Happy 2014!

From our family to yours, Happy New Year!  I've got big plans for 2014 and they include you!  Get ready......

My absolute best,


DIY Barrettes to Ring in the New Year

I can't remember the last time I knew where my hair barrettes were in our place.  They must be hiding with all those socks that are eaten by our dryer.  

In efforts to replenish my stock and from inspiration from this blog post here, I decided to DIY it.  I mean, I have all those barrette blanks I bought at years ago.  Time to actually use them.  Does anyone else stockpile craft supplies?

I've been a bead collector pretty much for half my life.  It was time to put those vintage African trade beads to use.  See?  I used leather to attach the beads to the barrette and black embroidery floss to weave in between them.  The floss added extra security to keep 'em from moving and shifting around.

Since I keep all my fabric scraps, I thought I'd make a bigger barrette and have this barrette be more fluffy -  like a party on your head.  I literally just cut scraps of fabric and knotted them onto the barrette blank.   I know she is my daughter, but could Lil O's hair be any shinier or prettier?  

This last barrette is my favorite.  I love typography.  For this, I used a scrapbook embellishment "journey," brown embroidery floss, a few beads, and some chunky twine-like string at the end.  I should mention, I don't even scrapbook.  Where do I get this stuff?

This one feels very outdoorsy to me.  It has a totally Colorado-let's-explore-the-west feeling.

Now, that I've made a few simply using the supplies I had on hand, I think DIY barrettes would make great birthday gifts for friends and family in 2014.  Plus, this is a very kid-friendly project.  The sky is the limit!

Almost 2014,


Oh, Hello

Hello.  How are your holiday celebrations so far (if you celebrate them)?  Have you done anything fun?  Are you taking time to relax and replenish?

I'm the worst, sometimes, at replenishing.  Are you?

Thankfully, I'm nestled in the Rocky Mountains, taking ski runs, and hikes/walks with Jedi, so I have plenty of time to relax, replenish and think.  Maybe too much time to think.  I don't know about you, but sometimes thinking isn't relaxing or replenishing.  It means the hamster is running full steam on its hamster wheel of my mind.

Hmmmm.  That hamster needs to pipe down.

As you can see from the photos above and below, my family and I have been keeping a full schedule. What you may not know about us (or me) is we like to play hard, but then we retreat and keep pretty low-key.  The three of us are true ambiverts.  Make that the four of us.  Jedi is an ambivert, too, which is another reason he was meant to be in our family.

As you can see from the photos, I am falling more deeply in love with Colorado.  I mean just look at the scenery, will you?  So beautiful this place.

If you need or want more captioning for the photos above, head on over to Upcycled Education's Instagram account. I've got all the photos captioned there.  I'm just lazy (or is that efficient?) and like to quickly make these photo collages on my iPhone.  In case you want to make your own quickie-collages, but don't know how:  I just take a screenshot of my images in their grid formation and crop out all the junk.  Voila, an instant photo collage to share here.  Nothing fancy.



Yay, Happy Holidays!

It hasn't stopped snowing in Breckenridge, Colorado today.  We skied this morning and then, took off to run errands in town.  Plus, Jedi needed a stop at the dog park as evidenced here.  Being a dog in Breck is truly the life.  Our tree is decorated for the holidays; I am totally in love with the fabric garland I made.  We decided to wrap it around the tree.  Next year, I will make another to wrap the tree even more.  Like the "I need more cow bell" phrase.  "I need more garland, please!"

Santa is due here tonight.  We are leaving him our favorite ski bars - chocolate revel bars.  You can find the recipe here.  They are a family favorite for skiing as they are chocolatey and energy-packed. We have reservations at one of the tastiest restaurants in town.  I am already craving their ramen noodles.  Yummmmmmy.

I will be taking a few days off from blogging to enjoy the holidays with my family.  Two things....

1.  Thank you so much for reading Upcycled Education.  The internet is so big and having us connected this way makes it feel more small and endearing.

2.  Have a great holiday - whatever you celebrate or not!  2014 is coming.  I wonder what treasures it will hold for you and yours. 

