Chelsi's Educational Musings

Posts Tagged ‘picnik

I have now completed my final project.  Well, by completed, I mean completed it for the time being.  I will continue to add to each month for the rest of the year, even after this class has finished.  I had blogged about my Moral Intelligence page previously, and it is now much improved since then!
 I worked like crazy to finish December’s Moral Intelligence Virtue of self-control so that our staff would be able to look at the page today after the staff meeting.  My staff was again very impressed by this month’s page, so I was quite pleased.  They still can’t believe that I’m able to make a website!Throughout the month, teachers have been letting me know how they have been using the site, and they have shared some very positive experiences.  I’m pleased that the site is very simple to use, and even the teachers who are not “technologically advanced” are finding success with the site.  Many teachers left such positive comments this month, and I am very grateful for the feedback.  Moreover, it is wonderful to hear from teachers on staff how they are using the site and have really embraced it, rather than seeing it as something else on their plate.  Teachers from pre-K to grade 8 have told me about how well-received it has been, how engaged the students are, how much they are learning about their students, and what mature discussions they have been having.  This is exactly what I wanted to happen!  I am also extremely grateful that my admin, Brent and Chris, is so on-board with my website.  The Moral Intelligences have been very important to them, as they had been wanting to have a solid program in place to use when dealing with disciplining students at the office.  At over 550 students, we have a very large school that is bigger than some of the high schools in our city.  Having all of the teachers on our large staff on the same page is important, and my principal has remarked that the site has allowed everyone to understand what they should be teaching, and how to teach it.  Thus, when students visit the office for inappropriate classroom or playground behaviour, our admin is able to talk to the students, using the Moral Intelligences as the basis for their conversation.  “How are you not using self-control?  How did you not show empathy for the other student?” are examples of statements that they can use that the students understand.  Brent and Chris had each grade group meet today to discuss how they used the website this month, and to take some time to review December’s page.  I am extremely grateful that they are giving the staff the time to peruse the website, as providing the time ensures that the teachers will look at the site and be more inclined to use it.  Furthermore, teachers are sharing lessons that they have created themselves, sending them to me, and I have been posting them, so the website is becoming a collaborative project!

When I started this project months ago, I never expected it to grow to what it has become.  I have put A LOT of work into this site – more work than I have applied to any other Master’s class project.  My learning curve has been huge!  However, the difference between this project and others that I have completed is that it does not feel like I am doing this “for the marks.”  I am not constantly thinking, “Is this what is required?  Is this what my prof wants?  Am I following the guidelines?  Will I receive a good mark?”  Instead, I have taken this project and have run with it.  I am always thinking about how I can add to it, and not because of project requirements, but because I want to make it better, share with my colleagues, and have something effective to use with my OWN students!  I have been using the site quite regularly, and I am so proud of it because the most important part is that the students are learning from it.  They always love when we work on the Moral Intelligences, and their answers are so mature.  They are really engaged, and I know it is because of the technological aspect of the site.  As well, it feels great to help my fellow colleagues.  I have made teaching this aspect of the curriculum so much easier for them.  Some are even planning to start their students blogging after Christmas – a project that I am going to start as well and with which I am going to help them.  I have been able to use so many sites and tools that we learned about in class when creating my website, AND have included them in my website.  Again, I was not thinking, “Oh, I should use Wordle, Picnik, and Compfight on the site so that I’ll get a better mark!”  Instead, I was thinking, “Sandy would love Wordle – her class would probably enjoy it too!”  “The grade eights will love using Picnik – I should include that somehow!”  I am so grateful for everything that I have learned in EC&I 831!

I have thoroughly enjoyed creating this project and it has been the most worthwhile Master’s class project that I have completed.  I am going to continue to add to it after this class has wrapped, and that way, there will be a page per month for the entire year.  When Dean Shareski spoke to our class, he asked us where our best work was located, and if it was online.  At the time, mine was not.  I remarked that it was sitting in boxes in my basement and in lessons that only my students saw.  Now, however, some of my best lessons are included in this website, and some of my NEW best work, this website itself, IS online!  I hope that other teachers outside of my school are able to use it, and that they will continue to share it with others for years to come.


