Category Archives: Uncategorized

Learning to Code

Yesterday I did my first session of Hour of Code with the non-profit organization, Code.org. Code.org would like every student in every school to have the opportunity to learn computer science just like they do other subjects like biology and math. This would in turn create more interest in coding and programming, and students would be more likely to pursue this as a career in the future. I think this is a great initiative because computer science is extremely valuable to our society, and people in developing countries are able to contribute to  these technologies without needing many resources or much infrastructure.

 The above image explains my first interaction with coding. The program I chose was Star Wars themed, and the avatar at the top would give me jobs to get done for points. I completed them by using the tools in the middle of the screen and dragging them to the white area. Then I’d press “run” and my droid would move as it was instructed to. If the droid does what it was supposed to, you move onto the next level.

I liked how intuitive the game was, and I liked that it challenged your critical thinking at the same time. I’m not the kind of person who reads instructions a lot, and I found that I was able to figure out how to complete my task without trouble. It also took less than an hour to do all the levels for me, more like 45 minutes. I liked this, too, because it felt like an award on its own. The challenges started to get harder, but I noticed that we used the skills learnt in the previous level to understand the next. Here’s a screencast video I made with Screen-O-Matic, it’s of me working through a problem I didn’t quite understand.

I think I got through it pretty well, and honestly I felt like the program was enjoyable. I’d play it again, and I would definitely have my students try it. I signed up for an account so that I can use it in the future, and I think it would be great for any school-aged child. We would just have to ensure that they’re using the best program for them!

Above is my certificate of completion. Overall I loved the program and I liked exploring the website for other options. I think that it would be neat to work through a full 120 hour coding course, however the hour of code sessions are maybe more practical. What did you think of coding, have you ever tried?

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Progress Post: I Failed Last Week….

Last week was my hardest run week yet. I was on week 9 of my plan through the Nike Run App  and I was expected to run sprints, a long run, and a “tempo” run (a short recovery run). My body was hurting from the week before but I was determined to at least try to make my goals, as I haven’t yet missed a mile marker.

As you can see in my last post, I use a lot of resources to help me run. Yoga and meditation are two things that I try to be systematic and diligent with, but last week I started to slip up with my routine. That being said, I was off my game a bit when I started the week.

I used the “edit schedule” option and moved my sprints to the middle of the week, and then moved my other two runs to the weekend. In my mind this gave me more time to recover before the big run, 9.5 kilometres. However when I got to the day of the long run, I was not looking forward to getting out on the track. The temperature hardly dropped all day and it was a blazing 27 degrees. I took so many breaks during that run, and I started to walk home after 7 kilometres.

The app still logged my run and I in no way lost “points” or progress. I was disappointed, but I knew I had to listen to my body. Mostly I was worried that this week’s runs would be even harder since I didn’t make last week’s markers. After giving my body some rest and relaxation, I attempted this week’s challenge of sprints and and a whopping 10.5km run…. And I did them in record time.

To me this shows that by listening to your body and getting back to the “basics” rather than pushing yourself, you will see progress and you will accomplish what you thought you couldn’t before. Yesterday’s 10.5km run was my longest run ever, and I’m so proud of myself. After the run my whole body was tired, my feet were sore, and my lungs were raw. But I don’t feel like last week’s fall back kept me away from accomplishing these markers whatsoever. Going into next week I’m going to focus more on my running resources like yoga and meditation in order to stay strong and balanced. Below are my stats from yesterday’s long run!

IMG_8014           IMG_8013              IMG_8012

Last but not least, I’d like to quickly talk about my running shoes. I bought my shoes two years ago from the great people at the Regina Running Room. The most important thing to know about looking for running shoes is that you can not just buy a trendy or pretty shoe, to my dismay. Every foot and body is different, so you need to get a shoe that fits you right or you can hurt your whole body. At the Running Room the employees will test your feet and your run before giving you options of shoes to choose from.

Mine are the ASICS Women’s GT 1000 waterproof running shoes, and I love them so much. I wear them in the Winter to stay dry, and in the Summer they keep me comfortable and cool. I definitely recommend investing some time and money into good running shoes if you plan on taking on this activity. This resource on how to find a good running shoe is extremely helpful and worth the read if you can’t get to a store like the Running Room.

How did you guys like seeing my progress from week 9 of running to week 10? Let me know in the comments!

