Cue the Fans: Drawing Hair

11966675815_9cb21207d7_bBeaumonth via Compfight cc

For the first hair style that I did, this was the video that I used. I realize that the author of the video coloured the hair pink, but I just tried to copy those same value changes with lead. I did not do that as well as I would have liked, but I believe I faired fairly well considering it was my first crack at drawing hair. It is a little cartoon-lookish but it was a start, nonetheless.

For the second hair style that I did (aka 80’s rocker), I used this online resource. So far for my MLP, I haven’t used many resources from Deviant Art but good resources such as this are making me reconsider that. In addition, Deviant Art is a sort of online community where aspiring drawers like me can get together and share their work; therefore, I’m definitely going to check out this website more. Resources such as the one listed above are a valuable addition to video sources like the ones found on Youtube as the more variety of resources you get, the better you will get at whatever skill you are trying to develop. Both videos and images have their pros and cons and so trying out both these types of resources is beneficial for honing any skill.

For the third hairstyle listed in the video, I used this youtube video. What I liked the best about this video was that it really emphasized that you need to create different values in your hair, as all hair has natural highlights. Therefore, you can’t just draw every individual strand; instead, you need to look at it as a chunk of hair that looks different than the rest of your hair. Drawing hair this way is more time consuming but, in the end, it looks much more authentic and realistic.

For the fourth hairstyle (the “child’s hair”) I used this resource as a guide. I did switch up a couple of things in my drawing, but I used the steps listed in this website as a base. Perhaps what I struggled the most with in regards to drawing hair this week was putting the light reflection in the hair. Everyone’s hair is shiny and reflects at least some light. I find it’s very hard to portray this with lead, however.

Lastly, I’ve always loved the look of hair blowing in the face. Depending on the picture, I think it has a serene aspect to it. I didn’t have a specific resource that I modelled the last drawing in the video off of. But, I went on Pinterest and found some lovely hair blowing pictures; I’m at the point where I still need a reference to draw a picture and so all of those different resources were very welcomed. I think the last picture I drew was a good measure of where I am currently at with my drawing skills. Of course, that drawing was easy because it eliminated half of the face but it still required lots of time and patience.

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I found this bit in How to Paint and Draw People by Samuel Marshall interesting, as well, because it talked about how to draw light and dark masses, an ability that is important for drawing hair. Beginners like me often just draw one type of value change throughout their drawings but knowing where the thicker and thinner lines really goes a long way in making your art look realistic. This book is just another resource that has been helpful in my MLP journey.

Well, that’s it for this week. I’m still contemplating on what I should work on next week, the week before the grande finale (aka I’ll draw a full-fledged face). Any ideas/thoughts/suggestions? They’re all welcomed!

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Why Technology: A Mock Conversation

9607124017_1d008e0877_b US Department of Education via Compfight cc

This week, Brandon Debert (check out his blog here) and I did a mock conversation between a parent and a teacher, the parent being concerned over their child’s technology use (specifically blogging) in the class. I believe Brandon and I hit all the right points in this conversation; the digital world has become the real world for so many students today and it is important that, as teachers, we incorporate this technology into their daily learning. We have to show the students to be responsible and safe online, while also teaching them how to engage with different online communities. Digital citizenship is a complex concept to teach but it is needed in order to ensure students’ success online. Anyway, Brandon and I hit most of these points in our conversation so I’ll let you read it for yourself. Sorry the screenshots are so small; click on them to make them biggerScreen+Shot+2015-06-08+at+8.59.41+PM(2)

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Of course, I wouldn’t expect a conversation about technology between a teacher and a parent to go as smoothly as the one above did. Parents are worried about their child’s security and safety and that’s absolutely understandable. It’s important for the teacher, however, to impress upon the parents that the pros of using technology in the classroom heavily outweigh the cons; that their child is benefitting much more from using technology than if they were not. Change is good and although parents might shy away from the idea at first, it wouldn’t be hard to convince them otherwise once they begin to understand just how incorporating technology in the classroom is beneficial to their child’s learning.

