Last Day of Class

Passion project presentations

McKenna – sprinting – analysis. I am impressed with her ability to look at herself analytically and objectively. Using this to teach will be very helpful.

Liam – video project of learning guitar. Playing 6 chords on the guitar that he has learned over time.

Emily – cooking – Tasty video on making cookies. Loved this video idea since I have never seen these Tasty videos.

Kristy – bouldering at a moderate level. Amazing! So hard – showed video of her working on it and also competitive climbers.

Andrew – playing piano. started by learning to read music again, then scales, and learned some short songs

Kira – skin care. Toners: ph levels, fermented yeast – morning and night to brighten he skin. Korean cleansing routine.

Melanie – painting the way she feels each day and paint on a schedule. using abstraction.

Devin – learning to play guitar. Played Blackbird. 🙂

Sarah – sketching and drawing. week to week view of her process and what she was focusing on from week to week.

haley – portraits with her student, Naomi. Used ink for the background. watercolour layers on top. Top layer used egg tempera to varnish it.

Jason – Sign language – learned the alphabet and a few words. Great to have a visual way of speaking – he said grammar is difficult so this is easier to use. Hand speak.

Iseabell – origami crane video tutorial. This is a great idea for art classes.

Taylor – yoga. had never taken yoga before and started with this semester.

Grammar project – grammarly website – for editing



Google Classroom

I am working from home today instead of being in class, and I am really enjoying the progress I am making. This morning I finished my work on my passion project (I will be doing another post for that) and I started doing the training for Google Classroom so I can get certified as an Educator. As I am going into my practicum next year, I want to be able to use the resources that I know many schools are already using and I know can really help students to engage.

I already use some of the resources like YouTube, Google Slides and Google Docs for my own project and I have been able to link these to lesson plans as well. Especially in art and drama, I have used Slides to present different types of artists and styles, and in one drama unit I am looking at set design, so I have linked to many photos of set designs around the world. For that one I also used a Netflix documentary called “Abstract” which has an amazing segment on a set designer who does theatre and live music work.

Screenshot 2017-03-31 16.28.46

This is what I working through today – mostly introduction to the products that they offer, but I found the section on using digital information responsibly to be very important. They have loads of links to sites where teachers have set up ways to talk to your students, or information on where to find Digital Citizenship Agreements and more.  Obviously school policies will not be enough since technology is always changing and we have to be able to have open conversations with students about appropriate use and behaviour, especially when we are working on communal documents and projects. They need to know how to protect their information and how to responsibly use what they do find. I also found the section on copyright to be quite good. We don’t talk about it very much, but we do need to be careful when reposting or using images online if we don’t have permission. The sooner students learn this (and teachers, too!) the better.

I plan to keep up with this training and get my certification before summer, as classes end next week and I hope to have a little more time to dive in before my 2 week practicum at the end of April.

Watercolour big project in the works!

I’ve started a rather ambitious watercolour project now – I am doing a negative painting project that is a part of my class, and I am looking forward to pushing myself further as an artist and finally getting a handle on this watercolour thing!

The idea is to make a wild abstract background, then find things in it that we want to paint, and paint the negative space around those things…I took some examples online of negative painting to get an idea…

negative painting 1           IMG_0027

This website has a pictorial tutorial on how to do this step by step, which is really helpful:

These are practice works for negative painting – trying to leave the light on top and paint around it to show depth:

Then I went through my photos and took many that I had taken in the butterfly gardens last year for inspiration photos for my project. I started doing a background and hated it, started 2 more with equal frustration, then went back to the original to start my work.

After this I stared for a really long time at the painting, once again terrified to start because once the ink is on the paper, you can’t remove it. But I learned last time not to be chicken…so I started and after a little time, I think got the hang of it. I have to use much more water than I would think, so that has been my challenge. In the end it is supposed to look something like this:

I’m not holding my breath that mine will turn out this good, but I will do my best and hope! These ones are by Leslie Redhead, who is an incredible artist, and whose book 5100+e5j2qL__SX377_BO1,204,203,200_ I have been going through constantly to learn tips and tricks of watercolour. This is one of her most beautiful ideas and although it’s really challenging, I’m excited to try it. She has been doing demos at Opus in town (and art supply store) which I have missed due to work, but I am planning on taking in her next one.

