trialing BeReal

One of my recent BeReals that I was decently on time for (which was a total fluke – I just happened to be looking at my phone when the notification went off)

I first heard about BeReal during my trip to Mexico over Easter Break, where some of the other members of the tour group told me about it. They were from the UK, and I think it must be a more common social media platform there, whereas I get the sense that it is just catching on in North America. I was instantly interested in BeReal because of its unique design/premise, which favours authenticity and real life moments, rather than the highly-edited and curated feeds one typically sees on other social media platforms.

Being interested in this platform, I told the members of my tour group that I would sign up for a BeReal account when I got back home and follow them on it. They were my only 2 friends on the app, so I soon got tired of the app and my posts dwindled away. I jumped back into this app for this week’s blog prompt.

How BeReal Works:

The app sends you a notification at some point during the day (you don’t know when this will occur), and then you have 2 minutes to post your BeReal for the day. This post is intended to be a snapshot of whatever you are doing at the time the notification goes off; BeReal posts include both a selfie and a picture of wherever you are/what is in front of you at the time. You can react to others’ posts with RealMojis, which are snapshots of your own face showing the different reactions (thumbs up, laughing, etc.). You can also comment on others’ posts, give your BeReal a caption, and view your BeReal memories from previous days. As an incentive to post on time, users are allowed to post additional BeReals if their first is completed within 2 minutes of the notification going off for the day. I don’t remember this being a feature when I first started using BeReal in April – so either it is new, or I totally missed this option!

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aprender español – número uno (learning spanish – number one)

Hola amigos! Yo soy Kara y buenas noches!

(Hi friends! I’m Kara and good evening!)

I had a LOT to say about my first few weeks learning Español and didn’t want to have a novel of a blog post, so decided to try my first ever vlog – I even did it in one take! Feel free to watch it on double speed if you want to skim through – no hard feelings here! Or check out my TL;DW (Too Long; Didn’t Watch) summary below.

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my experiences with social media

As a millenial, I was growing up at the same time that many social media platforms were rising in popularity. Since my adolescent years, I have used (in as chronological an order as I can remember): MSN Messenger, Facebook, Blogger, Twitter, WordPress, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Discord, TikTok, and (most recently) BeReal.

My experiences with social media have been overwhelmingly positive. In my adolescent and teenage days, I used social media on a personal level to connect virtually with my friends. Fortunately, I never experienced cyberbullying or any other online issues. I would say the most negative experience I had was feeling pressure to measure up to others during a time in my life when I was still figuring out who I was as a person. No particular negative incidents come to mind, though (for which I am grateful for!).

Once I entered university, I began to delve into using social media professionally. I started this blog in my first semester of university, and it has followed me all the way through my undergrad degree, my beginning years as a teacher, and two graduate degrees to follow. It has truly become an authentic time capsule of my journey of ‘learning to teach.’ In university, I also tried out Twitter and LinkedIn as more professional versions of my online identity. This chapter of my life helped me to expand my previously narrow idea of what social media could be used for.

Since starting my career in education (and beginning my true ‘adult life’), I believe I have come to find a comfortable balance in my relationship with social media. Watching the Netflix film “The Social Dilemma” was a game changer for me – if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it! I now enjoy unplugged time where I leave my phone behind when walking my dogs, have push notifications turned off for my social media accounts, and think more critically about the content I am seeing on social media platforms. Taking EC&I 832 with Alec Couros as a previous course in this degree also helped to open my eyes to the realities of social media, algorithms, digital footprints, and media literacy.

All in all, I feel very fortunate to have had such positive social media experiences, from supportive friends who follow my travels religiously on Facebook, to a helpful and welcoming PLN on #saskedchat. As an adult, I am now more cognizant of how social media can be a time suck or harmful to our self esteem, and I can set personalized boundaries so that I can enjoy the pros of social media while, hopefully, avoiding some of the cons (although, that doesn’t mean I don’t find myself getting caught in a TikTok loop every now and again).

How have your social media experiences changed throughout your life?
How have you perceived social media to change since you first started using it?
What boundaries do you set to have a healthy relationship with social media?

Until next time,


hola amigos

The skill I would like to develop as part of my EC&I 831 Learning Project is learning Spanish. I have been interested in taking up Spanish since last summer, when my sister and I visited my aunt and uncle at their vacation home in Costa Rica for 2 weeks.

My sister and I enjoying the stunning view at Vista de Olas in Mal País, Costa Rica.

Being busy with pursuing my Master’s, though, I put this desire on the back burner. It would seem that Spanish really did intrigue me though, as I have taken two other trips to Spanish-speaking countries since (Ecuador/the Galapagos and Mexico). Prior to starting this class, I had a solid plan to start learning Spanish this fall (after my Master’s degree was complete and I would have some more free time on my hands). I was so excited to see that the Learning Project was an option to pursue for this course, so I can dive in to some Spanish learning early.

Where I’m At Right Now:

Currently, I can say some basic words in Spanish that I picked up during my 3 trips in Spanish-speaking countries. This is mostly limited to names of foods (piña, pollo, queso, hamburguesa, naranja, etc.), basic words you’d see on road or shop signs (calle, salida, cerrada, zona escolar, baño, etc.), and some random words (gato, poquito, casa, etc.). Basically, I am starting out as a total beginner.

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learning through play

Hi everyone! It’s been way too long since my last blog post, and it feels good to be back!

Today, I’d like to share an encounter I had with a Pre-K student during play time a few weeks ago…

This student came up to me with a piece of paper and a pencil and began drawing horizontal and vertical lines across the page to create a grid. The student then said to me “Let’s play tic tac toe!” The student started out by drawing an “O” in one of the boxes, and then passed the pencil to me and prompted me to draw an “X”. After going back and forth a few turns, the student exclaimed “I blocked you!” when placing an “O” in a box. After the student had several Os in a row, they drew a line through the Os, connecting them (and symbolizing that they had won the game).

