Uncovering Some Old SOILS (Gr 3) and HABITATS (Gr 4) Units

Check out my Google Drive link to all folders and documents on unit plans. If you decide to use any of my ideas for a lesson, please shoot me a comment either here or on Twitter so I know my knowledge is being shared. Thanks so much and hope these can be of use!

There is a folder for a soils unit, a folder for a habitats unit, and a folder to various random 1-part lessons I did in my pre-internship. You can always check back later, as I will likely add more unit plans and lesson plans as I find them.

Side point: Check out photosforclass.com if you are a teacher who cares about following copyright laws and wants an easy and responsible way to use photos that are safe.




Create-Abilities Math Webinar I Attended

Square Root of 558919216881 found on my fridge!

Photo Credit: byzantiumbooks Flickr via Compfight cc

I credit my ECMP355 class with getting me so active in finding online PD opportunities. I saw a webinar advertised on Facebook and, instead of scrolling past it, I decided I would give it a shot. I am glad I did. The website name-drops for math resources alone were worth it:

You can read my whole summary of learning here! If you take part in the webinar in the next few days you will even get a PD document to keep for your portfolio!

Check out the site here.

“I hate problems without solutions. I look for solutions before I present problems.” – Lemarr Treadwell

Lemarr has been an invaluable resource to me this semester insofar as our alignment of educational philosophies. He expresses how I know I feel about education and it is great to be inspired when I look at someone’s Twitter feed! He is extremely kind and thoughtful, as he will message you when you retweet media of his!

My employers have echoed to their staff this sentiment of not voicing a problem until solutions have been tried and this certainly applies to both teachers and learners in the education system.


Summary of Learning – The Ultimate TL;DR Guide to My Semester

Ways to interact with my final project:

  1. You can watch the videos on this screen, but right click each “Letter Link” on the Image Map and select “Open in New Tab” so the video will keep playing as you look at each letter. If you open any link on the Alphabet Image Map, it takes you to the Powerpoint so you can just scroll through the letters on there!
  2. You can ignore the video altogether and explore the Image Map at your own pace
  3. You can ignore the Image Map and only watch the video for a snapshot of my learning!

Masterpiece in the making. Click on each square to explore what I have done so far – it is interactive and uploaded in such a way that the progress will be tracked (I do not have to keep re-uploading my progress on WordPress because I have linked each slide and it uploaods automatically)!

If you cannot access the image map (I tried from my phone and it does not work) click here to see the Powerpoint by itself.

Although I love coding from scratch, for time’s sake I used Image-Map.net to help me create my image map. I still did a bit of coding when I ran into a problem (image was not showing up) and, instead of jumping ship and starting the project in another way, I stuck with it and trusty Youtube saved the day. (You can read more about that here.) Let me know what you think of it so far in comments below. I am so happy I pushed myself to be creative. Usually I favor substance over style and opt for the essay if any assignment choice is given, but I wanted to do it differently this time around. Using educational technology (Google Drive, Google Slides, Image-Map.net, and Adobe Photoshop), the “style” part of this project was easy and relatively fast to make. Imagine how long it would have taken to develop all of my photos, do an alphabet on each piece of paper, etc. back in the 1970s. Imagine how, back in 1999, I could not have linked my Powerpoint slides directly to my image map for easy access and sharing! There is no excuse not to add a bit of life into the projects you make – and, most important of all, have it help you tell the story. In this case, I used ABC photos because it pertains to my Learning Project. I used Google Slides and Image-Map.net to do a fancy presentation to show how versatile it can be as an edtech resource for the classroom. Everything I have needed to upload from my phone or computer, I have done through Google Drive. There was a purpose to my style, as much as my substance.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z ABCs of EdTech

Testing Google Slides to See If I Can Link


Test again

Works perfect! I can link to any individual slide. That means… I can quickly pop off slides and put in the appropriate links to blog posts and outside material that I need. Stay tuned for my summary of learning!

At about 5 min in, I get the learning I had been waiting for – change the URL from the one the website had to the one you uploaded to WordPress. THAT is why my image map hasn’t been working. Even though I did not use the same site as him, I tried the trick and it worked. If you hover your mouse over A it should display the letter A! I will show my final product in my next blog.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z ABCs of EdTech

Photography Learning Summary & Final Reflections

If you look at my Flickr account, I don’t believe you can really trace a progression of “worse” to “better” photos. Part of this is because I deleted the not so good photos – I realize now that, in future learning, I need to keep those bad examples to show students because they are just as much of a learning queue as seeing the good examples.

The other part is because I opted to try such a wide variety of photography that I didn’t really have time to perfect it – I would just do it and move on. I discovered as I was learning that I wanted to take the approach of comprehensive learning and experimenting – trying to take photos in as many different ways as possible. I introduced myself to many avenues (portrait, landscape, lightbox closeup) and basic tips, so that I have a solid base to go forward from. I thought that would be a better use of my time and learning than taking one path and really perfecting it. This way, I know which avenues I like most. After I put myself out there and tried different things, I still realized I like landscape photography the most. Next steps forward would be exploring landscape photography in more detail, and trying to get those breathtaking shots you see online and in museums and on travel brochures, etc. I have been told by those close to me that my photos are good, and I know their opinions may be biased, but it still gives me confidence to keep trying and expanding my horizons.

I have been trying to get my photos out there through sharing them in groups and contests. I think it has increased my views a little bit, but sharing my photos on Facebook and my blog have generated the most traffic. I will need to keep pushing for feedback on public platforms like Flickr to get more noticed.

