Break from extreme cold

Five Card Story: Break from extreme cold

a Five Card Flickr story created by Eriko

flickr photo by hummingcrow

flickr photo by bionicteaching

flickr photo by bionicteaching

flickr photo by bionicteaching

flickr photo by bionicteaching

The sun was shining so bright but extreme cold weather outside. Baby was fast asleep and I was taking a break with a cup of Cappuccino.

Then the door bell rang.

And there was a horse standing at my door step, telling me to come out for a ride with her.

I tell her it’s too cold outside, but the horse just smiled and grabbed me by neck. Whoosh, I was on the back of her.

The horse just kept going like a wind, but I never felt the cold on my cheeks.

We passed by the park with stone bench.

Then, here we were under the white blossoms, I closed my eyes and took in a breath of warmth and sweet aroma.

I opened my eyes, and there I was, sitting at the kitchen table holding a cup of cappuccino.



My dreams under your feet – Journey of becoming a great photographer #4 2/2

Continued from part 1.

After the guessing work was done, I dove right into taking photos. I was really excited about this photo, thinking about printing it out on canvas or something nice. But I did not know how hard it was to take photo of baby feet.

First, I laid my girl on the floor with a toy in her arm, hoping she would raise her feet up in the air just like the original photo. But no, she wouldn’t. I tickled her tummy and shake some toys but no. So my husband came in for a rescue. He raised her feet up and said “Go!” “No-, she put her feet down!” “Again!” “GO-!” “AGAIN!!” “Do it NOW!” “Awww”

IMG_5331  IMG_5332



And here are the results… nothing close to my inspiration photo. I was so discouraged.

I guess hard part of leaning photography online is, everything is guess work in the end. You read and you think you understand about exposure, but photography is about the moment. You are trying to capture the split second of happenings and especially trying to shoot moving subject (=baby) is hard for beginner. I have taken few that I am proud of, but those are products of luck.
I wonder what would’ve been the results like if I had someone beside me coaching how to shoot this particular photo. Perhaps same, but maybe the someone can give me some advice what I can do next time.

This week’s reflection:

  • My living room is not suited for photo shoot. Not enough natural light coming in.
  • Perhaps baby as my subject is little too advanced. I really cannot control her as I intend.
  • Perhaps I should practice photographing landscapes or still objects.

I have download iTunes U and Digital Photography on my iPad mini for next week. Let’s see what this will give me.


Re: Parental Concern: Facebook for Grade Two Students

As a parent myself, I understand many concern associated with the use of Facebook in second grade. Megan Johnson argued it well in her post : such as addictive behaviour associated with use of technology and social media, safety concern and child not being ready for the proper use of technology or not developed enough to make right judgment. However, actually these are the reason why we should be starting to teach about social media (Facebook) from young age as a classroom under teacher guidance.

Although age 13 is the minimum age to have Facebook account, according to a Consumer Reports “State of the Net” survey released in 2011, 7.5 million out 20 million users were actually kids younger than age 13. Moreover, a large majority of these kids on Facebook, more than 5 million, are under 10, and their parents don’t monitor their activity on the site which leaves them open to threats like cyber bullying or sexual predators.
Facebook said they actively terminate pages created by under age 13, but reality is that young children are getting on with or without the help from their parents. So why not teach them about rules and safety of Facebook?

I use Facebook for my leisure, sharing photos with families and friends, getting information update from organizations and institutes I am interested/involved or sharing interesting articles, etc. It is convenient ways to connect and learn about what’s happening with families and friends for sure. When Ifacebook came cross with this photo few days ago, I thought it was interesting experiment. It was posted by my friend and right away I shared it on my page.  Within a couple of hours, one of my friends shared it on her wall. Until now, I did not really think about the impact that could have by how easy it is to share a photo you just saw on Facebook page. Actually, you can share your friends’ friends’ photo even you don’t know them. Simply click “Share.” So it went, just like that. How far? I am not sure. How far can you track the photo goes around in Facebook and beyond? Here I am, screenshot the photo from Facebook and using it to my blog.
I would like to know how these second graders are going to find out.

I don’t think it is necessary to create a page for each student; and of course, you have to be 13 and older to ‘create’ an account (though, it is too easy to manipulate around these regulations). It is a experiment that can be done with teacher’s own page and under proper supervision. But if you must, this inquiry could be done by creating a group by teacher. This way, teacher can control how publicly available (see Facebook Tips), she/he may choose to invite parents to join to share classroom information, students’ achievement, etc. Using the photo of this genetic writing is a right choice as well. I would not use the photo with students’ faces recognizable. This way teacher and students can discuss about what is private and public.

