Where Have I Been?

Hellloooooo everybody!

I do not know if anyone actually reads my blog posts, or if this post will matter to others, but I need to take the time to apologize.

A little over a year ago, I promised that I would upload a banjo progress video in a couple of months’ time. However, I did not do that, nor did I continue my banjo journey. Right after my last learning project post, several big life changes took place for me personally, as well as in my family. We have had a crazy year and, quite frankly, I was just too distracted to think about practicing an instrument.

Now, though, I am ready to get back on track. I am hoping to pick up my banjo again and, not just relearn what I knew, but keep improving and creating ways that I can use it as an educational tool.

Along with that, I want to start using this blog again. I did use it in the fall, to document my field placement, but I want to continue it as I complete my last BEAD course and move into my internship. If nothing else, it is a great place for me to reflect and it provides a source of inspiration as I look back at old posts and recognize the growth that I have had as a teacher.

Sooo…. all this to say that I am deeply sorry for not fulfilling my promise, BUT… I am back!

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Danica Fehr Production’s EDTC 300 Learning Project Tour!

Welcome to Danica Fehr Production’s EDTC 300 Learning Project Tour! I ask that you please turn the volume up as loud as you can and get cozy because you are in for a great show…

PART ONE: Amazing Grace and Country Roads

Intermission Podcast:


One of my EDTC goals was to create a podcast, something that I had never done before. I began by looking at this website to gain an understanding of how to do this. I then decided to make an account on the Anchor website. It has great reviews and did not cost anything to use, so I used it to practice recording a podcast. One of my favourite features of this website is that you can record directly from it, so you don’t need to upload pre-recorded files. Now, after this intermission, this particular podcast will not continue. I did, however, gain the necessary skills, during this experience, to start a podcast in the future.

PART TWO: Man of Constant Sorrow

Thank you, everybody, for coming out today! I’ve had a lot of fun and hope that you all enjoyed the show. Don’t forget to check out our FREE merchandise stand on your way out! You can take a look at a couple of custom items, from Danica Fehr Productions: EDTC 300 Learning Project Tour, absolutely free of charge! Take care!

ENCORE: 2 Versions of Brother John and Jesus Loves Meusing chords learned here!

Fan Quiz (TRY IT OUT!): https://danica839199.typeform.com/to/x475W5

I created the above quiz using typeform.com. It was really easy to create an account and did not demand a lot of information to get started. The website is really easy to use and includes many templates, options to customize, and options to connect with other apps. The only challenge that I faced was that I can not figure out if there is a way to add the correct answers to my quiz. Therefore, it looks as though you are answering correctly, regardless of which choice you click on. However, it is just for fun and I am not too concerned about that right now. I had a very positive experience with this online tool and will be using it again!

Free Merchandise Stand:

Danica Fehr Productions (A Chronological Summary) FREE TO VIEW https://www.canva.com/design/DADW7RetoeU/view

I created this storybook using canva.com and really enjoyed the experience. There are so many free images to use, templates, design options, text options, and customizing tools. It is also really easy to upload photos for your project. The only downside is that you need to pay to be able to share the link for your project. However, mine only cost $1.00, so it was worth it still.

Danica Fehr Productions (A Comic Strip Summary)- FREE TO VIEW https://Pixton.com/ic:bid4gl8e

I used pixton.com to create this comic strip and it was really fun! I only have the free trial right now, but I would definitely consider purchasing the paid version. I highly recommend checking out this online tool, whether you are looking to create comics for fun, or use it in the classroom.


My Next Steps:

-learn the full song Country Roads (I will probably need to purchase a lesson for this, as I was unable to find a free one)

-learn the Beverly Hillbillies Theme Song

-Post a progress video in a couple of months (maybe sooner- we will see how it goes)


With that, there is just one last EDTC 300 documentation goal that I haven’t yet fulfilled… Bitmoji!

Bitmoji Image

Credit: https://render.bitstrips.com/v2/cpanel/6ef96fa9-38f0-41da-94bf-4b19528fad4d-7e49f2b8-7d1e-45c0-bfe3-ad7a10a571ef-v1.png?transparent=1&palette=1


Tonight, I have decided to go back to an older post on my classmate’s blog, where she teaches her audience how to introduce ourselves in Cree.

Cree is one of the languages that I really want to learn because it is a widely present language in the area I live in and knowing it would benefit my students. According to my classmate’s video, there are 87,555 Cree Language speakers in Canada! It is definitely a language that I should learn at least the basics of!

