Sunday, July 24, 2016

Practicing Craftsmanship

Sooooo I'm trying to get my head back in the game. I return to work in two weeks to a room that I have not really spent any time in since February, when I went out on medical leave. AND since the room has been used all summer for childcare...........

I won't actually be able to get into my room until after the first day back (floor needs to be done).......

There goes my tradition of getting in the room the week before with my husband to set up the furniture.........

There goes any hope of being ready for Thursday when students come in to visit as they get their back to school packets (not quite completely healed and need to take my time).........

On a brighter note?? I'm at another school one day a week due to the number of students we have...... Which is where I will be on the first day back. Now I gotta tell you I thought for sure I would be on a cart for one day. Kind of got excited for all the stuff I could blog about working off a cart! But low and behold I will share that room with Music (one a day a week) and PE (the other 3 days).

Soooo as I started to think about how to plan out that room I thought about the things I do that work. Last year for the first time I used the Mona Lisa to have students focus in on my lessons.
And I have to tell you that it worked like a charm. Students need a concrete example of your expectations and this poster really works. You should see students assuming the "pose". (For a blog post on other signs that I have click here.) So I purchased a poster to use at the other school.

Seeing how well this worked made me think about what other concepts I could get out there to my students. And it occurred to me how important craftsmanship is. So I ended up making another poster, like this one, to use at the other school.
I try hard to credit others when possible and my poster was inspired by this one- made by Eric Gibbons. He is also the one who along with other art teachers wrote the If Picasso books.
Which all comes from Firehouse Publishing. Click on the name to see their great selection of posters and books.

It's also nice to know that I inspire as well. I found this on Facebook last year when art teachers were showing off their rooms!

Sooooo getting back to the concept of craftsmanship I developed a work sheet to use with students at the beginning of the year.You can find it and print it out from my page of Resources, see the tab above.
I decided to create a number of worksheets to share with students this year. (Which I will eventually share). Part of it comes from my desire/willingness to show proof that I covered the standards. But another reason is that even though I have 50 minutes with students, the first 20 minutes the classroom teachers hold struggling children for intervention. So I'm thinking maybe the worksheets will work as a warmup for the others. We'll see.

Perhaps you'll could give me some feedback on this? Please and Thank you!

I'm excited to be returning, a little nervous since I'm still healing........ but seriously looking forward to it! I have some new lessons to try and some old lessons that I plan to update. You will read about them here, I promise!

AND the best part- my grandson will be with me again, as he returns to enter 1st grade!!

Thanks for reading and enjoy what's left of your summer!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Testing 101

I had the opportunity to be included in a workshop that analyzed the elementary End of the Course exams or E.O.C.'s. I was thrilled to be able to see the inner workings of this test. Last year my principal insisted that the team of specialists give the test even tho it wouldn't count, he wanted a base line. 5 out of 6 grade levels were in the green. Fourth grade was in the yellow. Here is my blog post from last year: E.O.C. Survivor. The art exams had the best overall scores. PE's weak link was that the older students needed to know about pool safety and since we don't have a pool the coaches never did any lessons on that topic. The test results for Music were very low and made our Music teacher seriously upset. We did not know until this year's results that the music test results were low throughout the district and had nothing to do with the teacher as much as it had to do with the test.

But because the Music test results were low and this year I became team leader we agreed to write tests for a mid year assessment.  Having no training in this, and no real knowledge on how to use the computer program to enter the test into, WAS crazy. I don't think any of us were happy with the scores from those tests.

And then I went out on medical leave........... So I was really concerned with how my students would do on the E.O.C.'s. 5 out of 6 grade levels were in the green. Fourth grade was in the yellow. Just like last year....... How is that possible when last year's 3rd graders passed and now that they are 4th graders they didn't do well? And last year's 4th graders who are now 5th graders were in the green???

Well, that is one reason there was a workshop to analyze the tests! And LEARNING what I did over the 2 days I sat with other elementary art teachers was incredible!

Okay, I signed a confidential agreement so I can't get into the questions on the exam, however I got  permission to share with you slides from the training that I had. Thank you Amanda!!

When you write a question with multiple choice answers the distractor is the answer that seems like it could be correct. Not necessarily the right answer but close enough to ring a bell in your head like you heard it before. More about this after few more slides.

 In other words in a multiple choice question, what was the break down of answers? Was there one answer that NO ONE picked??

Armed with this information we went though every question and the breakdown of all the answers.  We did our best to clarify the questions, adjust some answers and change out some photos. Hopefully next year's results will show some improvements. I thought what I learned during those two days was pretty amazing stuff! ALL useful for writing tests in the future. And along with the slide below I should "Master" this in no time!

How do you go about writing a test for the classes you teach? And while I would like to debate the logic for testing elementary students in art (there is none), it would be pointless, as it is here to stay.

Anyway......... Thanks for reading!!!!