This Facebook experiment can be tied into Sask Health curriculum,

USC2.5: Recognize potential safety risks in community “play areas” and determine safe practices/behaviours to identify, assess, and reduce the risks.

  • Discuss how safety rules/guidelines are established to reduce risks.

  • Investigate ways to identify, assess, and reduce the risk of potentially dangerous and/or possible unsupervised situations in community “play areas”.

  • Share the importance of practising safe behaviours in community “play areas” (i.e., one’s safety depends on the safety behaviours of others) and the possible consequences of using/not using safety knowledge and skills.

Cyber space as potential “play areas.” I am not promoting this at all. Like Megan mentioned, I want students to gain and practice social skills in person. However, internet is a digital playground for many and in fact, young students are on it too. And all students need to be aware of potential health and safety risks of internet uses.

Last week, I wrote about  (here) a potential of integrating digital citizenship education into Health curriculum. And this week, I heard a news about new Health and Physical Education curriculum in Ontario was released on Feb. 23, 2015. Which teach about “sexting” in fourth grade and digital citizenship components are clearly embedded through grade 1 to 8. It recognizes the benefits of technology and communication tools in education; as well, the “issues related to inaccurate information, Internet privacy, safety, and responsible use, as well as of the potential for abuse of this technology, particularly when it is used in a way that has a negative impact on the school community, or to promote hatred.”

Facebook is one of the most popular social media, a global communication tool available. Under proper guidance of teacher, this can be a great teaching tool for students to learn about digital citizenship.

My dreams under your feet – Journey of becoming a great photographer #4 1/2

As I made myself a homework this week, I am questioning myself about my subject being my baby girl. In our class, we discussed about the digital citizenship and safety, but now it is making me to rethink about sharing my baby photos.

Am I violating my girl’s right for her privacy? Am I putting her in danger by posting her photos, so some random people will misuse the photos?

So I decided to pick example photo for me to try re-create that is a neutral without a face from Flickr.

Baby by gabi menashe

First, I went back to the Canon website’s PLAY and tried to figure out what exposure settings this photo was taken with. I came with Aperture 2.8, Shutter Speed 1/750 sec and ISO 1600 as my best guess.

guess shot

Well, great thing about picking example photo from Flickr is that photographer posts their camera settings.

model1Screenshot from Frickr, Baby by gabi menashe

My guess was quite off from the actual settings the photo was taken… But I am going to try taking photos from both settings and I would like to compare them in my next post.

To be continued…



Let the imagination flow

#saskedchat blogging challenge no.2.

How can we foster imagination in the classroom? Why is it important for kids to be able to use their imagination in school?

It took me a while to write this, because I know it is important for kids to use their imagination anywhere but I really did not know how can I foster it in classroom. And here is why I did not know.

I am pretty good with my hands and I can draw or create things fairly well. And while I was helping in classrooms as an EA or doing some after school programs, I found many times that some students (not everyone, but quite few sometimes) did not want to try to make/draw something after seeing what I did. They wanted me to make things for them, they wanted something that made pretty already. Or simply to copy what I did.

Perhaps they are so used to having patterns or models to create something. Look at the store, there are too many KIT of somethings. At school, there are crafts for bulletin boards that everybody make same things. I am not saying that is terrible, because it foster to develop the skills to follow directions (listening, literacy, hand-eye coordination, manipulation, and many more) to meet the targets.

I said I am pretty good with my hands, but I should say I am good with following directions. I had good training for that from formal schools. So I have really hard time creating/drawing things without some sort of model, I can’t use my imagination well. Usually what I imagine (or think I should say) are something safe, things that I know it works because I’ve seen it somewhere. That’s right. I am not imagining freely, I am thinking. I am reasoning and making conscious rational decisions on what it should be like all the time.
Perhaps, I am afraid to let go of my rational.

So how can I foster imagination in classroom? How can I encourage children’s imagination and creativity.

And there, I stopped my writing. I needed some insight. So I read blog posts from Kelly Christopherson (Teachers as Creatives and Untethering Imagination) and Alan Stange (There is no box).

Their posts are very positive and encouraging, reminded me that we, educators are all creative beings. I still remember when I entered education program in U of R and stunned by the fact that there are no lesson plans laid out for us. Curriculum is not really a lesson plan, it is goals. Teaching is autonomous profession, permitted to be as creative as we want to be. And with our creativity, we plan for students’ successes.

I would like to finish this post with inspirational words of wisdom from Kelly and Alan.

