Standard Reflection- P1

January 7, 2013

P1 – Practice intentional inquiry and planning for instruction.

Before teaching, it is important to think about the objectives for the students, how to measure those objectives, and extensive planning in a number of areas. Being able to do this before planning a lesson is extremely helpful as students will be more easily able to comprehend objectives, academic language, and core ideas. It is also helpful for the teacher, as they can better understand what they are teaching and some of the potential challenges students may have with the lesson.


Finished style example for students.

Vector Example Deconstructed

Deconstructed example for students.

I have now planned numerous lessons for my internship class and planning for intentional inquiry and general preparedness are crucial in making a lesson go well. It is always a challenge, but with each experience I learn a little more. For example, in one of my lessons students were directed to use many of the tools they’ve already learned to demonstrate an understanding of value, line and form to create a vectorized portrait of themselves or one of ten famous individuals. When planning for this project it was important that students have options to work outside of a self portrait as many these students have difficulties with self image and self confidence. Giving them these other options makes sure that they’re working on something appropriate for the lesson, but also challenging enough that they’re learning from it as well. It was also important to give the students many different ways to complete this assignment as one of the main objectives is to measure their use of tools within the finished piece. How they accomplish this is totally up to them. Because of this, they were provided with many different examples that were handpicked because they exhibited the tools and techniques that the students already know and can apply to their portrait. It was also important to include examples that helped the students understand how to construct the portrait. This is difficult, as many resources only provide a finished product. Therefore, I had to make some examples so students could understand each step of the process and be able to manipulate the file so they could “reverse engineer” it.

From many of these lessons, especially this one, it becomes apparent that much planning goes into each and every lesson. Not only should the content be appropriate, measurable, effective, and accepting, but it also needs to be thorough and clear. By planning, the lesson should be more effective for students and better help them understand the expectations and ideas behind it.

Planning is always a difficult step, but practicing more and more definitely helps. It also helps that with every lesson, I learn a little more to help students the next time. With each challenge they may have, I better understand issues that may need to be address for the nextlesson.

Vector Portrait Rubric

Standard Reflection- O2

December 17, 2012

O2. – Offer appropriate challenge in the content area.

Poster Examples

Student Poster Examples

Offering students appropriate challenges while they’re learning the content is, in itself, challenging. Pushing them to learn more and perform better is one of the goals, but pushing them into areas that they can’t comprehend and to the point of frustration and despair is not one of those goals. In a recent lesson, students in my class were challenged to create professional looking posters using photographs, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Illustrator. Not only were they pushed to accomplish such a great task, but they were also challenged to produce these fine posters while working in a group. Both of these provided unique opportunities for learning and also appropriate levels of difficulty that helped them grow in many areas.

The students in my class first worked on making their own posters after having taken many photos in a group. Some students took to designing posters better than others, but most everyone had the tools they needed to create their own poster after group demonstrations and individual assistance. After they had all learned the basics and done a poster of their own, they split into groups and had to design and print a group poster. I think this was a new experience for many of the groups, as large school projects are usually a solo endeavor, but when they leave school for broader horizons, they will find collaboration a big part of the larger picture. Students took away different things from this assignment depending upon the success they had within their groups. Some groups had groups that clashed and some were much more cooperative. We asked them after this experience to write a reflection on their experience with guided questions.  These responses reflected the difficulties they had as individuals, but as well as groups. This fell directly in line with our expectations and did not seem too challenging for the students to gain understanding of the tools, concepts, and working within a group. Each group’s poster was usually greatly improved by collaboration compared to the individual posters. By making them practice it first, but then pooling their knowledge, they surmounted the challenges they had individually, learned more, and created something greater.

Student A Reflection

Student B Reflection

Some ways to improve this assignment would be to maybe give a breakdown of group responsibility to better measure the effort by individuals within the group. As far as I know, each group member worked fairly diligently, though some had to be reminded to stay on task in groups with their friends. This is also a troubling issue in that students work better with like minded peers, but also stray off task due to their close relationship. It may be good to mix students together to prevent this, but they may be less apt to share and improve on each other’s knowledge. The objectives in this assignments met standards, appropriately challenged the students, and helped them learn about the content and also working in a group with room for improvement.