 

Face to Face with Facebook

This week, Anthea and I collaborated together to learn more about the pros and cons of using Facebook in the classroom and in the school. As you’ll see from this Google Document, we wrote on behalf of a teacher and a principal. The teacher is interested in being progressive, as she is a new teacher, and she wants to try to teach digital citizenship through using Facebook to connect with students and parents. She feels that her personal Facebook is professional, and she’d like to create a page to add students and parents to in order to keep up to date.

The principal seems reserved about the idea of social media in general, and offers many compelling arguments against using Facebook as the new teacher’s primary way of contacting parents and students. The principal is mostly concerned with privacy and sharing, as she should be. As well, the principal is aware of the community that is involved with the school already and she feels that the newsletters and email system is much more familiar for the school’s culture.

The compromise that they end up deciding on is to continue using the school newsletter and email system, BUT also allowing the parents and students to connect with the teacher on Twitter. Twitter is where the teacher keeps her professional information and she states in her conversation that she’d like to put reminders and due dates on her page to keep everyone up to date. This pleases both parties, and it’s a great way to ease the community into educational uses for technology and social media. Lastly, it’s also a great way to teach digital citizenship to the students.

Please read our dialogue at the Google Documents link above!

Week 3: How to Read Tabs

Hello Followers!

This week I felt like I wanted to get a better grasp on how to actually read guitar tabs. I started looking on Feedly for resources on how to read tabs, but I wasn’t getting anywhere too quickly. Later, I looked at Aurora’s Learning Project, and found she was learning the guitar too (hallelujah)!! Aurora suggested the Youtube resource, Guitareo to learn guitar through videos. I took a peak and here is what I found:

This post was perfect for me because I’m not looking to relearn guitar altogether, but instead I’m looking to learn to finger pick. I found that there aren’t as many videos for this as there are for learning chords, but this resource proved to be valuable!

As promised, I’m working on the song, Hey Mama Wolf by Devendra Banhart. The picking is definitely getting better, and next week I think I’ll be able to strum it together and speed it up a bit! The hard part that I wasn’t expecting is changing chords for finger picking, it takes much more concentration than strumming along.

Here are some audio files that I put together of the two chords I’m learning to finger pick:

C Chord
D Chord

Resources:

  • I uploaded my audio files using Clyp, an audio sharing website that allows you to create links for your audio files. It’s a public site, so I wouldn’t use it for everything, but for this project I thought it might make sense especially since it’s free and easy to use.
  • I had trouble converting my audio file to an mP3 on iTunes, and if you have the same issue I used this article and found it very helpful. Now I know how to convert them in the future, without using a website!
  • A great application I’ve found to tune my guitar is Guitar Tuna. It’s extremely accurate, easy to use, and free! I use it every time I play, I find this helps get into the routine of practicing my learning project, too.

Embodiment Means To Me

Question: What does embodiment mean to you, in the context of climate change and ecoliteracy? What do you notice about your ways of knowing (and being)?

To me, embodiment means physically changing habits and perspective in order to benefit the environment. This could be using organic products, choosing to buy morally made products, or buying items that will decompose within your lifetime. This is a huge part of reducing the effects of climate change. People need to realize that it starts with us, and then the larger corporations making big decisions will change, not the other way around.

In the beginning of this semester, we discussed the importance and significance of creating an environmental journal. This idea stuck with me, and it’s something that I’d absolutely encourage my future students to do. What I liked about the idea of having an environmental journal is that it would allow for individuals to connect with their experiences in a new way, by documenting and reflecting. The article we read highlighted creative ways to take the experiences “home” with you, like painting a watercolour picture with water from a local stream, etc.

This last week that I was in Hawaii, I was overwhelmed with how much the culture valued the environment and the land that we were travelling on. The people who lived there spent so much time outside that they usually felt a spiritual connection to the land. As well, Hawaii is so isolated that past generations relied on the small land for their food, water, and garments.

After reflectingon my experience there, I decided that I wanted to showcase how I feel about embodiment by creating an environmental journal to appreciate the natural world more. My theory is that the more you love something, the more you want the best for it (simple and sweet). I hope that as I connect with my experiences in the environment more, I’ll become more aware of the ways that I can stand up for it.

