Christmas

Tree

I’m not the biggest fan of the Christmas season. Every year after Remembrance Day it seems, all of the Christmas items appear in stores. Lights go up, trees are decorated and presents are purchased. Sometimes it seems like there is a lot of pressure put on material goods – lots of shoppers at the malls, money spent on items. When I was a kid, I loved waking up and opening presents. It was nice to receive toys or movies and games. It seems like Christmas has lost its meaning. As I get older, it is nice to be around family and friends and to spend time together. Last year, my family went over to my aunt’s house, we had dinner together and did a Chinese gift exchange with items from the dollar store. It was just a fun evening – lots of laughter and catching up with one another.

Less about material goods and money and more about friends and family. 

Last year also, I was completing internship in Yorkton. The theme for our Christmas concert was Christmas Around the World – each class sang songs from different countries around the world. It was a beautiful evening that ended with the story of Jesus’ birth which was acted out by the grade eight students. Tonight I went back to the school I interned out and attended the concert. This year, the songs were centered around the story of Jesus’ birth – carols like I Saw Three ShipsAway in a Manger, Joy to the World and many more. There was once again the enactment of Jesus’s birth. This school is a dual track French Immersion School – there are English and French classes for grades one through eight.

The English and French classes for each grade were paired together and the songs were sung in both English and French – it was absolutely beautiful. It is truly a wonderful thing where we have schools in Saskatchewan and in Canada that teach French Immersion Programs. The teachers are so dedicated and passionate about the French language and the students are eager to learn. It’s great to see and to hear! I’m not an immersion teacher myself, but I definitely respect those who are!

Here is the grade 1 classes singing Away in a Manger:

 

The evening featured singing, dancing and various musical instruments being played by the students. Each grade performed their song, and then the rest of the school would join in for a verse or two or they would all sing a song together, like at the end when they closed the concert with We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Check out I Saw Three Ships – Students used black lights and black light paint – very cool.

 

I love this part about Christmas too – understanding the reason for the season, the birth of Jesus and keeping “Christ” in Christmas.

The students, staff and the community came together and shared an evening in song and the Christmas story.

Photo1  Photo2

Happy Holidays!

 

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Connected, but Alone?

“As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication — and asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have.” – TED.com

I feel this is a relevant TED Talk that applies not only to individuals, but to students, teachers and all those around us. The talk is thought provoking and makes the viewer reflect on their own technology use and communication with others.

 

“We expect more from technology and less from each other.” – Sherry Turkle

“The feeling that ‘no one is listening to me’ make us want to spend time with machines that seem to care about us.” – Sherry Turkle

Reflection – Light Painting Learning Project

Major Project Option B: “Based on the idea that individuals are now more able to learn and share online, you will choose something significant that you would like to learn, and you will share your progress openly in an online space. The ‘something’ might be an instrument, a language, a sport or almost anything that requires more than a few hours of effort. Students should be prepared to spend 50-100 hours on this project. Regular documentation of the learning, including a before and after assessment, will comprise the assessment of this task.” – ECMP355 Course Syllabus

For this project, I combined art and photography and chose to learn about Light Painting which is also known as Light Photography or Light Graffiti. I had first seen light painting pictures from a friend on Facebook and I knew that this was something I wanted to do myself.

This project took a lot of time – I was amazed that when I looked back at the  log I kept, I spent just over 50 hours: trying different techniques, creating pictures and images, watching videos, looking for resources, sharing what I’ve learned with friends and looking at pictures and videos for inspiration.

