Tuesday, April 14, 2009

E-portfolios for Students

A portfolio is a sampling of the breadth and depth of a person's work conveying his or her range of abilities, attitudes, experiences, and achievements.

Five Steps Inherent in the Development of Effective Electronic Portfolios:
1. Selection: the development of criteria for choosing items to include in the portfolio based on established learning objectives.
2. Collection: the gathering of items based on the portfolio's purpose, audience, and future use.
3. Reflection: statements about the significance of each item and of the collection as a whole.
4. Direction: a review of the reflections that looks ahead and sets future goals.
5. Connection: the creation of hypertext links and publication, providing the opportunity for feedback.
(http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech/tech111.shtml)

Guidelines for Developing a Digital Portfolio
- Set realistic goals about your design ideas and expectations.
- Study some models that you like.
- Allow for continuous improvement and growth.
- Make it personal.
- Make sure the content meets the needs and expectations of those who will be assessing your work.
- Create your portfolio in a site that you and others can access easily.
(http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech/tech111.shtml)

The three most common types of portfolios are:
1. the working portfolio, which contains projects the student is currently working on or has recently completed.
2. the display portfolio, which showcases samples of the student's best work.
3. the assessment portfolio, which presents work demonstrating that the student has met specific learning goals and requirements.
(http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech/tech111.shtml)

Editing and Storing Sites and Software
- Adobe PhotoShop; very popular software for graphics and photo manipulation.
- Picnik.com; very nice online editing software that’s compatible with Flickr, Myspace, Facebook, Photobucket, Picasa, and Webshots.
- Flickr.com; great place to store photos online. Easy to share with others, and they can give you feedback or follow the progress of your site.
- Artsonia.com; fun place to store your work in a portfolio as part of a school system gallery or museum. It can grow with you after school but probably won’t.
- Weblogs or wikis; can sign up for free and maintain from any computer with web access.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Time to Order Decorations

I'm going to order what we can for our prom decorations. We'll be making and borrowing many things to make decorating more affordable. So if you have or know of something that would work well with a jungle theme, let me know right away. If anybody has questions or would like to add input, please email me.

I looked all over for less expensive decorations but couldn't find what we needed, so I'm getting exactly what we looked at in the Stumps catalog. You can go to their web site to see what the jungle theme kits look like.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Prom Talk

Today we're meeting as a junior class to choose a theme for 2009 prom. There are 5 themes to choose from along with a 6th option, which is to discuss an additional theme idea. After our vote is finished, I'll let you know which theme won. However, if option 6 is chosen more than 25% of the time, I'll open the voting to new ideas.

New ideas have to be suggested in my email (I have an email link on the left) by 9 PM Monday, January 26. After 9 PM I'll review the new suggestions and post a new vote both from this page and in the high school office. Please vote either here or there, not in both places.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Where Would You Live?

Have you ever dreamed of where you might live someday? Here's a chance to dream. Look at the linked photographs. They are of places all over. Choose the one that shows where you would like to live if you and your family could move there right now. Write a blog that explains and describes more about this place to help others understand why you like it the most. You may use the following questions to help you:

  • In what country or state is this place?
  • Who would your neighbors be?
  • How close is your school to your home?
  • What size of town is it in or near?
  • What would you do for fun?
  • What season is it in the picture?
  • What would that season be like?
  • Describe what the other three seasons would be like.
  • Would you stay there all year round?

Friday, January 16, 2009

"Literacy" or "Skills"

The dilemma of choosing my words carefully now includes the dichotomy between "literacy" and "skills."  Maybe there is no dichotomy.  Being on the Core Curriculum leadership team makes me believe there is.

As a visual arts teacher I see the words as having individual meanings.  I believe I am teaching my students to be literate beings by teaching them a series of related but individual skills.  Then I remind them of their responsibility to be literate and productive members of their communities by using these skills to respond to things around them.  It appears to me that this is what my coworkers are doing also.  Younger kids are learning individual pieces of information and being taught how to apply those pieces in a larger picture.  Middle and upper elementary kids are learning bigger pieces of information and being taught how to apply those pieces in the an even larger picture.  The process seems to continue to higher levels of intensity as the kids move further along in their formal education experience.

However, I feel like we aren't always using parallel definitions of the two words when we have group discussions in our CC leadership team.  It seems like we're competing for who's teaching the single most important part of a child's education, because the discussion occasionally seems to narrow down to the specific skills that take place in each of our classrooms.  Although, the skills being taught are all very important, maybe if all teachers remember to focus on "why" those skills are needed and "how" those skills could be used, we'd have even more unity and literacy within the educational system.  With that idea, I would say my definition of the word "literacy" is the ability to communicate, comprehend, and understand information by use of a person's senses, skills, and knowledge.  "Skills" are some of the specific tools needed in order to gain literacy.

One of the skills I teach is color theory and mood association.  With this skill students will be more literate in both sending and receiving messages about the feelings or moods associated with things around them:  a room, commercial, food, artwork, outfit, menu, building, textbook, etc.  With this literacy students are able to make choices that allow them not only to send specific, planned messages but also to receive them.  It's communication; universal communication.

For color theory and mood association to remain a universal literacy, however, students need to know the skill of color / mood association not only from their home country but also from other countries.  An example is the use of the color white.  In the USA white is associated with purity such as at a wedding or baptism. In Asia, however, white is a color of mourning.  If that student should become the editor of a magazine, he should know this literacy before creating the cover of an Asian magazine with a picture of people wearing crisp white clothes and huge smiles on their faces.  If this student were to become a car salesman, he could use this literacy to understand why some people are so choosy about what color car they buy.  If he were to manage the designing, packaging, advertising, or sales of product, he would need to apply this literacy also. While I can't know the future of my students, I can teach them to be prepared for universal things.

As long as we understand that preparing students for the future doesn't mean we're expected to know what the future holds, we'll be able to take cues from today, compare them to the past, and predict the general direction of the future. It might look like a tough task for a teacher who focuses too much on the little things - things that are not helping students to be more literate, productive beings.  If we're staying focused on things that are truly the big ideas of life, our jobs are all the more interesting, enjoyable, and rewarding.