Photo by wildxplorer

Writing an entry to “summarize” my learning for EC&I 831 does not seem adequate for this class.  I have learned so much in such a short period of time that it really WAS difficult to summarize my learning into a 5-7 minute project. (Thus, you will see that my project is 7:32.  Being concise is not my strongpoint!)  Moreover, I feel like a summary is often synonymous with a conclusion, and my learning stemming from this class is only just beginning.  I feel as though this class is a stepping stone to everything, technologically-based, that I am going to embark on.  I truly felt rhizomatic learning happening throughout this class, and that was something that I had not experienced within any class I had taken.  In my post about Dave Cormier’s presentation, I stated that rhizomatic learning “can move in multiple directions, and it is unpredictable.  It is open-ended, experiential-based, creative, and not based on memory, but on forming knowledge.  There is no curriculum because learning from EACH OTHER is the curriculum.”  How true that was for our class!  Our learning was not based on a prescribed curriculum, but it was because of each other and ourselves.  Never before have I taken a Masters class or undergrad class where I felt so motivated and compelled to learn, share, and grow than during this class.  I have been working on my Final Project since two weeks after this class began, and never was I thinking about the mark I would receive or if I had completed “enough” or “the right kind” of work.  I was compelled to create it for myself and others.  The process by which I created my website was challenging, but it forced me to learn for myself, and in that way, I have grown so much more.  I will be continuing to work on my website even when class is complete, and I think that that alone shows the importance of rhizomatic learning.  Alec stated in our last class that we should think about learning beyond our class and that we should learn for ourselves.  Thank you for motivating us to do so, Alec, and providing us with the tools to learn beyond the classroom.  I have enjoyed reading about others’ Final Projects and have witnessed many others creating projects that they will continue to use when class is complete, and that is testament to all that we have learned.

Although it is difficult to summarize my learning, as it is still ongoing, I CAN summarize my feelings about this class.  I have enjoyed it far more than any other class that I have taken.  I am constantly thinking about how I can utilize all of the new tools that we have been given.  I find myself very conscious of who I can share things with, and I am compelled to pass on what I learn to others to make THEIR lives more interesting and easier!  I have learned so much from everyone in the class.  Just today, I passed on Honni’s blog to our school’s kindergarten teacher who is attempting to use technology in her classroom.  I am going to have my students create Wordle posters thanks to Judy’s recent post.  I finally remembered the site that Alec recommended that allows you to caption your pictures, thanks to Katy, and I am now obsessed with picnik and used it to create the picture above.  I will now be showing my colleagues how to use picnik tomorrow!  All of that sharing was completed, and only in the course of a day!  I am even DREAMING about sharing!  Whenever school gets stressful, I have this reoccurring nightmare about tornados (and have had this dream since I was young.)  Last week, before conferences, I had the same dream.  However, when I saw the tornado approaching, I tweeted out a storm warning!  Sharing is now apart of my subconscious!

We still have two classes left, and I have no doubt that many of us will continue to follow each other’s blogs, so I will not say my goodbyes quite yet!  Instead, I will leave you with my Summary of Learning.  I apologize for it being 32 seconds too long!  😛  I honestly timed it when reading my ‘script’ aloud to make sure that it was within the time constraints.  However, I seriously underestimated the speed at which the characters speak!  I edited for, no word of a lie, two hours, and this is as short as I can get it, sorry!  I have three “deleted scenes” that didn’t even fit the cut…but I’ll save those for the DVD. 😛  I also was frustrated that I could not edit them into one movie with five different scenes.  Alas, I would have to pay even more than I already paid to use the account, and that just wasn’t in this teacher’s budget!  I then tried to upload all five to You Tube to create a playlist, but for some reason, the movies will NOT upload. I have tried for two days, searched many help boards for the past hour, changed my authorization several times, and still, nothing.  I tried to embed them into the blog, but that wouldn’t work either.  Then, I tried to download them to my computer to upload to a host site, but I couldn’t download them without paying to upgrade my account!  What a money-grab!  Finally, I decided to take a screen shot of each one and link to that, and it seems to have worked.  So without further ado…

My Summary of Learning, using xtranormal