Concerns on Comments

This is mostly just a note to my former ECMP class.  I’ve been leaving comments on your blogs on another computer, which I believe hasn’t been working.  Sorry guys, I’ve been trying to give feedback, but you know how technology can be sometimes.  I used to be able to leave comments from that computer, but it has a filter on the internet content for my younger sisters, which has recently started to block things on blogs.  I’ll try to remember what comments I’ve been making, and re-post some of them.  Sorry again everyone.

Comparing Photo Tools

Photojojo has once again lead me to a neat tool- a website that, in their words, “oldifies” photos. Check the Photojojo entry on how to use the site (as the site itself is in Japanese).

Upon seeing this site, my first thought was, couldn’t I do the same thing in a photoshop program myself?  Here’s some results to compare from different programs.

The original photo:

The photo edited in the Japanese site:

Photo Edited on Japanese website

The photo edited in Adobe Photoshop Express:

I played around with the black and white settings first, then added a sepia tone, softened it, and changed one of the brightness settings, I think.

 The photo edited in Corel Photo House

For some unknown reason, the ancient version of Corel I have doesn’t automatically do sepia, so it was a bit of a process to do (it involved turning it black and white, then playing around with the replace colours function).  I fiddled with the brightness and contrast, as well as the simplify colours feature, and then tried to add some faded, watermarked spots using a large, transparent white brush.

this is my attempt to oldify the photo in Corel Photo House

So what do you think? Which one’s the “oldifiedest”?  Any other recommendations for oldifying?  Does anyone know what kind of filter could be used to add scratch marks in Corel?

Classroom Wiki (My ECMP Final Project)

It’s done!  After much work, I have created a classroom wiki for my final project: Miss Little’s Online Art Classroom.  I used the one-month long unit of Visual Art 30 curriculum that I created for my Education Professional Studies 100 class, so that I had a strong idea of how this project would apply to the real curriculum I will be teaching in the future.  It really helped to know beforehand what this wiki needed to accomodate.

I chose to create a wiki because it accomodated many different tools that I wanted to use, and because it allowed for class collaboration.  For example, I really wanted the information that the students came up with in the group research assignment to be available to everyone, not just the students who found it.  This way, the students are collaboratively making their own resources for this unit.

I created this wiki using Wet Paint, a wonderful site for creating wikis.  It has several features that are very helpful to educators, such as the option to use pre-set classroom templates (which I did, but ended up altering greatly for my personal needs), and the ability to remove all advertising from education wikis.  Visually, Wet Paint wikis are very eye-catching, and you can download extra little design elements that will compliment whichever theme you choose.

The only real difficulties that I found with creating this wiki was that sometimes the Wet Paint formatting functions are a little fickle.  Just a heads up.  However, when they do work, you can make a beautifully laid-out web page.  I would also recommend that anyone creating a class wiki should SPELL CHECK EVERY PAGE.  Nothing is more irritating and unprofessional than spelling mistakes on a web page.  Don’t assume that because you’re a good typist, you didn’t make any mistakes.

Please, let me know what you think of my wiki, or feel free to ask any questions.

Being a Blog Mentor

This semester, I mentored two classroom blogs- Lisa Parisi’s Grade 5 class blog, and Erin Remple’s Pre Calculus blog.

I began by mentoring the grade five students. Their entries were very interesting to read, and proved to be a wonderful way for students to prove what they learned. For example, one of the assignmetnsthey were given was to demonstrate their knowledge of a unit of their choice.

However, these students rarely seemed to make any response to my comments, despite the efforts I made to ask for a response. It was rather disappointing. There was, however, one girl who did take my advice in her future blog entries. I had commented on her entry on her pet rabbit, saying that she should add more anecdotes about her pet. Sure enough, she later added a second story about her rabbit chewing on wires. I made sure to thank her for this addition, so that she knew I had noticed.

I had been nervous about posting on the calculus blog. The first time I came to it, I just felt really intimidated, and didn’t know what to comment on. I have taken calculus, but I’ve let most of my math knowledge seep out of my head in the past year or so. So, I got in contact with the teacher, and she helped to reassure me, and set me on the right track with my comments. I began to feel that commenting on this blog was even more interesting than commenting on the fifth grade blog. It was like a brain puzzle, where i had to figure out just what would help to improve each post. Towards the end of the semester, I thought I had become quite good at leaving comments, such as this one. I think they read my constructive criticisms, and built upon them, but they didn’t really leave any responses either. Unfortunately, for the past three weeks or so, there haven’t been any new posts on this blog, and I fear they may have abandoned their math scribing.

