Paint Nite Success!

I attended my first Paint Nite this week, and it was a huge success.  I can officially say that my goal for my learning project has been accomplished! While painting, I felt very much at ease and comfortable because I had some experience. 

The instruction at the Paint Nite was very similar to a YouTube tutorial, without the ability to rewind and pause! I would definitely consider this to not be my absolute best painting, however the social aspect of attending the Paint Nite was absolutely amazing.  Some of the things that I learned throughout the Paint Nite included palette management. We only had one paper plate and 5 colours and created many different colours from the original colours.  I had to be conscientious about not using too much room on my palette so that my colours did not run together.  I also learned a new technique to create the leaves on the tree.  The leaves are one of my favourite part of this painting.  If you remember, in my fall landscape painting, I also did leaves, however used a different technique.  This is something that fascinates me about painting; people use different techniques to get a similar result.

My owl in my painting is something that definitely could be improved! The owl is disproportionate, as the head significantly larger than the body. I just like to refer to the owl as my smart (large head) but fit (small body) owl.  I did feel that this part of the Paint Nite was rushed.

One of the major differences that I found between the Paint Nite and my learning of painting using online tutorials was the fact that there was no chance to “practice” before painting.  When I was painting during online tutorials, I sometimes grabbed a piece of paper to practice on before I drew something, however at Paint Nite, you just hoped that it was going to turn out!  Another major difference was the fact that at Paint Nite there were only three brushes that you used, a large, a medium, and a small.  When I painted using tutorials, I had a variety of brushes, and used more than three.  It was a great learning experience to see that even by only using three brushes, a painting can still turn out beautifully.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with my experience at Paint Nite.  It was something that I had not previously done and I am glad that I had the opportunity to go. I felt very much at ease that my painting would turn out (at least somewhat) because I had some background knowledge with painting.  I can definitely see myself attending other Paint Nites!


How I Have Contributed to the Learning of Others

Prior to ECMP355, I had never thought about growing a PLN, sharing educational articles, or tweeting about education.  In fact, when I joined ECMP355, I had to create a Twitter account and create a blog.  For me, the learning curve was steep.  Over the past four months, however, I have gained an appreciation for growing a PLN and tweeting about education.  During these four months, I have learned from others and I hope others have learned from me.  I have been able to have great conversations with colleagues in ECMP 355, as well as others from all over the world in the education field.  The following will show many examples of growing my PLN.


Over the course of the semester, I learned how to tweet, retweet, and reply to others over Twitter.  At the beginning of the semester, I more just “lurked” on Twitter, where I would retweet education resources, however grew and began interacting with others on Twitter.  I discovered the power of hashtags, including #ecmp355, #elemed, #edchat, and #edtech.  It is through these hashtags that I connected with others, both in ECMP355 and other across the world.  Through these hashtags, I have been able to collect valuable resources and share valuable resources.  In having others retweet me, I have shared resources that will reach a larger audience, which will then contribute to their learning.  I also discovered Twitter chats, which are extremely powerful way to learn and share in the learning of others.  Over the course of the semester, I participated in many #saskedchats, where I contributed to other’s learning.  In these chats, others also taught me a lot and provided me with new resources that I am excited to try in the classroom.  By participating in these chats, and interacting with others, my PLN grew.  I challenged myself to Tweet, retweet or reply to someone’s tweet at least 4 times per day and believe I was successful in achieving this.  Below are some highlights of my Twitter interactions:


Over the course of the semester, I had the opportunity to learn from many who asked and answered questions through our Google+ community.  As someone who is very new to using technology in the classroom, there were many times where I could not answer someone’s question, and it was a learning experience for myself! In our Google+ community, I asked questions relating to course content, which helped others learn in that they were able to see the answers if they had similar questions.  In learning more about Google+, I also joined other communities that relate to Educational Technology.  Within these communities, I would post certain resources that I found through Twitter and contributed to other’s learning in that way.  Here are some highlights of my contributions to the Google+ community:


Throughout the semester, we wrote blog posts and were encouraged to comment on other people’s blogs.  When I was writing my blogs, I ensured that I had resources within my blog so that others could not only learn from my blog, but have resources to go to for more information.  This helps others learn as they are able to extend their learning past what I am just telling them in the blog post.  By providing comments on others’ blogs as well as sharing resources within the blog, I am contributing to the learning of others.  I also tried to make my blog posts very inviting for comments and questions.  I believe that by interacting with others, it promotes learning, as someone may have a different perspective than you and may challenge you to think about something in a different way.

