Tangram Turkey Elementary Lesson Plan

 

Turkey from Buggy and Buddy

 

Are you tired of the same turkey projects for Thanksgiving?

Are you looking for something different that also integrates other subjects-math, science, art-within your elementary classroom?

Are you wanting to avoid the devil that is glitter?

Let’s talk turkey!  Tangrams, turkey facts, fine art discussion, shape recognition, symmetry…this plan has it all!

I’ve created a comprehensive lesson plan based on Buggy and Buddy’s wonderful project:  “Pattern Block Turkey Craft for Kids.”

The turkeys in my lesson plan would be a bit more advanced, as I would include many of the different types of shapes and not just the ones in Buggy and Buddy’s turkey.  This could always be adjusted to the level of your particular class, though.

The plan will even take you step by step through the teaching process of this particular lesson, so it’s all ready to go!  If you’re a 2nd grade teacher in Nebraska, you’ll even have your standards listed.  Bonus!

Download the word document here-Tangram Turkey or read on for the complete lesson plan.

Title: Tangram Turkeys

Grade Level: 2nd

Nebraska Fine Arts Standards:
FA 2.2.3.b-Identify use of elements and principles (glossary) in works of art (e.g., recognize use of pattern, symmetry).
FA 2.2.1.d-Explore elements of art and principles (glossary) of design to brainstorm visual possibilities. (e.g., use color and shape to create pattern).

Nebraska Math Standards:
MA 2.3.1.a- Recognize and draw shapes having a specific number of angles, faces, or other attributes, including triangles, trapezoid, quadrilaterals, pentagons, and hexagons.

Nebraska Science Standards:
SC2.3.1 Students will investigate the characteristics of living things.

Materials:
1. Tangrams
2. Pieces of Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Orange and Purple paper cut into the shapes of squares, triangles, rectangles, trapezoids, pentagons, and hexagons of similar size (Approx. 1 inch)
3. Googly eyes
4. Examples of tangram art showing symmetry and not showing symmetry
5. Glue
6. Full-size pieces of black construction paper
7. Pieces of orange and red paper to make wattles and beaks
8. Circle templates copied onto brown paper for body and head of turkey https://buggyandbuddy.com/pattern-block-turkey-craft-for-kids/
9. Picture of turkeys

Objectives:
1. Student will know facts about turkeys.
a) Male turkeys are called gobblers or toms.
b) Female turkeys are called hens.
c) The flap of skin under a turkey’s chin is a wattle.
d) Wild turkeys nest in trees.
e) A group of turkeys is a flock.
f) Turkeys are omnivores.
g) Modified feathers hanging from the chest of male turkeys are called beards.
h) A fleshy growth protruding from the forehead of both male and female turkeys is called a snood.
2. Student will be able to identify all primary colors-red, yellow, and blue.
3. Student will be able to identify all secondary colors-green, orange, and purple.
4. Student will be able to identify a square, triangle, rectangle, quadrilateral, trapezoid, pentagon, and hexagon.
5. Student will be able to identify symmetry.
6. Student will be able to manipulate shapes of different sizes and colors to create symmetry.

Vocabulary:
a) Primary Colors-Red, Yellow, Blue; Set of colors from which all other colors are created
b) Secondary Colors-Green, Orange, Purple; Set of colors formed by mixing any two of the primary colors equally
c) Trapezoid-Quadrilateral with only 2 parallel sides
d) Pentagon-Shape with 5 equal sides and angles
e) Hexagon-Shape with 6 equal sides and angles
f) Symmetry-Similar or exact parts on each side
g) Quadrilateral-Shape with 4 sides

Lesson:
1-Introduce students to facts about turkeys by first showing them the “Wild Kratts-Activate Turkey Power” video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uaFhzM91ww) and referencing a picture of wild turkeys. Ask what male turkeys are called and what female turkeys are called (gobbler or tom and hen). Point to the flap under the turkeys chin and ask if anyone knows what that is called (waddle). Mention the hair-like feathers hanging from the chest of the male turkey, and discuss what it’s called (beard). Refer to the skin protruding from the forehead of the turkey and explain what it is (snood). Ask students where they think turkeys sleep at night (trees) and what a group of turkeys is called (flock). Discuss what turkeys eat and what that makes them (omnivore).