I am planning to have this painting done by the end of the weekend (yikes!) so I will put up some process pictures and hopefully a finished product soon.


Tech with Keith Rispin

Keith Rispin – Skype into classroom – tech teacher in West Vancouver

Google Apps

Everthing is based on Google Drive. Google classroom – specific for education. Also Edmoto,  moodle (has some security issues), WebCT, Sharepoint (not a good one).

Google classroom manages: students, assignments, resources, assessment

Allows student independence. Infinite resource possibilities. Relevant to their learning. Ease of collaboration. Can invite other teachers to collaborate with students as well. Organized assignment delivery and reception. Access anytime anywhere.

Security of student data has become very important in the last 5 years. GC is a secure system – not data mined. However, you should be using whatever system the district has approved. This way, if anything is hacked then you are not personally responsible. If the district has approved it, the district is on the hook for responsibility of data.

You set up a classroom and add assignments with links and embedded video, etc and push it to one student, one classroom, or all classrooms. They can save a copy on their drive until they hand it back in for assessment. Once the assessments are done, you can post it to each student on google classroom so they have their marks back right away.

Assessment is fairly weak – but you can give points to an assignment for grading.

Do students get notifications of new assignments or do they have to log into the classroom? Yes but only to email, which many students do not use unless they are directed to it.

Freshgrade? For elementary it is good, but high school it is just way too many updates for student progress. HS teachers have too many students to keep up with and it would become too time consuming.

I had signed up for google classroom to start the learning tutorials, but I have been so bogged down with school and work that I just haven’t had time to keep up with it. But I would like to get certified and plan to do it after regular classes are out next week.


Formative Assessment

url.jpgThis path is continually reflective – knowing where you are, adapting to serve the student, finding what you need…

Online assessment technologies – examples – kahoot, formative

Kahoot – – the teacher creates a quiz, invites students to participate via a code that is given for the specific quiz. Students use their own tech to join and are given points for the correct answers. There is immediate feedback for the students – it shows them if their answer is right, and also it shows how many students chose which answers (there are 4 for each question). As the teacher you can also choose all answers as correct just to get an idea for what students are interested in (for example: What type of art do yo like doing the most).

It is very fun, engaging for students, and a fun kind of competitive. We use it in our practicum class and we love it. It’s a great break from lecture as well – gets us laughing and doing something different to assess where we are at.



Formative – real time assessment tool for tests and worksheets

Water and Ink

The above picture is a really fast one I did following a YouTube video where an artist used watercolour and then an ink pen to do detail work. He was doing it in an edited video and I was just doing it in real time it’s a bit of a mess but you get the idea…


In the process of learning watercolour, I’ve gone back to using ink and water to get a better handle on it. I already was playing with it, but I chose to do a still life for a project in a class, and I used ink and water, and then layered egg tempera paint on part of the work. I chose this for a subject:


We set the light to shine from the one side so that there would be many shadows to contend with on the picture. After taking this photo, I did several sketches to decide how I wanted to approach it, and then chose to edit out much of the background and just have a simple background in order to make the pastels in the front pop out.

I sketched on my watercolour paper so that I could get a really good handle on it – I am fortunate that I have an enlarger at home so I could trace the image to get a more clear picture.

Once I finished the pencil work I very slowly filled in the values with ink – I was extremely scared to wreck it and I knew if I put too dark of ink on it that it wouldn’t be able to get the lightness back, so I did it in many, many layers, slowly darkening the shadows as I went along. I’m not perfectly happy with it as I think I could have darkened more of it, but to be honest I was a little chicken and didn’t want to overdo it. Lesson learned – don’t be too chicken!!