My absolute best,


Life Updated: The Mother Land

If you know me at all in person or from this blog, you know I adore Colorado.  Actually, adore isn't strong enough of a word.  My soul lives for Colorado.  It is born from it - figuratively (as I am a native Floridian as I've mentioned before).

We spend at least ten weeks a year in the state usually at our place in the adorable town of Breckenridge - which cannot be any cuter.  In fact, on the 26-hour drive, I had a wild idea (actually, I had more than one wild idea; a 26-hour drive can do that to you).  I should start a summer camp for adults in Breckenridge.  There is so much to do here and everyone who visits us has the best time.  You can read more about the summertime in Breckenridge here.  Is my summer camp idea for adults crazy or what?  Would you come?

Most people think Colorado is all mountains, but the eastern section looks more like this.

You see those "poses" above?  I think each one of those poses represents each of their personalities.  Jedi, always looking for something to play with, chase or enjoy.  Mr. UpCyclist, level-headed, rational and should-be-sponsored-by-Patagonia.  Lil O, fierce and colorful.

I plan to blog a bit while in Breckenridge.  But, in case the skiing, hiking, enjoying Main Street, working at Kim's awesome soap store  and falling more deeply in love with Lil O, Jedi and Mr. UpCyclist overtake me....


Your support means so much to me.



PS - You know that photo up above - the Colorful Colorado one?  I am going to open up PicMonkey soon and clone out those speed signs.  They are bothering me.  New to cloning?  Read more about cloning here.

Duck Tape Gift Tags - Awesome!

Photo from Mod Podge Rocks
Amy from Mod Podge Rocks is so clever.  I love this easy-peasy duck tape gift tags.  

Here's to the holidays,

Gratitude Gift {from Under the Sycamore}

Two things....

I love reading this blog, Under the Sycamore.  I read it daily.  I would say it is one of my favorite blogs.

I love Ashley Ann's free printable to encourage gratitude each day.  Lil O and I will share one for 2014.  I think it will a lovely bonding experience to be grateful together.

Photo from Under the Sycamore

You can print one yourself and keep (or gift to a friend) here.  Plus, how cute is Ashley Ann's wrappings?

Clever woman and neat soul,


TEDtalks You Must Watch {for Tech Tuesday}

You know how much Upcycled Education appreciates TEDtalks, right?  Remember this post here?

Today, our student (yes, student) guest blogger, the amazing KH, is here to share her must-see favorites.  Have you seen the three talks listed below?

Welcome, amazing KH!

Amy Cuddy's Power Pose

I think what Amy Cuddy presents in her TEDtalk is something very useful that doesn’t need a lot of resources to change your life.  Plus, what she talks about is very true: 1.) many judgments are based on nonverbals, 2.) we are influenced by our nonverbals, and 3.) our bodies change our minds, our minds change our behaviors, and our behaviors change our outcomes.  And I think these are very valuable things to remember in the classroom (and life) because students/people might base their judgments on how we present ourselves in the classroom.  The 2-minute a day power poses, Cuddy describes, can change not only how others think of us but how we think of ourselves.  If you go into a classroom feeling vulnerable, or into a meeting feeling insignificant, you can practice these 2-minute power poses and instead of faking it ‘til you make it, you can fake it ‘til you become it.

Jane McGonigal's Superbetter 

I absolutely love this idea of Superbetter (Ialready downloaded the app!).  In the game, you are given "power ups" that boost four types of resiliences: physical, mental, emotional, and social, and if you spend one hour a day boosting these resiliences, studies have shown that you can add ten extra years to your life.  So how can you incorporate this in your classroom? So many ways!!  You can actually teach your students the game.  Have a special "Superbetter Board" where you can post different types of power ups, quests, and bad guys.  This way students can try and complete the missions on their own time.  But for me, working with young kids, I thought these would make great focus activities.  Before starting the day why not give your kiddies some paper and tell them to write a short thank you note to someone they love to boost their social resilience, or tell them to jump up and down for 30 seconds to boost their physical resilience, or even give themselves a hug or pat on the back to boost their emotional resilience.  So not only are you adding time to their lives, but you're helping them to stay connected and in touch with people in their lives, themselves, and their environment.

