Monthly Archives: March 2015

Lit Review Ramblings

Quick post tonight on the status of the lit review. The binder of articles is sitting in front of me and I can almost hear it whispering, “Read us. Read us” to me in a creepy, sinister voice. I almost feel guilty now if I lay on the couch for a bit without a research paper in one hand and a highlighter pen in the other.  I have learned a lesson that I will share with future Masters students: Don’t change your plan 3 months before the first draft of the lit review is due. I mentioned this to a friend who did her Masters a couple of years ago, and her response was, “No. Don’t change your plan mid year.” But I did, and, boy, it was a challenge to find articles with the terms I was using. Thankfully, over Spring Break, I got some sleep, cleared the murkiness of my mind and was able to finagle some keywords and search terms that actually made sense to me. For example, while searching for information on the increasing use of devices and screen time, don’t just search for “Increasing Screen Time Usage”. Nay, nay, You must be specific! How about “Screen Time and Young Children”, “Student Time On Screen” or the real bonanza “Increasing Screen Time Use on Young Children” in the psychology database? Yay!

Oh, and then let’s just talk about the word NATURE. Adding that word to any search brings up a LOT of information on the “Nature of this” or the “Nature of that”, but not usually on actual trees, dirt, insects and you know…Nature. So, the jiggery pokery of search terms began again! Eventually, “Outdoor Learning and Young Children” came up with the best results.

This process has really shown me that the choice of words is key. That one has to look at the term or the subject from many different views before you find the keywords that just hit that perfect “zing” moment. The problem with defining those perfect terms for me though? I got distracted. Something shiny popped up in the search and I had to quickly scan that and see if I could use it to defend a classroom practice, or I found an article that a friend could use, or there was this book that someone else mentioned and I wonder if they have it at the UVIc library? I better go and …. SQUIRREL! (by this point in the process I was starting to wonder how I ever got my undergraduate degree.)

It’s the end of March, classes end on Thursday, and I have admitted to myself that I won’t have the first draft of this Lit Review completed. If I had another week off, maybe. But not at this point. I’m still plugging away, in the hopes that I can get some sort of information slapped together in the roughest form possible. Can a lit review be done as interpretive dance?

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Long Overdue

I’ve been avoiding this blog post for a while now. I need to give an “update” on my lit review, and I kept hoping that inspiration would strike in the late hours of the evening. Alas, that did not occur, and as term comes to an end, I know I have to write this.

My lit review took a major stall in January, when I caught the cold/flu virus from Hades. I had to take almost 2 weeks off of school, and getting back into the swing of things was difficult. I then decided I wasn’t far enough behind, and had a moment of utter doubt in my topic, followed by what I thought was a moment of “Clarity”. It wasn’t as clear as I thought.

In February, I dawdled. I knew I had to meet up with people in the know and ask for help, but that is something I find very hard to do. I have become better at seeking help, but I tend to have a small group of people I will go to for help. I reached out to my cohort and they really tried to talk me off of the ledge. I was able to touch base with Valerie, and had a really great chat with her about my ideas and where I thought I was going. I had focus again, and I was ready to start researching at warp speed. But life, frustrating, wonderful life, once again stalled me. Report cards had to be written, a new system had to be learned, and I once again was distracted by something shiny. I skipped my February update figuring, I could get to it tomorrow. Well, my tomorrows have caught up to me.

Spring Break was around the corner and I thought I could get a significant amount of researching done online while I sat and listened to the riveting pension statements, guest speakers and campaign speeches of the AGM. I tried, but my attempts at accessing the articles were blocked by really bad hotel WiFi. There went another week.  When I returned home, I knew there was going to be a problem if I didn’t get busy.

I’m on day 4 of my marathon research search. I finally found a decent selection of articles on Place Based Learning, another good selection on Outdoor Learning, and today I begin the search for Screen Time statistics. I have a feeling that this will not be done by the deadline. It’s my own fault. But I’ll be working hard to get something ready. It will be far from ideal, but it’ll be a start.

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Week One, Part One, Chapter One

FYI: This will also be seen on my personal health journey blog, Not In A Blue Box. So if you happen to subscribe to both, my apologies for the repeat.

In a previous blog, somewhere, I mentioned that I had been given the gift of a book called Full-Filled by Renee Stephens, but was finding i challenging to find the time to sit down and actually begin the process. This past week, I finally got down to it. As a part of my EDCI course, I have been trying to work on and write about #lianeslife, a little project to get myself into a better state of being. This first chapter, or Week One, certainly got me thinking.

Week One is titled: Creating Motivation for Lasting Change. I haven’t completed all of the “Dig Deep” assignments in the chapter yet, as I thought I would do a couple at a time and write about them here. What I did do was read the chapter and then listen to the corresponding podcast here. I picked up a journal in Victoria to record my thoughts and deep diggings in, but I tell you, this first week got me a little down as the ice bucket of reality water hit me in the head. The first bit of digging I had to was to look at the behaviours I want to change. I never realized how much I didn’t like what I do. I knew I didn’t like how I was, but this exercise had me really looking at what I don’t like about my food, physical activity and physical being. I won’t print the whole list up, but here are my highlights:

  • I snack all evening, especially when I am sitting down after dinner.
  • I really dislike the formal idea of exercise.
  • I buy healthy foods, but find reasons not to cook, especially on a weeknight,
  • If I’m sad, I eat something fatty like cheese.
  • If I’m happy, I eat something sweet like candy or dessert.
  • If I’m stressed I eat anything unhealthy. The more salt the better.
  • Most of my pictures on my camera are of delicious foods I have eaten, not people
  • I hate looking in the mirror.
  • I will not go swimming which I used to love.

