Giving Myself Grace

PSA: This post is going to talk about mental wellness. We all know why our reading week in February falls when it does and this year I really felt it. While part of my brain is always waging a war against me, I felt the battle raging this week. I had plans to film and edit a crocheting vlog, as we were advised to take advantage of the extra time the break allowed us to showcase our project in a way we have not yet explored. I actually did begin filming a vlog, but I barely crocheted in it and while I know that crocheting is not the be all end all of this project, what I did film was hardly coherent and editing it seemed too big of a mountain for me to climb. What I did instead was give myself some grace. I did tasks that brought me joy and didn’t seem too exhaustive in mind. I worked on a puzzle, painted a hallway in my home, painted and hung shelves in my living room, and walked my dog a lot. These tasks were unrelated to coursework and therefore felt attainable, as I did not have the mental struggle of perfection weighing down on me. I focused on myself and did what I needed to do in order to feel better. 

I have a few “rules” for myself that I try to adhere pretty strictly to in order to maintain my mental health, which are:

  1. Take my medication before 8:00am. I see a massive difference in my day when I do this. 
  2. Shower everyday. Personal hygiene is one of the first things that falls to the wayside when my mental health dips, so maintaining it is important for me to avoid freefall. 
  3. Eat. Again, my eating really dwindles along with my mental health, so it is important for me to keep eating to stay mentally and physically healthy. Of course, not eating greatly contributes to negative mental health, so I always need to remind myself to “feed the machine”. 
  4. Walk everyday. Exercise greatly contributes to a positive mental state. I heard a reference once while listening to a podcast with Jason Segel where he said something along the lines of, if your dog was depressed and you took it to the vet, the vet would ask how often you walk your dog and if you replied never, well maybe that’s where you should start… I take this advice and apply it to myself. Fresh air and exercise are critical, and my dog deserves a good walk every single day.

I did attempt a crochet project this week, but it didn’t turn out which was frustrating and I decided not to continue pushing it. I initially found this blog post that detailed the pattern for a crocheted vest. The blog referred me to another blog with a pattern of a specific granny square. The pattern/post was not as detailed as I typically like them to be. For example, the creator would neglect to mention specific steps even though the pattern was labelled “classic granny square”, which I incorrectly assumed to mean “easy” or “beginner”. My square turned out all disproportionate and lumpy even after restarting the square a few times and counting and recounting my stitches. 

All in, this week was a bit unproductive in regards to my learning project, but while I may not have accomplished what I set out to do, I did make a post. I also prioritized my mind over my coursework which is a big accomplishment for me in the recognition of what is going to benefit me most. I do still want to make a crocheting vlog at some point and I am excited to still have the opportunity to do so! 

Take care out there friends!

My TikTok Debut!

I know I’m extremely late to the party with TikTok and truth be told, I did have an account for a few days, but I personally was not interested in the constant scrolling and the way the algorithm zeroed in and would not serve me content outside of one or two topics. That aside, I decided to try using the TikTok app to create content. I have used Instagram to edit reels before and I found TikTok similar to my experience with Instagram only SO MUCH EASIER! Trimming clips is so much easier on TikTok than it is on Instagram, and adding sound was also much easier than I expected it to be! The TikTok I created is by no means a masterpiece, but I tried something new and no one is very good at something the first time they try it anyway… 

Here is the link to my TikTok

Here is the link to a video about editing TikToks that I watched, but didn’t really use any information from due to the fact that my video was very basic, but the information is good if you by chance find yourself creating content on TikTok. 

Going Granny

This week I decided to try working on granny squares! I found a YouTube video that was easy to follow and I made my first granny square. The creator of this granny square video is also the creator of the video I watched that taught me to make the flowers I posted about previously. Once I had the overall concept of the granny square mastered, I decided to move on to something a bit more daunting… 

crocheted granny squares
My first two granny squares

I was eager to try and follow this pattern of a granny square top, but there was no video! The only resources I had were the blog post and the drawn out pattern. Following written instructions and a pattern was initially a bit confusing for me because usually when I stumble over a stitch I’ve never done before, there is a video showing the creator doing the stitch, but with this method I had to figure out how to do certain stitches using other sources. I had to look up how to do a treble crochet and the difference between a cluster and a shell

In attempting to use only written instructions, I found that while I was able to complete the pattern, I had to use other resources, so I prefer watching a video tutorial. I also found that it was difficult to get my square to look similar to the one on the blog post because I wasn’t able to see how far the stitches were to be pulled, or how big or small to make the chains. I ended up having to re-make this square a few times and it still looks a bit wonky (it kind of looks like a hacky sack)! I think I am going to go back to videos and maybe reattempt this pattern in the future! 