Shawn Anchor's Happiness

Basically what Shawn Anchor is saying that the world has reversed the formula for happiness. We think that if you work harder you will be more successful, and if you are more successful you'll be happier.  But this is backwards because when your brain is at a positive, it functions better than at negative, neutral or stressed.  So if we as teachers, train our students to think more positively, not only will they use better work ethics but they will generally become happier.  And to train them to think positively we can use a series of exercises.  For 21 days, you can ask students to write down three gratitudes and by doing this they will begin to scan the world for positives first rather than negatives.  Journaling is a great tool used in most classrooms already, and by asking them to journal about a positive experience they had in the last 24 hours, they can relive this experience and receive the same positive effects it has on their brain.  Exercise, meditation, and random acts of kindness are also activities you can use with students to focus their brain on happiness and allow them to function better and more efficiently in the classroom.

Thank you, amazing KH!  She really is amazing, by the way.  These TEDtalks seem so appropriate to this time of year, too.  Each of them is like a mini-New Year's resolution.

I love TEDtalks and I adore my wonderful students, like KH!



Use Those Old Textbooks for Gifts

What else were you going to do with your old textbooks now that the semester is over? Plus, thrift store books make great charms and magnets, too.  Find the original tutorial here for the charms and for the magnets, here.

Happy gift making!


Life Updated: Coffee Shop Edition

There have been a few consistent things this past week....
  • Making holiday garlands and infinity scarves as presents.  I am not a seamstress, at all, but I can sew a straight line.  Maybe I should write a book, Straight Line Crafts:  For Those Who Own a Sewing Machine, But Don't Really Sew or Know What the Heck They Are Doing.
  • Holing up at local coffee shops to work.  Did you know you can listen to the hum of a coffee shop at Coffitvity?  Apparently, that hum boosts creativity.  You can read this article for more info on that study.  I took a Skillshare class once and the guy who came up with Coffitivity was in my class.  
  • Playing with our new-old typewriter.  Lil O is mesmerized by it.  I know now where to buy old-school typewriter supplies and ribbon.  Thank you, Mr. Internet.
  • Reliving my Etsy moment.  I want more of those.
  • Hiking and trail running in the snow with sweet Jedi.  Mr. UpCyclist and I were concerned his paws would get too cold and snow would cake on them.  Alas, that is not an issue at all.  Maybe he really is part husky.
  • Staring out my holiday card from our second lady, Dr. Jill Biden.  After meeting her in 2010, I always get a holiday card from her.  I noticed this year, their German Shepard - Champ - was featured on the front of the card.
Jedi wants a play date with Champ.



Etsy Moment

I recently made this holiday garland and had an Etsy moment.

You know an Etsy moment.

When you make something that turns out better than you thought it would and you actually think others would buy it from Etsy.   Have you had an Etsy moment lately?

Side note:  Why is our buffet so crazy red?  It really isn't that red in real life....But, you can see the garland in action.  I'm still deciding on a home for it.  I think it will live at our place in Colorado.

The inspiration:  I saw this paper craft from Paper Source and thought how cute it would be in felt. Using the cheap sheets of felt from Michaels, I hand cut the holly leaves and berries, then sewed the leaves and berries together on my sewing machine.  Here's a close-up....

It was an easy project to sew though it took some time to hand-cut all the leaves and berries - maybe an hour to do the cutting?  Plus, I wanted it pretty long; I think the garland is almost 8 feet.  I envision it double-backing over our huge magnetic board that you can see me here creating.

I love it.  I had my Etsy moment, which I almost had with this artwork.  I love DIYing.

But you totally knew that.

Happy day, Upcyclists.....

Instaport {for Tech Tuesday}

I recently needed to have access to all my Instagram photos for a holiday project.  Since they aren't downloadable from Instagram, I used this handy-dandy tool, Instaport, to download them.

It was  a total snap to do.  After opening Instaport, I just logged onto my Instagram account.  Chose my date range to download (you can also download by #hashtag, which is soooo cool and another good reason to use hashtags).  Then, click on "start export."  It took under a minute to download my Instagrams and now, I have all of them saved to my computer.

Ready for fun projects.  Hurrah!

Happy Tech Tuesday!