Any points YOU’D add to make the conversation better? Looking at it now, I think I’d perhaps emphasize to the parents that blogging is a great way for students to read and review other students’ writing online. We kind of touched on this in the conversation, but blogging would be a great way for students to further develop their comprehension and argumentative skills; they could read other students’ work and perhaps learn from their opinions. With this online community, you could also connect with classrooms across the world and the students could then learn about different cultures. I think this would be a great social studies idea and the students would really enjoy learning what life in Australia, for example, is like; it would be like the modern day version of having a “pen-pal”. (I remember having a pen-pal from Halifax in Grade Six. Am I really that old?)

Is there really anything you can’t do with technology in the classroom. As they years pass, it seems that the answer is no.

A Close-Up: “Teacherpreneurs” and Education in SK

2201273238_58fdf6fb4e_o mikecogh via Compfight cc

In education, today, many teachers experience burnout and leave teaching within the first five years. I’ve heard this many times from the education classes that I’ve taken. I remember one class in particular when one professor looked at us – a class of about 25 – and said that, odds are, half of us will quit teaching within the first five years. This rattled me, especially because that was in my first year. Now, however, I am confident that I’ll be a lifetime teacher; I love being in the classroom and I can’t imagine any circumstances that would lead me to want to quit. And although I completely understand the factors that go into teachers experiencing burnout, there are many teachers who find it in themselves to overcome these and become great educators. Reading this article, I’ve realized that there is a certain term for these teachers: teacherpreneur.

The concept behind being an entrepreneur is, of course, driving your own success and overcoming obstacles to guarantee prosperity. When you think of being a “teacher” and being an “entrepreneur,” then, do the two really seem so different? Teacherpreneurs think outside of the box and make their lessons innovative. They look at each one of their students and think, “What can I do for them to make them all successful?” They are not those who simply stand in front of the classroom droning on about the material; they look at each lesson like a live performance, and therefore try to make that performance as engaging and as exciting for the students as possible.

One point that I particularly agreed with in this article was the fact that there is differentiation for students, yet the same is rarely talked about for teachers. Why not? Different skills and talents within the teacher body should be welcomed among school divisions as they will allow for even more teachers to connect with their students. Not only this, but if teachers are able to develop their already existing professional skills – the article, for example, states teachers excelling in grant writing, curriculum writing and web design – then won’t allowing teachers to expand on these further throughout the school year help the school as a whole? Or, like the article states, maybe the school division should let the teacher take a year off school or make them temporary part time so that these teachers are able to develop these skills. Wouldn’t that be a good thing? The teachers are looking to make themselves better and are showing initiative to try to provide the best for their students. By doing so, it is my belief that school culture would improve as the teachers would have better tools to ensure student development.

The government is always looking for ways to achieve student success. Why not invest more in the teachers? After all, teachers are the ones who spend the most time with the students, the ones who know their needs, the ones who want to see them improve. Yet, it seems like school divisions are always the ones who don’t get the funding they need from the government. As you can see here, provincial funding for education in Saskatchewan is falling short in many school divisions. Even when the oil prices were high and SK’s economy was thriving, there was not much funding for education; many of the schools’ infrastructure is crumbling. As a result, you’ll see the leader of the NDP, Cam Broten, advocating for more funds for education. Of course, that’s just politics; one leader will always point out the other’s flaws, trying to out-do him or her. I’m not trying to make any political statements here; all I’m saying is that it seems that education is always at the bottom of the list priority-wise in many provinces. You don’t see health care getting the same treatment. And although it is true that hospitals save lives, education also cultivates the minds that become doctors and nurses. Do you see the problem here? It’s not just Saskatchewan, either; you may recall the prolonged teachers’ strike in BC that happened last year. A recurrent trend, it seems, is the government’s unwillingness to invest in education, to invest in our young people. Why do you think this is? Because as of right now, I don’t have the answer.

Anyway, this was by no means intended to be a political post. But I guess it kind of turned out that way, didn’t it? I am only twenty years old; I really have no experience in politics as I’ve only gotten interested in them in the last couple of years. I haven’t even voted yet; there hasn’t been an election since I turned 18. But I do think that education should be just as much as priority for the government as oil and gas and healthcare. Is that too much to ask? Do people not see the value in investing in teachers, in investing in schools?

Teachers are important. Teachers are professionals. We deserve respect. Maybe that’s part of the reason why it seems that governments aren’t willing to invest in education; they don’t realize how much work goes into being a teacher. Many people think the same thing; “teachers are glorified babysitters,” they say. How can we change this? I think teachers turning into teacherpreneurs would be a good start. Show people how great teachers really are, how much skill, time, and effort is involved in being a teacher. Give their child the best education possible, show them WHY we deserve respect. And although we shouldn’t have to be pressed to such lengths (it should be obvious why teachers are important), it is nonetheless important that we do so.

