Learning How to Draw: Mouths

This week, I took on one of my final steps before putting what I’ve learned together. I learned how to draw mouths/lips. I found mouths easier to draw than noses, because there is a general shape and some lines you can draw. That being said, I didn’t find as many resources as I have been able to find for the other parts I was learning. It’s possible I wasn’t looking in the right places or overlooked possibly valuable resources. However, some of the videos I found were quite helpful and I took away some helpful pointers.

In a couple of the simpler tutorials, I learned basic shapes. I learned to use an oval shape and how to draw the middle line to create a smile or neutral expression, and to try a boxy shape for an open mouth smile. I learned a triangle technique for drawing a mouth from a side angle. All of these drawing tips/lessons I learned with Howcast’s video: “How to Draw Lips| Drawing Tips“.

In an attempt to find additional resources, both because of limited tutorial videos and difficulty seeing light lines in some videos, I found a series of images that go through a step-by-step tutorial on how to draw realistic lips. My attempt is in the bottom right corner of the picture below. It turned out less detailed and less realistic looking than the example, but this is partly because I didn’t really follow the later instructions because they didn’t make sense to me. You have to create dark swatches of pencil to use a brush to dust shading in, which seemed odd to me and not something I wanted to do in my own drawing.


My favourite learning resource is the video by markcrilley that I have embedded below below. He took his time to go step by step and the steps were easy to follow and made sense. Additionally, the result is something that if you practice enough you can see your work improve.

The opening of the instruction starts with a grid. This grid is great for beginners especially, and helps me achieve a symmetrical and realistic shape. Here is what it looks like:



You use the grid as a guideline, with the top and bottom of the mouth extending beyond it, because they are round and not flat.

He also goes into the lines you create to make your lips have a realistic shape, curving to show the shape and shading to make them look realist. The results of this learning tutorial are something I’m proud of, and with the tips given in the video, is something I can recreate. Sometimes my scanner makes the shading look a bit grainy, but you can also check out the results on my instragram.



This learning process has been exciting, and I have learned a lot so far. It is really important to practice, so if you have any additional resources or tips please send them my way; I appreciate it. And if you have any questions about my learning process, please ask.


Digital Storytelling

"Mystery Writer" by Nanagyei is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Mystery Writer” by Nanagyei is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Here is my first venture into digital storytelling. I constructed a simple six word story about a realization as a writer. I used a few tools to help me accomplish this image. First I used photosforclass.com, which helped me search for an image that went with my story, with the copyright condition that I could edit it. I used picmonkey to edit the image. I added the text for my six word story and used a texture tool to brighten the spot around the text and fade the rest a bit to make the writing visible.

I really appreciate all of the resources and platforms available for digital storytelling in education. As an English major, learner and writer, I not only love storytelling of any kind, I see wonderful importance in the sharing and communicating of ideas through stories. Digital storytelling adds more possible layers to the practice. Learners can be creative in how they tell and showcase their stories. Learners can connect and collaborate with others, and an important part of learning is belonging to a community of learners. Digital platforms expand that community. Digitizing stories, can get students considering their audience and final product with more interest/investment if they know a large number of people could possibly view their work. It also differentiates how they can possibly tell their stories. Learners can use their own voices, images, computer animation, etc.

Digital Storytelling fits into the English Language Arts curriculum in many places, including:

CC A10.1: Compose and create a range of visual, multimedia, oral, and written texts that explore:

  • identity (e.g., Foundational Stories);
  • social responsibility (e.g., Destiny and Challenges of Life); and
  • social action (agency) (e.g., Human Existence).

CC B10.1: Compose and create a range of visual, multimedia, oral, and written texts to explore:

  • identity (e.g., Diversity of Being);
  • social responsibility (e.g., Degrees of Responsibility); and
  • social action (agency) (e.g., Justice and Fairness).

CC 20.1: Create a range of visual, multimedia, oral, and written texts to explore:

  • identity (e.g., Relationships with Family and Others);
  • social responsibility (e.g., Evolving Roles and Responsibilities); and
  • social action (agency) (e.g., The Past and the Present).

CC A 30.2: Create and present visual and multimedia representations including using photographs to explain a range of contemporary course-related perspectives or landscapes.

Digital storytelling is a great way to have learners create visual, multimedia, oral and written text, and is therefore a good tool to help learners to reach these outcomes and become engaged in the communication goals of the language arts curriculum.

What do you think of digital storytelling? Can you identify any other ways it could be helpful or tools that could be used in the activity? Have you used digital storytelling in your learning and/or teaching?

Learning How to Draw: Looking for a Learning Community

In addition to my learning through mainly youtube videos and still photos, I wanted to expand my network and search for a learning community, specifically an online learning community, engaging in the same adventure as me.

