COETAIL, Collaboration, Kuwait

Ancient civilizations coming to life

Have I mentioned that I one of my biggest passions is connecting classrooms around the world? Hopefully that’s old news because I’ve let it ooze into most of the posts I write. The grade 2 blog about Sharing the Planet w/ a focus on water is up and running – and they’re eager to read posts & comments from classrooms & experts around the world.

Next up – grade 3! Andria and Anna have been going through the COETAIL journey together and are gearing up to start their course 5 final project. They have chosen the IB PYP unit of Where We Are in Place and Time in which the students will be learning about ancient civilizations. Read more specifics here and here.


via Stux on Pixabay

Andria and Anna are hoping to connect their students to other classrooms that live in the ancient civilizations they will be studying – China, Egypt, Rome/Italy, Greece, Maya (southern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador) and Mesopotamia (Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria). Although Mesopotamia is the closest to Kuwait, it might also be the most difficult to connect to.

Their unit starts at the beginning of March. If you or anyone you know is interested in connecting to a grade 3 class in Kuwait, please let one of us know! They are open to Mystery Skypes, video chats, asynchronous communication and any other ideas you have 🙂

COETAIL, Course 5

Course 5 update – I’m a #coetail grad!

[This will probably be one of my last posts on this blog. Head over to my other blog for more regular posting!]

Since I posted my course 5 video, we finished up our unit, I completed IB MYP Next Chapter category 2 training in Design, had an amazing summer in the US and now I’m back in Kuwait tech-coaching it up and working on my UKSTL MEd. Let’s just say this update is long overdue! [Actually at the moment I’m writing this from Addis Ababa where I’m attending Learning 2.014 and connecting with lots of people I’ve only known virtually!]

A quick refresher: We integrated the Design Cycle into a 7th grade visual arts class (unit planner). Students chose to either increase tourism to or decrease littering in Kuwait by creating a social media campaign using photography. Students used Tumblr as their Design Folder. I provided them with information and modeled their Design Folder using my own Tumblr. We found that TO-DO lists were essential for the students in order to help them create their own Folder. For some of the students, it was the first time they were really diving into Design so we tried to scaffold it for them. [All my course 5 posts.]

Although I followed all of the students, it was difficult to keep track of all of their posts. So I created a checklist (from a form) that I could fill out as I read them. We also printed these out periodically and shared them (individually) with the students. I used conditional formatting to automatically change the colors of the boxes based on what I entered. It worked really well for keeping track of and sharing their progress.

Final reflection: We had to RUSH at the end. We could have gone a couple more weeks. I think some of the students were a little overwhelmed at times – we asked a lot of them in such a short period of time. But I hope that the idea of creating a positive digital footprint and using social media & photography for good will stick with them. Probably my favorite part of the entire unit was connecting with Photohoku.

We would love to see what this unit could be a) if we had more time and b) if we did it in a higher grade level. I would be very interested to see what 9th or 10th graders could do with a unit similar to this! During my MYP Design training in May, I had the opportunity to spend time creating the Next Chapter Unit Planner for this unit. I chose to write it for MYP year 5 students.

Check out their final products –

https://aiskleyang.tumblr.com
https://aisklayantm.tumblr.com/
aiskahmedm.tumblr.com
https://aiskmubarakm.tumblr.com/
https://aiskkhaledm.tumblr.com/
https://aiskhaneenalm.tumblr.com/
https://www.tumblr.com/blog/aiskmonac
https://www.tumblr.com/blog/aiskreinak
https://aiskdanah.tumblr.com/
https://aisk-lamaj.tumblr.com
https://aiskahmadj.tumblr.com/
https://aiskaishaz.tumblr.com/
https://aiskreinez.tumblr.com
COETAIL, Course 5

#COETAIL…never quite over!

Well…my video is done! But the Art/Design unit isn’t quite finished. We’ll be finishing up in about 2 weeks so stay tuned for more from me!

It really hit me yesterday that 1.5 years, 15 credits and a graduate certificate are over. WOW how time has flown! What I love about COETAIL is that it’s never truly over. I’ve learned a lot and ‘met’ a lot of new people…neither of which I will forget. I’m excited for the next part of the COETAIL journey! See you around 😉

COETAIL, Course 5, Kuwait

MYP Design/Art final project…another installment

[See all my final project posts. Always open to input!]

The more I think about the unit we’re creating the more ideas I get and the more excited I get. I’m just nervous to get my hopes up and not have it turn out as awesome as I’m hoping!

I did some brainstorming with Lindsay (MYP art teacher) last week. Note to self: always brainstorm with an art teacher!

