Sunday, April 15, 2012
Since the creation of my GAME plan I have learned several things. Some of which are related to the actual goal and some related to my own learning and motivation. To review, my goal was to create a class website in order to communicate more clearly with my students and their parents. I also wanted to stimulate more collaboration and reflection for my students so my plan included having them create blogs. While I did not do everything I set out to do initially, the progress I have made is substantial.
To begin, I have been meaning to incorporate online collaboration and a class website into my classroom routine for years now. However, lack of confidence in creating and maintaining them has always held me back. Fortunately, my experiences in this Masters program have lifted my confidence enough with technical strategies for me to take the risk. So much so that I was willing to commit my intention to the GAME plan assignment.
It is through this arrangement that I realized how effective it is as a student to formally document a goal, specifically a goal personally created. My commitment to gathering research and taking steps to institute these practices was raised significantly. It made me realize that using the GAME plan system not only helped me to organize an action plan, but it also elevated my commitment to follow through as much as possible. This unexpected effect convinced me that this strategy is something that would be worthwhile in my classroom. For this reason, I have started to create my rubrics so that each concept graded is written in the form of an “I can” learning statement. My rubrics for projects are always distributed after the anticipatory set but before research, design, and creation. Fashioning each standard as a learning statement mimics the essence of a goal. I am hypothesizing that this simple change will help to elevate my student’s commitment to learning. I would also like to incorporate self-created goals into the rubrics as well. For that reason, I will leave a section of my rubric blank. After the students have heard the expectations of the projects and read the existing learning statements, I will have them create a personal goal (learning statement) to complete the rubric. These rubrics will stand as a checklist and guidelines during the projects and a form of reflection after the projects as the students grade their own work.
In addition to learning first hand the engagement element of creating your own GAME plan, I have also made progress in actually completing my goal. At this point, I have had the opportunity to have my students collaborate online in a discussion board fashion. This was done using the CollaborizeClassroom site. Through this process I also witnessed how developing a clear, focused plan is so helpful. The implementation of the discussion board was flawless. The collaboration process was modeled to compare social posts versus educational posts. The students discussed what expectations should be in place and then proceeded to write and post their initial response. All of the students were focused as they prepared their initial post and many were anxious to read and respond to their peers. The suggestions offered by the students were thoughtful and supportive. This activity demonstrated the engaging effects of using technology to collaborate. I am anxious to develop this strategy into art critiques and reflections, as was my original goal.
As far as the class website is concerned, I have determined that Wordpress has the most components that fit my needs. This summer I will design the site so that it is in running order for the next school year. I have already witnessed the power of collaboration and I want to extend that to the parents and the community as well. This site will allow people outside my studio walls to witness our procedures, our topics of study, our creation process through the student blogs, and our final products. I am anxious to create this hub of communication and witness the ramifications.
In conclusion, the GAME plan strategy was incredibly useful for me in that it was a structured, inspired commitment, and was based on a concept that was relevant for my classroom needs. With these positive effects, I would be remiss not to incorporate it into the design of my project lessons. I have started with the reconstruction of my rubrics. I can continue to document the process by having the students monitor and evaluate themselves on their blogs. The final indicator will be how these changes elevate the learning, motivation, and success of my students. In keeping with this process, I will be able to monitor and evaluate along the way to determine its efficacy. I will be able to add to or eliminate any strategies that do not produce and continue improving.