Road Trip Crochet and Creating a Cheat Sheet and Video

Before I move on to learning the language of crochet and diving into creating something from a pattern, I thought I would take some advice from other crocheter’s and learn a few more stitches. I decided to learn the half-double crochet, the all important double crochet, and the somewhat frustrating triple crochet. I tried learning the stitches from reading the whoot, but I was struggling quickly and losing confidence. I also realizes I had forgotten some of the basics that I learned previously so I went back to my first attempt blog post and refreshed my memory on what I had learned. And then it dawned on me that I should write down and record a cheat sheet that I could quickly turn to, to help me easily understand. So when I do start doing a project from a pattern and it calls for a triple crochet stitch I can easily read my cheat sheet or watch my video.

I was on a road trip to my friends house two and a half hours away with my family and I thought what better time than now to learn my new stitches and create a cheat sheet. As I mentioned I was getting frustrated with the whoot on my mobile device so I turned to a video produced by the same person that I was able to learn from the first time. This video was titled how to crochet for absolute beginners part 2. Using this video I was able to complete the half double crochet, the double crochet, and the triple crochet. I understand this cheat might not make sense for everyone but ultimately this is for me to reflect on and look at in the future if I forget how to do something.


  • slip knot – yarn over (hook under, turn, then pull through) – continue with chain


  • Insert hook into the second chain – yarn over – pull back out – yarn over – pull through both loops

Half Double Crochet

  • at end of chain yarn over – put hook into the third hole – yarn over – pull back out – yarn over – and then pull through each of the three loops

Double Crochet

  • At end of chain, chain three – yarn over – insert into first before the three – yarn over – pull back out (should have three loops) – yarn over – pull through two loops – yarn over – pull through last two loops.

Triple Crochet 

  • Chain four, yarn over TWICE – so it looks like there is three loops – insert into stitch – yarn over – pull out (should have four loops on hook) – yarn over and pull through the first two loops – yarn over – pull through next two – yarn over and pull through last two.

Here is my progress on the trip:

… and here is a video after my trip showing how to do each of the stitches I have learnt so far.



Socrative Review: An Online Assessment App for Teachers and Students

What is Socrative?

Socrative is a free online application that teachers can use to assess students learning in real-time using quizzes, engage students in learning activities using spaceraces, or allow students to reflect on what they have learned through exit tickets. Socrative is not only an engaging tool for students to use and learn as they answer questions but is also an advanced statistical tool for educators to track and assess students in real-time and over time.

The tool is free for K-12 educators and only requires an email address to sign-up. Socrative can be used on computer browsers or can be downloaded as an application for your mobile devices. When logging in online there is an icon for teacher login and a separate login icon for students. For teachers, you either create an account using your email address or conveniently sign-up using your Google account. For mobile users, there are two available apps, one for teachers and one for students and can be easily found by searching socrative in your app search.

How it Works

To understand all of the options of this app and how to use them in your classroom check out this teacher training video site by Russel Stannard. In his first video, he quickly goes through the basics of socrative and you can get going using this app in no time.

In his second video, he addresses the more advanced features of socrative that teachers can use to track and assess students learning, create various reports, and track statistical measurements of quizzes over time. He also addresses how to create and use spaceraces as well as the exit ticket functions.

Creating a quiz is as easy as clicking the quizzes tab and selecting the add new quiz button. As a teacher, you can create quizzes that are multiple choice, true or false, short answer, or a combination of all three. The program allows you to simply type questions, choices, and answers directly into the program and select the correct answer (M/C) or (T/F) or keywords for short answer questions. The most important feature of this program is that there is a spot for an explanation of the answer so that students can get instant feedback and additional information after they answer the question.

Once the quiz is created the teacher simply clicks on the launch tab on the top of the page, and then selects quiz, spacerace, or exit ticket. From there the application is extremely easy to use and guides the teacher through a few option for delivery (instant feedback, open navigation, teacher paced) and additional settings (see below).

For students, they simply open their app, or login online, and they will be asked to enter the room name (the name at the top middle of the teacher’s screen and if you scroll through the pictures you will notice mine says: BRINKLOW). Students then enter their name and then they can answer the questions.

For teachers, they can see all of the students working on their quiz, their answers, and their overall achievement.



There are many other options such as the spacerace, and exit ticket that I have not reviewed in this post, as well as the options to create reports. However, this app shows great potential for teachers to use this tool in a variety of ways in the classroom. With respect to the SAMR model for technology integration in the classroom, I believe this technology would fall under the modification category. I think this application could be used effectively in the classroom for great formative assessments. This application would be a great tool to get instant feedback from your learners while reducing the amount of time required for teachers to create, correct and record assessments. I would be hesitant to use this tool as a summative assessment tool but it could easily be used to do so.