Go to this website and learn why we need teacherpreneurs in our schools. And be sure to follow the news, especially as the provincial election approaches, to see how the leaders approach the education debate. As pre-service teachers, we have to learn to be informed and conscientious about these things. We are the next generation of teachers and it is therefore our job to ensure that education in this province gets the attention it needs.

As always, your comments are welcome.

 

Pucker Up: Drawing Lips

892836742_58a81b4d2e_b Jeff Kubina via Compfight

This week, I drew lips. It seems like as these months go by, each week is getting progressively harder; I’ve certainly learned so far that drawing requires patience. But, at the same time, I’ve had fun doing it; even though I’ve wanted to scream and crumple my paper many times, I’ve learned that perseverance is key!

I decided to look up resources on Pinterest this week to see what I could find. My sudden interest in Pinterest is due to Joey’s, Gaby’s and Amy’s wonderful Pinterest presentation and screencast. I have a feeling that Pinterest might be another procrastination tool that I get into during the school year!

So, the first resource I looked up on Pinterest was this one. I like this picture because it does everything in steps and you can see with each step how the shading goes more in depth and the lips start to look more like lips. I like how there is nothing particularly fancy about the different steps and so I decided to do my own drawing of the picture to get into the grove of things.

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By this time, I was thinking that Pinterest was a really good resource for drawing and so I decided to draw this one. Now, I wasn’t even going to include the next drawing in this post because it’s not very good; however, I think it is a good lesson on the limitations of Pinterest. I found that, with the picture I copied this from, there were not enough steps and I found myself floundering, not knowing what to do with the shadings or the proportions. Unlike the drawing above, this was a fairly complex, realistic picture of lips and so unless you already have a solid background in drawing, I’m not sure if looking up these particular kind of resources in Pinterest would be beneficial.

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After this semi-failure, I went back to YouTube tutorials. One of the most helpful videos that I used this week was this one.

I learned a lot of things in this video, things that didn’t just pertain to drawing lips. The first thing that I learned was that you should always reference a real photograph when you are drawing. I haven’t been doing that these last previous weeks – I have just been mimicking what the resources showed me. This isn’t the best for my personal learning, I have realized; I should really be observing closely what I want to draw first – in real form – before jumping right into it. This way, I can identify exactly what needs to be drawn, especially the subtle things (i.e. the small creases in the lips).

Like the video shows, I used a grid to get the proportions of my lips right. I’ve done this most other weeks, as well, and it is great for beginners because it trains your brain as to how the different parts of the face are proportioned.

I followed this video exactly as the author set it out. The only thing that I found difficult was the shading. The man in the video was able to shade everything perfectly with just his pencil. For the smooth look that he was portraying, however, I had to use my blending stump. I read an article once that some artists consider using blending tools – like a blending stump – cheating. But, I was definitely not accomplishing anything by just using a pencil for blending; besides, in my opinion, one should do whatever s/he wants when drawing. It is a hobby, after all.

Needless to say, in this video, I was able to practice shading immensely. It really is amazing how different something looks pre and post shading. Shading makes everything look real – it creates dimension, it creates shadows, it creates different values. Having good technique for shading really is important if you wish to be a good drawer and I am glad that I brushed up on my blending skills the second week of the Major Learning Project.

To add to this thought, the author said that there really shouldn’t be any artificial lines in any realism drawing. What he meant by this is that all the lines in the drawing should be natural lines created by value differences. This brought me back to high school as this is something that my art teacher often said. You want everything to look natural and a harsh black line looks out of place against the backdrop of different, softer values.

Anyway, this is the drawing that I produced from watching the video.

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You can literally spend hours and hours on one drawing; that’s what I have learned. Even when I was in art class in high school, there was never a time when I thought, “Ok, I’m done!” Instead, deadlines always demanded when I had to hand in my work. I feel like this is the same for every artist out there. A sign of a great artist is that s/he is never happy with their work; there is always room for improvement somewhere!

Finally, I drew a variation on this video.

