Wunderlist

This week in CEP 810, we were asked to explore at least 2 types of technology that could help us “Get Things Done”.  I was very excited to check out some different technologies in order to choose the best one that fit my needs.  The two that I chose to explore were Evernote and Wunderlist.

wunderlist
Wunderlist (image taken from wunderlist website)

I ended up choosing Wunderlist to help me get things done.  The reason for this is that I have always made my “to-do” lists with a paper and pen and Wunderlist was pretty similar.  There is just something about crossing off my tasks that gives me a sense of accomplishment.

IMG_2455 IMG_2456

Wunderlist is simple, can be accessed from any device, and still gives me the same satisfaction when finished with a task.  One thing I wish that was included in Wunderlist is the ability to attach things like in Evernote.  I believe it is available, just not in the free version, and it just doesn’t fit my budget right now.  I am excited to continue using Wunderlist and have hope that it will help me stay organized and get things done.  I encourage you to check out Wunderlist to see if it fits your needs!  Here is a tutorial to help get you started!

Keep Calm and Cast On – NLP Entry #2

A couple weeks into my Networked Learning Project and I am feeling a little bit relieved.  I had decided that I wanted to knit an infinity scarf.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I bought all of the materials LAST winter and just never got around to starting it.  After my CEP810 course asked us to choose something we have always wanted to learn, I thought this was my perfect chance to give it a go!  After lots of research watching YouTube videos and discovering help forums, I have come a long way in just a few short weeks!

First, I began by looking through different infinity scarf patterns using ravelry.com to get some idea of what I wanted my scarf to look like.  I started my project already having size 15 needles and 3 spools of yarn that were purchased last year.  IMG_2336A few different forums recommended a size 17 needle or bigger.  One blog I found, stated that a smaller needle than the recommended one would work, the scarf just wouldn’t be AS chunky as the one that was displayed.  I was okay with that and just wanted to get started right away!  Both raverly.com and the blog contained a lot of information but seemed very overwhelming to me.  It was more difficult for me to follow along so I looked to YouTube for help.

I kept coming back to this one video that I mentioned in my previous post.  The woman in the video goes slow enough that I can keep up.  I am a IMG_2418very visual learner and the way the camera was angled I could see the lady’s hands just as mine were displayed while watching the video.  I decided to follow along with the lady in the video, however I decided on my own number of casts based on the width I wanted for my scarf.  It took me about 10 tries of casting on in order to determine the amount that I felt was exactly what I had intended.  I ended up with 25 cast on’s in order to get started.

Now that I had casted on, I needed to know how to actually knit.  When looking at the forums I kept getting confused with the number of knits and pearls that each pattern had suggested.  I was getting very frustrated and overwhelmed with all of the different suggestions.  I am a visual learner and when I watch someone first and repeat their steps, I tend to get the hang of it a bit more.  The video was definitely the most helpful and  I continued to watch it and started working on an “English stitch”.  This seemed to be the easiest for me and once I got the hang of it, I found it to be fun and relaxing.

Something that I definitely got stuck on was slipping the stitch off to begin my next row.  The ends of my scarf look different at the beginning and I think that is due to the way my hands were placed when slipping the stitch off.  After halfway through, I got my hands and the stitch to be consistent and it looked much neater.

IMG_2460.JPG
Slip stitch at the beginning.
IMG_2462.JPG
Slip stitch once I got the hang of things.


IMG_2454I am now done with one spool of yarn and ready to begin another.  I have already been looking up some forums on how to conjoin the two pieces of yarn and make it as unnoticeable as possible.  One forum gives a suggestion of what to do and another YouTube video has given me some insight on it as well.  I am so excited to finish my scarf and be able to put it to use!

Social Media

This week in CEP 810, I was able to explore many different social media sites.  I learned different ways of connecting with people and how to use these social media sites to benefit and enhance my teaching practices.  It was a great opportunity to play and engage in these different materials online, reading articles, tweeting to professionals or retweeting things that I found interesting in hopes to engage in meaningful conversations with others.  Listed below are a few of the social media sites I have used and how I think they will benefit my professional practices.


popplet

Popplet – I created a Personal Learning Network using Popplet, however, while doing this I could see Popplet’s that were created by other’s and posted in the public forum.  I took this opportunity to look at some of those and got great ideas on how I can use Popplet in my classroom.  For example, I saw a Popplet about the stages of growth a pumpkin goes through.  This is a great learning activity for my kindergarten students to engage it!

twit

Twitter – I established a Twitter account back in my undergraduate courses at MSU but never really got into using Twitter all that much like I did Facebook and Instagram.  Today, I got to log back into my old account @BrownL06 look at my old posts, the people I already followed, but also added my new CEP 810 classmates, tweet #CEP810, but also explore THREE educational #’s.  Today I chose to read a little bit on #MichEd, #edtechchat, and #kindergarten.  This was a wonderful way for me to get reintroduced to the Twittersphere and get involved!  I added a few more people to follow and am really looking to utilize Twitter this year to expand my PLN and establish connections, engage in conversation, make myself question and most importantly think.

flipFlipboard – Another topic we discussed and explored this week was about an RSS aggregator.  I chose to explore Flipboard.  The reason I chose Flipboard is because I have had a little background on it.  I downloaded it a couple of years ago, but never really utilized it.  After spending 20 or so minutes today, choosing topics relating to the teaching profession I began reading different articles, seeing different technologies I had never used before or even knew about.  I instantly got pulled in and wanted to keep reading, craving information and learning more with each article I came across.  Flipboard is an app and therefore much more accessible for me.  I tend to have my cell phone or iPad with me 24/7, whereas my laptop usually stays at home during the day, thus not giving me the access to any RSS sites that are not available on app yet like The Old Reader (however, I did create an account on there as well so that I have access to yet another source from my laptop).

