EDLD 5314

Artwork by Maya Hayuk

BHAG —  

My big, hairy, audacious goal is that Cindy Avitia High School will take the tools they’re already using (Google Classroom, Google Drive, Google Slides, etc…) to create a learning environment that empowers students by putting them in charge of their own learning.


Cindy Avitia High School is a small, public charter school startup in Silicon Valley that was created by parents who were unsatisfied with the school offerings in the area.  Though we are surrounded by high-tech companies like Google, Apple, Intel, and more, our school is just a startup and we have few resources to work with.  We do, however, have chromebooks for students and Macbooks for teachers, and access to Google Apps for Education, and our school has a great digital system for lesson planning/sharing in place using these tools.  Our teachers are mostly young, scrappy, think-outside-the-box educators who are willing to try new things, but only if it leads to greater student achievement.  There are 20 teachers at this school.  


That teachers will take the current lesson planning/sharing system we are already using, move instruction to Google Classroom, and design an online learning environment that uses COVA principles to put students in charge of their own learning.  

MY “WHY” —

The “why” of my project is what drives me as a teacher, and what powers everything I do for my students, whether they’re my students in school or participants in my art workshops and public art events.  My “why” pushes me to advocate for change within my school and in the larger educational system.  You can find my “why” statement here.


All good results depend on planning.  My Professional Learning plan started with a simple outline and grew into an online course for my teachers.  You can find the outline here.  You can also read my blog post about my plan concept here.


This PL will take place over a semester, with a new concept introduced at the first PL of each month.  The rest of each month will be for implementation and team/coaching meetings to support each new concept.



  1. Duration :  This PL experience will be ongoing for an entire semester, with weekly coaching check-ins.
  2. Support :  Teachers will work collaboratively as teams, and one-on-one with coaches to implement what they learn
  3. Initial Exposure:  Teachers will learn by navigating a model online learning environment and creating their own learning environment through the modules.
  4. Modelling:  the PL course, itself, is a model of what the teachers will be creating.  Each module will include real-life modeling of each lesson objective.
  5. Content:  Since teachers will be creating things for their own courses, their learning experience will be customized for their own needs, not generic.


EDLD 5388 Pitch Video from Rebecca Recco on Vimeo.


This Google Classroom course is accessible only within the Alpha Public Schools institution.  These settings are important to keep student information private and protect our students. Below is a list of the lesson slide decks and resources included in the course:

This slide deck offers an introduction to the course.

Flipped Classroom:
Flipped Classroom Slide Deck
The Flipped Learning Toolkit — everything you need to flip your classroom

COVA Slide Deck
COVA — It’s About Learning

Universal Design:
UD Slide Deck
Understanding Universal Design in the Classroom  — Making learning accessible to all students.
Universal Design for Learning — An extensive guide to using UD to improve learning for all students.

Flexible Learning Environment:
Flexible Learning Environment Slide Deck
Flexible Classrooms:  Providing the Learning Environment Kids Need — How to encourage student choice with tantalizing spaces
Flexible Seating and Student-Centered Classroom Redesign — A deeper dive into Flexible Learning Environment design

Assessing Student-Led Learning:
Assessing Student-Led Learning Slide Deck
Learner-Centred Assessment — a guide to creating assessments for student-centered learning
4 Keys to Aligning Outcomes, Activities, & Assessments — example and more information about planning actives and assessments.  3 column table example

Sharing and Celebrating Student Work:
Sharing and Celebrating Student Work Slide Deck
Celebrations of Learning:  Why This Practice Matters — the “why” of celebrating student work
Showcasing Student Work –Specific ideas for celebrating student work


Albermarle Public Schools. (2015). Flexible Classrooms:  Providing the Learning Environment Kids Need. In Edutopia. Retrieved from: https://www.edutopia.org/practice/flexible-classrooms-providing-learning-environment-kids-need

Bergmann, J. and Sams, A. (2014). The Flipped Classroom Toolkit.  Edutopia.  Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/video/flipped-learning-toolkit

Centre for Teaching Excellence. (n.d.). Learner Centred Assessment.  Retrieved from: https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-for-teaching-excellence/teaching-resources/teaching-tips/assessing-student-work/grading-and-feedback/learner-centred-assessment

Darby, A. (n.d.). Understanding universal design in the classroom. Washington, DC: National Education Association (NEA). Retrieved from http://www. nea.org/home/34693.htm

Delzer, Kayla. (2016).  Flexible Seating and Student-Centered Classroom Redesign.  Edutopia.  Retrieved from: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/flexible-seating-student-centered-classroom-kayla-delzer

EL Education.  (n.d.).  Celebrations of Learning:  Why This Practice Matters.  Retrieved from: https://eleducation.org/resources/celebrations-of-learning-why-this-practice-matters

Fink, L. D. (2013). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses. John Wiley & Sons.

