That Time I Found One of My High School Essays and it was AWESOME

Sometimes, our journeys lead us to unexpected destinations.

Like when I’m trying to change my Apple ID on my high school email address and I end up finding one of the papers I wrote in tenth grade.

I cringed, I laughed, I almost threw up, but I was able to see how I’ve progressed into the writer I am today. Plus I was able to relive the fun years of acne and boys never talking to me.

And I thought it was too good not to share, so if you’re ever considering running the Bolder Boulder, this paper should be the impetus that gets you to sign up.

Being Bolder (in Boulder!)

Maggie Vinton

           Dawn broke early on Memorial Day of 2011. I stepped outside of our hotel room’s sliding glass door and inhaled the cool, fresh air. Through the dark haze I could just make out the

Flatiron mountain range. While they’re not quite as impressive as their cousins, the Rockies, they still pack quite a punch for a flatlander. I stretched and smiled. Today was the day that my family and I were running the largest and best 10k in America, The Bolder Boulder in Boulder, Colorado.

            As I prepped for the race, I gave myself a little prerace pep talk. “This really, really, doesn’t even matter,” I thought to myself. “Run as slow as you wish.” I dressed in my favorite pink running shoes, matching shorts, and my “Fudge!” tee-shirt that got our cross country team into trouble my freshman year. I stretched my legs and pinned on my race tag. Then, my parents and I slipped out into the early morning darkness and made our way to the bus stop.  Walking through Boulder at any time of the day is quite the experience, but six in the morning is a world all to itself. The hippies that dominate the daytime are still sleeping peacefully, so it was only myself, the rustic, cabinesque architecture, and of course, the valleys of sagebrush and columbine flowers, framed by the elusive mountains.

As my parents and I got onto the race bus, we weren’t surprised to see toned, fit people clad in short shorts sharing Powerbars and zoning out, plugged into their iPods. The Bolder Boulder attracts more than 50,000 people annually, so naturally, not everyone starts together in one big amoeba. Waves start every two minutes, with the first (and fastest) wave starting at 7

AM, and the last wave starting nearly two hours later. I, being the stud that I am, started at 7:04 in wave BA, possibly the most b.a. wave in the race. My brothers, failing to submit a qualifying time, were in wave HJ, meaning they got to enjoy an extra hour of sleep.

  The race starting line wasn’t as packed as I imagined it would be. People were spread out stretching and socializing. A few random strangers attempted to talk to me. I, being tired and cranky and not in the mood to converse, generally ignored them. Our conversations went a little something like this:

Stranger- “Nice morning, isn’t it?”

Me- “Yeah.”

Stranger- “Ready to run?”

Me- “Yeah.”

Stranger- “Is this your first Bolder Boulder?”

Me- “Yeah.”

Stranger- “So, do you do cross country?”

Me- “Please go away before I mace you.”

Needless to say, I did not make very many friends that day.

The Race started with a bugle call, and the first wave was off. Four minutes later, wave

BA was let go and I tore off like a bat out of hell. Actually, more like a 3-toed-sloth out of the Ice Age. My goal was to run as slow as humanely possible without actually falling over.   The morning was cold and rainy, but by the first kilometer mark I was wishing that I wore a tank top. My face was uncomfortably hot, and I was sure I could feel my hair falling out of its bun.

            The first mile came and went, and I was wondering, “Why the (bleep) do I like to run? I

could be in my (bleeping) bed right now!” Fortunately. The on-course entertainment distracted me. Throughout the entire race, I witnessed countless bands, including one comprised of 12 year old children, belly dancers, a slip-and-slide (which I am proud to say I went on, adding 5 pounds to my clothing and 5 minutes to my time), and people handing out beer and cupcakes from their front yards.

Some clever souls dressed up, and I am proud to say that I didn’t let any of these people beat me, except for a girl dressed as an eagle. More noticeable than she were a group of teletubbies, a gorilla carrying a cage with an actual person in it, a ticking time bomb, and a whole herd of purple people.

            By the fourth mile, I was exhausted to the point of tears. So, I plugged into my handy dandy iPod to help me push through the last two miles. The course, up to this point, was an uphill battle. At this point, though, I broke from my reverie and noticed a sign: “Summit of the

Bolder Boulder.” “What does that mean?” I pondered. Soon after that, I had my answer: a giant downhill slope. I smiled like a crazy person, and the whole world probably thought me mentally unstable, but I didn’t care. This was my time to shine, baby.

