Posted in MAET: CEP 810

NLP Update 1: Yarn Explosion

Starting with the end in mind, here are a few things I discovered through this process so far:

I have always loved to learn. As nerdy as it sounds, nothing makes me happier than the satisfaction of teaching myself something new. For the past few years, this has been my approach to many facets of technology. I have taught myself how to use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator using online tutorials and help forums, and so the learning process of this project was very easy for me to accept. What I did find challenging, however, was navigating between watching and absorbing the information on the screen, and implementing the steps as they were happening. I had to abandon one of my sources and fight through the discouragement, but I’m pleased with the result.

Source 1: Audra Kurtz

The first video I consulted grabbed me with the title, “DIY Arm Knitting–30 minute infinity scarf.” 30 minutes? Sounded great. What I didn’t know that the 30 minutes applied to the actual creation of the scarf, and did not count the hours of pausing, rewinding, starting over, and eventually abandoning Audra’s method. The problem I had with this video is that it was not entirely done from 1st person perspective, so I never knew if she was mirroring me or if I needed to do everything on the opposite hand. Although her scarf looked great, she did not work for me as an instructor.

Source 2: Amanda from the “Simply Maggie” blog (my savior!)

Amanda was everything that Audra was not. She reviewed steps several times, broke things down, and placed the camera over her shoulder so I would always know which hand to be on.

In the video, Amanda recommended using a bulky yarn, and I happened to find a yarn specifically labeled for arm knitting. I will need 2 skeins to complete each scarf.

The purple may or may not work for this, but it was so pretty!
The purple may or may not work for this, but it was so pretty!

If I expected to make anything resembling a scarf in 30 minutes, I had another thing coming! I did, however, discover several things about me as a learner that I previously was unaware of.

My most important moment of learning came from a challenge. I always considered myself to be a visual learner. I like to see the way a process works and then I can mimic it pretty well. What I did not know until attempting this project is that along with a visual I need a clear explanation using straightforward language. For example, one of the steps of the arm knitting was to turn a loop “towards yourself”–it took me 5 replays to finally figure out if that meant left/right or clockwise/counterclockwise. What I discovered is that my students likely feel similar frustrations. I may explain something in a way that is meaningful for me, but unless I can tap into the language that they would use to explain it, I will likely miss a large number of students.

For more on my process and eventual success, please see the photo gallery below. Also, tune in next week as I continue to practice and perfect the art of arm knitting! My goal is to create a full scarf independently, without having the tutorial on in the background. Wish me luck!

Posted in MAET: CEP 810

All Tied up in Knots: Learning Arm-Knitting and Beyond!

Both of my grandmothers were master knitters. My mom and I always had matching knit sweaters or vests to wear with adorable buttons and bright colors, and she cried the day I finally grew out of them. Later, my mom learned to knit in her own right, and my dresser became full of handmade scarves and headbands. During the Superbowl, my mom and sister-in-law sit with their knitting and make incredible blankets and gifts. In short, I have always been surrounded by knitters, and while I have tried many times to learn, I have not yet succeeded. For this reason, I have decided to use online resources to finally learn to knit. I will begin by learning to make a relatively new internet DIY creation: the arm knit scarf. Hours on Pinterest and dozens of saved pins and videos have inspired me to try this innovative knitting technique which will hopefully serve as an introduction and gateway to traditional knitting.

The scarf that started it all! Photo and Information by Simply Maggie
The scarf that started it all!
Photo, creation and Information by Simply Maggie

As a Pinterest addict, it is usually my first stop for a DIY project. After re-visiting my many saved pins on arm scarves (see link below!), I connected to a few videos and online tutorials on YouTube. There seems to be quite the authority out there which will be incredibly helpful in my (likely) moments of struggle.

While my long-term goal is to learn traditional knitting and to be able to knit a scarf, I will begin by learning to arm knit. I feel that this will allow my to learn gradually and practice the basic concepts of knitting before moving on to more advanced projects.


I am looking forward to the trip to the knit shop to pick out yarn!

Cover Photo: “Yarn” by Susbany, licensed Under CC0 Public Domain

Posted in MAET: CEP 810

Learning and Understanding: A Practical Discussion

As part of our back to school professional development, one of my colleagues offered a training session on the cultures of thinking. While working through several visible thinking routines, it became clear that by asking students to illustrate their thought processes, either through visuals or oral explanation, students are more likely to consider complex aspects of a concept and draw connections previously ignored. In the text, How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition, education experts discuss the necessity for students (and all learners) to move beyond a novice state toward mastery. Visible thinking routines are just one way that this can occur. In the following essay, I have explored the differences between learning as a novice and an expert, as well as reflected on some of the ways that this can occur in my own practice.

The full essay can be found here. I look forward to engaging with other educators to discuss the best practices for implementing these concepts in my classroom and overall school community.

Cover image: “Thinking Man”  is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.