I started out trying to mimic what the author was doing but then I found that I wanted to make my own changes. For example, I wanted to use a darker pencil and I wanted the lips to look like the were wearing some sort of lipstick. This is not the most realistic drawing of lips ever, but I found it fun to kind of branch out and put out my own interpretation on a particular set of lips.

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Well, that’s it for now. I think I’m going to do hair next week – it sounds easy but I’ve heard from people that it isn’t. Any tips out there for how to draw hair? Anything a beginner like me should know?

Combatting Racism in Schools: What Can Teachers Do?

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Susan Melkisethian via Compfight cc

This article really hit a chord with me. I have followed the events that have happened in Ferguson, a lengthy ordeal that has been plastered all over the news; it even has its own Wikipedia page now. What has happened there and is still happening seems unbelievable and, quite frankly, it terrifies me. I thought we were past this. I thought that the Civil Rights Movement, led by the great Martin Luther King, had staunched this. Of course, I had known that there was still racism in the world, but for it to have reached such an extent in Ferguson – and at the hands of law enforcement – is truly sad.

What does it mean that there is an entire website – gaining great momentum – dedicated to the hashtag #blacklivesmatter? It means that white people – like me – thinking that racism does not exist is baseless; it’s only to appease our own minds. You hear stories about people’s fight with racism and you think, “Oh, it’s not that bad,” or, “Oh, they’re exaggerating.” That’s white privilege talking. How many events like these have to happen to convince us that racism is still alive and well? My university education and, of course, the Ferguson shooting, has certainly changed my perspective on racism. As a white woman, I understand that I will never be able to fully comprehend the racism that people of colour face on a daily basis – it would be an insult to them if I claimed that I did – and now, I will never diminish the hardships they face by thinking that they’re not happening.

While discussing Ferguson within my circle of family and friends, I have heard comments suggesting that these kinds of things only happen in the USA – they’re gun crazy, they’re wackos, they don’t value human life. I used to think that as true, when I was young and desperately wanted to regard my country as the best. We stand for multiculturalism here, right?

As I grew older, I understood: Canada has its own problems. What about the residential schools that were enforced by the Canadian government? By us? They were operated for more than 100 years. People might respond to this by saying, that happened a long time ago. But is 1996 really such a long time ago? That was when the last residential school closed. And the effects of them will be everlasting. It was a cultural genocide. Most of those who went to residential schools have been emotionally scarred for life and have been plunged into a plethora of socio-economic problems. No, Canada is not without its racism. And when Regina’s main crime is centred in North Central, a community in which 1/3 of the population is First Nation, we are faced with a problem not so different than that in Ferguson.

This, now, poses a question: What can we, as teachers, do against such hate?

It starts in the classroom. Schools are one of the most important tools that can be used to fight racism. Our jobs as teachers is to be culturally aware and socially responsive; we must adopt as society adopts and that means raising new issues in the classroom as they arise. Our role as teachers does not only lie with helping students do well academically, but also teaching them how to be respectful, responsible citizens. Part of that also means cultivating an ability to think critically in all students; that, I think, is one of the most important things needed in the fight against racism. Oftentimes, racism is passed on from family and so the child does not know what is right or wrong; however, if students are able to dissect a family’s words and actions and cross-reference it with what they learning in school, then they might actually be able to dismiss this prejudice or stereotype on their own. Ultimately, as teachers, we can’t force students to not be racist; it’s THEIR decision. We just have to present them with all the facts that they need to know that racism is wrong and make an informed decision.

The article presents an excellent unit plan addressing racism, one that teachers would be wise to implement. What I like the most about the proposed lesson plan is that it revolves around real world events: the shooting of Michael Brown. The reality is that racism is a real issue in our society today and I think it would be beneficial for students to focus on these facts rather than on abstract ideas. By doing this, it will also cultivate a sense of social responsibility in students: we are part of society, this is happening in society and, ultimately, it is in our hands to stop what is happening.

It’s no easy task, it’s true, especially when a child may learn certain stereotypes and prejudices for his/her family. But there needs to be change in society, real change, in order for events such as the Ferguson shooting and racism that First Nations face in Regina to stop. It’s scary how easily something like Ferguson could have happened in Regina, especially when the RCMP felt compelled to pen an open letter to citizens who were worried about racism in the police force in the first place. You desperately want to believe that these kinds of institutions are without stereotypes but when our own government didn’t shut down the last residential school until 1996, then perhaps there should be some fear.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue – specifically, about how to combat racism in schools. I am by no means an expert on social justice or on racism, but these are just some of the ideas that have been swirling around n my head for a while. I hope you enjoyed the article, and if there is anything you disagreed with, please feel free to comment!

