My Learning Journey through Woodworking

At the beginning of the semester (seven weeks ago), we were given an assignment to complete a learning project. Basically, we could pick whatever we wanted to do (baking, photography, drawing, ect), and document our process throughout. This class was all about technology in the classroom, so as you have probably guessed, we were supposed to learn to do these things online. It did not mean you had to choose to do something online, you simply had to get information online. When we were first given this assignment, I was ecstatic! I have been wanting to do woodworking for a long time but lead a very busy life and that was always my excuse. I was “too busy” to do it and so I never did. Finally, I had the perfect opportunity to do what I had wanted to do for a while so I was going to make the most of it.

I think I learned a ton of new information and possibly bit of more than I could chew in a short period of time but I will walk you through my process.

Week One- I decided I needed to make a new table instead of my cheap $40 one we had purchased off of Kijiji. Futuristic Architecture and The Design Confidential were my sources of ideas at this point.

Week Two- I was getting super adventurous here (I am not sure why) and decided that I should build two side tables and a tv table along with my kitchen table. I must have had a few too many drinks when I made this decision!!  I found Ana White’s blog in Week Two which contained the plans for the side tables and tv table and it was one of my go-to blogs from this point forward. I went on an adventure to shop for supplies and walked out with a whopping bill. Now looking back it, that $300 that I spent is peanuts in comparison to what I would have bought all six of these pieces for.

Week Three- I was well underway in my building at this point and got a little trigger happy with the nail gun while putting my boards together. After doing this, I found this blog post on how to distress wood as I thought it may make those marks look a little more like they belong.  I also made a call out to Twitter to help me search for paint and stain and it was well worth it!

Week Four- I started to look for more and more blog posts that explained what I was looking for and while Ana White still remained at the top of my list, I found Tru Furniture also. This was my second blog post that I fell in love with and got much of my inspiration from.  When in doubt, I also found a new Facebook group called DIY Farmhouse Style that was incredibly helpful. All of the ladies answered my questions right away and were more than willing to share advice.

Week Five- I finished building both of my side tables and when I had lumbar left over, I built two bedside tables for our room as well. I had an incident with a brad nail coming through the wood but this forum was so helpful in figuring out why and how to stop it from happening.


Week 6- In week six, I was starting to reflect on the work that I had done to this point and was feeling pretty confident. As a farm wife and a woman, I was proud to have completed and succeeded with these “blue jobs”. I realized that the internet is a brilliant place to gather valuable information and I learned that building is a TON of work but totally worth it.  This week I learned the purpose of pre-drilling holes, how to clamp wood together when it tried to separate and resorted to another one of Ana White’s videos to learn how to put together my table. My table was now complete and so were all of my other pieces. All that was left was painting and staining!

Week Seven- After being sick and tired of waiting for the weather to be perfect, I moved my workstation inside.

I made a time lapse video for the first time ever (new technology is always cool when it works)!! And I learned all about dry brushing and staining. I also learned what gel stain is and that it is not wrecked when it looks like this!

It has been a busy few weeks. My pieces all look great so far but I definitely bit off more than I can chew! I am hoping to have them all done by the weekend. Three out of six is not the best number but as you can see, it is a lot of work.  Some key takeaways out of this project have been:

-There are always ways to fix mistakes

-The internet is a marvelous source of information (for free)!

-Woodworking is a ton of work but to look at the pieces and know that you made them, it is so rewarding.

-It is (in this case) way cheaper to make items like this than to buy them. We already had all of the tools we needed so all that I bought was lumber, stain, paint, and sanding papers. Overall we got over $1800 worth of items I am sure and only spent $300

-Women can do “men’s jobs” too!





         Completed Bed Side Tables 


Soon to be finished side tables and TV Tables.



And the Winner is…

Well I don’t really know if it is a “winner” per say, but we are finally at our last and final step.. Staining!

