TikTok (on the clock)

TikTok: How it Started

This week I chose to explore TikTok. Prior to 2020, the only TikTok I was familiar with was the song by Kesha however, when the app really became mainstream in 2020, I remember downloading it at the beginning of the pandemic. I was very cognizant of how much time I was spending on TikTok when I first downloaded it, particularly before bedtime. After getting in bed, I would scroll through my phone and find myself mindlessly on TikTok scrolling through videos of cats, puppies, and comedic content. About an hour or two later, after watching endless amounts of short video clips I would panic as I then realized that I was not going to get enough sleep that night. This pattern continued and I eventually decided that enough was enough and delete the app for my own wellbeing.

How it was going…

For the last few years, since deleting TikTok, I would still see videos and watch them however only on Instagram. This tweet from Gareth Waugh describes exactly where I have been in my relationship with TikTok:

Tweet photo by Gareth Waugh

Tweet by Gareth Waugh, Photo by Spartakiss VIA https://ifunny.co/picture/no-i-don-t-watch-tiktoks-i-watch-instagram-reels-5kGUmF1PA

Honestly, I was very content with my decision to not be on TikTok. However, I certainly was aware of the fact that there were references made by my coworkers and friends about TikTok trends that I was not familiar with. That being said, I never felt like this hindered my ability to socialize or do my job.

TikTok Take Two

My new EC&I 831 challenge for this week was to redownload TikTok and see what it is all about. I tried to come at this second attempt with TikTok with an open mind and a new lens. Instead of looking at TikTok as a toxic space, I wanted to see how the app could benefit me both personally and professionally. Here are some of the things I noticed about the app:


Some of my major personal interests are pottery and Taylor Swift, which both bring me so much joy! After looking up both of these topics on TikTok, watching a few videos, and following some related accounts, it did not take long for my algorithm to adjust and for related videos to pop up on my stream. That being said, there were still plenty of random videos that would pop up on my feed that would try to reel me into a new algorithm. These were often highly watched or liked videos that were trending at the time.

Making Videos 

I always wondered how people (of all ages!) were pumping out what seemed like endless videos on the TikTok app. Once I tried it myself, I realized how user-friendly the app is in this regard. The tools that can be used to edit, add sound, or add text or other features is very straightforward and easy to use. I did not even need to google or search how to create a video and was able to wing it and successfully make two TikTok videos for my learning project.

Professional Use 

Wow, I am blown away by how many resources and ideas there are on TikTok for educators! It is certainly a way for educators to expand their PLN. Some simple searches that I tried were:

  • Teacher Resources: this brought up anything from strategies used in the classroom, classroom organization ideas, useful websites, and free or accessible worksheets
  • Special Education Activities: this search provided specific routines and activities for students with diverse needs, such as sensory or mobility needs. It also showed some activities specific to some diagnoses, such as autism. I initially tried to search ‘inclusive education activities‘, as I prefer the language, however, fewer relevant videos came up.
  • School Art Projects Kids: a variety of different art projects were easily accessible! It also displayed different modes of art such as painting, clay work, drawing, etc. I also tried searching some specific art forms with different searches and plenty of options popped up. Therefore, if you know you want to do a specific art form with your class (ie. watercolor painting) you can narrow down your search easily!

In addition to accessing a variety of professional resources, TikTok could be a great differentiated way for students to show their learning. With the video editing portion of the app being so user-friendly, students would easily be able to create a video to demonstrate a skill or knowledge they have acquired. They can even do all of this without posting their video to TikTok and instead simply downloading the video to a device that can then be shared with a teacher.


