Kuwait, Professional Development

Staff meetings turned Edcamps

We have staff meetings every Tuesday after school. The middle and high schools alternate between department meetings & divisional meetings. The elementary has a divisional meeting every week. That’s a lot of meetings.

So Taryn (PYP coordinator) and Heidi (counselor) decided to be risk-takers. They organized Edcamps for the three weeks leading up to winter break. I was pretty excited for the opportunity to participate in something new to our school!

The first two weeks I hosted Mystery Skype sessions. I was pretty excited after the session with Andria’s 3rd graders. Paul & Marisa got up early so our teachers could try to figure out where they were located. Then we asked each other questions about where we live and shared ideas for using Skype in the classroom. I created a shared document so that anyone could add resources & ideas.

This week Abby and I faciliated a discussion about finding happiness in Kuwait. As we were talking I took notes about how and where people found things to do. We again shared the document so that anyone could add to the list we started. Our hope is to start a community approach to Instagram in order to easily share what’s happening. Unfortunately you can’t add hashtags to other people’s posts so we’ll have to keep brainstorming!

Image credit: Taryn

As I was sitting down to write this post about our elementary Edcamps, I realized that Taryn already wrote an awesome post! She does a great job of summing up the entire process. Check it out for more info 🙂 Heidi just wrote another great post about #AISQ8 Edcamps in the ES.

Inspired by our elementary, our middle and high schools will have a two Edcamp sessions during their February professional development day. We’re hoping that in April we can have a school-wide mini-Edcamp and then in late April or early May we can host an Edcamp at our school for Kuwait.

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!