Independent Learning Project

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As I continue working on my independent learning project, crochet, I have to say I have struggled along the way. Knowing nothing about crochet can definitely have its challenges. And worse of all, finding time that works for my teacher and I, is even harder. However, slowly and over time, I have made some progress.

These last few weeks I have been working on making the last touches on my headband. I crochet four rows and decided to stop there to avoid making it too big.  My next step is to start working on making a crochet flower, for which I have to admit I am super excited to learn how to make. So in order to get an idea of how to crochet a flower, I have been watching different videos on Youtube.

Photo CC By: Mayra Pelayo


As I did some research, I found Laura Eccleston, who creates crochet tutorial and patterns, such as how to crochet a simple flower.

The video below, ” How to- Crochet a simple flower version 2- Absolute Beginners,” has been a great resource to get an idea on how to begin… Best part of all, since this video is for beginners like me, Laura goes slowly, step by step, speaks clearly, and definitely has a good view of what she is doing while explaining the procedure.

Crochet Simple Flower

Next week I write blog about my independent learning project, I really do hope I have at least half of my flower done. I just cannot wait for my outcome, I am super excited!


What the heck is ds106?

Photo CC By: George Mason


What in the world does ds106  mean and why should I learn about this? Well, believe it or not, learning about ds106 can have a lot of benefits. Let me start by explaining what it is and where is originated at?

Digital Storytelling, or better known as ds106, is a program which was started at the University of Mary Washington as an online course. Over the years, this “class” has expanded into more than just an online course. Digital Storytelling allows people from all over the world to share/tell personal stories using digital tools which can include: audio, video, writing, drawing and photography. Ds106 is a great way to incorporate technology while creating, sharing, learning, and expressing stories. The best part of ds106, is that it is free for anyone to use and join in, and you can leave whenever you need to.

There are many ways for me, as a future teacher, in which I can incorporate ds106 in my classroom. Students can definitely get creative with technology while exploring different digital tools and incorporating them in their own stories. Students can challenge each other, or even other classes to create and learn more about technology.

According to the article, about ds106, the following are skills students/people will gain…

The course objectives are rather straightforward:

-Develop skills in using technology as a tool for networking, sharing, narrating, and creative self-expression
-Frame a digital identity wherein you become both a practitioner in and interrogator of various new modes of networking
-Critically examine the digital landscape of communication technologies as emergent narrative forms and genres

I personally think it is great to use technological resources available to us, while using our abilities and technology to learn, as we learn from other people’s experiences, and they learn from ours. Using ds106 and sharing personal stories with people all over the world can definitely create a “friendship” relationship. The fact that people can share ideas and knowledge between each other, is a great way to elaborate and learn. Personally, ds106 can help me grow to be creative, and help me learn to develop skills.






Discovering what Project Base Learning is, part 2

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According to, Project-based learning, or PBL is a dynamic classroom approach to teaching in which students actively explore real-world problems and challenges. With this type of active and engaged learning, students are inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they’re studying. After researching the different types of learning approaches, I finally decided to write a blog about Project Based Learning.

Nell K. Duke is author and co-author of numerous journal articles and book chapters. Her most recent book is; Inside Information: Developing Powerful Readers and Writers of Informational Text through Project-based Instruction Nell K. Duke

I found a great article;  PBL Elementary Teachers Offer Field-Tested Advice written by Andrew Miller who is an Educational Consultant and Instructional coach. This article is very informational, and the best part of all, the advice which is given, comes directly from every day teachers who have actually put PBL to practice in their classrooms with their students. “Who better to give advice about PBL than the teachers doing it? In fact, this post is based on advice from elementary PBL teachers in the field. We can all learn from each other,” says Miller. The key points which are highlighted in this article by teachers are:

  • Build Success Skills
  • Start Small
  • Build Background Knowledge
  • Be Intentional With Assessments
  • Share the Story
  • Be Patient
  • Trust Yourself

The teachers who gave opinions on how to use PBL and are found on Twitter are: Erin StarkeyJoanne NorthAbby SchneiderjohnMyla LeeLori BurkhardtBrianna Hand, Cary Grimm, and Kevin Armstrong – PBL Geek.

Below is a great video of a school in Texas that uses PBL and it also explains how learning  can be applied to a classroom. Teachers and students are engaged and motivated towards one goal. PBL teaches students how to solve real life problems and come up with solutions to this problems.

PBL video

These three websites stand out as excellent resources for educators to use to develop and enhance their project-based lesson plans.

3 websites about PBL

Overall, I think PBL is a great way to learn, especially, for those students who learn better with hands on projects and doing the work themselves, rather than just hearing about it or seeing it.