Overall, mentoring was a very constructive experience. If I took anything from it, I think it would be that if a teacher is going to implement blogs, they must stress to the students the importance of interaction, and responding to the comments they receive. After all, that’s what makes it a social learning process.

Voicethread- Love, Friendship, Art, and Ansel Adams

I chose to share this letter by famous photographer Ansel Adams, because he seems to capture in words what I could never explain about how I feel about art, and it’s interconnectedness with the rest of our lives.  I hope you enjoy it.  The photographs are not his work, but they are of Yosemite National Park, one of his main sources of inspiration.


K12 Confrence- “Release the Hounds” by Chris Harbeck

I was rather reluctant to sit down to another K12 conference.   Perhaps this was because the first one I watched took so very long, or perhaps because I have trouble sitting and watching my computer screen for that long (I do a fair bit of multi-tasking if I’m in front of my computer, such as dancing or eating supper during my online class), as it feels like I’m not accomplishing much.  Being especially busy right now, it occurred to me that I could just download the audio from a presenation, and listen to it while at the gym, thus pleasing the time-concious multi-tasker in me.  This is also how I get myself to listen to podcasts, which I quite enjoy, but usually can’t justify listening to without accomplishing something else simultaneously.

Chris Harbecks presentation consisted of four parts.  The first three I found rather repetitive, as they were about things that I’ve already learned in my ECMP 355 class.  He was advocating the use of wikis, growth blogs, and scribeposting in classes (more specifically in math classes).  There was very litte new to me in these three parts, except for one wonderful idea about creating a wiki for students containing tools to help them improve their blogs

However, the fourth part of the presenation got my attention.  Chris was talking about how the teacheer needs to step back, and let the student take charge of their learning.  I’ve always boasted a similar view, believing that students will be able to learn the most when we give them enough room to do so.  Their ideas about learning are just as good (if not better at times) as ours, as these ideas address the student’s personal learning needs, as well as play to their own interest.  Students need to see that we respect their ideas too.   Yet, in my Education Professional Studies textbook, I was really disappointed to read a statement saying that we should address children as incapable of learning certain concepts because of their age limits.  I understand that it’s important not to overwhelm students, but if you only expect so much from them, you’ll only get so much from them.  If you show them that they have great potential, they will rise to the challenge.  The fourth section of Chris’s presentation confirmed this even more in my mind, as he spoke about specific students who went far beyond what anyone thought they would be capable of, just because he gave them the freedom and the support to do so. 

Feel free to listen to the presenation yourself, and check out Chris’s wiki Release the Hounds.

Podcast- Make Your Own Chai Tea Risotto

 Chai  Risotto and Hot Chocolate

When I started surfing I Tunes for cooking podcasts, a lot of what popped up was video pods.  I can’t help but feel that these video pods are impractical for cooking.  I know I can’t cook and watch a screen at the same time.  Yet I can easily cook while listening to my mp3 player.  So, I set out to make a user-friendly recipe podcast, outlining a recipe I created.  During some of the cooking time, you will hear some Creative Commons licensed music that I got from the Jamendo website, by Jordan’s Folk and Plastic Alibi.

I recorded this podcast using Audacity for the first time.  It was a bit of a trial-and-error process, and I actually ended up re-editing the entire thing after watching a tutorial on podcasting with Audacity.

Also, I thought I’d share a quick anecdote about a recipe I tried from one of those video pods.  It was for an aisian tofu “salad.”  I really wouldn’t call the resultant dish a salad, due to it’s cat-food like consistancy (and matching smell).  The creator had made it more visually appealing for her show by scooping it neatly with an ice cream scoop, and adding some garnish.  Despite how frightening it looked and smelled, I tried to eat some anyways, and wasn’t very impressed.  Sometimes, you run into a few cooking disasters when you try recipes at random.  I assure you, this recipe I’ve recorded tastes, smells, and looks delicious!

If you try my recipe, please, let me know what you thought of it here!