Sunday, February 16, 2014

Blog Post #5

What did you learn from these conversations with Anthony Capps? Project Based Learning Part 1: Experience of a 3rd Grade Teacher:
Anthony provided some great and valuable information in this video. When utilizing Project Based Learning in the classroom, teachers should create projects that are driven by content, include the interests of students, and are catered to an authentic audience. When teachers allow their students freedom of choice when it comes to picking their own projects, the students will be more self-motivated. This freedom to select a topic they will actually be interested in will help to facilitate a greater desire to learn. Anthony also pointed out the most important part of Project Based Learning: giving students the opportunity to reflect and revise. A great way for teachers to go about this would be to use peer review, allowing students to reflect on their own work, and others, and then revising it based on the suggestions and corrections made by their peers.

Project Based Learning Part 2: Experience of a 3rd Grade Teacher
During this video, Anthony also shed some light on the fact that teachers need to be aware that not every project is going to yield outstanding and perfect results. There is on such thing as a perfect project, and teachers need to keep this thought in mind as they plan what project for their students to complete. Back-up plans should always be at the ready, just in case the moment arises when a project does not turn out as well as one might have hoped. The main point I received from Anthony in this video is to not, intentionally or unintentionally, put limits on students. Limits placed on students have the potential to drastically hinder a student's learning capabilities. If students don't have limits placed upon them, then their potential to learn, and to have fun doing it, it limitless. When teachers create a positive learning environment, students will have a greater chance of being successful. When students are successful, they are proud of their work and will have a higher self-confidence.

iCurio is a great tool that allows students to safely and efficiently search the web for educational material. Web pages and all of their content, videos and pictures alike, are curated and are monitored to ensure their material is appropriate for students.

Discovery Education
Discovery Education is a science and social studies database. Teachers can utilize this database to create interactive lessons for their students. Students can remember material more efficiently when teachers use visual aids and if teachers are able to teach with these interactive lessons. Discovery Education will definitely be a tool that I would implement in my classroom.

The Anthony-Strange List of Tips for Teachers Part 1
The best tip from Anthony and Dr. Strange was that teachers absolutely and without a doubt have to be interested in learning. Students are not the only ones who are learning in the classroom, learning is also a major part of a teacher's life. If a teacher has no interest in expanding their knowledge banks, and learning new techniques in how to best approach their students, then those teachers should find a new profession. As a teacher, I plan to have my students "think outside the box". When students think outside the box, they go beyond the norm and branch out into deeper waters. Questions will be asked that would stimulate the teacher's desire to learn, thus expanding his or her own knowledge bank. Another great tip from Anthony and Dr. Strange was thinking of your desired outcome when planning a project for your students, but as stated earlier, without limiting the students. No one wants to put a damper on a student's learning.

Don't Teach Tech - Use It
I have always felt the best way to teach students is through hands-on experience. This can definitely be seen through "Don't Teach Tech - Use It". In our constantly changing educational world, and the "real world", technology is all around us. Just about everyone in our society, even young children, know how to use some form of technology. The time has come for technology to be necessary in the classroom. However, teachers need to use the technology in their classrooms, not teach it. I feel that it's simple as that. When it's included in the classroom and included in the lessons, the daily exposure will be a great way to teach the technology to their students.

Additional Thought About Lessons
Anthony made the comment that lessons are at least "four layers thick": year, unit, breaking it down, and daily. Lessons are formed based on Standards and have to be completed within the school year. Those lessons have to be planned accordingly and be easily broken down into units of time to complete the lessons within, and then broken into days within the unit lesson. Having this "four layer" formula is essential for any teacher.

