Previously I intended on doing a Southwestern Mandarine open inquiry project to prepare me for my practicum to China. However, due to recent events I came to the difficult conclusion to stay local this year for my practicum and consequently decided to change my open passion inquiry to cooking.
To start, I would like to point out that cooking and I have an interesting relationship. Usually it has takes me what should be about 30 minutes of making dinner roughly 1.5 hours… to make it better, the food is barely palatable. A prim example of this was when I cooked a box of Annie’s Noodles in 50 minutes and still somehow undercooked them so they crunched when I ate them. So I figure, better late then never! I have decided not only to learn basic cooking skills but also be able to create a balanced meal. I believe it is so important to eat right for not just your physical health, but also your mental.
In the past, I have tried to no avail to learn to cook. I believe my major downfall has been in my inability to meal prep. I find that I wait till the last minute, when I am hungry, to find food. This hinders my meals because I am not thinking of what would make a meal balanced but instead just scavenge for anything that will fill me up, usually carbs… My plan is to start meal prepping, looking into what I can make into balanced meals, and start to live a fulfilled life loving my food!!
I want everyone reading this to know that I am starting from square one, ground zero! I know i’m not the only one, and I hope that I can help others learn to cook balanced meals through this process. Below is a picture of pop tarts, I had them for lunch the other day. My knowledge has nowhere to go but up!
I am starting this journey at ground zero. I have past experience with reading notes for piano but a string instrument is unknown territory for me. At the after school care that I work at the grade 4’s I see are learning Ukulele too. They became my introduction to all things Ukulele. They even had their instruments with them so they could show me first hand. I learned which finger you use to strum, where the “sweet spot” is for strumming and heard the phrase “A dog’s favourite bone” to remember A,D,F,B for the 4 cords that their instruments are tuned to! They are a HUGE resource for me learning the basics. I am so happy I get to join them on this musical journey. This really reminded how the students can also be the teachers. Very Humbling
The YouTube video below is very informational. It did not help my speak Mandarin but I feel it was very helpful for understanding the language before I started to learn to actually speak.
Another thing that I tried was the Duolingo app on my iPhone. In the past, I have used this app to brush up of my french. The first problem I ran into was which language to choose. I knew that in the area I plan to go to their local language is Southwestern Mandarin, but on the app it only gives the option of Chinese. Due to the many languages present in China I was unclear on if it was Mandarin. I googled if Mandarin was on Duolingo and identified that it was, in fact, the Chinese option. I finished the first test on the app and gained the ability to read and say hello, good, and goodbye! This took no time at all, it took me about a total of 5 minutes to finish. I found it to be very repetitive which helped me identify the characters and pronounce the words. There is also some good information about pinyin (their alphabet) and tone. I learned that there are 4 basic tones used in Mandarin, below I list what the tones are and how the word changes based on how it is said.
This week we did ran a practice Edcamp. On the board we wrote down topics of interest involving teaching and voted on which ones were the most popular. The top 4 topics were then given rooms and students broke off accordingly to explore them. Edcamp style learning is based on what students want to learn in the classroom. I think this style of learning is effective because the multiple options appeals to more students and in turn engages them to learn something they choose to learn. Although I did enjoy the overall process of engaging in a topic of my choice, I think the next time this is replicated, there should be some more structure. It would help if there were base questions or someone present with more background knowledge on the topic. That said, the more diverse the group of people involved the more the breadth of conversation can occur. I like the group facilitation aspect. Everyone has an equal say and the conversation has endless directions it can go. However, I do think that this aspect can also be the downfall in cases where the conversation comes to stagnate spots or there is a lack of information.
I focused on outdoor learning environments. My group started by going around and saying their own experiences with outdoor education. It was mind-blowing the diversity there was within our school system. My high school had an outdoor ed class where we did many trips. I built snow igloos and slept in them for several nights, went to natural hot springs, and learned about different plants out in the forest. In comparison, another girl in my group only had an environmental group that did hikes on occasion. The idea of outdoor classrooms also came up as we compared our different schools. As a group, we came to the conclusion that more outdoor learning should be happening with students. Whether it is camping trips, hikes, or just doing class outside.
I found the message in this documentary to be profound. The original concepts for our education system over 100 years ago was driven by the need to create the middle class in a time of industrialization. Now technology has taken those mundane jobs. I agree that we need to start thinking of how to prep students in decision making, creative thinking, and self-determination. Now more than ever, with the influx of technology, schooling needs to be able to develop the skills in students for jobs that haven’t even been created yet. The new inquiry based system that has taken root is a step in the right direction. This video shaped how I see inquiry based studies. I see now that it is not only important but imperative moving forward into the future.
I’ve decided to do Coding as my Tech Inquiry project because I see the increasing value in the role technology has in our society and in our classrooms. It is no longer acceptable to just be tech competent, students must learn to be tech fluent. To help me along in this process I have recruited a friend of mine, a 3rd year engineer student at UVIC who has experience in coding, mainly C++.
In this first week I focused on the basic terminology and concepts. I learned that in a coding sense, algorithms are a series of patterns. My friend used an analogy that helped me better understand this. He said, “when you take a shower, what order do you do things in.” I also learned that there were different types of coding languages that they are used for different things.
Java: used for servers
C++: used for every interface but more complex. Term that defines this language is “Verbose” which means there is more writing involved to do simple tasks
Blocky: used to see basic, visual language. Once mastered the user can move onto harder languages
Python: used for game development and newer software
I started my coding experience off by using a very simple interface called “Scratch.” The form of coding on scratch is called blocking. This means that the codes are made into blocks that the user can manipulate into doing what they want the program to do. I found this site easy to use because the shape of the codes matches where they can be inputed and all the blocks are colour coated. Although the user can’t see the actual codes, I found this blocking website was an excellent first step to learning the basic logic behind coding, which is highly transferable to other coding languages and platforms. With scratch.mit.edu I was able to learn and practice first hand producing algorithms. I practiced different types of loops and got to learn the ways in which they are used. This included the if, for, and while loops. I also learned about a “nested loop” which means that it is a loop in another loop.
If: “If (blank) happens then (blank)”
For: (repeat block)
While: (repeat until block)
Nested: It is used for multiple responses.
Here are some photos of what the interface looks like. While learning how to program I ran into an error where it copied my polar bear and my first challenge became how to delete them….
This website is intended to showcase my journey becoming a teacher. My current teaching philosophy is that every child has a different learning style and skillset. Therefore, children require teaching with choices, so that each child can learn in their own way. Otherwise, children become subjected to being a fish that must learn and perform in one biased approach. However, I am aware that my philosophy is going to shift and grow as I continue in the education program. As I gain new knowledge and understanding from my practicums and life experiences my philosophy will mature and change. I believe learning is a lifelong process and therefore my philosophy will never be a stagnant idea, but instead an ever-changing concept. Thank you for joining me…
“If you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree, it will live it’s whole life believing it’s stupid — Albert Einstein