I have only stained something once and I had to do it twice. The first time I choose a super light stain and did not know what I was doing so I never wiped it off and then it ended up being super greasy and not what I wanted. So I sanded it all down and then chose another stain and that turned out pretty good but that was so long ago, I couldn’t remember what I had done.

So, in searching for some information on how to stain my tables, I found a couple of good Youtube videos.  I find when I like something, I stick to it. So the two really good bloggers that I have found and stayed true to are Ana White and Tru Furniture.  I found this Youtube tutorial from Tru Furniture and it really helped explain things. I did do mine a little bit differently as I had painted the bottom of my tables but the top was pretty similar. I had already filled my holes with paintable wood filler so I did not do that portion of this video as she shows.

First I taped my tables so that I did not get any stain on the parts that were already painted. After I was done doing that, I opened up my stain and just about closed it for the day. I had no idea what the hell was going on. As I said, I have only stained once or twice so I had no idea that there were different kinds of stain. This (I now know) is called gel stain!!

So after I figured this out, I stirred the stain and got things going. I put on one coat and was crossing my fingers that it would work!! To put the coat of stain on, I simply dipped an old rag into the stain and then wiped it off. By the time I was staining the whole table, I went back and wiped off any excess that was able to come off. I made sure I wore gloves so that my hands were not covered in stain but I realized that staining actually is pretty simple.

It was pretty light so I decided to put on another coat and I think it turned out pretty good!

Now all that’s left to do is just put on a top coat and decide what I want to do with these table legs. I am trying to decide if I should leave it gray, paint it white, or do a distressed look like my small tables.

Image may contain: indoor

Image may contain: indoor

Let me know what you think!

Practice Makes…

Well, they say practice makes perfect but from a girl who hasn’t touched a video game since the Super Mario Brothers on the N64, I have had quite the learning experience! I chose to do the Flappy Code Tutorial on Hour of Code.  I honestly cheated a little bit and set my Grade level to 2-6 so that I knew I could do it. Well, boy was I wrong!  I literally spent 35 minutes, yes 35 minutes trying to get my flappy code guy to move on the sixth level and then after my husband finally helped me to get past that, I got stuck for another 30 minutes while creating a game until I finally gave up!

This is a short Screencastify of my work while trying to get create the game at the end. This video is three minutes so I am positive you will understand my frustration after 30!!

Although I was not successful, I can see how coding could be beneficial in the classroom. This Edutopia blog does a fantastic job of explaining the benefits and the push-backs of code in the classroom. For this type of coding specifically, I think that it would be difficult for some students to get involved so, in my classroom, I could see myself giving it as an option instead of as a mandatory lesson.  This would create an opportunity for those students who would like to enhance creative ability in the classroom while others could show that skill in a different way.

I have not practiced it, but we talked about coding with makey makey  in class and I think that would be cool. I know you have to purchase the kit but this video speaks for itself about why every school should purchase the kit! How much innovation and creation would this inspire in a classroom? Playing a game or making music with a BANANA?! How cool is that?

My final thoughts- Coding is not for me (remember my traditional learner, pencil and paper in the first-row kid) but I do see how it would be very beneficial for some students!

PS. I’m sorry for this late blog post, I was too busy catching huge fish!

Connecting with Technology- the Finale!

Over the period of the last two months, I have had the opportunity of interacting with a ton of new faces online. Before starting my ECMP 355 class, it was something to talk about if I had posted on Facebook more than once every couple of weeks.  Posting was hard enough, I hardly ever carried out conversations. After signing up for this course, I was overwhelmed with the amount of online forums we would be participating in. Between blogging, commenting on questions in our Google Plus community,   keeping up with the weekly plans doc, and posting/ participating on Twitter, I was terrified.

Although I was not online as much as some of my fellow classmates, I learned a ton of information over the last two months.  Our Google Plus community was a place to ask any questions you may need and also answer any questions that you had time to answer. Within a day, there was always an answer from someone that could lead you in the right direction.  Although I did not often post in this forum,  I tried to post as often as I could with whatever information I could.


