30 minutes talking to one person, but rather bouncing around with a lawyer, say, then with a former classmate and then a detective. Student’s don’t want to sit in their chairs and listen to an hour long documentary on say Shakespeare. This kills their creativity and student’s end up feeling like zombies. “Serial” I don’t think would be appropriate for early grade levels because I think information might be too gory for them. This podcast is perfect for the older grades and the thing about it is it doesn’t just cover one common core standard. For example, it can cover geography by using Google maps to find the streets incidents took place.

Photo Taken from The Digital Writing & Research Lab

At first the thought of a podcast turned me off. I didn’t think there would be so many benefits from having students listen to an interesting podcast. This mindset I had could’ve been developed from not having the opportunity when I was in school to listen in on one. It was mostly here’s an hour long movie that we will watch over the span of two days and then you will have a report to do. BORING! What draws students into doing a twelve page report on a movie? Nothing. So why are we still doing our lessons this way? With most of these podcasts that were referenced there are assignments and structured lesson plans that can go along with the podcast. I will be taking advantage of these resources once I step into my classroom.

Photo Taken from The Odyssey Online

Digital stories are also a great tool. Digital storytelling will teach students how to navigate the writing and creative process, including brainstorming, constructing unique voices, narrating, and perhaps most importantly, structuring arguments in a compelling and logical manner. In the article “Teacher’s Guide to Digital Storytelling” the author gave 8 steps on how to incorporate digital storytelling into lesson ideas. All of the 8 are doable and a great way for students to learn a lot of technology skills.

podcast - internet broadcasting concept
Photo Taken from Helping Writers Become Authors

The podcast I listened in on is from BAM Radio Network – Every Classroom Matters, which has many informational and personal podcasts for educators. If you have some time you should go listen to a couple of the personal learning experiences. Another interesting podcast I found for educators was Talks with Teachers – Inspiring Ideas for Better Teaching . This podcast lets you hear the stories from teachers and their struggles that they’ve faced and how their teaching style changed over time. Another great podcast!

Out of the three latest digital stories I took a lot away from The Meaning of Life. The music that went with this story made me feel that what I was listening to was powerful information. This digital story makes the viewer question what is important in their lives. The other two digital stories I listened to were Run Your World and Me and Coaching Story.

This week was full of great information that I didn’t know was out there let alone that teachers are using these types of tools in their classrooms.

Melting Point

This weeks independent – learning project was once again found on Pinterest. Prior to doing this project I experimented with crayons on a canvas board. I found many creative projects using crayons on a canvas. The previous time I did a crayon project I laid the crayons out across the top and used a hairdryer to melt the crayons downwards. This was a huge mess and took me hours to clean up off of the floor. Fast forward to this new project I tried and am blogging about for this week.

For this project I needed crayons, a fork, a canvas board, a hairdryer, scissors, and garbage bags to protect the floors from the mess. I saw on Pinterest that the crayons were unwrapped, so I decided to take the paper off from around them. This took time to do!

After I got my work area ready I thought of the possible ideas I had of where to even begin. If I wanted to start melting the crayon in the middle of the canvas, or if I wanted to start at a corner and work my way to the corner adjacent from where I started. Tossing out all of these ideas I jumped right in. Since I am a fan of the color blue I went with those shades I had first. This is what I started working with :

IMG_3978I loved the way this was looking! The above picture reminded me of a coral reef and since I love the ocean I was all for doing the whole canvas like this. I knew I had a lot more colors to explore with and use, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to look but I went for it.

If I was doing this again I would probably cut the crayons into smaller pieces because instead of the coral reef look I was wanting the colors blended together, and I didn’t want to leave a huge layer of melted crayon in sections of the canvas. It didn’t look smooth or blended. These above pictures are the process that lead up to my final piece. The colors together reminded me of space and galaxies. Thinking of my learning process through this project it was great to understand where I should be putting the colors. If an area needed a little more “pop” I added bright colors like the red and pinks. I loved how the edges of the shapes formed. The edges around the shapes that you see in the above pictures were the layers I was mentioning previously. I ended up loving the layers!

The different textures that I got from doing the melted crayon was amazing. Make sure you click the above pictures to see the different textures that I mentioned. My final piece reminds me of watercolor. This is something an artist could replicate on a canvas using paint. Final thoughts on this piece is extremely positive and I’m still in awe of how it all turned out. I was not expecting this piece to be one of my favorites. Let me know your thoughts! What I love about this project is that I can always go back in and melt more crayons if I see a spot that needs more color or a different shape.

