Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Scratch That.

Well, it was over as soon as it had begun...

It was brought to my attention that I probably need permission for the songs that I featured on my podcast...

So... I sent some emails but I have no idea if they will get me any answers so for the time being my podcast has been taken off the site, along with my whole Podomatic account because I couldn't figure out how to take the podcast off on its own. I got frustrated and just deleted the entire thing.

I am feeling very discouraged and embarrassed. It honestly never crossed my mind that I would need permission for each song on my podcast. Not to mention it was never pointed out to me until it was too late and already posted. Hopefully I don't get sued by Arcade Fire.

So at this point I am not sure where to go from here. The basis of my podcast ideas were based around music, and I am not sure if I can obtain the proper permission for this and future podcasts. I am going to have to do some research and asking around to figure out what I can do now.

I'll keep you posted...

The Canadiana Podcast

So I finally figured out how to get my podcast onto the internet! I have been working for a while, converting and formatting and buffering and whatnot. Finally, my first podcast has been posted on Podomatic, which is pretty user friendly though I am still having some difficulties. I wanted to post the actual podcast onto my blog using the embed feature, but I couldn't get it to work. If anyone could tell me how the heck to do that I'd appreciate it. I know I'm supposed to copy the code, but the question is where do I paste it? I'd also like to put a media player on the sidebar of my blog but I am unsure which one to use with my podcasts...

Anywho, I'll blab for a minute about my process with my first podcast. It was fun to do, and I found Garageband quite easy to use, aside from trying to figure out the volume controls and all that, once I figured it out I was good to go. I liked that all of my pictures and music came up on the side, so for each song all that I had to do was click and drag and the song came up. I had a moment today when I was trying to figure out how to post it, and realized I needed to hit the "share to iTunes" option, then it finalized it and sent it to my iTunes library, and I could from there publish it on Podomatic, which took two tries to get it published.

So this is my first try at podcasting, and I'm sure I'll want to make some changes, but I think I will leave it as is, and there will perhaps be a timeline of my learning through my podcasts, sound-wise. One thing that I have already noticed is that my voice sounds a bit quieter than the music, which I have found in other podcasts that I have listened to so this did not surprise me. I might play around with the next one and try and equalize the volume between my voice and the songs. I am brimming with ideas for my next podcasts, and I will be working on them during my trip! I leave tomorrow very early in the AM. So if you will excuse me, I have some packing to do still! Let me know what you think of my first venture into podcast-land! Thanks for listening!

The Canadiana Podcast

Thursday, 26 May 2011

A little humor

I'll get down to business in a couple hours, or maybe tomorrow, but for right now here is something that I know makes me smile. Has anyone seen A Hard Day's Night? Well if you don't, I'll explain. It's a movie about the Beatles, back when everyone got along. It's in black and white, and it is excellent. Any Beatles fan, or music fan in general should see this film.

In the words of my Film 100 prof (insert heavy Russian accent):
"Have you seen this film?? Non?? I HIGHLY recommend it!!"

But I do. I've seen it more than one person should probably see a movie. My sister and I can recite the words off by heart. The Beatles were funny guys, just a couple of kids from England, trying to make sense of the madness that was Beatlemania.

What made me think of this was the fact that yesterday, my bandmates and I finally decided on a band name, after endless brainstorm sessions since January. We finally came up with something we liked, and more importantly, was not already claimed! So we are from here on out named The Seven Seas. Fun fact: There are actually seven of us. One reason why it takes months to do anything. Kidding, it actually makes writing songs super fast because one of us will have a chunk of lyrics, and where we got stuck someone else will go, "Oh I know what to do there," and pick up where the other person left off. It's great. We have created a Facebook page if you are interested in following us.

Now, let's get down to it!

"I now declare this bridge, open!" - John Lennon

"Torpedoed again, eh?" - George Harrison

Monday, 23 May 2011

My Network Garden


My phone is lame. I wish it was something that was capable of doing something exciting but it cannot. It texts and receives calls and that is about it. Sometimes it doesn't even do that much. Maybe when I have a real career I can get a real phone. Then I can tweet where I want, when I want. It's a nice thought.

