Miss. Hillary Strain

Who doesn’t love flowers?

In spirit of the beautiful weather we’ve been having lately, it inspired me to make a beautiful daisy flower. Spring is clearly on it’s way and there is nothing more that I love than watching all of the flowers grow in my mom’s garden.

I decided that it was time for me to pick up the pace with my balloons and make it a little more challenging this week by trying to do a project with two balloons.  Well, was it ever challenging!!  This flower used two balloons, and the air pressure/amount that you put in had to be spot on or else there would be complications (aka. popping).  This took me four attempts to do and although my final results were not that great I’m still proud of myself!   Unfortunately I forgot to document my first two attempts, but here is my third and fourth.

I used the following video two help me create this balloon masterpiece and it actually helped a lot! He was very descriptive and gave a lot of hints and tips.  Only downside was that he did it very fast paced so thank god for the pause button and the rewind option! ha ha

There was a multiple amount of steps on both balloons that I had to take in order to create the flower.

The Stem – First balloon (green)

1) Blow up the balloon all the way so there is no air left or room left in the balloon.  BEFORE you tie the knot, let some air out of the balloon – this part is key as it allows the balloon to be more squishy and easy to fold.

2) Fold the balloon into a “Z” ontop of each other but make sure that both ends of the balloon are longer than the twist part on each side.

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3) Twist in the middle of the Z, this will create your stem.

4) Manipulate and form into a shape of the stem.IMG_3109

5) Make a little indent in the leaves.  You do this by folding the leave upwards and then massaging/squeezing it into place. This will make a little bend in your leaves to give it some character.

It's very hard to see, but there are little bends in my peddles. I did have a little too much air in these peddles so for next time I would let out more air in the beginning so I wouldn't have as much pressure.

It’s very hard to see, but there are little bends in my peddles. I did have a little too much air in these peddles so for next time I would let out more air in the beginning so I wouldn’t have as much pressure.

 

The Peddles – Second balloon (whatever colour your heart desires)

* I also used the following website to help with creating the peoples, I found it a little easier to read after I listened to his video. *

1) Blow up the balloon and leave about 1/4 of the balloon unfolded. Again, let some air out of the balloon before you tie it.

2) Hold the balloon straight in a vertical line in front of you with the knot end pointed up. Starting at the end where you tied your knot,  fold the balloon so that it lines up parallel with the line (You can make this whatever size you want, I did mine small so that I had small peddles).

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3) Where the two meet, twist the two sides together.  (Instead of twisting the two blown up parts, I ended up twisting the straight line with the knot).  TO MAKE SURE this peddle stays in place, pull the knot end through the centre of the peddle (circle) that you just formed.

Here you ca see where the knot is pushed through the middle of the circle and is pushed down a little so it is out of the way.

Here you ca see where the knot is pushed through the middle of the circle and is pushed down a little so it is out of the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Continue step 2 however many times it takes to use up your entire balloon. Once finished, manipulate/form the peddles into a circle.

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Unfortunately with my first one, I didn't blow up my balloon enough so I couldn't create another peddle, so unfortunately this one didn't work out.

Unfortunately with my first one, I didn’t blow up my balloon enough so I couldn’t create another peddle, so unfortunately this one didn’t work out.

IMG_31215) Push in any extra balloon/room that you have into the centre of the circle of peddles that you formed.

Here you can see where I pushed the little bit of extra balloon into.  I actually had to tie another knot in it in order for it to stick.

Here you can see where I pushed the little bit of extra balloon into. I actually had to tie another knot in it in order for it to stick.

 

Putting the two together

1) At the top of the stem (where it is not a knot) form a little bubble in the end by twisting it around.