            When I saw the six mile mark, I thought to myself, “Woo hoo! The race is almost over!”

But as anyone who’s ever run a 10k knows, it’s not a six mile race. It’s 6.2 miler. And anything can happen in that last fifth of a mile.

            A big hill greeted me as I passed the six mile mark. And by big, I mean gigantic, enormous, completely vertical climb kind of hill. I changed the song on my iPod to “City of

Blinding Lights” by U2 and gritted my teeth. I wasn’t going to let this road bump ruin the great time I had going.

            Well, I made it to the top of the hill. My calves were screaming and my thighs were begging for mercy, but I made it. The final stretch of the race leads into Folsom Field, CU Boulder’s football stadium. For a brief period of time, I felt like I was running the ball down the field for a 100-yard touchdown. I sprinted out the last 300 meters and crossed the electronic timing mat. I turned off my iPod and was barraged by the sound of 50,000 runner’s heavy feet and labored breathing. I was shepherded through a labyrinth of barricades into a loud, hot crowded room where we received a complimentary gift bag full of healthy, organic snacks.

“That’s Boulder for you!” I thought.

            My family members weren’t close to finishing yet, so I decided to walk back to the hotel and change. “It’s not that far. It’ll be easy to find!” was my thought process. After passing the planetarium three times, crossing two soccer fields, and walking by a sculpture of half a pair of glasses, I realized that I was an idiot. After finally finding the hotel, changing and making the long trek back to Folsom Field, I found my family, plus some random cousins that I didn’t know were there, sitting in the open-air stadium. My dad looked online at our race results on my mom’s Blackberry, because the great people behind the scenes at the Bolder Boulder post them almost immediately. I had run a 47:51! Quite the respectable time for a flatlander!

            The Bolder Boulder taught me that I can excel at anything I choose, even if at first I find it difficult or intimidating. My family and I also bonded over the mutual pain of running at high altitudes. Last but not least, I have an uber legit story to tell people when they ask me about my summer!

I also found some of the chain emails and correspondences with boys from junior high on my email account, in case anyone is interested.

Even Better than the Real Thing

It’s a little embarrassing to admit it, but this past Sunday, I went to my second U2 concert.

I know, I am a 40 year-old lady with six children.

But for real, no matter how much people hate on U2 for that “downloading their whole new album on everyone’s iPhone without permission” thing (which honestly, people should thank them for), I challenge anyone to attend a U2 show and not come out of the experience inspired not only to explore the wide world of music, but also to become a bona fide humanitarian.

Because, when it comes to U2, it’s always been even better than the real thing for me.

Yes, it is necessary for me to plug U2 music in this blog.

As long as I can remember, U2 has represented my mother. My mom always played U2 music in the car or while she was doing the dishes, and never hesitated to buy me the latest U2 humanitarian accessory, whether it be a wristband that supported struggling musicians or a t-shirt that provided AIDs drugs to African women. And, like most surly tweenagers, I rebelled against this obsession as much as I possibly could, mostly by being surly and unpleasant. So, nothing much different than any other mood I threw at my mom, but with more, “OMG I hate U2 they suck so bad I hate everything.”

Thankfully, I grew out of being a tween, and allowed myself to realize that not everything my mom liked was totally and completely uncool (just most of it). I realized, that, even though U2 is generally thought of as being a band enjoyed by the middle-aged, the message of the band is completely applicable to being a young adult in a confused society.

Teenagers, contrary to popular belief, are deep thinkers with humanitarian souls. Most teenagers have the desire to enact real change in their communities and to unify the human spirit, but are too confused by the trials of growing up to fully understand how to achieve these goals, or even that these goals are possible. Personally, as a teenager, I was mostly concerned with how to cover up my zits with makeup without it being totally obvious (which inevitably led to orange skin). I desired a deeper connection with the human experience, but wasn’t sure how to reconcile my insecurities with reaching out to the poor, lonely, and oppressed.

Listening to and understanding U2’s music was part of the journey that turned me into an empathetic and (mostly) self-confident person. The spirit of the band’s music is hard to explain, because, let’s face it, it’s not enjoyed by everyone. I’ve heard from many people that all U2 music sounds the same, that U2 is only for middle-aged women, and that Bono is a gigantic douche and he needs to stay the hell off of my phone (some valid points in there, but seriously people, some people would pay $14 for something you got for free).

