Now that I had found an apron template and got the fabric, it was time to start the hands on part of this project! First, I printed the templates out for the top portion of the apron and the skirt portion. They included an overall image of one sheet of how the template should look, followed by enlarged portions which required me to cut them out and tape them together in order to create the full size template. After I had taped the template pieces together, I ironed my fabric. And then the stenciling began! After I stenciled the templates onto the skirt and top portion, I cut the pieces from the fabric. The last part I had to do was cut the pieces for the straps and ties. Those measurements were straight from the blog as well, so I used a tape measurer (not the best device to use), stenciled and cut out my strap pieces. I officially have all of my pieces for my apron cut out now.
The next step will be to actually sew! Next week you'll see the beginnings of the sewing portion.
Date: March 15, 2015
Time: 8:00 p.m
Topic: Creating a Culture that Accepts Risk
Hosts: @jstevens009 and @LS_Karl
How do we get the unwilling comfortable with risk?
I have finally made a decision on what I am going to make. I am going to make an apron! I know, it doesn't sound that exciting but I think it was the best decision based on several factors: 1) time - I don't have a whole lot of free time right now, so I can't be getting all crazy into details and intricate designs 2) The idea is to learn to sew, not master sewing. An apron is great beginner project because the template is simple and it's something I know I can create and it will look like an apron and it will be wearable and 3) Mother's Day is coming up and well, Mama likes aprons...
I chose the style of the apron above from Anthropologie. I wanted and needed to pick something to mimic from a store because one of my big inquiry questions was: how much money will I save sewing something verse buying it? The apron above sells for $42.
After I chose the apron, I pinned it and then went back to Pinterest. Originally I though I would just try to make an apron all on my own without a template or anything. I have changed my mind. Again, I am trying to learn how to sew, not just sew to sew. So I went back to Pinterest to see if they had a template I could use and... voila! And Pinterest is great because it took me right to the original source which was a blog called Style Me Pretty and she had clear, concise and direct instructions on how to make an apron. She provides a list of materials, step by step directions in writing, step by step directions with images of the final product. This works perfectly in order to go for the look I am going for with the Anthropologie apron.
Now that a decision of what I was going to make and a template was discovered, it was time to get shopping! I knew Jo-Ann's has fabric and I also know that they always have coupons floating around. Before I took off for the store, I did my research online and voila again, I found coupons! The great thing I learned as that Jo-Ann coupons can be accessed on a mobile device as well and used in-store. I took the old fashioned (and paper wasting) way and printed out my coupons. Then I was on my way to the store (with my list of measurements of fabric).
And a 5-minute store trip turned into an hour trip. There were so many choices of fabric. In my mind I thought I'd walk in, find two fabrics I liked real quick and then get right out of there. I must have picked 8 different combinations before I became so frustrated with myself. Why was I acting like this was the biggest decision of my life? I think I spent less time on an entire section of my TPA then I did trying to select fabric combinations. I suppose it was because I kept trying to remember that I am going to give this to my mom as a gift, so what would mom want? Not Laura, not her master teacher, not her grandma, but what would my mom like?
By the time I selected my fabrics I ran into a whole other time sucker - the line. Who knew that fabric is still really popular? I had to draw a number and patiently (or not so patiently) await my turn. It took about twenty minutes just to get my fabric cut. After that it was easy breezy and I checked out (with my coupons!) and the grand total came out to $15. I got a little extra fabric just in case I messed up but still, $15! So as of right now it looks like there is going to be a cost difference of $27 for me to make an apron all on my own. That's a pretty big difference of about 64%.
So now I have my fabric and next week will kick off the hands on learning part of this project! Stay tuned!
The first thing I really need to address before I can start creating (also known as the hands on learning aspect!) is what am I going to make? I wish I had done a little more research before declaring that I was going to sew an article of clothing. I say this because I didn't really think about the fact that there are so many things you can sew that are not clothing (and most likely something that would take less time than an article of clothing but still instill the aspect of learning to sew). For example, I am a big yogi and I could of made a new yoga bag or I could have made a pillow. But that's okay because I am more excited about sewing a piece of clothing that I could (hopefully!) wear out and show off with pride. I envision this conversation occurring in the future, Person: "What brand if that dress?", Me: "Oh, this? Well, me!"
Inquiry questions I have addressed through my initial research:
1. What resource will help me the most in pursuit of learning how to sew?
Pinterest! Such a great resource with tons of ideas for what to sew, how to sew and great tricks and tips!