Graham, Edward. (n.d.). Showcasing Student Work.  Retrieved from: http://www.nea.org/tools/57917.htm

Gulamhussein, A. (2013). Teaching the Teachers Effective Professional Development in an Era of High Stakes Accountability. Center for Public Education. Retrieved from http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Staffingstudents/Teaching-the-Teachers-Effective-Professional-Development-in-an-Era-of-High-Stakes-Accountability/Teaching-the-Teachers-Full-Report.pdf

Harapnuik, D. (2016, September 29). COVA model [Web post]. Retrieved from http://www.harapnuik.org/?s=cova

Harapnuik, D. (2016, November 28).  4 Keys to Aligning Outcomes, Activities, & Assessment [Web post]. Retrieved from http://www.harapnuik.org/?tag=3-column-table

TKI. Universal Design for Learning.  Retrieved from:  http://inclusive.tki.org.nz/guides/universal-design-for-learning/


My Alternative Professional Learning Plan Outline

Rebecca Recco — EDLD 5388
How will incorporate the 5 key principle of effective PD into your plan:


  • The duration of professional learning must be significant and ongoing to allow time for teachers to learn a new strategy and grapple with the implementation problem. Ongoing support.


The duration of the PD will be a semester.  This will allow for the rollout of the plan, a small, initial project, and then a longer period where teachers will start transitioning their existing lesson plans into Google Classroom.  During the transition, there will be collaborations with team teachers and coaches to share feedback and ideas.


  • There must be support for a teacher during the implementation stage that addresses the specific challenges of changing classroom practice.


Each teacher at Cindy Avitia High School has a coach and a team.  Coaches already provide weekly observation and data meetings, so it would be during these meetings that coaches could offer the most support for teachers individually and in teams to help this transition go smoothly.  Team teachers would also provide support for one another during team meetings where they already meet to discuss team-level instruction and ensure that expectations and instruction are consistent across the board.  


  • Teachers’ initial exposure to a concept should not be passive, but rather should engage teachers through varied approaches so they can participate actively in making sense of a new practice.


The initial exposure to this concept will be given in a way that is an exact example of what they will be creating for their students.  They will arrive at a PD session expecting the usual slide show of instruction, but the only slide on the board will be a join code for our Google Classroom for PD.  They will log in, move through the slide show and materials to learn about how we will be moving our instruction from Slides to Classroom, and will have the rest of the afternoon to move one unit planned for the future into Classroom and adding resources so students can move through the instructional part on their own.  They will also include a product for students to create to show mastery of the unit objective.  As teachers are working on this unit, I will move from teacher to teacher to ensure they understand our PD objective and are comfortable moving their instruction into a student-led model.  For the teachers who are struggling, I will help them overcome obstacles to reach this goal.


  • Modelling has been found to be highly effective in helping teachers understand a new practice.


Because teachers will be learning about this objective through a Google Classroom model of what they will be creating for their students, they can use the model as an example and refer to it whenever they’re not sure how to build their units.  I will include different types of resources in the PD classroom so teachers can refer to those things in building their own, and can also see what kinds of resources are most helpful for online, student-led learning.


  • The content presented to teachers shouldn’t be generic, but instead specific to the discipline (for middle school and high school teachers) or grade-level (for elementary school teachers).


This content is designed specifically for teachers at Cindy Avitia High School.  Because each teacher will be creating content for their own discipline, the learning experience will be different for each teacher as they choose what to do based on their students’ specific needs.


  • How will you foster collaboration?


