3R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

To me, embodiment in the context of climate change and ecoliteracy can be defined as:  The intrinsic feeling one has to make positive, responsible change to their everyday life, regardless of how small, in order to become more ecoliterate and to combat against climate change.

For some, the 3R’s remind them of the old expression Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic.  But for most, the 3R’s bring to mind the important steps in waste reduction:

  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle

I grew up being taught that recycling is good for the environment but that was about the extent of my knowledge.   I never fully realized that the 3R’s, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are as important individually as they are together to help reduce climate change. Growing up I learned to throw obvious recyclables such as cans and bottles into the recycling to be disposed of responsibly instead of being thrown out.  However, it was not until I began working in a variety of early childhood settings that I fully realized the potential of what I used to see as trash or recycling to simply be disposed of.  So many of these things can be “upcycled” or used to create so many other things.  Personally upcycling or recycling within our own lives teaches children the endless possibilities of what can be done to benefit the environment and the importance of the 3R’s.

Kimmerer says, “Let us put our minds together as one and send greetings and thanks to our Mother Earth, who sustains our lives with her many gifts” (Kimmerer, 2013, p. 256). There are many possible ways to embody change, become more ecoliterate and to combat climate change. We only have one Earth and need to take action to protect our planet and sustain its resources and gifts.

Even after this class is over I am going to continue to embody change, become more ecoliterate and “Reduce my WASTEline!”

Kimmerer, R. W. (2013). Braiding sweetgrass: Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teachings of plants. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions.


“One” Life


At the beginning of Ohler’s article he asks the question, “Should we teach our kids to have two lives, or one?” I then thought back to lecture where Katia  discussed real life and digital life as one.  We discussed a teacher’s role in preparing students for a society and world full of technology.  As both digital and non-digital worlds are the reality for today’s students I believe they need to be encompassed into one life.

In Jurgenson’s article he discusses, “how we have mistakenly been taught to view online as meaning not offline” in a literal way and has labeled this as “digital dualism.”  The term describes the parallel time spent online and offline.  For example, time spent online is less time spent offline, we are either looking at our devices or we aren’t, we have cell service or we don’t, when we are out with friends we are texting or not, etc.  Jurgenson goes on to make a valid point of which I had never previously considered. He states that social media depends on our offline activities as fuel.  For example, we continue to appreciate nature walks and socializing with friends as we always have but these experiences are the fuel or content for our social media posts.  Jurgenson believes that by posting about and sharing our offline activities actually have us appreciating these activities more.  It means that we may never fully log off as we are consciously collecting fuel for our next post.  However, Jorgenson believes that this does not mean we have lost our sense of curiosity and wonder but rather has enhanced it.

When thinking about my future classroom it is important to be aware of different perspectives such as these.  I personally want to embrace technology and utilize it in the classroom to meet curricular outcomes in all subject areas as technology is ever changing and will only keep growing.  Often, the younger population already know more about technology than their teachers and the adults in their lives.  We need to take these opportunities to learn from them as well. I want to foster the importance of creating a positive and responsible digital citizenship within my students.  I want them to know how powerful technology is when used responsibility but also how destructive and hurtful it can be to others and oneself if not.  I want them to be able to use technology to make a positive impact on others whether it be through digital sprawl (social media), digital etiquette, digital law, digital literacy or any kind of digital communication.  However, most importantly is the development of respect for oneself and others in their “one” life, whether it be online or off.

Say Cheese(cake)

My dad’s birthday was on Sunday and he had been dropping hints since I made my mom an Instant Pot cheesecake for her birthday that he wanted one as well.

I made this Peanut Butter Cup cheesecake for my mom’s birthday. It was a huge success and she declared it the best Birthday Cake she has ever had! To beat my grandma’s baking legacy is a huge accomplishment in itself!

For my Dad’s cake I made the #17 New York Cherry Cheesecake as he loves cherries.

The #17 name comes from the person testing the recipe sixteen times before deciding it was perfect.  So it should be foolproof right?

This is how I made New York Cheesecake #17:

First the crust:

1 cup of graham wafer crumbs

Pinch of Sea Salt

2 teaspoons of brown sugar

Then add 3 tablespoons of butter (melted)

Mix together. Crumbs should stick together. If not, add more butter.

Line the bottom of a springform pan with parchment paper and spray the sides with Pam.

Pour crust mixture into bottom of pan and press with fingers until evenly distributed across the bottom.

Place the crust in the freezer while you make the cheesecake batter.

