Author Archives: marley2017blog

Cut cut cut

Now that I had my pattern, I decided it was time to print it off and begin assembling. I downloaded and printed the guide and actual pattern off. 45 pages later, A+ to me, I printed it off properly, getting the gauge correct the first time.

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Once I look inside the guide, the assembling didn’t seem near as daunting. It seemed simply like a puzzle- assembling the pages in the right order to form the parts of the dress. So, I did that and here it is, I did have to move some furniture to get it to fit in my living room.

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Feeling pretty proud of myself, I decided to soldier on. As you can see from the top picture, I had to pick out my size so that I knew what lines to cut, I did my measurements and figured that out, still feeling pretty good about my abilities.


I started out by cutting this piece. I’ll be honest, I don’t know where it fits in with my dress patternbut it looked like a good, simple one to start with.

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At this point, I really felt like I was cruising, like do I even need to learn anything from anyone about sewing or do I know it all already? Well I was snapped back to reality pretty quickly when I looked at the next piece I was to cut out.

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What is a notch? Why are there dozens of lines intersecting with each other? How am I supposed to know what line to cut into? And what are those solid black dots?

Image courtesy of Pinterest. I couldn’t find any other link. 


I looked on the pattern website and nothing there. So, I proceeded to google and looked up:
-What are notches on a sewing pattern?
-How to cut out notches on a sewing pattern

I found a couple websites through which I eventually figured out that notches indicate where pleats are in the finished garment. Often they are triangle or diamond shaped and you are supposed to make a little cut in the fabric to indicate where they are.

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Image courtesy of The Sewing Coach.

Thank you to the internet, I figured out what notches meant and was able to finish cutting out my pattern. Woohoo! Next step, cutting out the fabric.





Give me a y-a-y for social media!

When I think of social media, I mostly think of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, though after Tuesday’s class, I have come to learn that there are many more platforms, and that social media encompasses more than just certain brands. I myself am not a big social media user but I do know there are many positive effects of it. As my fellow EC&I831 classmate, Joe, suggests, it is important that I take the time to start looking at the all of the good social media can do. I really liked his take on the charity aspects and wider good social media sharing can do.

The first thing that comes to mind as a positive attribute of social media is the ease of connections. Within seconds you can be updated on someone’s life, even if they live across the world. I remember as a kid sending letters to people all over and while I still think there is a place for letter writing, having the ability to communicate with immediacy can allow for closer relationships.

Another positive attribute about social media is the ability to form connections with people we don’t even know, this could entail a myriad of definitions but I am mainly thinking of professional type relationships, such as the ones in this class. It is neat to be able to “meet” people we never normally would have encountered through the internet. Already, I have noticed the beneficial aspects of this through a platform such as twitter. In using our hashtag, I have read several articles, that I wouldn’t have encountered otherwise. Now, that’s not necessarily changing the world but its changing the perspective of at least one person and that’s better than nothing! Since I have never used twitter, it’s kind of amazing to me, the power of having our ideas accessible to millions of users quickly and without much publicity effort. Of course, I knew all of this before, I have just never experienced it.

Social media platforms also allow everyone to be able to form connections with public personalities. One that I am thinking of is Pope Francis. When has the world ever been offered such an immediate and close glimpse into His Holiness’ thoughts and teachings? NEVER. I myself have used His tweets with my students and the general student body in my school. Being able to have his point of view accessible to us daily sends out a stronger message for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. It allows us to hear words of wisdom without having to wait for public appearances and long news articles.

Looking at this from much simpler terms, which I think we need to do at times, social media can sometimes just be a place for us to see and learn about positivity: news clippings that make us smile, a cute picture, funny meme, inspirational photo or whatever it may be. And yes, I know people will say Marley there’s so much garbage and dumb things and negativity. Of course, there are, but I also find sometimes a person just has to suspend reality and choose to look at the positive. I might not follow the most intellectual things on Instagram or read the worldliest news stories but sometimes the things I choose to engage in uplift my mood, give me motivation for that extra-long run or are just genuinely good and nice to share with my students.

Instagram Photo

This brings me to my last point about the great things in social media: my students. While the only social media I consistently do is Seesaw (which I love), it has been nice to be able to share things with them through whatever platform I come across. In the past students and I have watched Olympic clips, we have learned about wildlife, different types of classrooms around the world and since starting this class, I have come across a tweet of a baby elephant learning to walk, which my kids will love. Granted, not all of this has been done through social media but it has offered us some opportunities to experience a world outside of our classroom.