I really appreciated this lesson and will show you what I have learned…

Basic Cree Introduction:

tansi _Danica_ nitisiyihkâson

(Hello my name is __Danica__)

êkwa __Love___ ohci niya

(and I am from __Love__)

This is another example of how we can use online tools, such as blogging, to learn from one another!

My Contribution to EDTC300

Let me start by saying that I can not believe it is the end of this course already! I have really enjoyed edtc300, and am a little bit sad that it has already come to an end.

Part of the reason that I have enjoyed the course so much, is that we have developed a strong community of learners within our class. Because of our online tools, we were able to collaborate with one another throughout each week and enhance each others’ learning.

I did my very best to contribute to this course, and have been successful in my role as a classmate who encourages others, shares resources, and enhances learning for others.

Here is a link to a google doc that includes all of my class contributions for the term. It is extremely long, so I will summarize it in this post for those of you who are not marking me and do not need to see all of my examples.

  1. I will start with WordPress. I tried to inspire others through my own blog posts, and made sure to engage in every conversation that resulted on my blog. Near the beginning of the term, I downloaded the WordPress app on my phone, which made it really easy to see when new posts were made on the blogs that I follow (which is every blog from our class list and some of the EDTC400 ones). Because of this, I commented on many posts every week and was able to contribute to most of my classmates’ learning in this way.

The only setback that I found was that some of the blogs, that did not use WordPress, did not always show up on my notifications and I was not able to engage in those posts as often. However, I went above and beyond every week in commenting on posts and I am very thankful that I did, because I learned a lot from my classmates’ experiences in this course. In fact, I ended up creating an extra category on my blog specifically for responding to others’ posts.

2. Twitter was also a great place for me to contribute to the course. I created my twitter account at the beginning of the term, and ended up enjoying it a lot throughout the course. I shared many resources, retweeted many classmates’ tweets, reached out to others for support (both for my own learning and many of my classmates’ learning), and participated in three Twitter chats throughout the term. Here is a link to my Twitter account, where you will see evidence of all of these contributions throughout the entire term.

3. Our weekly Zoom meetings were another place that I contributed to the learning of others. Evidence can be found in the #edtc300recordings channel in our Slack community, but I have regularly participated in the class Zoom chats since the beginning of the term. I often contribute to group discussions, breakout rooms, chat conversations, and class activities. I have attended every Zoom chat this term and have participated each week.

4. Last, but certainly not least, I should mention the Slack community. I used this resource to encourage others, share resources, ask questions, and contribute to others’ learning frequently throughout the term. Here are a few examples of my contributions on this platform:

January 6th: I shared this resource, on the #resourcesharing channel, that outlines some professional development websites for teachers: https://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/07/the-13-must-know-professional.html

February 15th: I shared this guide in the #resourcesharing channel on Slack, to help others create their teaching philosophy: https://owlcitation.com/academia/Philosophy-of-Teaching-Statement-Template-and-Samples

April 8th: Screencast (shared on Slack in the #resourcesharing channel) that I made explaining how to find previous comments on WordPress (to help others’ with their contribution to learning post): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuCwGLtrumQ

Overall, I gained a lot of insight from my EDTC300 classmates, and I hope that I was able to provide the same type of learning support for them. I tried my best to contribute in every way that I could and enjoyed all aspects of this course.

Thanks for reading!


Creating a Tune with Powtoon!

Hey everyone!

It is with much excitement, anticipation, and nervousness, that I present to you…

This was my first Powtoon creation, and it was really fun! I highly recommend giving it a try. Powtoon has a lot of text, image, and sound options. It also allows you to add voiceovers, which is how I added my banjo playing to the ‘picking a tune’ slide. Once your project is complete, you have the option of saving it as a slideshow or a movie and it can be uploaded to Youtube quite easily. Overall, my experience with Powtoon was absolutely positive!

Here is a video of my completed song:

Here are the lyrics, in case you can’t hear me over my very loud banjo!

You used to play

and sing to me.

Now let me play

and sing to you.

By God’s grace

you’re safe at last.


Grandpa, I miss you so

but I have faith

that you are truly healed.

The day will come at last

when I will be there too.

Until that time

just know that I love you.


So now you see

His mercies are so real.

I have come to know

true joy at last.

And through these notes

your joy lives on.


Grandpa, I miss you so

but I have faith

that you are truly healed.

The day will come at last

when I will be with you.

Until that time

just know that I love you.

Just know that I love you.