 

The picture I decided to draw was of our view outside our condo in Maui. What is amazing about Hawaii is that they have had a diverse history of major economic sources. The major sources have been sugar cane and whales. Whaling has been now outlawed, and as a result more whales can be seen in the ocean during the mating and birthing seasons. While we were looking out our window, and on the deck, we saw whales jumping, playing, and stretching often! This made me think about what humans do to the animals and land, selfishly, and how major decisions cans ave species and whole communities! 

 

No New Clothes in 2018

After reading Maple Nation, speaking with the class about climate change, and doing my own reflection, I felt like I wanted to make a rather large change to my life to impact the planet for the better. Now, not to toot my own horn, but I’m not too bad with the environmental stuff as of right now. Don’t get me wrong, I could be better. However, after going through the list of ways I could contribute, I realized that my consumerist habits, particularly with clothing, was definitely where I contribute the most environmental waste.

My pledge is to not buy any new clothing for the rest of the year. Since this was actually my New Years Resolution as well (is this cheating?), I actually started the challenge on December 26th– the ultimate day of consumerism as we know it in North America. So far, it has been going well. This challenge would have been made so much harder if I was still working at the clothing store I’ve been working at for the last six years. Now that I’ve been without shopping for the last month, I realize how much I really did shop.

However, when I made this “resolution” for the new year, I had my closet in mind, solely. I was thinking to myself that I wanted to save money and at the same time reduce my consumerist habits because I had no more empty hangers… More of a self mission. But after doing some research on the fashion industry, I have much more motivation to do this challenge for the planet.

In particular, I watched a new documentary about the fashion industry called The True Cost: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaGp5_Sfbss

This documentary not only highlights the growing affects of the fashion industry on the workers who manufacture the clothing in developing nations, it also shows the watcher how the environment is damaged by this huge industry. To put it in perspective, the fashion industry is the 2nd largest polluter in the world, next to the oil industry. The average american throws away 82lbs of clothing every year, and that clothing sits in a landfill for 200 years before it biodegrades– letting off chemicals. Not to mention the fabrication environmental damages, which brings toxins to the water, soil, and air. And the market is only growing… On the human side, in North America, we are engulfed in this fantasy that our problems will disappear from buying more and more at a cheaper cost. But we aren’t thinking about the true costs… Our environment, and it’s people.

My official pledge is that I will not buy any new clothes, and I will continue to purge my closet as I see fit for the next year. Rather than donating my clothing, I’d like to try to make old clothes into something I would wear. The video shared that only 10% of donated/recycled clothes end up in local stores, and the rest are shipped back to developing nations, where there are too many already.

I am allowing myself three “special occasion” purchases. This is only for the reason that I committed to purchases before my pledge, such as buying a bridesmaid’s dress… But only three.

Next, I am allowing myself to mindfully continue to buy used and vintage clothing, only for the reason that sometimes clothing is a necessity, and I feel like the recycled clothing industry fits with my pledge. Already I’ve had to dig to the bottoms of Regina to find a second hand one piece bathing suit for an upcoming trip (spare me)… That was an experience.

Below are photos of my visual for this assignment. I wanted something that I could hang on my closet door so that I am reminded every day when I’m picking out an outfit that I’m doing something with a purpose for our planet. For the letters I actually used cut-outs from fashion magazines… How fitting! The picture in the left corner of the poster is me in front of a chaotic store front in Mexico City. I was there last summer, and I couldn’t help but notice it. The store’s front and interior was literally overflowing with clothing, none of it seemed to have purpose or real value. After reflecting on this occasion, I realize now that this store was selling cheap misprints or over prints of t-shirts made by a factory in Mexico City. This mass production makes me feel sad, because it’s so thoughtless.  

Wisme luck with my pledge! What do you think, can this be done? Also, if you watched the video, what else can we do to reduce fast-fashion consumption?

 

Young Gun

IMG_4518Hi! This is my first blog post for my brand spanking new wordpress account. Yay! My name is Maple, I’m a second year education student at the University of Regina. This wordpress was created for an Environmental Science course, but I really hope to use it for the rest of my life… We’ll see how that goes.

Here’s a little about me: I was born in Moncton, NB., I was raised in Yorkton, SK., and I now live here in Regina. I love my city! I live in the historic Cathedral area with my boyfriend and dog, shown above (he loves to swim!). After University my dream is to teach abroad, hopefully in Asia.

Thanks for reading, and please follow along on my journey!