The Piano Project: Too Much Pausing, Too Little Playing

Well, the end is here and I came nowhere close to my goal with the Major Learning Project. My final post for the class is rather pitiful and embarrassing as I have not had a chance to even play the piano for just over two weeks.

In the past 6 weeks, despite my meagre attempts playing, I did accomplish and learn a lot not just about playing piano, but also about my learning styles as an individual. Furthermore, I was introduced to the numerous different opportunities one has when turning to the online world to learn a new hobby. While learning an instrument online was not for me, I definitely found the videos on youtube about reading music to be quite helpful. I shared my favourites in my first blog post about this project. I watched several videos from the same folks to learn more about theory and reading music.

In regards to videos to learn how to play a certain song, it was not helpful. I am hands on, but I also am the type who needs to fully understand the process. Therefore, this is why I went down the path of nailing down simple basics, theory, and sight reading before jumping feet first into a difficult music piece.

Despite my lack of success, I am thankful for the project because it did motivate me to take the steps towards something I’ve constantly thought about doing- relearning piano! While I did not accomplish it in 6 weeks (seriously, though, who can?!) I did find a teacher, spend more than allotted on books, and spent any spare minute I had reading, watching, researching, and learning what I could without a piano in my home.

What went wrong? Why didn’t I succeed? The explanation is likely somewhat of my earlier explanation of not wrapping my mind around the teachings from online, but also due to my poor schedule, or lack thereof. Balancing full time classes, with full time work, part time work, wedding planning, and sleep- i just didn’t allot enough time to devote myself entirely to learning piano in the 2 months we had for the class.

Will I quit? NO! I have paid for my lessons already-when one spends money, one is higher motivated! I still look forwarding to completing the song for my wedding day. Yes, I still will share it on this blog for the world to see!

Fingers crossed, my singing is in better shape than when you last heard me.


Summary of Learning: A Ridiculous Medley

For my project, I chose to recreate popular songs to fit what I learned from ECMP 355. I am not a good singer, or rapper, however I have tremendous amount self humour and I will do anything to make someone smile. So please, enjoy my recording of my Summary of Learning Medley. Sung to the tune of “I Will Survive,” “Let’s Talk About…” by Salt n Peppa, “Dressed for Success” by Roxette, “Baby Got Back,” and “Fancy.” Not entirely well, but done nonetheless. At first I as afraid, I was petrified, kept thinking I could teach without an iPad by my side. But then I spent my Tuesday nights, listening to Katia prove me wrong, and now I know, these tech devices make me strong, So now, Let’s talk about technology, Let’s talk about classroom use, Let’s talk about all the cool apps and devices to keep kids intrigued Let’s talk about tech. Let’s talk about tech. From smart boards, to iPads, the kids want to use. Some teachers will fight it, but it’s rather quite pointless. The list goes on forever of great apps and devices, to keep the kids interested in both math and the sciences. And it’s not just apps for the classroom, there’s a great place we come to and it allows us all to Tweet to Succeed, creating a Professional Learning Network when you tweet to succeed, find resources and blogs for success. Tried out twitter, at first, I hated it. But with time, it all started falling together. Changed my picture, made it professional, learned about hashtags to help me find resources. How did I get more followers? #Saskedchat! How do share this knowledge? There’s a hashtag for all that! What did I gain from Twitter? A PLN. Because I tweet to succeed, preparing me for my classroom later when I tweet to succeed, building my great PLN who makes us greater, wiser, stronger, better. Those who don’t go on Twitter, Are missing out on a lot of action, like Saskedchats and camaraderie, amongst all Saskatchewan teachers. You send one tweet with a hashtag, you gain fifteen new followers, building up your PLN, and getting you strongly connected. *BUT FIRST, Let’s learn about digital Identity.* IF you are on any social media, like Facebook, Insta, or Twitter, You better think twice before using that hashtag in your status or posting that bad photo ‘Cause if you post too soon and it’s obscene, it’s sent and it can’t be deleted. Oh yes, you want to stop and think, and stay professional, Your homeboys might not be worried, but that kid you teach- he uses google. Last key note, it’s like a journal, Start a blog, and let the whole world read it, and I’m in love with the teaching business, I could also get my classroom postin’ on these hot topics. You could follow a sweet blog like this, Join feedly and follow all your interests, Blogs on ed, blogs on tech, blogs on food, resources, something teachers are always needing! (and they are free!) Post and share your thoughts on any topic, Inspire your students, get them laughing’, while they learn grammar and English basics, knowledge spill in, you should share that. I’m so wordy, I’ll start a blog. To share my thoughts on ed for other educators to read. I’m so wordy, You all should check me out,, Be sure to follow. So now with that, my little medley, I find myself excited to embrace technology, I have changed my biased opinion, I have opened my classroom door, If I had know it was this easy, I’d have learned it long ago. I’ll go on, become a teacher, remember ECMP 355, and all the knowledge gained. It’s the reason I’ll use tech every hour of my day, Did you think I wouldn’t? Did you think I’d stick with books and flashcards? No, not I, I will use tech, As long as I am in a classroom, I know it keeps kids intrigued. I’ve got all the ECMP knowledge, And all these kids to teach, so I’ll use tech, I will use tech.