Contemplating, Constructing, and Coding

CODING? … I was quite intimidated when I found out that we were going to be exploring this skill in class. My first reaction was fear, and I thought I have no idea what coding is… how am I going to learn to do it? 

Photo Credit: JoanDragonfly Flickr via Compfight cc

Once we were shown this website though, I realized that I have explored some coding before. During my Bachelor of Arts degree, I took an introductory computer science class and learned the basics of coding. Did I remember any of it? Not at all!

During class, we were given a few minutes to explore some coding activities. I played around with this activity, made by Scratch. I wasn’t able to accomplish much in this time, but some of my confidence returned and I was ready to learn again!

Leaving class with an excitement to learn something new, I was ready to explore this skill to the best of my ability. It was time to get started…

Photo Credit: chrisinplymouth Flickr via Compfight cc

My first steps in the world of coding:

  1. I started by watching this video, which outlines some major benefits of coding, as well as encourages everyone to learn how to code. It assured me that I “do not need to be a genius to code.
  2. I decided that I needed a better understanding of the benefits of coding for students, so I explored this article. They highlight 8 reasons for learning this skill, including: “We all want our children to become excellent problem solvers so that they can overcome any adversity they face. Learning to code gives children the chance to learn this type of skill while they are young and it can help them along the way in life.”
  3. Now it was time for some self-reflection. I realized that I am all for teaching coding in the classroom. It has so many benefits and can be tied into so many curriculum outcomes!
  4. I took a deep breath and began my exploration…
    Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds Flickr via Compfightcc
  5. I began with choosing an activity from code.org and beginning my first project. You can view the beginning of my learning here. Because the free version of Screencastify times out after 10 minutes, I had to continue my video here.
  6. One of the challenges that I came across was actually using Screencastify to record my learning. Because I chose to code something that includes music, the sounds that my computer makes are crucial to the project. I noticed, after downloading my videos, that you can only hear my voice and not the sounds from my computer speakers. I apologize for that. However, you can still watch to learn how I put the code together and my process in creating the project.
  7. Reviewing my first coding project: see the final product here! Unfortunately, my confidence in adding computer sound to my screencast was short-lived, as none of the instructions that I found actually worked. If any of you know how to add your computer’s sound to a screencast, PLEASE LET ME KNOW! Anyways… you can still see my progress so far, and watch the visual effects that I added to my code.

Overall, I have really enjoyed my first attempts at coding. I think that it is a great skill to have and can be taught from a young age. It helps people:

a) Think Critically: Going through activities like the Hour of Code Activities requires students to determine their own approach to a certain project, and encourages critical thought as they try to put together a code that will carry out their desired actions. Social Studies, Health, ELA, and Science classes definitely require critical thinking, so why not practice with coding?

b) Problem Solve: What happens when your code does not do what you want it to do? You work backward to solve the issue! This is beginning to sound a lot like Math class, isn’t it?

c) Be Creative: Students are given countless options when they practice coding. They can create a huge variety of projects, making coding a good practice tool for PAA and Arts Ed!

d) Develop Sentence Structure: There are certain elements that a sentence needs, in order for it to make sense. Guess what… the same is true in coding! Teaching your students to code may actually make them better writers. This makes me especially happy as an ELA enthusiast!

e) Piece Together Puzzles: By building codes themselves, students are able to practice puzzle building techniques that could help them in many subject areas, including Math and Science.

I would love to teach coding in my middle year’s classroom one day. For now, I should probably keep practicing! Let me know what you think about adding coding to a grade seven classroom.



Let’s Become Literate in Digital Content!

Teaching students digital literacy is extremely important to me. My desire is to teach middle years students, more specifically grade seven students; which will most likely mean teaching all of the core subjects. For the purpose of my post, I will focus on my main teaching area, which is English Language Arts.

Now… I can only imagine your curiosity as to what my point is in this write up. Allow me to take you through the six main goals of the NCTE Framework and explain to you how digital literacy can be incorporated into a middle years program. Do you know what the best part is? We can educate grade seven students on digital literacy AND meet ELA curriculum outcomes simultaneously!

So… please let go of your doubts and fears about teaching digital literacy in your classroom, and follow along as I explore some great possibilities!

NCTE Framework Goal 1: “Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology”

Possible Activity: Have students explore a variety of technological tools during ELA activities. This should be ongoing throughout the school year. For example, SweetSearch could be used as a tool for reading during an assignment that requires literature on a specific topic related to news.

How it helps develop digital literacy: The more familiar we are with technology, and more specifically literary sources, the easier it will be to decipher fake news.