So I know in my last post, or the one before, I talked about how I have saved many links from using Twitter and reading my 355 classmates' blogs, and I think that is how I have been expanding my personal network. It began with my classmates and with some links posted in class, and then from there I am now finding my own links and people that I follow on Twitter that have great resources as well, always posting links to sites or to their own blogs, which I now subscribe to. So now now only do I have my 355 folder in my Google Reader, I also have a folder named "Educator Blogs" that I have found through Twitter and through links shared in class. Some of the ones that have been immediately valuable to me are:
  • The Creative Education Blog - Covers many different areas, includes lesson ideas, classroom management help... I found this blog after I started following @creativeedu on Twitter.
  • What Ed Said  - This is another blog I found after I began following @whatedsaid on Twitter. Also has many resources within it. 
  • Autodizactic - This is another educator-run blog that has many ideas and food for thought. Focuses a lot on technology in the classroom
    • Now, these are only a few of the blogs that I have started following that have great ideas and resources for a pre-service teacher such as myself. 
Now, there are also some resources that I have found on my own, and have slowly become obsessed with. One of them is CBC podcasts. Now, I know that there was talk about the Spark podcast and how cool that was. I have listened to Spark, my boyfriend was introduced to it by one of our teachers, and he introduced it to me. But I have always been drawn to the music podcasts and one that I have listened to for years now is the CBC Radio 3 Podcast with Grant Lawrence. This podcast focuses mainly on Canadian indie music, and it has introduced me to some awesome bands. Most importantly, Grant Lawrence is an awesome guy, he's funny and loves what he does. He has been the MC for the Regina Folk Fest for the past few years as well. Anyways, he wrote a book called Adventures in Solitude: What Not to Wear to a Nude Potluck, which my boyfriend bought me for Christmas. After I read it, I decided that I would email Grant to tell him that I loved his book and how I was in education for drama and english and how I loved storytelling.

Well, he emailed me back! Here is a little snippet of his reply:
"Thanks so much for your email! Thanks also for your kind words... so glad to
hear you enjoyed the book. Once you get settled as a teacher I've love to
come to your class and talk to your kids about storytelling and writing. I do
it fairly frequently these days at high schools."


So I'm gonna say that Grant Lawrence belongs in my learning network, because he has already offered himself as a resource in my classroom and I don't even have a contract yet! Woot.

Another CBC podcast that I listen to religiously is called "Definitely Not The Opera" or as it is commonly called, "DNTO." DNTO is hosted by a lady named Sook-Yin Lee, and this podcast is all about people's stories. Each podcast has a theme, like "Can you go home again?" or "The story behind the photo" and the people telling the stories are all Canadian, and it is sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes totally gross or creepy, or totally inspiring. Everybody loves a good story, and it brings everyone together. I want to implement a form of this kind of storytelling into an english or a drama class, because it is somewhat performance based as well. DNTO is always giving me cool ideas, connecting me with authors to look up or websites to check out. Storytelling is a lost art, and in a digital age, I want to teach my students the power of storytelling.

I think that these resources are important to my learning because they help to shape me into the kind of teacher that I want to be. I want my classes to be engrossing, inspiring, to bring people from all backgrounds together. 

So, here is a video bringing together 2 of my personal network loves, this is a video of Grant Lawrence telling one of his stories (included in his book) for a DNTO special story-telling podcast/performance.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

A Little Facelift

Hey Team,

so as you can see, by Dean's recommendation I went into my design settings and made some little changes to the look of my blog here. I am listening to Dan Mangan right now, just moving some things around as I see fit, real relaxing stuff.

Except I have one problem that I have tried to solve, but cannot seem to figure out, I would really like for my Tweets to come up on my blog page, similar to Kaylen's blog, where she has her Twitter comments coming down the side. I would like that as I think the two go hand in hand. If someone could explain to me how to make it to that not only could people follow me on Twitter from my blog (as it is right now), but I also want my Tweets to come up. Is there something I need to change on my own Twitter settings perhaps? Let me know if anyone has any wisdom for me, I'd appreciate it.

