Sunday, March 30, 2008

Eagle Scout


On Saturday March 29,2008 My son Austin was presented with the rank of Eagle Scout. I am very proud of his achievement. Austin finished all the requirements for Eagle Scout just days before he turned 18. After that birthday he would have no longer been eligible for the rank but by waiting till the very end Austin was able to be a Scout for the maximum amount of time.
Austin started Scouting in first grade when he was just 6 years old so by the time he earned his Eagle he had been a Scout for 12 years. He will tell you he loved every minute of it. Camping, hiking, peeing on trees, building fires, and having adventures with a bunch of his friends. Austin also learned to be a leader, he leaned respect for others. He learned to be a man and I know that this is just the start of great things.

Austin job well done!
Love Dad

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Strange Bed Fellows

I am far from a one issue voter; I’m more of a stir the pot, turn over the apple cart type thinker. But there is one issue that I will be taking a serious look at this voting season. That is the arts and art education. I think that the arts are the canary in the coal mine of our children’s education.
While our policy makers point to the easily testable subjects as gauges of the success or failure of the educational system. Often those tests depend heavily on lower level thinking and questioning. The arts on the other hand by their very creative nature move past the lower levels to the higher levels of application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. These are areas of critical thinking that will allow students grow as learners; developing the skills that they will need in the new economy that is developing around the information age of the 21st century.
Below is a link to the Art Vote page of the Americans for the Arts Action Fund with the different Presidential Candidates Arts Policy Brief.
Read and decide.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Luck of

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Racing ahead, falling behind.4

From the networking class I learned a very basic idea of how the network at our school worked and with that knowledge came the opportunity to fix every ones computer problems. Ooh didn’t see that coming. But also by having to solve many different problems gave me the confidence to include technology more actively in my lessons.

I created a web page that students could access at home. They were encouraged to work with their parents on writing about different artworks that I posted on the web site. Once a month I collected the “home work” and had the students discuss what they wrote in class. Some parents enjoyed the time working with children while others viewed is as a burden and just one more thing to do. OK this was using technology but this could have also been done with a handout that students took home and wrote about. I was doing something with tech that I could have done without tech. I still wanted to have the kids do things that they couldn’t do any other way.

One thing that I did was with a first grade class and their teacher. We created a claymation animation. This was doing something that could not be done any other way. In their class the students wrote the story or script. In my art class we created the clay figures then working during an enrichment time we all worked together photographing the figures and recording the students telling the story. The students actually photographed and moved the clay figures, with a minimal assistance from me. But I still did the computer work of putting together the animation.

Then earlier this school year I discovered the K12 Online Conference. This was a great resource of information of how others were using technology in education. I learned about other teacher used wikis, blogs and other web 2.0 tools with their students. Soon after that I began to create wiki web pages for my students to work with. I also used this blog to record and report on the FAEA State conference. I hoped that my fellow teachers that were not able to attend the conference could share, virtually my experience there.

http://blissthink.blogspot.com/2007/10/faea-state-art-conference.html

http://blissthink.blogspot.com/2007/10/faea-state-conference-day-2.html

http://blissthink.blogspot.com/2007/10/how-to-create-large-public-artworks-for.html

http://blissthink.blogspot.com/2007/10/drawing-from-students-perspective.html

http://blissthink.blogspot.com/2007/10/jive-foil-puppets.html

To be continued…..

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Racing ahead, falling behind. 3

At my first school I used Macs and with them I was good at organizing data from the classroom. I also used the computer to research and create overheads for my lessons. But that was the limit of the computers/technology in my classroom.
Then in 2002 I moved to a new school. This was a brand new elementary school with all new technology. All PC, OK new learning experience. Laptops, LCD Projectors, SmartBoards and document cameras. Wow a challenge to learn about all new stuff with all new stuff.
First thing I did was check out an LCD projector from the media center ( the school started out with 12) I then played around with PowerPoint till I could create a simple slide show of images.
I teach elementary art and it is a great advantage to be able to show large images if the artworks I am studying with my kids.
This worked out great for the first part of the school year but then I noticed that there were other goodies in boxes in the back of the media center. Time for me to browse for new toys.
I talked the media specialist into allowing me to "store" a SmartBoard and document camera in my room. Oh I was off and digitally running. And I was learning a little about PCs, I found them a little more awkward than Macs but I was learning.
I took a course called Intel "Teach to the Future". Teach to the Future is a good course once you get past the thought that this ia an ad for Microsoft. This class encouraged me to look at ways to not only include technology in the things that I did in the classroom but also the things that kids do in the classroom.
I began by having a weekly art class in the computer lab and having kids draw using MS Paint. This was great the kids were learning a new skill and found that the computers were more that just fancy game consoles.
But the things that I wanted to do with the computer in the classroom were outstripping my skills on the computer. I needed to know more that I could learn on my own. So I convinced my Principal that I needed to take a networking class that was offered by the district to a chosen few. I should have know better.
To be continued....

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