Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sick Day

This week I have come down with a cold and yesterday I took a sick day to try to get myself better. This is the first sick day I have ever taken as a teacher and I started to think about the preparations I would have needed to make had I been in a traditional brick and mortar classroom. In the online classroom, substitute teachers are only needed when teachers are out for a number of weeks. This means I did not need to write sub plans. Though I was out, my classroom kept functioning for students. I was not able to answer questions via phone but catching up from yesterday was fairly simple. I replied to emails and returned voicemails. This same concept applies to my students as well for when they might be sick or out for several days. I do not need to re-teach content and that student should not get too far behind. Students also attend school when teachers are at professional development meetings, another day they would have had off. During winter and spring break many of my students logged on to catch up on missing work and they had access to recordings of lessons and content. Online learning is not bound by time constraints or holidays, which provides flexibility for all.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thesis Project

My thesis project is complete! This year has been such a beautiful experience and I cannot think of a better topic to have picked for my thesis project. I invite you to read it if you want. Also, I WILL continue to update my blog even though my thesis is done. Thank you all so much for reading!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What Does a Lesson Look Like?

Screen shots of lesson pages
This week I am teaching a lesson about color theory and I realized I have not actually shown how the classroom looks for students as they complete a lesson. Translating content from the traditional classroom to online means presenting all of the content you would have lectured about, demonstrated, or delivered in other activities in a way that can be understood using only web pages in the classroom. It is important that the content be engaging and clear to help students understand without a teacher standing in front of them delivering the content. All online education platforms look different but I will share elements I believe to be important for framing an art lesson in my classroom.
Important Elements of an Online Art Lesson:
1.    Introduction-I use the introduction page to explain to student what they will be learning for the lesson or unit. The page also offers a printable version of all classroom content for students who prefer to work away from their computers.
2.     Content: This is what I would describe as the online “text book”. This is where students read about new content that I also deliver in my live lessons. I include images to engage students and promote understanding of art concepts.
3.    Assignment: Most weeks students complete one art project for my class. The assignment page lays out the instructions for the project and some requirements I am looking for.
4.    Examples: Just like many brick and mortar art teachers show teacher examples and student exemplars in person, I share them online. Students can use this page to get a better idea of what the assignment could look like.
5.     Demonstration Video: For some lessons myself and other art teachers in my team create demo videos to show student techniques for their projects. This is just like doing a demo in the brick and mortar classroom, but students can pause and watch as many times as they need!
6.    Practice: For some lessons I offer students a way to practice their new knowledge in a risk-free non-graded worksheet or web page. This week students can use this work sheet to remember different color schemes for their quiz.
7.    Quiz: I implemented a quiz for this assignment to measure student understanding of the different color theory terms. This also encourages students to read the content because they know they are being held accountable for knowing it.
8.    Rubric: Like many art teachers, I recognize that grading art is difficult! I include rubrics for each lesson that remind students and myself of what I am looking for in their work.

This is the first time I have used this project in Art 1 so I am excited to see what the results will be. I will share student examples when they are completed.