2-Explain to students that they will be making their own turkeys, but first the class will be talking about different types of shapes and talking about what makes something symmetrical. Show students pictures of tangram art that is symmetrical. Discuss what makes it symmetrical. Show pictures of tangram art that is NOT symmetrical and have the students discuss why. Show pictures of art that have symmetry and have the students discuss what makes it symmetrical.

3-Divide students into groups and provide each group a set of tangrams. Review the tangram shapes provided, and then show pictures of shapes that are not. Make sure the students can identify square, triangle, rectangle, quadrilateral, trapezoid, pentagon, and hexagon. Review the definition of each shape.

4-Have the students make a symmetrical creation with their tangrams and have the other students walk around and view what everyone else has made with a short discussion about what makes each one symmetrical.

5-Introduce students to a picture of the symmetrical turkeys that they will be making with the cut outs of different shapes and colors. Show students the color wheel and discuss what the primary colors are and what the secondary colors are and their definitions. Point out that the colors being used for the shapes of the turkey project are all primary and secondary colors. Pick up the shapes one by one and ask the class whether they are primary and secondary colors and then ask them to identify the shape.

6-Show students how the turkeys will be assembled, starting with their symmetrical creation for the feathers that will need glued down, cutting out the circles for the body and head to glue down, cutting out the beak and waddle to be glued down, and then gluing down the googly eyes. Encourage students to lay out their whole design first and showing the teacher before they glue it down to ensure that they have an understanding of symmetry.

Assessment:
Teacher should review student’s turkeys to see if they have grasped the concept of symmetry. Students will break into small groups to compete in Kahoot! with questions pertaining to the lesson covered. For example, review vocabulary words. Show pictures of different shapes and have students identify them. Show pictures of art and have students identify if they are symmetrical or not. Show pictures of colors and ask whether it’s a secondary or primary color. Ask questions about the turkey facts. During this time observe students within the groups, as well as the group answers provided to ensure everyone has grasped the concept of the lesson.

 

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Being an Innovative Learner and Unlearning What I Know

(Photo from Wikimedia by Ansonlobo )

The past 8 weeks of my summer have been spent taking an online college class called Literacy in the Digital Age.  Though I’ve taken more online college classes then I can count now, I found this one to be different than any I’ve taken before.

This week, I had to read a blog post called “The Steep “Unlearning” Curve”, and I believe it correlates much to the experience I’ve had within my digital literacy course.  You see, I’m so used to a certain format when it comes to my classes, that this course was a bit of a challenge for me.   I had to unlearn much of what I already new and felt comfortable with as an online learner.  I had to become more independent in my learning. The author of “The Steep “Unlearning” Curve” points out that:

“There is no curriculum for unlearning, and, of course, in many ways it’s simply learning to see things differently or to at least be open to it.”

I had to take what I new as a traditional online class format and unlearn it to hopefully be successful in this new class.  Let me explain some differences…

I’m used to being given different assignments and tests for the week that need to be completed and submitted to my instructor.   I then complete these assignments and tests by their varied due dates and then receive a grade on each one individually and usually receive feedback, as well.  In the class I took this summer, I was given a word document or two with assignments that I had to complete by the end of the week, but I received no individual grades on the multiple assignments.

I had to get used to another way of grading, as well.  In the syllabus for this course, it states, “We will use contract grading in this class. If you complete all assignments satisfactorily, you will earn a B for the course.”  When I first read that, it scared me!  Actually, it still does. It’s a format for grading that I’m simply not used to.  Again, there’s that unlearning of what I knew.  I’m an A student, and my grades are important to me, so the thought of completing everything to satisfaction and not getting my “A” was a scary thought!  I guess, as an older non-traditional student, I take my grades seriously.  How I do not only effects me, but my family as well.  I want to be a good example for my children, too.  I want to show them hard work and dedication.  I don’t believe in adapting the mindset that “C’s get degrees.”  When I receive grades back from instructors along with feedback, it’s a way for me to understand if I’m completing work that is required of me or if I need improvement in a certain area and where.  I grow from my grades and my feedback throughout a class.  In this class, I had to be more independent and trust in my abilities and what I already know. This was good “unlearning” for me, as there is going to be a time in the future when I’m a teacher and I need to be more independent and confident and my abilities.   This class pushed me to see that.

