Sunday, January 22, 2012

More Thoughts on Design Thinking & Reverse Instruction

Lots has happened since the new year started which kept me from blogging, but I am caught up on grades, comments, and display work (for now). Also, the Master Teacher Portfolio is done and submitted (over 60 hours of work went into that, but I found it to be very reflective). So, now I can finally write about how my "design thinking" unit with the fourth graders ("The Wallet Project") went, here's some observations: a) in a nutshell, very successful based on engagement and student feedback; b) I need to give myself some time to photograph these projects, because as soon as they were done and assessed, students wanted their wallets back because they either wanted to use them or give them as presents; c) letting the students do multiple prototypes and the mindmaps, although time-consuming, really was a very successful pacing strategy. I only have one picture to show from the project, but the variety of media choices definitely inspired this artist to get very creative (duct tape over cardboard with puff paint and scrap fabric bow ties):
Here is a great site for educators with a downloadable resource foe "design thinking": http://www.designthinkingforeducators.com/ Very recently, districts nationwide have been adopting "common core content" standards, and the idea is that we need to go deeper with knowledge aquisition, promote argument and interaction with developing the knowledge, and "design thinking" is all about that!
Isn't that what robotics competitions, science fairs, debate clubs, etc. are all about? I am trying to bring that "vibe" to the everyday classroom, for all of my students (all 700+ of them). Experiential, investigative learning should be for every student, especially the ones who might not learn via "standard" classroom practices (e.g. auditory/linguistic). This brings me to reverse/flip instruction. I've been able to implement some front-loaded videos and instruction via my school website, www.lgirbino.com. Fifth graders watched a class tutorial on shading in class, plus watched the video on their own, and this year was the year shading using values was most successful! Furthermore, students asked for the website that the shading examples I put up on the Smartboard was from (a first), and wanted to do more exercises (another first). Here's the link from "artyfactory": http://www.artyfactory.com/portraits/drawing_techniques/pencil_shading.htm Additionally, third & fourth graders accessed cartooning exercises on their own for several weeks before we jumped in with whole-group instruction. Of course, I cannot expect a lot of students to be doing "art homework", but I do try to plant the idea that expertise comes from practice, and that fun resources for practice are available---"here's some to try from sites that are safe and kid-friendly." Recently, students are starting to ask me, "Mrs. Girbino--are you putting that link on your website?" And that's how I know the strategies I've implemented this year are taking hold. (During second semester, I hope to have more videos uploaded that are student-directed).

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