My (not-so-wonderful) attempt at following only written instructions

I also would like to make a bit of an update on my flower garden. It’s growing into what I think is going to be a table runner! Making these flowers is a really nice way of taking a break when doing school work where I am not on a screen at all since I now have the steps committed to memory! 

Children in Online Spaces… What Do We Do?

Wesche talked about the community that is created by YouTube, and we spoke in class about how spaces on the Internet provide camaraderie for those in search of connection. Relationships and how we interpret them have been fundamentally changed by the Internet, but have we changed the ways we teach our children about relationships? I remember being a student and learning about what it means to be a friend and how to be a good friend, and these things were taught with the assumption that interactions would happen primarily face-to-face or maybe over a phone call. We never learned about interactions taking place online with friends or with people we’ve never met in person. 

To be able to make friends with others who have similar experiences to our own, but that live across the globe is truly incredible! Although, it is important to model to students what these online relationships can and should look like. After all, it is at school where we learn the most about how to create and maintain relationships with peers. Lessons in class about digital friendships can be effective, as well as possibly setting up an online space for children to interact with each other that is monitored by the teachers. For example, I may set up a space for my class and a class that my friend teaches in a different city where the students can interact with one another over given writing prompts. This may be one way that we can teach children about creating meaningful relationships online while allowing them to practice this skill in a mediated space. 

In class we talked about the lack of mediation when it comes to children being online. The more I thought of this problem, the bigger it got for me. There really is no way for adults to watch over children and guide them to make good choices when it comes to the online world. Aside from teaching children about online safety and about online friendships, the only other thing to do is limit a child’s access to the Internet. It is definitely a huge responsibility that we now have in order to guide children on the best practices when it comes to the Internet and I am not exactly sure what that all entails, but I believe that it is important in order for children to fulfillingly participate in the online culture.  

Technology and me

Technology seems to find us today at every turn. I, of course, enjoy many of the encounters I have in my daily use of technology, but I can grow frustrated with my relationship to technology and social media. I used to be very good about limiting my time on social media, but I found that I was disconnected from my peers as they use social media as means of communication. After a social media-free period of about six months, I got back into using Instagram. It is now the only social networking app that I use on a daily basis. I can find Instagram to be quite a distraction at times, and I am working on replacing the time I would spend scrolling with reading or some sort of craft (my newest addition being crochet!). 

I use mostly traditional means of organization when it comes to both personal and academic organization. However, I do use a google calendar to schedule appointments and commitments, because I like to enable the setting that sends a reminder 30 minutes before. I also use the university library online only because I am a rural student and would have to drive three hours to go in person. Another online tool I use for academic purposes is google docs. I like that everything saves automatically and that I can easily share documents with others. I label all of my documents with the class name first, so if I am searching for a document from a specific class I can search the class name and all of my work comes up. 

A tool I frequently used for my job as a SPED EA is Canva. I was able to create activities for my student and find and edit templates to use for posters/displays to decorate our classroom with. One activity I created was for pre-writing skills where I used a dotted line feature to make the shapes we were working on, printed, laminated and cut the sheet out, and used it over and over again with a dry-erase marker. I made a similar activity for my student to practice writing their name using a dotted line font, and two more using the same font one for the alphabet and one for numbers.

I am eager to learn about more technological tools that will support me as a teacher, and student outcomes! 

It’s just the beginning…*cue the arthritis*

This week I began my crochet journey! First, I organized my little crochet basket with all my yarn, hooks and sewing needles, and then I looked at it and thought to myself “wow… now I have to actually make this stuff into something”.

My little crochet basket

I can’t believe how nervous I was to start! I think my nerves have to do with this being a school assignment. It brings me back to middle school gym class where if you can’t throw the ball far enough you fail the assignment. I know this assignment is not about the outcome, but still, I had nerves.

 

When I decided to actually begin, I googled “crochet for beginners” and stumbled upon this video which I chose because it had the word “absolute” in the title and that reassured me. This video was such a wonderful resource! The creator did an excellent job of explaining every step and provided terms that were useful for me when I moved on to other sources. I am very glad that I started with a video tutorial, because I would not have understood a single instruction unless I had a provided visual. I am also quite surprised at how quickly I improved while practicing with this video.

