Harder Than it Looks!

So this week I started on my learning sewing project. Holy cow! There is so much more thought, energy and planning that goes into making a quilt then I thought! I thought mine was going to be a pretty simple quilt at that! I’ll tell you a little about how my week went.

So first I had to find several different kinds of material that I thought might look good together, and then purchase them. Not cheap if you want to get durable, easier on your sewing machine material! Then you have to measure out how much you think that you might need. I actually went with my mom to help me figure this much out since she has done this about a billion times before! We figured that to get an adult size quilt, one that is long and wide, I would need to ask the cashier to cut off at least a yard of material, of each four different colors I picked out, in order to get the size of quilt that I am wanting.

Then after it was purchased, you have to wash all the material so that after your quilt is sewn together, your stitching doesn’t get puckered if the material shrinks. The next step is that you have to iron all of the material out, so that it all looks nice, but so when your cutting you aren’t off any inches because it’s wrinkled. Then comes the planning of your quilt.

In order to make your quilt look neat and orderly, it’s a good idea to draw a sketch of what you want your quilt look like, how you want all of your “blocks to look” and so on. I looked up a lot of different styles of quilts, and researched which one might be the best for a beginner. I plan on doing a “Strip-Block” quilt. This means that I am making a block shape, by sewing together different size strips of material, of different colors. My explanation is confusing, but check out my picture!

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So after I got a good idea of what I wanted it to look like, just like you would when you were in school, you make a pattern, so that everything kind of goes together easily. Then, on your sketch you write down your dimensions of what sizes you think that you might want the blocks, and the quilt as a whole to be. For the size as a whole, I wanted it to be the size of a queen comforter, so it ends up being about 96″X 110″. I want my blocks a whole to be 8″X 8″ and each of the blocks are all different sizes.

The sewing machine has a manual that you can follow, and when you pick out a color of thread that is similar to the colors of your material, I chose just basic white. I made my first block this week! Stay tuned, there will be more to come next week!

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Social Media Ruins Self-Image

As a teacher, I am aware that my students are probably with me more hours of the day then any other adult. In the school setting sometimes we tend to overlook our students personal needs, and it’s easy to forget that we might be the only person who asks them how they are, all day! What might be effecting Joey today, he’s usually so outspoken? Why is Sarah crying again? We have to strive to learn about our students, be aware of their thoughts and feelings, and understand that there might be a lot more going on in your classroom then you think.

Were you ever picked on in school? Did you ever consider yourself to be in some kind of clique? The smart one, the pretty one, the laid-back and chill type, or the wear all black because I hate my life kid of kid? In school I can always remember being called “the quiet nerdy girl”. Being labeled quiet, caused me to be that much more quiet, I never spoke up in class, and kept to a select few other friends, who pretty much had the same label. The sad part was I loved school, and I loved learning but I didn’t want to go to school, because I became so shy and overlooked that I felt better doing my school work from home.

It probably wasn’t until I started my first job, my sophomore year of high school. I was fifteen then and became the carry out girl for the local grocery store. I worked hard, and made a decent amount of money. It kept my mind of things that went on at school. I made really close friends with the majority of the people that worked there, some older, and even some that I considered to be very popular in school. That job and those people changed my whole life.

They complimented me, “Cori your beautiful and your so confident, you can be anything you want, you are so great at working with people.” It was then that I became a talker, and a confident talker at that. Speaking to elderly people as I put their groceries in their car, hearing their stories, speaking to my co-workers and eventually even speaking up during class at school.

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Photo CC By: Amanda Mabel

You see, I found out that I had to learn to love myself, for who I was. I had to believe that I was beautiful and in turn, it caused me to be the person I am today, confident. Not to say that many times since then, that I haven’t gone through periods of my life where I haven’t felt down about myself, and lost a little love for myself along the way. But I think it’s the people in our lives that help bring us back up, they compliment our achievements, not necessarily our looks, and it’s like we all of a sudden have confidence again, and looks go out the window and we focus on our job, our school, or our relationships.

I have recently been thinking about his a lot, not just from what my personal life changes has brought me, but also from watching my students. I see who is getting picked on, who is getting labeled, and who is feeling down about themselves (looks, and personality). I see the personal side of it, but I also see it reflected in their academic work. Students are more likely to feel uncomfortable before a test if they have self esteem issues, or even just a bad day. Do you know what happens when you feel uncomfortable before an exam? I do, your mind is somewhere else, and most of the time you fail!

I recently watched an excellent Ted Talk video, and by the way, if you haven’t seen any of these you are really missing out, they are excellent for you as a teacher, and some are perfect to show to your students in class. The one I watched was Meaghan Ramsey’s: Why Thinking Your Ugly is Bad for You. She explains that with social media and young boys and mostly girls, get bashed for how they look. Kid’s post pictures to get compliments, or to confirm their feelings of being ugly.

