How Learning Hair has Changed My Life

For those of you that have not been following, for my learning project I decided to learn a variety of hairstyles to do on myself. I chose this skill to learn because (A) I knew that there were tons of online resources for it and (B) it was never something I could master on my own so decided to take advantage of having the opportunity to finally learn it through online resources. The hairstyles I learned were:

  1. The classic French Braid
  2. The French Braid Headband
  3. The sock bun
  4. The Mohawk-French Braid
The other weekend when I did the sock bun for my friend's 19th birthday

The other weekend I did a sock bun in my hair for my friend’s 19th birthday

The most challenging piece I learned was the mohawk french braid, but it is also the one that I am most proud of. I think it is important when learning something new to set goals that are attainable but also challenging. If something does not challenge you it is hard to grow and move on to bigger, more complex tasks. The hairstyle that I have done to most since I initially learned it is the sock bun. I love the look of this hairstyle and I feel I have it mastered so I am really confident when I wear it. I think the style I will not continue in the future is the headband french braid. This is because I was least happy with the result, and I think that it is a tad outdated for how poor mine turnout.

Regardless of how successful each hairstyle turned out there are a few specific skills and pointers I have taken away for myself. I have been able to apply these to all hair styles no matter how simple or complex they may be:

  • Brushing my hair and getting out all of the knots always helps
  • If I am learning from tutorials:
    • Videos are more beneficial than written directions for me
    • I cannot rely on my hair to act & look the exact same as the person from the tutorial
  • My hair is easier to work with a day after washing it rather than the day of; it is too soft the day of and often comes out loose and sloppy
  • Having hair products and accesories such as the teasing powder I used for the mohawk braid and the donut I used for the sock bun are worth the purchase

Recently I read an article that talks about three specific apps students can turn to when they need to learn how to do something. I wish I had read this three months ago, because before this project I never thought that using things like Youtube and Wikihow to learn things would be so beneficial. As a teacher I look forward to encocuraging my students to turn to these and other resources when they are faced with problems or need to learn a new skill.


In a Better World // Digital Storytelling

Storytelling is something that has existed for generations. The stories of the Greek Gods and Goddesses are still taught in school today, along with many Indigenous peoples’ stories. Today many people use the internet to share their story through blogs, Facebook, Instagram, and other social medias. When we first talked about digital storytelling in my online class, I kept thinking of Humans of New York, which is another way of sharing your story through the internet. Along with giving someone a voice, digital storytelling can also go hand in hand with learning; whether it’s demonstrating your learning through a story, or creating your own story for an English class.

As an introduction to digital storytelling, I had to create my own story using Five Card Flickr. I was given five random pictures that I then had to create a story about. Here it is:

Five Card Story: In a Better World

a Five Card Flickr story created by Alex Taylor

flickr photo by Intrepidteacher

flickr photo by Serenae

flickr photo by bionicteaching

flickr photo by bionicteaching

flickr photo by bionicteaching

Every Sunday I take my normal seat in the fourth pew just off to the left in front of the choir, and I pray. This is my safe haven, where I go to reflect and also to escape. As the choir sings its final hymn I put my coat on leave. As I leave the church, there is some sort of protest happening. More people unhappy with the government I suppose. I walk past them with no desire to learn more about their cause and head to what has been my home for about two weeks now. The last ally I was taking residence in was raided and trashed by the police, so I had to relocate. I try to fall asleep to avoid the growing ache for food in my stomach. I dream about water, and how long it’s been since I have been able to take a hot bath. I suddenly wake up to yelling. It’s another raid. The city police doing their diligent duty of cleaning up the streets I suppose. I grab the few possessions I have managed to keep and walk back to the church. The lock on the door tells me they have already closed it for the day. With nothing else to distract me, I decide to grab a donut and coffee with the little money I have. As I sip on my coffee I can’t help but to think of a better world.

There is no such thing as the “innocent” bystander

In school, children learn about bullies and are taught about the different aspects of bullying. There is the bully, the victim, and the bystander. Learning about social media and its relation to social justice, I have been thinking a lot about bullying and the how the role of the bystander is just as significant as the bully. When I see people using Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram to post unjustified remarks towards a specific group of people is it my responsibility to reply? Do I use my voice to stand up for those whose voices are silenced? Am I a bystander if I do not use social media to expose the injustices in the world?