What I liked: 

  • Free, quick, and easy to create an account
  • Simple instructions for students to participate
  • The simplicity of the main page
  • Options for delivery method (instant feedback, open navigation, teacher paced)
  • Recordable data for formative student progress and learning
  • Instant feedback for students when answering
  • Customize types of questions
  • Use of exit tickets for formative assessment
  • Spacerace for competition

What I didn’t like:

  • I like the fact that you can share your quiz but I don’t like that you can’t search a public community of quizzes (but I did find this Google doc of quizzes)
  • Short answer questions can be difficult for an answer key. (Must put in variations of answers)
  • The quick question feature is a bit deceiving but is intended for an oral question from the teacher and the student’s answer


Using Technology in a Meaningful Way in the Classroom

Photo Credit: eltpics Flickr via Compfight cc

An interesting discussion took place during our Tuesday night ECMP355 class. The discussion focused around using technology in the classroom in a meaningful way. That is, are we learning to use the technology, or are we learning by using the technology? Using technology in a meaningful way is one of the major reasons I wanted to take this course. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I find myself using technology in the classroom in a less than meaningful way. Am I using technology inappropriately? Are there times when I am using technology in a meaningful way? Can I improve how I use technology? How can I start using technology in a way that is going to help my students succeed? All of these questions filled my brain as I began reflecting on how my teachers used technology when I was in school and how I am currently using technology in my classroom. Just because I am using modern technology such as SMART boards, computers, projectors, iPads, Etc. am I doing anything different from my “old school” teacher using the old fashion overhead projector and transparency sheets? As I reflected on my teaching I was hoping I wasn’t the teacher using overheads with notes for students to mindlessly copy off the board. I must admit that there are times when I use technology such as the SMART Board for nothing more than a fancy white board, but for the most part, when I use technology in the class it does have a purpose.

Photo Credit: katiahildebrandt Flickr via Compfight cc

In class, our instructor Katia expanded on the SAMR model for using technology in the classroom. This model was first introduced to me and many of my classmates through the #saskedchat on twitter. As you can see from the picture to the left the SAMR model is an acronym for substitution, augmentation, modification, redefinition. The idea behind the SAMR model is to allow teachers to use technology in their lessons in a way that will promote higher level thinking. Kathy Schrock’s review of the SAMR model highlights examples of technology for each category. Obviously as an educator I want to make sure that I am challenging my students enough to stimulate higher order cognitive thinking. Therefore by using technology that falls within the redefinition and modification categories will help achieve higher level thinking.

So as I continue to reflect on my own use of technology in the classroom as an educator I realize that I have been using technology that falls into all four categories. For example I realize that I use the smart board and computer for notes in some situations but then use it to perform dissections, various surgeries, and utilize many online applications using the computer and SMART board in other situations. I know I could ramble on about all the ways that I use technology in various situations that support all levels but that is not the point of my post. I feel that this model will help me be more aware in planning future lessons and infusing technology in a way that will be beneficial for my students.

First attempt at Crochet!

To start my learning project I received a helpful gift from a friend of mine who leant me a crochet needle and a small ball of yarn. Being able to start learning a new skill with vary few materials is one of the reasons I chose this task. I am intrigued by the creations that can be made with so few tools and materials.

Like any new task I though the best way to learn something new would be to fire up the search engine google and find some good websites and videos to teach myself. I soon found a lot of websites and videos on the internet that explain all the terminology, various types of stitches, how to select the right yarn, selecting the right needle, etc. The information went on, and on. However, for me, I needed to jump right in and try my hand at something basic. I used this great blog on How to Crochet for Beginners, and this simple How to Crochet for Absolute Beginners video I found on youtube.

My hope was that I could pickup some of the basics of crocheting while not getting overwhelmed by all of the information and trying to be a master of crochet without actually trying it first. Secondly, I wanted to have some success at first so that I would be motivated to learn more as I began to learn the basics.

Although it took me longer than I expected, and many failed attempts I was able to have some success and crochet a small square patch. I learned how to hold the yarn and needle, create a slip knot, and crochet a single crochet to create a 10 x 10 patch. Below is a video of my progress:

I should also add that this was also my first experience creating/editing a video using iMovie and my first video upload to Youtube! (It’s like doing multiple learning projects in one)

I might not be a master crochet artist at this point in my learning process, but I am definitely calling this attempt a success. Stay tuned to see what I can do next!

Expanding my PLN Horizons using Twitter!

Katia Hildebrandt introduced our ECMP355 class to the #saskedchat on twitter using this awesome twitter tool known as TweetDeck. #Saskedchat was a great way to network with other educators and teachers not only from Saskatchewan but from around the World. I soon started exploring other educational chats on Twitter that were sent to me from one of the contributors on #saskedchat. Within a few seconds I joined another education chat on Twitter known as #ditchbook that caught my eye. These educators were discussing hyperdocs. Although I am no expert on hyperdocs or how I can use them, the idea peaked my curiosity and I began exploring. Here is a link that explains what they are. Essentially hyperdocs are an interactive google doc or slide deck that helps students learn! I instantly found myself clicking all kinds of links to hyperdocs that members of the chat posted and found some great resources. I also stumbled upon a teacher resource sharing site that is a great site for finding resources and sharing your own resources with other educators, and the best part, it’s free!

