A Woman Can Build Too!

As a farmer and a woman, I like to believe I am tough. My husband used to work in the oilfield and was gone for weeks on end and now during seeding and harvest and spraying (so pretty much April-October) he is almost always in the field. Because of that, I have acquired an array of skills that allow me to take care of everything when he is gone. Now, I normally think there are some things that just women should do and some that just men should do but when I chose this project I said “Screw it”, why can’t I do this?

So I have been searching and searching, as you can see on my last post, for different blogs about what to do and how to do it. I think I got a pretty good start! I started by sanding the boards down. Some of them that we used were old so I needed to sand them down in order to paint them later.

I sanded and sanded until they looked like the other boards and then figured out how large I wanted the TV table.  I laid out the boards so that I could get a visual of how they needed cut and then measured out where I would put the boards and so that I know where my frame would be. For the TV table, I simply matched one side to another and then built up from there.

I then used these bad boys to get them. The red one is a skill saw that is used for “ripping” the board or cutting them down the long way.  The blue one is a sliding miter saw and is used for one direct cut (either at 90degrees or at an angle).

I did not get a picture of some of the middle steps as it was a little tricky but I stood up both side frames and then nailed three boards in the middle. The middle and bottom one I ripped to make smaller so that it would fit in between my frames. The top one I measured so that there was an inch overhang all the way around and then nailed the braces to that area of the board after marking it.

My TV stand was a little bit wobbly so I made this X on both sides, partially for decoration and partially for a brace.  This was pretty tricky! My husband is very handy for things like this, we, or he, built our house from lock up stage. I mostly painted and he did all of this type of work. I had not used math to figure out angles since Math 30 in high school so that was a lot of trial and error.  After I finally got the angles figured out I used the nail gun to nail in the X’s and I was pretty proud of how my piece was starting to look.

I realized after all of my work, that the top of the three shelves and the front of the stand had quite a few nail marks.  After reading more on how to distress wood to get the rustic look I am after, I realized those marks may not be so bad after all! I can actually use those and add more screw marks along the way to make it have the look I want.

By now, my hand was starting to really hurt and a storm was starting to roll in so I figured it was time to quit! I decided to go to the city and search for stain and paint to finish the TV stand, as that is pretty much all that is left, and that was a whole battle of it’s own!

Until next time, hopefully this will keep you entertained!

 

More to the Internet than… the Internet!

 

How did I not ever know there was more to the internet than just the good old internet explorer? I had recently upgraded to Chrome as my main browser and that was genius but now that I know about some chrome extensions my mind is blown!! I always just went onto the internet, searched for whatever I was looking for, waited for my computer to load for an infinite amount of time, dealt with all of the annoying add pop ups, and then logged off with only half an answer and a ton of frustration!

I still have two years left of my degree so I was a little bit hesitant about taking a senior education elective already but I am incredibly excited that I decided to so now! Even if I just learn about these few chrome extensions, my life will forever be changed!!

I broke my hand just over two months ago but have had numerous problems ever since so one Chrome extension that I really played around with was Select and Speak. It won’t talk to text for me but almost all things take twice as long now that I only have one hand so anything that will save me time is fantastic! All you have to do is hit the play button on any page and it will start speaking from the top. If you want it to only read one passage you just highlight that specific section and then press play. It is seriously such a life saver. Who doesn’t love to gain back a little time in their lives and be able to do laundry or make supper WHILE getting work done? Best thing ever, right?! Here is a little bit of glimpse into what Select and Speak does. You can choose from numerous different languages and speeds which is also perfect because I hate when apps speak so slow that I could finish reading and making supper and doing laundry before it finishes one page!

The second chrome extension that I have recently been told about and love is Screencastify which is what the above recording is done with. You can either record yourself speaking while showing the screen or just record the screen and the audio on the computer.  I think this is so cool as I am great at visualizing and awful at explaining. So now, instead of saying that little button that has the thing on it on the top left corner, I can send a clip of a Screencastify and have the other person know exactly what I am talking about!!