“– teaching is a profession that, at it’s heart, is a creative endeavour every single day! It’s about being helping other achieve their greatest potential and supporting them as they find their own creativity and passions.” – by Kelly Christopherson: Teachers as creatives, Educational discourse

“As teachers, we need to introduce possibilities in student’s minds. Mostly, they will run with them.”

“We don’t need to think outside the box. We need to realize there is no box.” – by Alan Stange: There is no box, Edustange



Creative Control – Journey of Becoming a Great Photographer #3

I have been able to do much of photography for past two weeks due to the cold taking over our home. But I had really good discovery of one website, Canon Outside of Auto.

canonThis site was just what I needed!! It explain about exposure settings (Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO) and what they do to your photo very clearly with great visuals. After I read through LEARN pages, I explored in PLAY. challengeI have never been able to use Manual setting because I had no idea of exposure, however, this practice made it so much easier to learn about good balance of Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO.
Then I did CHALLENGE by adjusting exposure settings to try matching the target photos. I still cannot get 100%, but I now starting to get what it is to take Creative Control of my own photo. So after I played with this website I tried taking few photos.

practice1I think I was able to use depth of field (Aperture) and digital noise (ISO) in these two photo. But it is still difficult to get right photo with motion (Shutter speed).

By next post, I would like to find few photos on Pinterest and study them: guessing what exposure settings were used to take the photos. Then try to take photos of own to match the target photos.




Digital Citizenship and Sexuality/Health

As I continue to learn about digital citizenship, I am reflecting upon the relationship between Digital citizenship and sexuality/health. Because I have watched Sext-up Kids in the other class already, I decided to watch the Sextortion of Amanda Todd. I remember the news about Amanda Todd’s death and her YouTube video, it was reported as she took her life because she was bullied but I really did not know that she was blackmailed with her one particular act she did on the web. Like in both documentaries, it is truly disturbing but, children are living in an overly unrealistic sexualized world.

As I watch this documentary, I became more and more scared for my baby girl. Oh, what if my girl was victimized… Now this is personal concern for me to teach about digital safety to my daughter and students. But how can I do that? Does the scare tactic of fairytale work?

So I decided to connect this into Saskatchewan Health curriculum.
First I looked up Grade 5, as I thought this is the age group for puberty. Then I thought to myself, I want to have this conversation as early as possible. Who knows if my baby will be using tablet when she is in Grade 1 (which is year 2020) with this speed of advancing technology. So I decided to look up from Kindergarten curriculum to see how can I connect to digital citizenship and safety. And I hope having to practice healthy digital citizenship from young will prevent anyone from getting involved or victimized in any digital crime.

As I examine the health curriculum for Kindergarten (see below), I realized that this is actually the best time to start teaching about digital citizenship while learning about themselves.  Especially there should be an emphasis in nine elements of digital citizenship: Communication, Rights and Responsibilities, Health and Wellness, Security.
I strongly feel that this components should be shared with parents/guardians. There should be awareness of how to use social media at home, what to share and what to keep as private. As a parent, this is my self reminder as well. We must learn to stop and think” before posting anything. Adults should be responsible and respect young children’s rights and protect their privacy for both present and future. And make sure children are comfortable to ask questions or seek help about their safety in digital world just like in the community.

Health Education K

Understanding, Skills, and Confidences (USC)
USCK.1 Develop basic habits to establish healthy relationships with self, others, and the environment.
USCK.2 Establish behaviours that support safety of self and others (including safety at school and at home).
USCK.3 Explore that who I am includes more than my physical self.

Decision Making (DM)
DMK.1 Establish that being curious about health and well-being is important for developing healthy habits, establishing healthy relationships, supporting safety, and exploring “self”.

Action Planning (AP)
APK.1 Demonstrate, with guidance, initial steps for developing basic health habits, establishing healthy relationships, supporting safety, and exploring “self”.

PLP – journey of becoming great photographer #2

PLPAfter reading the cheat-sheets and watching the YouTube video , I just took some photo of my daughter to see what kind of photo I can take with each mode.
I still had to keep the auto focus on, because I just couldn’t focus well without it.

mode dialI started from A-DEP and went down. It is obvious that I have no skill what so ever to use manual settings right now, because it is dark and fuzzy. Although auto settings should have been easier for anybody to take good photos I am not happy with it either.
I really thought more experimentation is necessary to figure out each setting.