Another aspect that I had to unlearn is the different assignments given and how to complete them.  Generally, my online classes consist of the assignments and writing forums every week, but this class was quite different.  I had to create a blog and then write numerous blog posts each week based on different topics given, including my independent learning project and articles or videos I may have been assigned to review.  My independent learning project was a way for me to grow as a learner, and I had to spend 4 hours working on this project each week.  I chose training for a 5k as my learning project, and I would then blog about my experience at the end of each week.  I was also required to respond to my classmates blogs each week.  I also had to create a Twitter account and post numerous times throughout the course of the class using our #diglitclass tag, with the post topics varying depending on the week and what was assigned.  We also had to participate in what was called “The Daily Create”,  which required me to complete simple daily creative challenges in photography, writing, audio, video and drawing and then post them on Twitter.  See, I’m used to forum posts where we interact back and forth with classmates on a particular topic, so this type of peer interaction was something new for me.  It made me “unlearn” what I knew.

Despite the differences to other online classes I’ve taken, I’m quite thankful for the experience I’ve had in this class.  Besides the wonderful material presented on the topic of digital literacy, this class showed me that I can be more independent in my learning.   It showed me that I can get through a class without receiving frequent feedback.  It showed me that I can stay on task and focused.  This class gave me confidence in my abilities.  This is what most surprised me about myself as a learner this semester-I am capable.

This class has also reiterated the fact that I will never stop learning and that I honestly never want to stop learning.  I want to be an innovative educator like George Cuoros explains in his blog post “The Mindset of an Innovator”.  His blog states that:

“The access to people and information changes a lot of the opportunities that are available both for students and educators, which calls for all of those being involved in education to see ourselves as learners.”

As a future educator, I think it’s especially important that I’m constantly learning and growing.  What’s wonderful is that there is now a plethora of information available online, as well as the ability to network with other educators throughout the entire world.  This class introduced me to personal learning networks and gave me the tools to build my own.   Throughout the short 8 weeks I’ve been in this class, I’ve learned so much from the knowledge of others.   This is part of what’s made me an innovative learning during this class.  I’ve learned to network and grow from the wealth of knowledge that comes from the mind of others that are more than willing to help others learn and grow.  As educators, we aren’t in a competition with each other, but we are in it to help our students succeed.  When we learn and grow as innovative learners, our students win!  Mr. Cuoros points out the characteristics of an innovator in his blog “8 Characteristics of the “Innovator’s Mindset”.

  • Empathetic
  • Problem Finders
  • Risk-Takers
  • Networked
  • Observant
  • Creators
  • Resilient
  • Reflective

I’ve found that throughout this class I’ve often had to be reflective on the work that I’ve completed since I didn’t receive grades or the feedback that I’m used to.  I had to reflect more than usual over the work that I’ve completed to hopefully ensure that I’m submitting quality work that will allow me to succeed.  This reflection is also used in other classes when I complete work and then receive grades back.  I reflect on what I could have possibly done better.  This ability to reflect will also be important when I’m a teacher, as I will often need to reflect on how my students are doing, and how I’m doing as an educator.  Reflection is another way to learn and grow!