PS - Are you making any cool holiday projects this year?  I'd love to hear about them.  I've been uber-busy making holiday garlands.  #garlandaddict

Update: Stamp Shop Closes 12/8 at Midnight


Please place your last stamp orders by midnight December 8th, 2013 for the holidays.

You know, stamps make great stocker stuffers or teacher gifts :)



Holiday Chalkboard Art

If you are a sucker for subway AND chalkboard art, you should treat yourself to this free holiday download and printable at Smile Like You Mean It

Which can't be a cuter name for a blog, in my opinion.

You can also find last year's adorable subway art here.  Need a gift idea?  Either printable would be an adorable gift framed :)



Sound of Music

My calendar is totally marked this week.  The Sound of Music Live on Thursday, December 5th, 2013.

8pm-11pm.  Which is waaay past my bedtime, mind you.

I loved the original movie growing up.  This version with Carrie Underwood is going to be a remake of the theater production, not the movie (so, if you are a movie buff, heed this warning:  There will be some differences).

Lil O and I completely enjoyed the 45 minute special about the "making of" this rendition.  It shows how they found and casted the children, have been practicing in NYC for weeks and how Carrie Underwood has needed to change her country inflection for the role.  If you missed this "making of" special, click here to see the whole thing online.

Poor Mr. UpCyclist is stuck with me for a few more days while I run around our house belting out my own renditions of all the songs.



Life Updated: The Not-So-Tech Tuesday Edition

We interrupt Tech Tuesday to bring you Life Updated.....

Are you sad?  Are you missing our usual Tech Tuesday?

Forgive me.  

After such a full Thanksgiving weekend, I felt like I needed a chance to reflect.  Yes, me.  Sometimes I have to put myself first.

  • For Hanukkah (we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas over here), Mr. UpCyclist and I took Lil O to see a local production of Annie.  The lead gal - a homeschooler in fourth grade - was SO good.  I mean, really good.  After the first song, Lil O gave me the double thumbs up and said, this is going to be great.  She was correct.  The night and production were lovely.
  • Do you see all those sets of sparkly earrings and necklaces above?  As you might remember, Lil O is a budding fashion designer, so I totally let go of the reins and encouraged her to design all the items you see.  I did the making.  She did the designing and I love her unique color combinations and use of beads.  In just about every instance, I thought, I would have never put those beads together - yet they all came out awesome and stylish.
  • Jedi turned two years old!  We packed his day full of fun - hiking, a playdate with his doggie BFF, chasing remote control cars, yummy meals (of egg noodles, real chicken and broth) and fun new squeak toys.  I seriously don't think I could love a dog anymore than I love Jedi. Do you feel that way about your pets?
  • News flash:  Lil O got a new bike AND it is nicer than mine.  AND she has clip-in pedals.  AND she has brand new clip-in shoes.  The bike doesn't arrive until early 2014 and I am seriously going to get schooled by her.  #helpme
  • Another 5K....for two years now, our friends meet us at a local trailhead and we run our own Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning.  We did it again and ran 3.7 miles.  Woot!  I love when kids run long distances.  The beam with pride after, don't they?  Heck, I was beaming with pride.
  • Did you see our chalkboard covered in math....again?  Wait until I share some other math chalkboard photos with you another day.  PS - Aren't Lil O and friend, K, too cute?! Those two are industrious when they are together.
  • Truism:  Everyday Mr. U and I pack a love note in Lil O's lunchbox.  We've been doing that for a good five years now.  Guess it must be genetic.  My mom left me a lunch note, too, recently.  I was surprised and thought, ahhhh...this is love.
  • I have a bird brother named Sebastian.  He is potty-trained.  Seriously, he is.  Jedi likes to like his feathers.  He keeps nipping at my fingers, but mark my words - that bird is going to adore me one day.
  • Recently, my mom found a vintage typewriter in her attic.  I took it back to Maryland and have been obsessed with it every since.  It isn't the one pictured above - that is my mom's friend's  typewriter from 1917 - but, you can see a photo of my 1960s typewriter here.  I'm in the process of ordering new ribbon for mine.  If right now you have no idea why a typewriter would need ribbon, then.....
We need to talk.

Cuz' it means I'm getting old.