Teachers will collaborate with other teachers in their team levels to ensure that all students within that team will experience a certain level of consistency in all Google Classrooms.  This will reduce confusion in students as they move into a different kind of learning.  Teachers will meet bi-weekly to discuss Google Classroom, but will also have opportunities to work with team teachers and coaches at weekly observation and data meetings if the need is there.  Coaches already use this time to work with teachers on teacher-specified needs, so it would be easy to include more support if needed.  Coaches will be checking updates to the Google Classrooms and offering suggestions one on one with teachers, either way.  During these check-ins, coaches will spotlight teacher successes and celebrating them in weekly posts to PD Google Classroom.


  • Who will lead what components?


I will lead the initial rollout.  Coaches will lead team-level coaching and meetings.  Teachers will eventually lead team-level meetings once they are comfortable with this system.


  • Audience and their needs


The audience is teachers at Cindy Avitia High School.  They currently teach using Google Slides, presented in-person to all students at the same time, regardless of student needs.  These teachers are very busy and a lot is expected of them.  They don’t get much planning time to take on more projects, so many are reluctant to try new things.  This program is designed to show them a way to take what they’re already doing and materials they are already using, and tweak them so they can reach more students, gain student engagement, save time playing catch-up with students are absent or who need extra help, and automate repetitive tasks, all while empowering students to be in charge of their own learning.  

  • Instructional Design of your PL (will you use BHAG & 3 Column Table or UbD Template or something else)

I will use the BHAG and 3-Column Table

  • Schedule/timeline

Phase 1:  3 weeks
Initial Build — 2 weeks
Launch  — 1 week

Phase 2:  9 weeks
Bi-weekly team meetings led by coaches
Weekly look-fors in Classroom design to target challenges and fine-tune planning
Monthly in-person group collaborative discussion/work time
Teacher celebrations, resources, and ideas posted weekly to PD Google Classroom.

Phase 3: 9 weeks
Bi-Weekly check-ins at coaching meetings
Weekly look-fors continue
Updates to PD Google Classroom continue



  • Types of resources you will need


Google Classroom, Google Slides, Email, Resources to add to Google Classroom, Screen Captures of basic Google Classroom features, PD time for initial rollout, PD time in team level meetings, fun rewards for teacher celebrations.



Fink, L. D. (2013). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses. John Wiley & Sons.

Gulamhussein, A. (2013). Teaching the Teachers Effective Professional Development in an Era of High Stakes Accountability. Center for Public Education. Retrieved from http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Staffingstudents/Teaching-the-Teachers-Effective-Professional-Development-in-an-Era-of-High-Stakes-Accountability/Teaching-the-Teachers-Full-Report.pdf


Student-Powered Learning : An Alternative PL Session

“I don’t even get why the kids have devices.”  “Yeah, maybe they’re useful for some things, but we made it all the way through school without having them, so I’m sure these kids will be perfectly capable of doing work without them.”  “If I had a dollar for every time a kid was supposed to be doing work but were distracted by their devices, I’d be a millionaire!”  

I’ve heard these conversations over and over since mobile technology has found its way into our classrooms, and these concerns are almost as common as the devices, themselves.  Even in my school, which is located within the region known as “Silicon Valley,” I’ve heard teachers bemoaning the challenges of having to fight with technology for students’ attention.  

That being said, the very teachers complaining about tech are also tech users.  We use technology for our lesson planning, communicating with other teachers, staying organized, catching up on important district news, documenting student progress, and analyzing student data.  Our world is much different than it was when we first started teaching, so why are we teaching like it’s 1985?

When trying to come up with a concept for my alternative PD, I knew immediately what I needed to do.  I designed this program for my fellow teachers at Cindy Avitia High School, to help us bring instruction up to speed with the high-tech expectations of our zip code.  In order to help our students capture jobs in this community, we need to provide education the way they are already living their lives.  We need to meet them where they are.  

My school uses a specific slide deck for lesson planning.  It’s a pretty cool system.  The template is provided to us, we create the slides to move students through the lesson, and this becomes both our lesson and our lesson plan, all in one.  It reduces duplication of work, and it’s super easy to include things that need to be in each lesson, because they’re built into the slide deck.  We then share this slide deck with our coaches, and can also share them with students who were absent, parents who want to know what we’re doing, tutors, specialists, etc…  

Our school has access to Google Classroom, and Google Apps For Education (GAFE.)  Some teachers use it, but mostly, teachers use it as sort of an announcement board in conjunction with whatever’s done in class.  We also use Illuminate for exit tickets, assessments, and student data (attendance, gradebooks, IEPs, etc…)  All these things are great, but there is nothing to tie everything together, so there is no one place for students to go to find the information they need.  It’s different for every teacher.  Also, the actual instruction is still very one-size-fits-all, with the occasional modification thrown in for a student whose IEP requires it.  