Blogging was a large part of our lives over the last two months. We were asked to complete two prompted blog posts as well as a learning project post every week. This was not new to me as I had done some blogging in ECS 100 and 110 but I hated it then. I think I did not like it because I just couldn’t get into the habit of putting all of my thoughts out there for the world to see. However, over the last two months, I have really started to enjoy blogging. I think the more often you do it, the more comfortable you feel and the more comfortable you feel, the more you share. This screencastify shows a glimpse into what I have been blogging. Feel free to scroll up or down if you would like to see more.

These blogs are just a couple of the interactions that took place over the semester but they each seemed to hold good conversations. There were so many interesting blog posts to read, it was hard to keep up but definitely worth the time.

Amy was learning all about ASL in her blog post Over the Moon with ASL. 

Amy was tackling her learning project in Learning Project- Progress Report #1 

Payton was discussing how Facebook is not just a Useless Time Suck.

One of the last things we were asked to do over the past couple of months was to post and interact on Twitter.

This was probably the scariest part for me as I did not even have a Twitter account. I quickly fell in love as I realized just how many resources were at my fingertips. I learned so much about not only education but also about farming.  I participated in a couple of education chats and shared resources that I had found often. I was amazed at how easy it was to connect on Twitter not just in the education world but also with other communities of people. I often posted or read Tweets with the hashtags #Farm365 or #AgMoreThanEver and it was so cool to build that community.

As you can see, I have been busy over the last couple of months learning a whole new realm of technology.  It was a bit of a learning curve but I am confident to say, I think I have a pretty good grasp of these tools and can absolutely see how they would be useful in the classroom.



In starting out as a brand new teacher this year with little to no resources off the get-go, I found these few and they have been lifesavers!

Pre-K Pages has so many great resources and does live webinars twice a week with a ton of great information.

Little Minds At Work is another great blog with tons of ideas you’ll be sure to fall in love with.

I have pinned so many resources and ideas on my Pinterest Pre-School Board since September. Here it is for your viewing pleasure!


Treaty Education

In learning about Treaty Education in Saskatchewan I have come across a few resources that I found super helpful.

The Truth and Reconciliation website outlines all of the Calls to Action outlined in 2015. Here is a great spot to turn for any information needed regarding these calls to action and how to move forward.

The Treaty 4 Education Alliance website I found very useful for lesson plans and resources directly related to making classrooms inclusive to Aboriginal students.

I participated in a blanket exercise this past winter and it really opened my eyes to the reality of what happened to the Aboriginal people of our country. It can be made to fit any age level and is an awesome activity for getting your students thinking.  Blanket



Technology in the Classroom

Here are a couple of great resources to redfine technology use in your classroom.

A helpful tool to help educators learn the importance of using technology in our classrooms. Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools

The SAMR Model is a great explanation of what kinf od technology integration we are aiming for in our classrooms.

My new favourite tool for gaging my students is Mentimeter.   It is awesome for making word clouds, taking polls, ect. You will not be dissappointed!

My parents are loving Seesaw.  It is a great way to keep connected with parents about things happening in the classroom. Your students can make their own educational blogs and portfolios and their parents can see what they are up to. Brilliant!

Take 54 Complete!

When I first started this course I was really leery about the journey I was about to embark on. I know I have always been a traditional learner, or what some might call something else (pen and paper in the front row)! So I thought if it worked for me, why wouldn’t it work for everyone else! I have never been a fan of technology and find that I often spend more time fighting with it than just doing it by hand.  I can honestly say that in many ways, ECMP 355 has changed now changed my mind.  I do believe technology can be extremely useful in the classroom if used correctly and after all, kids are going to be using it either way so we might as well use it to our advantage!

I made a video about the things that I learned in ECMP 355. This was my first video I ever made so I was terrified but I think it turned out pretty good. I’m sorry for the bad singing voice ahead of time!

Some of the tools I used were:

Screencastify to record my powerpoint

Itunes for playing the music

Windows Media Maker for making and editing the movie

Thanks for watching!

Let me know what you think.