Ms. Paysen's Teaching Portfolio

A collection of teaching tools, inspirations, & reflections

November 15th Class Notes

Video Conferencing:

Dr. Verena Roberts – University of Calgary

Here are the few notes I was able to take from our talk with Verena, before we ran into connection issues:

  • Dissertation on open educational practices – expand learning beyond the walls of the classroom
  • Presentation on Introducing Open Learning Design Intervention (OLDI)
  • How can we access learning opportunities *everywhere* and allow access to the students
    • Learning is learning
  • Kids creatively change what they do with an artifact over and over again
  • Stages of OLDI
    • Teachers & students must be reflective (journals, podcasting)
    • Stage 1: must build relationships for learning to happen. Find out who these students really are. Get to know students & their personalities
    • Stage 2: Co-Designing learning pathways
    • Stage 3: Building & Sharing Knowledge: how to they show their learning
    • Stage 4: building their own personal learning network
  • Expanding Open Educational Practices in High School Learning Environments
    • Classroom –> Community –> Networks
  • Solve community problems
  • Start young! Start in Kindergarten

Unfortunately, the presentation was interrupted due to some technical difficulties, so we were not able to get the full experience. It was a great learning experience, though, to know what we could run into when trying to do video conferencing. It is important that both parties have a strong internet connection, and should ideally be wired right into it. All background apps should also be turned off, as much of the connection issue with Verena was tied to her Dropbox trying to upload at the same time. And always make sure there’s a backup option! She was trying to phone in once video conferencing was proving too difficult, but then was missing access codes, which took up even more time. Who knew there was so much to consider to complete a simple video call!


Class Presentations:

Distributed Learning:

  • Can be done with the robotic presence (as we’ve seen in class).
  • Configurations in face-to-face classrooms – directed to focus on teacher generally
  • Online courses – often no interaction between students and teacher
    • synchronous video is a great way to be able to have conversations with students throughout the course
  • Deficiencies in every model
  • Every connection to teaching environment with video conferencing is completely dependent on the connection to the internet
  • Traditionally had only had 2 options for learning: face to face vs online
    • Now blended options are becoming available
  • Multi-Access: using technology like Remote access robot to still engage in class even if not able to physically be present
  • Need to think about ways to support all learners, and create ways for them to learn in the best way possible – if going to class causes anxiety, need to promote other ways that students can still be engaged
  • Using technology for education has environmental perks as well — cuts down on travel, especially for students in remote areas


Presentation on ‘OpenEd Resources for Lesson Planning’:

  • To produce, share, and build knowledge
  • Resources are easily available and equity of knowledge for learners and educators
  • All dependent on access to technology, and copyright use needs to be closely moderated
  • CommonSense Education
    • Independent non-profit organization
    • very up to date
    • CommonSense Education
      • Teachers can use to locate webinars for pro d
        • Universal Design
        • Privacy Training
        • How to teach students about red flags online
      • Lesson plans for teaching about digital citizenship
        • can find tailored apps that include utilizing and integrating technology into your classroom
          • breaks down what apps you’ll need and when to use them
        • Can see reviews on educational videos
      • Can locate median and tools to use in classrooms
        • like book creator for students to create own digital storybooks
      • Can access articles on TechEd topics


Presentation on  ‘How integrating technology affect students’:

  • Relation to teaching and learning
    • when technology integration is seamless, increases student engagement, and are able to take more control of their learning
    • Can’t assume that all students know how to use technology
    • using devices allows all students with the opportunity to make deeper connections with learning content
    • Must be mindful of when to unplug
      • studies are now showing that screen time do not have the negative effects that some people claim
        • Internet shutdown in Korea – only saved just over 1 minute of sleep
  • Pros & Cons:
    • Pros:
      • Opportunity to engage with students if you get involved as well
      • Build a relationship
    • Cons:
      • Screens can be a distraction in class
      • Content could be worrysome – screens are not the issue, it’s what kids are able to access
  • Risks?
    • Need to focus more on content on screens than the screens themselves
    • time spend on screens has to be quite substantial (greater than 5 hours per day) to have effect on psychosocial abilities
    • Slenderman video – extreme example
  • Tips & Best Practices
    • Need to know where students are at with their exposure to technology
    • Important to discuss internet safety
    • Be sure to test-drive any form of technology you may intend to use in the classroom
    • Use of technology needs to routine and transparent
    • Access must be widely available
    • Should be used to support the curriculum