Project #7 "This Is My Sentence" Video and "This Is My Passion" Video

"This Is My Sentence" Video

"This Is My Passion" Video"

Sunday, February 9, 2014

C4T #1

Learning Out Loud - Jennifer Brokofsky

"Who dares to teach must never cease to learn."- John Cotton Dana is the welcoming quote to Jennifer Brokofsky's blog Learning Out Loud. From my time exploring her blog, it is evident that Ms. Brokofsky holds this quote dear to her heart, especially as an educator. Each of Ms. Brokofsky's posts are filled with information and invaluable learning tools and techniques that would benefit any teacher of any grade. I feel Ms. Brokofsky to be an outstanding example of how a teacher should constantly explore new and innovative ways to reach his or her students in an attempt to make their learning as successful as possible.

"Building a Culture of Wonder: Inquiry in Primary Education"

Boy looking at a flower
Jennifer was right on target at the beginning of her post "Building a Culture of Wonder: Inquiry in Primary Education". From the moment children learn to speak, "why?" tends to be the #1 question on the tip of their tongue. Why this? Why that? It's more than obvious that children are filled with curiosity, wonder, and imagination, so why not harness that passionate pursuit of knowledge in the classroom? Ms. Brokofsky does just that through her "Wonder Wall". The "wonder wall" is "a place where group questions can be modeled, recorded, shared, and encouraged". Basically, if a student has a question, he or she can place it on the "wonder wall" to be answered at some point by either him or herself, or another student. Through the implementation of other accompanying "wonder" themes such as the "Wonder of the Week", "Wonder Words", and "Wonder Centers", this desire to learn is nurtured, encouraged, and praised on a daily basis, ultimately encouraging the students' desires to learn.

What Do I Take From This?: While I'm not a teacher yet, I can definitely imagine all the questions that a teacher must be asked throughout the course of the day, especially by the much younger kids. I thought the "Wonder Wall" and it's parts to be a great way to channel that inquisitive energy. What better way to get children learning than by fueling that desire to learn? If students don't ask questions, they'll never get answers. The "Wonder Wall" would be a great way to utilize inquiry based lessons into all lessons I would teach.

My Comment to Jennifer Brokofsky's Post "Building a Culture of Wonder: Inquiry in Primary Education" I commented on Jennifer Brokofsky's blog post "Building a Culture of Wonder: Inquiry in Primary Education". In my comment, I introduced myself and I expressed to Ms. Brokofsky how I loved the idea of a "Wonder Wall". I told her how I feel that anything that can increase a student's desire to learn and encourage that learning is always something to be treasured. I also told her that using "Wonder Words" to get minds in gear, along with having a center dedicated to piquing student's curiosity, sounded like the makings of a classroom that facilitates an active learning environment that would help to instill a desire to learn. I'm hoping to get a response from her soon!

Jennifer Brokofsky's Response to My Comment on "Building a Culture of Wonder: Inquiry in Primary Education": I did not receive a reply from Ms. Brokofsky to my comment left on her blog post, but I am still hoping to see any other replies to comments she might have.

"Three Act Math Movies: Candy Colours"
Jack Sparrow hoarding candy jar

The post "Three Act Math Movies: Candy Colours" provided teachers a method of introduction for their students to the mathematical concept of Equality. The "Three Act MathVideo Design" was by Jennifer Brokofsky and Ryan Banow. This lesson design was constructed for Grade 2, but can also be expanded upon for Grade 4. The math problem is in a series of acts: Act 1 - The Problem, Act 2 - Classroom Connections, and Act 3 - The Solution. Act 1 and Act 3 are represented by a video demonstration by children with a brief explanation accompanying it, with Act 2 revolving around the classroom students' attempt to solve the problem. Act 1, "The Problem", begins with "two children are trying to share candies equally. However, they only like to eat certain colours". After watching the two accompanying videos, Ms. Brokofsky provides "key questions" that should be asked. Act 2, "Classroom Connections", begins with Ms. Brokofsky once again providing the "key questions" that should pop into the students' minds. She also provides a list of materials that students may need to to solve the problem "hands-on", while also giving possible equations to go about solving the problem. Act 3, "The Solution", begins with a video showing the solution to the math problem.