My first attempt!
Getting the hang of it…

Once I felt confident enough in my stitches, I searched “free crochet patterns” on Instagram and scrolled through, saving patterns I liked and thought I could try. I came across a reel (short video on Instagram) that I thought looked like an easy level-up from what I had been practicing. Although, what I found was that the video went way too quickly for me to see every detail. The pause mechanism on Instagram requires you to hold your finger on the screen, so it was difficult to pause the video to get my work to look like the video. The creator also just had music playing over the video, so there were no instructions either verbally or written, which I found to be too tricky for me. I ended up scrapping that project and looking for something else to try. 

Not wanting to give up on Instagram, I found an account that posts free patterns! I used their link that took me to the blog and I chose this flower pattern called ‘Mollie Flowers’. The blog post had a video tutorial which I was quite thankful for. While there weren’t voice over instructions, the written instructions were easy to follow because I could see the creator working, as opposed to having written instructions and just a still image, or a video and no instructions. I was able to attempt and re-attempt these flowers until they held together and were presentable. I am definitely going to keep practicing these flowers and possibly use them to make a table runner! I also think this particular pattern lends itself perfectly to showcase improvement. I can see my technique getting better and better with each flower I finish. 

My first attempt at a… flower?
Finally, something presentable!

I can’t wait to try another pattern!

Hey, it’s time to crochet!

I have to be honest. A minimal contributing factor in my decision to learn how to crochet is the video online where the kid is so excited to go to the store and get supplies for crocheting and her mom cannot contain her laughter because the adorable, innocent child is pronouncing ‘crocheting’ as “crotch-et-ing”. The contribution factor is minor, but every time I hear or read the word ‘crochet’ I can’t help but smile thinking of this little girl and her want to learn “crotch-et-ing”. 

When it comes to crochet I am an absolute beginner. I have never tried to crochet, but my end goal is to be able to make a cardigan for myself and a big bed for my dog! I am going to start small by learning a few stitches and move on to small projects when I have the technique down, then I will work my way up to bigger and more complex projects. I’ve always thought it would be so cool to be able to make my own clothes, and I love crafts and projects that require fine-motor skills and attention to detail. While my creations don’t always turn out the way I envisioned them to, I have fun doing it and am proud of my work nonetheless. Now, it is time to pick up a new hobby! 

screenshot of yarn and crochet hooks in online Amazon cart
Of course I opted for the #1 best seller

What do I do when I get a big idea to start something new? Add to cart. Of course, when I decided on crochet as my learning project I immediately hopped onto Amazon and bought the things I thought I’d need. Soon I will have a kit of different sized crochet hooks and some funky coloured safety-pin looking things (not sure what purpose those will serve, but excited to find out), and 20 assorted yarn skeins on my front step waiting for me. 

I did a preliminary search to see if I could find much for online resources to teach me to crochet, and I don’t think I will be in short supply. I am also interested to see how I can use social media as a tool to learn crochet, as it has become a trendy hobby. 

Stay tuned for my first attempt at crochet! 

Hello fellow EDTC300 people! I’m so happy you made it here

black and grey dog with its tongue out, background of a lake, hills, sky and clouds
My adorable doggo named Sully!

Hello and welcome here! I’m Raisa, a pre-service teacher, former SPED Educational Assistant, esthetician, and dog mom.

In future posts I will delve into the details of how my journey started, the twist and turns, and how I ended up here. For now, I will begin with my thoughts on technology in the classroom at the outset of EDTC300.  

Technology is an important tool to utilize in the classroom, because love it or hate it, it’s here. I remember being in middle school when using computers regularly for projects and assignments became a bit more mainstream (anyone remember the computer lab?). I remember being plunked down in front of a computer and told “okay, do some research on xyz…” and using google search as the only resource for answering the questions I had. The only other thing I knew how to do on a computer was play coolmathgames. This is clearly not an effective approach for teaching children to use technology and online resources to further their learning. I believe it is important to teach students how to actually find and use online resources, as this is a skill that they are going to need for the rest of their lives. Actually showing kids how to find and use reliable sources, utilize videos, and learn from technology is imperative to their learning in high school and post-secondary studies. 

I am excited to start this blogging journey, as I am so passionate about education and now have an outlet in which to talk to like-minded people who share my zeal! I am also an organization fanatic, so being able to manipulate the layout of my blog is also exciting for me. However, any time I have tried to keep a daily journal I have not been successful, but having guidelines surrounding weekly posts will keep me accountable. 

I am quite eager to share my thoughts on all things education and to interact with my peers! 

Cheers!