Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Visual Literacy: Part 2

I wanted to share the results of my "Causes of the Civil War" Doodle Test (7th grade History). First, the students received the idea enthusiastically. For some, it was because they were genuinely interested in sharing their knowledge in a visual way. Others clearly were hopeful that the project would be "easier" than a traditional test. The results were indicative of the approach that each student took. In general, I don't think my class thought of this assignment as seriously as if it were a traditional assessment. But a number of students demonstrated as much learning, if not more, than they would have otherwise. Check out the results below. I did not include some of the poorest examples.

While really short on information,
 I loved the visual concept of this doodle.
The student was required to re-submit the assignment.

Blood! Interesting use of flag throughout projects- Our
Upper School recently had some intense discussions about the flag and its
use in provocative art. Stepping point for engaging some difficult conversations.

This doodle had a great visual scheme, although
it fell short on details and content.

1) Did this assignment reach students effectively, or did it play into the hand of my "artistic" students while setting up others for failure? Grade average was about 90%, median around 85%, and a few were 'D' or below. 
2) For those that struggled, was the visual requirement of the project a barrier? Does it have to be if they are taught to re-think what doodling really is? 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Visual Literacy and the Doodle Revolution

Sometimes the impact of a conference takes time to trickle down into your classroom. Inspired by some very artistic 6th grades with a habit of doodling and drawing in class, I began thinking a lot about Sunni Brown's presentation at NAISAC this year. I think it's time to embrace a bit of visual literacy in my Humanities classes. Recently, this took the form of doodle review sheets created by the 6th grade as we prepare for an exam on the Roman Republic and Empire.

 Without a doubt, these aren't Sunni Brown worthy doodles. They're clearly the work of students who haven't had a lot of experience or time developing their visual vocabulary. Instead, they reflect the type of visual work the students have been most often exposed to- graphic organizers. Only the first doodle departs from a traditional categorized\boxed\webbed map of ideas. But I suspect with time, the students, at least some of them, will begin to explore beyond.
Just today I assigned a large scale doodle of "Major Causes of the Civil War" as a 7th grade end-of-unit test. So the experiment of teaching continues.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Bald Eagle- Hanover, PA

The PA Game Commission is sharing live feed from a Bald Eage's nest again this year. A colleague of mine noted that there's something "mesmerizing" about watching the feed. I keep thinking, "What's going on in their heads?" and when the birds are gone from the nest, "Where are they and what are they doing?"

View the feed here.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Honeytrip Part 1- Friday Afternoon

My cousin's apartment is a cute studio in old city with breezy windows looking out at curious neighborhood porches and rooftop gardens. She had left chocolates, a list of recommended city establishments, and a hundred other thoughtful details. We are charmed! (And so thankful)
Starved, we headed for Fat Salmon's purportedly located at 7th and Walnut. For the life of us we couldn't find it. So we ended up at Umai Royal, a basement level restaurant serving Chinese, Japanese, AND Thai food since they are all so similar. I wasn't feeling too optimistic but hoping for the best. The Coconut Vegetable Soup with lemongrass was excellent. We ordered an Alaskan Roll and a spicy shrimp tempura, both excellent. Still feeling hungry we ordered a spicy tuna roll, which was horrible. Mashed fish meat that could have easily been canned with food dye. Au revoir Umai.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Radio and Fashion: Cultural Changes in the 1920s

What is the difference between an action that drives cultural change and one that is a symptom of a cultural change? 

PART I: Radios- Technology as a Driver of Cultural Change

1) A Brief History of Broadcast Radio- Link to article here.

2) Charles "Doc" Herrold, teacher and radio pioneer from San Jose, CA

Credit: PBS

3) "Future Pastimes: Breaking the News to Her Papa -by Radio." Herbert Johnson, 1922

Future Pastimes. Breaking the News To Her Papa - By Radio
Credit: Digital History and the LOC

The radio inspired both wonder and fear. What is a present day equivalent?

PART II: Fashion- Style as an Expression of Cultural Change

1) "Masculine women! Feminine men!" words by Edgar Leslie, music by James Monaco, 1925

2) Lady Sybil, Downton Abbey, Season 1, Episode 4 

Interview with Caroline McCall, Costumer of Downton Abbey



from "Three Sonnets" by Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1930

I know my mind and I have made my choice;
Not from your temper does my doom depend;
Love me or love me not, you have no voice
In this, which is my portion to the end.
Your presence and your favours, the full part
That you could give, you now can take away:
What lies between your beauty and my heart
Not even you can trouble or betray.
Mistake me not -unto my inmost core
I do desire your kiss upon my mouth;
They have not craved a cup of water more
That bleach upon the deserts of the south;
Here might you bless me; what you cannot do
Is bow me down, that have been loved by you.

Is it possible that some actions, in fact most actions, are both drivers and symptoms of cultural change?

Post Script...

Is this really 1926? Where? Who? @HistoryInPics

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Fascinating Story of Fritz Haber: Scientific hero or military monster?

"During peace time a scientist belongs to the World, but during war time he belongs to his country."

-Fritz Haber

Dulce et Decorum Est, by Wilfred Owen
Read by Joshua Kelly
Winner, Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest

"Here's a guy that just wanted to do everything better than it had been done before...and he does...but he does it with a kind of immoral athleticism, he does it without humility, without a lot of doubt. It's a craft, but it's a craft with consequences... I would rather have scientists that carry doubt with them as they proceed." (17:30 RadioLab)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Poem Update: Poem Included in Versify E-Book

Stacia Fleegal continues to advocate for York County poetry with her work for YDR and the Versify blog. Here's an e-book she created to showcase the "poems of the month" for 2013-2014. My poem, The Summer Without the Fence, is included under November. Thanks Stacia! Follow her @ShapeShifter43 and @VersifyYDR

There was an error in this gadget