She explains that loving yourself for you image is completely the wrong idea, become an achiever, put all your focus and your effort in to your learning or your work, or your hobbies. When you do this you will learn to get compliments on your achievements, and your looks will be over-passed. In school’s students cannot do this, they sit next to peers who judge them and bully them for their looks everyday. They can’t get their focus on their academics and their grade severely suffer from it.

Meaghan also explains that this happens with adults just as much as it does children. People are absent more from their job and social activities if they feel like they aren’t pretty enough.

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Photo CC By: Diane

I want all my students to see this. Not only does this help me as a teacher have a reminder that my confidence in myself affects how my students see me, how my co-teachers see me, and it affects my ability to be a great teacher. Also, as a teacher I can start to compliment my students more about their achievements, and compliment them on their looks too. I had a preschool student who I always told, that I loved his batman shirt, it pretty much mad his day and he was in such a better mood. Things like this, really help our students emotionally and academically.

I also want my students to watch this video because they can see the effects of bullying. They might recognize a students hurt, or label. They can learn to love themselves, and become better students so they can achieve higher goals.

By the way, these Ted Talk videos are excellent for teachers to use in their classroom. It’s a great way for educators to learn more about their students, and even themselves as teacher, and about the learning process. We can show are students these videos to spark ideas, questions and creativity. Check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

Learning How to Learn Project

Everyday we learn something new, whether it be how to change a light bulb, cook a new dinner, or even mend an old blouse. How do we usually figure these things out? Well you see there is a part of our brain that runs off meta-cognition. This is learning, and being aware of learning, and how the human learns. A lot of learning going on!

I decided I wanted to teach myself how to teach myself something new. I am going to foster my own meta-cognition! To do this I have decided to teach myself the art of sewing. By doing this, my first project is going to be a scrap quilt. I chose this as my project because my mother, and my grandmother have been great sewers, and I would like to carry this art onto my children as well.

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Photo CC By: plainsanter

It’s really important to keep learning, always. I think that we have to do this by researching new and interesting ideas. Sometimes it’s not always easy to think of new and interesting ideas, but in the ever changing world where there is more technology for this type of thing, we can find all kinds of things! It’s important to teach others to do this as well. Read a new book, find a blog about it, see what other people think, partake in intelligent conversation, this is what keeps our minds alive! There is always room for improvement in that brain up there!

As a future teacher I think it’s really important to keep learning information to pass on to our students. Scientists, researchers and doctors are always finding new ideas and new ways to learn and do all kinds of things! It’s important we teach our students on HOW to research and learn new important ideas. If we find something we are interested in we should pursue it, and keep learning all the facts, we could become masters!

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Photo CC By: RubyBlossom

Well as a teacher, I vow to keep learning how to better my classroom, and my brain, to help my students to do the same! I have an undying love for finding pin boards, it’s such an easy way to look up information and it categorizes it for you, and shows you pictures and quick excerpts on what the journal is about. I think this is where I am going to start to research my sewing project!

Someday I will have this project to share with my students as an example of how to keep up the learning even when your all grown up! (Well, sort of.)

 

Bringing out the “Hacker” in Me

It seems that people don’t strive for education anymore. They don’t try to learn something new or take the time to research a subject that they might be interested in. The way I see it, everyone has some type of interest, but schools don’t teach us HOW to teach ourselves new and important ideas. I think it takes a person with an open mind to pick up a book that might be different then what they would normally read, or look at a pin board or a blog with some neat ideas that they normally wouldn’t experiment with. I think that’s what teachers need to be teaching in school, “open-mindedness”.

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We need to be teaching students how to find resources on their own, to look for new and different things, to make and create something different and unique. I think school’s need to bring more art classes, more music classes, and home economic classes. Bring back the shop classes, and teach our youth something worth really learning. It’s important to learn English, Math, Science and History. However, at what point to teachers just keep repeating the same information over and over. Teach them how to “hack” new information, that is relevant to the information they already know, but finding information that pertains to their life, or their dreams and desires.

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Photo CC By: Charles Doble

Hacking isn’t always a negative term, it’s a general term to represent finding new and innovative ways to accomplish a basic task. After reading¬†Centering On Essential Lenses, a blog by Bud Hunt, on the ways to introduce Hacking to schools, I have many questions as to what I, as a teacher, can do to help my students hack their lives. In my desired field, Special Education, we hack-school each and everyday with those kiddos! We always are trying to find a creative resource to use to teach with, someday’s it comes down to putting a stuffed monkey in front of your face and talking as if you were that monkey to teach the ABC’s! We hack technology, to find ways that children with disabilities can be incorporated in everyday classrooms.

Sometimes special education teachers teach general education classes as well. For awhile I worked with high school sophomores in English. Something I love about English class, is that you are essentially hacking all the time. We teach students how to find their own books in the library, where they might find other books in their interest category outside of school, and to find meaning within the text.

