Thursday, February 28, 2013

Unit 2: Chapter 8

Consider a lesson plan you might use. Which metacognitive skills/abilities are involved as students gain facility/knowledge in this domain? Think of an activity or lesson component that explicitly teaches one or more metacognitive and one or more problem solving skills.

Self-Portrait, descriptive of who student is.
Currently I am working on a unit plan that is called "Who Am I?", students will learn about portraiture and the different styles in which portraits can be captured. Through this unit plan several small lessons will take place, some of which are: students creating a self-portrait of them through a medium of their choice, students taking portrait style pictures of their peers and then making a collage with the printed pictures, and students making a wire portrait of themselves. Through these small lesson plans students will learn about the history of the portrait, how portraiture began, who made portraits, who got their portraits done, the different stages of mediums that portraits were/are created in, and then to today with a portrait simply being taken with a camera on one's phone. This project is supposed to help students learn about the human body, the face, and proportions.

Self-Portrait, wire sculpture, 3-dimensional.
Metacognitive skills and abilities I am looking for require the students to understand that we are all different. Our physical features come from what we are born with and are different because of our genetic codes. This unit plan encompasses several lesson plans that will help students begin thinking about how they think about themselves, each other, and others around them. It will help them to begin to see that we are all different. It will also help them learn and understand the meaning of portraits. This is something they should be familiar with because everyone has to get their picture taken for the school year book every year. Portraits are not new to the students but the ways in which I am asking them to view and create portraits is. Students will have to think about the ways they want to express themselves and the setting they want to place in the background of their self-portrait. They can use any medium but they must make a self-portrait and they must decide on the background in relation to who they are or want to be. This requires a lot of thinking because I want them to add in extra elements into the background that further describe what they are trying to say to the viewers of their self-portrait. With the photographs students will have to think about the ways they can take the photos so that they get a different image for each picture to later collage with. Because the students cannot take photographs of themselves easily, they will be paired up so they have to work together to make sure that the photographer is taking the pictures in the ways the student being photographed wants to be seen. Finally, the wire portrait provides students with a three-dimensional challenge. They will have to think about their method for creating a portrait that looks like them but is basically consisting of contour lines. Still dealing with portraiture but in a very different concept in terms of materials being used to create.

Portrait by peer, photograph collage.
With all of these lesson plans within the unit, each requires students to think and problem solve in their own way. Students will gain knowledge about portraiture not only from learning about the background history of the portrait but from creating these projects as well. By doing hands on activities they will grow in their knowledge about the human body and its proportions. Students will also learn about different mediums, materials, and processes all for creating portraits.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Unit 2: Chapter 7

Describe a constructivist lesson you would teach. If you think about some activities that would help students with what Ormrod identifies as constructivist and then she mentions a few strategies.

Environmental art lesson plan: Students will construct a piece of art only using elements they find in the environment around them. Elements must be natural and organic. Following the works of Andy Goldsworthy.

The constructivist view involves learning and memory through a process of construction that may rely heavily on prior knowledge (p. 218). So information previously stored in the long-term memory is used to process and organize new information and to build upon what the brain already knows. Students find familiar/similar connections to new information being learned with information they have stored in their long-term memory. I chose to use a lesson plan about environmental creativity. With this lesson I would expect my students to be able to generate concepts about the environment through grouping objects in the environment or events in the environment that make it what it is together (p. 222). So plants, animals, insect, rivers, oceans, mountains, etc. are all things in the environment and all work together to keep the environment going. All of these things represent what the environment is made of and how these things interact with each other. These objects or events are similar in that they make up what is in the environment, what is naturally found and not human-made that is part of the world. I want my students to see rocks, tree branches, dirt, leaves, flowers, grass, water, etc. as ways to understand the environment and to create a piece of artwork that is made up of only environmental/natural materials found outside.