All of these questions ran through my mind when I clicked on a tweet and made the regretful decision to scroll through the replies. The tweet was a link to an article by CBC’s Rosemary Barton about how Canada’s plan to let refugees into Canada will be limited to women, families, and children. I was shocked and dismayed to see all of the hateful replies this news article received. On one hand, I wanted to reply to every single tweet I saw but on the other hand, a part of me knew that if someone could tweet such hateful and ignorant words to begin with, my one reply would not get through to them. I concluded that by not doing anything I would be a bystander to the bullying that was happening so I did tweet. In my tweet, I stated my support and included #refugeeswelcome in hopes that even just one person would see it, explore the hashtag, and be a bit more enlightened.

As a pre-service teacher, I am starting to learn what it means to be an educator. My students will constantly be learning from my actions, and what I choose to teach and discuss is what they will deem important. By staying silent about injustices in the world I am telling my students that they don’t matter, and this goes above and beyond the classroom. My professor, Katia Hildebrandt, summed this up perfectly in a blog post titled “Edtech…for social justice?:

If we are online, as educators, and we remain silent about issues of social justice, if we tweet only about educational resources and not about the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report in Canada, or about the burning of Black churches in the southern United States, we are sending a clear message: These issues are not important”

So I guess going back to the bullying comparison I ask: As teachers if we are idly using our social media for personal use are we any better than the bystanders on the playground?

If it is our responsibility to teach students not to be a bystander than it is also our responsibility not to be that bystander.

The Votes Are In

You guys voted, and the votes are in. It was between two french braids (“boxer braids”) or a french braid that looks like a mohawk; the majority voted for the mohawk. I must admit that I was hoping for the boxer braids because I have already done a french braid and thought two side-by-side braids would be less complex than the mohawk style. I will still do the side by side braids because there are different skills to be learned with that hairstyle. Here is the video of me doing the Mohawk braid.

I apologize for the abrupt end to the video, I had to go grab a hair elastic because I forgot to grab one before I started. I wanted to also add that the reason I record the hairstyles is because in addition to sharing the videos, I also like to look back on the video and review what I do with my hands and the parts I struggle with. Before I did this braid I reviewed the video of me doing my very first french braid.

What I took away from this style was that volumizing powder really helps to stiffen and control the hair; at the beginning of the video I am running the powder through my hair.

The volumizing powder I used

The volumizing powder I used

At first, I tried doing it without powder and just backcombing for volume but I found that backcombing made my hair very knotted. I have found that using tutorials is great, but I will always need to modify steps to what suits my hair and what I am capable of. For example, a Missy Sue tutorial I watched said to separate off the bottom half of the hair you are not including in the “mohawk”. I did not do this because I found my hair too thin to do that, and it also restricted me to which hair I could use which led to a lot of frustration. I also decided to watch a video on how to do this hairstyle on another person (the video used a mannequin). This video suggests backcombing which, as I already mentioned, did not work for me and the tutorial also separates the hair into sections like the first linked video. I did like that this video was gave me a new perspective. Up until this point, I have only been watching videos of people showing how to do hairstyles on themselves, but seeing someone work on another person gave me a better understanding of how to position my hands.

I completed this hairstyle with a half up messy bun. I was so happy with how it turned out that I did it again a few days later for work!

My next challenge: Boxer Braids

Actually, Scratch That.

My first time coding was a frustrating but rewarding experience. Before writing this blog post, I read the article “What is coding and why should I care?”. The article talks about how parents often think their kids or even themselves know everything there is to know about technology. Even I was guilty of thinking that I could use my computer to its full potential. My confidence was soon shut down the moment I made my own account on the coding website, Scratch.

The frustration soon set in when I couldn’t even remove the default Sprite (computer graphic that can be manipulated) the website provides.

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 8.40.31 PM

My archnemesis a.k.a the default sprite

I would like to tell you that I was able to, through trial and error, become an expert coder; unfortunately, that is not what happened. I did, however, create a semi-mediocre pong game. I created this game with help from a step-by-step tutorial the website had. The tutorial was definitely helpful with getting me started, but I modified some if the steps they along the way so that it was, in my opinion, easier to play. Instead of starting the game by clicking the green flag, I decided to start the game with the spacebar because that way you could have your mouse in the right position to control the paddle. I also modified the paddle. Originally it would move anywhere your mouse went, but I decided to lock it to a y-coordinate so that the paddle would only move horizontally. Additionally, I went with a basketball theme simply because that is my favourite sport to play.