The last Chrome extension I will speak to (for today) is Grammarly. I have used the full version for a few years now and it is amazing. It double checks your work (APA style papers are my nemesis) and makes suggestions for any changes that should be made.  It will even check APA style referencing which is great for me or else I may not have made it through my 300 level English class! I did not know however about the Grammarly Chrome extension. It will literally check your spelling and grammar for everything (including emails, tweets, Facebook posts, ect).  It will simply highlight or underline whatever you have incorrect and then give you a suggestion to change it.

                                             

When everything is good to go you will get the little green G at the bottom of your post. I don’t understand why I did not know about this previously! It would have saved me a ton of embarrassing grammatically incorrect emails that I have sent while in a hurry! Actually, all of these Chrome extensions would have saved me a ton of time and headaches.

Tweet What?

Twitter, oh Twitter! Such a clever little tool that I had feared for way too long! My brother, the clever man he is (the marketing manager of a large Saskatchewan company, once told me that if I wanted to build my business, I should be on Twitter. I used to run a successful fitness company but was always looking for other ways to market. I signed up for a business account, looked at the Twitter feed once, and never looked at it or touched it again UNTIL ECMP 355 came along because I thought it was just too confusing!   I set up a personal page after starting in this course and after participating in #saskedchat on Thursday evening, I started to see the benefit that Twitter presents.

Living in a small rural town, I am always searching for new ideas to bring into the classroom.  I don’t have any other Pre-Kindergarten teachers around so I rely on the internet for many of my ideas.  #saskedchat is a networking opportunity that takes place one hour every week through Tweetdeck (or some other similar form of seeing all hashtags in one place). This is what my Tweetdeck looks like.

The #saskedchat allowed me to expand my PLN (Professional Learning Network) by following other professionals in the field were also participating in the chat. This was awesome because not only can I get good ideas about the topics presented on Thursday evenings during the #saskedchat, I can also get continuous ideas from those individuals that I now follow.

I am continually surprised when I post or comment on Twitter by the amount of people from all over the province and country that respond.  I always thought if I had Facebook that I did not need Twitter but I now realize I was so wrong.  I think Facebook is more of a thing for close friends where Twitter can reach so many more people without needing to know exactly who they are. Obviously for these reasons, I now think Twitter is a great professional development tool but I also think it would be wonderful in the classroom.

I would be a little bit hesitant about safety concerns for my students but as long as I had consent from parents or just left the page with no actual pictures of the students, I think it would be alright. I think it would be very beneficial for my students to look for resources, depending on their age (think about how much you have to weed through on Google to get something good)! I think it would be great for students of all ages to see classrooms in other areas of the world and learn about their cultures by following other teachers.  I think it could either be used as a “Helper of the Day” tool where one students gets to post on Twitter every day and then the responses are looked at as a classroom on the Smartboard OR each student to could have their own Twitter account and they could use a # for the classroom OR the teacher could post on behalf of the students every day (this one would be more to keep parents informed and build a PLN.

I’ve only just started using Twitter so I am sure my ideas will evolve as I learn more and more but I do think it is a great tool for networking and gaining valuable resources! I am looking forward to further exploring the now, not so dreadful, world of Twitter!!

The Process is Slow!

I have been really researching on how to build a sturdy table that will last over the last week. I had found a couple of resources that I mentioned in my last blog post but while really searching over the last two days, I have slightly changed my project.   I decided I didn’t want to start with a table first as that will be a huge piece that people will see all of the time. I will still get to it, don’t you worry! However, first I am going to attempt a TV table and then a couple of side tables seen on this blog post by Ana White. I figure  by the time I am done those, I will have all of my kinks worked out and be able to perfect my kitchen table!

After deciding all of this, I went shopping for lumbar. This was what I was feeling when I got into the store..