Innovation in learning allows us to use the tools in technology to do this learning and growing.  We have so much right at our fingers tips to not only help us grow, but our students as well.  Though I’m not a huge fan of elementary students using social media, especially in a classroom setting, I CAN see them communicating for class through blog posts that are monitored through me.  Blog posts can be done anywhere and at any time, as long as you have internet access.  Students could work on them at home, or during permitted class time.  Students could interact with their peers by commenting and reflecting on each others blog posts as we do in my digital literacy class.  Students could be allowed more creativity and control in their blog posts.  This is definitely a tool I plan on using within my classroom if my students are old enough.  I also found that using a tool like Piktochart could help students expressive themselves through creativity.  Instead of writing a paper over a particular topic, they could be assigned to create a graphic containing the material that I’d like them to cover.  Another tool that could be useful within the classroom is a version of The Daily Create that could be tailored towards an elementary class.  I figured I would write different prompts on the board each day for my students to complete within a 5 minute period.  I  might write on the board for my younger students, “Write a story about your family,” or “Draw a picture of a fairy.”  I could give them a pile of plastic cups and tape and have them create for 5 minutes if it’s younger students.  Creativity is such an important aspect of children’s education, that is often a component forgotten within our schools.

This class has opened my doors to a new way of learning as an innovator.  It has allowed me the opportunity to see new tools I can use within my classroom and to utilize tools in a way I didn’t think of.  This class has helped me to see the way that I can connect with others to learn and grow myself as a learner and as an educator.  I want my students to learn the tools they can use, as well to enhance their own learning.  I think it’s also important for me to reflect to my students a love for learning.  I want them to see that even though I’m a teacher that my learning is never done and that I never want it to be.  I want them to find their passions, as well.  I want them to enjoy being in my class because they see the passion in me, too.  I want them to want to learn…to love to learn.

 

Comprehensive Health Education Lesson Plan: Teeth Brushing and Flossing

Are you in need of a comprehensive Health Education Lesson Plan for your elementary classroom that covers dental hygiene?  Here’s one that I created that you are free to use for non-commercial use within your classroom!

(Title of lesson):
Brush Your Teeth

(Designated Content Area):
Personal Hygiene-Teeth Brushing and Flossing

(Designated Grade Level):
Kindergarten

National/State Standards-
NHES 7.2.1
Demonstrate healthy practices and behaviors to maintain or improve personal health.
7.2.2 Demonstrate behaviors that avoid or reduce health risks.

ELA or Common Core Standards-
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.2 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.

Behavioral Outcomes/Objectives
At the end of this objective the student will have learned to:
1-Recognize 100% of the time that you need to brush your teeth 2 times a day.
2-Recognize 100% of the time that you need to brush your teeth for 2 minutes.
3-Recognize 100% of the time that you need to brush left to right, up and down, and all around.
4-Recognize 100% of the time that you need to floss between the teeth.

Materials Needed
1-Large box with mouth and teeth cut into it
2-Brand new and clean dust pan brush
3-Thin rope to use for floss
4-Tooth brushes, floss and toothpaste for each child
5-Cotton balls to use as food between teeth in cardboard mouth
6-Book: “Brush Your Teeth, Please”
7-Important words printed out and hung up with the words in Spanish and English and pictures (Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouth, floss, teeth)

Vocabulary
Cavity-Damaged areas of the teeth that turn into little holes

Anticipatory Set (time)
(5-7 minutes) (Hold up a toothbrush) Who here brushes their teeth every day? Who here brushes their teeth one time a day? Two times a day? More than two times a day? Can you take your finger and show me how you brush your teeth? (Mimic brushing with a sideways finger on the outside of your mouth.) That’s great brushing! (Hold up floss) Who here flosses their teeth? Good job! What do you think happens if we don’t brush or floss our teeth? (Call on numerous students here) Those were all great answers! If we don’t brush or floss, we get cavities. Can someone raise their hand and tell me what cavities are? (Call on numerous students, discuss what happens to our teeth) Smart thinking! Cavities are damage to our teeth that can cause holes to form. It’s important that we not only brush twice a day and floss, but that we eat healthy foods and drink healthy drinks to keep cavities from forming. We also need to be sure that we are visiting our dentist every 6 months so they can clean our teeth and check for and fix any cavities we might have.