Through theory formation I would expect my student to be able to, on a larger scale, construct general understandings and belief systems about various aspects of the environment in our world (p. 226). This project is meant to help students see that there is art in everything we see and that art can be made by things that are organic and natural from our surrounding environment. There is something to be appreciated about materials that are free. Students will hopefully gain a better understanding of the ways in which the environment can aid us, humans, in different ways. The environment is not something that just appeared one day but over time and through evolution it has grown and changes. Addressing misconceptions about the environment would be important for students to learn how the environment was made and the evolution of the world we live in today. For example, many men taking dirt and putting it on the mountain did not make mountains, and then it became a bigger mountain. Humans did not make mountains and they cannot be taken down easily and replaced by another one (p. 236). Misconception is a belief that is inconsistent with commonly accepted and well-validated explanations of phenomena or events (p. 237). It is important for this lesson plan that when students are out gathering and collecting natural materials from the environment to create a work of art, they understand that these materials are all organic and come from nature and the earth itself. Humans do not usually have a say in the course of natures creations so I want my students to have an appreciation for the effort the world has gone through to give us such a beautiful place. The appreciation of the environments elements is key.
Authentic activities are similar to those students might encounter in the outside world (p. 231). Through this method I can have my students write about the evolution of the earth and thus the creation of the environment. Having students reflect upon the ways in which they view the environment as a resource for artworks or writing letters to the city to help keep the environment clean are also ways to get them learning about this topic in relative terms to them. Problem/project-based learning would be present in the students creating their own environmental piece of artwork. They would learn how to understand the life of things in the environment as well as the death of these same elements. Encouraging classroom dialogue about artists who are making people aware of the environment as an art form and the ways in which we can artistically view it is also a great way to help student elaborate on the topic (p. 230). This would most likely be a new idea to them, using things in nature alone to create a work of art, so it would be beneficial for students to experience what their peers think by talking. Finally, observation/experience would be taking the students outside and allowing them to be in nature (p. 228). Have them draw what they see or create small works of art that get their creativity flowing by using what they can find right off the bat. This way of constructing knowledge would help students experience the things around them as well as allowing students to discover many characteristics and principles about the environment around them. No matter the way a teacher goes about effectively teaching their students about a topic, it appears to seem that regardless of that topic students learn best through the constructivist process because this process allows students several ways of gathering knowledge, interpreting it, and then figuring out where it fits in with the rest of the prior knowledge they have already gained.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thoughts on Teaching and Learning

For students to learn they must be taught. Whether they are self taught or taught by another source, they are still learners. As teachers we will set the example for our students in learning. We will aid them in growing and developing into ladies and gentleman of this world who will hopefully one day become contributors to our society. Teaching and learning go and in hand to me because teachers are still learners, they are still learning everyday. I believe that usually a learner is not always able to teach others, but most of the time a learner is a teacher to themself in their own way. Some of the most wonderful and beneficial things I have learned have come from my students and being in the classroom with them. The connections that we make with out students can promote relationships that will benefit you and the teacher and them as the learner. Again, often times I learn more from them than I think they learn from me as the teacher.

Unit 2: Chapter 6

What are the essential skills and/or leaning outcomes you want your students to know and be able to do that relate to cognitive learning?

Learning is a long-term change in mental representations or associations as a result of experience. With cognitive learning, the way students learn material relates to and affects their performance in a subject area. The cognitive process is a particular way of thinking about and mentally responding to a certain event or piece of information. (p. 180) Meanings and understandings are not derived directly from the environment. They are more so constructed by the learner from how they view and interact with their environment. I want my students to be able to make relations to the outside world or things in their environment that helps them relate back to what we are learning in the classroom setting. (p. 182) I want my students to be able to process the information I am teaching them and be able to learn it through whatever means necessary for them. Since all of my students will not be learning in the same fashion, it is important that I either give them options to learn in all forms or I give them the ability to relate the information to their own way of understanding it. Since I am interested in middle and high school, by this time I would expect most of these grade level students to know what works best for them when learning new information. As teachers, we must remember that students will not necessarily always learn or remember information exactly as we present it to them. They will each interpret the classroom subject matter in their own unique and individual way.  (p. 183) There is nothing wrong with this, but teachers should be aware of it so that they can more appropriately plan their lessons. I personally learn in a few different ways, one of which is very visual, another of which is completely hands on and doing, and finally I learn by writing and rewriting information down. This may not be how all or any of my students process and learn information, I can also guarantee that some of my students will be none of these. However, I expect that as my students progress in my classroom they also progress in their ability to understand what we are learning in their own way and to be able to note just what works for them or does not work for them when trying to learn new information.

How might your knowledge of the memory process guide your instructional decisions?

