"To teach is to touch a life forever"

Category: EDTC300 (Page 1 of 2)

Learning How To Read Chords Sheet Music

As mentioned in a previous learning project post, I am unable to read strumming chord sheet music. While the sheets may look simple, I am unsure of how long to play the chord, as well as unsure of how long to count for. So far, I have been learning all of my chords and snippets of songs through videos, so I just follow along with the creator of the video and memorize the chords and snippets. For example, to learn the beginning of Stand By Me by Ben E. King, I watched a video, and then continued to practice until I had a good memory of it. After not playing it for a while, I needed a quick refresher. To do this, I watched an old video of me playing it. I would like to be able to read the music and know how to play a song without needing to use a video or other resource aside from the sheet music. 

The part I find very tricky is thinking about and preparing for the upcoming chord while playing the current chord. 

To help me practice the timing and chord switches, I looked up some very simple songs that only involve two chords. These songs were Row, Row, Row Your Boat and the Itsy Bitsy Spider. 

From my searching, it appears that one simply just plays a chord until the word with the next chord over top of it comes up, then switch! For instance, in the first line of Itsy Bitsy Spider, you start playing F on the word “itsy” and switch to playing C7 on the word “up.” Learning this task was much easier than I thought it would be! I understand the concept, but I struggle to actually do it. The website could have been more informative. I had to draw my own conclusions rather than be exclusively told. 

Here is the website: LiveUkulele

Here are videos of me playing those two songs!

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Continuation of Strumming and Fingerpicking

For this blog post, I decided to refresh my knowledge of strumming and fingerpicking! To refresh my knowledge of strumming, I practiced playing Stand By Me, a song intro that I learned earlier in the semester. 

Here is a video of me practicing: Stand By Me

Then, I learned some more chords. These chords are A, D, and E. I found diagrams on AustinBazaar. There were 6 chord diagrams, but I had already learned C, F, and G. This website also includes multiple videos about learning chords, as well as techniques and tips! These would be super beneficial for students to use if they were learning the ukulele. 

Below I have attached some videos of me playing these chords while strumming: 

Strumming A Chord

Strumming D Chord

Strumming E Chord

After practicing some old chords and learning some new ones, I moved onto fingerpicking. I attempted some finger picking using the chords that I learned: 

Here are the videos of my attempts: 

Fingerpicking A Chord

Fingerpicking D Chord

Fingerpicking E Chord

My thoughts on chords: 

A – This one was super easy! It was similar to the other chords that I learned earlier in the semester. 

D – This one was more challenging than A. While I was able to do it, I struggled. 

E – This one was super hard! I found this one the hardest of all three. 

With D and E, I found the hardest part to be pressing one finger down to cover multiple strings.

After this practice, I thought that I would give learning a song with both strumming and fingerpicking a try! Then… I became very overwhelmed with how fast my individual fingers would need to move to play the pattern and change chords. I do not think that I am quite ready for that, yet! Someday I will accomplish this, but I am proud of my work and effort for learning some new chords!

Keeping Tabs on Tablature

Throughout this semester, I have realized that songs are often written using ukulele tablature. So far, I have been learning songs and different patterns from videos as I was unable to read tablature. As I mentioned in one of my initial learning project posts, I am able to read standard notation with a bit of a refresher. This week, I decided it was time to become more familiar with it! With ukulele tablature, the lines represent the strings. Then, on the line, there will be a number. This number represents the fret that should be played. For example, if a line says 0, then no frets should be pressed. However, if the line says another number, then the corresponding fret should be pressed. 

Here is a video of me demonstrating: Learning Ukulele Tablature

I played all of the strings open first, so none of my fingers were pressed on the frets. Then, I played the first fret on the first string with the rest open, then the second fret on the second string with the rest open, and then the third fret on the third string with the rest open. I finished by playing the second fret on the first string. 