Standard Reflection- P3

November 16, 2012

P3 – Practice standards-based assessment.

On Thursday, November 15th, I presented a lesson on 6 of the color relationships during our small unit on color theory. I lead students in a discussion about the 6 relationships; Monochromatic, Analogous, Complementary, Split Complementary, Primary, and Secondary. By using a slide presentation that presented each of these relationships and also using student discussion and responses, I could formatively assess some of the group and how they understood the lesson. I attempted to include this more formative focused lesson in light of some suggestions I received from my coordinator on my previous lesson. When students were asked to identify the color relationships, I asked students to raise their hand if they could summarize to the class one of each of the color relationships. Most students were unsure and did not raise their hands, but could participate more effectively when one of their classmates explained it in terms they could understand. We also split into groups during this lesson to assess the color relations in 4 different magazine colors. Each group tried to determine what each color relationship was, and then we came back together to discuss what we had learned. During the discussion I talked to various groups to assess their understanding of the color relations so that I could better tailor the rest of the discussion toward addressing the issues they may be having understanding the color relationships.

Color Wheel Questions

After discussing these ideas together, the groups split apart into individuals and we started work on an assignment that they could each apply the color relationships to.

During the discussion, I had particular things I was looking for from the students. If they didn’t meet these objectives, I would help lead their questions to make their learning more effective. In this way, I had to use different strategies to help them understand the objectives and concepts that we were discussing.

A big part of the P3 standard is using standards based assessment to help teachers learn how they can implement better strategies to help their students learn more effectively. By using formative assessment, teachers can measure the progress of each student. If a student doesn’t learn effectively from a certain strategy, it helps that the teacher understands and adjusts the lesson to be better and more effective.

Standard Reflection- E1

November 14, 2012

E1 – Exemplify professionally-informed, growth-centered practice.

An important part of effective teaching is being able to reflect on one’s curriculum and how to make improvements to it. I attended a meeting in October with the other teachers at Lindbergh High School in Renton that sought to improve how teachers approach using feedback and assessment effectively in their classes. This meeting tied in with a meeting earlier in the year on checking for understanding, an important part of any teacher’s skill kit.  By checking student’s understanding of concepts, teachers can seek to improve how their students learn and what they’re taking away from lessons and assignments. While we were assembling to talk about effective methods, the teachers leading the meeting handed out a rubric that included examples and descriptions.

Those leading the meeting started by presenting a Powerpoint presentation that helped lead discussion. At certain points, we broke into small groups and discussed what methods we had applied in our classrooms, and what changes could be made to improve our checks for understanding. I found this extremely helpful as different perspectives can provide helpful insight that we as teachers can use to help our own practice. After discussing these methods, we referred to the handouts, one from the previous meeting and the one from this one, and how we could better integrate these methods into the classroom.

My mentor teacher admitted to having challenges with checks for understanding given his subject matter and how it is taught to the class, but was extremely enthusiastic about improving his assessment to better help his students. This was extremely motivating and inspirational as I also find some of the methods for assessment difficult to implement into the classroom. The rubric that was provided was extremely helpful in forming some idea of how to improve, particularly the chart that provides examples of unsatisfactory to distinguished assessment. As an art teacher, I think it is sometime difficult to check for understanding on a group level, but it is much easier individually. Applying these individual assessments or checks for understanding in an art class would be extremely beneficial in a myriad of ways.

Being able to examine and reflect on how to improve is an important skill for any teacher to have. By utilizing  researched tools, a teacher can seek to improve their practice to improve how their students learn and create effective learning environments.

Using projects and performance to check for understanding are important methods that are often under utilized in the teacher environment. By using these mthods, teachers would be able to reach students that may not benefit from environments that are less active and less engaging on a personal level. By using projects and performance, students would be able to invest personally in what they’re working on.

Making learning appropriate goals is an important method by which to design these projects and performances around. If the lessons doesn’t have an appropriate goal, students would simply be going through the motions. For example, if presenting a lesson on mask making in indigenous African tribes in an art class, it would be important for the students to not only make the masks, but adaquately understand the cultural significance behind them. This includes learning their purpose, their history, etc.