Speaking of getting old, I meant to reflect on Thanksgiving and then, it completely slipped my mind. #seniormoment  Thanksgiving weekend was lovely - lots of good family, outdoor, and craft time, plus, I coached my first teen!  You know how I've been coaching folks, right?  Well, I've been wanting to practice on a teen and I did.  AND.....I think the teen and I both liked the coaching experience.  I may set a new goal - coach ten teens in ten days.  Try saying that ten times fast......

Feeling fulfilled,

Totally Thankful

It is Thanksgiving eve and I'm about to put my laptop to sleep and enjoy the rest of the evening into tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day.

Today, I graded papers, spent time outside with Jedi and my neighborhood BFF - Laura (and her dog, Carra) - watched Lil O and her BFF create-laugh-play, made homemade chai (it was SO good), and prepped for our rebellious Thanksgiving dinner where we don't make a single traditional dish.

I am so thankful this holiday season for so many people, places, and experiences.  To you and yours.....


Shaxi iPad Case Review & Giveaway


Ready for a review and a giveaway?!  Woot!  Did someone say give-a-way?!  It's been a while since we've done both on Upcycled Education.

First, meet my new friend.  The Shaxi iPad Case from Looptworks (retail $85).  I. love. this. case.  (I think that sums up my review).  But, seriously, look. at. it.

The Shaxi is made from all upcycled leather!  Yes, you heard me.  That leather was on its way to the dump - it was tossed out scrap leather - and now, it is our family's coveted iPad case - taking the place of our old, blue, roll-up case I paid $50 for at the Apple store (or was that Target) - you know, the $50 case that is falling apart.  Piece of junk - that old case.

But, the Shaxi?  Come on....Look at those lines....Look at the color blocking......

Look at how at how sturdy she is built.....Lil O can drag that Shaxi and iPad around the house and it is totally protected.  

And my very favorite part is this.....the Shaxi can stand up on its own and adjust to numerous angles. Sure most iPad cases can do that, but from my experience most of the other cases aren't as sturdy when they do - the other cases slip, slide, and come apart.  But, our Shaxi champions standing.

I was afraid the gorgeous leather would get stained, torn, or scratched.  Alas, it has been close to a month and it looks like the day it arrived.  The only downfall we can tell is it slightly hard to adjust the volume on our iPad while it is nestled in its Shaxi.  But, one strike against it doesn't sadden me.


Today, we start the giveaway:  one Shaxi iPad case of your color choosing!  You can keep it for your lovely self or gift it to a friend for the holidays.  Enter by commenting below sharing which color Shaxi you'd choose.  One entry per person, duplicates will be nixed.  For an additional entry, however, browse the Looptworks website and pick one other product you think is amazing - again, one additional entry per person.  Enter by December 1st - midnight EST.  The winner will be announced on Upcycled Education's Facebook page on Monday, December 2nd.  VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

Yay for cool iPad cases and upcycled products!


PS - Big thanks to Looptworks and all their Upcycled Education love & support and sharing a Shaxi with me!


Life Updated: Blue Hair Edition

I think we know who is stealing my heart lately.  Just look at the images above.  One lil, adorable, lovely, creative, talented soul is dominating the images, yes?

Lil O.  That kids brings so much joy to my life.

As does....
  • Blue hair from the Color Run.
  • Running nonstop with Lil O in her 4th (or 5th) 5K.
  • I am so bad at making time for friends.  Thankfully, Prof. KP, is better than me and we got our families together for a night of ice skating and chili.
  • Jedi is so lean.  When we go on fall runs, he runs at least 4-5 times further than me as he antelopes through the forest.  One of my fabulous students, KO, did a speech on the benefits of dog ownership.  Listen people, you need a dog!
  • Have you made homemade poptarts?  This recipe can't be any easier and Lil O and friends adore them.  So far, we've made lemon curd (that product is from Trader Joe's), strawberry preserves, and cookie dough.  We like them in that order.
  • I am equally as awful at making time for my nieces and sister as I am for friends.  Perhaps, that is my next life coaching topic to tackle.  You can see my sweet nieces above with Lil O.
  • When I get a chance to write up the blog post, one of YOU will get to win that upcycled leather Shaxi iPad case Lil O is sporting from Looptworks.  It rocks.
  • Yes, that is a swaddled 8-year old and a rubber chicken above. Ha!  College students, the rubber chicken is coming your way soon!
Happy late fall, ya'll.