I found my information here: Ukulele Magazine. This was a very informative website! It describes what tablature is, as well as how it should be used simultaneously with standard notation. I only looked through the tablature section, but there are multiple different sections on chord diagrams, capos, time signatures, etc. This would be a good website to bookmark to look back on for the other information!

As well as previously being unable to understand ukulele tablature, I am unable to read chord sheet music. That is something to discover in another week coming up!

Digital Literacy: Fake News!

Screenshot taken from Stanford news

As teachers, we need to teach students about fake news when teaching them about digital literacy. Students have access to social media and technology, so they can easily spread fake news if they are not taught skills to decipher between real and fake news. For example, in The Smell Test: Educators can counter fake news with information literacy. Here’s how article by Linda Jacobson, it states that “students at an elementary school admitted that their reports of creepy clowns wielding weapons – really just construction workers with tools – were not true” (para. 9). This can cause worry and panic, resulting in emergency services being called and taken away from real emergencies.

In the future, I will be teaching elementary students, and right now, I am pre-interning in a grade 2/3 split classroom. Teaching digital literacy for this age group will differ greatly from teaching digital literacy to high school age students; teaching digital literacy to elementary students should be introductory. It is very necessary to bring awareness to the topic at a young age as students/children have access to technology much younger nowadays, so it is important that students begin to understand how to be safe and responsible online. They need to be able taught to be weary of what they are seeing, as well as taught to question and think about what they are seeing or reading.

At these young ages, one has to be careful about how they teach the information to students. The information needs to be age appropriate, so students can understand. Further, teachers need to teach students without using fear as we do not want to scare children away from the digital world. In an age appropriate manner, students need to be taught to not trust easily online. We need to not just accept what we read on the internet. Further, we need to avoid immediately sharing news you see online. One should always take at least a few minutes (or longer) to think and consider what they just read before choosing to share it in an online space.

The curriculum needs to be adapted to include digital literacy specifically. As of right now, teachers are not required to cover digital literacy. It is up to an individual teacher’s discretion whether or not they cover the topic in their classroom. Looking at the Saskatchewan health curriculum from grades one to five, a teacher can discuss risk and safety regarding digital literacy. The outcome and indicators are: USC1.4 e and i, USC2.5 a and h, USC3.5 a, USC4.4 d, and USC5.6. From grades one to four, there is no specific mention of digital literacy. These outcomes and indicators discuss risks, so one could discuss the risks of not being aware of digital literacy and fake news. USC5.6 mainly focuses on safety in regard to peer pressure; a teacher could discuss how we need to think hard before sharing online, and we should not just share an article or post that we are not sure about because our friends are or our friends told us to share it.

In terms of the NCTE framework for grades one to five, students would need to focus on being able to “participate effectively and critically in a networked world” and being able to “explore … across a wide variety of inclusive texts and tools/modalities.” We need to teach them the proper ways to interact and network online, as well as provide them experience in different age appropriate online environments, so when they are out of school and exposed to technology, students have the knowledge and strategies of how to be safe and responsible online.

For elementary students, the activity done in class would be beneficial as it was a fun way to engage students. As mentioned in the EdCan fact sheet, this will provide a more meaningful experience with more absorbed knowledge for children.

Teachers are also not alone! Librarians can be a great resource for digital literacy when they are properly trained in that area.

Hour of Code

For this blog post, I opted to do an Hour of Code option on Code.org. This activity was designed for grade two students, and it involved making a little dinosaur video game. There are also multiple other activities available for various grade levels. These Hour of Code activities have step-by-step video instructions that you can watch first before completing a task, but they are not mandatory as there are written instructions on each task as well. While going through the activity, I watched the step-by-step guides for the first two tasks, and then I opted to use the written instructions for the rest of the tasks. In the classroom, I think the videos would be beneficial for the grade two students so they can visualize the process and the steps before completing the tasks. Further, after each task, you get to test out the dinosaur game with the new coded additions.

