Innovative Learning

Over the course of the semester, I have been asked many times to “think outside of the box.” Sometimes stated just like that, and sometimes implied through assignment directions. Before this semester, being creative and inventive was not my strong suit. In the world of education though, you need to be flexible and willing to try new things. From this class I have learned that peers are one of your best resources. I have learned so much from reading others’ blogs and tweets over the past 15 weeks.

The article 7 Essential Principles of Innovative Learning has really great ideas. It says that learners have to be at the center of what happens. To me this means that in order to be a learner, you can’t just be a bystander. Another one of the principles I liked says that assessments should be for learning, not of learning. I’m currently taking an assessment foundations class, and I don’t feel like we’re learning how to make assessments for learning rather than of learning.

My favorite part of George Couros’ article The Mindset of an Innovator was when he said “Innovation is not something new to education, but it is something we can do better.” I think an important part of being an innovator is knowing that you can always do better.

This semester I have unlearned the idea that I need to be perfect on the first try. I have always been a little bit of a perfectionist, but I am slowly learning that sometimes it’s okay to be less than perfect, as long as you’ve done your best.

In his article The Steep “Unlearning Curve”, Richardson says “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?” I have never heard anything related to this topic that makes more sense! It’s unrealistic to expect all students to learn at the same pace, especially when they come in at completely different places.


ILP – Completed!

I’ve finally finished my Independent Learning Project! Throughout the process I would say I have solidified what I already knew about myself – I am not the most disciplined. I always get my work done, it’s just not always done as early as I would like it to be. In the beginning it was really exciting and easy to motivate myself. Then, as the semester progressed and my course-load piled up, it started to seem like tedious work. The best part of this project is definitely the end product! I am so excited to have something to look back on my visit to Nebraska last summer. I’ve even already shared the link with my sister-in-law so she can look at my scrapbook and show it to my niece and nephew!


Looking at independent learning projects from a teacher perspective – I think they could be beneficial. Rather than telling kids what they’re going to create, they get to choose, which in my book is always a plus. If they are given time to work on it in class, it’ll be easier to stay focused than if they had to work on it at home. However, you’re always going to have those kids who don’t use their time wisely and fall behind. I think time management is a great skill to learn though!

Now that I’ve finished this scrapbook, I’m already thinking about what my next one will be!

Digital Story

This was a great project! It was challenging yet doable. I definitely should not have waited until 4 hours before it was due to start it though. I feel that had I started earlier, the quality could have been much better. Also, I’ve made similar videos using WeVideo but it looks like you now have to pay to use it. I’ve used iMovie, but I’m not super familiar with Apple products and felt like it would take forever to do it on the iPad. So, I downloaded a program completely new to me! I used Wondershare Filmora. I felt that it was pretty simple to use – it’s set up just like the other 2 programs I mentioned. It comes with preloaded options for music, but I could not figure out how to add voice clips. I ended up having to download a voice recorder program, using it, then exporting the clips to the movie making program. One thing I didn’t like – it didn’t tell me until the very end that there was going to be a giant watermark on the video unless I paid to have it not there.

Daily Create – Finally Done!

I worked alllll week (which I haven’t done since last May when my classes ended) so I got a little behind on schoolwork. I’m finally getting caught up. Here are the last of my daily creates!

Day 16: Art makes the world a little bit more beautiful.

There’s probably art in your daily environment, be it your home, work, commute. Share a photo.

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This is a small veteran’s memorial park in my hometown!


Day 17: Find a door, take a photo, and share it!


This is the front door in the house that I grew up in. My grandma’s dad built the house, and in just a couple of weeks my grandparents will sell it. Very bittersweet!


Day 18: Share 3 things that make you happy.

3 things.jpg

My cats (I’m sure you could’ve guessed that by now), my boyfriend, and being a substitute teacher!


Day 19: What is the animal thinking/saying?



Day 20: Share a picture of something that makes you nostalgic.

This one has so many options, but I have been thinking about the Betty Spaghetty dolls a lot lately!

betty spaghetty.jpg


Day 21: Illustrate a Winston Churchill quote.

enemies quote

Went back to Canva for this one!


Day 22: Create a playlist for escaping the apocalypse.

This was probably one of my favorite creates. It was a lot of fun to think of songs that would get you pumped up.


Day 23: Flip the words of a movie title around.

The Space Between Us —> Us Between the Space.

Just watched this last night, if you haven’t seen it, I definitely recommend it!


Day 24: Use the Surreal Compliment Generator to generate an absurd complement. Then put the text on an image that you think illustrates the complement best.

Your presence puts me in a truly albino mood..jpg

Interesting complement…


Day 25: Make a photo that looks better in black and white than it did in color.

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This carnation was white with red in it, and laid in snow. It was cool in color, but even better in black and white.


Day 26: Create a photograph that features a repeating pattern.



Day 27: Imagine you’d be making a trip of more than 15 years long. Draw on a map where you’d be going on a Zapp-like trip. Who would you take with you?

travel map.jpg

I think the only person I could stand to be around that long would be my boyfriend, and any children if I had them. We’d start by visiting family in the US, then going to Hawaii, traveling Latin America, South America, a long stent in Europe, a little bit of time in the Middle East and Africa, a vacation in Australia, up through Asia, back through Europe, then back to the US!


