Friday, September 30, 2011
The students successfully created their personal blogs as a first project grade. They also posted their first field trip response writings. Both of these were due this week, and it seems that most everyone got it done. You can see them if you are interested at: introtoart1105.blogspot.com/
I created a separate blog site for their second project. For this group project, each student will select a favorite recipe, document themselves preparing it, and then post the images and text to the blog. I invited all of the students to be authors of the site, so that they can post their own entries. I didn't give them administrator access, however. Right now, my recipe for "Sweet Bacon-Wrapped Tofu" is the only contribution to the site, but keep posted for student contributions. Anyone who wishes to invite their students to participate, even if for extra credit, let me know. You can see this blog here: art-food-yum.blogspot.com/
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Students will be able to:
- Explain their decision making process for each color they painted for color studies.
- Evaluate colors mixed for different color wheels by their classmates.
- Arrange motifs for Still Life painting.
- Improve compositional balance of other people's artworks in another course.
- Demonstrate the right attitude as a painter in an art critique.
Most students mixed their own red, by adding shades of yellow and blue. Two students had extreme difficulties mixing red-orange analogous (normal). One student had unexpected difficulties mixing blue-violet variations (unusual). No major disasters.
Each student was assigned to an Exquisite Corpse drawing received from Art-in-New York and she or he will make a NYC Painting on a 11" x 14" canvas board based on what she or he received (due 10/4). They need to make the image very NEW YORK CITY with an element from the drawing. This class watched an art video on Spirituality and visited September 11 exhibitions at museums previous weeks, so what they studied should be used to explore ideas of visualizing the city that historically and recently went through many events. Their completed paintings will be documented and the photos will be sent to another class from which the original drawings came.
For the rest of the class, we looked through Still Life paintings by Paul Cezanne and Giorgio Morandi to understand various balanced compositions. For the Monochrome assignment, they will paint three (3) eggs only with black and white in acrylics.
Giorgio Morandi, Still Life with Flask, 1953, Oil on canvas, 14-1/8 x 15-7/8", Courtesy of The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.. Gift of the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Foundation, 1966. Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Instead of assigning a new blog last week, I instructed students to read over a blog written by another student. I placed all students (in both ENG 101 classes) into pairs. I posted these pairs on my main course blogs (each main course blog is quickly becoming an announcement site, an assignment site, a reflection site, and also a blog site).
The assignment post was due Sunday evening, when all my blogs are due. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I went over two blogs with students in each of my classes. I made it clear that our discussions would focus on how the blogs were written. This meant evaluating what writing strategies students were practicing, determining how effective those strategies were, and then giving suggestions about how to make specific changes to the blogs.
In class, we first visually examined the blogs. I asked them what could we could tell about the blogs just from noticing things like whether or not there was a title, how dense the paragraphs were, whether or not students employed direct quotations, and whether or not paragraphs contained topic sentences.
Many of the features we observed then became the criteria for evaluation. Students understood that how we discussed blogs would directly inform how they responded to each other's blogs over the weekend. They would write sentences about topic sentences, unified paragraphs, providing context for outside readers, giving readers directions ("This blog is about...I am going to discuss..."), vague langauge, and keywords (and whether or not they're defined).
I then had the students practice writing their observations in the form of peer evaluation sentences: "Dear so and so, your topic sentences are focused on the main ideas in the paragraphs that follow. However your second sentence doesn't seem to fit. I suggest that you..." And so on.
Understanding, Analyzing, Applying, Creating
How Did It Go
When I left both my courses Tuesday and Wednesday, I was quite convinced that I had properly prepared students to assess each other's blog. Over the weekend, I had varying levels of resposes.
In my ENG 101: Language and Human Rights class, I had about 55% participation, which was much lower than I thought. Of those that participated, about 80% at least seemed to understand the expectations and what to comment on. In the remaining (few) cases, individuals seemed to post text-message type evaluations: short, unclear, and in text-speak.
In my ENG 101: Ethics of Food, I had a much higher rate of participation. I would estimate it at about 75%. Of those, I would say more than half met my expectations for comments. The rest left comments that either didn't meet my criteria or were off topic.
What struck me after this was that generating the criteria for analysis in class, with the students, didn't work as well I wanted. I wrote all the criteria on the board and instructed them to copy it in their notes. Nonetheless, many students chose not to use the categories of criteria when evaluating each other's work. Many fell into the cliche patterns of being too kind.