If you haven’t seen any of the light painting that I have done, or if you have, I put together the following video highlighting some of what I have done:

*I used Screen-cast-o-matic because Windows Movie Maker would not play the animated gif images that I had created

My thoughts on this learning project:

Positives:

  • I was fortunate that I had a DSLR camera and did not need to buy one. However, it is possible to create light painting photos with a point and shoot digital camera, however it requires a bit more effort and time.
  • I was able to purchase flash lights from the dollar store.
  • I used books and tables instead buying of a tripod.
  • There are thousands of amazing light painting photographs on the internet.
  • I was able to attempt to create any idea that came to mind.
  • The tutorials I found provided easy to follow instructions that allowed me to produce similar effects.
  • You can create photos using different iPad apps.
  • It is a great activity to do with friends.
  • This is something I would like to do with students in my own classroom one day.

Negatives:

  • Most of this project was done individually (a choice I made) and because of this, there were restrictions on the time I had to create a photo – the highest timer I had on my camera was for 30 seconds and after this time frame, the photo would produced.
  • A lot of the websites and tutorials I came across were almost identical to one another and it took a lot of time and searching to find new and different ideas and skills.
  • While I browsed through hundreds of photos online which inspired me, I had to be really creative in coming up with what I wanted to create. The videos and photos and tutorials did not tell me for example how to paint a dog, I had to figure this out for myself.
  • I could have been more creative.

Changes:

  • I would have done this project with a partner.
  • I would spend more time perfecting one technique – for example light orbs
  • I wish I could draw better!
  • There are so many more different pictures I still want to create

Overall, this was a wonderful learning experience and it goes to show you can learn almost anything online. I am pleased with the variety of techniques I tried, the pictures I produced and that I was able to share with classmates and others my progress. It was meaningful when I was doing this project with Kirk and some of my other classmates as I was in the role of a teacher/expert and they were interested in what I was showing them. I was also neat to see how many people viewed my posts, commented on things that they liked and to be able to share my pictures through my  Flickr account and my posts through my Twitter account.

I hope to keep creating different pictures even though ECMP355 has ended, so be sure to check back for updates! But until then you can review my previous posts and images through the different pages I have created and other accounts that I have:

 

Summary of Learning – Part 1

For the presentation of my summary of learning, I did a couple of different things:

I first created a slideshow using sliderocket to organize my ideas and Scribd to share it here, as my file was too big to upload using Slideshare:

 

Then, I took most of those slides and added my thoughts to them to produce the following video:

 

But since this summary was a little long, I took the above video and made a shorter version to be shown in class (highlighting what I really wanted to communicate and share with my classmates):

 

All three are a little different and I don’t expect you to view all of them. However, if you have the time to watch one of them, I would recommend you watch the second YouTube video for an insight into my learning from ecmp355 this semester.

Through being exposed to a variety of tools, information, resources and knowledge, I have learned a great deal and have gained a stronger understanding of the technology around me today – things that I will be using, things that my students will be using and things that other people are using. I am now competent with a variety of tools in which I can produce, remix, share, edit, and can collaborate with others through many means. I have a greater appreciation for: YouTube, the many tools Google provides, Twitter, the idea of re-mixing, digital story making, online learning spaces, WordPress, pod casts and the many forms of learning – synchronous and asynchronous. Most importantly, I’ve learned the importance of integrating technology into the classroom with learners of all ages.

Oh, and I highly recommend that all University of Regina students in Education take this course as it should be a requirement for your degree, and that it should be taken before internship would have been so beneficial for internship. Although, it has prepared me and made me ready to be in my own classroom with students and to use technology – I am eager to enter the profession!

 

Light Trails

I tried something new in regards to light photography/painting. I found the following website, How to Shoot Light Trails and after reading through it, I decided to give it a ago. Basically when you shoot light trails, you set your camera on a tripod, select the manual setting, have a low ISO number, a high aperture number and a low shutter speed. To see what all of those camera terms mean, I find this guide helpful which comes from Miguel Yatco.

Here is a great tutorial that walks you through the basics of shooting light trails:

 

So I picked tonight to give it a try, regardless of the drizzling rain outside. I couldn’t really seem to find any bridges in Regina or ones that put me above traffic so I opted for taking pictures while sitting in my car. It turned out all right I think (click to enlarge):