Finding a Pattern

Major Digital Project- [after too long a break] I am back! As I mentioned, I chose to do a patterned sewing activity for my major project. To get started, I decided

  1. I needed to sew something I would be really excited to have as an end product, because I knew that otherwise there was a strong chance my frustration would outweigh my desire to complete.
  2. I also figured that this project should have some sort of financial investment for me because that too is like a carrot dangling for me (I hate waste). skirt
  3. I also had to accept that the pattern had to be a perfect level difficulty wise. So I was humming and hawing, searching a few of my favourite craft websites for inspiration or something that would seem like a treat for me, I couldn’t really seemto find a good balance. Either projects seemed too easytoo boring or too complicated. I was starting to feel like Goldilocks.

Four straight sides, wouldn’t follow my rules. But I do love skirts. Image courtesy of Colette patterns.

giphy2I decided to take my search to Fabricland in Northgate Mall.  I was thinking okay this is perfect, I’ll get a hard copy of a pattern and won’t have to worry about assembling it like I would have if I bought it online. But disappointingly enough, I didn’t find anything that would fit my criteria. This was getting to be a bit panicsome.

Me wondering why I didn’t think this through more. Via Giphy.

But I guess the stars aligned because I received an interesting package in the mail from my parents. In late August, I had ordered some fabric online and had it delivered to my parent’s house in Palm Springs, long story short, my Delivery Man Dad had been able to pick up and mail it to me in Regina in time! Now at least, I had some fabric.

I worry too much. Via Giphy

I have learned a few things about Instagram and the accounts I follow. One thing I have figured out is hashtags. I knew from following a fabric account called Cotton and Steel that they sometimes have hashtags for certain fabrics. On a whim, I searched the name Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 9.35.40 AMof the fabric (#magicforestfabric) I ordered, thinking I would just get just some ideas for what I could make with it. Well, lo and behold, I found a dress with the exact same fabric and there were even links on the account where I could find the pattern. After looking at the pattern online, it seemed like something I could figure out, there was interfacing…something I never really have figured out the meaning of and I would have to print and assemble the pattern myself, but what did I care?! I found a perfect pattern for perfect fabric. I added it to my cart and bought it. Next step: printing!


Teaching in the Digital Age 2

Now there are certainly positives things about teaching in the digital age, they may or may not even outweigh the negative effects I outlined in my previous post. What really got me thinking in the article “Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0” was the idea of a learning community online, and how virtually anyone can become a part of one. In pre-digital area, a person often had to be a certified expert before teaching or engaging in deeper conversation about a topic whereas with the internet and the ability to be connected with the world, any type or knowledge-level of a person can be engaged in conversation or learning about a topic. AND this would be even truer now, considering this article was published almost 10 years ago! I liked the idea of learners being a part of learning rather than just an observer or listener of learning. It reminds me of the way I have shifted my teaching, of course I have my moments of instruction where I am directly teaching a concept to my students, but I have found when I can have them do some of the teaching or the level of thinking to which I am guiding them to, they are all so much more engaged. This also extends to group learning- through which the majority of my day is spent teaching: students collaborate and work with each other in an attempt to meet the learning outcomes.

I watched the video RSA Animate: The Power of Networks, and I found it really interesting. There were a lot of points in it where I had to pause, think about the information being presented before resuming. I think a lot of what was said is true: nowadays we are all interconnected. Learning, knowledge and teaching is not so hierarchical. This is powerful as it gives all of us the ability to learn from and teach one another. I don’t think a lot of us, myself included, realize just how connected we truly are.

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Courtney of YouTube.

The final points Manual Lima (the speaker) makes at the end about how we need to think differently really made me think “ah I get it, or at least half get it.” And that is one thing with digital teaching that I struggle with, thinking differently to incorporate it in my teaching and my own professional learning. Our school division has really been pushing the use of the SAMR model in our teaching, encouraging us to incorporate more technology and making it more beneficial for our students. This is really hard for me to “wrap my head around.” There is so much to cover in the curriculum and now we have to come up with tasks to make technology make the experience even richer? I guess it will continue to take more creative thinking and attempting to think, what feels like, on a different level. I know our society is changing and I always say teachers need to adapt their teaching, I guess it is up to me to include technology in that as well!


Image courtesy of Hooked on Innovation.

Teaching in the Digital Age

Wow, do I ever have a lot to say about teaching in the digital age. Most of what I have to say is concerns. I think technology is a wonderful thing and can enhance our lives for the better in so many ways, but I also think society does not recognize the detrimental effect it can have. As well, I’d like to note, that I am writing this before reading any of Alec’s articles, I thought I would write first, then read and add or write a new post depending on how I feel afterwards.

