Ravioli Regrets: Perfect Pasta Project

This week I will be posting about a few new experiences relating to my Perfect Pasta Project. I attempted the dreaded ravioli, I checked out a couple of new video editing apps, and explored some recipe storage apps to try and find some technology to help me get organized in the kitchen. Some of these experiences were great while others were less successful. Find out more while you read my blog.

I was challenged this week to explore and learn about some new apps while documenting my learning project. I decided to try out a new video editing app, so far I have used iMovie and Splice. The iMovie app is definitely in my comfort zone as it is already on my apple device and it is simple to use. It is the video editing app that I used for my Rolling Egg Dough Pasta learning project blog. The only problem that I have had with using iMovie is that if I do not take the recording from far enough back it crops the screen so that the top of my head gets cut off. I now know to put my phone far enough back so that the frame is bigger.

For my Hand Shaped Pasta blog post I used the video editor Splice, It has a free app version that you can download and choose the way you want your video cropped, so no more heads are cut off. The only problem that I had with this app is that once I tried to save the video I could not because I had added features to my video that were not included in the free version. I was disappointed because it let me add them and then I could not save them. So I took out the music and the special effects and I was able to save my video.

Screen Shot

I was set on going back to iMovie but then I found InShot. This free app is similar to the iMovie app but it gives you more options for sounds and effects. You can also use it to make picture collages and edit pictures. I was also able to add multiple sound tracks and change the music part way through, splice it and use a different music or sound track. In the screen shots below you will see what the screen looks like as you edit, add text, add music, and add voice over. With this video I also used a picture and a voice over at the end. I liked that I could extend the amount of time the picture was shown to match the amount of time I needed for my voice over. The full video will be included in this blog post when I go over my ravioli making experience.

Ravioli is tricky to say the least. I thought that I was ready give it a try as I felt confident in my ability to make egg dough pasta and rolling it into sheets. I found that the tools that I had were hard to use. I ended up trying a few different methods where I used a press, then just used a knife, and with each ravioli I had to go through and press the edges to make sure they were sealed so that the filling would not come out when they were cooking. I used a few recipes to guide me through the ravioli making experience. I used the egg dough recipe from the Instructables site, as it was the recipe that seemed to turn out the best. Then for the filling I used a combination, I used a food.com recipe that showed four different fillings and one for butternut squash ravioli from the blog, Self-Proclaimed Foodie. I made a butternut squash and ricotta filling with a brown-butter and sage sauce. Next time I will choose just one filling recipe and follow it exactly, trying to concoct my own filling did not turn out so great. As for the pasta, I liked with the taste and texture and I am happy to report that not one of my ravioli came apart in while cooking. Yay! I would say that is a victory. Unfortunately, the over all taste of the ravioli was not that great and think that this was due to the filling. It just did not taste that good and it had a weird texture.

I go through my ravioli making process in the video below using the InShot App to edit.

Here are some process photos of my ravioli making experience.

I Found one other app this week that I wanted to share on my learning project blog. It is called Recipe Keeper. I decided to find an app that I can automatically save recipes from websites. It can also make notes, add grocery lists, add photos, and many other things that I have not yet discovered. So far I am still using the free version which has a limit of how many recipes you can store. I thought that this would come in handy for this project as I am constantly finding recipes for fresh pasta and needed a place to store them. Below are some screen shots of this app.

I hope that this post inspires you to try a new app, try a new recipe, or at least stay tuned for my next learning project blog post where I will be attempting flavored pasta. If you have any app or recipe suggestions please feel free to let me know in my comments.

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”
― Julia Child, My Life in France (quote retrieved from Goodreads.com see link)

What’s a Vine?

I have honestly struggled to write this weeks prompted blog post. Why? Well I am not really sure. I had never heard the term participatory culture before. I guess I would consider myself a bit an “old school” person when it comes to the digital world, I do not feel that I am turning a blind eye to the technology or digital world that surrounds me it is just that I feel it is taking me a while to sort out my thoughts about the subject. I have learned a lot about using the different tools associated with technology and embraced many of them especially in the last five years. But when it comes to understanding the culture of it, it starts to get a little fuzzy.