We also have a lot of English Learners.  Many of them speak Spanish or Vietnamese, although we have 2 students who speak tribal languages, and a few others who speak other Asian languages.  We do not have interpreters, for the most part, so EL students tend to struggle along unless they’re fortunate enough to have a student or teacher who can translate for them.  

Because of these issues, I think the perfect solution for my school is to use Google Classroom to its fullest capacity by taking the slides we are already using for instruction and turning them into online lessons that allow students to move through at their own pace.  Students can revisit the lesson slides whenever they need to.  They can use Google Translate or another translation tool to interpret anything they don’t understand (which also reinforces language skills.)  They can have access to all the resource materials that are usually shown in class but not shared with students digitally.  They can move through the instruction at their own pace, self-adapt the lesson to their own needs through choices that are available to them through the technology we already have (like accessibility tools, helpful apps, and online collaboration with other students,) and because the students are “steering” their own lesson, the teacher is more available to work one-on-one with students who need more support.

I think a major selling point of this idea is that any stakeholder — administrators, other teachers, specialists, parents, and the students, themselves — will have full access to the lesson at any time, just like the student does during their class period.  The classroom becomes mobile, and can be accessed by anyone.  There is full transparency for everyone involved.  

In presenting this to my teachers, I decided to use the slide deck we already use (albeit a stripped-down version of it) to show how easy it is to take something we are already doing (our lesson plan slides) and make it into a student-driven learning environment.  I created a PL slide deck, very much like every PL session given to our teachers, and I put it into Google Classroom (class join code:  iyva39k).  But, instead of standing in a room full of teachers to provide this session in front of a whiteboard, teachers will move through the PL session on their own, and spend the rest of the designated PL time turning one lesson unit into a student-driven one.  I will walk around to check in with teachers and provide support where needed.

I think this plan will appeal to teachers because it respects their work time by allowing them to move through the session at their own pace, and it also gives them a chance to solve the problem of how to use technology without having to really do anything more than we’re already doing.  Instead of learning a new thing and taking on a new task, we will be making the work we already do more cohesive, engaging, adaptive, and shareable.  This plan is a living example of “work smarter, not harder.”

There is more I want to do with this course before I present it to my teachers.  I would like to include more examples of how to load assessment tools (especially our Illuminate assessments, which load directly into our gradebooks for easy tracking of data) and links to adaptive technology for students who need it.  I am also going to create a video screen-grab of the process for teachers who have never used Google Classroom and aren’t comfortable diving right into this project.

I hope this PL experience will be one that my coworkers love, that will help them harness the power of technology for better learning, not fight with it for student attention.  I also hope that our students will benefit from the empowerment that will come by putting them in the driver’s seat of their own education.

My Online Art Program

In a typical high school art classroom, students create individual works of art that are as unique as the students, themselves.  Students develop their own artistic styles as they learn each media and find inspiration in the artists they study.  Students work at their own pace, completing their works of art as they meet with their instructor to determine whether the piece passes muster or must be reworked.  In fact, the art room may be the most striking example of constructivist learning on any high school campus.

As we move toward more technology-driven education in our schools, one might think that the art room would be unaffected by this shift.  In fact, this thinking is common among the decision-makers in schools, who often overlook the arts classrooms when choosing how to allocate funding for technology.  But, this is an unfortunate oversight, as professional artists are often at the forefront of technology usage, and denying arts students the opportunity to work with technology as their professional counterparts do, deprives them of the skills needed to be successful artists as adults.  