Allowing myself to listen to and to enjoy U2 music allowed me to experience, for the first time, the exhilarating highs and heart-wrenching lows of the human experience. The way I’ve learned to see it is, we’re not all that different, or as the Beatles would say, “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.” (Which doesn’t really simplify anything, but hold on here. I can explain.) Some aspects of life transcend language or ethnic barriers and tap into the very meaning of being a human, aspects of life such as religion, love, and, yes, music. Not all music. But some music. Most notably, some music of arguably the world’s most popular band.

U2, by the way.

Now, I know that all U2 songs probably aren’t universal (“Drunk Chicken,” anyone?), but I highly doubt that any sentient human being can listen to the first three songs from “Joshua Tree” and not feel exhilaration, longing, pain, desire, and nostalgia for something that passed long ago. I’ve even heard these songs called the first three songs a person hears when they enter heaven. True? Not true? No idea, but I sure hope so.

Only one of the three, but the joy this song elicits in me can’t be unique to only myself.

Knowing that “Streets” can be equally enjoyed by me, a middle-aged French man, or a South African mother of four has helped me come to the obvious conclusion that, hey, we’re all the same soul. We’re one, but we’re not the same, so we get to carry each other (and I totally just thought of that myself). Religion, language, morals and values– important yes, but dividing, no. All people deserve the same right to life, and those of us with this right have the inherent duty to provide it to those still struggling for dignity. Fair? Of course, what’s not fair is that this is still considered an issue.

Actually where I got the “carry each other” thing.

U2’s humanitarian message isn’t exactly tacit, either. The most recent concert I attended had obvious plugs for the ONE campaign and Product Red, Bono’s pet projects that provide debt relief and vaccinations for our impoverished African neighbors. Last concert I went to during the 360 tour featured a segment where everyone pulled out an Aung San Suu Kyi mask in solidarity with the the beautiful soul of this Burmese leader who is currently under house arrest by the oppressive military regime of the nation. Combine U2’s preachy message with preachy music, and you’ve got 16,000 people on their feet, realizing (maybe for the first time) their role in the human experience and the beauty of humanity’s interdependence.

I’m not sure if I’ve done a great job of conveying the universality of U2’s music and how it connects all of us undergoing this human journey, but I do know how U2 has done my mom and I a favor by giving us something to bond over. I’ve attended two U2 shows (and hopefully more in the future) with my momma, and I can attest to the fact that a person can’t just go to a U2 show and not have something to marvel over with whoever they went with. Just slightly older than a teenager at this point, I’ve lost a little bit of my angsty unhappiness with the world and come to appreciate what I’ve been blessed with, whether it be time to spend with my mom or my ability and duty to provide aid to those who don’t realize the inherent dignity of being alive.

Plus, I hope to one day be the attractive brunette that Bono pulls on stage and dances with. Petty? Yes. But as long as I manage to provide vaccinations, education, and debt relief to the less fortunate while fully understanding the human experience, is pettiness really such a bad thing?

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Just chillin’ with my mom. As you can see, I am a brunette, and not super ugly, so maybe one day, I’ll be pulled on-stage and experience my 15 seconds of fame.

Also, U2 needs to play “Numb” more often.

Nothing says cohesive human experience more than mumbled lyrics over an electronic beat and a dripping faucet. Trust me, I’ve listened to this like three times already today.

Auditing this Course (Which Hopefully isn’t Similar to getting Audited by the IRA)

After rereading all of my blogs, I have to say, I look at my older blogs the same way I look at my junior high Facebook posts.

What was I thinking?!?

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An actual picture of one of my junior high Facebook statuses. Thankfully, none of my blogs were quite this painful.

Not that my older blog posts are bad, but they represent so much less thought and personal analysis than my later blogs. When I began Dig Lit Class, I took the blogging requirement  at face value, treating it as just another assignment that needed to be completed for the week. My blogs written during this time did not feature enticing lead-ins or pictures to break up the text, and were written in tediously long paragraphs. No wonder my earlier blogs didn’t get a lot of views.

The point where I notice I grew in my blogging maturity is my post entitled, “Life as a Process, not a Destination.” While this blog wasn’t necessarily a requirement for this class, I was feeling the urge to get some nasty feelings out of my head and written in a format where they no longer had any power over me. This monumental blog post features many attractive pictures, an interesting opening line, text broken up into smaller paragraphs, and, most importantly, my own brand of humor. After writing this blog, I realized why blogging can be such a rewarding part of life.