Motivation- Lesson Focus (time)
(30 minutes)
1.0-Everyone come stand here in front of the Mimeo board, and we are going to watch a video about brushing our teeth.
Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pd4WnsXwdqw
a) Can anyone tell me how we brush our teeth? (Allow children to answer. Help guide children to the correct answers if need be. Which directions do we brush? Do we brush in just one spot?) Wonderful answers! (Show the actions with a finger outside your mouth while saying the following) When we brush our teeth, we brush left to right, up and down and all around. Let’s use your pretend toothbrush finger and say it along with me. (Do the actions and say it again making sure everyone is saying it and doing the actions.) We brush left to right, up and down and all around. (Repeat along with the students until you notice that everyone is saying it and doing the actions) Okay class, now it’s your turn. Can you tell me and show me how your brush your teeth? (Watch that everyone is doing it.) (Call on individual children to show and tell you how to brush your teeth.)
b) Does anyone remember how many times a day we brush our teeth? (Allow for answers, until a student says 2 times) Yes, we should brush at least 2 times a day! How many times a day do we brush our teeth? (Make sure they are all answering 2 times a day) Can anyone guess how long we should brush our teeth each time? (Allow for different answers) You guys had smart answers! Did you know that we need to brush our teeth for 2 minutes? How long do we need to brush our teeth? (Make sure everyone is answering) Yes, 2 minutes!
2.0-Does everyone see this giant mouth over here and this brush? Everyone come sit in front of it so you can see it and leave some walking room in front.
a) Can anyone come up here and take this brush and show me how to brush these big teeth? What do we need to remember when brushing our teeth? We brush left… (Let class finish answering. If they need assistance say it along with them and repeat as needed.) I like how you all remembered how we should brush our teeth! Okay here’s your brush, Carson, let’s see how we should brush our teeth. (Let numerous children take turns brushing the big teeth and make sure they are brushing up left to right, up and down and all around.)
b) Has anyone ever had a piece of food stuck between your teeth? You have?! Isn’t it icky? Sometimes a toothbrush just isn’t able to get all of the icky food that gets stuck between our teeth. Let’s pretend like this cotton ball is a piece of food. (Stick the cotton ball between the teeth.) Can you brush it out? (Choose a few students to try to brush it out) What if we tried this piece of rope? (Choose a few students to try using the rope to get it out. Help lead the students to the right way to get the cotton ball out.) Try putting that rope between the teeth and under that food and then pull that cotton ball straight up and out. You got it! Does anyone here use floss? That’s great! Floss works a bit like this rope does. We floss between the teeth just like this to get the stuff out that our toothbrush can’t reach. (Demonstrate how to floss the big teeth) We floss between the teeth. Can everyone say that with me? We floss between the teeth. Your turn. (Make sure everyone is saying, “We floss between the teeth.” Repeat as necessary.) Let all of the students have a turn flossing the big teeth.
3.0-(Read “Brush your Teeth, Please.” https://www.amazon.com/Brush-Your-Teeth-Please-Pop-up/dp/0794430406/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498760554&sr=1-3&keywords=tooth+brushing)

Multicultural Infusion/ Differentiated Teaching
1-When teaching how to brush and floss your teeth, I would make sure that I not only explain it verbally but that I’m also clearly showing the actions.
2-I would have print outs of important words in Spanish and English and the pictures and hang these up before the lesson. (Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Floss, Teeth, Mouth) In the beginning, when these words are mentioned, I would point to the print outs.
3-Allow for extra time to work on the different objectives as needed to ensure everyone is understanding the material. Slow down instruction if needed.
4-When the students are completing their journal entries, allow for different levels of entries based on their abilities. For example, some students may only be able to draw what they learned, while other students may be able to draw a picture and write a couple of words. For more advanced students, they may be able to write full sentences to describe their learning experiences. The advanced students could be encouraged to also write a story that describes their first trip to the dentist or to make up a story that has to do with what we learned in the lesson.

Technology
As stated above, we would watch a video about brushing your teeth. This video contains a song about brushing your teeth twice a day and left to right, up and down and all around. I would encourage the children to sing along and pretend to brush their teeth. I may even play it twice for them to ensure they are understanding the concepts being taught.