At the beginning of the course, I decided that commenting on other people’s posts would be a priority for myself and I wanted to provide an insightful comment.  Rather than just commenting “Great post”, I wanted to provide an insight to gain more knowledge, and ask questions if I had any.  In providing specific and insightful comments, it contributes to the learning of others! Commenting on other people’s blogs may provide a perspective that was not previously thought of in their post.  It may also make connections to their personal lives.  Not only does it contribute to the learning of the author of the blog, but other readers of the blog.  Through reading my comments on the blogs, they are able to see different perspectives and make personal connections.  Below are some of the highlights of my comments on others’ blogs:

Throughout the semester, I have kept a record of the blog comments that I have made and can be found here.

Overall, throughout the course of the semester, I have learned a lot from others through the use of Twitter, Google+, and blogging.  These online tools are extremely powerful in the learning of others as they connect people who may not have been otherwise able to connect.


Summary of Learning

At the beginning of the semester, I could not have predicted how beneficial ECMP355 would have been.  I have learned new skills, gained new resources, and created new connections.  I have learned how important it is to collaborate with others in implementing different technologies within the classroom.  Throughout the semester, I have been building my PLN in order to create more connections to others.  It is essential to learn from others and this is attainable through growing a PLN.  Technology is an important part of today’s classrooms and I believe the learning in this class will transfer over to success in the classroom!

Below is a summary of learning from ECMP355 that I created.  Enjoy and let’s just say- I’ll stick to being a teacher, rather than being a newscaster.

My Acrylic Painting Journey

My learning project has come to an end and have decided to reflect upon what I have learned throughout the project.

At the beginning of my project, I set a goal for myself that I would attend a Paint Nite.  If you have followed, you may have noticed that I did not attend a Paint Nite. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been looking for a Paint Nite to attend, however due to night classes and other commitments, I have been unable to find one where I like the painting and works with my schedule.  However, you can be sure that I will attend a Paint Nite soon! I have found a couple at the end of April in which I like and work with my schedule, so will most likely attend one of those!

Update: A friend asked me if I wanted to attend a Paint Nite with her on April 10th and therefore will reach my goal of attending a Paint Nite! I am very excited that this opportunity arose!

Update: I attended at Paint Nite and can officially say that my learning project goal is complete! You can read all about my experience at Paint Nite here.

In looking back from the beginning of January until the first week of April, I believe there has been tremendous growth and improvement of my paintings.

The Journey of Painting Begins

  • My first post where I explain my inspiration and my goals for my acrylic painting journey
  • Consulted this online resource to gain understanding of the supplies needed
  • Bought paint, brushes and canvases in preperation

Painting #1: Sunset Painting with Palm Trees 

  • Followed a YouTube tutorial  by Paint Academy
  • Learned the techniques of painting a sunset and creating silhouettes
  • Used as my baseline painting


 Painting #2: Birch Tree Painting Using an App

  • Downloaded the app “Acrylic Painting Tutorials: 170 Video Lessons
  • Found the app to be overwhelming and unorganized, however the tutorials were well done.
  • Learned the techniques of birch trees and blending colours


Painting #3: The Frustrations of Painting a Night Beach

  • Followed Allison Prior’s tutorial
  • Connected with Allison Prior online
  • Bought a new brush: the fan brush
  • Learned the techniques of creating reflections, rocks, stars, and moving water
  • This was my least favourite painting as I was frustrated how dark it turned out.



Painting #4: Sunset at the Beach Painting 

  • Did not follow a tutorial; created the painting using techniques learned in the first three paintings
  • Recorded myself painting and created a time lapse!
  • Learned how to use iMovie
  • One of my favourite paintings
  • Joined a Facebook Acrylic Painting Group
  • Techniques used included blending to create the sunset, moving water, and silhouette.