Some major concerns that I personally have about TikTok still are that it is so easy to go down a rabbit hole of videos that can impact a person’s social connections, sleep patterns, and access to sensitive or inappropriate content. To learn more about TikTok and some of the considerations of parents and educators that need to be taken, I accessed Common Sense Media and TikTok’s digital well-being for some assistance! Here are some of the tools that TikTok has that help manage these concerns:

  1. Family Pairing: Under settings and privacy you can use the family pairing feature. It allows parents or caregivers to sync with their child’s account to set and monitor their use of TikTok. With this feature, you can control the privacy of the child’s account (ie. private or public), access safety settings, restrict private messaging, and monitor screen time. As I don’t have anyone to practice this with, I would love to hear if anyone has experience using this setting and how it worked!
  2. Screen Time: Within the settings, you can control how much daily screen time you have on the app. In this feature, you can also set break reminders if you are using the app for long periods of uninterrupted time or you can set sleep reminders for different times of the day. This can be useful, however, they can be easily ignored or worked around. Therefore you need to have some self-discipline to actually stop your own use.
  3. Restricted Mode: This is a feature under settings that will restrict sensitive content. This seems to be based on what other people have reported. Therefore, you may still come across inappropriate content that has yet to be reported.

My Future with TikTok

Although I have certainly learned that there can be value in the use of TikTok, it is still not something I plan to access regularly. This is largely due to wanting to limit my own screen time, which I will try to do with the screen time setting on the app. I do think that it is a resource that I will come back to for professional purposes, such as getting ideas for my classroom, assignments, or projects.



Week 2 – Just Roll With It

With my plan to learn slab building set, I found my first step in the process to be gathering supplies. Here is where I started:


I have always purchased my clay from a local Regina business called Lakeview Pottery. As I am learning a new skill, I decided to work with clay that I am already familiar with, which is a medium temperature Plainsman clay called M340. It is a smooth, light-coloured clay that is one of the most popular options to use.

Cardboard box labelled plainsman clay M340

Plainsman clay from Lakeview Pottery in Regina


A sponge is an essential tool for working with clay. It allows you to apply varying amounts of water to add moisture or smooth out edges. From my wheel-throwing experience, I have always enjoyed using a round sponge, however many potters use cubed or rectangular sponges as well.

Wire Tool

A wire tool is used to cut the clay from the original large (and deceivingly heavy) block.

Rubber Rib

I have used wood and metal ribs in the past for wheel throwing, however, have never used a rubber rib. The rubber rib has two purposes:

  1. Compress the clay. This helps in the firing process to reduce the likelihood of cracks developing while firing, which from experience is heartbreaking!
  2. Smooth the clay. This allows a person to smooth any bumps or dints in the clay without adding the moisture of water as a sponge would.

As I have not used a rubber rib before, I needed to purchase one. I ended up purchasing a rib and pin tool set from Amazon.

Wooden Modeling Knife

This can be used to cut and trim the clay out of the slabs. As clay sticks to many surfaces, a wooden modeling knife is essential as wood is one of the few materials that does not adhere to the clay.

Pin Tool 

A pin tool is essentially a thin pokey metal stick. Similarly to the wooden modeling knife, the pin tool can be used to cut or trim clay from the slab. It is also used to score (see video below). This is a technique where you scratch the surface of the clay as a way to securely attached pieces of clay together.

Wood or Fabric Surface 

These two types of surfaces ensure the clay will not stick and your project goes smoothly!

Tracing Template

Depending on what you are making, you may want to use a template to trace while cutting out the slab. I currently don’t have any templates, however after a quick Pinterest search, there are many templates that can be printed out. I would imagine that you could also create your own or do this freehand.

Wooden Rolling Pin/Slab Roller 

Two ways that I have learned how to create a slab are:

1. Roll out the clay the old-fashioned way with a wooden rolling pin. This would look very similar to rolling out dough while baking. Pottery Wheel on Youtube does a great job of demonstrating how to roll out a slab and what surfaces to roll on!

2. Using a slab roller is another tool that can be used to easily create a            consistently flat slab. These tools are generally very expensive however, I am fortunate enough to work at a school that already has one. Therefore, I am going to practice and learn how to roll our slabs with both techniques!

With all of my supplies officially gathered, I decided to test out these two slabrolling techniques, and here is how they went:

Rolling Pin

Slab Roller

After trying both techniques, I definitely prefer using the slab roller. It is simple, more consistent, and reliable in creating an even slab. With access to the slab roller at my school, I will likely use this as my main slab technique. However, it is nice to have an alternate way to create a slab in the event that I do not have access to my school’s clay room!

Stay tuned, as I start finding templates for mugs and begin to build next week!