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Observe, a pretty picture used to break up the text. Also an image used in, “Life as a Process, Not a Destination.” (Photo CC by Chez Andre)

A recurring theme I see in my blog posts is interesting titles. I see my proclivity towards creative titles as a strength, as I, personally, would much rather click on a blog  titled, “Be-you-tiful” than “Independent Learning Project Week 6.”  My blog titles reflect the personal growth and creativity I developed throughout this class, and yes, are meant to bait someone into clicking on my blog (let’s face it– we all want our blog to be the most popular).

Another theme I noticed in my blogs is that a picture of a box of chocolates occurs in more than one of my posts. This picture is pretty representative of my every day life, to be honest.

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So good, I had to use it like three times. (Photo CC by Dave Gunn)

Content wise, I think my blogs reflect my struggle between being a conceited know-it-all who is good at standardized testing and being an empathetic educator who deeply cares about the needs of each and every student. When I began this class, I was critical of educational reform, primarily because traditional educational tactics worked just fine for me. I viewed the people that didn’t excel in school and wanted to change its format as people that didn’t try hard enough, people that just liked to complain.

As I journeyed on in this class, I realized a lot of my views about educational reform were narrow-minded and naive, and I was able to modify my thoughts about the issue. One blog that especially reflects a change in my arrogant views towards educational reform was my post about digital citizenship. In the digital citizenship module, I perused not only the sources that were provided to us, but also articles about cyber bullying on the Pine Ridge Reservation, a place where I have volunteered in the past and about which I feel passionate. While researching digital citizenship, I had my eyes open to the fact that not every student was blessed with the opportunities in life that I have, and didn’t have access to caring teachers or innovative educational resources. It is my job as an educator to not only provide an empathetic ear and a proactive approach to teaching to my own students, but also to any child, preteen, or teenager that is pleading for help. I have the duty to enact educational reform because, as a reasonably privileged human being, I have the inherent responsibility to provide any means of help to anyone who may need it.

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Teachers: Basically superheros. (Photo CC by karla_k)

One idea that I posted about that I have found the need to revisit was developed during our digital activism module. In my blog post for that week, I started off by mentioning works of digital activism used by others in their quests for justice, and started developing my own form of protest against the Keystone XL Pipeline. For some reason, I was worked up about the pipeline that week, a feeling that manifested itself in my blog and has continued to shape my schoolwork throughout the semester. In my class called Communicating in Groups and Teams, our small group is presenting a persuasive speech about the ecological and social consequences of the pipeline, and why Nebraskans should oppose its construction through our state. While I realize that this speech probably won’t inspire a room full of jaded college students to storm the streets in protest, I am not done developing my platform about the pipeline. I have realized that I have the power to voice my opinion about issues that may have major impacts on my life, and that I have the duty to stand up for what I believe in life. Therefore, I plan on becoming active in organizations, online or otherwise, that oppose the construction of the Keystone XL and support the rights of the Nebraskan people. I know I probably won’t make a huge difference, but it never hurts to try. Because of Dig Lit class and blogging, I have realized my ability to support a cause that is bigger than myself, and I think this is an idea worth revisiting outside the realms of the class.

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That was a lot of text in a row. Here, have a pretty picture. (Photo CC by James Jordan)

Weekly blogging has become a cherished part of my regular routine, and I will be sad when it is no longer a requirement. Much like my yoga practice, I’m fairly certain that regular blogging will be something I’ll try to keep up with for a while, but will ultimately run out of time for and let slide away. The aspect of blogging I’ve enjoyed most is the way it lets me express my emotions and opinions in a non-judgmental forum. While, when the class began, I was a bit hesitant to let me personality shine through my posts, I soon realized that the internet is a big place, and one more crazy person sharing their opinions isn’t going to startle anyone. I might as well spill all my passionate (and sometimes irrational) feelings and thoughts into a safe, effective, and free form of therapy that other people may be able to learn from. Sometimes, I would post blogs that weren’t a requirement for this class, just because some negative feeling was eating away at my happiness. By putting what was bothering me in writing, I could understand exactly how I felt, formulate a plan for how I was going to deal with it, and then never let it cross my mind again. For example, right now I’m worried about finals, and I’m starting to think this worry is negatively affecting my personal relationships. But now that this feeling is in writing, it no longer has tacit power over me, and I can focus on how I’m going to change it. Blogging is so beautiful because it gives me a chance to vocalize my opinions and my feelings, vocalization that loosens the grasp these  thoughts have on my mental state.