Presentation on ‘3D Design and Print’:

  • Able to be applicable to protestics
  • Modelling 3D objects, printing 2D layer by 2D layer. Printing usually takes 4-18 hours (30 mm/second)
  • Need software to be able to create 3D prints
    • Tinkercad – easily accessible software
    • More complex:  Onshape
  • Can get pre-designed models (Thingiverse)
  • Need the hardware as well – the physical 3D printer
    • Could do it for as cheap as $1000 for total setup, but would be very poor quality.
  • Materials:
    • PVA – Polyvinyl Alcohol, water soluable material
    • TPU – Thermoplastic Polyurethan, not foodsafe
    • PLA – Polyactic Acid (best for environment), what’s used at UVic
  • Pros:
    • Easy fabrication of complex shapes
    • no cost to students
    • allows for customization
    • less waste production
  • Cons:
    • temperature (200 degree heat while printing), so needs to be kept away from young kids
    • time to complete, especially if using cheaper machines
    • cost — quality and size increases with cost
    • less cost effective for making multiples of something – injection model would be better for this still
  • Techniques:
    • Supporting: support structures for more intricate parts of design
    • Bridging: small filaments connect to connect 2 parts of shape (ie. chains)
    • heating to mold printed shapes
    • can recycle filaments, so they can be re-purposed if didn’t like original shape (make back into filaments)
  • How to bring into schools:
    • Engineering
    • architecture
    • print out artifacts for social studies
    • for cooking, could create molds or cookie cutters
    • print out 3d molecules for chem
    • universal design applications (ie. visually impaired)
  • Links to Core Competencies

Dot Painting

As I peruse Pinterest, I often see these neat looking ‘dot paintings’, (as featured here in a quick google images search).

For this week’s art project, I decided to make myself a Christmas themed dot painting, that I’ll be able to happily display much earlier than is socially acceptable.

I started with an inexpensive canvas from the dollar store – a wonderful art product that could be used for an entire class to make their art feel a little more special.

Then I painted it black so that my dots would really pop:

Then I outlined the design in pencil. The great thing about doing this craft with kids, is that the outlines can be very simple, but the end result looks much more interesting!

Then I dotted away!

And dotted some more…

Bejeweled a little:

Aaaand a few more dots:

Added a little writing to mix things up:

And voila! My festive dot painting is complete!

Remembrance Day Craft

Well… I felt inspired after learning a crayon/watercolour technique in a recent art class, to replicate it somehow in relation to Remembrance Day. I didn’t have a clear plan in mind, but just decided to go for it, with a white crayon and some paint… This project proved to be another valid learning experience for me — ALWAYS HAVE A CLEAR VISION BEFORE STARTING AN ART PROJECT.

I didn’t think too much of the logistics behind the project, and I was not happy at all with the end result (in fact, I threw it out right away to hide the evidence of my failed attempt).

Here is the process of my failed painting:

My materials:

I began by drawing out my crayon design in white:

My cat wanted to “help” with the project too..

Then added water colour paint… This was the point when I realized I had messed up. With this idea, I should have filled in the poppy with crayon, not just outlined it. I also didn’t had enough wax crayon to the poppy, so the paint covered the majority of it.

Then I lost all hope for this, and just finished the project with some odd looking tye-dye style painting.

The intention was there.. but I’m definitely glad this was not a craft idea that I brought into a classroom before trying it out for myself! Yay for learning!

Technology In the Classroom

SAMR Model:

Can think of tech as a substitution for some pen/paper activities in the classroom. Not changing the activity at all.

Can augment a lesson with the use of technology to be able to gain a deeper understanding.