Using performance based assessment would be difficult in an art classroom. Surely, there may be students who identify with performance art, or art that includes the artist being an active participant in the work. However, it would probably be more prudent to say that the bulk of teacher assessment would consist of projects from students. By being able to properly utilize skills assigned for practice in smaller, more concise projects that lead to larger ones, I could properly assess at each level how much each student understands. For example, in teaching the students how to properly utilize 1 point, 2 point, and then 3 point perspective, there would be three levels of assesment. They would begin at the most basic level, 1 point, where they utilize a few skills to properly render certain objects. Students would then move up to 2 point, and then to 3. At these various levels, I could check for understanding and properly assist students at each level.

In this video, the presenters explained the values and challenges presented by using group activities, projects, and presentations to teach students. They utilize many different methods at many different skill and age levels.  These techniques may be used to the benefit of all students, but there are some associated risks with the associated techniques if not utilized properly. Despite these inherent risks, groups, projects, and presentations have the potential to greatly improve students.

The value of group work for students of all ages is immense. At every level it helps students form social skills that will prove invaluable as they make their way through the education system, and in the world beyond that. These social skills will help them to communicate ideas with peers, work together to meet a common goal, and to paraphrase what one child said in the film, “When we put all our ideas in together, we create something greater than the sum of our parts. ” Because of these things, group work can help to make students of all ages better learners and better people. There are inherent risks with utilizing these group techniques, such as students being off task and having the rest of their group need to pick up the extra work. However, by delegating exactly what students are expected to do, within reason for the age group, these group techniques should be successful.

Projects can be utilized to help students gain a myriad of skills and techniques that they will be able to utilize to better their future. Being able to make a personal investment is an important part of projects, as the greater the amount of interest garnered from students, the more permanent their understanding of the topic will be. Also, by being able to perform all the work necessary for the project, students will gain a greater degree of understanding provided by some traditional assignments. Some students may benefit greatly from project techniques where they might flounder otherwise. Not only that, but these projects will aid students in delegating responsibilities such as time management, organization, and being able to accurately communicate ideas to their peers.

It is important for student to learn presentation skills. These skills will help them become more confident in their future endeavors. It will also help them communicate ideas to their peers. This idea is so important in all these activities. In emphasizing this communication among peers, the students will be able to communicate in a variety of settings that may be outside their comfort zone and the scope of their knowledge. However, being able to properly function in these settings will give students an ability that will aid them through their educational careers and beyond.

Group, projects, and presentations are great techniques that make a permanent impact on a student’s learning. By having them connect with the material, other students, and their audience students are bettering themselves and learning great skills for the future. The onus is on the teacher to properly utilize these techniques in a way that will be beneficial to all students, regardless of age or skill.

Writing is an important assessment tool that should be utilized when checking for understanding. From very early in a student’s curriculum reading stays an important focus in their education. By being able to properly communicate by writing effectively, students will be able to properly transmit their ideas in a medium that their peers can understanding. It is important that teachers utilize this method to properly assess student’s understanding as writing can be used in a variety of situations to convey ideas that students and teachers would have trouble using in a variety of other settings. By using these techniques students could properly be able to communicate narratives, informative essays, and persuasive writing. By assessing these methods, teachers can learn a great deal about how much students understand. There are many methods that also utilize group interaction to help students express ideas to other students, and then reform any errors or make improvements based on another student’s perspective. This method of  Reading the associated text or knowledge base, Writing about what they’ve gained through it and understand about it, Pairing up to share their ideas, and then Sharing them with each other proves beneficial as it allows students to properly assess their own success, but also helps the teacher assess how well they understand the topic. Writing is an important tool for assessment, but it can be misused as a punishment. In this way, the students do not gain understanding and have issues with properly expressing what they understand. This doesn’t help the teachers check for understanding, and it doesn’t help the students learn.

The RAFT approach to checking for understanding is an interesting method. It helps students identify key topics in a piece of writing by identifying them in easy to understand, broad terms. By properly associating the Role of the writer, the writer’s Audience, the Format the author is writing in, and the Topic of the piece, students can understand many of the key points in a piece of writing and be able to communicate their understanding to the teacher.