COETAIL, Course 5

MYP Design/Art final project…a work in progress

My final project is still in the planning stages but all the input has really gotten me brainstorming! Thank you to everyone 🙂

As I think about this project, it seems multi-faceted to me. Not only am I trying to redefine an art unit with the MYP design cycle, I’m trying to redefine how design technology is taught at our school. In addition, I’m also trying to use technology to redefine both the art and design units. Thinking about it makes me excited…so if we can make this all work out, it’d be awesome!

A few things that are running through my head right now:

  • I’m interested in the pre-assessment several people have mentioned. I’d like to talk to the art teacher about using Julie‘s video project as a model (which Julie was awesome enough to give me more details on!). I’d like to start the entire unit with a create class where students go around the school and take some pictures. The art teacher could then assess their photos before she starts her photography instruction so that she can differentiate as needed. We have not switched to the Next Chapter MYP Design criteria yet so this would also be a good chance to experiment with the “technical skills” piece (subset of criterion C).
  • I’m still interested in having the students connect with a photography and/or PR expert. Need to do some active searching! Anyone know anyone?
  • Do we have to give students only 1 problem or could they choose? Although I would love to have a real outside client who needs our photography, I’m not exactly sure where to find one. The two things that come to my head when I think of Kuwait and photography campaigns are (our lack of) tourism and pollution/littering. Could we create two problems and allow students to choose?
  • I’d like to give students the freedom to explore with different apps and assess them. This could be part of their investigate stage and could also be shared with their classmates so that they learn from each other.
  • Our school doesn’t have a standard blogging platform. Some middle school students are using WordPress, others KidBlog. I’d like to use Tumblr because of it’s ease of sharing multimedia. I haven’t decided yet how I want to use Tumblr. Would it be used only to showcase their work? Or would it be used as their design folder? Our design technology classes currently use teacher prepared packets…I’d really like to get away from that. But is Tumblr the most appropriate place to document the process?

Still lots of thinking and planning to do…but it feels like I’m getting somewhere! As always, any and all input is much appreciated! 🙂


6 thoughts on “MYP Design/Art final project…a work in progress”

  1. Lissa,
    This looks great! I’m excited about so many COETAIL projects going on right now for Course 5. I can’t wait to see how they all go, then try to emulate some of them at my school.

    Thanks for giving me props on the pre-assessment piece. I did something else with a graphic design unit that would work with this as well. I had students find a “powerful image” and then explain why they thought it was powerful in the form of a blog post. This then opened up a discussion as to what makes powerful images/photographs. After I went over a bunch of design/graphic elements through mini-lessons, I had students revise their reflection of their “powerful image” using appropriate design terms.
    Here are a couple of examples from my students’ blogs:

    As far as a photography expert, maybe a call out to the community? The elementary tech teacher started using the “Skype in the Classroom” to connect to experts and it seems to be going well. I put a quick search in for photography and there seems to be a lot there.

    Ahh, the opened-ness – I struggle with this in projects. I find my kids are getting better about it and grade 8 and above can seem to handle it best. As far as finding clients, I have sent a Google Form out to the community looking for clients and then had students sign up for that. That being said, they are students and the clients need to understand that and everything that comes with working with a 14 year old. I think if your students are not used to a lot of very open-ended tasks, then maybe give them a couple of options.

    Using Tumblr as a design folder could be interesting. I’d love to see how you do it, if you go that way. There are so many ways that kids can “publish” their design folders. Maybe just create a task specific rubric and give them options, as long as they cover the tasks given – a video, VoiceThread, digital book, scrapbook, blog, Glogster… the options are endless, but maybe that’s adding on a lot to an already amazing and purposeful unit!


    1. As always…thank you Julie! You seriously rock 🙂 LOVE the idea from the graphic design unit!

      I’ve been looking around Connected Classrooms (Google) and Skype Classroom. Photography is one of our art teacher’s specialties so I’m thinking it would be awesome to find an expert with a community service/action tilt to their photography.

      Our students background in MYP design is not the strongest. This could be the first time some (transfer) students will do a cycle. They might also have only had design class for 1 year. I’m struggling deciding where to give them freedom and where not to. I like the idea of letting them choose between two problems (tourism & litter). Because of the limited community ties in Kuwait, I’m not sure finding real clients is realistic. But maybe I can talk to one of our owners. I like the idea of limiting them to Tumblr for the design folder because of the ease of photo sharing and the simplicity (vs wordpress for example). But I think it would be awesome for them to be able to choose how they want to publish and share their actual projects with the community.

      Thinking it out, my mind is going towards this almost being a mini CAS project with a little less freedom to choose the project and using the design cycle.

      I’m sure you’ve talked to Jeff about this, but how do your students complete their design folders? Ours are currently a huge guided packet…I’d love to change that up for this project!


  2. It all sounds great! I like the idea of linking this to a CAS project.

    The sixth grade Design teacher, I think, actually does a paper design folder with guiding questions/prompts for each stage of the design cycle. I tell my students that they can publish it and communicate their design folder any way they want using the rubric, but most do share a Google Doc with me. I think in the end it’s less work on the publishing end and this is how I help them out in the beginning.

    For grade 7, I do create a template for the Design Folder that I share with each student. It has guiding questions/prompts to help them achieve success with the rubrics. This also allows me to discretely give some students modified templates if they have other learning needs or they are ESOL students. The first two projects in grade 9, I again create design folder templates (we usually have a good number of new kids in this year. But then after that (and through grade 9 & 10) they create their own version of the design folder. They are given task specific rubrics and then they have their “old” design folders as models. I’ve shown examples of other ways to present, but over the past 500 design folders or so (yikes, that’s a lot), maybe only 3-4 kids have turned it in using a different format.

    Now you have me thinking about this more, too. Maybe I should put together some more examples and share them with the kids. I have seen that they do spend A LOT more time on their design folders (and not always in a good way) if they do create a video project, because they do a lot of editing, and sometimes it almost becomes another whole project.


    1. Thanks for all the additional info!! Would you mind sharing some of your grade 7 templates with me?? 🙂


      1. Here’s the template I’m using currently for grade 7:

        As you can see, we are already using the new criteria for MYP Design, so it’s a bit different. I’ve been updating all of my design folders as I teach them this year.

        Here’s a grade 8 one (that I haven’t adapted), but it doesn’t have as much guidance/questions to prompt writing. I try to move the students away from template in grade 8.


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