Well, there's no denying it at this point: Summer is Over! However, it's not something to be sad about. Sure, I know we enjoy those lazy days of sitting by the pool, but we can't just lay around forever. Personally, I am looking forward to the return, though there will be some challenges for me this year and there are definite changes.
For starters, we have a new digital art teacher, Mr. Lucas Gearhart. He comes to us from Las Vegas with a background in teaching digital arts for over a decade and a formal training in the fine arts. So, I am certain that I will learn a lot from him and look forward to working closely with him in the future development of our digital art programs.
Another change is the addition of a middle school course in the digital arts. While it is solely intended for students in the 8th grade, my hope is that there is enough interest in it at the middle school level to justify bringing in a third CTE teacher down the road. Only time will tell! This will be the first digital arts course offered at DSA for middle school students in close to a decade. And, we are catering the course to provide students with an understanding of some of the basics involved in our high school curriculum. So there will be a lot of work involved with this addition.
So, I wish everyone a good start to the school year and hope that sentiment continues throughout the year. I can't wait to see you all tomorrow for Day 1!
One of the things I have long struggled with is the idea of flipping my classroom. And, after reading the article Flipped Classroom: What to Know in 2019 by Elizabeth Trach, it got me thinking about it again. Maybe it's my age or the way I experienced school as a child, but even with the best of intentions, I have a hard time with letting go of classroom instruction in favor of instruction solely taking place outside the classroom. Perhaps, it's a trust issue that the kids won't do their part and then I will cave in and do it in class anyway. I'm not 100% sure. But, every time I come back to this point, I always intend to flip at the start of the year and then back off as the year progresses. Maybe it's the routine of past experience? I know that part of my concern is for students who lack access to the technology needed to see the instruction. Again, I am at odds with this. I constantly tell students:
But, I have a solution!
Rather than completely flipping my classroom, I do a partial flip. By a partial flip, I mean that I still spend face-to-face time lecturing my students, usually in the form of hands-on demonstration with accompanying explanation, but all of my materials are also shared through Schoology, either in written or video formats. That way, students who miss a lecture can still access the information outside of my classroom to stay up-to-date with the rest of the class.
Despite still taking time for lecture, the majority of my in-class time is spent doing hands-on activities where students work through the tasks presented at their own pace, within certain deadlines. Most activities contain a video tutorial demonstrating the skills needed to succeed and students can pause and repeat portions as needed until they understand the tool or technique being used. And, this instructional method allows me the freedom to help those in most need in a one-on-one manner while those who don't need personal attention continue working on their assignments and learning at their own pace.
So, while the odds of me completely flipping my classroom still seems far off, I plan on continuing to use the portions of this great technique that I feel work best in my unique situation. Maybe some day I will completely flip my lid (don't ask the kids, they'll say that already happened!)
I am a high school Career & Technical Education (CTE) teacher located in Durham, NC with a focus on game art and design. This blog provides a place for reflection on relevant classroom practices.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent those of my employer or anyone else associated with Durham Public Schools.