Looking ahead to course 5 – MYP Design & Art

The specialist classes in the middle school (French, band, art, drama) previously met 3 days during an 8 day cycle. This year they now have .5 credit (3 out of 8) and 1 credit classes (6 out of 8). In an attempt to give middle school students more flexibility in their schedule, our MS principal decided to pilot incorporating the MYP Design Cycle into the full credit specialist classes. This makes it so that not all students have to take a formal Design Tech class. Two units in each of the specialist classes during the 2013-14 school will be assessed on both subject and design criteria. It was agreed last year that the technology integration coaches (there are 3 of us PK-12) would be the ones to assess the design cycle criteria.

I have been assigned to work with the French and art classes. During a meeting with the MS principal (Dave Botbyl) and the art teacher, Dave suggested that I use a unit in art next semester for my COETAIL final project. Genius! 🙂

We are using the the ‘old’ design cycle and not the new one from the next generation materials.

I have shared the course 5 final project details with Lindsay (our MS art teacher). Next semester her classes will be doing a unit on photography. It is a brand new unit that she will be building from the ground up. She has agreed to let me write the unit with her – yay!

After learning more about problem-based learning, I’m excited to incorporate the design cycle into art. I think there is a lot of potential! But it is also a lot of pressure…a brand new unit with a brand new concept. Solving problems with design and art just makes sense. Lindsay is currently doing a unit on logo design with her 8th grade visual arts class. It looks like a great unit and I’ll be eager to see the results.

I’ve started brainstorming for the photography unit but Lindsay and I haven’t sat down together to plan yet so it’s all pretty rough. A recent presentation to Language B teachers about visual interpretation had me mulling over how these tools might be applicable to the photography unit. When I think about SAMR and redefinition, the ability to collaborate, share and learn from others around the world is where my mind goes. Below is a working list of ideas. I’ve shared the document and made it open for comments – I’d love any input from YOU!


  1. Julie Lemley · December 14, 2013

    This looks great! I want to do a unit with my Art teacher now too! The model your school is doing is interesting, we had a similar discussion this week, because in Grade 6, our current model is not working with MYP hours and contact hours with kids (and really consistent, meaningful time).

    I wrote comments on your document (hopefully not too much!).

    This project looks great and I can’t wait to check in with you next semester to see how it is going.

    I’m still not 100% sure what I’m going to do for my project. I’ll get my details hashed out before the new year, I hope!


    • Lissa Layman · December 16, 2013

      Thank you for the feedback Julie! I’m excited to sit down with Lindsay and get more info so the plan can come together.

      Problems with contact hours, MYP requirements and Kuwait ministry requirements is why we’re testing this model out. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s just a test and that we’ll be backing out on it for next year. I think it has potential in art but I’m not getting the same positive vibe from the other classes (French, drama, band).

      Good luck with your project! Thank you again 🙂


  2. Rebekah Madrid · December 18, 2013

    Love this idea and really love how others in your school are collaborating with you. I’ve left comments on the doc. Really, really looking forward to seeing where this goes.



    • Lissa Layman · December 18, 2013

      Thank you for all the comments on the document Rebekah! Looking forward to seeing what happens next semester 🙂


  3. Kelsey Giroux · January 22, 2014

    Looks like a great start. I’m curious how / if the students will individualize their inquiry? For instance could students come up with a question at the start of process? Something like “how does the rule of thirds improve photos?” or “how does black and white photography differ from color?”. Just a thought.

    Also – if you want students to connect with photographers check out the many Google+ communities revolved around photography. Lots of great ones.


    • Lissa Layman · January 29, 2014

      We’re hoping to be able to link our design cycle problem to tourism…it’d be awesome if we could find someone in Kuwait who needs/wants pictures for a tourism campaign. Maybe in their investigate stage students will be able to decide what good photography means? Lindsay (art teacher) is still planning on teaching photography (and hopefully connecting with an outside ‘expert’ as well)…hopefully it will be what they create and how they share it that will be redefined.

      Thanks for the ideas!! 🙂


  4. Sarah Ahn · February 12, 2014

    I was perusing around the blogs of my coetail cohort and came across your blog. I really love your idea for the course 5 project. What a fun unit to build around photography – such great potential for technology usage. Like others have said, I look forward to reading about how your unit goes and curious to know how you will go about your assessment process. 🙂


    • Lissa Layman · February 13, 2014

      Hi Sarah!

      Thank you! My most recent post has some updates. Nothing has really started yet (I need to meet with the art teacher) but I have so many thoughts swirling around that I get pretty excited thinking about it!

      I hope COETAIL is going well for you 🙂


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