I listened to the recording of class this morning, with my cup o' coffee and some fruit, my favorite way to listen to our 355 classes, since I missed the live session (power = out in Cathedral on Thursday night) and I really enjoyed listening to what Kyle and Jordan had to say, got some good ideas from their presentations... many more sites have been bookmarked from that session. The article that was mentioned about the intern that could not blog during their internship gave me an idea: Why shouldn't we? In fact, we all should during our internship, then our supervising teacher would not need to get us to journal, they could simply look at our blogs. Other interns could look at each others blogs, and they could get ideas, bounce ideas back and forth, and know that are not alone if they are stressed or are having challenges in the classroom.

I am hoping to do a lot of blogging this week, as well as some planning for my professional page, since on June 1, I will be going to the Maritimes for 9 days with my mom, sister, soon to be stepfather and, as I was surprised last week by my family, by boyfriend! We will be going to Moncton, PEI and back to Halifax. Don't worry Dean, I'll have wireless pretty much everywhere I go! I plan to blog a little about my trip and watch the recordings of class. I am very excited to go east, the furthest east in Canada for me has been Winnipeg thus far... So I am hoping to get some work done this week to make things easier for when I am away.

I will leave you lovely people with what I am listening to at this very moment, a little something called "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele. Now this video is sweet for multiple reasons, the first being that it is refreshing to not have multiple girls in bikinis anywhere in this video, the aesthetic intensity and artfulness is so cool. And the fact that the drummer is included is awesome too, because the pounding drumline in this song is very significant to the tune. Have a rockout moment, a report back to me with your favorite rockout songs (I will make a lesson out of this one day). That is all!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Some thoughts and something to share:

So I've been playing around with Google Reader for the past 2 days, and I gotta say I really like it. I already read about 6-7 blogs everyday that I have found over the past few months, and now it is much easier to check them because it shows when there is a new post. It works really well and I like having everything organized. Now I have separate folders for my ECMP 355 blogs to read and for my blogs that I read on my own. And from Twitter, I have also found blogs that are written by teachers and people with similar interests to mine. It's like resource central over here! I have started a bunch of folders and some word docs with lists of sites and ideas for classes and lessons. I love it! I am constantly opening these folders or lists to add things so that I don't forget them. I didn't realize how many ideas and resources I would get from taking this class. The best part is that the learning doesn't stop after ECMP 355 is over. I can continue to use Twitter and blogging and Google Reader to connect with people and gain valuable resources that I can use someday in a classroom. If ever I am stumped on what to do, I can just go back to my lists, or folders, or do a shout out on Twitter or Facebook and ask for help.

Now, I also signed up for Diigo today, and I am a little uninterested right now in using it, but over the next couple of days I'll play around with it and see where I get. My thoughts right now are that I only use one computer, my MacBook, and I just don't really see the use in having my bookmarks somewhere else right now. But I'm gonna look closer and see what else it does.

I also took a look at that Google Docs thing with the Twitter for Teachers, and I connected with some drama, english and art teachers on Twitter, which is awesome. Thanks Dean for posting the site address, I went right to it after I watched the class recording and started looking at teachers and schools that I could connect with.

I also looked at Devon's blog today and watched the "Story Pirates" video, which I thought was awesome. So I wanted to include a video of my own. I was introduced to Sarah Kay on Facebook, a friend of mine named Echo put up a video of her doing a TED Talk. This video I replayed 3 times, I was so affected by it. I'm not super into poetry, but this video makes me want to look further into it, and use my words for performance. Enjoy and let me know what you think! I have other links to her site if anyone is interested.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

It's Wednesday, but it should be Friday.

So this week has been nuts already, and it's only Wednesday. It does not give me hope for the rest of the week.

Monday and Tuesday, I was taking my first aid training at J & T Consulting in Regina in the warehouse district. It was an awesome course, my instructor was a firefighter here in Regina, and he was a great teacher, especially since he actually uses the things that he teaches us everyday. I feel ready for anything! Of course, because the last few days have been kind of crazy in a karmic sort of way, my car got totally pwned yesterday by a small girl driving her boyfriend's huge jacked-up truck. The driver's side door was crunched, as well as the window on the door and the mirror.