  • these two tools act to enhance the lessons you’re using

Can modify lessons around the use of technology

Can redefine the tasks you focus on into a way that was previously not conceivable

  • using these techniques transforms the way you approach lessons due to the use of technology

Image result for samr

(Photo retrieved from


TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) Model:

Image result for tpack




November 18th Presentations

Stop Motion Animation:

How to bring it into the classroom:

  • using an ipad, moving post-it notes and moving at timed intervals across the floor.

StopMotion: free app you can download to help take pictures

Then animated the pictures through Photoshop

  • Go into window tab
  • Go into timeline
  • create different layers
  • Use twinning botton to make it look like object is moving from point A to point B (instead of having to take many more photos of the object in slightly different spots
  • used IMovie to overlay photos transitioning into animation


  • can use it cross-curricularly: math, p.e, etc. – makes learning fun and exciting


  • if you’re limited in the amount of technology you can use
  • can be frustrating (projects getting deleted, or not working how you intended)

Things to watch out for:

  • using bluetooth remote to take pictures so there’s no movement of camera
  • take your time





Bringing Digital Mapping into the Classroom:

  • Google My Maps: focuses on putting information into maps instead of just getting information out of google maps.
    • Good for letting kids create their own maps
    • calculate area, colour code areas, points of interest, can add photos and videos to icons
    • make maps about family heritages, map languages, fictional settings, field trip planning
  • Google Street View:
    • Natural wonders
    • walk through museums
    • Google Cultural Institute
  • Google Earth vs Google Maps
    • Google maps is more utility
    • google earth is experience over utility, gives high resolution 3D experiences
    • flight simulator
    • View the Past – see how the land has changed over the past 15-20 years
    • Make different layers : ie. endangered habitats/species
    • Google Moon, Mars, and Sky – immersive interactions with all the space missions, narrated by people who did the missions
    • Voyageur: curated tours of various places around the world (ie. Jane Goodall and chimpanzees)
  • Lesson Planning/Project Ideas:
    • 20 questions
    • real-world math
    • global awareness layer
    • can create a scavenger hunt – through coordinates
  • Can build off curriculum
    • for example, to follow the routes explorers traveled during the gold rush
    • historical timeline
    • add pictures or link to videos to help represent historical context
  • Be informed:
    • google maps has a lot of information about you
      • google can track you if you don’t opt out
      • if you take pictures during your day, will link in to your day and can few infinitely
    • Google Earth doesn’t automatically track you


Digital Literacy and how to teach it in the Classroom:

  • Digital literacy is information literacy : what is real and what is fake
    • know the quality of the websites they’re encountering
    • think critically about information being presented – how much bias is on the site they’re exploring
    • how to properly cite the online information you’re using – what information you can use and what information is copyrighted
    • understanding digital footprints (what you’re leaving behind when you use the internet – ie. cookies, search history, etc)
    • how to properly protect yourself on the internet – how everything on the internet is permanent
    • how to properly handle digital communication – don’t let the screen dehumanize your behaviours and interactions
      • cyberbullying: the steps students should take and how teachers should react
  • Pros, Cons, and Risks:
    • tech usually increases motivation, doesn’t use paper (yay environment), endless resources
    • tech can involve many distractions if not monitored, can encounter innapropriate content more easily
    • cyberbullying is a big risk, digital footprints, and that everything posted is permanent
  • Strategies, Tips, and Best Practices:
    • Crash Course videos great for:
      • Lateral reading: if you find information on the internet, you read other sources around the internet to ensure that the information is actually legitimate and free of bias
      • Fact checking
      • Evaluating Evidence
    • – Canadian specific content for internet safety and lesson planning
    • Including student choice and voice in how you incorporate digital literacy
    • A focus on more creation than consumption – will be naturally more aware of privacy issues
    • Focus on multi-modality – try to include more than just 1 tech focus
    • Ensure accessibility for all learners — provide class time! Don’t expect students to use technology at home. Have assisitive technology for tech programs (UDL)
    • Getting them involved in the community outside of school – citizen science
    • teaching skills for social media and peer-to-peer interactions online
    • related to core competencies
      • Digital literacy is part of the BC Curriculum – helps with communication with parents who may have reservations
  • Using digital literacies to help educate about sex education
    • Help guide students to useful resources around the topic of sex education, so they they’re not coming across information that gives them a skewed perception based on a single story
    • using websites to complement the discussions that are necessary to have in class


Minecraft EDU Presentation – Colquitz Middle

Minecraft is very popular among kids now

  • Kids exchange IP addresses to be able to collaborate together

Educational resources using Minecraft as a teaching tool (ie. able to explore city of Florence).

