Saturday, March 10, 2012

My GAME plan

In recent Walden courses, we were led through steps to develop an Action Research Plan.  At that time, I created a plan to research and implement activities that help to elevate the creative thinking skills of the middle school students in my art room.  The GAME plan that we are learning about reminds me of the steps we took to develop that plan.  In the GAME plan, we are asked to develop a goal, outline some actions to take, monitor the effectiveness of said plan, and evaluate the results for efficacy or readjustments. 

My goal for the GAME plan relates to my Action plan in more ways than just organization.  While I am currently experimenting with techniques to enhance creative thinking in my room, there is one specific area that needs improvement.  It is explained in the first NETS-T standard. 

“1.  Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

   c.  promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify
             student’s conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative  
             process” (ISTE).

My projects have become more problem based and my techniques for idea creation have followed the templates for inspiring creative thought, including means for collaboration.  However, my use of collaborative tools to illustrate and clarify the student’s thinking, planning, and process is lacking.

In tandem with the need to improve collaboration and more transparent processes by the students, I am also looking at my own collaboration with students, parents, and peers.  Therefore, the second standard I hope to improve is the third standard, Model Digital-Age Work and Learning, in particular, component c.

c.  Communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats”(ISTE).

Consequently, my goal is to create student blogs or VoiceThreads where the students make weekly post regarding their progress on the current project.  Posts will include reasoning for chosen theme or design, frustrations over obstacles, triumphs over successes, etc.  I also want the format to allow for the students to take jpegs of their artwork to post and invite their classmates to critique their work.  I believe this added tool will push the students to think more reflectively about their own work and the process from idea creation to final product as well as allow for collaboration along the way.

In an attempt to personally collaborate more with my students, parents, and peers, I want to develop a class website.  This site would serve as an art gallery, a link to the student’s blogs, my blog, as well as resources for the students.  The resources I would like to include would be our project timelines, preparatory handouts, bellwork puzzles, and rubrics.  In addition to those, I would like to have one of my student’s videotape my class demonstrations.  I would post those videos to the site as well.

While this is a small step to opening the lines of communication between my students and their parents, I feel it will help the art program in many ways.  First, be giving my students one more resource, especially if they have been absent.  Second, and perhaps most important, the site will validate all the academics that do happen in an art classroom.  When my classroom becomes more transparent, many will see just how hard my students work to develop their creative and critical thinking skills and hopefully, the myth of art as an easy “A” will dissipate.

Monitoring this endeavor will come down to how easily and effectively I can integrate the two tools into my current habits.  If maintenance becomes an issue, I will quickly have to re-evaluate my plans for action.  While the actions seem perfect for my goal at this time, if I am not able to maintain the student blogs or keep the website current due to time constrictions or lab availability, they will soon become another ‘thing’ I tried but couldn’t continue.  Another aspect to monitor will be the student’s engagement to the blogs.  If they are not diligent in their post or truly reflective, the blogs will not produce the transparent thinking and collaboration I envision.

Since I feel this will be an ever-evolving endeavor, I will constantly evaluate its effectiveness.  If these two tools do not provide the results necessary, I will have to re-evaluate my methods and search for additional strategies to fulfill my goals.  I believe a successful evaluation would involve students’ producing thoughtful, timely posts and increased communication with parents and colleagues.  When questions or comments increase from those parties regarding information on my site, I will know I am beginning to reach beyond my classroom walls. 

ISTE. (n.d.). NETS for teachers. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from ISTE Standards:


  1. Hey, creating a classroom website is a fantastic way to initiate parent and student communication. I know that many teachers resist building a site because it’s one more thing that they have to keep updated, but a well-designed classroom site will ultimately make your life much easier in the long run. You can post student work, handouts, newsletters, and you can also maintain an events calendar. You can post homework and classwork, and upcoming tests, so the students have no excuses for not being prepared. My county uses Wordpress for teacher websites, and there is also a way for you to subscribe your parents to your site so that they will get an automatic email every time you create a post. It is also very easy to setup a Wordpress site for student blogging. Regardless of how you decide to build your site, it’s good that you want to build one. I had a site for my 7th grade class several years ago and in a three year period I had over ten-thousand hits. I really sold my site to the students and parents, and encouraged them to access the site. You can even post student and parent resource links. In today’s day and age, it’s essential that teachers have a classroom website!

  2. I have heard of Wordpress before but have not investigated. Our district is huge on moodle but it is not reliable with our network. Weebly has also come up. Thank you for another resource. I have been thinking about making a site for years, but haven't committed. I thought by making it part of a plan, I would be more motivated to set aside the time. Thank you again for your comment. I will be sure to check that out.

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