Learning Is About Creating

The first two articles I read were How teachers can best use TED Talks in class, from the perspective of the students by Olivia Cucinotta and School vs. Learning by George Couros. The important note I learned from these two informational readings was school is all about ideas. School is about the learners instead of learning stuff. Stuff that most of us with forget in the next year after learning it. For me that was History and it wasn’t in a year that I forgot all of the information it was after the last test I took for the class. If I had TED Talk back when I was taking my History class it would’ve probably helped instead of reading from a 800 page textbook.

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Photo Taken from Curry School of Education

TED Talks can help teachers bring ideas into conversation and debate. When I was in high school I remember only a few students really getting involved into debates. I don’t know what was wrong with the rest of us. Maybe it was fear like the previous blog I posted about being successful. Fear could’ve been clouding our minds that we might have said the wrong thing or that our opinions were dumb. Ms. Fogarty said, “TED Talks make us pause and listen to the percolation of ideas – art, engineering, technology, the humanities, spoken word and more.” We as teachers can use TED Talks to spark conversations about our diverse values, questions we may have, and sometimes conflict that our opinions may not be the same as another students. TED Talk get students thinking and that’s what we want in our classrooms. We don’t want one word answers. Where’s the thinking in that?

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Photo Taken from Cornerstone Marketplace

Learning is about creating. Is it not? Learning is about exploring our passions and interests. It can happen anytime and is personal to us. All around us learning promotes that everyone is a teacher, and everyone is a learner. School is a place where learning happens but it’s not the only place for expanding our creativity and knowledge. This is important for us teachers to understand. Don’t just teach our standards to our students. Actually find their interests and passions. al-inspiring-quote-on-learning

The two articles that I’ve chosen are 25 Ways To Promote Passion – Based Learning In Your Classroom by Saga Briggs and Why Is Project – Based Learning Important? by George Lucas Educational Foundation

25 Ways To Promote Passion – Based Learning In Your Classroom

An important point made by Sage Briggs was that, “Students are more likely to learn if they are motivated by and engaged with the curriculum or project at hand.” I will list the 25 ways quoted by Sage Briggs:

  1. Share your own passions with your students.
  2. Indulge in your own passions when you are outside of the classroom.
  3. Let students share their passions.
  4. Introduce students to resources that help them exercise their passions.
  5. Help students find others who share the same passion.
  6. Connect students’ passions to real-world scenarios.
  7. Divorce practicality from the picture.
  8. Trust that hard work follows naturally from passion.
  9. Value all passions equally.
  10. Let students take control.
  11. Learn how to recognize passion in momentary obsessions.
  12. Get to know a student’s passions through his parents and friends.
  13. Surround your students with passionate people.
  14. Allow for students’ passions to develop and change.
  15. Help connect students to a new subject through an existing passion.
  16. Show students how learning about seemingly unrelated topics can help them learn more about their passion.
  17. Set aside time to let passions flourish.
  18. Help students create something with their passions.
  19. Weave standards into passion-based learning.
  20. Become comfortable with the word “passion”.
  21. Let yourself be inspired by other impassioned educators.
  22. Understand what passion means for students of different age levels.
  23. Understand what passion means for students with different backgrounds.
  24. Understand where passions come from.
  25. Connect passions with intelligence, not talent.

These 25 ways listed above can help teachers promote passion-based learning in their classrooms and to help our students pursue their own passions.

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Photo Taken from MiddleWeb

Why Is Project – Based Learning Important?

Today’s world requires students to have both fundamental skills (reading, writing, and math) and 21st century skills (teamwork, problem solving, research gathering, time management, information synthesizing, utilizing high tech tools). All of these skills listed above is how students become directors of their learning process that is guided by skilled teachers. Quoted from the article the 21st century skills include:

  • personal and social responsibility
  • planning, critical thinking, reasoning, and creativity
  • strong communication skills, both for interpersonal and presentation needs
  • cross-cultural understanding
  • visualizing and decision making
  • knowing how and when to use technology and choosing the most appropriate tool for the task.