As an art teacher, I’ve had to advocate for technology in my classrooms, often going so far as to having to seek funding from outside sources to get the needed technology for my classroom, while my coworkers who teach core subjects have had no trouble getting tech.  While this process has been frustrating, I am proud of the programs I’ve built, and excited to have added some connectivist learning philosophy to my program.  This has allowed me to build an online course in which I will provide students with a wide variety of resources that they can choose from to find the path to understanding each objective that works best for them.  They will always have their resources available to return to, should they need to, and they will be able to communicate with me from home when they need additional help.  In an art class, this means that they will spend more class time creating art and less time being fed information that is geared toward the larger population.  Instead, in my flipped-class model, they will access resources on their own time and choose what piques their interest.  

I used the Understanding By Design (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) model to plan my course out.  This outlining method makes it easiest to design a course around specific outcomes and then build activities that will lead to those desired outcomes.  While there are many design methods that work backward from the end goal, I like the Understanding By Design method because it allows me to look at the “big picture” of what I want to accomplish with the class, while also planning very specific tasks and assessments to get there.  For instance, my outline for the Introductory Course allowed me to design backward from my state standards to the specific understandings I wanted my students to grasp, what activities they would do to gain this understanding, and then how I would assess it.  I then used my resulting outline as a blueprint for creating this course, making each part of it an activity or assessment in my online course.  

While I do not have much experience teaching online courses, I am very pleased with this online introductory course, and I am excited to build on it as I move more of my instruction to an online platform.  This year, I moved to Silicon Valley to teach in a new school that has embraced online instruction by providing each teacher with access to Google Classroom, and all teachers and students with Google Apps for Education.  While I am not new to technology, I am just learning all the possibilities this brings to my teaching and — more importantly — to my students’ learning!  Many of my students are English Learners, and are already using Google Translate to communicate with me as I struggle through their native languages.  I can provide resources in English, and students can translate through this app.  While the translation isn’t perfect, it works well enough that they can understand it, or at least ask me to call a student translator over to assist them.  Without this system, I would be struggling to speak to these students and they would definitely be at a disadvantage as they spent more class time trying to get the meaning of the resources and less time learning and creating art.  In fact, moving instruction online is a great way to help students with many different kinds of challenges to succeed in learning.  According to the 2016 NMC CoSN Horizon Report (Horizon Report, 2016), “The most wicked leadership challenge is the achievement gap that persists, in which low-income students and other underserved learner populations struggle to stay in school and graduate with skills that translate to gainful employment. Schools need ongoing leadership around devising solutions for disadvantaged students. In New Zealand, teachers help each other identify and address at-risk learners through the Ministry of Education’s Investing in Educational Success initiative, and the complementary Teacher-Led Innovation Fund supports the co-design of activities that improve student success.”  Many of these activities include online instruction that allows students accessibility options that will help them work at the same level as more advantaged peers.

Another benefit of my online course is transparency.  My teaching coach can see what my students are doing and can track all interactions and student work online.  Though much of our work is done in class, all my resources are in Google Classroom so she can log in and see what I’m covering.  This is great because she can offer feedback to me that students can’t see so I can improve my teaching.  She can also see when I add a resource, assignment, or assessment to my class, just in case there is some confusion about a due date or test.  In fact, every administrator in my school can easily log in and see everything happening in my online course so there is never any misunderstanding about my course.

Perhaps the most exciting benefit to moving a lot of my instruction online is that my students can access the course materials at any time, and can revisit them as many times as they want.  A student who might need to watch a demo a few times can always log in and see the demo as many times as needed to grasp the concept, whereas before, I would demonstrate a technique or media in class and in order to see it again, a student would have to come over to me and wait for me to become available to demonstrate again.  Students who miss a class can log in and get materials from home, and won’t fall behind.  Also, students who need more information can access the extra materials I’ve included in the class so they can explore a subject in greater detail.  My students self-differentiate my course through the choices they make within it.

The importance of providing online instruction to students is becoming more and more apparent as I learn through creating my own online course.  By allowing students to make choices in their learning, I am giving them the opportunity to create the learning plan that works best for them, whether they need more time, more access to materials, or help translating my materials into their native languages.  Because they are in charge of how they learn, they are also more engaged in learning as they use only the resources that they need.  Students love being able to log in from home to check assignments and ask questions, and they know they will get a response in a very short time.  And I love that there is no confusion — from my students, administration, parents, or even other teachers — because everything I do is viewable by everyone.  This also keeps my teaching fresh, because when something isn’t working, it is easy to change my lesson quickly.  