In the future, I'll need to be very explicit about how to comment on another person's blog. This will probably involve a separate assignment sheet. It's also clear that the students don't quite trust the common-sense link between us generating the categories for evaluation in class discussion and then applying those notions to each other's blogs. In class, I'll have to leave more time to actually write out a blog comment on the projector for them to see. I'll also have to leave more time for them to get started on the blog comment in class, like during a lab hour. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that ENG 101 students need much more definitive boundaries for their assignments, and less freedom to casually connect class discussion to out of class activities.
Every year I generate more and more explicit instructional "rules" for my assignments. I'm not sure if I'm becoming more and more like the public school system they are coming from; I'm not sure if what they're really learning to do is simply follow explicit instructions. And I'm also not certain if my role in ENG 101 is to teach them more critical thinking, or to teach them some critical thinking within the confines of these rule-based assignments.
What I believe worked was showing student blogs on the projector, and generating comments on those blogs using the same categories of criteria that we use to evaluate their longer essays.
To solve the participation issue, I believe I need to make sure students are connected to the class via Twitter. I honestly think that if I had their cell phone numbers and could text them reminders, I would see a slightly high participation rate. I know their lives are overwhelmed with health and work issues. I've already had several students attend funerals, miss time because of sick children, visit the hospital for ailments themselves, and complain of working "double-shifts" of 12 hours at work. I need to connect more with the students outside of class in order to grab their attention. And, oddly, doing so is a fresh reminder about just what kind of role education has to play in their lives. Or what role I think it has to, to teach them all. Can I really increase participation through another handout?
NOTE: I have tried to format this with less space between the paragraphs several times.
Monday, September 26, 2011
When designing lesson plans for the computer lab, I try to consider attention spans adversely affected by the potential for multitasking and multiple screens and address them through engagement. One thing I love about my PC computer lab is that you can choreograph from the console. I hate to be am overt fascist (telling people when they can and cannot be on their technology). Instead, there are near moments of grace and litheness that accompany how I allow students access to their computers without them really noticing. (Or so I think!)
They are looking at your screen while on their screens.
They are off and blogging on their own blogs.
They are now looking at the PowerPoint on the wall (and not their computers because the computers have been frozen!)
Okay. They certainly notice that. But it's a powerful way to get them back to full group.
HOWEVER. I discovered this past week that the Mac lab does not allow this flexibility at all. I wish I'd known that beforehand. (I'm not sure what I would have done, but it does change the dynamic (and how you plan!) significantly.) My carefully choreographed lesson plan went out the window and I had to rely on asking students not to look at their computers which felt pretty lame, because of course the lure of the screen was too much for some.
Last week I wanted to review for this week's exam, but I was scheduled in the computer lab. No problem, people can follow along on their own computers, I thought. But it was the Mac lab and that follow-along option is not available. Yet. (Evidently it costs much more to purchase that option for Mas than it does for PCs. Let's hope they purchase it soon!)
BIG DISCOVERY: It's not easy for twenty-five students to comfortably view the one projection in the computer labs.
ALSO. There's the situation where half the class cannot log on to their blogs, or maybe they can log on to their blogs, but not to the Google spreadsheet they are supposed to reference for the blog post. That's a problem especially when your class is only 60 minutes long and the seconds are ticking!
Technology SNAFUs are inevitable--the Internet is not available; a platform is down; students can't log on for some reason. I guess you always have to be prepared for the unexpected. But are there some SNAFUs that can be expected? I wonder if those more experienced working on Web 2.0 platforms and computer labs (and even in Smart Classrooms) have wisdom to share.
It'd be great to have a glossary or small handbook or a wiki: "SNAFUs You Can Depend On in the Web 2.0 Classroom and How to Turn Them into Teachable Moments." The goal of any lesson, I think, is for learning to be the focus and the experience, and not the apparatus or scaffold that undergirds it. I hadn't realized how much this needs to be addressed in the online, hybrid, or Web 2.0 classroom.
|Wordle for Class Brainstorm of |
Plato's "The Allegory of the Cave."
The goals for last week included having students work with summarizing arguments in groups following a model prepared by X and I.
Understanding, Applying, Evaluating
X and I have established a pattern for the students for the rhetoric piece of the class that can roughly be summarized as Understanding, Applying, and Evaluating. These will hopefully add up to Creating full essays next week. I stole this idea from the military where it is (or was) called Demonstration, Explanation, and Practical Application.
