Month: February 2014

Expecto Paw-tronum!

As soon as I saw this assignment on ds106 I knew I had to do it! I love nothing better than puns, and putting together animal and human is just asking for some sweet, sweet puns to be made.

And so I give you…. Ron Weasel-y!


My love for Harry Potter is one that has lasted for many years, and I feel as though this pun has just been waiting to be made that entire time. From the red fur to match the classic Weasley red hair, to that smirk on Ron’s face that says “I’m a weasel and I’m proud!”, I think this image may just be my favourite thing I’ve created this semester.

With basic knowledge of Photoshop (or a similar program such as gimp) this photo manipulation is easy enough to create. I just used the polygonal lasso tool to cut Ron’s face out, then copied and pasted it into the image of the weasel. After that, a little bit of touch up with the eraser tool and using the clone tool to get rid of some out of place whiskers resulted in this finished product!

Photo manipulation is something that I have tried in the classroom before, and has both gone really well and crashed and burned. For a classroom that’s very comfortable with computers, building skills in Photoshop and becoming comfortable with the various tools can be a great way to engage kids in graphic arts. I’ve had students excel in creating photo manipulations and be extremely proud of the work they’ve done. Other classes, however, may become frustrated with the finickiness of the lasso tool in particular and see photo manipulation as a waste of time.

With that being said I think it’s a really useful (and fun!) skill to learn in our technological world as many students may be interested in the growing field of graphic design. I will definitely continue to try and teach graphic design to students in the future, and hopefully photo manipulation finds a place in that.

This world can be ugly, but isn’t it beautiful?


For my first try at tackling an assignment from the DS106 assignment bank I chose to a visual task that asked the creator to combine their favourite lyric with an image to make the meaning even stronger. The assignment can be found here if you’re interested in seeing more about it.

I chose the lyric “This world can be ugly, but isn’t it beautiful?” from the song “There, There, Katie” by Jack’s Mannequin. This lyric has stuck with me for a few years now. I think it means that even though our world might feel overrun with dark and ugly times, the beautiful parts of our world are always out there if we just look for them. The picture I chose to pair it with is one that I took a couple years ago, and I think it shows off a small beautiful moment in the clouds that could easily be missed if you’re not taking the time to look for it.

I found this activity to be very accessible. Though I used Photoshop to create the image, it could easily be done on any online picture editing website. It’s the kind of assignment that has a million different possibilities for placement, image choice, and lyric choice which opens it up to a wide variety of students, and can therefore be engaging for students of all kinds.

During my internship I did some work with quotes with my grade 8 students. They loved being able to share their personal favourites and many of them chose song lyrics to share with the members of our class. I think adding this photographic element to that would result in even more deeper thinking about how to visually represent the words, as well as a great cross-curricular connection between Visual Arts and Language Arts!

Beating the Block – A Collection of Thoughts

It’s been a struggle for me to be able to make a blog post that doesn’t come from a set criteria. For some reason I find myself unable or reluctant to just let myself put down my thoughts and share them with the internet world.

Even as I write this post I find myself constantly backspacing the words, feeling like there’s a better way to say what I want to here. I think a big part of this comes from a desire to show off my best side, like each post I make should be at my very best.

However, it’s important for me to break through that thought process and start getting things out there! Anything’s better (well, maybe not anything) than a blank blog.

So here’s hoping for a new start. I’m going to aim to post more, interact more with others, and start building up a real presence in our classroom online community. Goodbye backspace button, hello “publish post”s.

Follow Saturday Part 2

Here we go again! The long anticipated (and by long I mean less than an hour) continuation of my Follow Saturday saga. Here’s a few more awesome people I’ve come across this week that deserve some more love for what they do.


This Star Won’t Go Out –

This is another blog that I can’t believe I wasn’t actually following until this week. As mentioned before, I’m a fan of the vlogs that John and Hank Green make on their channel Vlogbrothers. From this channel a community was born called “Nerdfighters” that I am a part of. To make a long story short, This Star Won’t Go Out is an organization that was created after a member of the Nerdfighter community named Esther died from cancer at 16. This week a book including many of the things she wrote throughout her battle with cancer was released and I am counting down the days until I’m able to get it! I think this book speaks volumes to the affect that an online community can have on a person, as well as the incredible potential that young people have.