Presentation from Heidi James & her students: grade 7 teacher at Colquitz Middle School

  • Had students request through the principal to bring a Minecraft server into the school ($5000)
  • Have kids of all ages come to the computer lab to be able to share in the Minecraft EDU (kids from other schools come to use the Minecraft EDU server)

Classroom Minecraft EDU experience:

  • all students log into the same learning world which brings all students into a Tutorial World. It guides you through a step by step world of building on new skills as you go.
  • After learning all the basic movement skills (like using the mouse as your eyes)

  • Once all students have worked their way through the entire tutorial world, they are placed into a real world where they can put their learned skills to use.

  • Teachers are able to control all aspects of the game, such as pausing all students, muting their chat (if spamming or being innapropriate), choosing what they encounter in their worlds (survival mode, creative mode, monsters, nighttime, etc)

How Minecraft EDU connects to core competencies:

Communication – within the game (chat), as well as lots of communication within the classroom. Students help eachother through the game, and must communicate to help with crafting recipes.

Problem Solving – working with their team to solve problems together. Leaders can give hints to help groups solve the problems they encounter without giving away all the details.

  • ie. for crafting, instead of just giving people the crafting recipes, you provide them with what products they needs, but not the amounts or how to get them, so there is still the self-exploration aspect and learning that takes place.

Collaboration/Cooperation – Because all students are placed into the same world, must work together to ensure the world runs smoothly. For example, to be able to sleep and avoid the monsters at night, all students must build beds, and all must sleep at the same time.

How the kids have learned from Minecraft EDU:

  • The class struggled with building a sense of community, but the game helped with this immensely. If you didn’t work together, you wouldn’t be able to progress.
  • They learned a lot of agriculture through it (you need food to survive, so have to get seeds, then have to tend to the seeds. Need to know how to tend to animals – have to have a fence around your animals or they escape)
  • For school, everyone had to have a bed and be asleep for even 1 person to be able to sleep — going back to cooperation
  • For grade 7 math have to teach the x,y coordinate grid. In Minecraft, you get the opportunity use a 3D x,y coordinate grid within the game.
    • Not only incorporated social studies core competencies, but also math

(3D x,y coordinates in top left corner)

Example of a Minecraft EDU Project: Ancient Egyptian Civilizations – 5 week project, 2-3 hours/week

    • Split into groups, and assigned leaders to each group to act as the Pharaohs of the civilizations.
    • Teacher assigned very few resources just to the Pharaohs (a small amount of food, and 1 weapon), and the rest of the group had to survive with no resources at all. Pharaohs were in charge of deciding how to split up resources that would benefit the entire civilization most.
    • All groups went to different locations to build their civilizations, and matched real world experiences with the experiences they would encounter in the game. For example, being killed by zombies was representative of being murdered by another human in the Ancient Egyptian civilization.

Painting with Youngsters – A Learning Curve

This past weekend I got to babysit my oldest niece, and decided it would be fun to do some painting with her.

I set everything up nice and organized, with paper underneath to protect my table, a brush, and cleaning water. Did all this help contain the mess in the long run… No.

What I soon realized is, you can’t keep a two and a half year old’s attention to paint while trying desperately to clean the brush between each colour, and keep her mucky hands from touching everything. So my neatly envision paint activity soon turned into a finger painting mess. But that’s okay! She was enjoying it so much!

Another big lesson learned: hide the black paint! The final colour she dove into before losing interest was black.. And so follows the covering up of all the beautiful colours she had put on the canvas up to this point:

But did she ever love it!