Our groups/pairs summarized a reading they had jointly annotated (understanding/applying) the class period before and then posted their summaries in a public Google Doc. X and I had our classes cross-comment on the summaries making suggestions for improvement (evaluating). You can see one sample HERE. One interesting comment I had from a student was that one of her group members kept "messing with" the group summary after they were "done" and I had to assure her that the group grade was not based on the product itself but the process, and that the group should have a talk with the student about group decisions such as when they are "done" or "not done". Looking back, I probably should have asked the student who was continuing to "correct" the group work to simply write a comment after as to what he thinks still needs work. However, I will note this incident as the first sign I have seen of discomfort with working on "live" documents. Mostly students seem to think they are kinda cool.
Students then attempted to summarize a piece on their own which they had previously annotated and posted this to their blog for later commentary/use. The goal is that we are building students slowly up to their first real essay (creating) and then we'll pretty much have them write an argument essay per week. This method is a little different for me as I have been a "essay a week" person for Basic Writing for several years and been very successful with it, but establishing the baseline skills first does make sense.
After summarizing we moved on to identifying Main or Significant Ideas, establishing a Claim, and identifying Reasons for the claim. Finally students were asked to combine the Claim and the Reasons into a Thesis Statement. We followed the same pattern--teacher model, group activity, individual activity--and are now planning to again have classes cross evaluate and make suggestions of improvement. The real issue here is helping students understand the effective difference between a "Reason" and an "Example" or "Supporting Detail".
The other major activity for the week was to begin work on "The Allegory of the Cave" and we had students free-write on "A cave is . . ." prior to discussion. The above Wordle was created from the following discussion using the "Create" program at http://www.wordle.net/create. Cut-and-paste any text into the window and Wordle will generate art for you. Saving it as a .jpeg file for later use is a bit of a trick (ctrl+alt+PrtSC then paste in Paint), but it is really easy to link to the wordle and embed it.
Here is a Wordle of this blog post. You can click it to see the big picture (so to speak).
Sunday, September 25, 2011
I feel as though my students have learned to set up and use the blogs in the last two weeks, but are currently a bit uninspired in the way they are creating posts. Some students have not posted the past assignment at all, and others have done the minimal job possible. Some did not really understand or respond to the question in the way it was intended, and this is true for both the ESL099 course (ESL and Art pair) and the ELL101 (linguistics) course. Finally, both the other professor (in the pair) and I are concerned that the ESL/Art students are plagiarizing and copying text from websites, and we are going to have to address this in some way. All this brings me to these doubts and musings:
1. Should I have walked them through the assignments in more detail in class than I did?
2. Are blogs not as interesting to the students as it seemed in the past weeks? Or are they generally overwhelmed with other things in the classes (quizzes and readings) and the blogs therefore seem not to be the priority for them?
3. Are my assignments either uninteresting or unclear?
4. Will assignments posted by the other professor in the paired class encourage students to use it more and take it more seriously as an integrated space for both classes?
5. How will I best address the plagiarism issue?
Next Steps: Getting Inspired
I am going to peruse your class blogs and see what activities you have been doing to get more ideas! I am also looking around on the Internet.
One thing I have found (and remember from prior conferences where people had really interesting, dynamic presentations using this program) is Prezi. Has anyone used it for classes?
I have actually created a short Prezi presentation for the "Language of Art"course - and am also going to show it to the Intro to Language class - as an example - and then will ask students to create their own Prezi presentations (in groups) to teach a particular topic to the class. Here is my presentation, on "Creativity":
I welcome feedback on any of the ideas/musings/queries in this post!
Saturday, September 24, 2011
|Wordle for Sonnet 20 by the group "The A-Team"|
As you can see from the Wordle on the left, my students quickly discovered that the sonnets were more than just about eternal love (*ahem*).
Here is a brief description of each meeting, plus my goals and Bloom's from RadioJames Objectives Builder:
- A lecture on the sonnet tradition, the story of Shakespeare's sonnets, and a model analysis of Sonnet 73 ("That time of year thou mayst in me behold") that made them recall previous information as well as acquire new information. (Knowledge Level).