2) Take the bubble at from the stem and push it through the middle of your circle of peddles making sure that the bubble pokes through and is sitting in the middle of your circle.IMG_3119

Since the first one didn't really work out, I never had a big enough centre of the peddles to push the bubble through, thus I had to squeeze the stem into the side of the peddle

Since the first one didn’t really work out, I never had a big enough centre of the peddles to push the bubble through, thus I had to squeeze the stem into the side of the peddle

 

Here you can see where the bubble from the stem wash pushed through.

Here you can see where the bubble from the stem wash pushed through.

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3) Make a little bend on the stem so that the flower isn’t sticking straight up.

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Google Chrome Extensions

This past week, I learnt something new in ECMP455 and I am quite excited about it! I have never heard of it before and a lot of my classmates haven’t either and we all love it!  For all Google Chrome users this is definitely something you want to check out!

There is a feature on google chrome called Google Chrome Extensions. You can access this by going onto your google chrome web browser and type in the google search bar “google extensions”.  It will take you to the google chrome store and into the Extensions page of the store.  Here you will be able to access many different types of extensions that you can download and will appear on your google chrome bar up at the top of the web browser.  These extensions/apps are almost ALL free to download and are a great bonus and feature to have on your browser and for your computer. You simply have to go to the store, click on the extension you are interested in, and click “add to chrome” on the pop-up.  This will download that feature and will be good to use for the rest of time!

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 6.31.01 PMhere you can see that on the right side of my URL bar there are two little icons, this is usually where the apps will appear after they are downloaded

I haven’t explored many of the options on google chrome extensions but I have downloaded two of the features that are available out of hundreds and completely love them! I have been using them daily and they have been great!

The first one that I use a lot is Hola.

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This extension makes the internet think that you are in a different part of the world.  It is like changing your computers IP address without actually changing it! For example, there are many of us that use Netflix and watch it on our computers but since we are in Canada we have to have the Canadian Netflix. BUT we all know that the American Netflix has way better shows and more variety, thus by downloading this app, I can now go to the regular Netflix site and it will think that I am “travelling” into the United States, so I will have access to the American Netflix!  So it is a great app and extension to have.

The second one that I use a lot is Add Block Plus.

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This extension makes all the adds that appear on internet, apps or anything disappear and not exist! For example, there are usually 30 second adds/commercials that appear on Youtube before you watch the video that you requested.  If you have this google extension, this will make it so that the add/commercial will not appear and you can just skip right to your video. You don’t have to watch that pointless video or wait until the “skip” option comes up, it’s a real treat!

Anyway, for all you chrome users out there. I really suggest looking into all of these extensions that are possible to have.  They are great and definitely useful!

Let me know which ones you have tried out or are looking forwarding to trying out.  I know I am sure glad that my prof told me about it!

#SaskEdChat

This past Tuesday, myself and my fellow ECMP 455 class, along with ECS 300 class, had the opportunity to participate in the SaskEdChat on Twitter. Usually the SaskEdChat is onThursday evenings at 8:00pm every week, however, the people who host the chat decided to have an extra special session on tuesday to help support us upcoming teachers. This was my second time participating in the SaskEdChat and it didn’t disappoint me once again! The chat is ran off of prompts that are given to you, there is a theme each week, and from there everyone participating tweets their answer using the hashtag and everyone can see anyone’s answers.  You can then reply to other people’s answers and form side conversations about the topic from there. The chat provides a lot of information and collaboration with other teachers in saskatchewan. We were even able to connect with people around the world, like Australia for example.  Although it moved very quickly and is a tad difficult to keep up with at times it is an excellent way to build your PLN. For more information on the saskedchat, click here.

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It is usually hard to keep up with all the tweets at once to I decided to use my TweetDeck to keep myself organized and it also made it a lot easier to follow the chat.  The column on the right displays tweets from the chat when the #SaskEdChat hashtag was used, as the chat was occurring the tweets would just appear as people tweeted them out so it was kind of like a life stream.