Concluding Activity (time)
(15 minutes) Everyone get out your journals, and we are going to write and draw about what we’ve just learned. What are some different things you learned today? (As the students answer, write the answers that have to do with the objectives on the board. Help guide students to the correct answers as needed)
We sure learned a lot!
(Write on the board and be sure to erase before assessment.)
We learned:
I brush my teeth 2 times a day.
I brush my teeth for 2 minutes.
I brush my teeth left to right, up and down and all around.
I floss between my teeth.

I want you to write and draw about what you learned today.
(When students are finished, call on some of them to share their journal as time allows.)

Evaluation/Assessment (time)
I would hand out the assessment that is on the very last page of this lesson plan. I would instruct them to cut it out along the lines and then I would come around and staple it into a book. I would have them each complete their book and then I would check it for accuracy. I would have a student check list to monitor how many each student missed. If a student missed a question, I would discuss it with them individually to reiterate the objective that they missed. If I find that many of my students have not grasped the objectives, then we will revisit them again and reassess. I would also give students their own toothbrush, toothpaste and floss after they’ve finished their assessment.

Resources-Picture of tooth came from https://pixabay.com/en/dentist-teeth-tooth-happy-smiling-158225/

teeth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Internet Attention Log Results

Have you ever been curious how well you utilize your time online?  I was assigned to find that answer about myself over a 5 session period of logging my internet usage.

The first session I logged was on the 20th, as I hung out in my living room on my laptop.  I decided to get onto Facebook and scroll to see what everyone was up to, and I happened upon an article stating that a Texas school district has approved paddling as punishment.  Considering that corporal punishment has a negative effect on the development of young children, I was understandably upset.  There are actual studies available that point out the detrimental effects, so why would an educational institution implement this type of discipline?  How is it not child abuse…no, it is child abuse, but that district and state refuse to see it as such.  I read through other peoples comments, which was a mistake because it just got me more riled up.  I respectfully made my comment on this article, pointing out how harmful this type of discipline can be.  Thankfully, most of the comments seemed to not be in support of it.  I ended up receiving a phone call from my grandmother, which ended this session just short of 45 minutes in.

The second session I logged was also on the 20th after lunch.  I sat down on my couch in the living room with my laptop and logged on to find out what the daily create assignment was that day.  I decided that I wanted to choose something different, so I settled on the Robo Boogie assignment from a couple days before that I wasn’t able to do on my phone.  I spent about 15 minutes just messing around on this app and making the robot dance different ways.  My kids came over and checked it out, as well, and wanted to try making him dance different ways.  They had a lot of fun!  After we settled on a dance we liked, I shared the link on Twitter.  I decided to continue to scroll through Twitter to see what people on my PLN had posted, but this only last another 15 minutes, as I had house work I wanted to get done.  It’s not uncommon for me to scroll twitter and find interesting educational information to share with my fellow digital literacy classmates, but I didn’t find anything at that time.  This was a stress-free and enjoyable session of simply completing the daily create with my kids and then searching around on Twitter.

The third session I logged was the 21st, and I was working on getting some homework  completed for the week on my laptop.  I had numerous questions I had to answer on Twitter, so I took to answering those questions.  The first was about when I unplugged at home, so I had to think about that and then post it on Twitter.  The second question had to do with how online life keeps me from being fully present.  My online classes are the big reason for that!  I found myself a bit sad answering this question, because it’s hard as a mom to not fully be present due to college classes.  It made me think again how much I wished I would have completed my degree when I was younger.  The third question was about how we can help children to manage healthy digital lives, so I decided to look for informative articles to share with my peers.  I read and searched through numerous articles to find ones that I thought be useful.  I found three to share:  “Too Much Internet Use Can Damage Teenage Brains”“Google Just Introduced Family Link to Help Manage Your Kids’ Digital Lives”, and “How Much Screen Time is Okay For My Kids?”.   During my search, I received a Facebook message from a friend, and I messaged him for a little while about a project we are working on, and I was searching in between messages.  After finding and sharing my articles, I also had to answer a question about what my biggest take away was from that weeks lesson.  After completing that, I worked on my daily create and used the modern art app to convert a picture of myself.   This entire process took just under an hour, and I stayed relatively focused.  My attitude was upbeat throughout, except for when I was asked the question about my online life and what about it keeps from being present.