Hashtag For Change

The past year, there hasn’t been a current event that didn’t have it’s own hashtag you felt obliged to take part in because it was EVERYWHERE. Whether you wanted to or not.

#blacklivesmatter   #lovewins   #fergusson   #idlenomore   #yesallwomen   #bringbackourgirls   #amInext

Twitter is always the place to go if you are looking for social justice support. What starts with a single tweet, results in thousands of followers. We see it currently with the current police brutality towards African Americans in the USA with #blacklivesmatter and with the recent Supreme Court ruling of gay marriage and #lovewins.

The other hashtags included were created in response to the young Trevon in #Fergusson who was shot by an officer; the First Nations’ protest against the legislative ignorance towards Treaty rights. #Yesallwomen was created in response to the struggle women have in a misogynist world; #bringbackourgirls was created to support the young girls who were abducted in Africa. Lastly, #amInext was created to show support of the current crisis Aboriginal women in Canada face as there are hundreds that are missing and there is little being done to find these women.

The trouble with mixing social media with social justice is you begin to see people throw out support without fully understanding what it is they are supporting. In my opinion, a trending hashtag is social media’s version of peer pressure. I’ll be the first to admit I rarely shy away from sharing a humiliating #tbt.

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 9.03.59 PM

I’ll also be the first to admit I do shy away from declaring my strong stance on social justice issues on social media. Why? Because I prefer to save face. Do I support gay marriage? Absolutely. Do I agree #blacklivesmatter? Completely. Am I frustrated with the gross amount of missing First Nations women in Canada? Entirely. Do I need to blow up your Twitter feed with my tremendous support? Definitely not. Because I can support these social issues in more beneficial ways than a 140 character tweet.

How so? By spreading awareness, effectively educating friends, family and students about these serious issues, and putting my best foot forward to physically make a difference for the lives of the people who are personally affected by these issues in their daily lives. Case in point- I believe personally making a direct statement to Brandon Debert would resonate and positively impact him more than if he scrolled past my #lovewins tweet.

I understand the importance of using social media to unify our minorities and spread the word faster than we ever could in the past; I also understand that after one sends that tweet of support, he still has more work to do to as a supporter of social justice. It is more than a tweet- there must be a further, personal action of spreading education, awareness and support within one’s community.

As an educator, I value the importance of effectively educating my students of the importance of supporting social justice issues once fully understanding the issues true importance and meaning. My students must understand it takes more than a tweet with a trending hashtag to truly be a supporter of those who live the struggle every day.

Coding: This Old Dog Can’t Learn This New Trick

It is clear coding is taking over the classroom. As students become more obsessed with games that require this skill, it is becoming apparent I likely should pick it up as well. I will admit- as easy as CodeAcademy and Scratch made it out to be in their step by step guides- I still couldn’t pull together a piece I could proudly put out as my own.

Until i reached the “Animate Your Name” goal on CodeAcademy.

