This is the End, The Light at the End of the Tunnel!

Published May 5, 2015 by ashleymelvin34

It has been a very long semester. Taking five classes can be very overwhelming and almost seem like it takes over your life. I have realized that I am capable of getting good grades and maintaining life outside of school. This class has made me stand on my toes for quite sometime. I have done things that I never thought I possibly could do or even remotely want to do. I made a twitter account and used it once before this class. I have really never even thought about blogging anything let alone take on an independent learning project. It is funny when you are forced to do something for a grade you become the assignment and run with it. I know that sounds crazy but it is true. You have to learn to embrace the assignment to get through the assignment.

I think the biggest challenge for me this semester has been the blogging. I love to write but I never have written anything for someone to read. I always write things and keep them locked away somewhere to really never look at them again. This has forced me to open up me feelings and opinions and have people comment and let me know exactly what they thought. That is also a scary part, the comments that people may say. Will they like it or will they hate it? Is it something that will strike their interest or is it something that they are just reading because they have too? These are questions that I may never know for sure but the comments I have received have all been very positive which has given me more of a confidence boost with my writing. I actually want to start writing about my grandma I just recently lost for my family to read. It will be a huge step for me. For this calls I have realized that my writing was really in no particular theme except for my independent learning project which was all recipes I baked. I have realized that my posts have changed from the first blog I ever wrote till now. I have become more open and letting people embrace the knowledge and opinion that I have. I feel that they have gotten stronger in the long run as well. I mean someone else may beg to differ about my writing but I know what is right and I feel I have gotten to be a stronger writer and actually started respecting my work.

I know they say a writers work is never really done, which I can see to be true. You will always want to make changes or add things or even take out things that you really shouldn’t have put into the blog into he first place. As I was going over my blogs and rereading my work I realize that there are so many things I would have changed or added or even taken out of some of my blogs. I think looking back now that I have more time I realize I might have been rushed or in a hurry and just got the blog done. If I were to do this again I would take my time and make sure everything I wanted in my blog was in there and things I didn’t want in there weren’t there. So I guess the saying really is true a writers work is never really done. there will always be changes I want to make but sometimes I just need to go with the flow and let it be.

There are definitely things in my blog that I will revisit in my future years in becoming a teacher and once I make it. They are great tools that I could use in my classroom and better my classroom not for just me but my future students as well. Some of the things I plan on taking with me is the digital tools and even comics. I think this generation of students would love things like this in their classroom. I also like the use of the TED talks. There are so man of them and I can find many of them to use in lesson plans or even just for fun. I also like the digital ‘ we had to do but still trying to figure out to use those in the classroom. They would probably have to be for middle school students because I am not sure how well they would work in the elementary school children. I do want to make it a goal to use more technology in my future classroom. I think that technology appeals to the students now days and it is a way to keep their interest when learning. Other things that I noticed this semester is that each class I take some how ties into the next class. I used things I learned in this class to complete assignments. I have also learned and used things from other classes into this class. It’s funny how the academic world works like that.

I am not sure that the value I learned from blogs shows up in my writing but I have come to value the blog posts every week. Just like I said in earlier paragraphs everything we have done has been very beneficial to me and will be something that I carry on as I finish this last year of school. I also think that the daily creates have been helpful in letting my inner artist come out. At first all I could do was find myself frustrated that I would  have to do something daily and sometimes find it not worth my time but there were things that I loved doing and loved being able to test my skills. I have always though of my self somewhat creative but doing this daily create has reassured me that I can be very artistic and it is worth showing people. I have also found a new-found love for independent learning projects. They do not have to be based on educational things but they can be used to learn such things as patience, understanding and even skills that we will need in life. This is something that I would want to try in my future classroom. I learned so much about myself. I learned that I am a good cook and a good baker. I also learned that I can do anything I set my mind too. I think it would be a great idea if the student could pick their independent learning project within reason and actually do it for a month or even longer. I also think they would learn things about themselves that they didn’t know before.

There is always a light at the end of the tunnel and that is how I feel about this semester. Taking five classes, being a wife and a full-time mom is exhausting. I have learned so much from this semester but so glad that I have reached my light. I will take away so many things from this semester and this class in particular. So here is to the next year and graduation. Also I plan to take everything I have learned and use it as much as I can.

tunnel

My Learning is like a Flower Blooming! Digital Story

Published May 1, 2015 by ashleymelvin34

Sorry this is a little late, I have been dealing with a very sick kid. But now its done and I am not sure how I feel about it but it is better late than ever to show it. I redid the thing at least three times for the narrative. I do not like to speak on a video or put it on YouTube but I guess we learn to be okay with things eventually.

I have used the metaphor My learning and life is like a blooming flower.

I am going to list my credits here because I did not want to add them to the movie because the song was over and I had already saved everything for the third time when I remember I needed to give credit where credit was due.