Digital Storytelling

Ds106 is an open online course that happens throughout the year at the University of Mary Washington. Anyone around the world can join for free. The course requires the viewer to design and build an online identity and narrate your process throughout the fifteen week semester. “Given this, you will be expected to openly frame this process and interact with one another throughout the course as well as engage and interact with the world beyond as a necessary part of such a development. In many ways this course will be part storytelling workshop, part technology training, and, most importantly, part critical interrogation of the digital landscape that is ever increasingly mediating how we communicate with one another.

The course objectives are rather straightforward:

  • Develop skills in using technology as a tool for networking, sharing, narrating, and creative self-expression
  • Frame a digital identity wherein you become both a practitioner in and interrogator of various new modes of networking
  • Critically examine the digital landscape of communication technologies as emergent narrative forms and genres.”

Digital storytelling can bring students together, encourage them, and help them communicate. Digital tools can now make it possible for students to create a story and then share it with the world. Digital stories push students to become creators in content. Students can weave together images, music, text, and voice. Digital storytelling isn’t just for older grades, but it can be used throughout any grade level. Here are 8 steps on how to create a great digital story:

  • Digital story is personal
  • Begins with a story or script
  • Are concise
  • Use readily-available source materials
  • Include universal story elements
  •  Involve collaboration at a variety of levels

“In order to achieve this level of greatness, students need to work through a Digital Storytelling Process.” DigstoryProcessThis can be great for my students to use also outside of the classroom. They can explore other creations or create their own on the content we’re discussing. Daily Create sparks creativity, which I feel many students lose in our schools. Students can do their assignments, narrate their work, and give feed back to other students. I think this would relieve a lot of stress off of us teachers and students. We focus a lot on the standards we have to meet that our student’s creativity gets covered up and eventually there are robots sitting at the tables. I’ve never heard of The Daily Create or Digital Storytelling until this assignment, but these are tools that I would use in my classroom to spark up the creativity in my students.


8 Ways on “How to Cultivate Your Personal Learning Network”

Photo Taken from La Rioja Blog

Building your personal learning network (PLN) is important. Your contacts that you start to build into your PLN should have valuable information and ideas that are based on your interests. When I started building my PLN I searched on Google who as a teacher should I follow on Twitter. It was easy to find the “Top 35 Twitter accounts to follow for teachers”. Twitter has opened up a world for me to connect with educators and follow organizations that are based across the world. I think this is key for a PLN to be connected to different parts of the world and use their influence and information for tips in our classrooms. Connecting with different parts of the world can be beneficial for our students as well to see how other educators do assignments and lessons. Personal learning networks help us learn new things and also challenge our thinking. For example, is this Twitter account worth following? Is this information going to help me? These are some of the questions we need to ask ourselves before we start to follow these accounts for our personal learning networks. It’s important we are using our search engines the appropriate way and that we understand some of the information on the internet might be fabricated and not the truth. When I was looking for Twitter accounts for teachers to follow I had to be very specific in what to type in so I didn’t have to spend time going through what is useful and not. The article “How to Cultivate a Personal Learning Network : Tips from Howard Rheingold” by Chuck Frey stated that Rheingold described in a tweet how to capture “. . . own personal reference (Diigo, a browser plug-in that enables you to capture web pages and portions of them), for sharing with others (delicious, a social sharing tool) and for finding relevant Twitter lists and subject matter experts in your areas of inquiry (listorious).”

We need to find people who will benefit us to have in our PLN. If their information isn’t useful or valuable than we don’t need to follow them. Before we decide to follow on Twitter it would be a good idea to look at what they’ve posted and determine if this can be beneficial for us to use. If it turns out that someone you have in your PLN isn’t building you up than you can always delete and add others on your personal learning network. Also, we picky who you follow. This can be helpful so you don’t follow the wrong people. “Give value, receive value.”

“Be proactive – share FIRST. Don’t wait for someone you’re connected with to share something with you.”

Full of Color

This activity was once again found on Pinterest. Tie dye is a fun activity for all ages and is always exciting when you see your final creation. I have done tie dye before with my 2nd graders, which was kind of a disaster. It was the last day of the sessions and I thought we’d do something fun while learning about color. I had twenty-two students and there was dye everywhere. EVERYWHERE! I did do a shirt with my 2nd graders to remember the fun times, but I was more interested in helping them that my shirt ended up muddy. I also didn’t know that the shirt was suppose to be damped before you put the dye on the shirt. This was a fun learning experience and I was able to focus on the design of the shirt and placement of the colors. So lets jump into my exciting creations!

Here are all of the supplies I gathered up for this project.

