Posts Tagged ‘Edutopia’

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Assessment in the COVID-19 Environment

April 24, 2020

Reflecting

I’m sure many of you are at the point of reflecting and questioning what you’re doing in the ‘schooling away from school’ environment that we’ve all been thrown into. Recently during a conversation with a colleague he shared how frustrated he was with how few students were actually engaging and fulfilling the assignments. “When we took away the grading of student work they lost their sense of purpose.” I keep reflecting on the conversation. I wonder about how many high school students do the work (when we’re in the school building) only or primarily for the grade? This wondering has lead me to many questions. For one, didn’t we go to Proficiency Based Education to ensure that students fulfill the learning requirements? So we could actually know that students had learned and more importantly so students could articulate what they were learning? This was the part that shifted education from what teachers teach being the most important part of the equation to what students learn.

I understand why many schools have gone to no grades during the pandemic – I’m not questioning or debating if that is right or wrong. Let’s face it teaching ‘online’ isn’t new and students are held responsible to document and fulfill their school work. I do think that as this continues it is important for teachers at the local level to have the conversation about how to assess student work. Let’s remember that assessment has two purposes – one to determine if students are learning AND for teachers to determine if their teaching is effective.

The critical question is how to assess in our ‘schooling away from school’? Not so the grade can raise the students GPA but to determine if students are learning and teachers are teaching.

Andrew Miller, Director of Personalized Learning at the Singapore American School has authored an article for Edutopia called Formative Assessment in Distance Learning. I’m hoping you’ll find it as informative as I have and perhaps you’ll take something from it that you can put into practice during the rest of this school year or in the future. If nothing else please share it with your colleagues so it can plants seeds for a staff conversation.

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Transforming a School Through Arts Integration

December 11, 2019

Edutopia

“The arts provide an access point for everyone,” Caitlin Gordon, a Maya Lin third grade teacher, told Schwartz. “I think it allows children to learn about how the process of something is just as important, if not more important, than the product. I think it just really helps create more of that well-balanced, critical-thinking person that we want for our future.”

Educators and parents alike at the Maya Lin Elementary in Alameda, California believe wholeheartedly in their approach to education with arts integration. They were at risk of closing not long ago and it was the transformation of the school with arts integration that has made all the difference.

You can READ THE ARTICLE written by Laura Lee and published by Edutopia on November 8, 2019.

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Integrating the Arts

November 14, 2019

MindShift

Edutopia is a great resource that I’ve noted in the past on several occasions. The online resources that they make available to anyone interested are ‘spot on’ for the needs of today’s educators. They have repeatedly shared information on student-centered learning. Edutopia doesn’t disappoint.

MindShift, another outstanding resource, recently included in a communication, a video that was created by Edutopia called How the Arts Can Be Integrated into Every Subject. Even though this video is 10 years old it will provide you a window into what arts integration could look like.

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Kids in Charge

November 5, 2019

What does it mean and look like?

One of the questions that comes up over and over is what does student centered learning look like and how do I manage it? Last week flying into my email was a video created by Edutopia. For those of you blog readers who may not know about Edutopia it is the George Lucas Foundation whose mission is dedicated to transforming K-12 education so that all students can acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to thrive in their studies, careers, and adult lives. George Lucas the 1991 founder of Edutopia is an innovative and award-winning filmmaker. Edutopia is all about taking a strategic approach to improving K-12 education through two distinct areas of focus: Edutopia and Lucas Education Research.

The video included in the email is called How to Create Student-Centered Lessons and Put Students in Charge of Their Learning. Some of you may be thinking that the task is easier in the non-arts classrooms but I think this video provides enough information that you can gain insight and develop ideas.

In addition to the Edutopia video a handful of years ago the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI – then MAAI – Maine Arts Assessment Initiative) started creating videos to answer: What does this student-centered thing look like in a visual or performing arts education classroom? All of these videos are available on the Maine ARTSEducation youtube channel and I’ve embedded them below to make it easier for you to access them.

Co-founder MAAI, Music educator at York High School, Rob Westerberg, with a very different haircut.

Jane Snider, Hancock School visual art educator, MALI Teacher Leader.

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Beyond the School Year

July 1, 2019

Happy July!

I hope you’ll take the time to reflect on the 2018-2019 school year and consider your successes and challenges. We know that summer is a time to relax, rejuvenate, and recharge. In order to do that it is important to look back in order to move forward. I hope you’ll ask yourself the broad questions as well as specific ones. Getting ‘down in the weeds’ about of own teaching can be very productive.

I see that Edutopia included an article that dispels the myth around students learning slipping during the summer. The original study that supported the loss of summer learning is from the 1980’s. Paul T. von Hippel, a policy professor at the University of Texas at Austin revisited the study and he learned that there are flaws in the study. He claims that the testing methods “tended to distort the test scores”. It’s an interesting follow up and I suggest that you READ the article.

Proven or not, I wonder about visual and performing arts. We’ve all heard that students lose ground in reading and math but what about their other areas of learning? What about their progress in music or visual art? When your students left on the last day of your class did you suggest that they keep drawing or playing their instrument? Did you help them devise a plan to continue ‘working at’ their art form? We all know that during summer vacation many students spend more time engaged in the arts than they have time for during the school year. Community arts programs, day and overnight camps, museum and gallery programs, activity specific programs – in many communities opportunities in the arts are plentiful. Are these ‘art experiences’ or ‘high quality arts education’? I wonder, do learners keep developing their skills, creativity and passion for the arts during the summer in great part, thanks to these programs? What do you think?

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Edutopia

November 14, 2018

Maine art educator

Carol Shutt retired in June after 27 wonderful years as the K-8 art teacher at Mount Desert Elementary School in Northeast Harbor. Congratulations to Carol for her article that was recently published in Edutopia called Making an Event out of ArtThe piece is about the annual Arts Week (20 years) and suggestions on how to plan for one.

You can read an interview with Carol posted last February on this blog.

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Two Good Articles

August 22, 2016

Edutopia article

Edutopia is a website published by the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF). Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 8.14.22 PMFounded in 1991 by filmmaker George Lucas and venture capitalist Steve Arnold, the Foundation “celebrates and encourages innovation” in K-12 schools.

This is an interesting article called Learning From the Band Director, written by Dr. Rob Furman, published by Edutopia. He includes a list of what any teacher can learn from the band director. I include #2 below. You can read the entire article by CLICKING HERE.

Performance- Based Learning: Music directors have always been driven by performance-based learning. The learning process in a band room is based on projects. The need to prepare for a concert, a small ensemble performance or a solo act is the definition of performance or project-based learning. Band directors teach the art and science of music, as they are preparing their students for their performances. Students know that each of them is responsible to the group as a whole.

A second article called Creating an Ecology of Wonder written by Stacey Goodman, an artist and educator from California. He believes that the best way to “cultivate imagination and wonder is through art”. He includes six ways to cultivation the ‘learning ecology’, as her refers to it. I include #4 below. You can read the entire article by CLICKING HERE.

Create Assessments That Reward Good Questions, Not Just Good Answers                    What if we framed our exams as a series of answers and asked our students to ask questions? How do we take rote, clichéd statements such as, “Columbus discovered America in 1492,” and reveal them to be fraught with more misinformation than relevant information. Asking the right questions is the basis of good scholarship and query, and these questions are motivated by wonder.

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