Ms. Stephens than asked me, the reader, to think about the symptoms I have due to my weight issues, and to write those down. The list is, again, long but eye opening for myself. The highlights:

  • Doing physical activity actually hurts, and makes me feel even more awkward and clumsy
  • I get out of breath quickly
  • I won’t date
  • I hate having my photo taken
  • I apologize to people all the time for being in their way
  • Surgeon told me I would die early because of the weight
  • Tire easily when playing with my students or with my friends’ kids

She asked us to think about who we are affecting with these symptoms and behaviours. That was hard for me as I don’t have kids or a partner. I thought a lot about my friendships and how the weight I carry has affected them. It has. I have been jealous of those who have lost the weight and have longed to have their motivation. I have avoided certain social functions because I don’t like how I look or because I don’t have anything flattering to wear. I try not to be “overweight” with my students, and I model good healthy eating with them, and try to be physical activity, but even they recognize that their teacher is fat. (Yep, one of them very innocently told me that I was.)

I know. This sounds like a depressing beginning to the plan, doesn’t it? It was a real slap in the face to me that I thought these ways and felt like this, but once I had written it down, there it was. No turning back. I know that next parts of the books, and I hope the next podcast, are about the “Towards” and “Away From” motivation. I look forward to reading about those and finding my motivation.

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Lemons and Toothpaste Just Don’t Mix

This weekend I went out for breakfast with one of my favourite breakfast people. I love having a meal with her becuase we just chat, and chat, and chat. We can honestly discuss absolutely everything. We may get heated by the discussion, but it’s okay because I have this DEEP respect for her and I feel like she thinks same way about me. I do tend to get more heated about topics than she does. She blames the red hair.

This weekend I noticed her having a cup of hot water and lemon. When I inquired about this new habit, she explained that her mom (who is an RN and who I trust) got her started on this pre-breakfast habit. Being the person I am, and always up for procrastination, I decided to do a little digging into the hot water and lemon idea.

My friend and her mom claim that this habit has helped them to cut back on the amount of coffee that they drink in a day and that they both are feeling a general sense of ‘better” since starting the practice. I am always up for ways to help myself feel better, so I went out, purchased some lemons and started to hunt out info on the benefits to this habit. 

The fine people at lifehack.org supplied me with a list of benefits I could expect from drinking a cup of lemon water everyday. According to the author, Krissy Brady, this simple drink would help with my skin, joint inflammation, weight loss, caffeine habit, will freshen my breath, boost my immune system, fight off viral infections and aid in digestion. SIgn me up! This is a wonder cure. Why isn’t everyone drinking this cheap elixir of health and goodness? Apparently they are. I’m just new to the party. 

Post after post, article after article heralded a cup of lemon water in the morning as the new cure for what ails you. Huffington Post, ABC News, and even Livestrong extoll the virtues of a warm water and lemon drink in the morning.  Now, there was some disagreement among the 8 or so articles I perused, regarding the temperature of the water, the amount of lemon for your body weight, and whether you should have it before you eat or after. The one thing I learned today when I had my first cup of lemon water: DON’T drink it AFTER you brush your teeth. 

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It’s Dangerous To Go Alone!

One of my all time favourite video games is still The Legend of Zelda. There was always something about Link, heading off on a quest, that called to me. There were puzzles to colve, worlds to explore, battles to be fought with bow and arrow, sword and shield. In the old version of Zelda, there was a character who would say “It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this!” and he would give Link a sword. My friend gave me a great bookmark for my recent birthday with this saying on it:

As I have made a commitment to work  on “Liane’s Life”, I decided to use this bookmark as inspiration. I’ve had a book by Renee Stephens and Samantha Rose called “Full-Filled” for almost 9 months now, and I have wanted to sit down and read it. But as many of know, time slips away and the actions of life get in the way. When I decided to drop the MOOC for my EDCI 569 course, I thought I could focus on this book. I could read it and really have some space to get down to the root of my dysfunctional relationship with food. That hasn’t happened. I’d love to say that reading this book would teach me a new skill, but I know that I won’t get through this 6 week plan by the time my course is over, and I know that sitting down to read each week will be a struggle. I will try. I really, really will. I’ll also do my best to blog about what I am realizing. Some of the posts may be on my other blog, Not In A Blue Box, but I will link to them here. For now, I am going to read Chapter 1 of Full-FIlled, buy a journal as the introduction suggests, try to reach my 10,000 steps a day and drink a cup of hot water with lemon every morning. (Long story)

It’s dangerous out there! Emotional turmoil ahead, health hazards with every step. SO i’m going to go ahead, and take this book. 

I really need to read this. Time to shed some emotional eating habits.

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Maker?

I decided to try a blog post this week using Explain Everything. It might be a bit choppy, as I am not used to using this app in this way. But, I’m trying. This has taken me a couple of weeks to make as I gathered photos and figured out how to create a “show” on Explain Everything.  It’s where my head went during and after Sylvia Martinez talked to the class about the “Maker Movement”.

Here is my Maker Video.

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Ramblings On the Subject of Joy

Well, I did it. I made an audio recording of a reflection for the class.  You can find it on my new SoundCloud page. Thanks to Tanya, Mardelle and Jarod for helping me figure out how to make an audio recording. My learning curve is HUGE these days (much like that picture of me on this post-Yikes!)

SoundCloud Link: 

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