I have been blogging about my experiences and learning process, but my learning is still very much a one-way communication rather than collaboration. I watch videos, practice, post about my learning, but get little feedback and opportunity for discussion and collaboration. An important part of learning, even though I am self-directing my learning, is communicating with other learners. So, in the midst of my learning, I searched for communities of learners learning how to draw using online platforms.

I found reddit a particularly helpful space for what I was looking for. There are multiple communities that I can join and partake in the sharing of my online learning experience. There are two communities that I took interest in and added to my learning project resources.

The first is called “Art Fundamentals: Learning to Draw from the Ground Up“. I believe that this is a group started by a single user, who has made and linked lessons, “extra-curricular” material, an optional challenge, and discussion sections. You can subscribe to the group and post comments to get in on the discussion or ask questions. This group is nice for learning material as well as opportunity to be a part of discussing the material.


The second is “learnart” and it says that it is for “artists that want to improve”. It is a more open community, with many contributors and continually updating series of posts that can be helpful in my process of learning how to draw. I can join discussions that interest me or provide me with the opportunity to discuss issues and ideas that will help me improve my drawing.



A few posts from this community include one on “Beginners: 10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me…” underneath the initial post are comments that are also helpful and show how learners as well as people who are learned can discuss things beginners should know. Or this graphic that someone posted on how to draw with your eyes rather than your brain (warning if you are sensitive to certain language: there are curse words in the image). Then there is a comments section to discuss the image and the opportunity for learning from it. You can also post pictures of your art and receive constructive feedback that can help engage in the learning community and get tips on how to improve.

I found a few other spaces that I haven’t explored as much and am not as engaged with, but other learners may find helpful.

  1. Learn How to Draw – By: Helen South
  2. Draw Space

If you learned or are in the process of learning how to draw online, what are some communities and/or resources that you are using, like, have found useful, etc…? If you are working on a different learning project, have you found any online communities that are helping you?

Scratch as a Stepping Stone to Coding

Scratch is described as an online learning community that helps learners move toward learning coding. Scratch can be a great tool for learners and educators. There is even a community, ScratchEd, for educators to learn and share ideas about how to teach with Scratch.

While I have heard about coding, I have never learned coding in my own education or personal adventures. The stepping stone that Scratch provides made coding seem more accessible to me. I am not the most tech literate person and used to see coding as something only super techy people could do. I am happy to find that I can do it, and I can work towards including coding through tools like Scratch into my teaching. I made a short interactive animation called “Kitty Adventures“. While it may seem short and simplistic, it is the learning process that is truly remarkable.

While using the system of coding to achieve the simple animation, I learned by making mistakes. I would try something out, find errors and ways to fix them, and learn different ways of accomplishing my goals by testing things out. After a while of using the program I got used to what I would need and where I should put it to get the desired outcome. You definitely get a sense of how to create commands and see them come to life. Scratch made me excited to see that even I could learn (and maybe someday teach) about coding.

Because of my experience and understanding, I can see why coding could be an important thing for students to learn about. As is stated in the post by Santosh Bhaskar K, “Why Should Young Students be Encouraged to Learn Programming” programming can be helpful in many ways. The list the post comes up, says that learning programming: makes kids tech geniuses, provides multiple career opportunities, can be a hobby and skill development activity, builds logical thinking, can make money, helps others share knowledge, helps learners make a mark in the world, and can be used to automate tasks. Moreover, as Santosh Bhaskar K points out, it is important to understand that even if learners don’t grow up to be huge money-making programmers, “…programming is a life enhancing skill…“. I agree with these ideas and anything that helps the learners today and in their future, is something I feel I should include in their education if I can.

Learning How to Draw: Noses

Learning how to draw a nose has been the hardest part of my learning project. I was not looking forward to learning how to draw the nose as much as I had been with the eyes. However, the improvement I have made I am more proud than any other improvements I’ve made in my drawing. I think what makes the nose so difficult is that it is mostly shading. There are very few lines you can make and have it look realistic.

I began learning  how to draw the nose from a structural point of view. I learned to draw the nose from the front, the side, three-quarter view and from below. I used a couple of youtube videos to help me out with this part.

I found this video particularly helpful. It’s easy to follow and nicely organized. I was able to follow along and gain a good grasp on the basic structure of noses, which I can use detail to create many different looking noses. Also, because it goes through the different perspectives I gained a better idea of how to draw the nose and I will be able to draw portraits from different perspectives.



I practiced drawing the nose structures a bit more and searched for another video to give me another example to get another way of approaching the construction of a drawn nose. I believe this video is by the same person, but goes over slightly different material.


Next, I learned how to make the nose look realistic, referencing what I learned of the structure. I struggled at first to find videos that were actually helpful. There are less videos on how to draw the nose than there are for the eyes. A lot of the videos out there do not provide step by step examples, which I find helpful.

