So, in a catch-up technological moment, I finally (stupidly) figured out how to upload longer videos to YouTube (by verifying my account; I’m not a big YouTube user, so had never gotten that far). I had the video files of both productions of “The Michaels”, our Classical Lit project from last spring, on my desktop, but wasn’t quite sure what to do with them: they were too big for Vimeo and too long for YouTube (though I of course knew longer videos existed). In any case, for your viewing (pleasure?) and for posterity (and potential future embarrassment), here they both are.
December 25, 2016
On the 23rd, of course the Friday before December break, we had the requisite post-test pre-vacation party. Food was brought in, good times were had by all. I didn’t want it to be completely void of content, however, so I decided we would post to social media about the party. I copied the food vocab […]
November 13, 2016
Was emailed this article about using embedded videos in GoogleForms to ask directed questions with efficient access to the videos (for rewind / review). Seems like a good approach, one I might have to try.
November 4, 2016
- Project Zero Classroom –> go for a week (in Cambridge) and experiment with various routines
- Agency by Design (of Project Zero) focuses on making
- sketching an object from different perspectives
- taking the object apart and sketching its parts
- [could this be a jumping off point project for the SWS?
- students bring an object of their choice and, it is hoped, the project / approach leads to a problem, a solution, an idea, a question, etc.?]
- three phases to making: explore, create, share
- each of us breaks into groups of 2-4 and are given a plastic bag with a plastic pencil sharpener, small tools, paper, and pencils
- we first sketch the object from various perspectives, in the process considering the following:
- what are its parts?
- what are its purposes / the purposes of each part?
- what are its complexities?
- then the object is dismantled and each part is sketched and labeled
- what are the parts of the system?
- who are the people connected to the system?
- how do the people in the system interact with each other and with the parts of the system?
- how does a change in one element of the system affect the various parts and people connected to the system?
- now innovate –> list improvements, sketch design ideas
- how could it be made more effective?
- how could it be made more efficient?
- how could it be made more ethical?
- how could it be made more beautiful?
June 24, 2016
June 14, 2016
We’re discussing the efficacy of final exams at school (seems we’ve been doing so for a few years now) and, since my Latin course became a bit more project-based as the year went on, I decided to try a project for the final exam rather than a more traditional exam. It took me a while to come up with something that I felt would adequately encapsulate the scope of the year but I think the idea works and, in many ways, encompasses more of the year (the full year) than the final exam would (just the second semester).
Today was the day that the games were due and, if I’m being honest, I was actually a bit overwhelmed when I entered the room. I was assaulted (in a good way) by the panoply of color and figure and 3 dimensionality that the games represented. I didn’t even know how to proceed with the class and, in retrospect, will / would have allowed for more time to play the games. I almost feel as if the time spent with the games wasn’t appropriate for the amount of work that went into them (with that said, we did spend the last week of school working on them in class, so they had plenty of class time; they did too, though, put in a good amount of time outside of class as well). So I toured the games, having each individual or group present a basic overview to me, checking off the requirements as I went. And once that was done, the class dispersed to play each other’s game. It was a fun way to end the year.
June 11, 2016
On Wednesday and Friday of this past week (we rotated out on Thursday), we discussed the survey results (available here). It was a pretty interesting discussion, and one in which students were eager to participate. I’ll summarize, in no particular order, some of the things that came up below.
- Overall, a very positive response to the project. Based on the survey results, there is clearly one outlier who did not like the project. I did announce to the class that I would love to hear from that outlier (not in class but rather outside of class) and invited him/her to come see me. I doubt it will happen but I would be interested to hear (hopefully they will identify themselves in the open responses).
- We spent most of the first day, when we took the survey, discussing the content vs. skills tension, i.e. the extent to which they ‘missed’ or felt like they missed out on the content of a traditional coach.
- They said for the most part no, but also attributed that, to some extent, to it being an English course, i.e. they said they would be more concerned about missing out on content in a science or math course.
- They also seemed very nervous about an entire course (much less an entire school) being project-based in this way (not surprising).
- They did not view (pure) content as accessible via technology, i.e. they felt that certain things were not, or should not be, Google-able. Or at least that what they would find wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, take the place of a teacher.
- They felt my role was for the most part appropriate, that my ‘staying out of their way’ (their words) was a good thing. The one area they said they perhaps would have like more intervention was in the writing.
- By far the longest, and most engaged, discussion was about work load.
- For the most part, the class agreed that, while the actors did do more work, that was endemic to the role rather than any sense of resentment or bitterness to those who did (or were perceived to do) less. It was also acknowledged, again without rancor, that the tech crew did less work (or at least was perceived to do less work). I actually think that the tech crew did more work than the writers / actors think they did, but I wasn’t going to try to convince them of that.
- On the other hand, there was a lot of discussion about how the process could have provided more opportunities for more equal distribution of work.
- Much of that discussion centered around the initial division between writers / actors, who worked on the script, and the tech crew / non-writers / actors, who worked on the set.
- It was suggested that that division not take place initially, and that the whole class be involved in the writing process; only when the script is final should the division take place (if for no other reason than the tech crew needs certain information from the script before they can begin).
- The notion of too many writers (if the whole class is involved) was acknowledged and addressed in some interesting ways.
- Perhaps the most interesting suggestion was to divide the class in half and have each half put on a play (this was also suggested to mitigate the division that occurred between comedy and tragedy). Each play would be performed and the audience would choose which was better. This would also lend a bit more weight / importance to the process and, in theory, motivate them to do better work.
- We also discussed assessment / grading.
- Students did say that they would have been ok with / appreciated more input from me on the writing and/or a more structured approach to the writing, whether the scenes were edited and/or graded as they drafted them.
- They also said that, especially from the tech crew side, they noticed the absence of writing in an English course, one of the things I was wondering about.
- The suggestion above, about half the class each doing their own play and then having the audience vote on which they preferred, could tie in to grades.
That’s all I’m remembering right now. I’ll add anything that I remember but overall an interesting discussion that reflected their investment in and commitment to the project.