Throughout my blogging for Dig Lit class, I’ve written some posts that I’m proud of, some posts that have expressed how I feel, and some posts that I’m seriously life, wtf (like seriously, how did I connect my PLN with the “More cowbell” sketch from SNL?). But overall, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made as an educational reformer, a digital activist, and an influential (maybe) author. I hope to keep up my blogging practice once this class is over, because it’s a cheap and effective form of therapy, and it helps shine light on the root of what’s really bothering me. Who knows if I actually will keep blogging though? For now, I am happy to be done with the semester, sad that I won’t be forced to blog anymore, and excited by the progress I’ve made towards becoming a better teacher and learner.

Namaste.

icecream

Just like yoga, blogging has been a journey of finding bliss.

COURSE WORD AUDIT

(thought this was as a good place to put this as any)

website address for my blog: https://margaretvinton.wordpress.com/

Number of blogs I have posted this semester: 35

Twitter use name/handle: Margaret Vinton; @DigLitMargaretV

Number of tweets I have published this semester: 343

Number of Daily Creates I have posted: 30

Where are my Daily Creates posted?: Combo of Twitter and blog (writing Daily Creates are on my blog, all others are on Twitter)

Either unlearn or face the consequences (of your head in a garbage can)

When I think about how Dig Lit class has shaped my innovator’s mindset throughout this semester, I think about how the people in this class have changed my perspective on both learning and teaching.

Before taking Dig Lit, I had a pretty traditionalist view of education, because I thrived in a traditional learning environment. I loved standardized testing, and lecture style classes were my favorite. I was comfortable with my education being reduced to stats, numbers, and test scores (probably why I like math). While I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with traditional education, I’ve learned that some kids just don’t learn this way, and there’s nothing wrong with this either.

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Imagine, some kids are a little scared by this. (Photo is stock)

After conversing with my classmates, I had a better idea of the fear, loathing, and disgust that testing and lectures evoke in many students. While I used to think that the students that didn’t like these formulaic types of learning just weren’t trying hard enough, I now know that hey, these styles of teaching just don’t work for some people. In addition, the people that don’t thrive in traditional education settings  have unique perspectives and skills that I can’t even dream of possessing, and can only attempt to emulate in small ways.

While traditional education works for some students, it definitely doesn’t work for all of them, but I don’t think the standard educational system needs a major rehaul; our schools just need a little facelift.

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But not this kind of facelift. (Photo from moradimd.com)

One wonderful solution to our educational woes is increasing the proclivity of teachers towards having an “innovator’s mindset,” which is described as George Couros as “asking what is best for learners” and “creating and designing learning experiences with an empathetic approach.” Having an innovator’s mindset is a manageable fix that can be practiced by any teacher with an open mind. If a kid doesn’t seem to have enough focus to sit through a whole lecture, kinesthetic learning tools, such as models and diagrams, can be provided to him or her so he or she can feel and see the topic the class is talking about. If a student has bad vision, the teacher can provide this kid with audio recordings of lecture notes so they can get the information in their mind. Being an innovator doesn’t have to mean changing every aspect of school; being an innovator can mean taking what’s already present and modifying it for the unique needs of each student.

Similar to innovative teaching, “unlearning” is the process of taking what you know about education, and throwing it down the drain.

Alright not all of it, but a little of it.

Unlearning occurs when teachers take outdated forms of education, forms of education that are kept around just because “things have always been done this way,” and replacing them with tactics that actually work. For example, Will Richardson, in his blog about unlearning, mentions that teachers can take the idea that “teachers are the sole experts of content in the classroom” and toss it out the window. With the advent of technology, lessons by professionals in any field are just a click away, and students can often provide some tidbits of information that lead to greater knowledge by the entire classroom (teacher included). Unlearning is another tool that teachers can use to take what they know and either modify it to fit current needs of students or discard it if it’s just plain awful. (Like corporal punishment in the classroom. That’s probably a bad idea, Sister Mary.)