Personally, I am not a huge fan of coding. I used to have to do in in high school, and it never peaked my interest. However, I think that students would enjoy the Hour of Code activities as a fun, new, and different activity. Also, I think coding is so important to teach students as we continue to develop and use digital things more. Additionally, it could give students insight for a future career plan if they develop a passion for coding. If I had the resources in my future classroom, I would attempt to incorporate coding into some aspect of my teaching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cybersleuthing

This week in EDTC300, we cybersleuthed another classmate to see what we could uncover about this other person. I cybersleuthed Kaelynn LePoudre this week, and I found accounts of hers on three social media sites, as well as her online ePortfolio. The three social media sites were Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. As I know Kaelynn personally, I follow her on her private social media accounts, so I tried to only look at public information to get the perspective of an outsider trying to look in. From these accounts, I was able to gather information like her birthday, her relationship status (as well as her significant other’s name), her hometown, her high school, and her current city. Further, I was able to find out where she attends university, where she works, and her job title. Lastly, I found out her interests like nature, photography, hiking, gardening, and painting from her ePortfolio. From my sleuthing, I found out that once you can add something to a google search of someone’s name, like a hometown, you have more access to any public news articles or documents that feature the person’s name. For instance, I found Kaelynn’s track and field results from 2015.

Instagram Logo

Twitter Logo

Facebook Logo

 

On social media, most people like to hide the bad. As per the article, “Instagram is passed off as real life,” instead of just the highlight reel that it is. People post the good moments and make their lives look as ideal as possible. Every day we are exposed to perceptions of others’ lives on various social media sites, and this can be detrimental if we are in a tough spot ourselves. 

Further, social media posts can ruin lives, even just one, as stated by Jon Ronson in his TED Talk. They are forever, and they are exposed to the entire world. This can cause extremely poor mental health, as well as lost jobs and alienation from those around the person who posted something viewed as bad. Even if the post is a miscommunication, the damage is instant and lasting.

Using Health Education to Teach Digital Citizenship in Early Elementary

Looking through the Saskatchewan Health Education curriculum from grades one to three, I found no mention of the nine elements of digital citizenship. Therefore, one has to find their own connections now to teach digital citizenship in the classroom while meeting the necessary curriculum requirements. I have listed below a few different outcomes and indicators from the Saskatchewan Health Curriculums from grades one to three that teachers can use to discuss digital citizenship at a young age. It is important to begin these discussions at a young age as school age children are starting to use technology at younger ages than before. 

Grade 1: SK Grade One Curriculum PDF

USC1.1 Examine healthy behaviours and opportunities and begin to determine how these behaviours and opportunities may affect personal well-being.

c. Ask questions and seek answers about healthy/unhealthy behaviours and opportunities.

h. Discuss a variety of healthy behaviours over which one has control (e.g., brushing teeth, being active, engaging in quiet time, seeking shade).

DM1.1 Examine initial steps (i.e., Stop, Think, Do) for making basic choices regarding healthy behaviours; healthy brain, heart, and lungs; healthy relationships; pedestrian/street safety; and a healthy sense of self.

d. Recognize the importance of thinking before acting.\

This outcome and these indicators can be used to teach students about Digital Communication, Digital Etiquette, and Digital Security. Students can be taught how to talk to others online respectfully, as well as be taught that they have control over what they post. Since they have control over their posts, online behaviours should be discussed. Also, students should be taught to think before they post, and Stop, Think, Do is an excellent technique for teaching this. 

Grade 2: SK Grade Two Curriculum PDF

USC2.4 Examine social and personal meanings of “respect” and establish ways to show respect for self, persons, living things, possessions, and the environment. 

a. Develop a common understanding and use of respectful language to talk about “respect” (e.g., tone of voice, manners, behaviours).

j. Discuss and provide examples of treating others as one would like to be treated.