- For homework, students selected one sonnet and wrote a reader-response where they gave the sonnet a title, connected it to an image, explained what appealed to them about the sonnet, and speculated on whom they would send it to. (Evaluation/Creation Level). Networks Connection: these responses will be evaluated by Dr. Pacht's ENG 102 class, and one will be voted "Best Entry" based on whether it is complete, clear, easy to read, creative, and engaging.
- Small group work, where, for a total of seven sonnets (20, 29, 91, 116, 129, 144, 147), students formally analyzed as well as interpreted one sonnet and posted their groups' conclusions on the Ning for others to see. (Comprehension, Application, Analysis Levels).
- Individual, small group, and large group work that distilled what students had learned, as they a) used their analysis and conclusions to build a mini-lesson they would deliver to four different classmates in two minutes (like the "speed dating" we did during our second face-to-face meeting), b) they left feedback on the two-minute lessons on the Ning, c) constructed a Wordle to express the key ideas of the group's sonnet, and d) connected the ideas in a new sonnet, 130, to the Elizabethan sonnet tradition. (Synthesis, Evaluation/Creation Level).
|The photo one member of the group "Hight Yare Let" took to |
demonstrate the group's work on structure
While students were anxious about the "speed dating" activity (one even scoffed at the idea), the anxiety turned into eagerness to appear knowledgeable about a sonnet. By the end of the first round, everyone was having a blast sharing her/his understanding-- except for two students that had missed the previous classes and had to "eavesdrop" on other people's exchanges, as they both decided they did not know enough about the sonnets to be "2-minute experts." Between one thing and the next (read: the Wordles), we ran out of time for students to give me feedback about the sonnets lessons, so they will turn their reflection in next week (I gave them the option of making the reflection anonymous) or via Ning.
|The image that the group "Shocskpear"|
used to explain the theme of Sonnet 29
- students will apply Plato's philosophy to personal experience (applying)
- students will choose topic with most potential for an essay (evaluating)
- students will examine personal philosophy and how it has evolved (analyzing)
- students will write a blog connecting past experience to future possibilities (creating)
HAVE ART: WILL TRAVEL ! INC. CORDIALLY INVITES YOU TO SALANDER/BLOMKVIST: CHALLENGING STEREOTYPES Linda Stein moderates a panel with Jimmie Briggs, Michael Kimmel and Shelby Knox SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2011 2–4 PM
Friday, September 23, 2011
I also visited the first section of MAT096.1589. Student expresses an interest in following our blog due to their apathy to Math, but mainly because they don’t want to know the fastest way to secure their way out of this remedial course.
This week I began tracking comments through DISQUS. I’m so glad I activated this option. It’s simple, quick and user friendly for both bloggers and readers to use.
As we get more traffic and comments, I will show you a picture of all the comments and traffic we are getting. (For some reason Blogspot doesn't allow Print-Sscreen shots added to this post).
Next week, starting, Tuesday, I’ll visit the rest of the MAT096 sections and hope not to get too confused with the irregular days ahead in the academic calendar.
Have an awesome weekend fellow Community 2.0 Bloggers!
Students will be able to:
- create an 11-step value scale (monochrome) by mixing black and white.
- mix secondaries and tertiaries from primaries.
- collectively critique artwork and rearrange visual elements for improving compositional balance.
- demonstrate their feelings about what they see.
We used the last half of the class time for a group critique of exquisite corpse drawings from last week. I asked the entire class to evaluate drawings based on their completion levels: 0% to 100%, and why they feel that way. In some sense, this exercise was more about verbalizing their feelings than the drawings.
Two students documented all drawings at the end.
Those photos will be sent to other students in Beginning Painting.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Hope your Fall semester is off to a great start. While I'm not teaching this semester-am going to LA in few days, working on a possible book project, and patting myself on the back for passing my oral exam with distinction :) - the blog I've set up for my Eng101 classes- http://www.masculinities-english101.blogspot.com is still up. I've posted announcements about two great events on men/masculinities. Do check it out.
Last week we took our first field trip to MoMA PS1 to see the "9/11" exhibition. They were a respectful and inquisitive group, which is always a relief. Their 2nd blog posting will be a response to that trip, called, "Art and World Events." Both of the above prompts are due by next week, so I'll post an update when I see their responses.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Finally posting on this blog! I wanted to check in with my ELL101 students today before posting, so I'm sorry for the delay!