9. Will I wish I had taught myself how to sew by hand?
Well, turns out I don't have a sewing machine to utilize. So I am forced to learn by hand! So more so, am I going to wish I had had access to a sewing machine?
So clearly, I am still the very beginning phase of my 20% project. And that's okay!
As of this moment, I have decided I am either going to sew a dress, a skirt and/or an apron (narrowed it down to 3, yay!). I say and/or because if time allows, I don't want my learning of sewing to stop at one item. I also know that I want to mimic something that is in stores. This way I can address my inquiry question 6) how much money will I save making my own clothing verse if I went out and bought something similar? (Price difference).
As I should have expected, Pinterest is consuming my time! I could stay on that site all day looking up things to make but I can't afford to do that. That being said, I need to get busy! So I will be making my final decision on what article of clothing I will make this week and you will hear about that real soon!
Ideas of items to sew:
These are just a few ideas I found through Pinterest. For more ideas, please see my Pin Boards on my site.
I personally enjoy Instagram because you can share something with just a picture and sometimes a picture is much more powerful than words. Colleges and Universities uses Instagram to ask questions, feed other social networks, and encourage participation during major events. The way they are using Instagram is not only applicable to Colleges and Universities. This way can be applied to so many different ways, especially middle and high school curriculum. Instagram is appealing to the users because for students "who are overloaded with social networks heavy on text, Instagram offers a visual alternative" (Lytle 2012). A school an benefit from the use of Instagram because they can share what is going on on their campus, in their classrooms and what their students and staff are accomplishing on a daily basis. They can also use Instagram to see how other schools are doing things and how they are using Instagram to develop new ideas.
Today’s students arrive on campus, fluent in social networking technologies. Educators can leverage this knowledge to enrich the learning experience. With Instagram, instructors can foster collaboration and discussion, create meaningful dialogue, exchange ideas, and boost student interaction. Instagram is an effective way to increase student engagement and build better communication skills. Students who rarely raise a hand in class may feel more comfortable expressing themselves through social media. Social networking platforms enable teachers to establish classrooms that foster discussion and surface ideas that students are too shy or intimidated to voice out loud. Social media can enhance communication among students and teachers. Educators can answer students’ questions via Instagram, post homework assignments, post updates, schedule or announce upcoming events, and share interesting content. A great way for instructors to give participation points in addition to in-class participation is by having students post images about something that was discussed in class or make connections with images of real world applications of what was discussed in class. There are limitless ways in which schools, educators, students and parents can use Instagram to enhance student learning.
Instagram and other social media (twitter, youtube, Facebook, etc.) are transforming instruction and engagement in the classroom. Education is constantly evolving and technology has opened doors to how we can evolve and make content more accessible and definitely increases the engagement of students as they are utilizing technology constantly. We are able to reach students on a platform that they understand and feel at ease using.
I could definitely use this in my classroom and I can see myself doing this. It is such a great idea and a very simple and effective one. Obviously, my content would be different and I'd have to use it for just the right unit. For TPA 1, I wrote about a geometry lesson around the school and them taking pictures. Using Instagram would make that a much more efficient way to share the photos they took and that way the whole class could see all the photos.
Other examples of ways I could use Instagram in my classroom:
Math in the Real World
I can take a mathematical concepts, such as transformations in geometry and have the kids connect it to art through visual representation by having them take pictures of things on campus (or wherever) where they see transformations taking place. Such as repeating windows or doors or columns on the building. Or the kids can take pictures of anything and connect it to math and share their picture(s).
I can have an account for my class and post pictures of the students working and what we are covering in class. This would keep students informed and would be a cool way for students to see what they're doing in a picture. It would also be a great way for parents to be informed and up-to-date.
I can take pictures of homework questions or even some of the answers to the problems so that students can access the Instagram for more support with their homework and help them develop their knowledge of how Instagram can be a tool for more than just social purposes of what they're doing with their friends.
Students can share math jokes that they come across to share with their peers and show that math can be fun!
This challenge helps prepare students to participate in a global society by allowing them and challenging them to work with people they do not know. In the work world, we aren't always working with our best friend or a kid we've been in class with for several weeks, sometimes we are dealing with complete strangers and it is imperative that we are able to effectively communicate with them. This challenge gives students the ability to establish themselves online and start building upon communicating with others, regardless of them knowing them or not. These teachers empower collaboration and innovation by exposing students to technology and allowing them access to others outside of their class, school and state and even country. These teachers are able to address student learning of the content while also incorporating native speakers, so they are involving others besides themselves to help educate and enhance student learning. This doesn't have to be limited to students, anyone can do it!