Project Base Learning; PBL

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According to, Project-based learning, or PBL is a dynamic classroom approach to teaching in which students actively explore real-world problems and challenges. With this type of active and engaged learning, students are inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they’re studying. After researching the different types of  learning approaches, I finally decided to write a blog about Project Based Learning.

As a future teacher, it’s important for me to use PBL in my classroom since it seems to incorporate all the common cores such as English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Art. Of course, it also depends on which Standards the project is addressing. As I was Googling on the Internet, I came across a great article written by Andrew Miller, who is an Educational Consultant and Instructional Coach. 6 Strategies- PBL According to his article: 6 Strategies for Differentiated Instruction in Project-Based Learning, when a teacher uses this learning approach, it focuses on the students, because it’s “student-centered, student-driven, and gives space for teachers to meet the needs of students in a variety of ways,” says Miller.

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When a teacher uses PBL approach, the classroom might be divided into groups who will be, choosing what to “produce,” conducting, researching and exploring on their own. The students will be engaged on what they are doing, communicating with other students, testing different solutions, suggesting, articulating, performing, and most important of all, working collaboratively with few to no teacher interaction on telling them what to do and how. We must also “differentiate the best suitable learning environment for every student,” says Miller. At this point the classroom space should be organized in a way that helps students learn better. The classroom should be well equipped with tools necessary to complete the tasks, areas that have good light, tools to do research, example: internet, books, iPads, and libraries. Classroom time should be spent doing research,personalizing learning goals,  testing, and asking questions. Students should engage with each other while giving and taking opinions and looking for solutions.

The video below shows how students use PBL in an aviation class while constructing different wings…

working onPBL video


“It’s very important for teachers to assess and check along the way to make sure students can show what they have learned so far on their project.” By doing so, it helps teachers to “differentiate the type of instruction needed as they “feed forward,” says Miller. Using PBL in the classroom can also have advantages and disadvantages. But we must also remember and keep in mind that every student shows what they have learned in a different way. And that every student has different learning styles.  Teachers must also ensure that students are working as a team and collaborating with each other, while welcoming different ideas from the students.

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Over all, PBL can help in many ways in the classroom if used correctly. This type of learning should allow students to make their own choices on what they want to learn and how. Students will become creative while exploring real-world problems and challenges.






Getting it right…independent learning project

Photo CC by Mayra Pelayo

It is just crazy to think that a few weeks ago I was given the option to choose a project to learn about. After pondering for days, I finally came to the conclusion that I would learn how to crochet.

After doing some research, asking questions, reading books, watching videos, and finding someone to teach me the necessary skills to become proficient at crochet, I am finally at level 2. As a crochet beginner, I started practicing with chains. I would spend 15 minutes making chains and undoing them, making chains and undoing them, and just kept repeating the pattern. When I finally felt comfortable making the chains, I move to level 2. This is where I am with the single crochet, which it is the basic stitch of crochet. It has been severals days since I started learning this step. At the beginning it was super complicated and I was getting very agitated and  uncomfortable with my quality of work. I could not even hold the crochet hook in proper place, and was making the thread way too tight, making it even more complicated for me to insert the crochet hook into the middle of the next chain, which it is a process that pretty much keeps repeating itself.

After trial and error, I am finally at the third row out of the four rows of my single crochet for my final product, which it will be a head band. I am so excited that I am  finally grasping the concept of crochet and actually being able to maneuver the crochet hook. I even surprised myself to be enjoying crochet. My teacher, Chela, has been very patient with me, which it helps a lot. Finding tools related to my project have also helped a lot. I look forward to my final product and will keep everyone posted on how my independent learning project is coming along!

PLN; Personal Learning Network

Phone CC by Evelyn Giggles

Dr. Justin Tarte tweeted this quote by Madeline Hunter and it definitely applies to Education. As future teachers we must learn and understand that one shoe does not fit every child.

This week for one of my homework assignments, I learned about a new tool that will come in handy for me as a future teacher; it is called PLN, or Personal Learning Network. According  to, PLN “stands for Personal Learning Network. What it means is that an individual has developed their own personalized “network” of fellow educators and resources who are designed to make them a better teacher. This network exists both in their real-life relationships and online through their social media connections.” PLN

Two informational articles I read about PLN;  Why I need a PLN     and  How to cultivate a personal learning network: Tips from Howard Rheingold, has made clear that this tool can have great benefits for me as a future educator, as well as for other people in other types of careers. As long as social media is available, it is easy for us to share ideas, experiences, thoughts, information, etc. with real people in real situations. Using #PLN on Twitter, I have found many great people (educators) to follow, who also share the same interest as me. Through a PLN, we can share ideas, communicate, and keep up to date on new information about Education overall.

Howard Rheingold shares 8 key ideas on how to “cultivate” a great PLN.

1- Explore

It does not necessarily mean about knowing how to find experts or co-learners. It also means, being able to adapt to new information, and thinking how it can become useful in a classroom setting.