The memory process is a learners’ ability to mentally save previously learned knowledge or skills over a period of time. When students store what they are learning, you hope they are storing it for later use. Sometimes, they store it for use right away and sometimes they store it for use down the road. (p. 184) Through the memory process, learners usually store information exactly as they receive it. I know that everything I teach will not be something that my students decide to store in their long-term memory. I do hope, however, that whatever they store in their short-term memory will eventually come back at some point to help them in their future endeavors. As a teacher, it is my job to make sure that I am presenting my material to my students in a way that appeals to their appetite to learn and absorb information. If I present information to my students in a very solemn and non-interactive way, then they will probably not remember it as being fun or worth their time. The goal is to grab their attention, hold it, and then get them involved in what you want them to learn. This is why I love art so much, but this is also why teaching art can be so hard. Not all of my students will want to be in the art classroom. I have just recently experienced this in a middle school I am observing. While I know that this varies on the teacher, their style of teaching, and the types of projects you introduce to the class, I also know that some students just do not find art appealing in any way, shape, or form. So, when trying to help my students learn I will be incorporating other things into my lessons that will hopefully stick and in some manner remind them that a particular art project helped them achieve and grow in other areas of their life. For example, I plan to allow my students to take unfinished art projects home, considering that it is not too elaborate of a project. Whenever they finish the project and bring it back to me is when I will grade it. There will be no late grade as long as I get the finished project back before final grades of the semester have to be in. This puts the responsibility on my students to keep up with the artwork, complete it, and get it turned back in to me in a decent form. I am teaching them about being responsible and hopefully instilling in them a sense of awareness that their actions and efforts determine their grades.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Unit 1: Chapter 15

1. Turn to p. 559 in Ormrod's text. Now, imagine that you are meeting with Ingrid's grandmother today to explain her scores on the recent standardized achievement test pictures at the bottom of
p. 559. What will you tell her about Ingrid's performance? Her strengths and weaknesses? If grandmother asks you what she could be doing at home to strengthen Ingrid's skills, what would you suggest? Make sure to include links to scholarly articles or other authoritative sources.

I would explain to Ingrid's grandmother that her scores are very excellent in some areas but need quite a bit of work in other areas. Often students are higher achievers in some subject areas versus other subject areas. When this happens, they just need a little extra help focusing in on the other subject areas that are just as important for them to learn and know. These weaker areas do not always click with them as easily as the ones they are excelling in.

Ingrid's performance is below average in both spelling and math computation, average in math concepts, above average in social studies, and well above average in both reading comprehension and science. Ingrid's scores show that she excels in reading comprehension and does very well in science, and that she is good with social studies and math concepts. However, she could use a lot of work in the areas of spelling and math computation. Ingrid's strengths seem to be that she understands how to read and apply the concepts she is reading and that she enjoys learning about science and all aspects associated with it, are easy for her to learn. Her scores also indicate that she understands math concepts and the uses behind math, but she could use a little more help focusing in on the content being taught to better gain a grasp on problem solving. As well, she seems to have a good grasp on her knowledge with social studies. Her weaknesses seem to be in the areas of selling and math computation. So, Ingrid knows how to read and apply the material but does not do well when having to write or spell out words on her own. She also does not understand the computation of math when it comes to working problems out.

At home, Ingrid and her grandmother could go through her reading assignments and when she comes across a word she does not really know, have her spell it out and try to determine the meaning of the word. Her grandmother could also give her a weekly spelling list that relates to the vocabulary being studied in her classes and they go over it every night together. Another thought would be for her grandmother to say words aloud and then Ingrid have to spell or write them out. As for her low score in math computation, Ingrid's grandmother could help her in applying the math concepts they discuss in class through giving her example problems to work on. If she understands the concepts then she just needs practice problems to work on her computation of the problems.

These are a few helpful articles:
A Developmental Perspective on Standardized Achievement Testing
This site links you to an article that has a great perspective on students and the continuous pressures of standardized test taking. Most students who do well feel great about taking these tests, but for those students who do not test well, these tests become a source of anxiety that is unnecessary. This article would be a great reference for parents/grandparents who are trying to understand the routine testing their children are going through in school, so that they can help to better prepare them before they even get to school.

Families in Schools
This site appears to be a good source for parents to learn about their need of involvement in their child's education. Parents play a huge role in a students success or failure within the classroom. If parents know what is expected of their children and the two can work together, students may feel like they have a better grasp on the knowledge they are learning.

Finally, this was an interesting question to consider for the week. I will not be dealing with this kind of issue as an art teacher necessarily in the same way that other teachers will, however, I learned a lot about how to maybe handle a parent/grandparent that is frustrated because of their child's standardized test scores. While I will be trying my best to integrate my art lessons with what the other teachers are doing, I am not teaching the subjects that Ingrid's test were over. I can only hope to collaborate with English, math, science, or social studies teachers and help by creating lesson plans that incorporate their materials in a more fun, exploratory, and elaboration manner. Collectively, we can aspire to help students understand these content areas outside the box, and in the process help them see that art is everywhere and in everything.