Love from Memphis - this weekend,


Western Governors University....Explained

With so many new online universities and colleges, I thought it was time to get down to the nitty-gritty.  Though I can't speak to all online universities and colleges, I keep being impressed with this one..... Western Governors University - a totally online four-year university.

To help make sense of WGU, as it is called, I interviewed a former student who recently graduated there.

Welcome, Carrie and congratulations on your recent graduation!

Why did you choose WGU?
When I was looking at 4-year schools to attend after finishing classes at the community college, I was looking for two main things: flexible class hours and price per semester.  When I looked into the local "brick and mortar" schools the times of the classes would have made it difficult to be home to get my daughter off the bus and since I was going to school full time and working part time I didn't have the money for childcare.  I became very discouraged until I started researching online schools.  The more I read about WGU the more I thought it was the school for me.  I could work on my school work when I had time and the classes per semester was soooo affordable, I was able to take as many credits a semester for one price which also included e-books.

How did it satisfy your needs or not?
WGU was the best choice I could have made.  I was able to work on my school work during the day when my daughter was at school.  My entire time in the program I never had to work on tasks in the evening or on the weekend because I set a routine of completing them during the day when my daughter was in school.  The great thing was that I was still able to be an active school parent and volunteered at her school at least once a week.

What was applying to WGU like?
The application process for WGU was very simple.  I applied online (paying a small application fee) and an admissions counselor called me and asked a few questions over the phone.  I had to submit my transcripts to see which credits they would accept, which wasn't as many as I would have liked. Since WGU is not an in state college they did not have to accept as many of my previous credits which was one of the only disappointing experiences with the college.

What did you like best about taking WGU courses?
I am a very organized and self motivated person so having the ability to pick and choose when to complete work was perfect for me and one of my favorite things about WGU.  I also loved that the classes are competency based, meaning that if the classes required a test to complete it instead of tasks I could take a pretest and if I did well on that I could take the test.  This gave me the ability to start and finish a class in one to two days!  Another bonus was that each student is assigned a student mentor. My mentor would call me once a week in the beginning and check in to see how I was doing etc.  It was nice to have that connection and I always made sure to write down any questions, comments, concerns that I had so I could ask my mentor when I spoke to her.  During my last two semesters my mentor would call every other week but if I had questions during the in between week I would email her and she would get right back to me.

What did you like least?
As I mentioned before I was not happy that WGU did not accept as many credits as I thought they should, and I did push to have two more classes transfer and after researching they added them to my transfer list.  

What advice would you share with others like yourself?
In order to be successful in online learning you need to be self motivated and organized.  I am not the type of person that needs teacher reminders to complete assignments so online education is perfect for me.   You also need to know that WGU is more labor/time intensive than a regular "brick and mortar" college.  The amount of tasks (assignments) that I had to complete was much more than a typical college class.  You will complete these tasks on an online task system called Taskstream.  In this system they have graders who will use a rubric to grade your task, and they will let you know if your task is complete of if you need to make corrections.  You need to be able to follow a rubric and you also need to be able to take constructive feedback in order to make corrections.  The nice thing is that you have several, sometimes unlimited, opportunities to make corrections to complete the task.

Carrie graduates!  Yay!
Is it true you pay a flat price and can take as many courses a semester as you like at WGU?
This is very true and pretty amazing.  One semester I took 40 credits, for one very low price!!! WGU is also year round meaning you can finish your degree faster and you can start at the beginning of any month, you don't need to wait till fall or spring.  Click here for my tuition information (I just checked - it is under $3,000 for six months of classes!)

What about textbooks - is it true you only pay a one time textbook fee for all e-books?
The courses offer many options for reading assignments, from magazine articles, to online sources to e-books and all of these materials are include in the online program for one price that you pay at the beginning of the semester.

