Transcript, Part III

>> And you can reach between, but you run into a tough spot. You don't have time. What's the matter?

>> [Inaudible]

>> Oh. [Inaudible]


[ Music ]


[ Background Discussion ]


[ Music ]


>> When the Learning Results first came out as learning results in '97, it was a structure that seemed not only inclusive but also specific. And so it provided some structure for teaching. The first conversations I had with my colleague, Dan Stillman, were around how do we do measurements that are for all the arts disciplines because the '97 version of the learning results didn't break down any differences between music, theater, visual arts, and dance. Sure enough, they came out. They were broken down in separate disciplines, and that was a leaping off point. Right away, I put together a single page of all the learning results, and sent that to colleagues and said here they are right here. Broke it down just for visual arts. Started using this, and then I realized I'd do one section in a class before an assignment and a lesson that students were going to work on. I said, well, this is what we're going to concentrate, but a lot of times, I'd hold this up, and it would be, like, a, you know, a glaze over their eyes, and it would seem like a lot to comprehend. So this year what we've started, and this is partially comes from the initiative and the idea of making the standards the important thing is we kind of, instead of unpacking everything into smaller, more intricate pieces, we pack them together, and this is a work in progress. Three of us in the visual arts department here started working on what we call the proficiency rubric language. When we held this up to students, they could actually, I watched them scan it. They'd be able to read it, and then from that ask questions. You know, what we do meaning specifically. So the dialogue starts around this. Not much dialogue was happening around that. So as we're putting rubrics together for these, we're looking at mostly about students working with proficiency as the main focus. What are we looking for in this particular assignment. The other part of this is the positivity factor. That when, if you're talking about a standard, it's good because every time a student pushes toward that standard, it's an increase in their learning. There's never, there's not no, negative, bad. That's not part of the dialogue that takes place. It's more about, oh, look what you've done. Mistakes? You've got to make mistakes. It's one of the standards. I like the idea that students understand the technique, and they understand the processes enough so that they end up doing their own problem solving, and then I just, I ask them for that evidence.

>> I will relax in our standards when we can focus on the process. The mindsets or the studio habits as well separating the lateness of a project from the quality that the student produced. They shouldn't be blurred together, aggregated, disaggregated.

>> I've seen Charlie work really hard on this. He, in his classroom at the beginning of every unit he kind of works together with the students to, he tells what the central standard is for that unit, but then he spends time with the class kind of unpacking that standard and breaking down what it means to them, and each time he teaches a unit with a different class kind of what they come up with. Their own individual meaning for that still, that same standard is different. So he individualizes it in that way. Now, that's a good model for other teachers to use, but we've really worked hard on developing those standards and then finding ways to embed them into the curriculum, kind of across the content areas, across different similar course levels, and then really with a goal to every student meeting the same particular standards all the way across the board and really being able to assess and document how that happens.

>> We're all in digital photography right now, and us three have worked together a couple times.

>> We'll start working with something, and then it'll evolve and turn into something really cool.

>> So one of the collaborations that comes to mind -

>> Perspective -

>> Perspective where we, there's a bunch of empty picture frames, and so we went to the studio. We hung the picture frames from the ceiling. We got a neat perspective through all of them.

>> Each of us would have the opportunity to direct each other and say, oh, can you put that frame over there -

>> It's a collaboration, but it's just working together and getting feedback from somebody that really you value their opinion, and it's really helped, it's really helped me grow as an artist.

>> The skills that we're learning with directing each other and talking about what we're doing, I think those are applicable, like, in professions and later on in life when it might not be art that we're collaborating on. It might be, like, a project or, like, it might be a board meeting or something, but I think that some of the talking through that we're doing in this class can, is transferable to that, too.

>> This year we started the year with photograms, and I worked with Noah, and we created multiple photograms, and he had the idea of bringing my illustrations in. The class was really interested in what we were doing, and some other kids started working with illustrations and adding them to the photograms as well. I don't know. I found that your art style is more busy than mine, and so in the beginning I felt, like, whoa, that might be a little frustrating to collaborate and work with that. But it turned out to be, like, a really cool art style and the finished products of the photograms, and I love it, and I've started doing more busy pieces as well.

>> Like, if there's an issue with it that's going to be found within the standards, I'm going to have an issue with it, I guess. And so working with her is just awesome. I learned, I don't know, I learned so much about just, I guess, pen and paper, just composition.

>> Standards, if it's student-centered standards, they differentiate themselves. They can, you can't stop them from doing that. It's very difficult.

>> Pyramid of entry-level classes and then intermediate level and then advanced has blurred. So talk about heterogeneous. Sometimes we'll have advanced students in an art 1 just because that's the only time they can schedule it. We've also merged intermediate and advanced art together into a hybrid course. So we're differentiating where kids are either chasing different levels of the same type of assignment or doing assignments on the side at home or have access to some other materials.

>> If they have a great idea of something they want to try, and maybe it's not exactly what they assignment is, but all of these standards are still built into it, why can't they explore that. I mean, this is visual art. They, we're trying to teach them to be creative thinkers. That's kind of the whole bottom line, and, you know, that's kind of a difference between being creative or just being a practitioner.