1st: Common Courtesy of Oliver Bacquet.

2nd: This is my photo of my wedding.

3rd: Common Courtesy of Urban Wanderer

4th: My photo of me and my son right after he was born.

5th: Common Courtesy of Moyan Brenn

6th: My photo of my grandma, my son and I when she was in the hospital.

7th: My photo of my grandma, my son and I at her house.

8th: Common Courtesy of Diana A

9th: My photo of my family: My husband, my son, our dog Marley and myself.

10th: Common Courtesy of Antonio Machado

11th: My photo of my son and I.

12th: Common Courtesy of Luke Price

13th: My photo of me.

14th: My photo of me.

15th: Common Courtesy of Kanegen

16th: My photo of my son Jayden

17th: My photo of my son Jayden

18th: My photo of my son Jayden

19th: My photo of my family at Easter.

20th: Common Courtesy Haflz Issadeen

Song-Nicki Minaj- Moment for Life

I choose this song because this is my moment for life, going for something that I have wanted for so long despite all the setbacks and obstacles I have run into.

Narrative: By me of course

Here is my movie, hope you like it!

Did I become an Innovator Learner?

Published April 30, 2015 by ashleymelvin34

I honestly think that there are so many things I still need to learn before my adventure into teaching. But can we really tell if we are ready or does it always have to be a learning experience? I am pretty sure that in life it will always be a learning experience. I don’t think that I will ever fully learn everything that I need too. I think that as I start teaching there will be things that I will learn each day and it may already be something that I have learned but it may also be something that extends to something that I have learned think that this class has given me all the tools I needed to bring technology into my future classroom and make sure that every learning experience I give my students will be to the fullest! There were things that I never thought I knew how to do or that I could do but this class has given me that extra point to prove that I can do anything that I set my mind to. The daily creates and all the blogging have taught me that I like writing. I like reaching people with my word, which will come in handy when teaching because I can reach my students. I want to make sure that I can be the best teacher that I can be!

The article The Steep “Unlearning Curve” has got me thinking that there are things that I need to unlearn when I start teaching. The author quotes, “We need to unlearn the practice that teaches all students at the same pace. Is it any wonder why so many of our students love to play online games where they move forward at their own pace?”, which is so true because every student will learn at their own pace. They should not all be clumped together and expected to get the same concepts at the same times as the other students. We need to remember that every one is unique and they have their own pace of doing things. This is something I want to take in my classroom and remember.

There is also the expectation that we need to make the classroom more fun and more exciting for the student to learn and have fun while gaining all the information that they can. We need to unlearn all those ways that we were set in. We need to unlearn all the ways that we remember when we were in school. They are not for this generation of students. Here is to keep being an innovative learner!

Reflection over Independent Learning Project

Published April 23, 2015 by ashleymelvin34

This independent learning project has been an eye opener about how an independent project can be very useful in a classroom setting but has also opened my eyes up to what I can really do and venture out to do when I set my heart to it. I have learning so much about myself and learned that I can do more than I set my mind too. I never thought that I could bake some of the things that I have baked before. When I first started cooking and baking I learned everything by myself and when it came to sweets I baked things from a box. I have widen my searches and learned that I can bake things from scratch just like the carrot cake that I made. It was exciting to know that I could actually take something from nothing and make something amazing. It was so good and my entire family loved it! I also learned more about the way of having patience and learning strength that I never knew I had.

This is something that can be used in a classroom setting easily. I think that it would be really useful for higher grades such as middle and high school. I am not quite sure how it would work in an elementary school setting. Unless it was something simple that they children could do every week. When you apply it to middle school and high school it could be reading a new book every week or something that they students find interesting or limited to spark their interests. I think you could also use it in units where they get to create things that they have learned or are learning.

be yourself

I think the best part of this was getting to do something that I have wanted to do for a while but never found myself having the time to do it. When I was required to do it for a grade it gave me some incentive. Not saying that was the only good part about this but it did help put focus on something that I have wanted to do for a while. I think the most challenging part of this independent learning project was having to make time to do it every week and sticking to it. Sometimes even though my week would seem overwhelming I still made time to bake and find time for myself. I need much-needed time to myself with having a child and husband who have my attention most of the time. Definitely a well worth it experience.

Graphic/ Visual Creation and Tools

Published April 17, 2015 by ashleymelvin34

This week is something a bit new to me. I mean I have seen these things on the internet but I have never fully attempted to try them. The articles Take 5: Comic Book/Strip Creation Tools and Tech Review: Online Creation Tools Piktochart and Canva talked about quite of few creation tools, I have never heard of or even seen. The one that I have seen is bitstrips on facebook and honestly I never had the urge to use it. Although after checking some of these out for myself and seeing the things that you can do with them I might just use them for a later class. The Piktochart and Canva are specifically where I was amazed with everything you could do. I could make posters and even those memes you see all over the internet. I am not going to lie I never knew how those were made but I was always curious.