Passion – based learning brings real-life context and technology to students. Allowing them to become independent workers, critical thinkers, and lifelong learners. c85dac670af71f8c58eff72fb48a475e

 

 

Be Successful

The TED Talk video that I found for this blog was Programming Your Mind for Success with Carrie Green. The video started out with Carrie asking for a volunteer. As you can guess not many stood up and said they’d come on up. Why is this though? I know that I would be of those individuals who has a million scenarios going through their heads. The fear of the unknown, for example, what if I look stupid or I can’t do it? Having obstacles in the way, for example, being too far away from the front stage. Or is it the lack of motivation and the mindset that someone else will volunteer. Maybe it’s all three of these.

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Photo Taken from Dawn Ferguson

What ever the reason why some of the individuals in the audience didn’t volunteer was because of their decisions that started in their minds. I’ve done this many times when I was sitting in the front row and the presenter asked for a volunteer. I would quick say under my breath “Please don’t pick me. Please don’t pick me”, and I would avoid eye contact. I feel students blend themselves into their environment. Because they don’t want to be embarrassed or made fun of by their peers. Why is this okay? It all starts from inside our minds. Our minds are powerful and sometimes can hold us back from opportunities. What is going on in our heads has such a huge impact on our actions we take, decisions we make, and the things we experience. We miss out on amazing opportunities because of our mindset. We often think to ourselves that we aren’t good enough and that we can’t do something. Or in some situations that we will just do it tomorrow and we never get back around to it. We don’t get back to it and then these incredible opportunities stay locked inside or we miss out on them.

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Photo Taken from WordPress

What I’ll take away from this TED Talks video is that to be successful you have to know what you want. I want my students to find their dreams, what makes them happy, and be able to explore their strengths and weaknesses. To help be there as a support if their heads get filled with doubts that they aren’t good enough or that they can’t be successful. Tony Robbins said, “Your destiny is determined by the choices you make. Choose now. Choose well.” The steps to success mentioned from the video is: 1. What you want to achieve, 2. Why you want to achieve it, 3. What kind of person do you have to become to make it happen, and 4. Program your mind to make it happen. I want my students to program their mind to make their dreams a reality. To be able to have the power to take over negative thoughts with positive ones, and to visualize themselves making it to their goals.

Success is no accident.

 

You Can Always Change It

For my independent – learning project I decided to find art projects on Pinterest. Pinterest is a social network that allows users to find new interests or projects and “pin” to their boards. Pinterest has given me lots of ideas for classroom experiments and also art projects like the one I did today. I chose art projects for my independent – learning because it is something I enjoy doing, but is also something I can improve on and learn more about different techniques.

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Taken by THE LAMP

The project I chose to do today was a project based around using a canvas. I filled up balloons with acrylic paint and threw darts at the canvas. This made the balloons pop and the paint to splatter and run down the canvas. Here are the supplies I used: two different kinds of thumbtacks, acrylic paint, white balloons, a canvas, and garbage bags. Once I started the project I used a bunch of towels because it was very messy.

The most time consuming step for this project was filling the balloons with paint and tying the balloon. It took me at least an hour and a half to fill all 24 balloons with paint. The first couple of balloons I filled up were small and took me forever to tie. After those first couple of trials I soon became quick in tying and also filling the balloon with more paint and blowing the balloon up bigger. I had to stretch the balloon out before I filled with paint just to make sure I’d have enough room for the paint.