For the cheesecake batter use a small bowl and add:

2 tablespoons of cornstarch

2 pinches of sea salt

2/3 cup of white sugar


In a medium bowl add:

16 ounces of cream cheese (room temperature)

Use hand beater on low speed to break it up. Beating for 10 seconds.

Add half the sugar mixture from above to cream cheese. Beat to incorporate (20 to 30 seconds).

Use spatula to scrape sides of the bowl to incorporate all batter.

Add remaining sugar mixture. Beat until incorporated (20 to 30 seconds).

Use spatula to scrape sides then mix with spatula.

Then add:

½ cup of sour cream

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Beat (20 to 30 seconds)

Blend in eggs one at a time! 20 to 30 seconds. The recipe says not to over mix the eggs as this will affect the outcome of how it bakes and tastes at the end.

Use spatula to scrape sides and ensure everything is mixed into batter.

Remove the crust from freezer and pour batter on top of crust.

Tap and shake the pan so the surface smooths out and pops the air bubbles.

Running a fork on the surface of the cheesecake helps pop more of the air bubbles. However, popping all air bubbles is impossible!

Then tap and shake some more to smooth the surface.

Now it is time to cook the cheesecake in the Instant Pot.

Place 1 cup of cold water and the trivet into the pot.

Use a foil sling to place the spring form pan into the pot.

Pressure Cook for 26 minutes and then a full natural pressure release which takes approximately 7 minutes. I set an alarm for 7 minutes and then released the rest of the air but there was very little left.

After lifting out pan with foil sling I dabbed the excess water off the surface of the cheesecake with a piece of paper towel.

It came out beautifully. However, when cooling it cracked in the middle. Which I read is common and there is a bunch of theories to “help” it not crack but it still might!

I let it fully cool, removed it from the pan and put it in the fridge overnight.

Normally, I would just buy a can of cherries to put on top. However, since it was my dad’s birthday and I was striving for the “favourite child medal,” I made a cherry compote.

I used an entire package of frozen cherries.

I poured a ¼ cup of sugar on them and let them sit for 20 minutes.

After sitting in sugar for 20 minutes I added 2 teaspoons of orange juice.

Cooked on high pressure for 1 minute and natural pressure release for 15 minutes. Released the remainder of pressure before opening pot.

This cherry compote can be used on other things, such as yogurt, ice cream, etc.

So now you are probably dying to find out how it tasted?

It got rave reviews from the family. They said the texture was perfect and the cherries were to die for!

The Birthday Boy and his Cheesecake.

An Instant Pot cheesecake is now expected for every birthday, whether I like it or not!

via GIPHY 


Raising Contributing Citizens

The three types of citizenship mentioned in the article are:

1) the personally responsible citizen

2) the participatory citizen

3) justice oriented citizen

I have been fortunate to be involved in all three types of citizenship development in my K-12 schooling. A Personally Responsible citizen is one who, “acts responsibly for his/her community” (Westheimer, 2004, p. 3). Throughout my school years we would participate in occasional community litter clean ups.  A recycling program was in place in my school and we were taught to respect and obey the rules and laws of both the school and society.  During the holiday season, my school participated in an annual food drive where I, and many of my peers, would deliver food hampers to individuals and families in our community. In addition, I was part of the local dance school and Girl Guide program while growing up.  In these organizations, we spent numerous hours helping in the community and performing at the nursing home and senior centers.

I was also involved in a number of Participatory Citizen activities throughout my school years.  In Grade 11 I enrolled in Law 30 in which we studied and learned about many political and justice issues through lecture, videos and numerous guest speaker presentations.  I began my involvement in student government in Grade 5 and have been an active participant ever since.  This extensive involvement has allowed me to help address issues in the school and community.  In addition, I have learned how to run a meeting, problem solve, negotiate, compromise and developed many other skills.  In addition, I ventured out of the regular school setting and travelled throughout Saskatchewan and to Ottawa, on four separate occasions, to participate in a variety of forums where I learned about local and national political issues.

The Justice Oriented Citizen learning goes hand in hand with the Forums in which I participated.  A large part of these Forums was to explore an issue of interest and collaborate and share ideas with other participants on how we could make a change in our home community, province and even globally.