Wow! I cannot believe the potential that twitter has for growing your PLN and I know I am only scratching the surface with Twitter.

Searching for Blogs

As I have previously mentioned, blogging has always been my nemesis, but to get better at blogging while networking with other professional educators it doesn’t hurt to search and read other blogs. But where does one look for blogs? Great question. If Katia had not introduced me to the great news aggregator application website Feedly, than I would be still searching Google for blogs. Feedly allows you to search various keywords and follow various blogs, people, or websites. Once you follow various blogs, people, or websites their posts populate a news feed in much the same way that various social media platforms do. The news feed is a great way to search through many blogs to find relevant information.

I dove right in and started searching many keywords that would relate to teaching, technology, and my subject areas. I soon created five categories (education, current science news, general science, math, and DIY) to organize the blogs I was following. In total I followed 21 blogs and sites. I might need to scale this back in the future, but for now I am happy with the variety of content.

One source that I have already found to be helpful and relevant is Nature – Issue. They post multiple stories per week that are relevant to secondary school science students and educators and of course curious minded people. These stories allow educators to implement current new stories into their lessons to peak the interest of their student’s minds. I think it is important to demonstrate to students that science and technology are constantly evolving and changing and that it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest experiments and discoveries.

Of course Nature – Issue is not the only source that provides similar information. There are other sources that have great information and resources for educators and I am sure I am only scratching the surface of the power of Feedly.

Stay tuned for more revelations.

Doesn’t EVERYONE know how to crochet?

Photo Credit: Angela D Beck Flickr via Compfight cc

Not me!

This may seem odd, but I have always wanted to learn how to make clothing items, or household items with yarn through knitting, or crocheting or any method that would work effectively. People that know me well, know that I would rather build or fix things myself instead of buying or paying someone else to do it for me. Some of my friends think I am just frugal but in reality I just like the satisfaction of saying to someone, “Ya I built that” or “Yep I did that all by myself”. This is evident when I set out to build a custom truck from the ground up with no custom manufacturing skills that I now use as a drag racing vehicle. Therefore, I am definitely a kinaesthetic learner with a deterministic attitude. This brings me back to the reason I am choosing crocheting.

A few years ago I tried to learn basic knitting and needless to say I wasn’t good at all and my so called scarf was a disaster. Therefore, my skills entering this adventure are definitely on the low end of the crocheting spectrum. I will be posting a video shortly to showcase my current skills and my progress on my first task.

My first task will be buying the material and needles needed to begin my project, followed by researching the basics of crocheting and determining my first design to create. My goal is to start off with something simple like a facecloth, but my ultimate goal is to crochet a pair of baby shoes and toque for mine and my wife’s future second child.

Something like this…

Stay Calm and Get your Learn On: New Technology and Blogging Here I Go!

 Photo Credit: coreeducation Flickr via Compfight cc

My name is Darren Brinklow and I am a High School Teacher at Radville Regional High School which is part of South East Cornerstone School Division in Southeast Saskatchewan. I am predominately a senior science and math teacher, but also teacher other courses such as practical and applied arts and physical education. I am currently in my fourth year of teaching and enjoy incorporating technology in my lessons whenever possible. Incorporating technology to improve learning while engaging students in meaningful learning is important with all of the distractions that students face on a daily basis.

For me I have always been interested in technology and have never been afraid to explore new technology. Although I admit, technology has frustrated me many times I never seem to let that frustration get in the way of my goal of learning about the new technology. My classroom is not the most tech heavy course in the World, however I include many forms of technology in my classroom from smartboards, handheld electronics, to various websites applications such as components of Google (drives, docs, slides…), OneNote, Prezi, IXL, survey monkey, kahoot etc.  I have even ventured into the fun teaching experience that is a flipped classroom.

Although I have embraced technology to some degree throughout my teaching experience not all things technology have been fun or easy. I will admit setting up a blog and blogging has always frustrated me as I could never figure out how to create a blog correctly and implement my own in the classroom. However, after the second ecmp355 class and all of the support that is available the task seems achievable.

I have always thought that blogging can play an important role in the classroom for students learning but I have only recently come to realize the massive potential for teachers learning. After reading many of the links provided from class such as 7 Reasons teachers should blog, and 5 Reasons Teachers Should Start a Blog I have recognized the value blogging can have on professional development opportunities, reflection platform, sharing of resources, and getting valuable feedback from other professionals.

I am looking forward to learning new and exciting ways to use technology to not only improve my students learning but also to continue to grow professionally as an educator. I will be blogging frequently throughout the week, as I reflect on my learning. You can also reach me through my contact info, or through twitter.