Before and After the modern art app…  Mmmkay.

My fourth session that  I logged was on 5/22, when I logged on to Twitter from my laptop to find out what the daily create assignment was for the day.  I decided I wanted to find something different than that day’s assignment, so I spent some time searching through the daily creates on Twitter and ended up deciding on making a panorama clone with my phone.

I spent a few minutes doing some test runs inside with it and then asked my older son if he would help me out.  He had friends over and they were making funny videos, so he was dressed in a Link costume from Legend of Zelda.  He was glad to help out, though, and we made it work on the first take.  It was a fun experience and we both thought it was pretty neat!

I decided to look at some additional information on internet use to see if I could find something valuable to share with my peers, and I actually came across an interesting quote by Miep Gies that really got me thinking.

“Children who use the internet are much better informed than when I was young.  Use this to your advantage.”

I was thinking about how we see so much negative information out there about children and technology, and that sometimes the positives can get lost.  We are actually coming upon a time when our students might actually know more than we do when it comes to technology.  We can put that knowledge to good use, though, and be sure to teach them how to use technology appropriately, responsibly, and how to be good digital citizens.  Technology has truly opened up new doors for learning!  This session ended up lasting a little over 45 minutes.

My 5th and last session was yesterday the 23rd after we returned from an afternoon at the lake.  I was wanting to post pictures on Facebook, but I had taken a bunch that I needed to look through.  I also had ones that my husband had taken on his phone that I needed to get onto my phone so that I could post them on Facebook.  I texted photos to myself from my husband’s phone and then saved them.  I also edited a few that were dark and cropped a couple on Instagram.  I enjoyed looking through all the pictures from our day and then putting them up on Facebook for family to enjoy looking through.  After posting them, I scrolled through Facebook to look at what everyone had posted.  Notifications started popping up, as people commented on and liked the photos and post from our afternoon at the lake.  Every time one would pop up I would look to see what it was, and respond if it was a comment.  In all honesty, I spent just under an hour messing around on Facebook, but it was a nice way to just relax and enjoy the air conditioning after a hot afternoon in the sun.

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Through this attention log experience, I found that I was more focused than I usually am.  I think it was because I was aware of the fact that I needed to log my experience, and thus I tried to stay more focused and on task.  It made me think that perhaps I should do an attention log more often, just to ensure that I’m not wasting time.  I tend to get distracted when I’m doing homework online, and often find myself stopping to check my Facebook account or messages.  I should honestly try to log my time a few days a week to make myself more accountable.   I also want to be sure I’m not becoming too emotionally invested in what’s being posted…like with the article about paddling in Texas schools.  I have enough stress that I don’t need to add more.  It’s often tough being a non-traditional college student, wife and a mother and trying to balance it all.  I surely don’t want to be wasting my time on the internet!

 

 

Independent Learning Project Final Thoughts: Week 5 Couch to 5k 

It’s hard to believe I’ve already completed week 5 of my independent learning project!  It was a very hot week, and I found that even if I tried waiting until after 8pm at night, it was still in the 90’s.  I still managed to get in 3 hours of walking/running though, so I’m happy about that!  Due to the fact that I was going out so late at night, the lighting wasn’t great for pictures, though I still took some each time.

Tuesday:

It was so hot!  I went out at 8:30pm, but it was still 93 degrees.  I managed to get in a little over 30 minutes working on the couch to 5k app.  I’m still trying to get myself used to the 3 minute running intervals.  For some reason my body just is fighting me every step.  It feels like I have weights on my arms and legs, and I don’t know if that’s due to the Fibromyalgia or if it’s lasting effects of the auto-immune disease I have.  It’s disheartening, though.  I want to so badly to run a 5k, and I’m determined to keep working on it.

Thursday:

I decided to work on my Couch to 5k app and then spend another 15 minutes cooling down with a walk.  I still struggled with the running intervals, but I made it through without having to stop early.  One of my sons came with me and rode his bike, which was a nice change!  In 45 minutes I went 2 1/2 miles, so it wasn’t too bad.