After reading about the three types of citizenship learning, I realize that I may be one of the few fortunate people who have experienced all three so fully during my K-12 school career.  However, many of my experiences took place outside of the regular school classroom activities. It makes me wonder if the curriculum does not address all three types of citizenship equally. This seems to be the case as the assigned reading states that, “personal responsibility receives the most attention” (Westheimer, 2004, p. 5).  Upon reflection, I do believe this to be true as it would have been the only citizenship I would have been exposed to if I had not chosen to take Law or participate in the extra-curricular forum travel opportunities.  I am a person who naturally enjoys volunteering, being involved in student led governments, travel, meeting people and learning about a wide array of issues. The opportunities to experience and to contribute to the development of a Personally Responsible citizen are quite accessible in any rural or urban setting and easily fit into a variety of learning outcomes in the curriculum. Whereas, the opportunities contributing to the development of a Participatory citizen and Justice Oriented citizen are not as easy to make available.  However, these can also be provided with some imagination and creativity and should be made a higher  priority in the curriculum in order for students to fully become contributing members of society.


Earth’s Caregiver Braid

Before enrolling in this class, my thoughts about ecoliteracy could easily have been summed up by this silly little poem I quickly jotted down.

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Trees are green

Go green too

However, after reflecting on what I have learned about ecoliteracy in class, it is obvious that this poem was a very shallow understanding of what is means to be ecoliterate.  Being an ecoliterate person is so much more than one just “living green”.  A person truly committed to ecoliteracy is someone who, is not only dedicated to improving the environment through their own personal actions, but is someone who is also concerned about educating others and contributing to a society that behaves responsibly towards the environment.  For this assignment, I created a concrete “heart-shaped” poem using adjectives that I believe embody the definition of one who loves and is dedicated to ecoliteracy.

Brehanna’s poem is similar to mine in many ways. Just like mine, Brehanna depicts love, appreciation, knowledge, education, action, vision and many more things as part of what embodies ecoliteracy. Her poem is different in the sense that it tells a story of ecoliteracy, whereas mine is created using over forty different adjectives in a heart-shaped poem describing those with a love for the environment and who embody ecolitireacy. Brehanna concludes her poem with, “Thank you for showing me your ways, I’ll hold these close for all my days”.

I feel a strong connection with these phrases as I also feel that we must appreciate our environment and show our love and gratitude by giving back to protect our earth.

Samantha’s poem offers a different perspective on ecoliteracy. Her poem is written to her parents, thanking them for her outdoor childhood experiences. These experiences shaped Samantha’s view of nature and enhanced her understanding of ecoliteracy. Initially, I felt that our poems were very different.  I did not think or write about how my experiences growing up shaped my view of ecoliteracy.  However, after reading Samantha’s poem, I realized that my childhood outdoor adventures were reflected in my poem as it was these memories and experiences that contributed to my choice of adjectives describing a person that embodies ecoliteracy.  A person who loves nature and feels a responsibility to ensure that everyone can continue to enjoy this wonderful gift by keeping it safe.  Upon reflection, I see that our poems are actually not that different, despite being written in very different styles.  Both poems depict ecoliteracy similarly by expressing such underlying themes as awareness, appreciation, education, learning, knowledge and love.

In Kimmerer’s preface he writes, “. . . old stories and new ones that can be medicine for our broken relationship with earth, a pharmacopoeia of healing stories that allow us to imagine a different relationship, in which people and land are good medicine for each other” (Kimmerer, 2013, p. x). Kimmerer believes that there are a variety of ways to repair, deepen and strengthen the human relationship with earth. The land needs human interaction and vice versa. This is another form of ecoliteracy, that one might call the base of ecoliteracy and from there humans decide what themes they want to be involved in to sustain the environment thus strengthening their knowledge of ecoliteracy.

In summary, Brehanna, Samantha and I wrote poems that told very different stories but shared many of the same themes and, as Samatha wrote, “a bird’s eye view” of nature.  Reading each of these poems deepened my understanding of ecoliteracy in some way with their similar messages and themes woven throughout.  Kimmerer’s belief that interaction between people and nature is important is mirrored in all of our poems.  We too, feel it is important to love and appreciate the nature that surrounds us, and to educate others in order to sustain these earth’s gifts by wisely taking care of them.

Kimmerer, R. W. (2013). Braiding sweetgrass: Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teachings of plants. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions.


Putting the YOU in youTUBE!

In his video Wesch discusses a variety of ways of how Youtube has influenced the world. He says some people think that many posts are all hype such as videos of people singing and dancing. However, Wesch feels that what we really need to evaluate is what they are dancing in front of.  Their audience is actually billions and billions of people in places all over the world. This forms a community, a type of community that has never been encountered before.  Wesch likes to think of it as a celebration. A celebration of new forms of expression, new communities, emerging identities, empowerment, stronger voices and presence, created by anyone with a webcam.  Creating global connections that transcend space and time and forming new and unimaginable possibilities. When media changes, human relationships also change. Wesch says, “we are the centre of this mediascape.” He encourages the audiences to rethink media including how we fit into it. Youtube is user generated content that can potentially become bigger than anything any well-known label can produce. For example, Youtube is how the Soulja Boy song came to be. There have since been many remakes of the song Soulja Boy which are done by people recreating to what they have learned through Youtube.  Once again confirming Wesch’s believe that this technology is a type of celebration.