One of my concerns about teaching in the digital age is health related. I think we as a society spend way too much time staring at screens. There have been so many studies showing the negative affects of hours of screen time, the main one that bothers me is overstimulation. With other Masters work, I have done reading and ironically viewing on how children cannot often even process everything coming at them from screens as there are too many images, everything on the screen is moving too fast. This overstimulation then translates to behaviour afterwards: lack of self-control, distractedness, sleep disruption. Much of the screen time students have is at home, so we are feeling these effects in the classroom. As well, we are often pressured to incorporate more and more technology in the classroom.

Another concern I have with teaching in the digital age is what I find, the lack of wonder and fascination all this technology has created. I have noticed in my classroom that it takes a lot for students to be fascinated by the simple things in life. I have done little tests and it always takes them a few weeks, sometimes a couple of months to be interested or wowed by the activities I plan in my class. An example of this would be practicing their sight words with manipulatives instead of a tablet game that has flashing pictures, sounds and bright colours. I think in many ways we are all prone to needing fancy things to grab our attention or impress us and, in many cases, those fancy things are so neat but there are also so many interesting things just outside our front door or on our bookshelves.

This is a video passed along to me by Dr. Patrick Lewis from one of the Early Childhood classes I took with him.




Social media in school…the yays and nays

I need to start by saying that I used to be TOTALLY against social media in the classroom. Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 6.43.12 PM.png* It just seemed like a lot of work, to learn, to set up, to maintain, to gain permission from parents, to find something effective…clearly I could go on. Then when I moved to my previous school, we had the task of sending parent emails every day. This was arduous at first but I grew to like it as, with these emails I knew parents were always kept up to date with their child’s education, therefore, they were be able to support them and also, there was never an opportunity for parents to be surprised with report cards or anything (and if they were, it was because they didn’t keep up). After two years of emails, I felt like I could start branching out, I saw a lot of teachers doing things like twitter with their class or blogs. Perhaps a website isn’t considered social media but that is what I did last year and that felt like a huge step for me. This year, I took an even bigger jump and started a Seesaw account with my students. That is largely what I will base my social media in the classroom experiences on for this blog post. Whether or not it counts as social media…I am not sure but I am saying yes.

*Image courtesy of imoji. And that girl is how I pictured myself saying no to social media in the classroom several years ago.

Now, I have to say, it was still enough work for me to learn Seesaw on my own, to set up, and I spent enough time wording my parent permission forms in order to try and sway them all to agree to using it. So I guess my initial reservations proved true. I do not consider myself a lazy teacher but I also think it’s important that we as teachers are conscious of the extra time we put in (teacher burnout is REAL). I digress. I teach Grade One, so we are still learning how to use it. I will admit, even with all my Friday night and Saturday afternoon practicing that there were a couple “oh wait it’s not that button we press, oops” while I was trying to show them how to use it. I am trying to be more patient and open about using class time to show students how to use it, but I do find myself frustrated at times that we have already spent a good 1.5 hours learning what Seesaw is, why we keep in touch with our parents, practicing loading things on our profiles, talking about being good digital citizens and that we still don’t have the procedures down. I am not saying I am at all surprised that we aren’t there yet, I am just really hoping to see the positive benefits of my version of social media in the class.

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All of my students and I signed this pledge. Image courtesy of Seesaw.

Now that I have been teaching for a while and have really changed my teaching style, I can definitely see the positive benefits of social media in the classroom. A huge portion of my program is parental involvement, and not the kind where they are in my classroom doing my job, in my space, more that they are informed, that they are able to support their child to succeed in Grade One and that parents can learn what my philosophies of early childhood education are. Of course, I think the main drawback that would come to mind when one is discussing social media in the classroom is crazy people finding children or, if parents and teachers are not carefully monitoring, poor internet behaviour among youth. I do not deal with older children so, though I have many opinions, I will not discuss that one. I will touch on the crazy people though, my current philosophy is that we, as teachers, just need to be careful how we present the information online:
-do we link pictures with names?
-do we say exactly where our school is located?
-do we make our communication tool searchable and open?
To give myself and parents peace of mind, I have done none of these. I know many of the fears presented by parents and teachers are largely magnified and unnecessary however I figure why not be proactive? So far, I have had no flack from parents or administration. And I am able to sleep at night.

Anyway, back to the positive benefits of social media. For the primary grades, I think it is so important to give children pride in themselves, in their abilities and accomplishments, so I am always trying to install these values in my students. With Seesaw this year, I am hoping to use for both myself and children communicating with their families, giving children the opportunity to show off their hard work and for parents to pump their children up with everyday activities (once students are able to use it independently ha ha).

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Here my student said a short message (but this is just a screenshot) of what she did in her work. They are all still a bit shy with narrating.

I am really excited to use my version of social media in the classroom this year, I think if we all (myself, parents and students) keep up with it, it has the potential to be very beneficial for students, families and myself. And I must say I am so proud of myself for figuring and trying it out!