After the first week of my project, I decided to google photography podcast to see if anything would catch my eye, but I have not found right one yet. Plus, the cold is going through our house and my baby being sick, I just did not have time to search as much.
So I did more thinking, what do I want really? What kind of photo do I want to take? What do I want to showcase as my learning?

Well, right now I want to snap as many moment of my daughter’s growth as possible and create memory book of some sort. I also want to learn about PhotoShop. (I just read a tweet about free PhotoShop software. Thanks @lawsonames link)

Now I have better idea of what I want to accomplished through this project. And for coming up week, I hope to find podcast and tutorial for portraits, taking photo of moving subject.

Positive Digital Citizenship – after thought

After my last post, I began to think of how can we help students learn and understand about positive digital citizenship.
As I wrote there, I think it is easy to fake and appear good online but I don’t want students learning to do that. I want them (and us, as well) to be:

  1. honest and genuine about themselves, but remember about protecting their own privacy.
    Be proud of who they are. But be conscious about what to post and what to keep private.
  2. respectful to others, treat others as they want to be treated.
  3. it is not about popularity contest. How they engage in the space matter.
    (How to Increase Your Social Influence – was interesting article about who do we associate and how we engage matters in online space too.)
  4. develop critical thinking skill.
    They need this more than ever. So we, educators, need to provide them with Essential Questions throughout our teaching. I was at the great discussion on Twitter #saskedchat on Feb. 5th. and I learned so much about it. (here is the link to Kelly Christopherson‘s blog: Essential Questions)  

I think I will keep adding to this list. But for now, I better get back to my baby.

Positive Digital Citizenship

dcThe other day, one simple act of taking a defect item back for exchange to store made me think of what a privilege to have good citizenship where you live. Perhaps because it is a small town and they know where I live and who I married to…etc. the store clerks never questioned whether I was trustworthy of my claim. They laughed with me about the missing medicine in the bottle, wondering how the machine at a factory missed that particular bottle. Then, they gave me a refund since it was the last one on the shelf. On the way home, it made me wonder would it be this easy if it was online store? or if I was not Asian immigrant and perhaps I were First Nations’ person? Would I get treated differently?

To begin my post, here are some definitions I found on dictionary sites.

Person who is entitled to enjoy all the legal rights and privileges granted by a state to the people comprising its constituency, and is obligated to obey its laws and to fulfill his or duties as called upon. Also called national. See also domicile and resident.
Read more:

1. the state of being vested with the rights, privileges, and duties of a citizen.
2. the character of an individual viewed as a member of society; behavior in terms of the duties, obligations, and functions of a citizen:
an award for good citizenship.
Retrieved from:

And as teachers, we are obligated to teach our students to become engaged citizen.

Students demonstrate confidence, courage, and commitment in shaping positive change for the benefit of all. They contribute to the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of local and global communities. Their informed life, career, and consumer decisions support positive actions that recognize a broader
relationship with, and responsibility for, natural and constructed environments. Along with this responsibility, students recognize and respect the mutual benefits of Charter, Treaty, and other constitutional rights and relationships. Through this recognition, students advocate for self and others, and act for the common good as
After I looked at the above quotes, I started to think it does not matter whether it is actual community you live in or cyber space, I want to be living as a good citizen. I want positive image of myself out in the community I live. However, we do have discrimination in our community. For certain population, they must work extra hard to receive the entitlements that all citizen should have.
So perhaps, would it be easy to create positive digital identity?
I think it is. Because it is so easy to fake it and make things look legitimate on the front.
(Online reviews:Faking It)
I am not saying that we all should fake everything online. What I am trying to say is that we can be authentic and choose what we post online. It is like promoting yourself online.
(I came across with this article through Twitter)
Some seemed worrying about being a teacher means not being able to have fun and cannot share those fun (drinking, partying) moments with other on social media. But do I really want to look back and see myself being stupid and drunk? No. I don’t want any public humiliation on being that where I live, so why do I share on internet?
I believe that words will have soul once it has been spoken and it can influence your or others body, mind, soul and environments both positively and negatively. So does written words. I have been ignorant and hurt my friends with my stupid jokes before and I really regret it still.
Being hidden behind screen, we may feel anonymous and perhaps invincible from outer world. I think I am less shy in cyber space than being in ‘real(?)’ world. I can take my time to think and type my thoughts, I don’t hesitate to say my opinion as much as I am in actual group of people. It is very easy to be rude and bash whatever, whomever on the web and we may thing it’s not a big deal. But I think we really ought to think before and choose our words wisely.
 So can’t I do anything fun and freely? Well, I just need to be cautious and know that my action and words has consequences. Let’s make it positive one!