What Lies Ahead…?!

At the beginning of the semester, for my ECMP355 learning project I decided to do calligraphy. Here is a link to one of the very first blog posts I made demonstrating my knowledge and where I was at before starting this learning journey! It was exciting to have the opportunity to learn something new based on your own interests.

I have been wanting to learn calligraphy for a while now and I’m happy to say that I feel as though I have improved from my daily hand writing, in my notes and sketchbooks, to actually knowing how to write in different forms/fonts of calligraphy with multiple mediums including pen, sharpies, brush pen and water colours.
Hand Lettering with a brush pen is also something I learned how to do throughout my learning project. I found it challenging at first, but I’m glad that I decided to take my learning project in a different direction by discovering and learning how to do calligraphy and hand lettering in a variety of ways, while using different mediums to create my pieces.

For my learning project I mainly used Instagram, Pinterest and  YouTube as resources to not only watch clips or videos on how to do calligraphy, hand lettering and brush lettering with water colours. These social networking platforms also gave me the inspiration to do my work and allowed me to connect with others.

Online Resources:

Throughout my learning project I followed two YouTube channels that helped me get started on calligraphy and also provided weekly videos on how to do certain techniques, using different types of pens or brushes and mediums.

How to Hand Letter: Easy Tutorials from Beginner to Pro!
– I enjoyed this YouTube channel as the lady would give basic instructions and describe each step slowly so it was easy to follow along. One thing that was interesting is how she also introduced how to do Hand Lettering on an iPad.

K Werner Designs is also another YouTube channel that I followed. I enjoyed how Kristina made a short video clip introducing herself and her card making business. Her channel featured a weekly post, where she would record herself doing some basic tips on how to do hand lettering. She would create videos based on the feedback she received from her followers and would give advice/answer questions or concerns that people may have encountered during their calligraphy work.

Here is a YouTube video of Kristina’s that I watched in order to help me with blending during my time learning how to do brush lettering with water colours.
More Brush Lettering: Blending with Tombow Markers – Kristina Werner

Hand lettering is definitely something I enjoy and hope to continue doing in the future, as it is calming and relaxing. My goal is to continue using and evolving the skills I have learned, as well to share my work and knowledge of it with others.
Here is one of my last pieces I decided to do expressing what I have learned not only through this course semester, but throughout my entire Educational Journey. Coming to a closure of my Education Degree, I have realized that my life is constantly changing and evolving based on the things I encounter daily.
“Learn for yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow” – Albert Einstein

These wise words give me confidence as I go into my teaching years. Not only is it important for me as an educator to help my students learn, but it is also important for me to learning alongside with my students.
The colours I used with a brush pen for this hand lettering piece are some of my favourite colours that are also known as tertiary colours because of how they blend and make a combination of primary (blue) and secondary (purple and pink) colours. I took the time to also edit my work once again with Microsoft Word’s Photo Gallery Picture Editing program. I decided to changed the back ground colour and lighten the hand lettering so that the colours would “pop” on the page                                                                  and look brighter.

Peers:

Throughout the course of ECMP355, something I appreciated was being able to look at the progress that my peers made who also chose to do calligraphy, hand lettering or brush lettering similar to my learning project idea. Thank you to Becca Bennet, Brooke Stewart, and Kaitlyn Schmidt who also contributed to my learning, for the peer-support and who gave me inspiration to my work.

What I Learned About Myself:

I found that it is important to realize that “practice makes perfect” and that it takes time to create art work that is appealing to the eye. I realized that I cannot be a perfectionist when it comes to calligraphy and hand lettering. I need to be creative with my pieces, reflect and connect them to my life, in order to make them different and stand out.
Here is my final piece that describes the direction in which my life is heading.
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.”
– Jeremiah 29:17

This Bible verse reflects on my Faith and how I know that He has a plan for me. I believe that God will provide for me, and will give me hopes and dreams that will fulfill my destined future given by Him. The wheat sheave signifies my cultural background, being born and raised in Saskatchewan. I am hoping that a part of His plan for me is to receive news on getting a teaching contract in Regina, as it is my plan to stay here and be near my loved ones.

Final Thoughts:

I plan to increase my knowledge on calligraphy and hand lettering as I came across a video on how to do hand lettering using Crayola markers. I find that this will be cheaper and easier to access the materials needed. I also found that it is possible to learn how to do many things by only using technology. For my calligraphy learning project, I mainly relied on watching YouTube videos and looking at other’s work on Instagram and Pinterest. Once I learned how to do hand lettering, I was able to acquire my own unique style and was able to create work based on just looking at something!