Curriculum Outcome: CR7.1

“View, listen to, read, comprehend, and respond to a variety of texts that address identity (e.g., Thinking for Oneself), social responsibility (e.g., Participating and Giving Our Personal Best), and efficacy (e.g., Doing Our Part for Planet Earth).”

NCTE Framework Goal 2: “Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought”
Possible Activity: Bring in guest speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures, languages, and social positions to tell the students stories. Follow up by allowing students to ask questions and engage in conversation with each speaker before allowing time for the students to research similar stories, backgrounds, etc. using technology. These activities could be pulled together in a lesson on biases, and why all perspectives matter. The kids could use an online media bias chart, or something similar, to identify biases in literary works together.

How it helps develop digital literacy: EdCan network states that if we “Teach students to identify bias using tools like a media bias chart, which provides a starting point for them to understand that all sources come from a particular perspective,” we will help students identify fake news and become critical readers of the world around them.”

Curriculum Outcome(s):CR7.5

“Listen critically to understand and analyze oral information and ideas from a wide range of texts (e.g., complex instructions, oral explanations and reports, opinions or viewpoints, messages presented in the media).”

NCTE Framework Goal 3: “Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes”

Possible Activity: Create a multimedia presentation, as a class, that is well-informed and ready to share outside of the classroom. Be sure that the presentation addresses a topic of concern and uses critical thinking to construct a reasonable solution for said concern.

How it helps develop digital literacy: Again, practicing online research will help develop digital literacy. This would also be a good segway into a lesson on the importance of sharing carefully on social media. This will be worth sharing and is a great example of the type of content students should strive for on their social media accounts.

Curriculum Outcome(s):CC7.5

NCTE Framework Goal 4: “Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information”

Possible Activity: Have students gather information from several different sources, before compiling it into a written piece of their own.

How it helps develop digital literacy: Students can practice “reading laterally, which involves cross-referencing a variety of websites rather than digging further into the website at hand.”

Curriculum Outcome(s):CC7.2

NCTE Framework Goal 5: “Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts”

Possible Activity: Have students use the factitious quiz to practice their own digital literacy.

How it helps develop digital literacy: The more we practice digital literacy and critical thinking, the more instinctive it becomes.

Curriculum Outcome(s):CR7.4

NCTE Framework Goal 6: “Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments”

Guiding question: “Do students create products that are both informative and ethical?

Possible Activity: Have students analyze online resources that support a topic of their choice. Encourage students to pick a topic that they are passionate about. Provide time for students to compile their research, as well as their own ideas, into an oral presentation for the class.

How it helps develop digital literacy: The students will practice using digital literacy skills to gain insight on a topic that is important to them (be sure that it is also a topic that is ethical before they begin research).

Curriculum Outcome(s):CC7.6

Well… I hope you this was helpful or inspirational in some way for you. There are so many great tools available at our fingertips and digital literacy can be incorporated into many curriculum outcomes for grade seven. Without even looking past English Language Arts, I was able to come up with ideas for all six goals in the NCTE Framework.
Let’s all do our part to promote digital literacy in the classroom, in order to help our students stay well informed and ready to share quality ideas!
What are your thoughts and ideas on teaching digital literacy in grade seven? Let me know!

You Can do it Too… I Believe in You!

Most of you know by now that I have been learning the banjo. You also probably know that I have been practicing the song Amazing Grace.

Now it is your turn!

I have created a video to teach all of you how you can enjoy playing this wonderful song too!

If you have a banjo in your closet collecting dust… go get it! Take it out. Dust it off. Tune it if you need to and then join me as we learn Amazing Grace together!

Now that you have had a chance to learn a song, keep practicing! You do not want to lose the knowledge that you just gained. However, you can revisit this video as many times as you need to.

Have fun strumming!

P.S. I apologize that this is being posted today after I told you it would be up last night. Uploading my video to Youtube has taken many hours this time.

Can you Hear the Difference?

Good morning!

I just had to write this post and let you all know (and hear for yourselves) that I have FINALLY TUNED MY BANJO!

With the help of my husband and this video, these strings are ready for more strumming!

Can you hear the difference? Are your ears hurting a little less now? I know I can!

It was really fun to tune my banjo because neither my husband or I have ever tuned an instrument by ear before. It was awesome to learn a new skill and even more awesome to play Amazing Grace and Country Roads, AND be able to recognize them!

I would love to hear about your tuning experiences as well. Please feel free to answer my poll and leave a comment with advice, wisdom, or a funny story!