Noses: The Bane of My Existence

3567394675_69b0bacb78                                                                       fmgbain via Compfight cc

Everyone’s noses are different; needless to say, there are a variety of nose shapes out there. Throw that in with weird cartilage and different shadows, drawing noses has been my toughest task yet. I’m always up for a challenge, however! And drawing noses has certainly tested my patience. The hardest part, I think, is drawing the nose in isolation to the face. I didn’t have this problem with drawing the eyes, but it is difficult to get the nose’s shading right when it is not part of a whole face. But I have persevered! And I have some noses that I’ve draw that I want everyone to see.

First off, just to familiarize myself with what I would be dealing with regarding noses, I went to this website. I liked the diagrams in this website because it focused a lot on the different angles and the key elements of the nose. As we know, if a person is turned sideways, you will get a side view of their nose which looks much different than the front view. Look at the picture from this website and you’ll see what I mean. So, in my drawings, I wished to incorporate this element; not only will I become more familiar with the parts of the nose as a result, but I’ll also be able to draw more diversely, as well.

I did my own little sketches of the noses in the first website mentioned. This helped me get the different angles of the nose right and also gave me an idea of the general anatomy of the nose.

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There were a couple of excerpts from my books that helped me a bit with drawing the nose, as well.

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There really wasn’t a whole lot of information in my print sources about how to draw noses but these few pages nevertheless helped. Like I said in this video, it is good to have as many resources as possible in order to supplement your learning and make you as good as what you’re doing as possible.

Of course, YouTube videos, as always, helped me enormously this week. I liked watching this video because it made me realize that, really, the nose is just a bunch of shapes with some shading. The shading, though, is the hardest part as I was amazed and a little depressed, frankly, about how the author of this video was able to transform a fairly average nose into a pencil masterpiece! I am afraid my nose-drawing skills are not yet at this level but I know I can only get better with practice!

I also used this video while drawing my noses. Again, the man in this video drew three very simple shapes and then put in shadows to make the nose look realistic. One of the things that the man did so effortlessly – no doubt because he is an experienced drawer – is that his nose was perfectly symmetrical. So far in this journey, and not only just for the noses, I have had trouble making everything symmetrical and that is something that I will just have to get more of a feel of as I grow as a drawer.

Lastly, I enjoyed this website because, again, it simplified the nose into a series of shapes and went step by step on how to finish the nose off with shading. I also liked this website because it differentiated between a female and male nose as, oftentimes, the female’s nose is smaller and slimmer.

With that, I’ll leave you all to examine my noses.


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Are my noses as awkward as I think they are? Maybe I should draw Voldemort who doesn’t have a nose (For non Harry Potter fans, he’s a guy without a nose). Then I’d be set!

What has been YOUR biggest challenge in your Major Learning Project so far?

Who I Am Makes A Difference: The Blue Ribbon Project

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This ribbon was given to me in my senior year of high school by my English teacher. At the time, I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders; my application for university needed finishing, finals were coming up, scholarship deadlines were looming and, most of all, I did not know what I wanted to do with my life. I felt an unyielding pressure that I needed to fulfill everyone’s expectations and I was confused about just what my potential was. My anxiety got so bad that I even began to seclude myself from my family. When my teacher gave this ribbon to me, it was like I was snapped back to reality. In that moment, I realized that those close to me just wanted me to be happy and that the world would not end through any mistakes that I make make; no matter anyone’s expectations of me, the only thing that mattered was that I was healthy, safe and happy. At the time, I was incredibly touched that my teacher gave this ribbon to me; it was a small gesture but it had a great impact on my life. This ribbon reinforced my self-confidence and made me realize that who I am–not who everyone wants me to be–is special and can make a difference.

Now, four years later and in university, I think back on the memory of receiving this ribbon fondly. Thus, upon thinking about what I wanted to write my blog about this week, I decided that I would do so on this ribbon. As such, I looked into the origin of this ribbon more and found this video.