BTW, I found a very detailed taxonomy wheel on Wiki Commons that gave many examples of each domain:
My goal the first week was really to get students set up in blogger and to try posting a few things, including images and links, so that future blog post assignments go smoothly. At the same time, I wanted students to introduce themselves to one another. This doesn't seem to fit under the taxonomy neatly, but is a part of demonstrating knowledge (of how to blog) or application of what they have learned about blogging.
Last week, we expanded into "real" blog post assignments that began to focus on the course content.
In ESL099, students had a BP about "What is Creativity," an assignment derived from questions in the text about what creative traits the students have. Here the students needed to demonstrate that they had read the chapter and understood the relevant vocabulary (knowledge domain) and they needed to evaluate themselves and their own creativity.
In ELL101, students needed to demonstrate knowledge of phonetic symbols and sounds to describe their own names for their second blog post.
All the students in both classes seemed to be able to set up their blogs and begin to blog within the class period set aside for the creation of blogs and the initial practice posts. The students in ESL099 had some difficulties, as many had not used online systems very much in the past, and needed more support.
I am wondering how it will go when the other professor in the paired course also gives blog assignments. I hope that the class will feel integrated and the assignments connect everything together for the students.
Discoveries, Challenges, and Fun (oh my!)
I think one challenge will be getting students to consistently participate in the blogs. The ELL101 class already has a number of students who have not done the assignment that was not completed during class. Any thoughts on motivating students to participate, even though the assignments are low-stakes and do not count for such a large part of the grade is highly appreciated!
I found that the layout with the main blog on the left and the menus all along the right-hand side are easiest to read. It seems as though most other classes are also using this format!
I think that the students like having the blog, and I want to keep this interest or sense of fun with it.
The Last Word...
As the classes are just getting going, I don't have many conclusions yet. Maybe more in the following weeks!
I think that I will show the blogs more during class time - to keep reminding students of them and highlight good work!
I just had this meta-thought: is blogging about blogs on blogger therefore "meta-blogging"?
PS - I will confess - I completely forgot to do tags and had to go in and edit to add them!
Students will have to write a persuasive argument (following given criteria) on a topic of their choice, and then they evaluate each other.
This past week I have also been thinking about teaching online classes; next semester I will probably teach my Phil of Law class as an online class. It seems that most people who have taught online used Blackboard as platform for this, but I am not very fond of the Blackboard discussion feature, so I would prefer a blog or perhaps a facebook group. Has anyone of you taught an online course used one or more of these?
This past week and a half, my Shakespeare students were busy joining Shakespeare Workshop on Ning and creating questions based on several readings for their final exam. Yep. That's right: one part of the exam (the take-home part) is written by them.
Goals and Bloom's
(For writing the goals, I used RadioJames Objectives Builder).
- To identify key ideas in several passages about Shakespeare's world, Shakespeare's personal life, the Elizabethan stage, and "Shakespearean" language. (Comprehension Level).
- To create four questions that would test others' understanding of the same passages. These questions could be in form of Multiple Choice, Fill in the Blanks with a list of possible answers, and/or True or False. (Synthesis/Creation Level).
- To rewrite the questions, if necessary, to guarantee complete comprehension and accuracy. (Evaluation Level; Synthesis/Creation Level).
- To submit new questions, if a topic had already been covered by another classmate. (Synthesis/Creation Level).
How Did It Go?
It went fine, but not outstandingly well, at least at first. It always surprises me that at least half the students in a class do not (Will not? Cannot? It's a mystery) follow instructions, even though we read the instructions out loud in class and I have answered questions about them. (!!) So, there was some back and forth between them and me as about half of them submitted open-ended questions, or did not submit the list of answers for the fill-in-the-blanks, or replicated work done by others (which may imply they did not read the other entries before submitting theirs), or phrased their questions so strangely that I could not understand what they were asking. After the back and forth, however, all was well for most of them (some did not fix their questions and therefore did not get credit or full credit) and everyone was satisfied with assignment (students always tell me they like that they get to ask their own questions about the material).
This exercise, of course, is about many things besides the stated goals. It helps me drive home the importance of following written instructions. It allows me to identify what they consider important material to be included in the final exam. It allows the students to have some say and control over the material and their own evaluations. And so on... Of course, the dark side of the assignment is to see how my students' lives have been determined by standardized tests that ask them to regurgitate the least possible useful facts of any topic. For example, there has not been one semester that someone in the class does not ask the exact date of Shakespeare's birth (!) when there are so many other pieces of compelling information to consider: life expectation under thirty, the legal status of women, public executions and bear-baiting as forms of "amusement," women characters being played by young boys...