I think that I have just not put that much thought into the impact that this type of culture has on the classroom or our lives. Then something hit me, I was reminded of a movie, The Devil Wears Pada, and a particular scene where the main character get a lesson of the impact fashion has on society. I thought that it is similar to what I am learning about the impact of technology has on me and society.

I can see that the content that we have access to shapes what we do and the way we think. In this day and age we have endless videos and information at the touch of a button, we just have to go out and search for it and if we can’t find what we are looking for we can create it. I realized that up until now I have definitely been a consumer not a contributor. I have utilized online resources for a variety of purposes over the years and never thought about being someone who would contribute to the content in any way. I think that many young people know that they are the both consumers and creators. This is why I think that having an understanding of digital citizenship, digital literacy and digital identity become so important.

I found the video, An anthropological introduction to YouTube by Michael Wesch, informative. I had no idea when YouTube was created nor the way that it has a hand in shaping society. I was happy to have learned more about the history and how the evolution of the YouTube community has contributed to creating a culture and that culture is a part of our everyday lives. I know that I still have a lot of learning to do when it comes to understanding the digital world and all that goes with it but I believe the key factor is that I am up for the challenge. I will continue learning and work on staying as up to date as I can. Although, all things keep changing, as we learned in our class last week, it is important to try our best to keep up. A good start for me has been putting thought into the what is my digital world and start exploring what that means. In the post, Stories From Experts About the Impact of Digital Life by Janna Andersaon and Lee Rainie, I am expanding my understanding of how my digital world/life is being shaped. A quote from that article made me think about how communities are created, like the ones we talked about in class,

“All of us now have the ability to find ‘our people’ – those who share our interests and passions and concerns – in ways that we couldn’t when our connective avenues were limited by time and geography.” SCOTT MCLEOD

Photo Credit: John Brighenti Flickr via Compfight cc

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To close my post I want to share an incident that I was reminded of while I was thinking about these topics. The incident occurred about ten years ago when I was working as an EA in a grade 7/8 classroom. The kids were all discussing something that they had seen the night before. I asked them what it was about, engaging them in conversation about a relevant topic to them. They told me it was a “vine” I replied, “What is a vine?”. Well you would have thought that I had turned into an alien. The students jaws dropped, I didn’t know what a vine was, at the time I honestly was just not interested in stuff on line. The great part of this whole incident was that it was an opportunity for the students to teach me something new. They were so excited to tell me about vines and show me a few little clips. It is something that a few students still talk about, “remember Mrs. Beaven that time we had to explain what a vine was.” Can anyone relate to this? I think back about this and smile because I know that it will be important for me to know what is going on with the trending technology and happenings online, but it can also be a teaching experience for the students and learning experience for me.

I feel that I can respect the culture and have an understanding of it with out having to be completely immersed in participating in every platform. I believe the key is to have the general knowledge and respect for the various aspects that go with them.

So Many Noodles So Little Time: Perfect Pasta Project

Welcome back to my Learning Project blog, Perfect Pasta Project. In this post you will be able to see the progress that I have made at leaning the art of making homemade fresh pasta. This week I worked on learning how to hand shape pasta using a flour and water dough.

Have you ever shaped pasta by hand? It really made me think about each noodle I was going to eat and the fact that I had to create each and every one of those little beasts. Hours and hours of work was consumed in less than ten minutes, but boy oh boy was it delicious. Let me tell all about it.

For making hand shaped pasta I found that I could use either egg dough or flour and water dough. I wanted to see the difference in the types of dough so I opted to make the simple flour and water dough this time. There are many sites that explain the different types of dough that you can use to make pasta. The Science of the Best Fresh Pasta, provides a ton of information about fresh pasta and the different ways that you can make it.

Once I decided on the type of dough I was going to use to make I watched a few videos, How to Make 29 Handmade Pasta from Bon Appétit, How to make Pasta Shapes at Home (e.g. Tagliatelle, Fusilli, Farfalle), and viewed many websites that described different pasta shapes and how to shape them. One site that I found particularly useful was on cookingtips.com which had detailed written descriptions and many pictures.

After watching the videos and looking at sites it was time to try making some of them. I tried making fafalle (bow tie), fusilli, cavatelli, and garganelli. Some of the different shapes required me to use different tools. I did not have the tools so I had to improvise. The Istructables resource that I used for my second post as well as the the blog FOOD52 gave me suggestions of things I could use from around my home. I made a very useful tool out of wooden skewers.