I think that these tools could come in handy when I start tp teach because I could use them for a lesson or even to draw my students attention to something that I want them to remember. Comic books seem to be back and very popular with this generation of children. When I was observing they are were so excited about their legos, or even other books that were made into comic book styles. I find that if you know that students are interested in comics already, chances are if you use one in a lesson or to grab their attention for something it would work. We need to be playing off what our students like and going from there.

I can say that I will use them but only time will tell. I am however very excited that this class gave us the chance to explore new things  especially technology things because technology is such a huge part of learning today. It is not all about notes and textbooks like when I was in school. Technology seems to be letting students learn in different ways and retain the information need without drilling into their heads. I plan on saving these websites and making it a goal to try to use one of the websites just once in a lesson plan. If it works then I know it can be something to use in the later future. Who knows I may even like using them all time.

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Cream Cheese Banana Bread

Published April 16, 2015 by ashleymelvin34

Ingredients:

Bread
1 large egg
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup liquid-state coconut oil (canola or vegetable may be substituted)- I used vegetable oil
1/4 cup cup sour cream (lite is okay; or Greek yogurt may be substituted)-I used the sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2  teaspoon baking powder
1/2  teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste

Cream Cheese Filling
1 large egg
4 ounces softened brick-style cream cheese (lite is okay)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray one 9×5-inch loaf pan with floured cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
  2. Bread – In a large bowl, add the egg, sugars, coconut oil, sour cream, vanilla, and whisk to combine.

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3. Add the bananas and stir to incorporate.

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4. Add 1 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, optional salt, and fold with spatula or stir gently with a spoon until just combined; don’t overmix; set aside.

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5. Turn about two-thirds of the batter out into the prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula and pushing it into corners and sides as necessary; set aside

6. Cream Cheese Filling – In a large bowl, add all ingredients and whisk to combine. Alternatively, mix with a hand mixer.

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7. Evenly pour filling mixture over the bread, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula and pushing it into corners and sides as necessary.

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8. Top with remaining batter, smoothing the top very lightly with a spatula as to not disturb cream cheese layer and pushing batter into corners and sides as necessary.

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9. Bake for about 48 to 50 minutes or until the top is domed, golden, and the center is set, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Note this is tricky because the cream cheese never gets totally solid so the toothpick test isn’t the most accurate. Tip – Tent the pan with a sheet of foil draped over it at the 30 minute-mark if you feel the tops and sides will become too browned before center cooks through. Baking times will vary based on moisture content of bananas, cream cheese, climate, and oven variances. Bake until done; watch your bread, not the clock.

10. Allow bread to cool in pan for about 15 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.

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My family and I were getting tired of the same old sweet stuff and I remember that my dad used to make our family banana bread all the time. He used to make it with nuts, I did not. I came across this recipe and instantly knew I needed to try it banana bread and cream cheese, who could ask for something better! The recipe was very easy to follow. I did however make my bananas ripe my self by putting them in the oven at 300 and cooked them for 40 minutes. It does the same as when the sit out for to long or are put into a bag. The bread was a success and definitely something I will make again.

Digital Storytelling and Podcasts-Can this be a newer way of reaching our students?

Published April 11, 2015 by ashleymelvin34

After reading the articles What Teens are Learning From “Serial” and Other Podcasts by Linda Flanagan and Teachers Guide to Digital Storytelling by Leah Levy, I realized how beneficial a podcast or digital storytelling could be within our classrooms. I guess when we have reviewed technology to use within the classroom neither of these crossed my mind nor did teacher make us read about them and research them till now. To hear the story of the students and how engage they were was amazing to hear because nowadays it is hard to keep students attention especially when they are in middle school and high school. They have almost no drive to do anything and their focus is more on the outside and reality then school work. Although I am not sure how well these things would work in an elementary school setting. I don’t know if they could understand the concept of digital storytelling but I think they would have fun listening to podcasts.

When I was in middle school I had a history teacher who used something similar to podcasts. He would reenact a war and record it. It would obviously just be his voice but here the different tones and sounds made us think that we were really there. That is something that I think students would get a kick out of. We need to make learning fun and exciting to keep their interest. I do think you could definitely do a digital storytelling for the same thing. The good thing is both of these things can be used in any subject and it leaves room for creative from you as a teacher and from the students. I think that I do want to find a way to make it work in an elementary school setting.

I have never heard of any of the podcasts that were in the articles or even the list that our teacher gave us but then again I didn’t go looking for a new way to use technology. After listening to some of them and looking through and doing my own research I actually like podcasts and I am actually going to try to find a way to fit one into one of my lessons I am a writing for another class. I like that I have so many option to use when I start teaching and ways to keep my students interested in what I am teaching.

digital storytelling

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