Thank you Katia for giving us the opportunity to engage and learn something of our own interest, while using technology and online resources, during our ECMP355 course. I have learned that I not only can incorporate and use technology in the classroom daily to engage my students in their learning, but I also can use technology for my own learning of new things.

Thanks for following my journey, until next time!

Water Colours & Brush Lettering

Something new that I have decided to do this week is going into more details with water colours and using brush lettering to highlight my letters, with blending and shadow effects. I found that it is quite easy to blend letters by using the same medium (coloured pens, sharpies, calligraphy brushes, etc.) and adding a drop of water to the transition from one letter to the next. I find that this is more effective, easier to do, and also lessens cost expenses (from purchasing inks).

In these photos of my calligraphy work, I changed the filter in order to create a “pop” in colours. The yellow flower represents that “Some days you just have to create your own sunshine,” in order to enjoy a good day and have positive outcomes to it.

 

In my second piece, I tried changing the filter so that the red berries would accent my calligraphy work as well as my Educational Journey in how I believe that;
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”  – Lao Tzu

 

Some videos that I watched on YouTube to help me with my brush pen and water colours are below:
Creating Color Gradient Effects: Using Watercolours and Brush Pens
– How to Hand Letter: Easy Tutorials from Beginner to Pro!
Watercolor Calligraphy for Beginners – JetPens Pen Pals
Watercolor Brush Lettering: Using a Light Pad – Kristina Werner Designs

Words of Encouragement

I started my learning project doing calligraphy based on the hand-writing skills I already have, as well by looking off of quotes I searched online (Google- “Calligraphy Inspirational Quotes”) or on Pinterest. After some research, I realized that most of my calligraphy work is done by hand-lettering in an elegant calligraphy font, or a common font known as faux calligraphy. I came across my friend Kaitlyn Schmidt’s blog and realized that she also decided to do calligraphy for her learning project. Here is the link to her blog post on Learning Faux Calligraphy, where she gives simple step-by-step instructions of the process on how to do faux calligraphy.

Elegant Calligraphy                                       Faux Calligraphy

 

 

 

 

 

A great resource that Katilyn shared in her blog post was a website that gives basic steps, a video and practice sheets on How to Make Faux Calligraphy.

The 3 Steps Include:
1. Writing the Word or Phrase
– You can do this by using a pencil/pen to outline the word first, or by going over it with a thin tip sharpie.

2. Add the Down Strokes
– Down strokes are when you pull your pen down when writing a letter.
Learning Tip: If you are having trouble figuring out when to a down stroke, practice writing the word in the air first and take note of anytime your hand comes down. Whenever your hand comes down, that means in place of a regular stroke, you are going to do a down stroke.

3. Fill in the Down Strokes
– Once you’ve drawn all your down strokes, fill them in with your pen.

 

Here are some examples of how I did some Elegant and Faux calligraphy by doing a basic hand-lettering first then going over it with a brush and some water colours.
I chose to write some simple phrases and from there did a pencil sketch of my hand-lettering. In the “Enjoy today” piece I went over my calligraphy work with a brush and water colours.

“Be true to who you are”
This piece looks simple, and yet has great meaning to me. In the past I have struggled with my self-identity and how others portray me. I realize that I need to start taking some of my own advice, that I give to my students. It is important as individuals to be proud of who we are, stay true to ourselves and see how we are all unique in our own ways!

As you can see in my work above, I took the time to edit them through Words’ Photo Gallery program. I only did the basics as I am new to this program and making edits on pictures I have taken or on the work I have done. I edited the colours to make them more vibrant, not only to portray my personality, but also to depict the beautiful water colours used. Something else I discovered was using the touch-up brush tool, which allowed me to highlight and take out the bobby-pin from the butterfly hair clip in each photo.

A resource that I found and watched on YouTube to help me with forming my hand-lettering is below:
How to Form Modern Letters in Calligraphy- The Anatomy of a Letter
– How to Hand Letter: Easy Tutorials from Beginner to Pro!

Summary of Learning

Check out Dakota Browne and Stacey Baran’s Summary of Learning Project for our ECMP 355 course at the University of Regina with Katia Hildebrandt.  This course was great and we gained many resources, knowledge, and #edtech tools from it. We had a blast making this video. Hope you enjoy!
Note: Many of my (Stacey’s) answers do not reflect what I actually learned from this course. Many of my answers are jokes.
Answers provided in the video by myself are the true learning of Dakota and I.

Contributing to the Learning of Others

As the semester comes to an end, one of my final reflections for ECMP 355 course asked me to think about how I’ve contributed to the learning of others throughout the semester. This also includes what others have helped me learn!