When reading about unlearning, the first concept that popped into my head was, “Hey! We need to unlearn that teachers don’t make enough money!” I’m not a teacher yet, but I know many teaching families that do well for themselves. These families have nice houses and can afford some little luxuries, and still put away enough money into their savings. I seriously don’t know where the outdated, and sometimes flat-out wrong, concept that teachers are poor has come from, and sometimes I think people use it just to deter students from pursing teaching. But really, if a kid is scared away from the profession just because they don’t think they’ll make enough money, then they shouldn’t be a teacher in the first case. Seriously, if one more person tells me that teachers don’t make enough money, I will take their head and shove it in a garbage can.

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Imagine, your head in here. (Photo from jesseleeproject.com)

Unlearning and innovative teaching are two concepts that I’ve been introduced to this semester, and hope to further develop as I continue my college career. It’s quite refreshing to me to know that outdated and unfair teaching techniques used by some of my least favorite teachers in elementary school are being replaced by tactics that actually work, and I can’t wait to see how I will develop them in my classroom. By conversing and vibing with my classmates from this class, I’ve developed a better sense of what it means to be an empathetic teacher, and why the traditional educational system doesn’t always work.

Plus, this is a warning that a trash can is in your near future if you tell me that teachers don’t make enough money.

This Digital Story Thang

Well I mean, being a runner, I’ve gotta compare my learning journey to my running journey.

And I’ve got to admit, I do love talking about myself.

Some of these pictures and some of this information about myself isn’t stuff I would usually share, but something about this class makes me feel honest and open.

My story may not be super revolutionary, but hey, it’s the only one I have.

Now, some credits (because I didn’t want to include them in the video because the music had already ended):

The first picture was taken by my lovely friend, Therese Frels, at the SD Mines Bauer Open track meet, where I ran the 5k and got what possibly might be my sole collegiate track victory.

The second picture is Creative Commons, courtesy of Daniel Eynis.

The third picture is also Creative Commons, courtesy of quimby.

The fourth picture was also taken by the lovely Therese Frels (obviously, I was proud of this race).

The fifth picture is stock from http://www.northstar-bariatric.com/how-does-gastric-bypass-work/

The sixth photo is courtesy of http://mathinsight.org/vector_introduction

The seventh photo is courtesy of http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/einstein

The eighth picture is from… honestly it’s a mystery to me. Plz don’t sue me for improper citation.

The ninth picture is from my high school running career. Not sure who took it, but props to them.

The tenth picture is CC courtesy of circulating.

Eleventh is from nowhere I remember.

Twelfth is from http://www.theprospect.net/6-tips-for-surviving-ap-calculus-10098

Thirteenth is another lovely Therese Frels snapshot.

Fourteenth is my lovely cross country ladies here at Chadron.

Fifteenth is a big part of my running motivation, my Uncle Pete who went to Hyannis High School. He was so fast and got so many records they had to start putting ditto signs on the board because they didn’t have enough letters to put his name up there like five times. Pete passed away in a plane crash four years ago almost to the day, and I like to run because he can’t anymore. I’m just trying to do it for everyone who isn’t able to, and I don’t take it for granted because of this.

The last picture… you guessed it. Courtesy of my lovely little Therese.

And the song is “Boys Chase,” as performed by Ingrid Michaelson.

So yeah, these credits are boring, so just watch my video. It’s alright, I promise.

PS: Sorry I didn’t get this finished by Sunday at midnight, but late night Sunday in a dorm room is not the optimal time/place for a good wifi connection.

Namaste.

I’m a yogi!! (lol jk)

Wow… what an incredible journey. And I’m not being the least bit sarcastic.

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When I typed “journey” into Flickr, this was one of the first things that showed up and I was like, “That’s pretty neat. I’ll put that in.” (Photo CC by James Jordan)

When I began my passion-based learning project, I was pretty stoked to get back into yoga. In my mind, periods of my life when I was devoted to yoga correlate with times when I was notably happy, content, and sure of my direction in life, and I was craving a little bit of that jazz at the beginning of the semester. I was still pretty new here at Chadron, and just wanted to discover some sense of belonging, some sense that I was in the right place. It might seem a little strange to gain these feelings through practicing yoga, but my mind works in strange ways sometimes.

While I cannot contribute my successful semester solely to yoga, I think it had some small part in helping me feel comfortable at Chadron. On the days when I practiced yoga in the morning, I was more alert, more centered, and more apt to treating each day like a gift and being open to whatever or whoever I encountered that day. In addition, I think doing yoga gave me a little edge in my running, and helped me achieve some major PRs this season. (Along with, like, running a lot. That’s usually pretty important to being a better runner.)