Make sure if you do this project to wear gloves even when mixing the dye because it will stain your hands. The tie dye I used I just purchased from Walmart along with different sizes of rubber bands. The kit I purchased included: 10 no-mess squeeze bottles containing dye, 6 protective gloves, 30 rubber bands, and an instruction sheet. I read on my instruction sheet that I needed to prewash the fabric to remove sizing. It stated to not use fabric softener or dryer sheets. I chose to use the wet technique, which meant I used the shirts directly from the washer. IMG_3874After I took the shirts out of the washer I had to come up with what design I wanted to do on them. The two designs I liked were called swirl and crumple. To do the swirl design I had to lay the fabric on a protected work surface. I had to decide where I wanted the swirl. For most of the shirts I chose the middle or the corner. I tried two methods: pinching the fabric and using a fork. I twisted the fabric around into a flat spiral after I did this I wrapped the shirt into 6 wedges. The crumple was much easier by laying the fabric on a protected work surface. Scrunching the fabric by using my fingers.

Once I got my designs how I wanted them I began to plan the colors I wanted on each shirt. I did three shirts for my nephew and three shirts for myself. The instructions were very easy to follow. I simply apply the dye to the fabric, checking to make sure dye has worked it’s way into the folds. It mentioned not to over-saturate the fabric and noted that if dye is applied too close together, the colors may become muddy. This was a very fun process and very creative. Below are pictures of two shirts crumpled and two shirts with a spiral or swirl.

When I decided that the shirts looked good and I was happy with the colors I had to wrap the shirts in plastic wrap to keep damp and let them sit for 6-8 hours. I let the shirts sit longer for the more intense colors I used. I also decided to put the wrapped shirts into plastic bags to help make it less messy. IMG_3887Twelve hours later I decided to go ahead and rinse the shirts until the water was clear. I took the rubber bands off and filled the washer to a large load setting with hot water suitable to the fabric and a small amount of laundry soap. The instruction sheet mentioned to wash and dry separately for the first few times, but I decided to just stick all of the shirts together. And here is the finished product!

This was a fun project to do! Compared to the last time I did tie dye I’d say I learned a lot. It was a fun experience and the final product was more than I could imagine it would turn out to be. My nephew loved his shirts and had to instantly put one of them on. The two methods that I tried for the spiral or swirl: my fingers verses a fork, and I have to say the shirt I used the fork with turned out way better than my pinching. The shirts I used the fork method on was the rainbow shirts and the pinching method I used on the red, orange, and yellow shirt. The colors are very intense and all in all fantastic!

This tweet was great information for a how to establish creativity in the classroom. Just like I did with my 2nd graders and their tie dye activity. I could have incorporated some type of technology into that lesson. For example, possibly showing a tutorial video of how to tie dye may have helped my students create.



“Creativity is contagious, pass it on.”

  • – Albert Einstein

Personal Learning Networks (PLN)

Photo Taken By Caroline Bucky

Having a personal learning network is an informal network that can include learners who derive knowledge from their own personal learning environment. Edutopia says that, “A PLN is a tool that uses social media and technology to collect, communicate, collaborate and create with connected colleagues anywhere at any time. Participating educators, worldwide, make requests and share resources. Each individual educator becomes a potential source of information.”

There ARE three deterrents to educators who use PLNs as a tool for learning:

  1. “The PLN is a mindset, not the outcome of a workshop of the PD offered annually by many school districts. It is not a one-shot fix.”
  2. “Successful users of PLNs overwhelm the uninitiated with techno-babble.”
  3. “It requires, at least at first, digital literacy beyond a Google search.”

It was interesting that through PLNs, children can share their cultural information with other children around the world with Facebook or Twitter. Teachers can exchange methods and strategies, which can also be done through Facebook and Twitter. We can use PLNs to have online discussions and link access to materials that would not be revealed otherwise. I’ve seen this through Google Docs before. Edutopia says, “Twitter, the social media application, is the backbone for most PLNs. Each 140-character post allows quick and easy transmissions of information to links yielding websites, videos, podcasts, blog posts, articles, interviews and excerpts — dream resources for classroom professionals. By simply asking, teachers receive content and strategies from sources around the globe.”

With this being said it makes me appreciate Twitter a little bit more. At first I was skeptic of using Twitter just because I assumed it was going to be just like every other social media app that was full of nonsense. Twitter is a great way to develop our own personal networks of fellow educators and have the resources there that are designed to help us become better teachers.

My discoveries of PLNs have been positive! I’ve spent some time following my 100 + people on Twitter. I’ve found educators, principals, organizations, etc. that I believe will make a difference in gaining information. We’ve all already have started building our own PLNs, but according to Edutopia this is how you begin to build your PLN:

  • “Start a Twitter account that focuses on following educators.”
  • “Build a circle of connected educators on Google+.”
  • “Follow education blogs (read and comment).”
  • “Follow education chats that are specific to your content area.”
  • “Join and participate in education groups on Facebook and Linkedln.”
  • “Accept invitations to collaborate.”

The purpose of PLN is to express your own personalized learning with a network individuals with the same goals as yourself.