I documented my learning process with a series of videos.

Making Faralle

The cavatelli turned out to be my favourite to make and to eat.

Making Cavatelli

The garganelli was probably the hardest.

Making Garganelli

Sooo many different shapes.

By the end of the afternoon I felt like I was getting the hang of it. But I realized just how time consuming it is to make each noodle by hand.

To cook them I followed the method that I learned earlier in this project, just to boil them for about 3 minutes in salted water and then to finish cooking them in a pan with the sauce. I was not sure exactly what kind of sauce would go best with the types of pasta shapes I made, I looked for a site that could help me. I found an Insider article titled A visual guide to every type of pasta. It shows 52 types of pasta, describes them, and the type of sauce that best suits that noodle. The cavatelli can handle a thicker meat sauce I made a quick sauce with ground beef and jarred marinara sauce then topped it all of with fresh grated parm. It was perfect the pasta had a bit of a chewy bite to it but yet was still soft and delicate.

I hope that you are enjoying my learning project blog. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think also I would love to know if you have ever made handmade noodles and what you though about it. For my next post I think it is time that I attempt my restaurant favourite, ravioli!

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking, you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” – Julia Child Quote Retrieved from Today.com

Twitter and my Misunderstanding

Before I tell you about my current understanding and my exploration of Twitter let me tell you about the first time I used it. It was in the fall of 2015 and I was in Vancouver for a conference. While out at an amazing restaurant, Black and Blue, I saw the actor Breckin Meyer or thought I did. So as we sat there and I contemplated just going and asking him, one of my co-workers suggested looking him up on Twitter to see if he posted anything about being in Vancouver. In about two minutes I had joined Twitter and started following him and sure enough it was him at the same restaurant that I was. I carefully took a selfie with him in the background and I never looked at Twitter again. Fast forward almost five years later and here I am learning all about Twitter, how I can use it help build my Professional Learning Network and how Twitter can be used as a tool in the classroom.

I am not big on social media platforms as I explained in my first blog post. I really just assumed Twitter was one more form of social media and I was not interested in it. I have learned so much in the last few weeks and realized that it can be great way to find and share resources that can help me as an educator. I can also learn from a variety of other people with similar interests or learn others perspectives. So far everything that I have seen on twitter has been along professional lines or information based. I like that there is a max to the characters so that you must keep your posts fairly concise. In class on Thursday May 14, I was quite anxious during our Saskedchat. There were so many responses to read and comments to pay attention to that it was a little overwhelming for me. I decided that I wanted to try another live chat to build my experience and explore Twitter a little more. On Saturday morning I participated in a live chat that I found, #CrazyPLN, it was a great experience. Although I did not answer every question because they did not all apply to me I found that reading the responses interesting. I was able to get a sense of what teachers were going through in a variety of places. I will be continuing to join live chats as a way help build my PLN.

At this point I am not confident in using Twitter in my own classroom. I think that I will need to get more experience with it and then I will be able to see how I can use it effectively with students. one article that I read, 7 Ideas for Using Twitter in the Classroom, helped me see how I might be able to incorporate its use in the future.

In the past my children’s school was thinking about becoming active on Twitter as a way to communicate with parents and when it was brought up many of the parents were not interested as they felt we were being overloaded with apps and the use of social media. Between Facebook, Remind, Seesaw, Twitter was just one more that we would have to pay attention to. I feel like now that I have been using it for this class I would be more open to it if it was to be used for their school. Learning more about Twitter has definitely given me a better understanding of the platform and its purpose. I think that it will be very useful for me on both a professional and personal level.

PS, Here is my selfie with Brekin Meyer. My husband still gives me a hard time because of how terrible this picture is and for the fact that I even recognized the actor. I swear it seemed so much better at the time.

Fun with Fettuccini: Perfect Pasta Project

Let’s just say that I think I may have just had beginners luck. My first try at egg dough pasta turned out great! It was the most delicious fettuccini that I have ever had – honestly so good. Let me tell you more about my pasta perfection.