February 2014 Challenge
Based on this article, the 3 that I commit to daily already would be 1) working with their peers, 4) clearly loving what I do, and 8) understanding my clients - the kids.
1) Working with their peers:
My kids work with one another every day in my class, except test days. In the beginning of the term, they were quite silent when we turned them loose for group work but now there is this "busy bee" noise that is just wonderful! They're discussing their findings, they're explaining how they came to those conclusions, they're helping one another and they are talking math! It's been wonderful and I think my students are successful at collaborating with one another because we got them started on day one of working with one another. In addition, we change their seats every two weeks so they are constantly working with new people and developing their collaboration skills. In addition to this helping them develop their content knowledge and collaboration skills, "teens find it most interesting and exciting when there is a little bit of talking involved. Discussions help clear the tense atmosphere in a classroom and allow students to participate in their own learning" (Wolpert-Gawron).
4) Clearly love what you do:
I absolutely love what I do. I feel best when I am in that classroom and working with my students. I believe I emulate my love for this content and what I do just by being enthusiastic with my students. I don't believe telling your students every day that you love what you do is an effective way to communicate that with them because actions speak louder than words. Because "enthusiasm in the classroom really makes a student engaged in classroom discussions. Because even if you have wonderful information, if you don't sound interested, you are not going to get your students' attention. I also believe that excitement and enthusiasm is contagious" (Wolpert-Gawron).
8) Understand your clients - the kids:
I know my students very well. I administered a survey the very first week of school and analyzed their information in the Aeries database and really came up with a wealth of knowledge on my students right out of the starting gate. In the survey, I asked questions about their learning style, their opinions on homework and technology in the classroom and about their interests. It provided me with so much information and I was learning from them. From a student's perspective, "students don't really like to be treated as 'students.' Teachers can learn from us students. They need to ask for our input on how the students feel about a project, a test, etc. Most importantly, teachers need to ask themselves, "How would I feel if I were this student?" See from our point of view and embrace it" (Wolpert-Gawron).
These are 3 that I have already committed to and plan to always commit to. Three new ones that I want to commit to working on are: 2) working with technology, 3) connecting the real world to the work we do/project-based learning and 9) mix it up.
I want to work on technology because from my survey, most students think that using a calculator in math class is use of technology (yikes!). There are so many neat ways we can implement technology to reach our students, such as Kahoot! I want to show them that there are many ways to successfully implement technology in a math class that will enhance their learning. I want to strive to connect every lesson to the real world. Some students have a hard time understanding mathematical concepts and I believe a lot of that could be that they aren't understanding where it is coming from and what possible use they can get from it. If I ensure that each lesson clearly connects to the real world and possibly their lives, the content could be seen as much more accessible. I also want to mix it up! I think routines are important for students but I also think that routines can become mundane and boring. Mixing it up keeps the students on their toes and provides them the opportunity to explore new avenues of learning.
1. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving:
An essential component of this is asking good questions. Students are so concerned with getting the right answer and not understanding that the answer isn't the answer, the explanation is the answer. Students are so much more valuable when you can justify your answers and words are powerful. Being a critical thinker is an invaluable tool. In addition, the ability to ask good questions is invaluable in the real world.
2: Collaboration Across Networks and Leading By Influence:
I've heard an educator describe current students as "passive learners", meaning students expect to just have the information and the answers given to them verse working for it. They need more collaboration to spark their learning. In collaboration students work together towards an intersection of common goals by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus. Collaboration involves students working together in order to produce or create something. Teaching collaboration and leadership can be effectively done through group work. Students learn best when they are active. In group work, students can discuss their thinking, bounce ideas off one another and solidify their understanding of topics through discussion.
3. Agility and Adaptability:
Children are very impressionable and that is why our job as educators is so important. Students all have the ability and willingness to learn from experiences and apply that new knowledge to various situations and they have an uncanny ability to adapt to change. Students' ability to adapt is of greater importance than the knowledge of expertise. Technology, careers and the world are constantly evolving and changing, so students must posses the ability to adapt and be flexible.
4. Initiative and Entrepreneurialism:
Students must have the ability to turn their ideas into action. They can accomplish this through creativity, innovation and risk-taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage in order to achieve their goals. The world needs proactive people who are self-starters.
5. Effective Oral and Written Communication:
Effective oral and written communication is being able to communicate one’s thoughts clearly and concisely, but also being able to create focus, energy, and passion. In order to address this, teachers should let their students explain themselves through speeches, written support and group work. A great strategy is to implement think, pair, share which is something that allows students to think about the posed question, partner with someone and discuss their thinking and share out their thoughts. This strategy is a quick and efficient way to get your students to orally share their thoughts as well as practice their listening skills. A way to work on this in math is to have students write out their answers in a complete sentence, explaining what their answer means.