BTW, Jason will be posting on our common endeavor in Basic Writing while I will be posting on Shakespeare, so you will get less posts from me... ;-)
Saturday, September 17, 2011
A full class meeting was devoted to each skill, but since our methodology was similar for both, I will report on both meetings at the same time.
Goals and Bloom's
(For writing the goals, I used RadioJames Objectives Builder.)
- Our first goal was to make students thinks critically about the particular skill by identifying and reviewing examples of it, discussing its uses, and identifying its possible relevance to their writing. (Comprehension Level).
- Our second goal was to have students put in practice the ideas they had reviewed by creating an annotation and a summary of a CAT-style reading in association with other classmates (Jason put them in groups, I had them partner). (Synthesis/Creation Level).
- Our third goal was to have students reflect on the discussion and work for that day by evaluating the different strategies to which they had been exposed and deciding which seemed to work best for their writing. (Evaluation Level).
- For homework, the students were to put in practice the two skills by creating an annotation and a summary of a different CAT-style reading on their own. (Synthesis/Creation Level).
How Did It Go?
Since the main objective was to (re-)introduce skills and get students to begin thinking about them and attempting to practice them in their own work, we would say that, based on our students' responses and reflections,* the classes got the gist of both lessons. We did not expect the level of annotation or summarizing to improve dramatically,** but rather we were establishing a base that we could work from for the rest of the semester.
*Student Responses and Reflections
- For my students' group annotations of THIS reading, see HERE and HERE. (Jason's classes discussed out loud how to annotate the reading). Interestingly, the two classes agreed on many points.
- For Jason's and my students' group summaries of the reading above, see HERE and HERE (two more classes are doing this lesson next Tuesday).
- For my students' reflections go HERE and HERE (annotation) and HERE (summary). (Jason's students did them as blog entries).
This course is in a cluster with Justin Rogers-Cooper's Eng 101/103 and Bojana Blagojevic's Law and Human Rights. The students are using their individual blogs for all three courses. The cluster is "The Language of Human Rights" and I think having the work for all three classes on their one blog is going be a powerful determiner in how we co-construct what the language of human rights might be!
For me, this is an invaluable opportunity to feel what it's like to be teaching and composing using 21st century literacies. I think about audience, purpose, and form in ways that are dynamically shifting from how I've approached them previously--not that my approach to teaching and writing has ever been static or predictable; it's always some form of chaos coming into sublime moments of control, before crashing down into chaos again.
These problems aside (and some funny ones, like a student who kept kicking the LAN cable out of its socket but kept complaining that her computer hates her), it is always amazing to me how students will accept whatever requirements set with no question. I always expect an avalanche of questions regarding why they have to do blogs, yet seeing it as a requirement on the syllabus in black and white seems enough for them. We also had an interesting discussion about privacy and authorship in ENG 101. I explained to them why it may be to their advantage to use their first name and the first letter of their last name only if they wish to protect their privacy, but instantly a few students asked why write in public if you do not want that shared. I told them that technically they do not choose to write in public, as they did not know about that when they joined the class, so this is a way of retaining control over their online identity. Several students asked me if they were allowed, all the same, to choose to be public with their full name, and I agreed that they could but I warned them that once you go down that road, you can hardly go back. But as a discussion it did serve as a great starting point for discussing the rhetorical triangle of message, speaker, and audience, so-with apologies to someone in the seminar I know hates that term--it was indeed a teachable moment.
Goals and Bloom
The main goal this week was simply to get the students to set up a blog (applying) which requires they they also obtain a google account (applying). I then asked them to follow my blog and leave the contact inf. for their blogs in the comments box of my first post (applying).
Most of my Medical Ethics students were able to set up their blogs and give me their contact info. Some are having more trouble and we spent 15 minutes in class on Tuesday reviewing the process. I am optimistic that all of them will complete the assignment this week.
Also, so far my students are creating blogs under their real FIRST and LAST name because their previous English courses required them to do so. Any idea on this, too?