YA Highway –

It’s no secret to those who know me that I LOVE young adult fiction. In fact, I hardly read anything else. I’ve found that my love for young adult fiction gives me something to connect with middle years students over, and gives me a chance to get excited about literature with them rather than just hearing about what they’re reading. YA Highway is a great site for pretty much all things YA literature. Not only does it touch upon discussion about many YA books out there, but it also provides help for teens wanting to write books themselves. I think this could be a great help in the future for planning many different LA projects. Also, it’ll give me new books to put on my “must read” list!


Paperbak’d –

Sticking with the YA literature theme, this is another great tumblr blog that I found in my searches this week. This one focuses more on reviews and promotion of new YA books. I hope that this will provide me with not only new books to read myself, but to find new, relevant books to introduce into classrooms as well.


Visualizing Math –

I am a firm believer in Math being awesome! I’m really interested in all the almost “magical” things that occur in mathematics. This blog shows a wide variety of complicated math concepts being visualized through pictures and videos. I think using aids such as these can help many students understand math as a tangible thing rather than just an abstract concept.


Neil deGrasse Tyson –

Lastly, everyone should be following Neil deGrasse Tyson! He has been filling my twitter feed with not only informational, but funny tweets too! I now look forward to seeing him post something new.


So there you have it, all of the new blogs/communities/people I have found this week that will hopefully help me have a more exciting and more informational experience while surfing the web. This week’s task has allowed me to see just how many people are out there to interact with. I find that I get so concentrated to my usual base of social media that I never venture out. Who knows, my next favourite blog could be out there waiting for me!

Follow… Saturday? Part 1

I had every intention of saving my post this week for Friday so I could do a traditional “Follow Friday” post,  but then life got in the way and lead to me having to wait until today to give a shout out to all the awesome blogs I’ve found this week. Perhaps “Follow Saturday” can become a thing too? I’ll try to make it happen!

When I started my search this week for new blogs to follow I found that I was drawn to many that weren’t necessarily education based. I struggled a bit with the idea that this is an education class and that maybe I should find blogs that tie into that. However, in the end I decided that drawing my own education from different areas in the world is a good use of my time too. In fact, I found that many of the lessons and projects I did in my internship were inspired by blogs or vlogs I follow that aren’t education based. So I think I will stick with blogs that genuinely interest me and let them educate me with what they have to offer.

Anyway, here’s a few awesome blogs/vlogs/twitters/online communities I’ve come across that week that I’d like to share.

Keith Lapinig –

I chose to follow this blog this week because it encompasses a lot of the things I love! Keith is a graphic designer for Disney. As someone who is mildly obsessed with all things Disney, and has an interest in graphic design this blog is definitely relevant to my own interests! I love how he has quite a bit of original content, because while there is something to be said or sharing links that others have created, I think creating your own work to share with the world is essential for creating new discussion and interest.

Mental Floss –

As a long time subscriber to the vlog channel vlogbrothers, I’m unsure why I hadn’t subscribed to their general knowledge/trivia program “Mental Floss” that is hosted by John Green yet. Starting as a website, I find the Mental Floss youtube program to be a really engaging way to educate! As a lover of trivia, this channel is filled with interesting general knowledge trivia that always makes me feel both educated and entertained afterwards. Knowledge being presented with wit and humour is always inspiring as a future teacher!

ClassicPics –

ClassicPics is a twitter account that shares images and short explanations about various moments in history. I always feel like history is an area where I’m lacking in knowledge, so by being able to get short glances of different moments in history I can help myself learn a bit more about the world in the past. Also, some of the images are SO COOL!

Word of the Day –

All the perks of a word of the day calendar directly on your twitter feed! I love daily blogs and get excited when I see their one post a day (even when it’s the same thing every day like internet sensation “Same Pic of Dave Coulier“). It makes me really stop to read their content because it’s consistent and sort of rare compared to the numerous posts many other blogs/twitters make in a day. I love the idea behind this and hope it will teach me some cool words to break out into the real world.

/r/Teachers –

As a long time Reddit user, I can’t believe I never thought to look for a community of teachers there! Though this isn’t really “following” someone’s twitter or blog page, I’m including it because it makes use of the idea that community is key! This subreddit makes use of a form of social media that I’m already a part of and will hopefully give me another place to seek help and help others too.

And with that I’m going to end part 1 of this post to save it from getting longer than a Game of Thrones novel. Stay tuned for more follow-y fun later today!