Balloon Bumblebee with 1 balloon

Today I was really missing warm weather and was hoping that spring would come soon.  What comes with spring?  Well, bumblebees! In spirit of my spring wishes, I decided I would make a bumblebee.  Unfortunately, what I noticed is that there wasn’t make tutorials on how to make simple bumblebees.  The only tutorial that I found was a youtube video (posted below).  I do enjoy using youtube videos as they are a good visual and they allow me to see what it actually is supposed to look like during the process, the only downside to them is that they are usually done really fast and I need to pause them frequently to rematch the step and make sure I’m doing it right.

I formed my bumblebee in 6 easy steps:

1) Blow up the balloon and leave about a first length of room at the end.

This allows enough room for the air to get pushed to and will also be the bee’s stinger.

 2) Make one bubble at both ends of the balloon, afterwards bring the two together so that they are side by side

One at the beginning of the balloon where you tie it and one at the end of the balloon where you leave room for air to get pushed to/the stinger

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3) Twist the two bubbles together to form head and body – the rest of balloon will be in a circle. IMG_3043 4) Pinch the middle of circle and bring that part of it towards the head/body. IMG_3044 5) Twist the pinched part of the middle of the circle into the body to form the bee’s wings. IMG_3045 6) The fun part… Decorate!  You can add stripes to the body, draw two eyes on the head and draw the end of the stinger black! IMG_3040 IMG_3041 There you have it!  A balloon bumble bee.  Here’s to hoping spring comes soon. Any thoughts on what I should make next?  Maybe I should step up my balloon game and start making animals/objects with two balloons.  What do you think?

Balloon Sword

My second balloon creation was a sword.  When I first saw this sword, I thought it was going to be quite tough because there are a lot of bubbles/manipulations in the same area.  Was I ever wrong!! This sword was easier to make than the dog that I first learnt how to make!

To help me make this, I used Christian Armour’s site tutorial.  Click HERE to view the page that involved step by step pictures and explanations how to make the sword.   I also used the following youtube video which didn’t have much explanation but gave me more of a visual and understand on how exactly to twist the sword and what to do.

There were four basic steps that I had to follow to create the sword.

1) Blow up balloon (the obvious) and leave a little bit of room at the end of the balloon to help the air get pushed through while twisting.

When I first did this with the pink balloon, I left too much room at the end so when I finished my sword there was still a part of the balloon that was empty. It looked pretty weird having a little pokey part at the end.  I made another sword, the green balloon, and cut it quite close to having no room, so it ended up being perfect! (See image below in step 4)

2) Fold the balloon three times (at the bottom of the balloon where you tie it) so that you form a “Z”

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3) Twist right in the middle of the three folds.  This forms your handle and the two sides.

This step was quite terrifying because of how big the balloons were and how much pressure I felt while folding.  I also don’t have big hands so it was difficult to get a grasp on both sides of the 3 folds of the “Z” to twist them right in the middle. Luckily, I was able to do it and all the air did get pushed to the tip even though it was folded in 3 different places.

4) Form the sword into place.

I noticed when I was twisting the “Z” in the middle, it actually formed the handle itself. I just had to push the blade part of the sword into the middle of the two circles. The pink balloon is the first sword i made that I left some room at the end (unfortunately my picture cut it off but if you refer to the picture in step two it was very close to  the same size).  The green is the second sword i made.  There was still a bit of room left for air but not quite as noticeable.

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There you have it!   I officially know how to make a sword.  This could be useful if I were ever hosting a carnival event or birthday party.  It’s very quick and easy to make and I’m sure both, boys and girls, would love it!

 

Is this really necessary?

Hello followers!

Today I was rolling through Facebook and I came across a post from Global Regina News regarding a new feature on Facebook.  The article is about allowing Facebook users to choose who they want to “heir” to manage their account after they die.  In all honestly, this article startled me and was very shocking to me that something like this actually exists.  In a way, I can see the pros and the cons of this, but do we really need to make everything relate back to our online identity and keeping ourselves out there on social media after we are deceased?  What the new feature will have is that your “legacy contact” will be able to choose what happens to your account (keep or delete) depending on your wishes. He/she will have the accessibility to your account to either keep it and make it a memorial page (the word “remembering” will pop up beside your name) and this person will be able to upload/download photos and posts in your honour or they will be able to delete the account permanently.