What Do I Take From This?: I have always valued "hands-on" types of learning. When a teacher can put a physical representation of a problem in to the hands of his or her students, those students can better understand the problem presented to them. I would implement this design plan to my classroom, not only giving students the candies to actually "see" the math happen, but I would also play the videos relating to the problem as well. While this is a great method for teaching equality in mathematical terms, can go beyond the academic world as well. Teaching children to also be kind to others and to share with others are also important skills that should be taught as well.

My Comment to Ms. Brokofsky's Post "Three Act Math Movies: Candy Colours": I commented on Ms. Brokofsky's post "Three Act Math Movies: Candy Colours". Once again, I introduced myself and also stated that I had commented on another one of her posts. I explained to her how I feel that students can learn very much through "hands-on" activities, especially when those activities require them to learn more than just "the facts". I also told Ms. Brokofsky that teaching children to learn and work collaboratively with one another should be a must in the classroom. If students are unable to work together when they are young, the cooperative skills will be sorely lacking when they get older.

Ms. Brokofsky's Response to My Comment on "Three Act Math Movies: Candy Colours": I have not received a reply to my comment on Ms. Brokofsky's post "Three Act Math Movies: Candy Colours.

Project #3 Presentation

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Blog Assignment #4

Image of teacher and student

Just bear with me for a moment and imagine this situation: You're standing in front of your elementary students, finished up with whatever your topic happened to be for that particular portion of the day. You look around at those bright eyes staring back at you and you're feeling accomplished that you managed to get through the segment with little, to no, interruptions. Even little Johnny managed to go the entire 30 minutes, it seems, without stealing everyone's attention. As you're wrapping up, you ask if anyone has any questions. Silence is your response. Not a hand is raised and you're feeling of accomplishment is dwindling fast. Bright eyes are fading and it looks like Johnny is getting antsy...

Sadly, I've seen this happen numerous times when completing my classroom observations. No teacher ever wants to experience that sort of ear-ringing silence from his or her students, but sometimes it just happens. That type of response doesn't necessarily mean he or she is a "bad teacher", it just means he or she didn't ask the question in "the right way". Ben Jason shares some very valid points in his blog post The Right Way to Ask Questions in the Classroom. One might think that asking questions is just as easy as that, just asking the questions, but there is a lot more to it than just that. This bit of information from Johnson's blog, to me, was probably the most important piece of information a teacher can have in her "toolbox" so to speak. A good question has to be specific, and be able to assess a student's understanding. Whatever question a teacher, or I, will ask in the future to students needs to be thought provoking, engaging, and go beyond a simple "yes or no" answer. As Joanne Chesley says rather matter-of-factly in her video Asking Better Questions, questions need to be "open-ended". In a nutshell, how you ask the question is how you are asking your students to respond.

So we've established that how we ask a question ultimately determines how a student will respond, but, how do we get the response we're looking for? Again, it's all in the how. Questioning Styles and Strategies by ThoughtfulClassroom gives the best description of "how" that I've ever seen. Within this video are absolutely marvelous techniques to go about assessing just how much your students are comprehending, or taking-in, from your lesson. In Hannah Compton's fifth-grade class, the students are currently reading Bridge to Terabithia. I remember reading the book when I was younger, and I hate to say it, but I just couldn't bring myself to really be interested in what I was reading. However, after watching this video, and if I was in the fifth-grade again, I wouldn't mind picking it up and giving it another go. Not only was the instructor asking great open-ended questions that promoted higher-thinking, but he was also coupling those questions with techniques and strategies to make sure that all students were fully engaged. Using techniques such as "think-pair-share", "value-feedback", and "extending responses", the students were actively participating in the discussion and honestly looked to be enjoying it. To me, this was a great example of how learning can be fun for students as well! Being able to participate in the discussion by giving their views and opinions, while receiving positive feedback from the instructor, was wonderful to witness. I could practically see their "wheels turning". Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom even recommends that if a question is a really great question, then keep it!