First, I actually went out and found the right tools for the job. I was able to get my hands on a hand crank pasta machine. It is heavy duty and good quality. Next I made sure that I had the right ingredients. I used regular all purpose flour as the recipe called for but I went out and bought a better quality extra virgin olive oil to help give my pasta the flavour that was suggested. I found out that pasta is generally made up of two ingredients flour and liquid, the difference between types of pasta is what you choose to use for the liquid in the dough as well as the type of flour. For this attempt I used the Instructables pasta class, making egg dough pasta, as I am working my through this online resource. You can find the recipe in the Instructables link.

After completing the first five lessons from the Instructables class, I was ready to try making egg dough pasta that I would use to make fettuccini. I poured the flour on to my cutting board and made a well in the center. Then I cracked my eggs directly into the well, added the oil, and then the water. I used a fork to mix up the eggs and start to incorporate into the flour. I was quite skeptical as it didn’t seem to be coming together like the video had shown. I was beginning to have flashbacks to the “pasta disata” I mentioned in my first project blog post, Buongiorno! Perfect Pasta Project. I ended up leaving a bit of flour on the board because it did not seem like there would be enough liquid to absorb the flour. One of the tips from the lesson said that it is easier to add flour later than to try and take it out. If you would like to watch the process I have included a video. Be kind this is the first video that I have made like this.

I was so happy with the way the dough came together. It was encouraging to see that with the help from the videos I knew what the dough should look and feel like. The next step in the process was to roll it out and cut it into ribbon pasta, I chose to cut it into fettuccini. The dough rolled out perfectly using the hand crank pasta machine. I also used the pasta machine to cut the pasta using the fettuccini attachment. Although my fettuccini was a little sticky at first, I lightly dusted my sheets of pasta with flour and it solved the issue. I am including another video showing the process of rolling and cutting my pasta.

I was a little concerned as the “nests” I made were sticky so I pulled them a part and hung them around the edge of a container and that seemed to help. The pasta dried a bit as I let rest before I cooked it.

To cook my pasta I brought a large pot of water to a boil and added about two tablespoons of salt to the water. I only put one portion the pot at a time because I did not want to over crowd the pot. I used tongs to stir the fettuccini noodles and once the water came back to a boil I let them cooks for about two minutes. I checked to see if they were close to being done by tasting a piece. The pasta was not quite Al Dente which is what I wanted as I was going to continue to cook it for a few minutes in the sauce that I had made in another pan. I pulled the noodles out of the pot using a fine strainer and tongs. I did not pour them out, a tip shared by Helen Rennie on YouTube, because there is flour on the fresh pasta, it settles at the bottom of the pot so if you dump the water over the pasta the flour water goes back on the noodles and can make them sticky and gloopy. I tossed the noodles in a very simple cream sauce that I made using left over bacon, cream, and parmesan cheese (I will talk more about sauces later on in my project).

Thank you for reading and following along with me on my learning project blog. I will continue to explore the art of making homemade fresh pasta. I think I will try and tackle hand made pasta shapes next. Stay tuned!

“Noodles are not only amusing but delicious.” ~ Julia Child https://www.azquotes.com/author/2810-Julia_Child

Finding Balance

What will this fall look like in terms of teaching and learning? In my heart I hope that we will be able to return to classrooms with some safety precautions put in place. But, in my head I know that this is unlikely. The uncertainty of not knowing what the fall will look like makes me feel like I have lump in throat and a pit in my stomach. I was supposed to be doing an internship this fall, is that going to change? I found our discussions from our class on Tuesday to be comforting in the fact that I was not alone in the way that I was feeling. I was inspired by the positivity that was shared. No matter what it looks like we will figure it out. We are resilient and flexible, if we are going to be teachers, we have to be.

For my kids sake I really hope that they are able to get back to the classroom for some face to face instruction and social interaction, even if it is offered in a modified way. So far their teachers have been doing a great job of remote teaching. All of their teachers were already using Google Classroom so the framework was already in place. Unfortunately my kids are really missing the positive connections that are made when they see their teachers and classmates face to face. A switch has been flipped in our house where screens and technology were used primarily for fun are now seen as tools for work. We are lucky enough to have devices and internet at our house but many students do not have access so remote learning using technology that is web based is not a viable option for them. I know it seems strange that some families are living without home internet and devices but there are many reasons that this occurs. In some rural areas there is no reliable internet service, some families can not afford it, some families only have limited access such as a smart phone with data, which they need when they go to work.

  • Doing math using a variety of learning sources including technology and print resources.