When I reflected on this play experience later, I was taken aback at just how much information this small interaction gave me about this particular student. From this minute or two of tic tac toe play, I could discern that this child:

  • had played tic tac toe before at home
  • could draw vertical and horizontal lines
  • understood that tic tac toe was played on a drawn board made up of boxes
  • could hold a pencil with a tripod grasp
  • knew what X and O were and how to draw them
  • understood the rules of turn taking
  • grasped the concept of tic tac toe and how to win by getting several letters in a row
  • had seen someone else draw a line through the winning letters to signify a win

We often think about children learning through play, but this was an important reminder of all of the things that adults can learn about students’ holistic development through play. There is truly nothing like observing and engaging in play with children to understand them and get to know them! I consider myself so lucky to get to learn alongside my early years students in my classroom each day.

What have you learned about a student through observing their play? Share your thoughts in a comment on this post!

That’s all for today! Just wanted to do a quick blurb to jump back into blogging.

Until next time,


now presenting… my major project!

Here we are, at the finish line of a three-month long journey in this course. I am so pleased to be presenting my Major Project to you all!

I have created a PDF document that explores concepts of Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy in a Pre-Kindergarten context. This resource explicitly connects to the Pre-K curriculum (4 holistic domains of learning and Essential Learning Experiences, or ELEs) in each lesson, as well as providing extension activities and suggestions of ways to incorporate this learning into play. You can view or download the entire PDF document below.

Read on to learn about my journey of creating this curriculum resource document this semester.

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summing up my learning in this course

It’s that time of the semester when all of the loose ends are being tied up and, boy, is it exciting! I am proud to present my first ever Summary of Learning video, which was created using a new-to-me tool, Canva. (Shout out to everyone who recommended or referenced this website – I am still just a beginner who is delving into the different content that can be created there, and I am thoroughly impressed! I know I will be using this tool a lot more in the future!)

I chose to divide my learning in EC&I 832 into three categories (which I am just now realizing is very similar to the way the course is set up – imagine that!):

  • informal learning from blogs, Twitter, Discord, and Zoom chats
  • formal learning from class content
  • personal/professional learning from my Major Project

As this course comes to a close, I am left feeling satisfied and proud of the journey I have been on – I have come a long way since January and learned A LOT! When I signed up for this course, I looked at the name of the class and went, “Okay, ‘Digital Citizenship’, I’ve heard of that. But ‘Media Literacy’? What exactly is that?” Now I can say I’ve developed a curriculum resource that introduces both of these concepts to the youngest of learners!

It has certainly been a ride; thanks for joining me for it!

Until next time,


warming up to the idea of using devices in pre-k

I have really begun to see growth in my comfort level with allowing my Pre-K students to use devices lately. This class and my Major Project have both played a huge role in this change.

Before I began this class, my two class iPads sat at the corner of my desk essentially unused – I would plug them in every once in a while when they went dead from the sheer despair of not being picked up for weeks (or months) at a time. My motto was “I have so many amazing materials and toys in my classroom and I want students to use them, not play with a device.” Thinking about children choosing to play on an iPad during free play time made me cringe, and I knew some of my students already got lots of screen time and exposure to iPads and devices at home. My solution: I simply didn’t offer iPads as an option.

This was my philosophy before – NO iPADS! “iPad” by Tsubaki Kaworu is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0. Remixed by me.
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moral, ethical, and legal uses of technology

In the context of early childhood education, this topic is extremely relevant to the sharing teachers do via online platforms. Early years teachers use documentation as a way to share their students’ learning experiences with children, families, and other educators.

Teachers must consider: a) who the audience of an online post will be and, b) what the purpose of sharing a post is. This is related to several topics that Dylan discussed in his video this week, including informed consent, full disclosure, privacy, and security.

When the purpose of creating an online post is to share children’s learning directly with them or their families, teachers should use a digital platform that has a restricted child/family audience, such as Edsby or Seesaw. These digital platforms, which are directly used by school divisions, are more secure and require a log-in to access digital artifacts. Therefore, because there is more security, educators can share more openly. Images including children’s faces and information about the child (such as their name) can be shared.

When an online post will be shared on a social media platform such as Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, however, the audience is much more broad. The purpose of sharing a post on these open platforms is usually to share with other educators. In these instances, educators must take extra care to protect the privacy of their students. Common practices I see (and that I use myself) are referring to children by a letter rather than a first name (ex. “T” instead of Timothy), cropping out children’s faces in photos, covering or blurring children’s faces, or sharing an image of the items children are playing with rather than the children themselves.

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thinking critically about the media we see

Growing up, I was called ‘gullible’ a time or two. If someone I knew and trusted told me something, I believed it was true. Reflecting on this now, I like to think this stems from my personal value of honesty and my lack of understanding for deceit. I would never think to purposely lie to or fool someone, so I never expected others to do that to me.

Here’s an interesting little anecdote to showcase this:

Did anyone else take Anthropology 100 while at the University of Regina? Well, being a big fan of the TV show “Bones” as a teenager, I jumped at the chance to take an Anthropology class during my undergrad degree. I still vividly remember my experience with one of the readings from that course: Body Ritual Among the Nacirema.

If you’re not familiar with it, this short article by Horace Miner is about a mysterious tribe of people who enact bizarre rituals relating to their outward appearance. In ANTH 100, we were asked to read the article and write a response to it. I still remember reading the article and thinking: “Some of these things are a bit extreme, but I also see similarities to things we do in our culture.”

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