This was a little bit more difficult now that I am building four different pieces as I had to estimate how many boards I will use for each, visualize what I am making and account for cutoffs and any mistakes to be made (I know there will be I few)! I also had to make sure I had screws, brad nails (that will fit my gun), finishing nails, PL 400 (like wood glue x100), and wood filler. I will also need foot foams, stain, white paint and brushes but that is after I build so I didn’t get those today.

My husband made me do all the work as he said it’s good exercise for my hand (I broke it and it just came out of a cast three weeks ago). It beg’s to differ right now but hopefully by later tonight I will be ready to start building! Until then, my hand will be in an ice bath to try and get ready!

The Coolest Thing Since Sliced Bread (Feedly)

Like I said before, I am not very tech savvy. I currently follow a couple of blogs but once a week I just go to the blog site (if I remember it) and check out all of the new cool things!

I can’t believe I have never heard of Feedly before. This site in my opinion is better than Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat combined, it will be my new obsession!

I was a little overwhelmed with where to start finding blogs to add to this site. I started by just searching key words in the search engine and a list of blogs that were applicable showed up. I clicked on each blog, looked at the content, looked at the amount of followers on Feedly and then added them to my watch list if I felt I would be interested in it.

This is what my Feedly account currently looks like. I teach Pre-School so that may explain the Kindergarten/ Pre-K feeds on the left hand side and I also farm so that would obviously explain that one. I am not quite sure how to make all the blogs show up yet, but I am getting to that point!

And this is a closer up version of what my menu bar looks like.

 

One blog that I found that I absolutely love is Pre-K Pages. Vanessa Levin has a ton of useful information including lesson plans, lesson ideas including learning centers, dramatic play centers and free printables. This blog also has access to a Monday/ Wednesday live podcast where Vanessa explains all of her ideas for the classroom. I found these tools all to be super useful for my pre-school classroom and will continue to use these now that I can see all of her posts when they pop up, thanks to Feedly. Although it is super hard to pick just one, this  is one of her posts that I love the most (remember I am not very tech savvy).

Can’t wait to learn the ropes a little more with this one!

It’s All in the Process

Well, I hope it’s all in the process at least as I am a little nervous about what my final product will look like. Watch this video to see what I am up to!

I am looking forward to learning how to build this and hopefully having a beautiful piece to showcase when I am done.

My mission tomorrow is to buy my first load of lumber but I have been looking on You-Tube and Pinterest to spark inspiration before I begin. Two really good blogs that I have been reading to learn how to attempt this are The Design Confidential and Futurist Architecture .

Keep posted to see what I come up with!

 

 

The Joys of Technology

I have always had a pretty “old-school” mentality. My husband loves to call me an old grandma for many reasons. I am always bundled up with blankets and slippers, I like to knit, I quilt (although I am not very good), my ideal Saturday night is a movie and a 9pm bedtime and I despise technology! The extent to which I am technologically advanced consists of making a table on a word document or writing a post on Facebook.

Which brings me to the topic of blogging. I honestly have only ever blogged when I have been forced to do so for a class assignment. I rarely even write anything on Facebook as I think people’s thoughts should be private. I don’t even like social media! Until last week, I didn’t even have a twitter account! That is a completely new mountain to climb all on it’s own.

As you can see, technology is not my strong point so using technology in the classroom makes me just a little bit nervous! As this article states, using technology in the classroom is beneficial for so many reasons. The article suggests that the classroom environment has changed dramatically since the 1990’s and “for a child who has difficulty feeling a part of even those groups of people he interacts with daily, this is a monumental achievement”. The new 21st century learning environment encourages relationships beyond the classroom and responds to multiple forms of intelligences rather than a “traditional” boring classroom.

Although I can clearly see the benefits of the learning environment of this new world as well as the benefits of blogging for myself, this could take a while to get the hang of things. So here is to hopefully taking this course for all it’s worth and learning how to truly benefit my students in the new world of technology so that I don’t feel like this!