MYP Next Chapter: Our school is slowly switching over to the Next Chapter of MYP so we’ve been given the freedom to start incorporating the new guide in our unit planning. Instead of having a unit question, we’ll have a statement of inquiry {The Medium is the Message}. We will also have a key concept, at least 1 related concept and a global context. After perusing the new guide for Art, my thoughts are: key concept=communication, related concept=audience (& expression?), global context=personal and cultural expression. Based on talking to our MYP coordinator, we will probably have to make our statement of inquiry a little more detailed to better incorporate the concepts & context. We will also need a few inquiry questions to “give shape and scope to the unit.” This might be something that we can work on with students throughout the unit (according to the Developing MYP units pre-publication).

We had originally thought we’d use Community and Service as our Area of Interaction. However AOIs are disappearing in the new unit planner. We need to decide how deep we want to get into the new unit planner. Either way, we also need to decide which Approches to Learning (ATLs) we will focus on.

Design Cycle: Although we will be experimenting with incorporating some of the Next Chapter guide into the Art part of the unit, we won’t be using the new guide for Design. However I will still be trying to ‘redefine’ how Design is done at our school. After a couple months of integrating the design cycle into French and Art, I just read the entire (old) MYP Technology guide last week. Wow. So much information. And it seems so many things that need to be tweeked at our school. The main thing I’d like to focus on changing for this unit are the rubrics. We currently use the year 5 exit rubric for all students grades 6 through 10. We also don’t (or rarely) use task-specific rubrics. I could use some help in this area! I don’t really have any idea how to rewrite/tweek the rubrics for year 2 students or how to create task-specific rubrics. Help! 😉

The other area we’re still developing is the problem. I want the students to launch a social media campaign about a relevant problem in Kuwait. I don’t want to leave it too open because they are grade 7 students. But I don’t want to limit them either. My original idea was to allow them to choose between littering (an enormous amount in Kuwait) and tourism (almost none in Kuwait). A littering campaign might focus on the negative aspects of Kuwait and convincing people in the country to make a difference. A tourism campaign might focus on the positive aspects of Kuwait and convincing people outside the country to visit. I still don’t know if these two problems are too different from each other and if we will need to have a more streamlined focus throughout the unit. Thoughts??

Design Folder: The design folder is another thing I’m working on ‘redefining.’ We currently use packets. Our design technology classes complete them digitally (they are in computer labs) however most of the elective classes that we are integrating the design cycle into complete hard copies. The packets are long and boring and students hate them. Here is an example from one of the French classes.

Although this won’t be a group project, I want students to be able to learn from each other giving attribution where necessary. One of my favorite aspects of being a connected educator is all the new ideas I get to ‘steal’ and adapt from other educators around the world. Why not teach our students how to do the same thing?

I’d like students to use Tumblr to create their design folder in order to document the process they go through (and easily share it with classmates). I chose Tumblr because it is simple and the focus is often on photos. My guess is that many students already have Tumblrs. This will be an opportunity to discuss separating school life and personal life online.

In order to help guide students through the design folder, I have created a sample Tumblr blog that I will share with students. I have put relevant information for students and also created [Your Turn] posts to guide students as they document the process. I have organized the posts using hashtags. This is still a work in progress! I’m currently working through Julie’s templates to see how I can make my posts more helpful for the students. I will also have to change a few things as I adapt the rubrics. Creating the design folder in Tumblr has completely transformed our packets. What do you think??

Digital Citizenship: We will have to teach our students to learn from and with each other…not just simply plagiarize. My biggest concern with Tumblr is that it makes it so easy for students to copy & paste and then pass off other students’ work as their own. We will need to incorporate digital citizenship into the unit. The main takeaway I want students to come away with is that they can use and build on other people’s ideas with attribution. We can use Common Sense Media to teach a couple digital citizenship lessons and then hold students accountable with our Acceptable Use Agreement. Many of our students have school iPads so the free iBooks textbooks and workbooks might be an option (if we can get them loaded on their iPads).

I’d also like to familiarize students with Creative Commons licenses. Students will need to choose an appropriate license for their design folders and display the license on their Tumblr blogs.

Photography: This unit started as a photography unit and is morphing into something much bigger. If all goes as planned, I think we will be able to ‘redefine’ the unit through the use of technology. I’m envisioning the students using their photography to make a change in the world through a social media campaign. I think that “the medium is the message” does a great job of encompassing what we’re hoping to accomplish. I wish that the Kuwait Grand Photography Contest was just a month or two later…then we’d have even greater potential for the students to feel invested.

Expert Advice: This is where we’re struggling the most right now. I’d love to find a social media activist/expert who can Skype/Hangout with the class to talk about using (social) media to impact people’s decisions/actions. We can show this video and introduce them Witness.org but I think it’d be much more meaningful to actually have a real person. Someone who uses pictures/videos and social media to affect how people act and the way they think would be perfect. Ideas??