Giving valuable and helpful responses is also important when asking students questions. Asking Questions to Improve Learning tells us that whenever we respond to a student, that response should "keep the students thinking". Our response(s) should keep their thought processes going, keeping that momentum in top notch. As long as teachers, current or future, go about asking their students questions and giving responses in the "right way", then I feel that the students' success in the classroom will be more easily attainable than ever. Even little Johnny, I bet, won't be able to resist participating with the rest of the class.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Blog Assignment #3

Image of Peer Critique Sticky Notes

At some point in our academic careers, we're all faced with the defining moment of peer editing. Not everyone takes to it very well, maybe even like "fish out of water". Others, I'm sure, may absolutely enjoy peer editing and wish it would have happened more often. I certainly remember in my younger elementary years that this activity was one that many of my classmates considered to be wonderful, and fun, and any other colorful adjective that one could put here. I, on the other hand, did not find this collaborative activity to be enjoyable, not completely anyway. I never did mind being the one to receive the critique, I was the one that never wanted to give the critique. I recall one instance where we were assigned to write a short story. Once we were finished, we passed our paper to our neighbor, and he or she then critiqued what we wrote. This certainly sounds simple enough. While I did enjoy reading other's work, I was afraid of being too nit-picky or domineering in what I thought should be changed. Don't get me wrong, if there happened to be a grammatical error, a misspelling, or some other thing incorrect in the basic elements of my work, I would definitely want to know about it. The real issue that always bothered me was that whatever changes I would recommend to my peer would somehow devalue their work. What I felt, or what you might feel, should be changed about a piece might not be shared or even liked by the writer. I was worried that my opinions on how I felt the assignment could "be better", or what should be changed, would offend that person and I would somehow inadvertently offend them, resulting in one less friend on the playground. Yes, my teacher did tell us the "do's and don'ts" of peer editing and that was all fine and dandy. Now that we're all big boys and girls, I still can't help but to have this same sort of thought process when thinking of critiquing my peer's works.

Like Paige Ellis shared on her blog, I too, was once unsure of just how far I should go when critiquing. Even though I may want the little things pointed out in my work, that doesn't mean this person wants their work dissected in the same way. Paraphrasing what Dr. Strange said in a reply to Ms. Ellis, he says to her that we're going to be future teachers and need to practice. When I eventually become a teacher, I'll have to make that decision when I grade and critique my student's work. Ultimately, being nit-picky is a requirement of being a teacher. We are responsible for building up our students and making them in to better individuals, academically and as growing persons. BUT, there is a right way and a wrong way to going about doing it. Both videos Peer Editing by Youtube user nrpatric, and Writing Peer Review (Peer Critique) TOP 10 Mistakes" by Tim Bedley, along with Adriana Zardini's slide show Tutorial Peer Editing, all go about showing you how to do it correctly, and importantly, keeping your friend on the playground. Zardini and nrpatric give us three great steps to peer editing: compliments, suggestions, and corrections. As long as we can do all three without being what the student's in Tim Bedley's video call "Picky Patty" and without being a lackadaisical "Whatever William", peer critiquing or editing can be a fun and great learning process that students can benefit from greatly. Even though being picky was cast in a negative light, if done in a positive and correct manner, it can do more good than harm.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Blog Assignment #2

Mr. Dancealot

In this dance class, much like many other classes, it's an entirely teacher focused classroom. From the first class to the end, he is the only provider of knowledge of the dances he teaches, while also being the only physical example in the class. Yes, he uses PowerPoint to help teach his dance course, much like most other teachers now a days, but one key element that is sorely lacking in his class is his students' involvement. Throughout each class meeting, not once did his presentation to his students ever venture from that of a lecture, which was evidently non-stimulating. Not once had the students been given the opportunity to practice what they were learning, which is an essential tool in learning to do anything, be it dancing or anything else someone is trying to teach you. The one time a student did get up to try to practice a dance movement, he was reprimanded by Mr. Dancelot saying "I'm trying to teach a dance class". The main message here is that if a teacher does nothing but talk at his or her students, and never gives them the opportunity to practice what they are learning, not only is the teacher not being an effective educator, but the students aren't learning anything that is being taught. The author makes this case by showing how each day the students are in class, it's only lecture taking place. Come the final examination, this will be the first time the students are able to physically attempt the dances they have "learned" throughout the semester and come to find out, it's for their final examination. Classrooms that are 100% focused around lecture time and do not contain a single moment of practice time or do not contain any amount of time for students to practice the skills they are trying to learn, is NOT an effective classroom and fails in teaching, or helping the students to learn, anything within the classroom, and this I can completely agree with. I have had classes in the past in which the only time we were able to practice what was being learned was outside the classroom, and of course without the presence of the instructor to offer any sort of help or feedback to help me improve. This sort of environment is not conducive to a productive and efficient learning environment, and always seem to have caused more harm than good to any student's goal of learning.