When I think about what this ribbon did for me in high school, I cannot think of a better way to pass this positivity around in the classroom. There are days when students are so overwhelmed with all of their responsibilities and feel so unsure of themselves that they cannot gain perspective on their lives and the world around them. With this ribbon, it reminds you that who you are matters and that there are people around you who love you. This type of message is incredibly important as, in high school, students are still trying to figure out their futures and themselves, two processes that are not easy. Thus, in my future classroom, I hope that giving students these ribbons will give them newfound courage to pursue their dreams and be the person they want to be. I also think this ribbon giving would be a great school project to do because it shows students just how much a small gesture of appreciation can go; although we might not think what we do in someone else’s life could make much of a difference, this video shows that it could. Giving a ribbon to someone would be a good exercise in learning how to be kind people because as much as school is about learning academically, it is also about learning how to make a positive impression in society.

The video on this website also gives some testimony about how receiving a ribbon made a difference in students’ lives. Of course, it is not so much receiving the ribbon–I mean, it is just a ribbon–that is meaningful but how you got possession of it. Who was the person that chose to recognize you that day for the person you are? Was it a stranger or one of your classmates/co-workers? Being recognized by someone–no matter how well you know them–is a great feeling; I still remember how I felt upon receiving this ribbon and that was four years ago! Thus, I think this ribbon giving would be a great way not only to instil a sense of community in the classroom, but also to get students thinking about who they really appreciate in their lives and thereby establish better connections with those people.

It would be remiss not to acknowledge that the video on the blue ribbon’s website is a little, ahem, overdone; the blue ribbon movement is a business and therefore, it wants to sell its product. With the little gift of a ribbon, I do not believe that a student’s self confidence will completely transform and s/he will immediately feel at ease with him/herself.  But that is not to say that this gift of acknowledgement doesn’t make a step towards that. We all need little steps in life, to get to our goals, and this could be one of them. Like I said before, you never know what kind of impact you can make in another person’s life unless you go out there and DO it.

There are a lot of problems in today’s youth. On the blue ribbon’s home page, if you scroll down a bit to Problems, the statistics given are alarming. No matter how scary they may be, however, they need to be heard. Because, not only as an educator but also as a member of society, I and we have a responsibility to address these problems and ensure that today’s youth never entertain thoughts of suicide. You see stories like Amanda Todd’s and are just sickened by the thought that she didn’t think anyone would care if she took her own life. The ribbon project could be a step towards eliminating this.

If you wish to purchase some blue ribbons click here. It’s not so much about the blue ribbons, however, as it is about finding ways to instil positivity and a sense of community in your classroom and in society. Through this blog post, I hope I got you thinking about that. Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Look What I Found: A Blast From the Past

8720779448_285fdbe29e_b World Bank Photo Collection via Compfight cc

While trying to clean up the documents on my computer, I found a gem: my application for education that I completed in 2013. The question, I believe, was something like: “What are three of the most important qualities that a teacher must possess.” Reading over my answer, I still think it is a nicely written piece but I feel like, back then, I hardly knew what I was talking about; I really didn’t know the meaning of what I was saying because I had no experience as a teacher in the classroom. Now, being in the classroom and having taken several education classes, I feel like I am able to talk about education with much more authority; I am able to share my opinion with confidence on this blog, Google PlusTwitter and in every aspect of my life because I know that I, as a preservice teacher, am part of the future of education in this province. In addition, this class has given me the confidence I need to be able to use social media tools to get my opinions across in a professional manner which, in turn, also helps me build my Personal Learning Network.

The following is my answer to the writing prompt for my education application in 2013.

“Throughout the school year, teachers spend an enormous amount of time with their students, supporting their growth so they can acquire fundamental skills for life after high school. Therefore, teachers have exceptional influence in developing the minds of the next generation. With such influence, however, comes great responsibility. Thus, it is vital teachers possess certain skills, traits and characteristics that allow them to provide the best education possible. There are three qualities that every great teacher has, particularly those teaching English. First, teachers must be enthusiastic about what they teach. If teachers have passion for their subject, they will have a greater ability to convey the material in a compelling way. Students will become more engaged in the class and will thereby be more likely to succeed. Teachers, however, must also possess classroom management skills and ensure that, with this interactive learning environment, there is not a loss of substance in their lectures. Second, teachers must create a sense of belonging in their classroom because, in this community-like environment, students are more likely to participate in classroom discussion. This is especially important for English classes because by students contributing to discussions, they are forced to think critically and consider alternate ideas. To promote this engagement, teachers should ensure there is respect among pupils while also showing the same respect for their students. While sustaining this open learning environment, teachers must also recognize that every students’ needs are different and adapt to these needs accordingly. Lastly, it is vital that teachers have high expectations for their students. When teachers believe that every student can achieve what the students themselves think is unattainable, it gives students the self-assurance they need to reach their potential. This is especially important for English because, writing and reading being fundamental skills, it is important students have the self-confidence and support needed to develop these skills. Teachers have unparalleled influence over today’s young minds and it is essential they use this opportunity to hone every students’ abilities. The future generation – consisting of possibly the best and brightest minds yet – will thank them for it.”