One major point I reflected on as I did each mini project was how photography requires both a reactive and proactive mindset. You have to be an opportunist who simultaneously sees something beautiful as it is and react to it, but you also have to have tools and the eye for how to plan and stage a scene for when 100% natural beauty is scarce (something I learned when I prepped for portrait photography, when I made a lightbox, and when I took photos at different times of the days to play around with lighting).

Below is a list of my most important blog posts and a concise summary of my learning in each.


1 – Beginning of my Journey Pt A

Beginning of my Journey Pt B

Me rambling on about what I am hoping to get out of this learning experience. I was also very excited to try out the new photography technology I bought online!


2 – Puddle Photography and Double Exposure Idea

My Face, My Yard, and I

Really Cool Photo of My Eye

This first progression of blogs shows my interest, and then pursuance of double exposure-style photo editing. I counted it as part of my photography journey because, ultimately – why are we taking photos, if not to do something with them? Whether we frame them, edit them, combine them… we are always creating and improving.


3 – In Person Learning with Corla Rokochy – Definitely Worth a Read!

I am friends with Corla through The Lyric Theatre. I knew she was a professional photographer, but she actually approached me through Facebook after I put it out there that I was taking photography for my class. Thanks so much Corla!!!

Portrait Photography in Colour!

4- Preparing For Portrait Photos

After the Photoshoot

Further Reflections

I only did portrait photography once (not counting my self-portrait photography which you can find on my Learning Project page) and my friend was my reluctantly willing participant. We both ended up having fun and the photos turned out great. We both learned more about posing and working with light. Our favourite agreed-upon photo is the one above – I followed the tips of shooting when she wasn’t locked into a pose and got this gem!

5 – Making a Lightbox (Mini Photo Booth!)

Using the Lightbox

I loved this project (another idea from Trish) and am so grateful I have a resource I can use whenever I want, to take crisp, professional photos of objects on a white background.

Night and Day... Comparing 11 am shots to 8 pm shots of same place.

6 – Flickr Friend Advice on Photography (Great Resource For All!)

Day and Night Comparison

I was blown away by how this woman did not know me at all, but saw I was beginning to learn photography and, out of the kindness of her heart, shared her photography experiences and tips she has learned! She gave me project ideas, theories on good photography (the Fibonaccci sequence, having an asymmetrical amount of objects in focus, and so on), and a lot of motivation to keep on shooting. In the second blog, I document me following her project idea of taking photos of the same place at different times.

Landscape Photos March 5

7 – Landscape Photography Tips

Landscape Experimentation

The first blog shows a great resource that helped focus my attention for taking landscape photos instead of just snapping at “whatever looks good”. You can see the fruits of my labor in the second blog post.

Spur of the moment sunset photos turned out better than the (poorly) planned ones! I remembered the tips of using foreground elements and silhouettes. The train light in the distance is a nice touch!

8 – Photoshop Tutorial on Editing Layers

Timelapses and Sunset Photos

Sundown Photos (Showing Learning and Progress)

This selection of links show a progression in my use of Adobe photoshop to do timelapses, and also show my progression in photographing dusk/sunset scenes. If you look at the bottom of the 2nd link you will see a photo of a colorful sunset, and I think that symbolizes the end of my learning journey perfectly. The sun goes down as this class ends, but will be back again tomorrow as I continue my passion of photography outside of class!

9 – Tracing the Progress of my Alphabet Project

I thought it would be fitting to incorporate my learning project into my final summary of learning so I decided to make an alphabet poster that would be transformed into an interactive image map of different things I learned in this class!

You can view my journey in its entirety documented here, on my Learning Project category page. I did not include all blog posts in my summary above – only those I thought were most important.

Important links to check out, where I documented my learning and final products:

My Padlet

My Flickr Albums

All photos on this page were taken by me. If you want to relax and scroll through some photos of what I perceive (and you may perceive) as beautiful, please be my guest!

Please leave a comment, either on my blog or on my photos!

Returning to the Tracks – “Natural Beauty” of the LG G4

Disclaimer: These photographs are uploaded to Flickr with ZERO editing in terms of lighting, cropping… the whole deal! The only time one is edited is for a cropping that I specifically draw attention to.

I played chicken with the train again. I was out and about and decided to stop a little bit earlier than sunset time, when the sun was still up. Dusk.

I found a great example to model the advice Corla gave me, way back when, and reiterated when I watched a Youtube video on taking landscape photos.

I try really hard to have a pattern in the photo that the viewer follows. If you look at this photo, I was too focused on rule of thirds (not having the silhouettes in the middle) that I forgot about leading lines. Look at the entire left side of the photo – there is nothing of interest for the eye to wander. It is dead space. There is no path leading fully across the photo. The railroad tracks would have been perfect to line up from one corner of the photo to the other.

Train at sundown 7 pm

Now, look at this photo. I switched perspective (crossed the tracks) and took another shot. This time I had the railroad giving wonderful leading lines. If we read left to right we see the tracks get smaller as you get farther away, and then you see a train as the main focal point, framed by the two crossing posts. The only thing I did not like is the top right corner, where there is another post in the way.

Train at sundown 7 pm

A simple crop… and here we are!

Train sundown APR 9

Of course it is always nice getting that shot that needs zero cropping. Look below. The leading line is the silhouette, a mix of trees, the grain elevator, and the train. There are some vertical lines that draw attention too, but everything is symmetrical and there is no real dead space (the sun flare reaches to the top of the photo – it is beautiful, I think!) I casually snapped it as I was walking across the tracks. The train was stopped, folks, don’t worry!

Train at sundown 7 pm

Check out all of the train photos here.