Painting #5: The Discovery of the Blowdryer for Painting…

  • Followed Paint with Jane YouTube tutorial (recommended from the Facebook group I joined)
  • Learned to blowdry the painting to speed up drying time
  • Learned the techniques of creating a distressed barn look, highlights on the pedals




Painting #6: FINGER PAINTING!! 

  • Followed Paint with Jane YouTube tutorial
  • I was unaware that professional painters finger paint and was inspired by the art created with just your fingers could be so beautiful.
  • This is easily my favourite painting. I am extremely pleased that I stepped outside of my comfort zone and decided to finger paint.
  • Created a time lapse of myself painting
  • Learned the techniques of painting flowers with fingers and creating shadows


Painting #7: Having a Whale of a Time Painting

  • Followed The ArtSherpa YouTube tutorial who was very thorough in her instruction.
  • Created a time lapse from a new location to reduce the glare that was in all the other time lapses. I added music to my time lapse!
  • Learned the techniques of star “splatter”, rocks, drawing a whale, waterfalls and northern lights.

Painting #8: There’s No Rose Without a Thorn

  • Followed a Paint with Jane YouTube tutorial 
  • My first intermediate video! There were some challenges, but overall pleased with the painting.
  • Tried out the YouTube editor after a recommendation from Shayla Kapila.
  • Learned the techniques of blending colours, roses, colour on black paint



Painting #9: Fall Landscape

  • My final painting that encompassed many techniques learned throughout my painting journey.
  • Followed Allison Prior YouTube tutorial after being frustrated with a previously following one of her tutorials.
  • One of my favourite paintings. I am very proud of how it came together.
  • Used the techniques of blending colours, moving water, and highlighting
  • Learned the techniques of evergreen trees and reflection

Painting #10: Paint Nite Success

  • I accomplished my goal for this learning project by attending a Paint Nite
  • Felt confident throughout the painting because I had some background knowledge
  • Learned about palette management
  • Use the techniques of colour mixing, blending, and highlighting



In addition to the resources listed within the specific paintings, here are a couple of resources that I consulted to help learn acrylic painting:

  • Craftsy: This blog goes through many of the techniques for beginner acrylic painters. In the tutorials, there were many times when the painter said “We are going to use wet-on-wet”, however was unfamiliar with the term.  This blog provides a definition and a photograph of different technique which was useful to refer back to.
  • Art Is Fun: This website explores the different types of brushes that are used when acrylic painting. It was useful to read what each brush is used for and when each brush should be used.

In reflecting upon my acrylic painting journey, I learned a lot about myself and believe that it was an extremely valuable experience to challenge myself in an area where I did not think I could excel.  I believe that a picture paints a thousand words and will leave you with my first painting and my last painting.  The progress between these paintings, in my opinion, is massive:

First/Baseline Painting

Final Painting


Online Social Activism in the Classroom

#blacklivesmatter #IstandwithAhmed #bringbackourgirls

Photo Credit: Jessika Torres Flickr via Compfight cc

Do you recognize any of these hashtags? These are all social movements that were created online.  Do they work? What is the impact that they can have? These are all questions that I had when we first discussed social activism online.  The article Hashtag activism can effect real-world change,  discusses how the #blacklivesmatter made a difference.  It states that “The primary goals of social media use among our interviewees were education, amplification of marginalized voices, and structural police reform”.  Therefore, there was a purpose behind their social movement online.  Further, the article discusses that through the hashtag, it connected people who may not have otherwise have been connected.  Therefore, those who may not have shared their stories before have shared their stories in communities that support them.

Can Online Social Activism be Used in the Classroom?

Yes, it absolutely can be used effectively in the classroom.  In fact, it should be discussed in the classroom.  Specifically, in upper elementary and high school, there will be many students who have accounts, such as Twitter or Facebook, where these social movements exist and therefore students may be engaged in them.  We must show our students how to effectively take part in them and educate our students how to participate in these movements if they choose.  To do this, we can show examples of online activist discussions online that are productive and compare it to online activist discussions that are not productive.  As teachers, we must show our students how to participate in these online activist movements productively.  By bringing these discussions into the classroom, it shows how powerful these online movements can be.