I hit all the right points in this response as, in the classroom today, these are things that I try to focus on. Yet, being a great teacher requires a lot more skills than just the ones described above. Thinking about it now, I don’t even necessarily believe that being a good teacher requires ten years of teaching experience. Don’t get me wrong, I think seniority in teaching certainly helps, especially with class management skills, but as long as you have an enthusiasm for teaching and passion for what you do, the students respond well; in my mind, if you show students respect they will, generally, give you it in return.

To end, I’m going to leave you with a video that makes me so excited for my future in teaching. I want to be the “champion” of my students, I want to help them learn in ways that they never thought possible. I want to help them realize their potential and most significantly, attain their goals. Well, that’s the plan, anyways. I was never known for taking little steps! What I like especially about this video, however, is the sense of humour that this teacher obviously has and employs in her classroom. I think using humour in the classroom is a sure way to create relationships and to create a sense of community within the classroom. It is an excellent way to lessen tensions, ease anxieties and make students laugh. When they say “humour is the best medicine,” I absolutely agree; it’s amazing how good laughing feels after having a bad day and it is therefore nice for teachers to use humour in the classroom.

Anyway have any thoughts? What qualities do you think it is important for teachers to have in the classroom?

No Pressure: Drawing the Window into the Soul

3256314260_c84b3b454c_bDomGromit via Compfight cc

Now, for a little explanation about this week’s learning project and learning how to draw eyes:

I browsed through this website before I started drawing my eyes. It was helpful to go over everything that I was going to need to do so that I could familiarize myself with all of the steps that I was going to have to make. Sometimes, when I watch YouTube videos, they go a little fast or I miss something said and so I have to go back, find my place, and listen to what was said again. What I liked the most about this website was that it broke everything down into steps and for me, I find drawing a lot easier when I can see the progression of a couple simple shapes to a realistic eye.

I consulted quite a few images when I was drawing my eyes because I found it helpful to have different still images that I could really look at and consult. For example, I used this image but I found that there were too big of steps between the different stages of the drawings and so it was hard for me to try to fill in the gaps. However, I liked the photo because the shading in it was excellent and the detail in the irises were spot-on.

I liked this image a bit more because there were more steps I could follow and it provided a different perspective of the eye. Lots of times, people only draw eyes that are depicted staring right at you and I think it helps you build better skill to vary the perspective up a bit. So, using this step-by-step drawing, I drew an eye like the one depicted in the above video, one that incorporated the eyebrow and used a bit of shading.

The videos that I used in particular while drawing these eyes are posted above. I liked the first video because it went through the various steps that beginners should use while creating an eye and the ongoing commentary from the author was helpful. I also liked how she told the watcher to draw “guiding lines” that you could erase later because those lines are helpful in making sure your eye is properly proportioned. From this video, I had the most trouble with drawing the “starburst” pattern in the iris and so I had to watch that part three times so that I could get it right. I liked how the author included the reflecting light in the iris, as well, because that’s a staple of any realistic eye.

I very much enjoyed the second video because it gave a general overview of the structure of the eye and some of the do’s and dont’s for drawing eyes. It’s important, I think, to have a general grasp on the anatomy of the eye so that you can draw it properly and so this video was helpful in that aspect.

There are some more videos that I looked at on my YouTube playlist. I didn’t spend too much time on these videos, though, so I won’t post a blurb about them.

I am still in the process of finding a good book on drawing for me to use for the rest of my major learning project! I am trying to find one at the library as most of the ones I’ve seen at Chapters are expensive. Any suggestions out there? Or any other comments about my progress so far? I am a little amazed at how well it’s going. I’m quite happy I took this class or else I don’t think I would have been motivated enough to draw at all this summer!