USC2.5 Recognize potential safety risks in community “play areas” and determine safe practices/behaviours to identify, assess, and reduce the risks. 

a. Develop a common understanding and use of respectful language to talk about “risks” (e.g., identify, assess, avoid, reduce, consequence).

d. Demonstrate healthy behaviours (e.g., taking turns, wearing a seatbelt, asking for help) that favour the safety of self and others.

e. Explore possible healthy risks (e.g., making new friends, trying new foods) and unhealthy risks (e.g., riding your bike without a helmet, playing in traffic areas, touching discarded needles, approaching stray animals).

f. Discuss how safety rules/guidelines are established to reduce risks

These outcomes and indicators can be used to discuss Digital Etiquette, Digital Security, Digital Rights and Responsibilities, and Digital Health and Wellness. Students need to discuss that they need to be respectful to everyone online without infringing on others’ rights and freedoms. Further, students need to discuss safety online and the potential risks of having an online presence; discussing this topic will better support the health and wellness of students in an online environment. 

Grade 3: SK Grade Three Curriculum PDF

USC3.5 Evaluate safe behaviours/practices to increase the safety of self and others while at home. 

c. Demonstrate ways (e.g., plan ahead; follow the safety rules; stop, look, and listen; ask a trusted adult) to identify and assess the risk of potentially dangerous situations. 

This outcome and indicator can be used to discuss Digital Security. Students need to discuss how to be safe online, as well as need to know what to do if they run into an uncomfortable or unsafe situation online. 

While these outcomes and indicators in grades one to three do not fully cover all nine elements of digital citizenship, they cover five of them. Using additional subjects in the Saskatchewan Curriculum may assist in teaching students about all nine elements. 

In addition to teaching students about the nine elements of digital citizenship, I will closely follow the nine elements myself as I need to be a role model as a teacher. Further, I will be utilizing the above outcomes and indicators in my future career as an early elementary teacher, making sure that students are aware of digital citizenship.

Picking Up a New Skill on the Ukulele

This week, I moved on to something new – fingerpicking! While I still have lots to learn while strumming chords, I found myself hitting a rut where I was no longer motivated to learn the ukulele. By picking up something new, I feel more refreshed and ready to continue learning. For the rest of the semester, I will be alternating what I learn each week to try to prevent feeling bored and unmotivated. 

Holding the ukulele when fingerpicking is different from holding the ukulele while strumming. When strumming, you want your thumb to strum over the bottom of the fretboard. However, when fingerpicking, you definitely want to avoid coming close to the fretboard with the picking hand! When finger picking, one wants to pick over the sound hole. Also, it is important that one anchors their pinky on the base of the ukulele, down and below the sound hole. This will prevent the fingers from lifting too much, making it easier to fingerpick. 

This week I learned the Travis Pattern where you use your thumb to strum down on the top two strings, your index finger for the third string, and your middle finger for the bottom string. The pattern is Thumb (second string), Index (third string), Thumb (top string), and Middle (bottom string). 

Here is a video of me fingerpicking with no chords: Fingerpicking No Chords

Here is a video of me fingerpicking with chords: Fingerpicking with Chords

As you can see in the videos, I planted my pinky finger down and plucked over the sound hole.

To learn this week, I found a really good video! It is a bit on the longer side (around 18 minutes), so I was not really sure about it, but it flew by really fast. He explains concepts really well, so I followed along with the video easily. My one struggle was transitioning between chords while fingerpicking, but that was a struggle for me while strumming, too! It is something I will be able to practice throughout the coming weeks. Also, I will need to learn a few more chords. Overall, it was a great video that outlined that it is important to go slow when beginning, and continue to repeat until you understand! I would highly recommend using this video. It is the first in a series, so I will be using more videos from him in the future!

Feeling Safe and Secure on the Internet

When I was in grade nine, my school brought a police officer into the classroom to discuss cyber bullying with us. During this discussion, scare tactics were used as we were told that we would likely be tried as adults if we were found guilty of cyber bullying. While this tactic seemed to be effective for my grade, and no one was reportedly cyber bullied, I do not think that this is the best method for teaching students about cyber safety. 