As soon as I got all 24 balloons filled up with paint I used the thumbtacks to stick the balloons onto the canvas. Yes, I know it made some tiny holes in the canvas but I knew the paint would cover it up. I went with blues, purples, and pinks because those are colors I love seeing together. Since I am such a perfectionist I had to step back many times to see if the colors were going to blend together well. IMG_3766Once I was happy with how the balloons were laid out on the canvas I went ahead and got my area ready. This area was out in the garage where if I happen to throw the dart and it hit something I wouldn’t be too worried about it. For this I just covered the area I was going to use with garbage bags and tape. IMG_3767Next came the really fun part! I actually got to throw darts at the balloons like The Princess Diaries. I have to admit the first couple of throws went into the wall or bounced off the balloon and came flying back at me. I had a really hard time popping the balloons and after the dart flying backwards a bunch of times I decided to change my project. I stuck my hand in the paint and started blending in the colors. IMG_3768At first I loved how it was turning out. It was very abstract with the different tones of colors but even then I wasn’t happy with it. So I blended everything in and took some paint and drizzled it along the top. IMG_3771Once I got to this step both my hands were saturated in paint because of the purple you see in the above picture. I had the moment of panic because my hands were covered in paint and the door was closed and my phone was in my pocket. Yup you guessed it. There went my nice jeans. After I got cleaned up I came back and sat in front of the canvas wondering if I liked it or not. My sister joined me in the garage expecting to see the balloon project only to see my canvas like this. She kept repeating that she actually liked it! I wasn’t fond of it and I knew I had to do something even though she kept telling me I should keep it the way it was.

The above picture is what I decided to do. I thought well maybe I will sponge the colors just to give a little texture. Of course I didn’t have a sponge so I had to improvise and I found a paint roller that can be used on walls. I found like three of them! I went ahead and practiced on the garbage bag before I decided to go ahead and use it. I’m actually very pleased how this project turned out. The things I would do differently is: fill the balloons full of paint and blow the balloons up bigger in order for it to actually have the splatter affect. This is a project I would do again but like I mentioned I would do things differently. I was able to change my project with just using creativity. I didn’t know the balloon idea wouldn’t work since this was my first time doing this project, but I saw how the paint dripped down when I was able to pop some balloons so I just applied that to what the canvas is now. If you don’t like how something looks than change it.

Freedom to Education

Watching Logan LaPlante’s TED Talk, “Hackschooling Makes Me Happy” and reading Bud Hunt’s blog post “Centering on Essential Lenses: Make/Hack/Play” has given me something to think about that hasn’t ever occurred to me. Schools don’t teach students how to be happy or healthy. We teach students how to make a living by listing all of our standards and making sure all of our students are proficient. What would happen if we started educating our students how to be happy and healthy? I don’t see anything wrong with this idea. I actually think it’s a great idea. We’re use to students coming in every year with their educational level, and then we go down the list making sure we hit all of the standards before the school year ends. Where’s the creativity in this? We are simply giving our students a blank paper without any supplies and telling them to turn it into a master piece. How’re they able to do this without color or having inspiration? “Creativity is as important as literacy”, said Ken Robinson. We have to have our students use their creativity to enhance their learning. Logan mentioned the 8 things he uses to be happy: exercise, diet and nutrition, time in nature, contribution and service, relationships, recreation, relaxation and stress management, and religious and spiritual (called TLC for short). A point Logan made in the TED talk video was, “A lot of kids are just wishing to be happy.” In school learning to be happy and healthy isn’t a priority for us to teach our students. If we used hackschooling in our classrooms I feel there would be a lot more freedom. If we use our curriculum to intertwine with their interests than I feel we will reach them on their level. They will be interested in school and actually enjoy it. Learning happens when we make things happen and when we create. “And maybe the best sort of way to spend your time as a learner is through making, or hacking, or playing.  Or maybe all three.  And along the way, you might rediscover the parts of yourself that have gone to sleep.  Or have never been awake.  Those are the parts that you can use to make and hack and play wherever you happen to be,” said Bud Hunt. Freedom to education is essential. Freedom to do the things you love doing is powerful and can be rewarding. People can learn so much about themselves with having freedom in their life in any situation. The key to happiness is having TLC.