>> Early this year, piloting for the first year, and it's going to continue our first online course taught by one of our teachers. He did a wonderful job of that, and not only is he doing it on his own, but he's acting as a leader now in helping other teachers begin to try to form their own online class -

>> Hey, let me tell you now about the online digital photography and graphic design course that I just took here. It was the first course at MDI High School that was offered to online, all online. So you don't have to put it into the daily schedule. He would give us assignments and through e-mail, and we would post on our blogs. We created blogs through Google. We used Google a lot. We also used a program called Moodle, and it was kind of set up like Facebook. We would get our assignments and create them through pages or through just different computer programs. Coolest thing about that class is the end project. What we did is we found an organization or business, and we went to that business, and they, the clients kind of described what they needed in terms of graphic design help, and I created register tops and menus, open signs, little things for the napkin holders and just all different kinds of graphic design art things, and I feel like that really demonstrated how art and technology can be used. It can be useful. I can be taught how to use these things in everyday life.

>> We're shifting the kid, yes, to the center of the learning, and so that they're an active participant in what it is that they're doing. They're not just following our lead.

>> How many times as a teacher have I remembered something after class and said, oh, I should have. So with Google Plus, we've got a community of learners that are right there. You can put that up, post it, and all of a sudden now, they've got the information. If I go into this community, and I scroll down through to our group critique, and in the comments that students made on those photos show up on the side. You'd kind of like to encourage students to get to the point and how important that is in giving feedback, especially if you're talking about formative feed. Like Mary says she really likes the texture of the tar. So, I mean, that's the strongest element, right. And they'll ask questions about technique. Nicole asks how he got the fingerprint in that. It's where, how people are going to be communicating I think. Also have the language skills are developed through that, too, as part of their commentary around their work.

Definitely an understanding of the role that technology has to play in this, and the fact that pathways are different, going to be different for each student, and it's not necessarily just college.

>> In all of our classes that I've taken here at this high school, the end product or whatever is evaluated is through the computer. We either type something up and print it out, and the teacher grades it, or we e-mail it to them. It's a presentation or it's a portfolio, and all the portfolios are digital. Put it on a document, and then you talk about it. You evaluate it. Digital photograph class right now, and we created another blog, and what the blog is and the assignments for the blog is you take your digital images and you post about them. So it's, again, it's another reflective process, but it's even more technological because you're blogging right on the Internet.

>> The writing assessment is formal. So right now, we're working on the Feldman method. So we give a background of the artist, which is ourselves, and then we go through the rest, like, analyzing it and talking about elements and principles. So that part is formal.

>> Getting positive or negative feedback or criticism is much more beneficial to growth. You can speak volumes to a kid and make them understand what it is that they've done that's good as opposed to just putting an A or a B or a C on it. I went to the Boston Museum School, and they don't have grades there. You have review boards, and they look at your work, and there's some students, some faculty members, some that you had, some that you didn't, and people from the public. I can tell you that that was so, I learned so much from that as opposed to just getting an A, right. Like, I got feedback. Like, I understood what it was that was good and what was better, not just a letter. And so I would like to see high schools move into that.

>> We also do a lot of reflection on our work. It starts with one-on-one talking through the process of using vocabulary. Describe, analyze, interpret, evaluate our work part way through and at the end. We have a verbal critique. So it's casual talk with our hot chocolate critique. In the upper-level art classes, we will be more critical feedback. But it is built right in that we speak about our art. We have artists' statements. So we're compelled to write about. Personalize every assignment that we make, and it's about them. They are eager to share, and they'll speak, and then when it goes into a gallery they can't stand there giving the guided tour, and for them, it's a no-brainer. I'll write about my art so everyone knows, and art explored is so much more powerful than just looking at how the artists handle the material.

>> We have create, perform, in order to graduate, and those came from No Child Left Behind. Those are what we call common assessment. They also have a numerical grading system. And the third one is the standards. The pain really with the standards has been how those fit into what we use for software to submit assessment. What we're doing in the department as far as standards is matching. Proficiency is a B. Parents during student conferences, parent-teacher conferences has been explaining this, some of this standards stuff so that it gets out into the community a little bit, and there's some discussion around it. Most parents have been really supportive of it. They like the idea that, wow, a transcript that actually is about what students learn, and not about an abstract number.

>> Arts education is a critical component to any student's education. The reason I think that is that it may not be, it isn't going to be that every student is going to be somebody who is an accomplished artist who publishes works or, you know, has their own show or any of those things, but I think the core of arts education is the concept of creativity, and creativity is something that is essential to any discipline, any profession. The ability to learn to express oneself. It's also a form of communication. Creativity and communication. Some people communicate best through writing. Some people speak best. Some people communicate through art.

>> I've always used standards as a way. When the learning results first came out in '97, I remember having a dialogue with some colleagues around, well, the state's forcing our curriculum on us. Well, wait a minute. This doesn't look that bad. This is, like, a guideline. This kind of gives me some focus and structure, and at the same time, technology was beginning to. So we were saving time with documents that we could actually save. We didn't have to keep paper copies and photocopy everything. So, again, a couple of things that gave some structure. I think the initiative has done the same thing is that it's narrowed a focus that's around technology and leadership bringing other people into it, and the idea of assessing and doing it in a way that's student-centered, that you're talking with students more, a lot more formative than summative kinds of assessments. Because it really seems to me in doing this more, it's, that's a lot more about the learning and what they've learned. Creativity part of it, just starting to get into this year a little bit more, and I think that's going to help other disciplines understand the value of the arts. I think that's really important. That's an important part of what the initiative's done in that regard. And the collegiality, the camaraderie, the other people.


[ Music and Background Discussion ]