Week 1 – Slab Building: A Major Project

I have chosen to complete the learning project for my major project assignment! Upon hearing about this option, I immediately had ideas racing through my mind of skills that I would want to learn. However, once the realization sank in that I am pregnant and am limited in my physical capability, my options felt more limited. Therefore, learning how to do a freestanding handstand, skateboard or a backflip immediately flew out the window. 

After some additional searching and research, I decided to learn how to make slab building ceramics or pottery. Over the past year I have been practicing and learning wheel throwing pottery, however have always been interested in pursuing handbuild techniques, such as using slabs to create functional art. It is my understanding that wheel throwing and slab building are incredibly different ways of creating ceramics, and very few skills will transfer from one to the other. 

I chose slab building as my major project for many reasons. Firstly,  I love creating pottery on the wheel, however, with my pregnancy progressing, leaning over a wheel for hours is not an activity that my back will allow for much longer. Therefore, slab building is a more sustainable and ergonomic alternative. Slab building is also a more accessible version of pottery, as you can do handbuilding techniques virtually anywhere and without needing heavy and expensive equipment such as a wheel. Additionally, creating pottery has been a great form of self-care for me. It allows me to have an outlet of creative expression that I have been missing as I have had less time on the wheel lately.

Here are some examples of what I have created using wheel throwing techniques: 

Two cappuccino mugs with small cats.

Created by Amy Missal

White and speckled handmade pottery cup

Created by Amy Missal

Pink and floral handmade pottery cup

Created by Amy Missal

Here are some inspirational videos of what I would like to create with slab building techniques: 

I am truly excited for this new venture and learning this new skill through social media outlets! 

Social Media: A Love/Hate Relationship

For the last couple of years, I have been working towards limiting and reducing my social media access. The catalyst for this change was watching The Social Dilemma. After watching the documentary, I began to notice the impacts of social media on my personal connections and relationships. I then committed myself to focusing more on social connections with real people, in real time. During this time, I deleted many of my social media apps from my phone including snapchat, twitter, facebook and tiktok, leaving myself with Instagram and pintrest on my phone.

Not having these apps on my phone was an adjustment for several weeks. I no longer had multiple apps to mindlessly scroll through, however I often found myself inadvertently attempting to open the no longer existing apps. As I became aware of these impacts of social media use on myself and began to adjust, I was also more aware of my family’s social media use. For example, during family gatherings, how often everyone would grab their phones just to scroll through posts on different social media apps. The more I noticed patterns such as this, the more I became saddened of where our community was headed.

With all that being said, I can recognize the many benefits of social media. For me personally, it has helped me to stay connected to friends, family, and peers that are geographically distant or who have limited time to connect in person. In many ways, social media helps break down barriers of accessibility. It allows me and others to share news, information, and ideas to multiple people at once which provides convenience. With sharing of information being spread readily and available 24-7, it is not wonder social media has sky rocketed. Additionally, from a community standpoint, social media has helped me stay connected and become more aware of events and local organizations that are running in my community.

From a professional lens, I use Instagram to promote my classes that I teach at Local Barre Fitness. This is something that is encouraged by my employers and helps me to connect with people in the local barre community in a different way outside of the studio. As an educator, I started a twitter account back in 2017. However, my activity on the app only lasted for a few months before it tapered off. This was my first year in a full-time teaching role and I found that being a first-year teacher and running a professional social media page to be too time consuming at the time. That being said, although I do not share on social media, I have used many platforms to search for ideas to use in my classroom. For example, I used tiktok to find different watercolor painting projects for my students, and I use art hub with my students once a week to practice fine motor and listening skills. Therefore, I see the huge value of using social media to share ideas professionally.

From a teaching perspective, I have used social media in the classroom very minimally. I have taught a Functionally Integrated Academic Program (FIAP) computer course for three years. Each time I teach this class, I teach a social media safety and digital citizenship unit. This was developed because of a need for my students, as many of them use social media and are vulnerable in their use. Therefore, learning and teaching about the dangers of social media provide me with more hesitancy in the value of it and perpetuates my love/hate relationship with it.