Teaching in the 21st Century

I feel Robert's main argument in the video Teaching in the 21st Century is that teachers in this day and age are more focused on teaching how to find and answer questions rather than teaching the answers to the questions themselves. I was reminded of the quote "Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime". Teachers that actually teach their students how to seek and find the information they are looking for, basically the skills needed to find said information, are teaching for the long-haul rather than those who simply teach the answer. While these skills are great tools for all students to possess, we cannot forget that teachers are also the main support system for students' desires to learn, and are the facilitators for creativity, imagination, and just plain ole' "thinking outside the box". If classrooms become solely oriented around technology with the teacher being the main decision maker in the sorts of technology that are used, what websites are visited, and so on, I fail to see this as an optimal learning environment. Being well-versed in the day's technology is all fine and dandy on paper, but what really counts is the teacher's ability to engage his or her students and his or her ability to create in those students a desire to learn. I'll never forget my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Burgess, and how her passion for teaching would shine through with each lesson she taught. It was because of her excitement for us to learn, be curious, and wonder about the world around us that sparked such a desire in me to learn all that I could during her class. She made me question things I had never thought to question and ask questions I would have never thought to ask. While she did use the most up-to-date technology of that time during her lessons, it wasn't the technology she used that made the connection with me. Her energy and enthusiasm that practically overflowed from her when she taught is what made the connection with me. That drive within her as a teacher is something that has the power to outlast any sort of technology that can be used within the classroom.

The Networked Student

To put it mildly, The Networked Student was quite an informative video. I now know that what many of my teachers have made me do in the past would be considered "Connectivism", basically connecting with students and professors online and the student basically being self-taught. My real issue with this video, however, is the creator's opinion of a teacher's purpose in the classroom. I strongly feel that a teacher's purpose in the classroom is to NOT build social networks to provide information to the student; but to spark a sense of creativity within the students, an imagination, or a desire to learn. How can such a philosophy not lead to "group-think" and doom the students forever? With a growing bank of knowledge, there is a potential for a lot of convincing false information to hinder a student's learning. For example, while teachers teach kids how to find credible sources on the internet, what happens when the sources continue to get better and better at proving false information? Take Wikipedia for instance. While teachers may not count Wikipedia as a credible source since anyone and everyone can edit a page's informational content, the general populous not in the academic world does consider Wikipedia a credible source. So my question is, what happens when there is another sort of "Wikipedia" site out there that has finally mastered the art of false information? What good will Connectivism do for students then?

Harness Your Student's Digital Smarts

I commend this teacher in the job well done she as achieved in creating a program that compliments her student's strengths and fueling their desire to think and learn. As what ever teacher should strive to do, she is propelling her students in to higher levels of thinking. Through this higher level of thinking, her students are finding their own rewards and motivation to continue on this path by being independent learners. I will be the first to say that each student learns in their own unique and special way, and to see that this teacher is dedicated to her students enough to satisfy all learning styles is a true testament of her desire to help her students learn all they can.