Graphics – Class Notes

My class notes for our lecture on graphics:

Pixels: small ‘pixels’ make up a larger image – have a limit to how far you can zoom in to keep quality

Vectors: a mathematical equation to make up a specific shape. Expands mathematically as you zoom so the quality stays.

Photoshop costs money the more you get into it

Pixlr & Vectr can be used right in your browser

GIMP is a good free version of a photoshop-like tool

Powerpoint is a great tool to edit graphics – and is widely available to learners

  • everything you create in powerpoint can be exported as a picture
  • you can ‘save as’ your powerpoint as a different type of media (pictures or pdfs)
  • cropping tool can be useful for changing the focus of a photo or rearranging a photo altogether
  • can insert a screenshot and edit that

Powerpoint can also be used to create graphics

  • can use shapes tool – all vector shapes, so keeps same resolution no matter the size of the shape
  • can save all different shape/text components by selecting all of the area you want and ‘grouping’ them
  • can also move different layers of shapes ‘to front’ or ‘to back’
  • can save the ‘logo’ all as one by selecting and ‘save as picture’


  • pre-made graphic that you can then edit and add text to
  • great way to make a quick ‘professional’ graphic


  • google photos automatically creates photos/videos you might like
  • Prisma to edit photos
  • Mirror Lab – takes a photo and can give it a kaleidoscope effect
  • 8Bit photo
  • Comica – gives it a comic-strip effect (sketched, coloured, b&w, set it up in panels to make a strip, can add text bubbles – Creative Commons graphics inspiration


Here is a personal graphic that I made using the tips and tricks from PowerPoint:

Week 7 Class Discussion Notes

Our perceptions of Jesse Miller’s talk:

  • Inquiry IS an indigenous way of know — kids are able to dive into questions that matter to their own communities
  • black mirror – addictions
  • extreme examples of how tech can get teachers in trouble
    • scare us into protecting ourselves
  • need to think about not only our own preferences, but also those about the ones of the people we post. All of our followers then have access to these photos that we post.
    • kids with consent
    • what the apps we post to do with the content we upload
    • custody issues — if someone is tagged in a specific location, then that could be seen by the wrong people and could find out where those people frequent
  • how important gaming is to children, and how positive influences

Our perceptions of our visit to PSII:

  • inspiring, all kids seemed so motivated, eloquently spoken, mature, and self-motivated
  • all learners come up to uvic to sit in on university level classes
  • doesn’t work for all learners
  • ***the book – ‘Dive Into Inquiry’ – Trevor MacKenzie*** – great resource for teaching inquiry
  • sense of empowerment for the learners in the school

Reflection on PSII Visit

We got the absolute pleasure of getting to take a tour of the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry. The principal of the school met with our entire class first to give us a low-down of what the school is all about and how it works.

PSII is a fairly small independent school, with a current student count of 95, and does not follow the standard BC curriculum model. Instead, they are based around inquiry, and students work through their time in highschool following their own inquiry questions in whatever direction they’d like. This is PSII’s 7th year of operation, and they are finding it to be very successful.

Tuition is $7200/year for each student — included in that is a YMCA membership for physical education, and a laptop they can use for 2 years. Many students go on to continue their education in University or College settings, or many also take on their own entrepreneurial ventures.

A lot of us had questions for how such a free model sets the learners up for their future ventures into University, should they so choose; and we learned that almost every student is able to audit at least 1 university course (usually at UVic) during their time in highschool to prepare them for a more standardized way of learning. Many of them also do a university bridge program, and begin taking first year university courses in their grade 12 year. Something that differs between PSII students, and those students graduating from the public school system, in my opinion, is that the inquiry based process leaves them more independent in their learning, so many of them go on to follow entrepreneurial ventures right after graduation.

It seems as though this model, fostering more independence, collaboration, and self-driven research, sets students up for success in today’s quickly evolving society.

Here is a link to their website with some more wonderful, in depth information on the school.

And here are a few pictures I snapped during our tour of the facility:



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