Small Details: Lindsay is on board for a pre-assessment (à la Julie) where students spend a class period taking pictures around the school. This will give Lindsay an idea of their technical skills and get the students thinking about the message of their pictures. I’d also like to incorporate a lesson on ‘powerful images.’

I’d love any input from anyone! We’re still very much in the planning stages so I’m hoping to crowd-course this a little in order to refine my ideas and make sure that they will actually work! Thank you 🙂

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! 🙂

COETAIL, Course 4, Course 5, Kuwait

Looking ahead to course 5 – MYP Design & Art

Background
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.

Ideas
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!

COETAIL, Course 3, Professional Development

A Redesign: Assessment & Student Learning

When I first saw this presentation, I knew exactly the PowerPoint I wanted to redesign. During orientation our middle and high school principals presented to the staff about assessment practices and how we can best support student learning. They had a lot of information to give us so, understandably, the presentation was very text heavy.

When I asked, both principals graciously accepted my request to redesign their presentation (both have wives who are COETAIL graduates – Christina & Karen). I do have to admit that I enlisted my COETAIL husband to collaborate with me in order to make this their PowerPoint more zen and less death. We left the text that we thought was most important (our mission is brand new) and got rid of the rest. When text was present, Jeff taught me about Droid Sans (to grab the reader’s attention) and Droid Serif (to avoid eye fatigue). We chose a simple color scheme and redesigned the hard to read graphic.

However I acknowledged that much of the text was essential…so I created a handout for staff. This could be shared in PDF format to avoid the waste of paper.

What do you think??

Because Jeff (my husband) has been ‘into’ presentation design for a couple years, I’m relatively satisfied with my presentations for professional development. I’d love any and all feedback on my PD presentations or this redesign. Thank you!

COETAIL, Course 2

Course 2 Final Project: 20 Questions

Another one bites the dust! We’re 2/5 of the way done with COETAIL. I’ll finish up my 4th year teaching (1st year international) and head back to the States for the summer in 22 days. Then it’ll start all over again in just over 3 months (plus I’ll be adding on courses for my M.Ed. in School Tech Leadership)!

Christina, Janette and Karen did a revamp of our school’s AUP last year for their course 2 final project. An edited version has been adapted at AIS so I chose to create a UbD lesson plan. Kelsey and I connected on Twitter and then invited Jeff to join us. It was an interesting experience to be working with 1 person in a different country and another person with whom I share an office. Although Google Docs worked well, it was sometimes a challenge to avoid miscommunications and ensure that the three of us were on the same page. I imagine these challenges would be present if we were in the same place but collaborating solely through a GDoc with limited real-time chatting may have exacerbated them.

I think our lesson has definite promise. It would probably be ideal for grades 7-9 and would take several class periods to complete. I do not currently have a classroom but would love to hear from anyone that uses/adapts our lesson plan with their students!

Many thanks to Jeff and Kelsey for being great partners 🙂

COETAIL, course 1

Course 1 Final Project: French + Tech

Although I’m not actually teaching French at the present moment, I wanted to go back and adapt some of the lessons I’ve done. In my classroom last year my students had access to Chromebooks, Google Apps for Education, iPads and iPod touches (yes, I know we were very fortunate!). I have done elements of this lesson in the past but never all together. I think my students got a lot out of the instant feedback & discussion that the Google Form provided them when doing their bellwork. I also had great success with speaking activities using video prompts and commenting on student writing (while they are writing it) with Google Docs. My students never blogged but if I went back to the classroom I’d really like to experiment with student e-portfolios using blogs or sites. I’ve also been inspired after reading Nicholas Provenzano to have my students create and others interpret. I really like how this idea can be adapted and molded to fit any content and grade level.

I can’t believe Course 1 is over already! Looking forward to Spring Break in Bangkok and Phuket 🙂

1 Two 1, Collaboration, Google, iOS

Second Semester!

Whew! Second semester is in full swing! It’s been a bit crazy here but things are starting to settle down nicely. Last semester I taught French 1, French 2 and French 3. This semester I’m only teaching French 2 (block & year long classes)! I have high hopes for a much less stressful couple of months. Some things to stay tuned for…

*My class will be getting a class set of ChromeBooks soon as part of our district’s 1TWO1 initiative.

*My French 3 class finished up their final projects, so I’ll be sharing more on that soon.

*I also found out that my proposal for the 2012 SCFLTA conference was accepted. In February I’ll be presenting on using mobile devices (phones, ipods, etc) in the classroom.

*My semester French 2 classes are just finishing up their review projects. I’ll have more to share about how it went this time around.

*On a whim (and since my desks were in groups) I experimented with a speaking activity with my year-long French 2 classes today. I think it went decently well but I want to get it down on “paper” for the future.

à bientôt!