Flipping the Classroom

Never in my life have I ever heard of "flipping a classroom". This is an absolutely genius idea that should be utilized by all teachers! The idea behind this stroke of genius is to have the student watch a video the night before, which allows the teacher to immediately dive in to the lesson the following day. Rather than spend time going over the lesson in its entirety, since the student will already have some idea of what to expect for the next day, the teacher is able to spend more time focusing on teaching the lesson and answering any questions that the students might have. I can definitely see myself utilizing this in my classroom, and consider this to be a wonderful way to easily integrate technology in the classroom. The only downside would be if a student didn't watch the video, or whatever form of material required outside the classroom, then he or she has a possibility of falling behind within the class. Other than the one concern, I feel this would be a great teaching strategy to implement in any classroom, regardless of the topic being taught. From personal experience, I have learned that the more prepared a student is when entering the classroom, the more likely the student will learn and retain the information taught that day.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Blog Assignment #1

What About EDM310?

This, among other things, has been a heavy question on my mind since the first day of class. I've had several Education classes before, both here and at UA where I previously attended, and know the gist of what is going to happen. I'll be expected to spend time in Elementary schools observing, learning, and hopefully understanding the method behind the madness that is Elementary Education. The bottom line is that the vast majority of these Education courses help mold you into what it takes to be the very best Educator you can be.

But what about EDM310?

What about it? Like many others either in high school or college, I've taken the regular ole' computer course. Usually these courses involve anything from learning to type without glancing at the keyboard, to learning the basic operations of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and maybe even programs such as Photoshop. However, I have never taken a course that solely revolved around "technology in the classroom". I have never had to keep a blog, only having done so on a whim once before and eventually forgetting its existence. I've never been expected to learn any sort of computer code, in EDM310's case being a smidgeon of HTML, or anything pertaining to SMARTboards or other programs such as Prezi. Don't judge me, but I didn't even know what a Prezi was until the previous semester. Yes, I am aware of how pathetic that just sounded. I'm honestly embarrassed to even reveal such a tidbit of information.

I have a friend who had taken this course during the previous semester, and because she is such a wonderful person, she felt the need to tell me just how much of a horror story this class is probably going to be. Those details are as follows, but are not limited to: numerous hours having to be spent outside of class to get necessary work completed accurately and on time (9 hours according to every important document pertaining to the course), having to create and maintain a blog, inevitably feeling overwhelmed with coursework, EDM310's important dates override anything else going on in another instructor's class (if the events happen to be occurring simultaneously). Now, I'm not one to "toot my own horn", but I am kind of knowledgable when it comes to computers, technology, and that sort of thing. I may not have known what a Prezi was, but I really do know a thing or two when it comes to making a computer do what you want it to do, contrary to what I'm sure you are probably thinking thanks to my Prezi comment.

What I think will be the most difficult aspect, and my "fear", about this course is the ::cringe:: group-work (bum, bum, BUM!). I understand there will be times that we as teachers will be required to work collaboratively with one another BUT, (and this is a BIG but), I have never had a positive experience when it comes to group work, especially when said work is for a grade. I know that group-work is meant to help individuals learn to work together as a team, and is meant to help teach those members to contribute to the group's overall success, but when every experience has led me to believe the exact opposite about group-work, I can't help having a negative connotation associated with it. Whenever there is group-work included in a class, I am always the work-monkey who ends up doing the entire project. This is mostly because there is absolutely no way that I am going to allow a preoccupied, and most likely unmotivated, individual to cause the group, and consequently me to fail. In a nutshell, I feel that if someone wants to learn to play as a team, he or she should go play baseball or some other sport instead...not try to gain this skill from doing group-work.

Okay, okay, I am getting off the soapbox now. So how do I plan to work around this necessary, but tedious, hurdle you ask? Hopefully my fellow group members will care as much about being successful in this course as I do. If our views on this happen to differ, then all I can do is the very best I can, make the situation known, and learn as much as I can from the experience. While group-work might not be my favorite, the projects that are in store for us really do seem very interesting and would definitely make for some beneficial knowledge in the near future. I plan to be the sort of educator that takes full advantage of the resources provided in the classroom, and technology is proving to be ever more useful when teaching.