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This could be me, doing yoga on the beach, but I live in Chadron. (Photo CC by Nathan Rupert)

I didn’t have any major issues with motivating myself to hit the mat, as I had already begun incorporating yoga into my life before I began this project. The hard part for me will be continuing to do yoga once it’s no longer a requirement for this class. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved doing yoga and I have made some great gains over the semester, but we all know that life gets busy. Some things get pushed to the side, and others get forgotten completely. This summer, I will be dealing with a pretty full schedule, what with working and getting all my workouts in for cross country. It makes me sad to think that I may end up slacking on my yoga practice, but sometimes that’s the way life goes. At least at some point in the future, I’ll probably get the urge to pick up the practice again, and undertake another wonderful yogic journey.

A lot of my dedication to yoga came from the YouTube instructor I chose, Yoga with Adriene. Adriene is funny, smart, and most of all, stresses practicing yoga in a way that makes YOU feel good, not in a way that looks impressive. I have to admit, I may have shed a little tear on the last day of my 30 day yoga challenge with Adriene, even though it’s pretty illogical because I can just start the challenge again sometime in the future (technology is wonderful in that way). I know that I haven’t ever met Adrienne, but I feel like she’s been a friend and motivator to me throughout this semester, and that if we ever meet in real life, we’ll hit it off.

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Just Adriene, giving you a yogic thumbs-up.

I can see myself using this passion-based learning project in my classroom, but with little modifications. Since I plan on being a science teacher, I can’t just let my students pursue anything they please, unless they’re clever and find a way to tie it into science somehow. Instead, I think I would give my students a wide range of scientific topics, from the use of stem cells to the ecological impacts of fracking, and let them do research into the matter. I’d let them form their own opinions about the topic, and at the end of the year, have them give a little presentation detailing what they learned and why the feel the way they do about it. In this way, my students would learn real-world applications of classroom lessons and have their minds broadened to how exciting our world can be.

I have a bittersweet feeling of sadness mixed with contentment about the end of this leg of my yoga journey. On one hand, I know that I can continue to grow and learn in yoga, and become an eventual yogi (lol probs not). On the other hand, I’ll miss this community of people we’ve built in the class, and the support we’ve given one another on our journeys. I’ve truly enjoyed learning about everyone’s passions, and seeing how we’ve all grown in our learning and teaching abilities. I’m so grateful we all got the opportunity to be in this class, and I hope you all have the best of luck in your future endeavors.

As for me, I’ll be running around, maybe doing a little yoga, and enjoying the journey of life without anticipating any preconceived destinations.

Namaste.

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Incorporating last week’s project… into this week’s blog! How clever Maggie!

Namaste… and Canva

I’ve got to admit, I love those “random motivational quote with a pretty background” pictures that pop up all over Facebook.

That’s why, when I learned that I had the option of making one this week for my project, I was like, yessssssssss.

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My little creation that could be used to introduce my blog series about yoga. So sunset. Very meaning. Much wow.

It wasn’t hard for me to decide what project to do this week, as I’m more of an artsy, hippie kind of girl than a quirky, creative comic book girl, but choosing Canva to create my masterpiece took some thought. In one of our previous modules, we were given the chance to explore some online tech tools, and one of the options I chose to peruse was Canva. The first time I interfaced with the site, I was a little confused by the purpose. What’s the point of creating a one-panel, non-interactive picture?

Plus, some of the options cost money, and I was like, nooooooooooo.

My second shot at using Canva was much more productive, as I now understand its purpose. Yes, no one is going to make literal masterpieces on the website, but it’s a good place to create cute little projects that serve to enhance a blog or advertise a business. Nothing revolutionary, but not all art has to be. Some art is fine with just existing, and making the world a more beautiful place without any effort.

Canva could be used in my future classroom as a sweet little addition to projects. Now, I know that visual appeal isn’t a major issue in a science project as much as correct information is, but I’ve always been the type that likes everything to be pretty. A science report could be prefaced with a Canva creation, or I could include one before presenting notes. I don’t quite see how this website could be used in a major way in my future classroom, but hey, creating a little more beauty in the world is a minor thing that could have major implications on the overall well being of the world. Plus, presenting information in an attractive visual format could help students retain information better, as they mentally tie a picture to a piece of knowledge. Who knows?

All I know is that Canva makes a little more beauty in the world, and a little more beauty can make a lot more difference.