“Use Diigo, delicious, listorious, to find pools of expertise in the fields that interest you,” says Rheingold. Using personal references you have found, “(Diigo, a browser plug-in that enables you to capture web pages and portions of them), for sharing with others (delicious, a social sharing tool) and for finding relevant Twitter lists and subject matter experts in your areas of inquiry (listorious). Your goal is to identify people and potential sources you can add to your personal knowledge network.”

3-Follow candidates through RSS, Twitter

Ask yourself one thing, are the people you are following sharing informational material? And visa versa? “Analyze the quality of their social media posts,” if not, it is time to remove them and find people who share same interests as you.

4- Always keep tuning your network, dropping people who don’t gain sufficiently high interest; adding new candidates

The great thing about PLN is that you can control who you want to follow and who you want to remove from your list. Always keep in mind that you are looking for people who share new ideas, informational articles, etc. It is not about the amount of people you follow, but those who actually post relevant information about Education.

5 – Feed the people you follow

Always share informational stuff, don’t just wait for people to share it with you first.

6- Engage the people you follow

Always appreciate information shared by others. And when requesting for information, it’s always nice to ask politely and thank people for their collaboration.

7-Inquire of the people you follow, of the people who follow you

“Being mindful of being useful to others helps to ensure that we build mutually productive and gratifying relationships in our social channels.”

8-Respond to inquiries made to you

It’s always nice to respond to those who ask questions, never ignore others.

Having a PLN is great, especially since anyone can join it, including educators from all over the world. It’s great to be able to share ideas and information which can help us to better educate ourselves.

I have follow Dr. Justin Tarte on Twitter, and here is a great quote he shared:

     The smallest light, can light up the darkest room.

Be the spark.



//” target=”_blank”>Dr. Justin Tarte (Twitter)




And my project continues…

Picture CC by Mayra pelayo


It has been two weeks since I decided on what to do for my learning project. After thinking and thinking on what to learn about, finally, came to the conclusion I would learn how to Crochet.

This last two weeks, I have been learning about the basics of crochet and concentrating on the “chains.”

From what I have been reading and watching on different resources, and from what Chela has been teaching me, it looks like there are a total of 8 steps, in single crochet. Once you have your materials; yarn and a crochet hook, you are ready to start.

The article, How to Crochet for Beginners by tldudenhoeffer shows some steps on how to crochet.

1- Making a slip knot

It simply means looping the yarn and making a knot on it to hold the yarn in place

2- Holding the thread in place

“With your left hand, hold the thread around your pinkie and twist it around your index finger. Sometimes you can also grab the short side of the thread with your middle and ring finger. While doing this, hold the hook with your right hand.” While doing all of these process, it is very important to leave enough space to move the hook, while creating tension on the thread, which it is very very important.

There are many ways to hold the thread and hook. You can play around with it to see which method works better and is easier.

3- Begin the chain

Once you have the loop from step one, you can begin the chain by twisting the thread around the hook and pulling it through the loop. However, keep in mind not to make the loop too tight and to continue  to the second loop by pulling the thread trough the second loop. And the process just keeps repeating itself.

This is something I have been working on for the past 2 weeks to help me to properly grab the hook and thread in place.

4- Begin the first row

When beginning the first row “insert the hook in second chain from the hook. This will create too loops around the hook.”

5- Finish the chain

Don’t make the loop too tight, or otherwise it will make it hard to pull the thread through. Continue pulling the thread and looping until a chain is created.

6- Begin the first row

“To start the first row of single crochet insert the hook in the second chain from the hook. You now have two loops around your hook” says tldudenhoeffer.

7- Crocheting the chain row

While holding the thread with your left hand, with the hook pull one loop. “This will leave you again with two loops on your hook. Catch the yarn again with your hook and pull it through both loops.” Keep repeating the process until the end of the chain row is finished.

8- Finish

“To finish, cut the long side of the yarn and pull it through the loop.”

In conclusion, I have learned a lot from this project. I have realized that it is time consuming, takes lots of practice, dedication, skills etc. As of right now, I am at step 4, begging the first row, and I am definitely looking forward to the next steps. I can’t wait to have my final product, a head band!!!


Simple steps to crochet

The education and learning approaches

This article definitely makes you think of the differences between educational and learning approach. We have to keep in mind that one shoe does not fit everyone! It is the same for our students. If we notice our students are not learning the way we teach, we should find a way to change it in order for them to learn better…

Subba's Serendipitous moments

The Education paradigm emphasizes acquiring a body of knowledge, “right” information, once and for all.

The Learning paradigm emphasizes on learning how to learn, how to ask good questions, pay attention to the right things, be open to evaluating new concepts and having access to information. It emphasizes the importance of context.

