Thursday, August 23, 2012
Preparing for the New School Year
At last, a new school year is here! I have been working since last Friday to get prepared to make 2012-2013 another excellent year in my classroom. As with any classroom, preparing the environment for students is crucial for starting the year off right. I spent much of my time in the spring making changes to lessons from the school year that needed improvements and clarification. Those changes went into the “Gold Course”, an index of lesson web pages we can import into our classes for the next year. Having made these changes when they were fresh in my mind made setting up online content go smoothly this week. I have imported all of the lessons into my Art 1 and 5 classrooms to get them ready for students to start next week. In online teaching much of the prep to get the classroom ready can be done in the beginning of a semester, leaving the semester to focus on teaching, grading, and working with students. Over the summer many technological updates were made to the systems we use at my school, including a new grading scale, scheduling of live session changes, and a new homepage template. They also updated many of the databases we use to record data. One of the wonderful things about technology is that it is always making our work online more seamless and therefore it is easier to help our students the best ways we can. It’s a little like getting a present when we come back from summer and find new technological tools we can use. One of the changes I am most excited about is the new grading scale and the matching grade book that comes with it. We have moved to a uniform way of grading on a 4-point scale that allows letter grades to be equally spaced. For example 4=A, 3=B, 2=C and so on. Because of the grading change, we have a new grade book to go with it that automatically implements the new policy. The technological tools and the policies work together to make this change effective and clear for students and teachers. Some of my goals for the year will be creating more video content for Art 1 and making more connections to the common core standards that will be implemented by 2014-2015. I will keep you all posted about my progress with that this year and other exciting information from the online art classroom. As always, thanks for reading!