Tuesday, September 29, 2009

COETAIL Course 3, Reflection 2

How can visual imagery support your curricular content? I do not ordinarily use static images while I am teaching so I was not sure how I was going to answer this question. It dawned on me that my images are used all the time by ISB teachers. I sat down with Gareth Huxtable to learn a little bit about how the annual Theatre Arts poster supports his curriculum. Firstly, I should say that Gareth is great to work with. This is the 4th poster I have done for his class. We always start with a carefully planned photoshoot. When I arrive the students are in costume or holding props. They are ready to pose and the whole shoot takes only about 15 minutes of my time. Gareth directs the posing I take the photos*. He has the right balance of giving input and allowing me to be creative. This year he suggested "B-Movie" for the theme. Here is a tutorial I used to help create the poster. Here is a vaguely paraphrased conversation I had with Gareth. Me: What does this poster do for your class? G: It creates a feeling of solidarity among the performers. It gives them confidence and gets them focus on the performance as a tangible event. Me: Why not do the poster yourself? G: The quality of the poster you make sort of raises the level. In this visual age, why not show the kids they are valued by having it done professionally? It gives them a bit of confidence, mainly that is what it is about. I don't know that professional is the right word, but I will take the complement. The student are fond of keeping the posters as a memento of the performance. Which, by the way will be in the Chevron Theater October at 3:00 on the 28th and again on the 29th. It seems natural to have an image to center a group activity around. The use of flags, mascots, logos and posters for can help unify the thinking and efforts of a group of people. In talking to Gareth it was interesting and unexpected to me that he saw curricular support value in having a quality image that the kids thought was cool. That creating such a poster was out of his reach without collaboration was less surprising. I am not sure what to make of that. Any thoughts? *This is a great tip for group shots in general. Have someone besides the photographer talking to the subjects to ensure no one is blocking anyone else, and give suggestions for poses.

Friday, September 25, 2009

COETAIL Course 3, Reflection 1 > how my teaching has been influenced to date by the course

How my teaching has been influenced to date by the course. The big shift in my thinking is that learning is an active process, done by the learner, and not to be given by the teacher. My role is to facilitate. What this translates to on the ground is more time listening to students to identify areas to bring up. The other day I was doing my annual sessions with HS Journalism giving a crash course on Adobe InDesign. While I would not characterize this program as the type of program you can just "pick up" by using, I can see that my approach has changed a great deal. In the past I have scheduled the meeting earlier in the year, in order to stop bad habits from occurring. I covered a wide range of specifically relevant features and practices for publishing a news journal. This year I scheduled our session later so that they were into their first months issue with questions and problems, I observed more and helped students where they wanted help. Retention is up, frustration is down and I have to say it is in a large part due to the project based learning resources we have used. image all rights reserved used with permission from Hugh MacLeod www.gapingvoid.com