The pros I see to this are that there is a permanent memorial page to honour and remember your loved one.  This way you can go onto their Facebook page and be able to look at all of their pictures, post on their wall with stories, memories or experiences that you’ve had with them and keep them around in your thoughts.  I really enjoy this point of the new feature. I would do anything to be able to “keep in touch” with anyone close to me that has passed away.

The cons I see to this is the pain that the “legacy contact” will have to encounter during this time. Even though the decision whether to keep your account or not is your decision, this person still has to deal with the duties that you wish.  This could be extremely hard for that person and could cause more pain than what you’ve intended. The thought that also popped into my mind was is this just facebook’s way of keeping their site popular and full of “users”?

You can find the article here, it gives more in depth details with the new feature on Facebook.

let me know what you think about the topic. Do you think this is a good idea? Would you want your account to be kept around after you pass away? Or is this just a way to keep Facebook popular and up to date?

Post a comment below, I am curious to see your thoughts and opinions.

Hillary

Finally a successful dog!

Hi all!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted for my learning project, but don’t worry this post won’t disappoint! I was busy doing some research on how to make sure that my balloon won’t pop, because I have had a lot of times where it would pop mid twist, and just different techniques to make sure that the twists and shapes will hold.

I’m starting to get used to the fact of twisting and working with these balloons, they’re not as sensitive as I originally thought they were!  I also found a few techniques/tips to help make sure that popping won’t occur. The first thing that they suggest is to stretch out your balloon before you even start blowing it up, this will allow it to have more flexibility and it makes it easier to get air inside and twist/move around the balloon and air inside so it doesn’t pop. What you have to do is NOT blow up the balloon the whole way, leave about a hand grasp worth of room at the end of the balloon. This will allow enough room for all the air to move back into it and the balloon will expand while you’re twisting instead of creating more pressure and impact!  Something else that I’ve noticed I improved on, which is very minor, is actually tying the balloon shut!  When I first started making and working with these balloon animals, I had the hardest time trying to tie the balloon. It was always too tight and I didn’t want to let out too much air and it just wouldn’t happen for me. After watch the following video, click here, I realized that a main exercise he does is really stretch out the the opening of the balloon which allows it to have more flexibility making it easier to tie.  I started doing this technique ever since and I’ve been successful every time.

Using these techniques and tips that I learnt above, I decided that it’s time to final make a completed dog balloon animal! One of the biggest types of twisting and shaping that they use to make the dog is called the Locking Twist. Overall what it is, is you create 3 “bubbles” by just twisting the balloon normally. You will take the second and third bubble and line them up side by side, and then start twisting the two together. Once you twisted the two together you can incorporate the first bubble in the twist as well.  Having the double twist on the balloons will allow it to lock in place.

I mainly used the follow site and youtube video to help teach me how to create my balloon dog. These two resources were quite helpful, the website more than the video as the video was too fast for me to keep up to, but I was eventually able to create my balloon dog successfully (after a few tries of course). I guess I kind of used a mixture of both to create my dog, as the website was a little hard to visualize exactly how it was supposed to turn out but was in a lot of detail, and the video gave me my visual but was too fast with it’s explanations.

My first attempt wasn’t successful what so ever as I didn’t blow the balloon up far enough in the first place. I was worried I wasn’t going to leave enough room for the balloon to expand, the result of this was that I only enough room to create the ears, face, neck and first set of legs, but not enough room to make the rest of the dog’s body, legs and tail.

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Since I had an unsuccessful attempt, I was determined to make a perfect one.  The next few tries, that I didn’t take pictures or documents of, were unsuccessful as they both popped on me while I was twisting. Finally, the fourth attempt I was successful! I finally created my dog!