The Education approach is to treat learning as a product, a destination;  and the learning approach is to treat learning  as a process or a journey

The Education approach consists of a relatively rigid structure and a standard   curriculum and a prescribed approach to teach, whereas the learning approach consists of a relatively flexible curriculum and belief that there are many different was to teach a given subject.

The Education approach is often hierarchical and has an authoritarian structure. It rewards conformity and discourages dissent. The learning approach is egalitarian. Candour and dissent is permitted. Students and teachers…

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Equity Vs. Equality

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In your own words, how would you define Equity Vs. Equality? And how can we as future teachers incorporate equity in our classroom with our students? For my second article on Passion-Based Learning I chose; Equity Vs. Equality: 6 Steps Toward Equity by, Shane Safir. As teachers we need to “recognize students as unique individuals and give access to the resources they need to learn and thrive,” estates Safir.

According to Safir’s article, “equality means giving everyone the same resources, equity means giving each student access to the resources they need to learn and thrive.” While keeping in mind these definitions, we must commit to our students success and we must  also remember that each child is different, and this is where the 6 steps toward equity come in place in a classroom setting.” target=”_blank”>Equity slideshow By Dana Novinson

As future teachers, we will encounter situations with students who come from different backgrounds such as: ESL students, “students with special needs, children experiencing trauma or relentless poverty, and students of color who confront unconscious biases about their capacity.”  Having a knowledge of equity, will help us future teachers to help students, while creating an inclusive classroom to learn better.

The next 6 steps, according to Safir’s article, will help discuss how we as future teachers can incorporate equity in the classroom.

1- Know every child

As teachers we must learn to know our students individually. The more we know about them, it will help us build trust and differentiate instruction. We must keep in mind that every child learns different and we must never compare one student with another.

2- Become a warm demander

As teachers we must commit to every child’s success while encouraging students to do their best, while meeting and exceeding expectations. We must build positive relationships with our students in order for them to understand our intentions; their success.

3- Practice lean-in assessment

While students work on projects in class, it’s helpful for us teachers to take notes and observe how each individual student learns best. What they struggle with? In which areas they have strength? In which areas they need help? How do they learn best?

4- Flex your routines

“Remember that one-size lessons do not fit all,” says Safir. As teachers we must, “be willing to flex or set aside your well-laid plans, to individualize instruction.”

5- Make it safe to fail

No one is perfect, we all make mistakes. We must reasure students that making mistakes is okay. It’s an experience from which we  can learn. “In an equitable classroom, there is no need to hide, because struggle and failure are neutralized, normalized, and even celebrated,” says Safir.

6- View culture as a resource

As future teachers we must learn to value every child’s culture. Getting to know each child individually will help us to build stronger relationships with them. It’s our responsibility to embrace culture and get to know each student.

Self determination plays a big role in equity. It’s how we define and view the world in our own image with the tools we are provided.

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Behavior, a common problem…

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Students should be given the opportunity to become successful while learning from their mistakes. As future teachers, we are definitely  going to encounter many situations with students, especially with discipline. The first article I chose on Passion-Based Learning is; Behavior Expectations and How To Teach Them by, Aaron Hogan.

In this article, Hogan encourages teachers to set expectations  for students not just in the beginning of the school year, but also throughout the whole school year. Behavior, whether positive or negative, is observed on all grade levels. There will always be consequences for students behaviors. Through behavior we learn, and expectations need to be clear, and when necessary include voice level, and expected movement.  That is why, it’s very important for us teachers to make sure students do understand expectations while emphasizing “why” they are so important to accomplish, not only in school, but also in the real world.

A great example which was used in this article was creating a video about “trashing” the school. The students were leaving food trays on the cafeteria tables, which was becoming a behavioral problem. In order to solve this, the school decided to addressed it by involving the students as part of the solution. Many students were asked, what their thoughts were about eating next to dirty trays? Obviously, nobody liked this idea. In this case, the students were showed what the behavior problem was, and what had to be done in order to fix it. This was a positive way to approach this behavior with a positive outcome. I really like how Hogan created this video with the problem, but used the students who were creating the problem, to actually fix it.

classroom management (video)

Many times teachers are faced with the dilemma of, I don’t know how to fix or teach proper behavior in the classroom. And many times, as Hogan estates, “students who fail to meet behavior expectations, more often than not we respond by assuming willful disobedience, removing students from the classroom, and assigning disciplinary consequences.” Behavior begins with expectations, modeling, reenforcing, rewarding, and re-teaching. This needs to be done through out the school year to be successful.

“Students who make academic mistakes are given time to review, relearn, and reassess until they master the content. When our typical responses for behavior are applied to academic issues, it’s easy to see the disparity.” After all, students should be responsible for their own behavior.

Behavior article embedded