Don't worry, luckily I was not in the car at the time. We seem to have everything figured out at this point, but still, car accidents are stressful, even when they aren't your fault!

And today, hardly a couple hours ago, I missed my first opportunity to use my new first aid knowledge! My younger sister got a job working for EYES camp this summer at the U of R. It's an engineering and science camp for school age kids. They blow stuff up every once in a while and today my sister burnt her hand doing an experiment. She was in Caronport, so the doctors treated her there. I am actually just waiting for her to get home now, she is on some strong meds so I'll have to keep an eye on her once she gets home.

My Dad says that he thinks since our car got crunched, and my sister burnt her hand, that this means that he will get a hole in one golfing today. Let's hope things get better and not worse!

Now back to my first aid, I was wondering to myself yesterday whether teachers working for the public or separate school system need to have up-to-date first aid training. I don't think that they do, but they should because of how much can happen in a classroom, no matter what age the students are. What could happen because a student has a seizure, or a diabetic emergency, or even just a cut?

On a more ECMP 355 based note, I started using Google Reader today, and so far it has worked well for me. I didn't realize how many people were in the class until I had to copy the URL's into it! I told my boyfriend about how I was going to be using it, and he was all "the thing with the RSS feed?" and he looked super impressed. I even almost convinced him to join Twitter! The guy can barely keep his facebook up to date, but I think he'd benefit from the simplicity that is Twitter. That's what I have found anyways. I still find it super flattering that people actually want to follow me, I'm like, "really? Cool! Guess I'll have to be more interesting!" But I have had some darn good tweets with the crazy week I've had.

Oh, and if anyone was wondering, I know Petey B was, the recording went very well. I have never sang or played guitar for that long without stopping in my life! But we made it through, and I can't wait to hear what the mastered/finished songs sound like! And I will be posting them on here too, as I think they reflect my professional interests, and my musical capabilities, which have grown so much since I started university. It's so technological, to record music, which is also why I want to post them here. I'd also love some feedback! Positive only though, I cry easily... Ha.

I am also really hoping to be able to sign in live for class tomorrow, I wanna get in on the discussion! Not to mention I feel like a student deadbeat right now, I have so many ideas for blogging and I haven't done any of them yet!

Well, if you'll excuse me, I need to tend to my heavily drowsy and injured sister. Oy. That girl I tell you...

Saturday, 14 May 2011

A "Tweetcher"?

So... if I am a teacher, and I use twitter...

Does that make me a "Tweetcher"??

noun. Tweetcher: Tweeter + Teacher = Tweetcher. A Teacher who tweets. A tweeting Teacher. Tweeting and teaching.

Think about it.

But seriously. I was kind of intimidated by the idea, but I like using Twitter. It's really cool, I can follow different local and international artists and bands that I like, as well as people in the education community from all over, and other organizations that interest me, like Sask Music, and the Sask Arts Board, the Science Centre! It's very cool, and I hope that I can make some connections with people, especially when it comes time to be creating lessons and planning units in the classroom. I can hardly wait! The ideas are pouring out, and using Twitter and reading blogs I have found ready helps me with gaining ideas and different perspectives that I can apply to lessons and to what kind of teaching I want to do.

I hope I can take all of these resources that I have been given, like google reader, diigo and all that jazz and play around with them this week and use them for the greater good! If I have any questions, I'll be posting them on here and on my Twitter, so hopefully someone will be willing to assist me!

Anywho, gotta put my creative "Tweetching" on hold, there is practicing to be done for our recording session tomorrow with my band!

Wish me luck!

Best week ever.

Ok, so before I blog about things that pertain to ECMP 355 for this week, I gotta get out what has happened to me this week and I'll make it short and sweet...
1: My Mom and her Fiance, who we are going on a trip with to the Maritimes on June 1, surprised me with a plane ticket for my boyfriend, Richie. Apparently everyone has known for months, including Richie! I am so happy that they wanted to include him on our first family trip altogether.
2: On Thursday night, Richie and I went to see Elton John! We were supposed to be sitting way up in the back, which was fine, but someone stopped us inside the venue, and gave us SECOND ROW SEATS! Most amazing concert ever.
3: I had emailed a guy named Grant Lawrence this week, who is a radio host at CBC Radio 3, which I have listened to for years now, he does an awesome podcast of indie Canadian music, and he also wrote a really great book called Adventures in Solitude, which I emailed him to say how much I liked it. I mentioned I was becoming a teacher, and he emailed me back, and said that when I am settled as a teacher, that he'd love to come and talk to my class! How cool is that?!