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Photo by Carmela Nava

 

Learning Digital Literacy

Digital literacy is having the knowledge to use a variety of technologies for different purposes. According to Marijke Visser, who is from the digital literacy task force says, “Digital Literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.” Being able to be technology savvy is going to be very important as a teacher. I will have to stay up on the new devices that come out and be able to try new apps with my students. I will have to demonstrate digital fluency to my students. By showing how to use technology respectful and how to be successful and safe in the digital world. Someone who is “digitally literate” has a good sense of the 8 elements in terms of their digital skills. These 8 elements are cultural, cognitive, constructive, communicative, confident, creative, critical, and civic. These elements can be contextual and can depend on the personal, social and cultural context within which they develop. All of these elements provide a foundation for teachers to build on with their students. Digital literacy in the classroom looks like students who are engaged in multi-media that can interpret text, sounds, and images. Students need to have knowledge on how to navigate through web searches and be able to find appropriate references for assignments. They should be able to distinguish between a good source and a bad one.  Today it seems more students have a better understanding of technology than their teachers themselves. This needs to be changed so we can guarantee that our students get the best education possible. Being able to understand search engines, email, PowerPoints, blogs, etc. is something I’ve done before and am very digital literate in these areas. I’ve had to take many online classes and I’ve taken web design, web animation, and coding before in high school. I think it’s important to incorporate technology into the main classroom instead of having a separate class for learning technology skills. I know that new technology comes out what seems like everyday, but I think as a teacher it’s a necessity to be up to date on the new devices and apps. Trial and error is something I plan on doing in my classroom. Try it for the first year and if it’s not successful than I can change it. I’ve taken a class that was revolved around technology. This class made me get out of my comfort zone of just using generic Microsoft slides, and instead opened me up to new apps that are out there that provide great learning and are fun. In order to be an effective digital learner and leader I have to stay up to date on new technology tools, and keep broadening my skills in these areas.

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Picture taken from The Odyssey Online

 

Timeless

Learning is timeless. Everyday is full of new moments and scenarios to learn from whether good or bad. Learning can be difficult and can also be rewarding. School has never come easy for me. In my early years of education I was told that I had ADD, which wasn’t much of a surprise to my teachers or my family. The learner I am today has been shaped throughout the years of my education, and has been influenced by my family. My family is full of educators who have worked hard in their life and have pushed themselves to the success they’re at today. Just like they push themselves I push myself to always work hard, to be determined, motivated, and to overcome the pitfalls. Mrs. Gifford, who was my reading specialist in Elementary school never gave up on me. When I think about my past teachers I’ve had she stands out to me because failure was never an option to her. She helped me gain a two in a half reading level in one year. Mrs. Gifford is the teacher a former student goes back to see because she really was a role model of never give up. If you set your mind to succeed than you will. There’s always options it’s just taking the time to learn the concepts. My successful experiences to me is graduating with my Associates Degree in two years. I quickly started college right after high school and in 2018 I will have my Bachelor’s Degree. This is a huge accomplishment for me and is something I worked very hard at. My creativity has really blossomed through the years and my passion for the things I enjoy has influenced my learning. I did really well in English, Science, Art, and Math, but the subjects that were more difficult for me was History and Foreign Language. History is a very surprising subject for me to have difficulty with because my grandfather was a history teacher for 36 years and very passionate about this subject. As I’ve gone through my learning in the previous years and present I’ve realized I’m more of a visual thinker. If I have to learn definitions or have a project to do I’d much rather be hands-on with a poster or slides. Learning is hard for me when it lacks the creativity. The times I love learning is when I can be myself and bring my knowledge to the table rather than debating with one minded individuals. I get overwhelmed with learning at the beginning stages. For example, when I start a new class I read through the syllabus and I’m instantly overwhelmed with how much work I’m going to be hit with. It’s too much to process at one time and that’s when I have to take a step back and breathe.

“For every one of us that succeeds, it’s because there’s somebody there to show you the way out. The light doesn’t always necessarily have to be in your family; for me it was teachers and school.”

– Oprah Winfrey

 

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Fall 2016 – I made it on The President’s List with a 4.0 GPA

 

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My mother and I on the trip to San Diego, CA for graduating with my Associates Degree.
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May 2016 Sheridan College Graduation with my Associates Degree
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All of my accomplishments. Starting from the top left of the book I wrote called, Where’s Charlie? In Space!, Sheridan High School Diploma, and Sheridan College Associates of Science with High Honors
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Creating walking water with my 4th and 5th graders! They loved the creativity and colors of this experiment.