The relevance of online teaching is that these students are likely to take online courses in college, and to collaborate digitally in the workplace.  Giving them the opportunity to learn online will give them skills needed and make them more comfortable working in this environment.  Schools want to provide students with everything they need to succeed in college and the workplace, so it makes sense that we would be teaching in this way.  I am very fortunate that my new school has embraced this teaching style.  I am excited to put it to good use!

In a 2014 study by Project Tomorrow and Blackboard (Trends in Digital Learning, 2014), the benefits to online teaching and learning is apparent.  Some highlights from this study are as follows:

  • More than 9 out of 10 administrators say that the effective use of technology within instruction is important for achieving their school or district’s core mission of education and preparation of students.
  • Over three-quarters of parents (78%) say that the best way for their child to develop the college, career and citizen ready skills they will need for future success is to use technology on a regular basis within his or her daily classes at school.
  • Two-thirds of middle school students (64%) agree that effective technology use increases their interest in what they are learning at school.
  • Three-quarters of principals attribute increased student engagement in learning to the effective use of digital content in their blended learning classrooms
  • 52% of teachers in blended classrooms say that their students are developing collaboration skills as a result of using technology within learning; 61% of their students agree!
  • Almost three-quarters of technology leaders (73%) say that their school or district is now offering online courses for their students. Top subjects offered: Math, Social Studies/History, English Language Arts, Science and World Languages.


The enduring understanding that I can take from this experience and apply to my teaching is that students learn best when they’re given the tools they need to personalize their learning experience.  By creating this online course, I’m giving a lot of the power of the classroom over to my students, which is a scary prospect for some.  But what I am learning is that my students want to learn, and they want to succeed, and when given ownership of their classroom (even in digital form), they are more active learners and less passive consumers of content.  This results in much deeper understanding of the content and mastery of skills in a more authentic learning experience.  This system also results in better productivity for me, because I can maximize my time with students while automating many of my day-to-day tasks.  I also have greater transparency with my school, because there is constant communication about what is going in in my classroom.  While creating an online course is a lot more work up-front, it is definitely worth the effort in the payoff in student learning and teacher efficiency.  




NMC/CoSN (2016). Horizon Report 2016 K-12 Edition. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org/publication/nmccosn-horizon-report-2016-k-12-edition/

Trends in Digital Learning. (2014). In Speak Up. Retrieved from http://www.tomorrow.org

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (expanded second ed.). Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.


Sea Change

This week, I started teaching in my new school.  For those of you just joining this blog, in May, I accepted a position as Founding Art Teacher at Cindy Avitia High School in San José, California.  It has been an exciting change, but also a nervewracking one, as I move back to teaching High School after four years away, and to a new school that has much different ways of doing things than in any schools I’ve ever taught.

For the last 3 weeks, I’ve been working to build an online course.  It turns out that my new school is going to be using Google Classroom, and some classes have already been working with it.  Great!  I started building my online course in Schoology for my EDLD 5318, but now I will be moving content from Schoology to Google Classroom so my students can access it in a few weeks.

I am excited to use my online course with my students.  It will be a blended learning experience, so my students will be doing both digital and offline work.  The online work is mostly learning about artists, exploring art history, and learning about how to look at art critically.  Students will be working individually and collaboratively, watching videos about artists, having collaborative discussions, creating reflection pieces (art critiques in the form of written work, videos, and podcasts,) and making art.

Students will access resources both in the online course and in the physical classroom.  They may work on any part of each unit at any time during the week.  My school offers a long class period for each class once a week and also for an hour each day at the end of the school day where students can get extra assistance.  I had planned for this time to be used as studio time for students to work on artwork, but I could also allow this time to be used for any student needing extra assistance with the course.

Student work will be uploaded to their digital portfolios at Bulb.  Students and parents can access both their digital portfolios, as well as the course, itself.  I will interact with students through comments on their portfolios, in the course, and in person.  Parents may also comment on their student’s digital portfolio, but will not have access to comment in the online class.  I am not very familiar with Google Classroom, yet, so I do not know if parents will typically log into their children’s courses, but I don’t imagine they will, for the most part.  Online assessments will be done in the course, but I will also be doing assessments of students’ physical work and assisting them in person during class time.