Students are interacting with technology at much younger ages that they did previously. Many students are already making videos and posting them to Youtube or other media platforms. This means that the incorporation of technology into one’s teaching is inevitable. I believe that incorporating the different forms of technology, as well as teaching what is appropriate and not appropriate to post, is very important in today’s classrooms.  Using a platform such as Youtube with students can open up many doors for individual, group and full class work. The possibilities are endless with any subject area. On a school level, it will be necessary to follow specific protocol with students but these extra precautions are worth the effort.  Using this technology provides a unique collaborative tool amongst a wide range of grades, students and even teachers.

During lecture, Katia stated that, “we have to realize there are a lot of bad things that technology can be used for, but there are also a lot of good things it can be used for”.  It is impossible to avoid media platforms such as Youtube in our classrooms as our students will know about it and may even already be using it themselves.  Online identity is not separate from a student’s identity – it is part of their whole identity. The Participatory culture video viewed in lecture stated, “we don’t just enjoy, we participate,” allowing people to become successful in ways that we never thought possible. Welsch refers to this as unimaginable possibilities. Justin Bieber’s rise to fame is just one example of participating culture creating an unimaginable possibility.  Justin was initially discovered on Youtube and is now well known in many countries.  Thus, utilizing Youtube in our classrooms, allows students the opportunity to become involved in a positive participatory culture while achieving numerous learning outcomes and maybe even some unimaginable possibilities!


Let’s Get Cracking!

This week my instant pot and I partnered with Julia Papic on her keto journey.

We made hardboiled eggs in the Instant Pot

We used the 5-5-5 method that can be found at this video.

1) Pour one cup of water and place trivet in pot.

2) Place as many eggs as you want to cook on top of the trivet. Does not matter if they are touching or piled on top of one another.

3) Put lid on, make sure it is flipped to sealing.
4) Cook on high pressure for five minutes.

5) When finished do a natural pressure release for five minutes.
6) Then pour cold water on eggs and let them sit for five minutes before peeling.

7) In the video you will notice that the shells practically fall off.

8) Cut open and enjoy!

If I have learned anything from cooking in the Instant Pot, is that it is worth purchasing one for the hardboiled eggs alone!

Julia agrees and is keeping her eye out for a sale! Converting people to this “pothead lifestyle” post by post!


All About Curriculum

Before reading the article I was under the understanding that school curriculum was developed by the Ministry of Education who chose professionals from all over the Education field (Teachers, Administrators, University Professors, etc.) to develop the curriculum in their area of study/strength.

After doing the reading- I answered the questions provided.

How is citizenship education a curricular problem?

It is felt by many people that because schools play such an important role in the lives of students, that it is education’s role and responsibility to develop and graduate “good” citizens.  Graduates with not only an understanding of their country’s governance, but also citizens who are productive and law abiding members of society.  Where should these teachings be included?  Social Science courses or throughout all curricula.

How are school curricula developed and implemented?

The government is involved with the Education sector usually having someone designated for this role.  Other areas of government that may be involved are an elected minister, local school authorities, school councils or governing bodies involving parents and others. This is dependent upon the National Government and to what degree these people have in curriculum politics. Schools also have some influence even if it is only through their choice as to which course and programs they offer. The main groups involved in curriculum reviews are teachers, principals, senior administrators and elected local authorities (if they exist). Subject matter experts from schools and universities typically play a central role in the curriculum formation, review process and potential public debates. Post-secondary institutions can also influence curriculum but this influence can be restrained by tertiary institutions. Curriculum can also be influenced by other policies (ie. student assessment).

What new information/perspectives does this reading provide about the development and implementation of school curriculum?

  • Parties involved in developing the curriculum may not always see eye-to-eye making the process lengthy and complicated.
  • Researchers can provide proven facts but this does not mean the end result will be a correct policy choice if it is not what people believe, want or will accept.

Is there anything that surprises you or maybe that concerns you?

I did not realize the amount of “politics” surrounding curriculum decisions and development.  This is concerning to me as Education and the updating of curriculum may take a backseat to other issues that are felt to be more pressing or decisions may be made in haste with limited or incorrect information.  In addition, government decisions are driven by voters and therefore decisions may be made in order to get reelected that are not in the best interests of students and their education.