Day 28: March 8 is International Women’s Day. Sure you know many amazing women. Tell us about an amazing woman in your life.


My grandma is my best friend! She took on a responsibility that wasn’t hers when she took my brother and I in and raised us. We had the best upbringing we could’ve had! She’s the first person I want to talk to after anything happens – good or bad. She’s always supported me, even when I didn’t make the best of decisions. And she’s been there to pick me up when things went wrong. I am forever grateful for her!

Day 29: Check out Boredpanda’s collection 10+ Animals That Look Like They’re About To Drop The Hottest Albums Of The Year!

Pick one and turn it into an album cover, complete with band name and a killer title.

Otis and the Dogs.jpg


Day 30: Share a picture of something you made.


Dinner is served!



The hardest part about the Daily Create Challenge was being disciplined and getting them done everyday. There were a couple times where I was playing catch up and doing 2 or 3 in one day. I think these would definitely be fun in a classroom setting!


Online Creation Tool – Canva

My first choice of graphic tools to use was the comic book app. I was pretty disappointed when I clicked on it and it said it was only available for iOS devices, since I don’t have one of those. So my second choice was Canva to make a poster. Then I saw that you can make photo collages, which is pretty much what I wanted to do with the poster anyways. Then, even better, they have a Pet Photo Collage template – exactly what I wanted! It gave a quick 23 second tutorial which I thought was great because I don’t like long tutorials. It was SUPER easy to use. I chose the photos I wanted to use, chose a template I liked, plugged my pictures in, changed the words, and wala! Done. I have an app on my phone that can make collages similar to this, but it’s hard to get everything sized and situated just right on such a small screen. I definitely prefer this one. I think Canva would be great to use in the classroom because it is so user friendly. Kids could use it instead of PowerPoint or Word to create a graphic. I think there are more options to customize your project and it’s much easier to do so.



I need to make some announcements soon. In the past I’ve used sites like Shutterfly to do them. I decided to see what the announcements on Canva were like. It was just as easy as the collage. I definitely think I’m going to use Canva from now on when I need to make graphics!

Daily Creates Week 2

The hardest part of this isn’t doing the creates, it’s remembering to do them! A couple times I was just about to go to bed and remembered I hadn’t done that day’s create. Luckily most of them are things you can do even if it is almost midnight 🙂

Day 8: Share a photography technique.
If you place your subject in front of light, you can create a pretty cool silhouette.



Day 9: Mix up a tourist slogan for one place with a picture of another place.
The slogan is from Lativa and the image is the Indie 500 track.

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Day 10: Cats or dogs? Who rules the internet? Are you a cat or a dog person? Tell us which animal is best, and why. Pictures are encouraged.

This is probably my favorite one. I’m obsessed with cats. I like dogs too, but I LOVE cats. I just feel like I can relate to them. I want to nap all day and someone to play with my hair and cuddle me. Here are a few of the cat related things I have shared on social media in the last week and some pictures of my cats 🙂


cute catskitty napmeow

Day 11: What was the number one UK single the day you were born? Share some music with us today.

Interesting… I’ve never head this before.


Day 12: Create an anti-resolution.
I know it’s not the beginning of the year anymore, but oh well.

My anti-resolution: Stop making excuses.

I’m kind of bad about this. Now that it’s an anti-resolution, I’ll see if it gets any better!


Day 13: Let’s say you’ve got an unlimited budget to have your personal toilet made for you. What does it look like?

Hmm.. Guess I’ve never really thought about this one before. Probably glitter. Way more glitter than this photo.



Day 14: Write a tongue twister.

Can Cam Cat count crickets creating chaos colored candy?

Does that even make sense?


Day 15: Make an image with mirrored objects. You could use real mirrors, or construct a mirror effect in an image editor.


Podcasts and Digital Stories in the Classroom

When I first saw that we were going to be learning about podcasts in classrooms, I wasn’t really all that excited. For me, podcasts are boring. I am not an audio learner. I need to see or do to really digest what is being taught. I was pleasantly surprised as I read through the articles. I was thinking, sure, students who learn best by hearing will like these, but from the article What Teens are Learning From ‘Serial’ and Other Podcasts, all of the students in these classes were engaged and really interested in the story. I was surprised to read that with podcasts, students can be exposed to material 2-3 grade levels higher and not experience any issues. I really loved the idea of using it for English as a second language learners. We used to use books on tape, which is similar to podcasts. I also liked the aspect of incorporating digital tools such as Google Maps. I would say those are definitely the top 3 pros of podcasts in the classroom for me. 12 podcasts that will tell you a fantastic story really got me interested in listening to podcasts. After reading about Serial, I decided it was the one I would listen to.

I think digital stories are great tools to use in the classroom. No matter where you live, there’s no way for students to experience everything you teach about first hand. Videos allows student a little bit of exposure to things that they aren’t otherwise familiar with. Living in Wyoming, digital stories helped me understand the ocean, tornadoes, and different cultures.

I look forward to learning more about how podcasts and digital stories can benefit students!