My classmate Dakota Browne explains how she believes that, “one of the best ways for students to learn is by teaching and learning from each other.” I agree with her completely, as being collaborative with peers, asking questions and having discussions with them is a productive way of learning. It is easy for students to share with each other their experiences and knowledge on certain topics or subject areas. I find all my peers an inspiration, as they assist me alongside my educational journey with including technology in the classroom. From the content that I learned throughout ECMP 355, I feel more confident with incorporating technology into my lesson plans, activities and daily routines.

As part of my “technological journey” during ECMP 355, I have contributed to the learning of others in this course through the basic platforms that Katia set for us. These social media tools include our classes Google+ Community, my twitter (@stacey_baran), WordPress, and personal interactions.

Google+ Community:
Near the beginning of this semester, I introduced myse
lf in our ECMP355 Google+ Community as it was a way to get to know my classmates who also were enrolled in this course. During the process of setting up my Gmail account, I made a post asking about how I can upload a photo for my profile picture. I got a quick response, giving steps on how to do so. I also filled out a poll for a peer’s learning project, giving my opinion as to what colours of yarn she should use. I am thankful that throughout the course I was able to go to this platform for answers to questions that I may have had, share similar experiences with the “technology struggles” and also tried my best to help my classmates out by answering their questions in return.

Twitter:
I will admit, I was not looking forward to creating a Twitter account for this course. I have had past experiences where I struggled with staying in the 140 characters per tweet and the proper terminology for “twitter users.” I overcame my fear though, of having another social media page to look at and keep up with daily. Only with four months of having a twitter account I am proud to say that I am following over 100 people and in return I have 82 followers (even though most of them are my ECMP355 classmates).

To my realization though, Twitter is a quick and easy way for us as teachers to find resources. For this course particularly, I managed to find EDTech resources, articles and infographics to not only benefit myself (and put into my technology resource pocket), but also for my peers, classmates and those who are following me.
An example below shows how I had a conversation over twitter with a classmate in relation on figuring out how to retweet someone.
And last, but not least, a great way for educators in the province of Saskatchewan to have conversations (tweet) and share resources and information is in #SaskEdChat. This is beneficial, as it gives pre-service teachers the opportunity to connect with experienced educators who are willing to share from their teaching experiences.

 

WordPress:
One way that I contributed to the learning of others through my WordPress blog was sharing technology resources that would link to relevant articles, websites, pictures, videos, etc. in order to share the process and understanding I had about various topics. I created a variety of posts that were available for everyone to see and linked classmates posts into my own blog posts when I could relate to what they were saying and could add my own thoughts and resources regarding the topic being discussed.

Commenting on other people’s blogs is something that I enjoyed doing, as I could see what my classmates were doing for their learning projects and would comment on their progress, encourage and relate to them based on my personal experiences with some of what their learning projects were focused on (knitting, baking, calligraphy, etc).

Personal Interactions:
Throughout the semester, I would discuss with my peers and check in with them on how their learning project and blog posts were coming along. Thank you to Amy Klassen, Brittany Jefferson, and Sarah Munro for being an inspiration to me in having a positive attitude and perseverance in finishing our last semester of our Education Degree strong! A special thanks goes out to my friends, Brooklynn Johnson, Dakota Browne and Kaitlyn Schmidt, who have helped me along my Education Journey (not only in this course, but throughout my whole degree).

P.S. A little Bonus Resource:
I feel there is more that I can do to contribute to the learning of others. Recalling back from the beginning of the semester, Katia was introducing Twitter to us and shared a link of someone who accumulated a LARGE list of educational hashtags. I decided to sift through that list and made a word document listing #EdHashtags that I find can be more useful for us as new educators.

Learning to Code

Learning how to code is important to teach students as it prepares them for the digital world that we live in today. There are many jobs that use coding directly, such as web designers and software developers. Knowing how to code is a huge asset to these occupations. But there is a deeper meaning as to why it is important to teach children how to code.
So what is Coding?
“Coding (also called programming or developing) is telling a computer, app, phone or website what you want it to do. Some educators and experts are calling it the ‘new literacy’—a subject so important that every child needs to know the basics to excel in our rapidly changing world.” – Erik Missio

Within the article Why Kids Should Learn To Code (And How To Get Them Started) – CBC, Erik Missio gives certain reasons as to why students would benefit from learning how to code:
1. Understanding Code Helps Explain The World
– Living in a digital world, using technology or “computing” is almost involved in all aspects throughout our daily lives. Examples are using technology as a communication device (texting on cell phones), social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat), online banking, online shopping and the list goes on.
– As educators, it is important to use technological tools in the classroom to engage students while still learning and inspiring children to be creative with their work.

