Posts Tagged ‘Edutopia’

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How Learning Happens

October 14, 2020

Edutopia and social emotional learning

Edutopia tackles the challenges of social emotional learning by providing several videos on a variety of topics that are beneficial to educators, parents, and organizations who provide learning opportunities for learners. In this video series, they explore how educators can guide all students, regardless of their developmental starting points, to become productive and engaged learners. Below are just a few – you can find many more on the section of the Edutopia website called How Learning Happens.

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The Ways of Our World

September 17, 2020

Rapid changes

I don’t know about you but ideas continue to fly into my email box on how best to do “school” at this time. I trust and value some resources more than others, sometimes depending on the source. Edutopia from the George Lucas Educational Foundation provides thought provoking and action packed articles, many times written by practicing educators. When I see that, it’s a 5 Star resource. Below are links to articles sent by Edutopia that contain valuable teaching strategies. Most of them include addressing the social and emotional learning needs of students. Even though not all are not specific to arts education they can be adapted and I hope you find at least one useful. You can sign up to receive Edutopia emails by going to their website.

  • Teaching Drama in Distance Learning written by Shana Bestock. Shana provides tips for transferring practices to virtual spaces, how to dig deeper with students, create community, and reminds us that how in uncertain times the arts helps us embrace uncertainty and foster resilience.

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Creating Online Community

August 27, 2020

Upper Elementary and Middle School virtual classrooms

Start off the year by combining creativity and a willingness to utilize technology for the advantage of getting to know your learners and you’ll be creating a classroom culture that will serve you well throughout the year. If you’re starting the year virtually these ideas from an Edutopia article written by Susan Yergler should serve you well. We all know that unlike in March when we were forced to go remote overnight starting this year with new students provides a different challenge. Below are the authors suggestions for students in grades 3-8 to feel a sense of belonging. Use these activities during the first several weeks of class – short and meaningful to help create the culture.

ICEBREAKERS

  • Share a drawing or an object that represents their personality or interests. As you move around your virtual classroom from student to student, they will hold their item or drawing offscreen while the rest of us try to remember.
  • Students complete one-pagers or a Frayer Square on themselves on a shared Google Slides deck and then present to the class.
  • Include favorite pastimes such as Hangman, interviewing partners in breakout rooms
  • Flipgrid introductions
  • Students enjoy a round of thumbs up/down with slide shows of foods, sports, and other images. Instead of (or in addition to) the “two truths and a lie” game, try “two objects and a lie.” That calls for students to show two objects that belong to them and one that doesn’t. After completing these activities, a fun way to cement these impressions is by playing a Kahoot! or Quizizz game about the members of your class

CREATING CLASSROOM RUL.ES AND EXPECTATIONS 

  • Collaborating on a list of classroom rules. Ask them how they envision the virtual classroom that supports their individual learning and the community.
  • Consider using a plus-delta chart, so that students can indicate what worked well in remote learning in the spring and what they would like to change this school year. You can use a digital idea-sharing platform such as Mural or Google Jamboard to collaborate. The list of rules and expectations will can be displayed on the class’s virtual classroom wall or resource page.

CREATE CLASS TRADITIONS

  • Establishing classroom traditions can happen online similarly to what happens in a classroom space. Depending on your class size perhaps a bell-ringer or a short journal-writing assignment or a song, dance or art making exercise. Students can be assigned different roles in the tradition you’re establishing.
  • At the end of a class there can be an exit question like what kind of food you like that most people don’t? Or who is your superhero power? Or have the students brainstorm a list of them and you pick one for each class ending.

COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS

  • Service learning projects bring students together with the opportunity for them to focus on their strengths.
  • Solving a community problem – perhaps collecting food to donate to the local food bank. They still exist and food is needed more than ever.
  • Creating art together by each contributing a photograph or a line of a song. These can be publish in a Google Slide format as a book or digital notebook. Each can contribute to a script and then perform it collaboratively online.

FORGING INDIVIDUAL CONNECTIONS 

  • This is probably the most difficult component of online learning – how to get to know your students individually. Individual conferences on zoom or by google meet.
  • Emailing each one or sending individual videos for them to respond to.
  • Good old fashion phone calls make the connection unique.
  • Responding to their work individually in Google classroom can mean the world to them.

We know that the disconnect existed before with so many people communicating online and not face to face. The pandemic has exaggerated that. Continue trying ideas in a variety of formats for learner. You can make a difference!

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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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