All that's left now is to wonder where to go from here. Are there any unanswered questions I have about EDM310? Are there any monsters left lurking under the bed that I haven't addressed? I don't think so. I feel pretty confident in my abilities to complete what's being asked of me. If all else fails, I have the wonderful lab techs in the EDM310 lab, and my super tech-y, and totally nerdy, husband that can help me out in a crunch. As for where we go from here, I would love to quote Jim Hawkins from Muppet Treasure Island and say, "Wherever the wind may take us!", but that doesn't hold true here. What comes next is listed on the Spring 2014 Master Checklist... I prefer Jim's quote so much more.

I'll leave you with one of my most favorite characters from the film: Fozzie bear as Squire Trelawney with Mr. Bimbo, "the man who lives in his finger".
Image of Squire Trelawney

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Practice Post

My name is Holli and I was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. My major interests are music, art, and I crochet for fun (I know, I sound like an old fuddy-duddy). I found myself here at USA shortly after I got married. My fiancé already had a job in Bay Minette at Quincy Compressor, so instead of finishing my schooling at UA where we met, I moved down here to start our life together and here I am. A little something interesting about me, during my time at UA, I marched in the Million Dollar Band. The two years I marched we had the Shreveport, LA bowl games. Of course, and go figure, the year that I quit marching, we win the National Championship. I had joked for the longest time that if I had quit sooner, then we might have won sooner haha! I have another interesting fact about my family. For starters, when he was younger, my dad was a body builder. He wanted to pursue the professional track, but he stopped shortly after I was born. When he turned 50 and had the well-known "mid-life crisis", he took the hobby back up again. Three years later, my dad won the title of Mr. Tuscaloosa at one of state-wide competitions. Since then, he has placed it on the back burner so to speak. I suppose his reasoning was to "go out on a high note".

Going back to my passions of music, art, and crochet, I have done all three since I was a small child. I learned to play the piano at a young age in elementary school, and stopped after I completed 6th grade. So as a total, I had about 5 years of piano instruction (I know! That's a LONG time!). As far as art goes, I have always loved to do the occasional doodle, but it was not until recently that I took up painting. I find that I enjoy the acrylic and oil paints the best. I would love to be better at it, moving on from doing silhouettes and being able to paint more intricate and complex subjects. Crochet is something I have been doing since I was 12 years old. My grandmother was determined to teach at least one of her 13 grandchildren how to crochet, and I ended up being the only one who stuck with it. I have made numerous blankets, hats, gloves, booties, socks, even knickknacks like iPhone and iPad cases. Pretty much: you name it, I can make it haha, or sit down and take a couple of hours to figure out the pattern. I had always planned to have a booth at one of the local trade-shows that went on closer to Tuscaloosa, but now that I have moved down here, it will have to be put on the back burner for a little while.

I have always had a desire to enter the education field. Even as a young child I would play "teacher" with my dolls or toys, pretending to teach them to add and subtract by using markers on my mirror, which never made my mother very happy ha. I suppose the "big girl" reason I want to be an educator is my desire to mold my students' young minds and to instill in them good moral values and a desire to learn. Ultimately, I want to make a positive impact in their lives, and help shape them into the people they will grow up to be. Learning is a very powerful tool, and if students have a continuous desire to learn, I feel their lives can be enriched and benefitting to them beyond imagine. I am a very big fan of using the arts when making lesson plans and will definitely utilize them with my own students. By using my passions of art and music to reach my students and help them to learn, I feel they will benefit from this far greater than any sort of boring "pencil and paper" routine that, like me and most other students currently, follow(ed) on a daily basis.

Below are some fun pictures I added :) I would have added a crochet picture, but apparently I don't have any at the moment :(

My husband and me at our wedding
My husband and me at our wedding

One of my first paintings. The Little Mermaid was on TV that evening haha!
My first painting

Test Post #2

This is a second test post.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My Test Post Title

This is my very first post! I clicked the HTML button like I should always do in EDM310. I am now a Blogger! Yay me!