2. Learning To Code Develops Problem Solving And Computational Thinking Skills
– The skills that come with computer programming help kids develop new ways of thinking and fosters problem-solving techniques

3. Coding Allows Kids To See What’s In Social Media
– Educating students on being aware of what social media presents in society is important, An example of this would be focusing on an issue in the community and leading discussions based on the topic.

4. Coding Is Fun!!
– Coding allows students to be creative and express themselves in a variety of ways.
– They can demonstrate their learning through video recording on YouTube, creating a video game, website, and more!

(And last, but not least… there is)
5. A Need For Programmers

A website that teachers can use to introduce students to coding is SCRATCH. Scratch uses a learning programming text to create games and animations. There are video tutorials on the site (along the side) that assists the creator with the different drag and drop options given in order to create a motion picture. Thanks to my friend Dakota Browne, she advised me during the process of creating my own video. I get frustrated with technology easily and she helped me step by step in producing this amazing video of a cat kicking a soccer ball into a net. You can watch my here (and yes I am proud of the sound affects of the voice recording I made)!

Prezi in the Classroom

I decided to review Prezi as I have seen colleagues of mine use it for presentations, but I’ve never tried creating one myself. I usually try to avoid using new representations of technology for projects as I am familiar with Microsoft Word and all it has to offer. I think it is important however, that teachers need to give students the opportunity to engage in their learning, be creative and inspire them to produce quality work that they can be proud of.

“Prezi is a web-based presentation tool that allows you to bring in your ideas, images, and videos into one space and see how they relate. In many ways, Prezi acts as a virtual blackboard or whiteboard, providing users with a multi-dimensional space on which to connect concepts in a variety of different forms.”
Prezi in the Classroom By: Dr. Dana Wessell Lightfoot

Prezi is a useful technological tool that students can use to present concepts visually through mind maps, images, videos, quotations and more. It allows students to create visual representations of their learning, not only through the concepts learned, but also how they interconnect and relate as a “bigger picture.”
After looking over the benefits of Using Prezi in Education, I have realized that there are many benefits of using Prezi over Microsoft Word PowerPoints. Prezi allows students to be creative with their presentation, whereas a powerpoint document confines the ability to personalize presentations and only allows the option of presenting material in a linear fashion. The advantage of Prezi is, it provides “a platform in which users can map out ideas on a big canvas, Prezi helps students visualize key concepts and their relationship to one another in ways that Powerpoint cannot.”

For a brief overview of Prezi and tutorial on how to use the app, check out this Prezi:

Getting Stared with Prezi

8 Tips for an Awesome Prezi

Using Prezi in Education
1. Prezi creates stunning visual impact.
2. Prezi is interactive whiteboard friendly.
3. Prezi offers more freedom of navigation.
4. Prezi is a great tool for interactive classroom sessions or group projects.
5. If you already have all your notes in PowerPoint, you don’t need to start all over again. Use the PowerPoint Import feature to transfer your existing content directly into your Prezi.

In addition to the benefits listed above, Prezi offers a free educational subscription (simply use an email address that clearly belongs to your educational institution). The tutorials on the website (www.prezi.com/learn) are clear and easy to follow. The best way to learn about Prezi, is to experience it  and have a go at creating a presentation yourself!

Tips for Using YouTube in the Classroom

Integrating technology into the classroom is a great way to engage students in their learning and provides them with innovation to contribute to the Digital Society that we live in today.
There are many technological tools that teachers can utilize in the classroom, apply to their lessons and use throughout the course of the school day (through brain breaks, teaching lessons, or having students represent their learning using technological resources). YouTube is one technological tool that teachers can use to promote learning. My classmate Dakota Browne shared an article by Teach Terms that defines YouTube and gives a general overview of how it works (the website also provides definition for other websites, technology, hardware, softwares, and more).

There a multiple ways in which teachers can use YouTube in the classroom. Examples of how to incorporate this technological tool into lesson plans, assignments and other educational video resources can be found in The Teacher’s Guide to Using YouTube in the Classroom.

Some more articles I viewed that outlined the benefits of using YouTube in the classroom are listed below:

Five Reasons Why YouTube Rocks The Classroom

  1. Gives studets inspiration
  2. Is more accessible to them
  3. Global connections
  4. Customize videos
  5. Multiple ways to assess students online

The Pros and Cons of Using YouTube in the Classroom

Using YouTube in the Classroom

YouTube for Teachers resource

Other concerns and potential solutions regarding YouTube in the classroom are addressed in the following voice recording of Dakota (in the role of a concerned parent) and myself (as a teacher). Click here to listen.

To help us generate ideas, we took a look at the following websites:
11 Pros and Cons of Youtube in Education
5 pros and cons of social media in the classroom
Tips for Teachers Who Wish to Use YouTube in Classroom