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Friday:

I seemed to go backwards on Friday and found myself unable to run for very long before needing to stop.  I don’t know why. It’s bad enough when you feel like you’ve hit a plateau, but to actually go backwards in progress is even tougher.  I was just flat out slow and tired.  I went a little over 45 minutes again and made it 2.36 miles, so I did still manage to get my minutes and miles in, not matter if they were slower than I’d like.

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Saturday:

I decided to go out earlier in the morning to try to beat the heat and keep from having to be out at dusk.  I was surprised at how warm out it was already and that it was showing 69% humidity!  Eek!  The puppers and I still had a nice 3 mile walk in a little over an hour.  We spend our weekend walks in town, so there is never much to take pictures of, though these cows were sure interested in us as we walked by.

I’m incredibly happy that I chose what I did for my independent learning project.  I feel so much better after I’ve been out for a walk or a run, and I want to keep doing it on a frequent basis through out the week.  I’m not as far along as I would like to be as far as training for a 5k, but I’m better than where I started.  I’m determined to get over this hump and continue to improve.   I want to continue to stay active and to drink the amount of water I’ve been drinking each week.  I think that’s a doable goal!  I want to run a 5k this summer without stopping, though I don’t know if I’ll be ready in the middle of August like I had hoped.  I wish I was one of those people that could easily run for miles without stopping, but that’s just not who I am right now and maybe I won’t ever be.  That’s okay.  It’s not about how fast I am or how far I can go without stopping.  It’s about improving myself.  I’m in better shape now than what I was 5 weeks ago.  I’m drinking more water than what I was 5 weeks ago.  I’m better at taking my vitamins than what I was 5 weeks ago.  I’m becoming a healthier me, and that’s success right there!

 

 

 

 

 

Trying out Piktochart

Today I tried out the graphic/visual creator called Piktochart and I found myself liking it for numerous reasons.

  • It’s an excellent tool for those that are not very creative, such as myself.
  • It’s FREE!
  •  It offers different templates that are already completed, and all you have to do is simply change the information that you’d like to.
  • There are different backgrounds to choose from that can easily be changed.
  • You can choose a color theme.
  • There are graphics you can place on your creation, including pictures and shapes.
  • You can choose from different fonts, as well as what size and color you’d like it to be.
  • You can easily update your own photos.

I just do not have an artistic bone in my body, so when I was assigned the task of creating something with Piktochart, I was a bit intimidated.  Though the article I read was an informative review, it wasn’t really a tutorial so I searched for a video that would help get me started.  I found the one below, that walked me through step by step and helped me better understand how to use Piktochart.

Since I had to make my own creative based on my independent learning project, I decided to base it around the pictures that I’ve taken over the course of my project.  I have been trying to get into better shape by becoming more active, and hopefully getting to the point where I can run a 5k.  I often take pictures along the way, as the scenery is often quite beautiful.  I used some of my favorite pictures in my creation.

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Like I said, I’m not a very creative person.  I just don’t have an eye for that sort of thing, but Piktochart made it easier than starting from scratch.  I simply added text and then a banner behind the text.  I also added a new background and then drug my pictures into the graphic and arranged and sized them how I wanted.  I also ended up choosing a couple of the tree graphics available on the program to add a bit more to it.  I didn’t find the program itself to be challenging, instead I struggled with how to make something that would be appeasing to the eye. That’s a struggle in itself!

Because this program is so easy to use, I can see it being a valuable tool within the classroom.  Students could use them in presentations in conjunction with writing projects.  They could also make flyers for mock businesses that they may be assigned to create.  My son was involved in an entrepreneurship club after school and they had to create flyers. This program would have been perfect!

I believe that these types of graphics can help draw a reader in, as they are usually much easier to follow.  There isn’t an overwhelming amount of information which could turn a reader away.  I tend to find myself more drawn to simple infographics that get straight to the point with as few words as possible, but that share valuable information. I’ve often shared infographics on my own Twitter account.  Some people simply do not have the time or perhaps they don’t want to take the time to read through an entire article or watch a video when they can get the jest of it in a nicely done infographic.  Sometimes, I’m that person!