What kind of technology or Internet connection do you need to have to be successful at WGU?
During my first few semesters at WGU, I had a regular desktop PC and an external hard drive.  It was important that I had the external hard drive because I didn't want to loose my work or worry about keeping track of flash drives.  During my second half of the program I purchased a Mac laptop and it was the best purchase.  This gave me the opportunity to work on my tasks anywhere, especially times when I was sitting waiting for my daughter at swim team practice and dance class.  I have a regular Internet connection and my hubby who is an IT guy picked the best service for our needs.

Since you want to be a teacher, how was student teaching at WGU seeing how it is an online university?
The student teaching was a little tricky because WGU is not a local college.  The nice thing was that my local school district has had a few students from WGU complete student teaching and the person who supervised me had worked with several WGU students and was familiar with the program.  It did take me longer to find out my student teaching placement than it would have if I went to a local college because the local colleges have a relationship with the county.  In the end I got two amazing student teaching placements with amazing mentor teachers so the rocky start was worth the end result.

Was finding a job difficult or easy after graduation?  Did WGU help with this?
It was difficult to find a job after graduation but I don't think that had anything to do with the fact that I went through an online program.  The county is very slow at hiring new teachers who are not already working in the county.  I went to a lot of job interviews and ended up with a wonderful teaching position in special education at an elementary school. WGU does have an employment service but I am not very familiar with it, it was not something that I used.  Congratulations to Carrie, again.  She recently emailed me to say her state teaching certification was complete, as well!

Any other thoughts about WGU?
I loved my experience at WGU so much that my family and I flew to Salt Lake City in July so I could graduate on the big stage!  I am also going to continue my education at WGU in October when I start the graduate program in Curriculum and Instruction.  If you are looking for a way to complete your degree in a flexible and affordable college than WGU may be the school for you.

Well, what do you think?  Might WGU be an option for you?  With the quality teaching, full accreditation, low cost per semester, the almost zero textbook costs, and the flexibility of learning anywhere, anytime, WOW!  Pretty neat university.

Thank you, Carrie, for sharing your thoughts with us.  


PS - I also want to mention that Carrie is a fantastic student in person.  So, if you are considering a totally online university like WGU, please make sure you can manage your time well, have the right tools and technology, and don't necessarily "need" to see your teachers/mentors/classmates in person.

Implicit Association Tests {for Tech Tuesday}

Today's guest blogger is a longtime friend of Upcycled Education.  Please welcome back, Dr. I.  You'll remember her first post here.

Are you truly aware of your unconscious thoughts, attitudes, preferences, and stereotypes?   Do you have a preference for thin people (versus overweight), abled persons (versus disabled), men in the field science (versus women), or young people (versus old)?  More than likely, you answered no to all of these questions.  Few of us would admit a preference for one group over another; but our unconscious minds may tell us something different.

The Implicit Association Test (IAT) was originally developed in 1998 by three professors (from Harvard University, University of Washington, and University of Virginia) to explore the “unconscious roots of thinking and feeling”.  The test grew from research in the area of implicit social cognition, a term used to describe the cognitive processes that occur outside of our conscious control or awareness (Greenwald & Banaji, 1995).  

The IAT is designed to measure our instinctive associations between concepts like skin color or religion and attributes like good/bad or male/female.   After choosing a test to take, you will be presented with a set of images or words that you need to quickly categorize into groups (e.g. abled/disabled, good/bad).  The test is timed to elicit your first instinct, without thinking too much.  For example you will press a button with your left-hand to categorize something as “Black” or “good” and a button with your right-hand to categorize something as “White” or “bad”.  Then, the categories switch.  Your answers, as well as the length of time it takes for you to categorize, contribute to your result (e.g. “little to no automatic preference between Black persons and White persons”).

You may be surprised by your results!  The good news is that your results include an explanation, research support, and a table like this showing the results of everyone who has taken the test:

I encourage you to take the time to complete one or more of the Implicit Association Tests.  It might just change your mind!

Thank you, Dr. I, for sharing this blog post.  I just took my first implicit test and the results were a bit surprising.

Oh my,

Greenwa ld, A. G., & Banaji , M. R. (1995). Implicit social cognition: Attitudes, self-esteem, and stereotypes. Psychological Review, 102(1), 4–27.