Go Bananas!

This week I tried baking banana bread in my Instant Pot.


½ cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

3 medium bananas mashed

2 cups All Purpose Flour

1.5 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup chocolate chips


In a bowl mix together butter, sugar and eggs.

Beat on high with hand mixer until everything is combined.

Peel and break up bananas into a separate bowl. Mash them and add to a different bowl.

Add all of the dry ingredients

Mix all together with hand mixer

Add the chocolate chips fold in using a spatula.

Spray spring form pan with Pam and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Pour the mixture into the spring form pan.

Gently shake the pan to even and smooth out the  mixture.

Lightly cover the pan with paper towel and then tinfoil

Add 1 ½ cups of water to the Instant Pot and add trivet in the bottom of pot (see previous post).

Make a tin foil sling (see previous post).

Put the pan into IP using the tinfoil sling and place on top of the trivet.

Put the lid on and seal pressure valve (see previous post).

Cook on high pressure for 55 minutes and then 10 minutes Natural Pressure Release (see previous blog post).

Note:  My banana bread was not fully cooked so I put it in again for 10 minutes and another 10 minutes Natural Pressure Release.  This time it was cooked perfectly.

This is the recipe that I followed is:

This above recipe is from the Facebook group This Old Gal. When I first got my Instant Pot I joined a variety of Facebook pages as this is the easiest access to Instant Pot recipes. At the time, I thought it was the only way. However, since having my Instant Pot, I discovered that there are Instant Pot cookbooks and magazines in print.  Unfortunately, the reviews I have read and/or the FB comments about these resources have not been extremely positive and many of print resources are not readily available in Canada.  Due to these poor reviews, and the fact that I am enjoying learning from the Facebook groups, various blogs and videos, I have not pursued looking into the print resources.  The online resources are an effective way for me to sift through all of the information quickly by searching for specific help and recipes as I need. Plus there is no shortage of online information as the Instant Pot is quickly gaining “celebrity status” in cookware!

I enjoy the Facebook pages as there are many IP user comments with tips and tricks to help others when first trying the recipes. In addition, those posting often include an informal rating of the recipe, including things such as how they liked it and whether they would make the dish again.  The popular “must try” recipes come across the feed multiple times which makes it easier to decide what to try next as it can be overwhelming at first with the number of postings in the group.  Another reason I enjoy using the online recipes is that I can easily bookmark them on my computer. Now that I know most of the Instant Pot lingo I find the recipes are clear, well laid out and easy to follow.


Instant Pot Lingo 101

This post is to introduce you to many of the different terms that can be confusing when first using the Instant Pot.  The scariest thing for me when I first got my Instant Pot was the lingo used in the various Facebook groups and recipes.  It was like another language!  My mom has an Instant Pot so she was able to give me the run down on what each term meant!

Natural Pressure Release (NPR).  NPR occurs when the Instant Pot to is left to release naturally when the cooking time is done. Leave the pot sealed for the amount of minutes the recipe says, usually it is 10 to 15 minutes. I always set a timer so I don’t forget! The steam releases gradually when the timer goes off, then flipping the switch to vent quickly releases any of the steam left.  However, after 10 to 15 minutes there is not much steam left to release.

Quick Pressure Release (QPR) is the term that refers to releasing the pressure immediately when the cooking time is done. Immediately flip the switch to vent and all the steam quickly releases (can take several minutes). It is advised that you do not release pressure under a cupboard as it can ruin the finish over time. I cover my IP switch with a tea towel so that most of the steam is absorbed into the towel.  To be extra safe, I also use a handle of a cooking utensil to flip the switch to avoid being burned by the steam.

Tinfoil Sling

The tinfoil sling is a great invention. It allows you to take a pan in and out of the pot as soon as it is done.

First you start with a large piece of tinfoil.

Then you start folding it into pieces.

Until it is all folded and it is long and skinny.

Then you put it into the pot on top of the trivet. Place pan in center and fold over the excess edges of tinfoil.

Grab the two ends and lift the pan out.

Sealing and Venting Switch

Sealing occurs when the IP is building up pressure.

Flipping the switch to venting allows all the steam to release when done cooking.

Trivet in the Pot

This is the trivet.

This is the trivet in the pot with water at the bottom.

To steam vegetables I use this foldable metal steamer with the water underneath. Placed in the pot the same way as the trivet.

I hope this introduction to this Instant Pot lingo helps you when reading my blogs or when you give in and buy your own Instant Pot! 🙂