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Photo CC By: SunChild57Photography

I feel like reading is the most important hack that a student can do. We read to find out new information on a topic, and find some shred of meaningful information that we can apply to our lives. This information, in order to be hacked, is finding new ways to do something that we have never done before, or something that we have, but are trying to find a different way to do it. We can do this by having an open mind which may in fact be our hack, this is what we need to be teaching to our students!

 

 

Bringing Back Memories

Now that I’m becoming a teacher, I of course can’t help but remember all of my educational experiences, and how my teachers and school mates impacted my life. I grew up in schools, my mom was a school librarian at a small little country school I attended from Kindergarten all the way to seventh grade. She became very close to all the teachers and staff there, and I would always go after hours and wonder the halls and meander my way to teachers classrooms. I would ask them questions about teaching, and “pretend” I was a teacher. I suppose school always seemed like home to me, and that’s what I wanted my career to be, at home.

Photo CC By- Todd Classy
Photo CC By- Todd Classy

There was a time, when I was a junior in high school, and I very much disliked my math teacher! I hated math! I was terrible at it and I didn’t think it was fair that I had to be there, I already knew how to do basic algebra, what was the point of taking advanced? Where was I ever going to use that information? Well as it turns out I didn’t try very hard in the class due to my terrible attitude, and was soon failing. I could tell my teacher didn’t like me a whole lot in return, but still wanted me to succeed (maybe because he didn’t want to ever see me in his class again)!

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Photo CC By- Sean MacEntee

He asked me one day if I could come in after school and he would help walk me through what I needed to do, or help me with what I didn’t understand. We got to talking, and he wanted to know what my interests were and why I didn’t particularly like his class. He knew I had no ambition at this point for the subject, but after painfully sitting through his instructions, I DID in fact start to understand! After I started to understand what I was doing, I enjoyed math, and enjoyed coming to his class! It was reaching out to me, and figuring out how his instruction technique could help me, really clicked with me. Now, I think about him all the time taking classes on how to help students learn. I always think of how I could be like him, how can I reach out to my students?

I can recall another time when my piano teacher, as a matter of fact, changed my whole thinking about what it means to be a great educator. I would say I was probably about sixteen or seventeen at the time, and still taking piano lessons. Yes, I probably was too old. Anyhow, my parents made me take the lessons until I got good at it, and once again, I didn’t like playing piano, I was forced to do it, and if I’m being forced you can bet your bottom dollar, I’m gonna make sure I retaliate.

Photo CC By-Andy Devine
Photo CC By-Andy Devine

Well, one day she asked me, “Cori, why on earth don’t you like playing the piano? You could be so good if you would just try!” I remember saying, “But my parents bug me about it, I want to do it on my own time, I want to play when no one is listening for my mistakes, and practice because I enjoy it.” She told me that, “If you do enjoy it, who cares who’s listening to your mistakes, who cares if your the worst piano player on earth, you play because it sets you free, not for the enjoyment of pleasure for others.”

Wow! If that wasn’t the best piano lesson I’ve ever had! I left thinking so much that day about my life, and my education, and what I wanted to learn, and what I enjoyed learning. I think we should all inspire others to be individuals and find what makes our world ‘tick’. I want to inspire this in my own students someday, to give them the resources to ignite their passions in life

When I was going to a small community college, I had a professor who was probably the meanest old mad, very strict, and no one liked taking his class. He taught American Government, and I was determined to get a good grade in this class so I would have all honors. I would make it a point to write down questions that I wanted to ask him, mostly to just take up class-time so he wouldn’t pick on other students.

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One day I asked him one of the questions I had written down and he just stared at me for a good few minutes, everyone in the class looking at me, and then looking at him, then looking back at me! He said, “Never, in all my thirty years teaching, has anyone ever asked me that question. I can’t even give you an answer because I never even asked that question.”¬†It was then that I realized that teachers could be educated by their students just as much as students could be educated by the teacher.

Recently I have substitute taught for the local preschool here. I have learned so much about learning, I have had to start a journal about it. For one, those little four year old’s love learning! They actually want to know everything about everything at that age, and it is such a treat to be able to teach even the smallest of ideas to kids. I remember we learned how to plant flowers, and everyone got to have a seed, and watch it grow. I had a student ask me, “Can we give our flowers a name?” Really a name for your flower? Well, alright, that’s actually a great idea. So when their flowers bloomed they were telling their parents about their flower’s and some parents asked me who the new kid in class was.

Photo CC By: Eric E Castro
Photo CC By: Eric E Castro

It’s seriously the small things in life, that make the greatest impact on our minds. I don’t know where I would be today without these great students, teachers, and life mentors in my life. I wouldn’t have the best experiences to share with my students, that for sure!