Aside from this, we did not receive much information about cyber safety. For instance, I do not remember being told to not put our personal information, like full names and ages, online. Most of the information that I received on this topic was from my parents, and this made me comfortable with coming to them when someone inappropriate or uncomfortable came up online. 

Due to the level of comfort that I felt approaching my parents when things were inappropriate online, I think that it is important for teachers to discuss the topic in schools. If they discuss the topic, children who do not receive information about cyber safety from their parents will still receive information. This could make students feel more comfortable about coming to their teacher for help. As teachers, we can help figure out next solutions, as well as call in the appropriate help for the student.

In schools, there are multiple times where cyber safety could be discussed. For example, cyber safety could be discussed during health or computer class, as well as during a schoolwide assembly. There are multiple online tools that can be shown in classrooms, like Be Internet Awesome. Be Internet Awesome is an interactive tool to help teach children about cyber safety and digital citizenship. There are resources for educators and families, as well as an interactive video game component for an engaging learning experience.

Screenshot from Be Internet Awesome website.

Screenshot from Be Internet Awesome website.

Screenshot from Be Internet Awesome website.

Screenshot from Be Internet Awesome website.

Not Great Timing!

Welcome Back! 😃

This week is the first week where I have struggled quite a bit with grasping a new concept. It was disheartening after progressing so quickly in other aspects, but that is just part of the learning process! I think it was important for me to experience some struggle and setbacks because some students in my future classroom might experience the same feelings of frustration and annoyance that I felt due to not being able to grasp the new concept quickly and easily. 😕

My main focus this past week was looking into timing because I want to be able to have the right timing in future songs that I learn. While the article that I read this week says that one should learn chords of a song first and proper timing of a song second, I would now like to learn how to incorporate timing, so it is an easier process later for learning future songs.

Here is a link to the article that I read this week: How to Improve Your Rhythm and Timing

This article offers different ways and methods of trying to learn timing. It was very informative, and it provided lots of information. I appreciated that at the end there was a reminder that some people will pick up timing super quickly as a natural ability, while others will need to work extra hard and put in lots of effort to learn timing.

Lately, I have been working on song “Stand By Me” by Ben. E. King. The timing in this song is 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and. For the song and timing, one plays down, pause, down, up, pause, up, down, up. While I am able to play this strum pattern, I have no understanding of how to connect this pattern with timing. Below I have linked a video of me playing the island strum pattern with no chords while trying to count in my head.

Attempting to Count Timing in my Head

I wish you all could read my thoughts while I tried to do this! I had numbers and the word “and” flying around and getting scrambled in my brain. I would be doing okay for a short amount of time, but then my mind would lose track of where I was! It is very tricky. Earlier in the week, I tried to tap my foot and play at the same time, but it felt like too much physical movement happening. I could not focus on tapping my foot and playing the ukulele at the same time.  Does anyone have any tips and tricks for learning timing on an instrument? 🤔

Other than timing, I practiced chords this week! While I did not learn any new ones, I improved my transition between F and G7 while playing “Stand By Me.”

Here is the link to me practicing switching between F and G7:

Transition Practice Between F and G7

Here is the link to me playing “Stand By Me” with a better transition between F and G7:

“Stand By Me” with a Good Transition Between F and G7

This part of the week was much more encouraging! Overall, this week was an important reminder that students are going to struggle with some aspects of learning a new skill, but they will thrive while learning other aspects.

Over the next week, I will continue practicing timing with the island strum pattern, and I will attempt to utilize a metronome again. Instead of matching the BPM with the song, I will use a slow BPM and work my way to playing the song faster! Further, I will keep using strategies from the article linked above! Additionally, I will learn some new chords!

Thanks for listening and reading! See you next week! 👋🏻

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