The point to me listing all of these technologies we used this week, is that when completing my assignment for CEP 810, I came across other technologies that will definitely enhance my professional practice and further my learning.

Some of the new technologies I learned about and am very excited to start using are:

evernote

Evernote – a place where I can store all my stickies and come back to it on any device.

seesawSeesaw – an online portfolio to keep my student’s work organized and wellmanaged.

remindRemind – At the beginning of the school year, my colleagues that I currently teach with suggested using the Remind app in order to quickly communicate with parents.  I must say that I am only 2 weeks into the school year and feel as though my school to home communication is wonderful all because of this app.  I am able to quickly send reminders to the whole class or write a tidbit to just one parent using the chat tool.  I absolutely LOVE this new app and am so glad I found out about it.  Remind definitely saves me a lot of time because I am not writing out notes anymore but can type them!  Give it a try, it’s FREE and I know we all love hearing the word FREE!


As you can see, within one week, my personal learning network has expanded and I have gained a tremendous amount of new information.  I can’t wait to start really using these different tools and technologies!

I would love to hear of new technologies that you may have.  Please comment and share with me!

PLN: Personal Learning Network

popplet
Picture taken from the blog post “How to Make a Popplet, A Collaborative Mind Mapping Tool” by Gabriel Peters Lazaro.
Personal Learning Network
My Personal Learning Network using Popplet.

While completing week 3 of my CEP 810 course, we were asked to create a personal learning network of our very own using a new technology resource called Popplet.  The objective of the task was to include all the places that I go for information.  Before getting started, I thought I was going to have a difficult time, however I have had prior experience using Popplet in

undergrad.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I remembered from the past when creating a Popplet for my PLN.  Once I got started, my personal learning network quickly expanded.

I would say this is my “finished product” however, when completing this project, I realized I can’t say that and I never will.  My PLN is an ongoing network that I will continuously be adding to.  I am only in my third year of teaching and have already created a lot of connections.  I am excited to look back at this later on and see how much more I can add to it then!

On another note, creating a Popplet was really fun and different aside from drawing out these bubble maps by hand.  If you are interested in using Popplet yourself,  watch this YouTube video for help in getting started!

A Knack for Knitting?

This week in my CEP 810 course, we were challenged to pick something that we have always wanted to learn about or do.  I have chosen to knit an infinity scarf.  The inspiration behind this is that I had bought the materials LAST WINTER and just never got around to even trying to learn how.  The materials sat inside a box that was covered up with the lid and never pulled out since I had purchased it that one cold day last December.  Sad, I know.  I like to blame it on the fact that there just isn’t enough time in the day, however, I just had three months off for summer break and still never got the urge to pull it out and attempt to learn.  When given this assignment, I instantly got excited and ran over to my box and tore the lid off just to make sure all of my materials were still there.  Let’s just say it didn’t roll away, and I was left with three balls of yarn and size 15 needles.

IMG_2336

I then hopped onto the computer and instantly went to YouTube to research knitting.  Believe it or not, the first video I clicked on had more than enough information regarding how to begin to knit.  What was even better is that the lady in the video went step by step and slow enough that I could understand her and could take the time to attempt at beginning my project.  I continued to define my search on YouTube to ‘how to knit an infinity scarf for beginners’  and stumbled upon a few more videos that are listed below:

How to knit an infinity scarf for beginners

DIY: Knitting an Infinity Scarf

I am so excited to begin this journey on learning how to knit an infinity scarf.  Now that it is an assignment for school I do not have the excuse that there is not enough time in the day.  Well there is no time like the present, so looks like I will sign off and begin my journey at creating an infinity scarf!  Look for updates to see if I really do have a knack for knitting.

Learning, Understanding, and Conceptual Change

This week in CEP 810, our assignment was to read a few chapters from Bransford, Brown & Cocking’s (2000) How People Learn and to write an essay that explored our own understandings of learning, understanding, and conceptual change.  A copy of my essay can be found here. To summarize my writing, I talked about the differences between learning and understanding and how they both have an impact in the classroom setting.  As a kindergarten teacher, I find that my students are always learning new things, but I am left curious as to whether or not they actually understand it.  I found that I need to be more hands on in my teaching, giving their learning a purpose, and also allow the students to engage in trial and error processes.  I want to see my students move from novice learners up the ladder to expert learners.  I want for my students to find patterns and chunks that make it easier to recall information when needed.  This assignment has opened my eyes to want to provide that motivation and opportunities for students to succeed and gain usable knowledge.