I will update my course as I decide to add more material or see that some components aren’t working as well as I would like them to.  The great thing is that this is as easy as switching out a link or a document.

Building My Online Course

As I am building this course, I have been attending some really intensive training for my new school.  It’s so cool that so many of the things I am learning in this course are really in line with the requirements for my new school.  Though I am really struggling with all the new information at school and in this course, I am looking forward to a time in the future when I’ve been using all this and it’s as natural as walking through the door.

One of the things that I really love about my online course is that it has allowed me to chunk the information into bite size pieces.  Some of my students really love to try and anticipate the next step, but often make mistakes when they anticipate the wrong thing!   I like to chunk my lessons into steps so that each bit leaves the students prepared for the next step.  Since the online course is week-by-week, when my students get through the first week’s materials, they will be ready for week two.  I have also added example materials (links, photos, videos, etc…) that will help students to visualize the concepts for each week.  My students will be using all materials to create responses in writing, video, audio, and in their own artworks.

The summative assessment will be a portfolio review of student works.  The formative assessments will be the reflection pieces and interactives within the course.  This will be a blended learning course, with students doing much of the online work at home and on lecture days and the artwork on studio days.  I am excited that my schedule includes one 90 minute course each week, and that makes for some excellent studio time!  Students will also get an hour of personalized learning time in which they may choose to come to the studio to work.  I am so excited to put this course to use!!!

I just found out that my school is going to use Google Classroom instead of Schoology this year, so I may move my materials over to Google before my students use this course.  I haven’t quite decided.  If I keep it on Schoology, the students won’t need any instruction on how to use it because the whole school used Schoology in the past.  I will need to check in with my administrators to see if they want me to keep with Schoology or if I have to use Google Classroom.  I am excited to try Google Classroom, so I am happy with either decision.

My Online Course

It’s been a busy summer!  Last week, my husband and I packed up a U-Haul and moved from West Virginia to California — literally one week ago.  We’ve been unpacking our house one box at a time while attending a super-intense professional development for our new school district.  At the same time, I am attending grad school online.  Aaaah!!!!!

In EDLD 5318, I am building an online course.  At first I thought this course looked daunting, but upon starting the course, I am seeing that the point of creating an online course is really to streamline instruction.  I think of all my new students —  mostly poor, immigrant teens in the shadow of Silicon Valley — and the challenges that meet them as they try to navigate eleventh grade as English language learners, and I can identify with them as a new face in this school.  By moving some of my instruction online, I will be able to allow them to revisit instructions and demos whenever they need to, and they will also be able to use translation tools or work with a translator when I am not around.  I will also be able to share their work with their parents and other teachers when needed.

This course will introduce my students to the art makerspace, and to current artists who are doing innovative things in art, today.  This blended learning experience will have students creating both art and reflection pieces in whatever media they choose for each project.  Students will work through the modules one at a time, at their own pace (although, obviously, they will have to partner up for week 5.)  Students will work in both traditional and digital media, but will be required to try at least 3 media throughout the 5-week course.  Students will access the course through the Chromebooks that are available to them through the school and through iPads that are available in the art makerspace.

This course combines both constructivist and connectivist learning theories, in contrast to the school’s heavily behaviorist model.  One challenge for me will be to make a drastically different model work with students who are used to behaviorist models.  Another challenge for me will be to work with English learners in not one but two languages that I do not speak.  The school employes a student translation program in which English Language Learners are paired with stronger English speakers/readers who work as translators and English tutors.  Teachers use Google Translate to create translations of their instructional materials and run those translations past translators (usually parents who work in the school’s Parent Resource Center) before making them available to students.  This system seems to work really well for other teachers, so I have a lot of hope that it will work for me, too.

I am super excited about using this online course with my students as I prepare my art makerspace for the new school year.  I have no idea what to expect, but I feel that this program has prepared me to be flexible, have a growth mindset, and to use challenges as opportunities to try new things.


Updated 3-Column Table

Featured Art:  Detail of Womb mural by Maya Hayuk

Because I am moving to a new school and a new grade level, I’ve had to change my online course concept and my 3-column table.  I’m still going with the art makerspaces, but changing my concept to work with a high school program with classes meeting daily.  I’m really excited to make this happen!

Here is my new concept and table:

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