COETAIL, Course 5

We finally started!

After much anticipation, we were finally able to start our unit last week! Looking back, I can’t believe it has been 2 months since I first started experimenting with using Tumblr as a Design Folder. Lindsay and I updated our unit planner (mostly her!) and after much anticipation, I’m pretty excited to get started on my project!

[a little review of the unit]

Day 1 – Class started with our unit title (The Medium is the Message) on the board as students walked in. Their bellwork was to try to figure out what that meant. After a short discussion, we let them go explore the school to take pictures with whatever device they had. After 20 minutes they came back and picked out their ‘best’ photo. I also had a discussion with them about school vs personal use of social media in order to introduce the idea of using Tumblr. Their homework was to create a Tumblr account (using my directions), write a post with their best photo (and why) and submit their Tumblr URL to us.

Days 2 to 4 – Day 2 the students shared their photos with the class, discussing why they thought they were good (thanks for the idea Julie!). I’m eager to talk to Lindsay about what she thought of this as a formative assessment and how it affected her plans.

Lindsay took over for a couple days of direct instruction about photography and introduced our statement of inquiry (The media used to deliver a message affects audience perception globally.).

During this time…we ran into some difficulties that I had not anticipated. Seventh grade students are mostly 12 and 13. Twelve year olds can’t sign up for Tumblr (duh! why didn’t I think of this?!). I wrote a short letter for parents and sent it home with the students. We still had one mother who had concerns and contacted our principal directly. I was a little nervous about my response but I addressed all of her concerns and she has since responded that she will allow her child to use Tumblr for this unit. Yay!

Day 5 – Yesterday was a big day for the Design piece of the unit. Bellwork was one of our factual questions (Today, in our society, what are the different media used to convey a message?) followed by a short discussion that I geared toward social media. I then introduced the Design Cycle (with which all of them are familiar) with a deserted island scenario and discussion. Our students don’t seem to understand the importance of the Design Cycle and Investigate in particular so I have found this discussion useful! After introducing the problems, we discussed the differences between the two. I got students to point out that one was a positive campaign (tourism) and the other negative (littering). We talked about changing people’s behavior and what their photos would look like. We’re really hoping that the students will pick their problem based on their personal preferences and not pick one just because their friends are.

I’m pretty pumped for Brian & Yuko of Photohoku to join us in class tomorrow! I can only hope the students are half as excited. We gave them homework so that they come to class prepared. We’re hoping to use do a Google Hangout On Air so that the students (and you) can watch the recording later. A little nervous…but can’t wait to see how it all goes 🙂

Check out the slidedeck below to see what we did in class:


2 thoughts on “We finally started!”

    1. Yes. 😉 Both!

      I chose Tumblr because I knew students were familiar with it. I figured if they already had accounts it would make them more likely to buy into it and use it. I also wanted to take a social media that they used and give them positive, school experiences with it.

      I also chose it because it’s so easy. WordPress (& other blogging platforms) can be quite complicated and I didn’t want to have to teach them too much about how to actually use the site. Tumblr is just so simple!

      Tumblr was my solution to trying to move the Design Folder out of the ‘packet’ and into something more meaningful to them. Design Technology at our school has become quite packet focused and kids hate it. Jeff (Layman) and I have started using Google Docs with a few of our Design classes and we love it. But it’s more at the substitution/augmentation stage. I wanted to try to get to modification/redefinition with their folders. I want their folders to be more social (since this is a social media project!). I want them to be able to use each other’s Investigate and also be able to have other teachers around the world see & comment on their work. Lofty goals but we shall see! 🙂


Leave a Reply to Jeff Utecht Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s