Photo Credit: SchultzMyersLawFirm Flickr via Compfight cc

As part of including social justice in the classroom, we must teach our students what makes a social movement meaningful and productive.  To do this, we may view different activist videos and critique them or praise them.  For example, we must teach our students if pouring ice over our head for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is the best way to raise awareness and money for ALS or if there is another way.  By having these discussions, students will be able to discern how to participate in social movements online and decide if they will get involved in a social movement when it arises in the future.

Even if students are not engaged online with social movements, we can teach them about social activism through participating in Pink Shirt Day or Orange Shirt Day.  By teaching about these, we are raising awareness amongst our school about these important movements.  By participating in these events, young students will recognize that people from all over are participating in such an event.  A teacher may do this by searching the hashtag on Twitter and showing the class how many others are participating.  It is then important that the class makes a plan of action to make a difference.  It is not enough to simply where your pink shirt, but an action must occur as well.

I believe that teaching online social activism is a choice that every teacher has to make. Do they want to sit back or do they want to be engaged in a meaningful way? I believe that we must be engaged in these social movements online and teach our students how to participate in them in a meaningful and productive way.

Final Painting: Fall Landscape

For my final painting project, I decided that I would paint a video by Allison Prior.  Now I’m sure you’re thinking, why her or what is so special about her?  If you recall, I did a painting from her previously, near the beginning of my learning project, and was left less than satisfied.  I had also started one from Allison Prior, however got so frustrated, just gave up and did a new painting one week!  I felt as though I wanted to paint my final painting by following one of her tutorials, almost as a way to prove to me that I could do it! I knew that throughout my painting journey, I had improved, and felt that I was ready to successfully tackle one of her videos. The reason that I chose this specific video is because I believe that it captured many of the different techniques that I have been learning throughout my acrylic painting journey.  There were also some new techniques that I learned while doing this painting!

Once again, I completed a time lapse for this painting:

Photo Credit: Bernardo Ramonfaur Flickr via Compfight cc

If you compare my painting to Allison Prior’s painting, you will notice that I have no clouds in my painting.  The reason is that I have previously attempted clouds (you can read about that here), and they were extremely tricky to do.  I did not want this painting to be ruined because of the clouds.  I decided that I would not paint the clouds initially, and if at the end I felt as though my painting needed them, I would add them.  In the end, I decided that I liked my painting enough without the clouds and did not want to ruin it with adding clouds. I believe that this shows incredible growth of my painting progress throughout this project.  Previously, I would have followed exactly what the tutorial said, and even if I did not like something, continue to follow the tutorial.  However, now, I am able to get rid of things that I do not like in the painting, and possibly add other elements that I think should be added.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with this painting.  I completed it on a larger canvas than all of my other paintings and believe that it showed my growth throughout the semester.  After I finished painting, I compared my first painting to this painting and was blown away by how much I had improved.

The Frustrations of Coding

This week during our ECMP355 class, we were introduced to coding.  We were introduced to two resources: the Hour of Code and Scratch.  For this week’s blog post, we were asked to create something on Scratch and share it! After exploring it for a little bit in class, I was excited to begin coding.  Little did I know, coding is a lot harder than it sounds.  Here is my final project, which I spend too much time than I’m willing to admit.  I decided to create an underwater scene, with fish swimming.  I intended to make a scene where the fish were swimming and the shark eats one of the fish.  However, when you look at the project, that clearly did not happen! I was left feeling very frustrated at some points because the fish simply did not do what I wanted them to do.  I would want them to turn on an angle and somehow, they would turn upside down.  At some points in creating this, I just had to stop and do something else as it was that frustrating.  I am a little bit embarrassed, but here is what I ended up with:

So after all of this frustration, the question is why code? Do students need to go through the frustration of coding?

