Category Archives: Professional Development

Posts about professional development opportunities, events, and things I’m doing to get better.

Wednesday PI update

A productive day, but mind numbing none the less… I did enjoy the networking section, which gave me some ideas about our school’s wireless situation. Not sure if I should talk about it publicly, so it will stew for a bit longer. Besides, the networking course is next.

Well….. After the second part of the A+ course, cause I’m finished the first half. The most tedious section by far was the professionalism section, likely because to me it was all common sense, dealing with difficult people, know it all, and business email protocol. It may have also been because the internet kept glitching, and I had to wait probably two minutes between sections… It doesn’t seem like much, but try reading this blog, two sentences at a time with even one minute between sections. It gets old.

The week is going so quickly, that I kind of want to skip the second half of the A+ course, and go on to networking. I think I’ll be confused like crazy with the networking, so maybe I shouldn’t skip ahead. Well, I need to go decompress. Have a good night.

Knit witt

It’s started to get dark earlier… I noticed it at the end of the day today. It’s likely the fault of daylight savings time, but when I googled rankin inlet sunset, it was true. Today the sun set at 3:36 pm. So what is the plan to wile away the hours in darkness? Knitting. Yes, as a new home economics teacher, I thought it would be important for me to learn how to knit. So off to you tube I went, learned the long tail cast on, and the knit stitch, and I was off to the races. Who knew would be so much help! It started as a pink tie,


the ironic male knitting project, and somehow in the messy learning I added stitches. Don’t ask me how, it just happened. So I kept going, added fringes to disguise the “mistake” and made it a scarf for my daughter. I sewed / embroidered her name on the shorter side, and a polar bear on the other side. Don’t ask why the polar bear is brown… Brown and pink go so nicely together. I sent it off last Monday, so it should arrive next week sometime, maybe this week if we’re lucky.20121107-205830.jpg My next challenge was to learn to purl stitch. But my next project was a scarf for me! No knit one purl two for this manly scarf! I wanted it to be warm so my mom sent some wool she got in Scotland! Thanks again mom! I now realize how addictive this hobby can be.


Today I was tempted by double ended needles, and managed to make a small tube with four needles. I think it will end up being a finger puppet, or driving finger mitt…So to you stitch and bitch groups, unravellers, knitery knights, knit witts, and yarn bombers, I now understand you a bit more. And I think I like it


Lights, camera, fail.

My amp build got finished Friday afternoon, but was less functional than expected. I had light from the vacuum tubes, the camera was on, but no action. Not all is lost, my next step is to find a better schematic online and see where the directions went wrong. Maybe I need to FaceTime with an expert cough Tom Hughes??? image
The drums are coming along, but the snare setup is proving difficult to do right. It looks a bit sloppy, but I’ve got a couple more to do, so I get to practice.

Time flies when you’re making instruments

It is already thursday, and I don’t think I will finish on time. I’m also concerned that will be some left over parts from the amp making. Nowhere in the instructions does it say where to put the diodes… image
I reclaimed some hardwood from the dump on the weekend for the bracing of the drums, and went back to get another. There was so much more dumped and scraped and piled that the wood I saw was buried. I did find some nice table legs that I can plane and cut down though, so it wasn’t a wasted trip.
I’m feeling a little disappointed in this week. My blogging has gotten bland and I feel like no one is reading, save my mom and a few key relatives. At least everyone knows I haven’t been devoured by a polar bear. I hope to be more interesting in the future.

Hump day

Day three of pd, and things are looking up. The cajons are coming along… I still don’t like the log style one, but that’s ok. I had some success with the reclaimed wood! I found a piece of wood with some feet I intend to put on later, and after cutting it in quarters and planing, it is perfect for the reinforcement behind the tapas (front hitting surface).
I considered planing down the tapas to 4mm called for in the plans, but we’ll see how the 6mm boards sound. The sample piece seemed to stand up, but I won’t if I don’t have to.
I hope I will have enough time this week to finish my projects. I know that I can work on my spare time, and I might put all my effort in to finish by Monday.
The amp is also coming around. I think if I have time I will make an enclosure for it.
More work. Yay!


Day two- spinning wheels

Day two is at an end and I feel like I haven’t accomplished much. This morning, I spent most of my time cutting pieces out for the interlocking drum. This took almost all of the time. The result is less than desirable. Because the drum works on air pressure, the unexact cuts and poorly filed edges won’t make a very good sound. I thought it might work as a travel canon, but it doesn’t stay together on its own. So, I’ll have to glue or silicone it together to get a tighter fit. At the end of the morning I was getting frustrated, so I thought I would just plane down the other two boxes… Mistake… I was impatient, so I went to the power plane, and it ripped part of the plywood off that was going the other way. Boo. So more work to do tomorrow.

The afternoon didn’t seem very productive either. I kept having to reposition the vacuum tube slots, but I did get them soldered together.

At this point I have two thoughts. One that I’m not going to get finished/ around to the didgeridoo organ, and these are not projects for students. Perhaps it would be good for advanced students framed in an instrument making unit. Lower ability students can create other projects like the hose-a-ma-phone… Tune in tomorrow for more updates, and later this week for my trailer!

Pi week – day 1

Day one of five:
I think I had a good start to the week. I’ve got all the exterior wood cut, the hole for the back cut, except for one of them… I can cut that tomorrow. I’ve got two of the drum glued, and will dry overnight.

I’m a little worried about keeping a flat surface on the front, but there’s always planing.
This afternoon it’s amp time.
Keep your eyes open for a sweet trailer using iMovie!

Amp making is hard!
This afternoon I completed my first turret board soldering job.

Not too bad for minimal instructions and no help from google! Google started working at the school near the end of the day, which helped. Thanks Steve! I am having a blast. How do I know? I look at the clock and it’s 5:30… I thought I would have a better idea of scheduling, but I still don’t know how long these projects are going to take…
Half of the fun!


Pi week

I love professional development. The idea that as part of my job is to better myself is amazing. I suppose some pd is more exciting than others, for example, learning to assemble Peruvian box drums has more pizazz than school effectiveness framework developing. So when I was told that here in Nunavut teachers get a week of self directed professional improvement, I just about fainted.

It was hard deciding what angle to follow in my pd spectrum. I thought about my peeps at plp, and all the fantastic work I did last year, but I’m working on implementing that in my daily routine. I thought about learning throat singing and Inuit drum making. Unfortunately making an Inuit drum is a very labour intensive project, and it’s not really the right time of year for it.

So my plan for this week is as follows:

  • cajon -Peruvian box drum
  • 18w tube amp header-
  • didgeridoo organ
I don’t have a specific order and I’m not sure that I need to.  I think I will get a better sense of the pace I need to have if I devote Monday morning to the amp, and the afternoon for the box drum.

The parts for the amp came in yesterday! I would like to thank Karen for checking my mail and lugging it back to the school for me, I was only expecting to have my pay stub there!
The nice wood is still en route, but my test of the good one side c grade from umingmak (local lumber store) is waiting to be made into a box drum. I also have to look into the PVC for my didge organ. I was a little worried about getting all of the materials, but things have come together. I’m tempted to get an early start this weekend on these fabulous projects.

I will be updating more than usual,this next week to keep an almost real time, more pics to follow!