I stretched out my balloon enough before the fact that allowed it to be more flexible for the air and the twisting, I put more than enough air in the balloon but still left enough space for leeway and all my twists held and were perfect! In the pictures below, you can see that I blew up my balloon a lot more than my first one as after making the front of the dog I have more than enough room to make the body and end.

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Here is what my final dog looked like!  I named him Spot.
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Please check out the video below that I made. It is a video of my creating another dog without using any instructions and just using my knowledge that I’ve learnt throughout this process.  Let me know what you guys think and if you have any tips or ideas on what I should do next!  Please watch until the very end, I promise it will be worth it. You’ll get a good laugh!   Also, please don’t mind my facial expressions, I’m still in the process of getting used to the pressure while twisting and after getting popped on a few times it’s a little nerve racking ha ha.

That’s all for now folks, until next time!

Thanks for reading/watching.

 

 

 

What is technology doing to us?

Usually for ECMP 455, we meet in our typical blackboard meeting place and have our lesson stream from that app. This week, we met on this online website called Blue Jeans. Blue Jeans is  an online, cloud-based conference room where you can connect with anyone via messaging, audio, and/or video.  All one has to do to gain access to it, is sign in and you will appear in this type of conference room. I’ll be honest, it was pretty weird and awkward at first because I was just sitting alone downstairs on my computer staring at all of my classmates doing the exact same thing at their place. Looking past this part of the night, it was actually extremely easy to interact and speak up during discussion compared to the interaction tool in blackboard. My prof was also still able to share his screen and present his slides for us to follow along with, but the bonus of it was that we could actually see him and my classmates during the discussion.

Our main discussion this week was how are students and people around the world are forming their digital identity and have access to many different forms of social media. A few specific websites and apps we discussed were SnapChatChatRouletteTinderKik, and YikYak.  During the class, we talked about different ways we can approach these apps that our students have direct access to, to ensure that our students understand the importance of having and creating a safe online identity. Many of us in the class have accounts for these programs and most of us have at least tried them once or twice.  After discussing these different types of apps, I came to realize that there were more negative things to say about these apps than there were good.  I think this is mainly because there are different people out there who abuse and take advantage of these apps but not in an appropriate way.

I believe it is our responsibility, as future educators, to be aware of what is out there and know all the different types of things that can occur on these apps.  We also have to be able to have a discussion with our students on how to be responsible on different types of social media and make sure that they are being safe and appropriate. This way, our students will know how to approach certain situations and even be able to avoid situations on social media that could end for the worst.

 

Can videos make school more engaging and fun?

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend my ECMP 455 class this week. Luckily, I have a lot of friends in that class and they let me know that the majority of the class was revolved around watching videos and discussing them.  One of my classmates was saying that one of the videos they watched was about a proposal.  The man that was proposing started singing “That’s what makes you beautiful” by One Direction and leading his lady to the beach. Slowly people started joining into the song and at the end he proposed to her.

I love these type of videos, who doesn’t like a singing flash mob!  The other day on Facebook, I was scrolling through my news feed and came across a video.  It was a video of a teacher and his students and they formed a choreographed dance to the hit song “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars.  You can find the video here.   I actually really enjoyed watching this video and how happy, engaged and into it, both, the teacher and students were! It’s fun to see the teacher and students interacting outside of the classroom and doing something not really that school related! This would definitely help build and strengthen teacher-student relationships and would help students see their teacher in a different light rather than just an instructor.

What are your thoughts with this?

Do you believe that doing something fun outside of the school with your students could make a difference with your relationship with them?

Or do you believe that this could have the potential to go wrong?

 

Balloon Animals/Things

Hello Everyone!