The answer, I believe is YES!  I know that coding has been introduced in many classrooms and many classes take part in the hour of code!  I found this article, Add Coding to Your Elementary Curriculum… Right Now  and it explains that it is excellent if young students learn how to code as it teaches them to value computers as a tool rather than just something to play on.  Students will begin to understand how to make computers do useful things.  Further, the article states that not only will students learn these computer skills, but coding builds the following skill sets:

In reflecting upon my short experience with coding above, I can see how I was building my logical thinking skills.  I did a lot of if, then thinking.  In terms of problem solving, when I did make a mistake (which was quite often), I had to figure out how to get back to where I wanted to go.  Coding definitely builds one’s persistence.  I was ready to quit, however I continued to persist at the task and was eventually somewhat successful!  If students worked on coding together, there would be elements of collaboration and communication.

One of the potential problems that I thought about when it comes to coding is the problem of the classroom not having enough technology for all students to have their own to code.  Obviously one of the solutions is for students to work together to code.  In doing more research, I found a great article 15+ Ways of Teaching Every Student to Code (Even Without a Computer).  On this website there are resources that are broken down into age groups categories for tools that teach coding.  Some of them are apps, or online, while others are not.  For example, Robot Turtle is a board game that teaches young children the fundamentals of coding.  Code Monkey Island is another board game for older students (9+) that teaches coding.  I found this great video on the board game:

Overall, I believe there is great merit in students learning to code.  Since our society is becoming more technological, it is important to teach our students the skills that they need.  One of these skills is the skill of coding.


There’s No Rose Without a Thorn

This week I decided that I would attempt a fabulous rose painting! I follow Painting with Jane on Twitter and she had tweeted that she had uploaded a new video. I was very intrigued and decided to check it out. Although the title of the video describes it as a beginner video, in the description it says that it is more of an intermediate video. I was hesitant at first, actually looking at other tutorials to do because I did not think I was ready to tackle an intermediate painting. After looking at numerous other tutorials, I could not find one that I liked better than the rose painting, and decided that I would attempt it. In watching the video, the logical thing would have been to attempt some of the roses using the technique Jane shows on a scrap paper to get the feel. I just decided to jump right in. I am not exactly overly excited with my result, however also not disappointed. I know this is not my best painting, but it showed me that I can begin the challenge myself with more intermediate videos. However, when I move into the intermediate videos, I will try some of the techniques before painting the actual picture. If you examine my roses carefully, you are able to tell which rose I painted first, versus which rose I painted last. There was definitely improvement by practicing (I just should have practiced not on my painting but on something else).

Once again, I created a time lapse of myself painting. If you watch the time lapse, you will notice that I paint the background twice (maybe you think I put the clip in twice). The truth is, I painted the background, and then examined it and compared it to the tutorial, decided it was much to dark. It appears that I have a tendency to make things darker than they need to be. Some of my complaints about my earlier paintings are that they were too dark. Instead of just leaving this one, I just decided to let it dry and then repaint the background, this time lighter. Hence, the two clips of me painting the background. I could have easily left the first clip out, however it was part of my learning journey that I recognize that I was not satisfied the first time and redid it. I believe this learning is something that can transfer to the classroom. If at first you are not satisfied with something, do not just forget about it; go back and redo it until you are satisfied.  I have to admit, I love the background of this painting.  It is one of my favourite parts! I am so glad that I redid it!

Here is the time lapse (I feel as though it goes extremely fast in the middle, sorry):

Last week I read Shayla Kapila’s blog post on YouTube perks. Specifically, she discusses the video editor tool. I had always used iMovie to edit my videos, however after reading her post, I decided to check it out! I found it very easy to use, however found there are not as many features as iMovie. However, it did drastically reduce the upload time. Thank you Shayla for the recommendation.


The SAMR Model

During this week’s ECMP355 class, we were introduced to the Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition model (SAMR). The model was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. This is a model that offers a method of seeing how technology might impact teaching and learning. The following video is a great introduction to what SAMR is and what it looks like in the classroom:

In the article, 8 Examples of Transforming Lessons Through the SAMR Cycle, there are various examples of how to use this model in the classroom. An element of this article that I especially appreciate was the fact that there were various subject area examples. According to the article, the goal of the SAMR cycle is to “provide a technique for moving through degrees of technology adoption to find more meaningful uses of technology in teaching and move away from simply using “tech for tech’s sake”. In examining the various examples in this article, the one thing that struck me was once students were getting to the modification and redefinition stages, students were using a lot more skills that in the substitution stage. The task of the students became much more engaging.