Diving into Inquiry

Today we had the incredible pleasure of having Trevor Mackenzie into our class to share about inquiry in the classroom and how he scaffolds student understanding to allow students choice and voice.

I am posting my notes for my own reference but I will be referring to his website and writing more on this later. I’ve been thinning a lot about using this in drama to give students opportunity to write and create their own work and present it live or via film…more on that later.

Genius hour

Data is important but knowing your students is much more important

Data should help you get to know your students – there is a always a story behind the data (absenteeism or grades) and this should direct your instruction



Gradual release of responsibility/control

Structured – get the boxes checked here and in the first 3 so you know the learning objectives have been done before free inquiry

Trevor talks openly with the students about the process – meta cognitive about learning. At end of Guided they write a reflection about what skills and abilities they needed to get through guided, and what were the challenges and what are they worried about going into free.

Structured – “how are stories told and why are they important”

Units start with essential questions instead of thematic units – then you can bring in multiple forms of resources

Teacher selects question and resource and the performance task (summative assessment – choose something they won’t likely do themselves later, like an essay)

Controlled – still ask the question

identify resources but they choose which to use

Some choice in the presentation task

Guided – teacher chooses topic, students draft a question that will focus their inquiry

  1. ex) what makes a global citizen?

what 2 traits to possess that make you a good global citizen? What 2 traits do you need to work towards? Then they work towards that using resources around them, including working with other students from other schools etc

mentors and leaders

can we actually improve the child’s literacy over the 2 months of working together

give children a + outlook for learning towards high school

Assessment – 3 reflections posted to their blog and their personal narrative essay talking about the buddy project

Free – they pick the topic, teacher helps them design their essential question and they work on it for the next 2 months – weekly reflections

they do a free inquiry proposal – they need to meet requirements of the course, is it achievable, is it meaningful


Graphic – Four Pillars of inquiry

– inquiry Proposal

Minecraft in the classroom

In class today we had some students come in from Colquitz Middle School to show us how to use Minecraft, and their teacher gave some specifics on setting it up for a classroom for learning.

I have watched my niece and nephews use it over the years and never really got why it was so interesting. I have to admit, I still don’t love the graphics and find it a bit slow, but I can totally see the draw now. The ability to create anything, any world, any type of place with any type of creatures is exciting. You can play alone or with other people and change what is allowed in the world. Being able to choose how you do what you do is the ultimate personalization, and when kids are surrounded by things already made and done for them, this is a great thing to have.

I did get a little dizzy and my stomach started turning at one point – too much movement on the screen for me. But I am also quite sick today and already have a rather massive headache so that was not helping me at all. Even as I’m writing this I’m wishing I was in bed right now instead of at this computer! So I’m thinking it would be easier once I was well and got used to using it so I wasn’t constantly running into walls.

The students were excellent tutors – from getting set up on the right server to helping us with controls and all the “how to” information. They clearly loved using the game and were engaged in helping the whole time they were here.

For using this in the classroom, particularly art, there were a couple of suggestions: we could create a pixelated version of a famous art piece using a flat world, we could create a 3D concept using Minecraft and then replicate in real world. It is also used in social studies classrooms – creating ancient worlds and trying to live in them like ancient Egypt – showing the kids how challenging it would be through the use of video games is so much more engaging than reading in a textbook alone. Once they see the real application to them (in the game) they will remember better what they were taught. Not only that, but it opens up the creative thinking process and develops problem solving skills. When they work in groups they can work together to solve problems and protect each other, which is amazing for real world learning and developing students into empathetic adults. I also see it as leadership development, particularly for kids that are already using Minecraft – they can help the other students who are new to it.

Overall I could see how this could be a great resource for classes. I am not sure it is what I would use – in visual art there is so much tactile work, and in drama it is all about movement and voice and not sitting in front of a computer – so I don’t see the need to use computers in those environments. But for other classes that are traditionally more dry and lecture based this could be extremely helpful.