So yeah. That has been my week. Oh and the cherry on top of the cake is that we are recording tomorrow at SoulSound Studios! So my day will be filled with rehearsing! Woot. Here we go!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

So, here we are.

Once, when I was 15, I started a blog. It was called Directions. I was going to grace cyberspace with my beautiful and intelligent musings about the world around me...

Needless to say, I may have written one post, but I am not even certain that I got that far.

When I began ECMP 355 a couple of days ago, the first thing that I became aware of was that I would need to begin a blog. I have been granted the opportunity to start anew! So, of course, I have christened my blog with the name of my first failed attempt at blogging six years ago. The name still has stuck with me all of this time, named after the collection of visual accompaniment to Death Cab For Cutie's album, Plans.

Anyways, why don't I get to the basics of who I am and why I am here.

My name is Riley, I have just completed my third year of studies at the U of R. I am in Arts Education, majoring in drama and minoring in literature. Arts Ed seemed like the perfect fit for me, as it combined all of my loves in life: anything to do with theatre and acting, anything with words, old or new (my current book: Water For Elephants), playing guitar and singing (I am actually in a band... we are going to be recording on May 15th, which makes me want to jump up and down and squeal and makes me feel completely terrified at the same time), I love to move and dance, and I love using visual images to inspire creativity and to use in learning.

As for the more personal stuff, I have lived in Regina my entire life, and am coming up on my third summer in my house in the Cathedral area, where I live with my Father and younger Sister. My parents separated when I was 18, and trust me, divorce happening later in life is not any easier when you are older and can understand the situation. Needless to say, the last couple of years have been a big adjustment for my family and especially for myself. The one constant in my life has been my boyfriend, Richie, who I have been with for just over five and a half years. University has also been very enjoyable for me, meeting people who have the same interests as I do, and I have a mad passion for gathering up information about things that interest me.

My experience with technology has gone up exponentially since beginning university. It has also gone way up since purchasing a Mac, now I find technology much more friendly since aquiring a machine that helps me to understand and use it. I hope to use some programs on my Mac that I have yet to use, like iMovie, so that I can be using my Mac to its full capacity! One thing that I depend very much on technology for is music. Music is a huge part of my life, I am constantly finding new music, listening to podcasts, and creating music with my band using garageband. I am a CBC Radio junkie, and I am always looking up the playlists on the website to find songs that I have heard.

Because I am in Arts Ed, I feel that technology in the classroom is a foundation that has already been set by my professors up to this point. We have been using different forms of technology and media already for various lessons and projects. Though I feel that I do have some experience already, I feel that I want to learn how to use technology more to connect rather than to just supplement a lesson.

Due to many of the horror stories that I have heard in the news and from people that I know, I am always a bit tentative towards the idea of using social networking sites within the classroom, but I understand that it is something that I must keep learning about, rather than fighting against. I hope that I can maintain a balance when I become a working professional between being connected with students and parents and being away from the school, I know that teachers are not meant to be on call every hour of every day, and I know that some teachers have issues with technology allowing students and parents to be in touch with them all the time.

In this class, I hope to achieve some ways of connecting my students with the world, in a safe and educational manner. I hope that this class helps me to become a teacher than students will want to learn with, that guides students toward technology in a smart and responsible manner. I think that people either depend too heavily on technology, or avoid it out of fear. By educating students in what technology is and what it can do, perhaps we as educators can begin to teach students how to use it wisely, rather than students finding out the hard ways.

I am very much looking forward to using this blog as a forum for ideas, I already have a list full of things to share!

Thank you for reading. Now, to leave you with a video that came from the inspiration for my blog's name, from Directions, here is "Different Names For The Same Thing."

Someday, I will make my students play indie music together.