Photo Credit: coreeducation Flickr via Compfight cc

While researching the SAMR model, I asked myself, is it wrong to be using technology at the substitution level? Upon reflecting on this question, I believe that it is not wrong to use technology at the substitution level in the beginning. It should be a teacher’s goal to get to the modification or redefinition level, however one does not need to start there. As I become more comfortable with using technology in the classroom, I believe that I can get to the modification and redefinition stages. One of the examples that I immediately thought of when thinking about the redefinition stage was having students engaging on Twitter. Students could write short summaries of their learning and through hashtags become connected with other students who are learning the same. A community of learners may develop. This is something that could not be done without technology. To confirm that I was on the right track on understand the redefinition stage, I researched different ways to implement the SAMR model in the classroom with examples. Matt Miller’s article 10 ways to reach SAMR”s redefinition stage provides 10 practical ideas to implement the redefinition stage in the classroom. I was delighted to see that one of the ideas was by using Twitter. In examining these 10 ideas, I realized that to reach this stage, a lot of extra work by the teacher is not required. In fact, students are doing most of the work, and the teacher takes on more of a facilitator role.

Overall, I believe the SAMR model has great value to learners in all classrooms. I encourage all teachers to look at this model and strive to reach the modification and redefinition stage when using technology. One final question I asked myself. I asked myself, where do I fit on this model when using technology in the classroom? I believe that I fit in the augmentation stage. Where do you see yourself in this model?


Having a Whale of a Time Painting + Time Lapse!

This week, I discovered a video that captured my eye through its vibrant colours. I just stumbled upon the video and was actually trying to find another flower picture. I followed the tutorial by TheArtSherpa on YouTube. I also found her on Twitter! Overall, the tutorial was very detailed, with directions repeated and great video quality. The tutorial is here:

Photo Credit: Dean Hochman Flickr via Compfight cc

I am extremely happy with how this turned out. I believe the colours captivated me, with the greens and the blues. The orca whale is a focal point that I believe turned out excellent. One of the biggest challenges was the mountains in the background. I painted the mountains with the snow, however was unsatisfied. I decided that once I had more of the painting done, I may like it better, however was still very unsatisfied. I decided that it was best if I just paint the mountains grey and not have the snow. My favourite part of this weeks painting was using the “splatter” technique to create the stars in the background. To accomplish this technique, you get a wet paintbrush and paint. You then take another paintbrush and hit it against the paintbrush, creating a splatter. I found this to be extremely effective in creating many stars. I can see how this technique would be extremely beneficial when creating a painting of outer space.

This week, I changed my painting location because of the light reflection that past couple of videos. I moved to a location where there was not direct sunlight and am extremely happy with how the recording turned out. There is no longer a large glare! I will say that there is a couple times where my head gets in the way and you cannot see the painting, but rather just my head (sorry).

The biggest part of this week’s learning project was learning to use iMovie. Although I used it last week, this week I really learned how to use it. There were points where I had to add text because of the recording, so I had to read how to do that. I then needed to figure out how to make the text last longer than 4 seconds, which seemed like an easy thing to do, however it seemed as though it was challenging. Eventually, with the use of Google, I figured it out! Another element that I added this week was music to my time lapse. This is something that I had to do a lot of research on, as I knew that the copyright of the music could potentially be an issue. I learned with photos to use CompFight, however there is no music on that site. I found an audio library on YouTube where you are able to browse and download music for your videos. After listening to much music, I decided on a calm, classical song, as I tend to feel calm by painting. My goal was to find music that conveyed the emotion while painting. I believe my song choice fulfilled my goal!

Here is my time lapse of me painting Aurora Borealis and Orca Whale:

Let me know what your thoughts are about this painting!