This experience has really opened my eyes to the importance of teaching coding in school. I wish that I had been taught these skills in school instead of having to learn them now on my own. The use of technology is only becoming more prominent in everyday life which means more and more people will need to know how to program it. Ideally, this will be something everyone can eventually do instead of just experts. What would life be like if we didn’t have people that know how to code and make our phones, tablets, and computers do everything we need them to?




There’s a SOCK in your hair?!

In case you missed the link in my French Braid Headband post here is my attempt (and success!) at the sock bun:

I am proud to say the sock bun has been my biggest success so far. My only regret would be trying this out before bed; because of how good it turned out, I would have liked to wear it like that for a whole day! For this hairstyle, I learned that you can actually buy something called a “hair donut” instead of cutting up your socks.

The wonderful hair donut

The wonderful hair donut

I did find a few useful resources such as a Wikihow tutorial, a Youtube video, and a website that gave a step-by-step tutorial; however, I also consulted with my sister because she has done this hairstyle on herself many times. The most beneficial out of the online resources was probably the Wiki because it had written steps as well as videos for each step, so it was like the other two resources combined. The least helpful was the website because I do not have the same type of hair as the girl in the tutorial, I found the tips to be vague, and the end result in this tutorial was messier than I wanted my final result to be. Although all the online resources I looked at used actual socks I still decided to buy the donut-shaped hair piece because my sister, who is quite familiar with this hairstyle, told me that it would make it more secure. Altogether I was really happy with my end result and I look forward to trying this over the holiday season!

Let me know what you think in the comments. Also, last chance to have your input on what hairstyle I learn next because I will be learning it over the weekend!

Educating and Empowering: The SK Curriculum and the Digital Citizenship Continuum

Before I get into the thick stuff of this blog post here is a quick introduction into Digital Citizenship.

The digital citizenship continuum has outcomes to help guide and support teachers when they are adding skills and concepts about different parts of the digital world. It is important that teachers understand that digital citizenship is about much more than social media which is why I added that short video. Today I am going to talk about ideas of how to incorporate the continuum into the Sask. Curriculum. More specifically, ideas for high school curriculums since I am studying secondary education at the University of Regina. It is important to educate student’s about digital citizenship because the Internet and social media is becoming more prominent in today’s society.

Although digital citizenship should be worked into the elementary curriculum, the variety of high school courses student’s have the option to take, offers many opportunities to work the continuum into the different curriculums. English Language Arts A10 focuses solely on identity, social responsibility, and social action. Students are to read/listen to/view and then respond to different First Nations and Métis resources. This falls under the digital literacy section of the continuum that states that students grade 10-12 should understand that there are tools online they can use when doing research and should know when these resources are valid and appropriate to use. Students in ELA A10 could find resources (articles, blogs, videos) online to respond to.

Something to think about when deciding what to share on a portfolio, and to share on social media in general

In grade 9 Health Education, outcome USC9.4 talks about romantic relationships and part of the outcome indicates that students compare how romantic relationships started in the past and how they start now. Today many relationships begin through different online websites and apps such as Tinder, Lifemates, eHarmony, etc. The digital communication section of the continuum specifies that grade nine students are to properly and appropriately use social media and understand how digital communication impacts relationships. Students in Health Education can reflect on the different forms of social media and how they have played positive and negative roles in today’s society of dating. They can also create an online portfolio in the form of a blog or on a Google.doc of themselves and learn what information is appropriate to share in their portfolio, and what is oversharing or irrelevant.

Another subject that’s curriculum directly connects to the continuum is Social Studies 9. Outcome RW9.3 specifies that grade nine students compare the influence of tools and technology from one society to another, as well as understand that present technology is influenced from past technology. Digital access in the continuum states that grade nines understand that technology will play an important role in their future and that they must be able to analyze another society’s opportunity to participate an electronic society. A lesson can be taught about past technologies and student’s can create a timeline of a certain technology that has evolved over time (ie. computer) and state the effect it has on the presence and will have in the future. Student’s can also compare technologies in different countries or societies, and research how access to technology has improved society’s.

What do you think is the best way to incorporate the continuum into the curriculum is?