Friday, September 16, 2011
Last week Prof. Meangru (Rudy) and I created a structure to meet, plan and lay out all of our posts (both for this blog and our MathBlogLaGCC on Tumblr) for the remainder of Fall I 2011! We both have busy schedules and meeting first thing on Tuesday mornings (we decided) would place our minds at ease and enable us to tackle our goals week by week. Prior to the semester starting, I had created all the accounts needed in all three social media venues we chose as part of our blog proposal.
Rudy's MAT115.1592 is a hybrid online and in class course. This set up gave us the opportunity to meet his students in person last Thursday (9.8.11) and allowed us to introduce our MathBlogLaGCC Blog initiative from the very first day.
How it went?
Students were welcoming to the idea of a personalized math online support structure. We learned that all but three students don’t have a Facebook account. (This will save us tons of time for when we provide them with our Facebook Fan Page, Tweeter and Blog address.) Students were pleased to learn that if they don’t want to use Facebook, they can become faithful readers of our blog and comment at least once a week.
During this first meet up we also took advantage of the lab room and got 21 students in MAT115.1592 to complete the pre-survey. Yay!
Setting up time to meet and plan is crucial. I’m glad I’ve the flexibility early in the mornings to tackle our tasks both on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’m glad the three social media platforms we have chosen are versatile enough to meet students’ individual preferences. This helps us engage them without becoming a burden!
In the next two weeks we will introduce the blog to the targeted MAT096 sections and have students link up to our Tumblr Blog, ‘like' our MathBlogLaGCCFanPage on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Can't wait for the interactions to begin...
Goals and Bloom's
The main goals of the first class period--besides the usual coverage of the syllabus--were to get all my students a Google account (applying), a Gmail address (applying), a Blogger account (applying), have them use an interactive Google Doc to give me their Gmail address and Blogger URL (applying), write and post their first blog entry (a CATW style essay--analyzing, evaluating, creating), and learn how to edit it later (applying). Whew. Though the schedule was pretty tight for a two hour class.
And How it Went
To an outside observer, I am sure my class, which met in the computer lab E141, would probably have looked like a train wreck in action. However, we accomplished all of the tasks above, though I am sure the next class will demonstrate that the "Remembering" level of Bloom's (the base for everything else) should have been reinforced as we deal with forgotten passwords and etc. Incredibly, I DO have all the students' Gmails and URL's and have now added them onto the class blog which you can see HERE. We did have a few problems, however. In the heat of the moment, I flashed back to a few semesters ago and had them create a Blogger account before a Google/Gmail account, so all that got a little messy. And as the students do not know each other yet, the more tech-savvy were a bit reticent to help their classmates, so I had to be everywhere at once.
Unfortunately, 7 students did not come to the first class, so next week I have a packed day plus figuring out how to do all this again with the folks who skipped.
Ximena did a great job designing this two-hour class and she says it worked just as well for her even though we have different classroom management styles (albeit similar teaching styles, of course). I hope all the lessons and activities go this well.
I Like the Blog Format
I have to admit, even I was a tad skeptical about this blog format, but it actually made writing this much faster than usual.
So, in essence, I have 15 minutes early in the semester (usually the first week) to explain what goes into a college essay, and then give them a short passage to read, and then have them develop an argument and supporting paragraphs. In my mind, this sets students up to mostly "fail" the Diagnostic. It makes it very easy for instructors to find skills to improve and techniques to address -- but I'm not sure that what instructors are measuring actually corresponds to anything meaningful. We're asking them to show their ignorance so we can point it out to them. I believe I can measure something "else" and I believe my teaching time is more effectively spent doing just that. I'll get to it in a moment.
Whatever the passage, students read it and take notes on it for creating their own argument. One I used in the past was about how industrial meat production and consumption is the leading cause of catastrophic climate change and chaotic weather (more than transportation, etc). After reading it, students write as much as they can within the structure of the essay as they imagine it and as I try to explain it (or not) in 15 minutes. Then they turn it in, I evaluate it, I write them a letter explaining what techniques and skills to work on, and then the next class I introduce the first 'real' essay assignment. I realized coming into this semester that repeating this exercise would be a waste of time for me and my students.
For me, then, the Diagnostic would offer an opportunity to immediately learn "how" students were learning and applying techniques of writing. What it would measure would be, yes, whether or not they could generate anything like 600 words from reading a quick passage; but it would also measure their learning process: could they incorporate suggestions? Could they learn the basics of argumentation and then write an argument? Could they learn the basics of summary then summarize? The Diagnostic would then tell me what they could do, not what they didn't "know."