Videos that I used are:

  1. Pen & Ink Drawing Tutorials: How to draw a realistic nose” by: ALPHONSO DUNN
  2. How to Draw a Nose” by: Drawing and Painting Tutorials – TheVirtualInstructor.com
  3. How to Draw a Realistic Nose: Frontview” by: Daisy van der Berg
  4. how to draw nose realistic” by: Xia Taptara
  5. How to Draw a Realistic Nose” by: Drawing and Painting Tutorials – TheVirtualInstructor.com
  6. How to draw people – The Nose” by: uitdf227

I also used a non-video resource in order to get a step by step lesson. This picture tutorial gave step by step images and words that gave me insight into when I should be shading, blending, sketching, etc.

After watching and following along with the many resources I found, I was able to practice drawing noses.



Next I will be learning how to draw mouths. If you have any resources to share, that can help with any step in my process of learning how to draw, I would love to hear about them. Also, if you have any questions about my learning process so far, please ask them in the comments section.

Apps for Bloom’s Taxonomy

This week I was in search of educational tech tools. I found a great resource that helps with teaching to Bloom’s Taxonomy. The resource outlines six levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy: creation, evaluation, analysis, knowledge, comprehension, and application. There are many apps listed for various ways of showing learning and understanding in these areas.

For evaluation I looked at the apps for collaboration, as collaborative learning is important to me but can be a bit difficult. I liked the app iBrainstorm. It allows groups to collaborate on different devices in real time and from different locations. I think Google Docs is another great collaboration tool, but I really enjoyed the ease of drawing images and conversing that iBrainstorm allows.

For knowledge I liked the mind mapping tool iMindmap. This app might not be for every learner, but could be helpful for note taking and mapping their ideas. I think the app could be used in pre-writing steps as well. Learners could use this app for projects to show their understanding visually.

There are many apps to be explored and ways to use them to reach the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. These are a few that are new to me and that I could see potential in. What do you think of these resources? What are some other great apps I’m missing out on?

Celebrate Learning

I don’t think we treat learning as the wonder it is enough. More often than not, in my experience, the “end” of the learning process of a specific topic or unit is marked with a test. I think this is tradition, how learning and school have been traditionally approached, but I don’t think it should be so. Learning should be celebrated, ideas should be shared, discussions should be had and we should remember that learning is a lifelong process. We can consistently improve our knowledge and skills, so to mark an end seems ridiculous to me. As if to say you’ve learned all there is to learn about this or at least all you need to know to be successful. Where is the wonder? Where is the celebration of the fantastic beauty of learning?

Ben Johnson wrote in his article, A Celebration of Learning, the realization he had about the way he taught and how he decided that rather than focusing on students mistakes and what they had yet to learn he would celebrate what they had already learned. He talks about bringing the celebration of learning into the classroom even in seemingly small ways: exit tickets, student work posted on the walls, and having students share with their peers next to them.

If you haven’t watched Rita Pierson’s TEDtalks video yet, I suggest you do. It’s only seven minutes and it will get you in a wonderful mind frame for teaching in a way that celebrates your students’ learning. One of the most powerful examples she gives is the way she marks assignments. On a test out of twenty a student answered two questions correct and eighteen incorrect. Rather than putting a -18 on that students paper, she wrote a +2 and a smiley face 🙂 She says that a -18 will suck everything out of that student, but a +2 will remind them that they didn’t get everything wrong and they’re “not all bad”. What students have learned is therefore celebrated and they can build up from their. It’s a better place to build from.

Additionally, in Leigh Weaver’s article: Learning Celebrations: Everyone benefits when students share their work with guests, Leigh gives the example of hosting open houses to give students the opportunity to celebrate and share what they’ve been learning. I like this example as well as the advice she gives to make sure the students are benefiting from the celebration. Something that encouraged my own love of learning was being able to go home and share everything I learned with  my parents. I think having class parties like this is a step in the right direction for celebrating learning.

I also think learning can be celebrated more continuously throughout the process and in many different ways with the added benefit of current technology. Students can be encouraged to blog updates about their learning, have discussions about the things they’re learning, and share things they’re proud of. Students can tweet things they’ve learned and get in touch with people who can expand their learning further. Students can use presentation tools, like Prezi,  to share and celebrate their learning with their peers (and everyone on the internet if they choose). Youtube and other video sharing platforms can be used to share a video blog or performance of what a student has learned. Students can also use technology to seek out experts in the area of study they’re learning about using many platforms including, skype and google hangouts.

The celebration of learning should be incorporated into the classroom in big and small ways, in the day to day and in larger events (such as the open house). I believe that learning can be connected to student passions and that students should be able to share what they’ve learned in their own ways. I also believe that allowing students to represent their understanding and their knowledge is more beneficial than only taking tests. Sharing student learning in these ways goes along with celebrating learning, which is something I think we should strive for. Learning is too exciting to be turned into a punishment and not to be celebrated. Technology can help students see the connections of their learning to the real world, expand their understanding, and encourage enthusiasm.

What do you think of this approach to teaching? Would you use technology to allow students to celebrate their learning? What ways could these ideas be improved?