Well, I have finally decided what to do for my learning project. It’s an exciting day.  Actually, the idea came from an older gentleman at a restaurant the other weekend.  When I was home last, my parents and I went out for supper.  There was an older man there who had a meal, just like the rest of us, but once he was done, he went around to all of the tables that had young children at them and made them all balloon animals!  It was honestly the cutest and neatest thing that I have ever seen.  The look on the children’s face when he made them the animal they wanted, it was either a mouse or a dog, was priceless and I could tell that the gentleman felt good about it as well.  Being able to witness this is what inspired me to learn how to make some myself.

Balloon Kit

Not going to lie, I have always wanted to make them myself but I have never thought of trying and never really had the ambition to. I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to finally try it out.  To get started, I realized that I needed an ample amount of balloons and probably a balloon pump.  I decided to go check out the local store, Party City, and they had exactly what I needed!  They had an animal balloon started pack that came with 40 balloons, a balloon pump and a book of directions to make animals.  This was the perfect buy!  I was looking into the direction book that the kit came with, and it is actually quite complex. It doesn’t really seem quite fit for a beginner and the instructions aren’t that clear, but I know that it will be a little more useful in the future.

What I know:  To be honest, I know nothing about balloon animals. I know that the animals and objects look quite easy to make but it’s actually a very challenging hobby.  The only thing that I know how to do is create a snake, a snake with it’s tongue sticking out and I know how to twist a long balloon to make little “bubbles” on it.  I feel that I am going to learn a lot with this project.  Also, what I know is that I’m kind of scared of balloons popping around/near me. I’m not the biggest fan of twisting high pressured things that can explode and potentially injure me. So, this is going to be something that I am going to have to overcome but I am willing to do this and make some cool things!  Here is a picture of my first step.  I made a snake with it’s tongue sticking out!

First Try

Balloon Snake Well, here is my snake.  As you can see, I left out some air to make room for it’s tongue.  I didn’t use any instructions or nothing to come up with this idea, it was all in my head.  I just used my imagination and what I feel like I already knew.  I just used the little pump that came with my kit to pump it up and then I tied the knot to make the air stay in the balloon.  I know, this seems pretty basic and easy to start out with. But that’s actually all that I know and was my first try without instructions!  I decided to try again. I kept the same balloon but decided to start adding in some twist and different techniques.

I decided to try to start adding some little “bubbles” in my balloon snake to try and transform it into something else.  I just started twisting the balloon in the part where i wanted a “bubble” to form. Well, the twisting part was the easy part, it was the getting it to stay part that was tough.  Once finished twisting the balloon to make the bubble, as soon as I let go, the twist disappeared! The air pushed through the twist and made it come undone.  I tried this a couple of times and got frustrated. I finally decided its as time to do a bit of research to figure out how to make it stick!  I found this website here, “twisting balloons 101” , that showed me the “twist and pinch” technique. This is when you simply pinch the part you want to twist, and keep twisting it in that spot over and over again but in order to lock it, you must intertwine 2-3 parts of the balloon together. So I continued reading about this on the same site as above! Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 4.33.46 PM By using this technique, and the same balloon that I used to make my “snake”, I ended up making a legless dog!!  I’m pretty proud of myself to be honest.  If you look closely at the picture below, You can see the long nose/face on the left, the little loops at the top are the ears, the long body and the tail! Balloon dog no legsI’d say this isn’t too bad for a first timer!

Things I learned: Tying the knot at the end of the balloon is actually kind of hard because of how little room you get left.  I learnt the “pinch and twist” technique to create little bumps rather than just twisting the balloon. I also learnt that you can’t just expect to make one little bubble here and there and expect it to last. You have to twist it in with another bubble or just not make one at all.  Another thing I learned, that I think I really need to get driven into my head, is that even though the pressure feels like it’s going to explode due to your twisting and manipulating, it actually might not and probably won’t! I just need to calm down and go with it.

I’m excited to learn more about different techniques and ways to make animals/other balloon things, like a hat or sword!

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