6. Accessing and Analyzing Information:
With many academic and job settings relying on internet access, it is important for a student to know how to find the answer to a question rather than the answer itself. This skill involves not only gathering information on a certain topic or concept, but also having the ability to analyze the quality of that information. (i.e. wikipedia verse a certified journal). It is also important that students possess the ability to use information from a variety of credible sources: web pages, magazines, podcasts, TV, face to face interviews and discussions, surveys, books.
7. Curiosity and Imagination
Curiosity is the students' desire to know or learn and explore their curiosity and imagination through many avenues. Like adaptability, curiosity and imagination come naturally to children so we should foster it and not stifle it.
Where is the math? When Wagner discusses testing, he discusses that employers "appear to place comparatively little value on content knowledge in either math or science as a prerequisite for work today" (Wagner p.91). As a math teacher, I will always think that math is important for children and I strive to make connections with our lessons daily. I even have a student every day that keeps me on my toes and asks, "and how does this relate to real life?". Students are required to pass a math exam in order to graduate from high school, yet many students never use math again in college and/or their careers. We have to ensure that math is relevant to children's development of the 7 survival skills. There's a disconnect and it makes my wonder if children are being taught to solve problems, recognize patterns and as an alternative way of thinking (this is how I do it!) or if many teachers are just teaching math as something they have to do and just get through with little to no relevance to their lives outside of class.
Overview of the three schools: High Tech High, The Met, Francis Parker Charter Essential School
"All three of the schools we visited in this chapter are small “schools of choice” – and two of the three are charter schools [but this is not a silver bullet]. For every successful small high school or charter school, I can show you nine others that are getting results no different from the traditional comprehensive high school next door" (Wagner p. 252).
In all three schools, the main purpose of teaching is the development of students' core competencies for lifelong learning. Memorization is downplayed in favor of weighing evidence, reasoning, and analysis. Research, writing, and effective oral communication matter far more than performance on multiple-choice tests. Students are motivated to learn in all three schools through a combination of three distinct interrelated incentives 1) close relationships with adults in and out of school, 2) opportunities to explore their questions and interests, 3) learning is hands-on and more personalized. In addition, the three schools hold themselves collectively accountable for quality student work and student success in college and beyond. They seek regular feedback from outsiders and most important, they use this information to refine their academic programs. Teachers are motivated to improve continuously in all three schools through a combination of structures and incentives.
All three schools described in this chapter are amazing schools and have so much to offer students and educators. For me, I would prefer to design my own school (hypothetically). I say this because these schools offer so many great options and opportunities for students, but these schools would not be a right fit for me as a student. I loved my education, which would be classified as the traditional comprehensive high school. That being said, I wouldn't just design another traditional high school. I would take the model of the traditional and incorporate some of the right ideas and aspects of these three schools.
I have a slight issue with schools that do not offer AP classes or even have test scores. This is not because I believe this tests are imperative to assessing a students' knowledge, but it's because colleges still care about test scores and AP classes. I fear that if students are not exposed to testing and the reality of how so many colleges still operate, they will not be prepared to apply for colleges through SAT testing and for the setting of a traditional college class (i.e. lecture hall where you don't even meet the teacher and it is all test based or a math class where you are lectured and you have a quizzes, a midterm and a final as your grade). This is my solely speaking from what I have witnessed in college and how I could see an implication with not testing your students or providing them with AP courses. I also don't think that AP courses, tracking and testing say how a student will perform in the work world, but until colleges stop caring about these things, I find it hard to scratch these from the students' education as the goal of most (of my) students is to go to college.
An ideal school (in my mind) would be to take the traditional high school and incorporate High Tech High's rigorous activities. This encourages students to be deeply critical of the lesson content. In addition, I think High Tech High has a great way of holding kids accountable (which is a great thing to master) through their electronic portfolios. High Tech High creates an inviting environment that is missing for many students in the traditional high school setting. My ideal school would be to take a traditional high school and infuse it with High Tech High's vision on hands based learning, technology, sense of community and cross-curricular approach. This is a bit of a vague and basic answer of the type of school I would design, but it's a work in progress! Get back to me in 5, 10 and 20 years of teaching. I'm sure (and I hope) that my ideas will be constantly evolving on what my ideal school would look like in order to best reach and educate children.