Currently I am working full time from home as an EA. My duties change from day to and differ from the duties of EAs in other schools. I am supporting learning in a variety of ways from finding resources and ideas, to participating in professional development opportunities. The teachers are doing an amazing job at providing activities that use a combination of technology and more hands on skill development opportunities. It is really too bad but the school is not having great success with students participation with the supplemental learning that is being provided. This is due to many factors including no access to technology, even to receive the information about the learning activities, parents who are unable to assist, have not been able to get in contact with families (some do not have home phones or cell phones that are in-service). If this style of learning is going to continue through next fall, Many schools like this one are going to have to find another way to reach their students. I wonder what the gap will look like between students who have been able to participate vs students who have not?

I hope that as we move forward the direction becomes clear and we are able to address the uncertainty that lays ahead. By 2025 I think that education will continue to utilize technology and it will be imperative that teachers make learning as relevant as possible. In a Ted talk shared in Shelly’s blog the presenter explains that our classrooms need to be as engaging as the world around us. Since many educators have had to embrace technology since Covid-19 forced schools to change their delivery method we have all learned just how important technology is to education. I believe that in the future all teachers will have to have remote methods of instruction available.

I have found many of the resources and articles posted to be quite interesting. One article that I particularly enjoyed was from the Harvard Medical School site titled Screen Time and the Brain. It explains many of the concerns that I had about the increase use of screens and the need for purposeful use of technology as well as balanced use.

This topic brings up many emotions for me during these strange times. I know that I will preserve and that I will help my children cope with the lack of social interaction but I can’t help but wonder about how to achieve optimal learning environments for our students if they do not all have equal access?

Buongiorno! Perfect Pasta Project

I am excited to welcome you to my Learning Project blog. I have to be honest I actually had a tough time deciding on what I was going to learn. After some research and a lot of thought, I narrowed down my choices to learning how to run a marathon, learning a language, or learning how to make pasta. I put it to a vote and it was unanimous my family wanted me to learn to make pasta. I really was not surprised as the other choices were no where near as fun or potentially delicious.

I am a bit nervous about this decision as I have tried to make fresh pasta before and let me tell you there was nothing delicious about it. When I think back about the great “pasta disasta” of 2014 I can remember using the first recipe that came up and then not having the right tools or the right ingredients. So, I guess I should not have been surprised when it did not turn out very well. I am not going to let that happen again, I am going to create a plan.

After watching a few videos like How to Make Egg Pasta on YouTube by Helen Rennie, I was able to create an outline for my learning project. I am going to learn about the proper tools, techniques, and the correct ingredients. Then practice getting the feel for it and experiment by learning how to make cut ribbon pasta, hand-shaped pasta, and different filled pasta. I will be using a variety of online resources including YouTube videos, recipe websites, and other blogs. I have also enrolled in a free online course from Instructables to learn the art of making fresh pasta. Throughout the process, I am going to document my learning by taking pictures, making videos, and blogging about my experience. I hope that you enjoy my perfect pasta project.

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Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/30478819@N08/49291187088/”>wuestenigel</a&gt; Flickr via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

“People who love to eat are always the best people”

Julia Child

So Here I Go, I Think?

Welcome to be my blog and thank you for joining me on my educational journey. I do not want to alarm you but this is my first attempt at publishing a blog post that is open to the public. Can you tell that I am sweating profusely right now?

I am Tracey Beaven and I am going into my fourth year of university working towards my Bachelor of Education. I am a wife to a farmer and a mom to two pretty great humans and one cool dog. I worked as an EA for almost fifteen years before I decided to continue my learning journey by getting my Ed. Degree. I am looking forward to broadening my understanding of media and technology and all it has to offer to the world of education. I really don’t have much experience with the use of technology in the classroom beyond the classic smart board and the odd iPad app. In my personal life, I have kept things pretty simple using social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram where I rarely post anything. I honestly thought it was best to keep my online presence to a minimum. I am learning that this is not exactly true anymore, as I found out in the article, Forget the resume: Online profiles the tools of young job seekers. 

I have a lot to learn but don’t worry, I am determined to figure out how to navigate educational technology. This blog will be a place where I will reflect on my learning as I develop my professional learning network and build my personal e-portfolio. 

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/7815007@N07/46973372681/”>Ken Whytock</a> Flickr via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;