CodeAcademy took me through, step by step (all 16 of them) to create the bubble name masterpiece. Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 1.32.00 PM

While this skill is going to take some time to pick up, I understand its importance in the classroom. As I went through the process of creating a web page with titles, paragraphs, and headings, I immediately associated the HTML codes needed with every step to the importance of grammar when writing with pen and paper. Always remember capitals and periods with every sentence, and always remember


with every paragraph.

I admit I was (still am) feeling defeated as I work my way through CodeAcademy’s step by step learning guide, however I accept I must grasp this concept as I prepare to teach our youth.

Now off to begin my next goal- how to use javascript.

The Piano Project: Paused Progression

Two weddings, a funeral, and approximately 90 goodbyes in just under two weeks had a drastic effect on my project. By drastic I mean, I didn’t have the opportunity to sit and play or to sit and read and keep up with the theory.

I fit it in where I could (my sleepless nights were filled with how-to youtube videos) however, I was not able to sit and play, leaving me frustrated as I faced the final week of class.

What did I learn during this pause? I learned that I can’t learn an instrument via online tools. My self reflection made me realize that I am a hands on, show me and I will learn type of learner. And as a result- I enrolled in adult piano lessons. To keep with the structure and routine, every Tuesday night (I have replaced this class with another!)

On a positive note, I decoded the music for my song, “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” dumbing it down for simple-minded me- despite my fiancé thinking he would rather see me walk down to an entirely different song because he doesn’t like Elvis. I have begun working through it with Chris, and I feel a bit better about playing now that I have him showing me the ropes of this magical piano business.

The Piano Project: Feeling Panicked

Alright. I seem to have fallen behind in my updates, however, I am not behind on humiliating youtube videos of my horrendous playing. In reaction to how terrible my piano playing is, I turned to my guitar for a week to remind myself I have the musical ability in there. Somewhere. Deep. Down. Okay, a bit further down.

There it is.

In reality, perhaps some of the song choices I made were too farfetched to pick up in 6 weeks. So I kicked it down a notch. I chose to ignore the sheet music of my favourite tunes. And decided to just focus on sight reading and getting confident in my ability to read the music. Also- chording. Must master the left hand chording. Particularly changing from c, to g, to d. Or something. I am working on C to G. Still. (Insert cry face emoticon here.)

“See the music. Read the music. Play the music. Be the music.”

And repeat.

I knocked “Happy Birthday” out of the park. And the video knocked my wifi out of the park too apparently.

In time (approximately 2.5 hours), once my videos load, I will excitedly share all of the videos.


Feedly Finds: Spreading Awareness

It is no secret my passion is working with individuals with special needs. For 15 years, I have worked alongside some of the most amazing individuals; the past three years, I have dedicated my self to working, learning, and spreading autism awareness. Looking at my Feedly account, it is clear working with these students is exactly how I want to spend my teaching career.

This weekend I read two outstanding blogs about other individuals dedicated to spreading this same awareness,

The first article shared the story of a young student with autism who spent the month of April educating his fellow peers who bullied him about why he is different. He believed “they say weird things to me ’cause they don’t know what autism is.” He shared facts every day during announcements to educate everyone in his school. The result? He won the Everyday MVP Award” in his community and local news station.

This is so important to me because not only is this autistic child stepping up socially to stand up and make others aware of why he is how he is, but the community also realized the importance of his message and spread his message beyond the school walls.

The second article shared the innovative changes a social worker and EMS personnel are making to educate first responders on how to assist individuals with intellectual disabilities. This is outstanding and inspiring. The past few years working with autism, I have been surprised at how little fellow colleagues and friends know about this disability. While I do my best and I share all the information I can when asked, this article motivated me. It is this professional development that we need in education. With the increasing numbers of children with intellectual disabilities, it is vital that educators have an understanding of how to approach, include, and teach these children.

I am thankful for the individuals in these articles. It inspired me to get working on a similar project with the autistic student I work with in the final few weeks of school. The second article inspired me to start asking questions and suggesting developing a similar program for our city.

Feedly- thank you for again motivating me to be the change I want to see.