Monday, February 7, 2011

Less Teaching More Learning

I have noticed that the less I "teach" the more learning my students do.

I don't think that this is because I am a bad teacher, in fact, I know that I am a good teacher because my students are learning.

The more Project Based Learning that I do in my class, the more I can visibly see that learning is in fact happening in my classroom. Sure, it has it's down sides too. Students are more likely to be off task instead of working on the assigned project because they are given more freedom that sitting listening to a lecture, but they are also learning time management and how to work in a social environment, life skills that they will need for the rest of their life. Sure my students are going to run into problems that they are not equipped to solve, but that is where being a teacher means that I am supposed to step in and lead them to find the answer. Sure the project may be a failure, but in life people have way more failures than they do successes. Sure they have fun when they are learning things, but THEY ARE HAVING FUN WHEN THEY ARE LEARNING THINGS! (I didn't know this was an actual objection, but one that I have recently heard from a parent. I quote, "My Child can't possibly be learning in here because they are having to much fun." Really? Really!) This type of work in class is creating such an amazing environment to work in, teach in, and be in each day. I thoroughly enjoy coming to work. The less time that I spend lecturing, the more close relationships that I am able to create with my students. The closer our relationships the more of a mentor I am. The more of a mentor I become, the more respect I have from my students. The more respect I have from my students, the less discipline problems I have. The less discipline problems that I have, the more PBL we can do. The more PBL that we can do, the more learning that happens.

More Learning. Less Teaching. PBL. Can you tell I'm a fan? What are your experiences with Project Based Learning? Successes, Failures? Questions? Comments? All are greatly welcomed and appreciated.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Doodle for Google

Doodle for Google is an art contest held by Google each year to encourage students in the field of drawing. Students design Google's homepage for a day. This year I am going to have our students participate in the Google Design Competition. We are already working on our Rodeo Art Competition, but already the students are extremely excited about this new project. I think it's because it relates to a product that they are familiar with and instantly recognise as being "cool". The fact that they may be able to create something that would be shown world wide to all other fellow googler's is extremely impressive and exciting to them. I don't think I've ever had my students this instantly excited about anything before. I'll keep you posted on how it's going...

Have a Blessed One,
Miss Tabitha

Monday, January 24, 2011

Creative Commons and Copyright Laws

I was just posting a comment on the Edublogger Teacher Challenge and it was becoming so long that I decided I should make it into a post to help those that read here too.

I recently became very aware of Copyright Laws because I took over the Advisor Position on our School's Yearbook. It was an extremely daunting task to take on and I had to learn laws very fast, and be able to turn around and teach them. I was extremely overwhelmed. What is Copyright? What is Fair Use? What is this Creative Commons thing I have heard about? Is it the same as Fair Use? I had no idea. I started in with research of my own and soon the legalise was so far over my head that my brain felt like mush. I called our yearbook company representative to ask where I could find out information with out all the legal jargon and she pointed to their website that was somewhat helpful, but not really. Then I just started with a Google Search. I should know by now that this is somewhere I should always start because the information always seems to be much more abundant and I am able to get a quicker and more clearer answer (even if it's where to do more research at) than anywhere else. I came across these 3 Youtube videos: Copyright, What's Copyright?; A Fair(y) Use Tale; Creative Commons, Let's Get Creative; that helped me learn what these things are, as well as help me teach the concepts to my class quite easily. My students picked up the concepts and ran with it on their own after watching the videos, in fact they are still singing the copyright song months later.

Have a Blessed One.
Miss Tabitha

It's Just One of Those Days

You know the kind, where everyone is tired and you just want to stay in bed? That's the kind of day we are having here in Houston. It's gross out, I don't know how people in the North West US do it every it really like this all the time? It's cold, it's wet, there is a perfect white noise coming off the freeway cars as they travel by on the wet roads.
Rainy Day
If you live in the North West, or anywhere else that has this kind of weather for that matter, how do you stay productive on days like today? How do you keep your kids motivated and awake, especially when you yourself just want to crawl back into bed?

On a side note, I am going to start looking into using facebook in the classroom. If anyone knows of ways to do so, ways to get your administrators on board, lesson plans used to incorporate facebook into, or how to connect your blog/website and facebook together, please let me know!

Have a blessed one!
Miss Tabitha

Friday, January 21, 2011

Lesson Plan: Prehistoric Art

This is one of my favorite lesson plans. I really like it because it is a great way to combine technology and art, not an easy task to accomplish when art is all about being hands on. Then I thought about it, technology integration should have a purpose, not just be there to be there for the sake of integrating, but to give students more of an understanding.

Duh! I know.

So in order for my students to better understand Prehistoric Art, I thought what a better way than to use technology to help transport us back in time. (Hey I think I may have just found found my niche that others have written to incorporate technology into an art curriculum...let me know what you think.)

When students walk in the door, I have all of the lights in the classroom about and on the wall I am projecting a YouTube Video of fire. The students walk in and instantly know something different is going on today.

I start by having the students close their eyes and imagine that they are back in time. I tell them the story about them playing in a pasture that is surrounded by woods. They are playing with their dog, throwing the ball playing fetch. Then I tell them that this is how Lascaux cave was discovered. Although there are many accounts with varying details about this, I would suggest googling "How was Lascaux Cave Discovered", read through some of the accounts and you'll get a general feel for what happened.

Once you have told the story under the light of the fire talk to the students to open their eyes (while you are telling the story start opening this website: It is a digital recreation of the cave. They should open their eyes just as the cave is starting to show. There are tons of ooh and ahhs at this point.

With your students start a discussion about what is on the walls. What is important to the cave artist. Also talk about the scale of the paintings etc.

Now you can have your students create their own cave art. You can do this in many ways. We often crumple up brown paper and have students go outside to find "paint brushes" that they will use to create their painting. They then use natural colored tempera paints.

There are also other cool ways to develop this project even more. You could try painting on actual rocks (if you live in an area that has flat rocks this might be an great idea.), create your own paint using egg and dirt sediment.

7 Things You Don't Need To Know About Me

While reading through many other posts on from the Edublogger Teacher Challenge, I keep coming across this type of post and I thoroughly enjoy reading them so I thought I would post one of my own to help my readers (thank you for the 3 of you!) learn even more about me. I am still struggling to create an About Me page on Blogger, so if anyone knows how to do that comment me and I'll get on that ASAP!

7. I have been in a dating relationship for 7 years to a wonderful man named Derek.

6. I love watching sports. This is a very good thing too since sports takes up a huge percentage of my life. Derek is the athletic director at the Quillian Center and we do a lot of sports ministry. This includes youth basketball games, coaching, youth flag football, and going to many, MANY, many sporting events in Houston.

5. I was extremely lucky to be able to represent the United States when I was 14 as a People to People Sports and Education Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand.

4. I love architecture. I actually was an architecture major in college for two years before I switched my major to education. I love all aspects of design (which I guess is why I really like being an art teacher) as well as architectural and cultural history.

3. I am still working on my degree. Gasp! I know! I am so ready to be finished with it but teaching and going to school to become a teacher slows down that process some.

2. I love to travel but don't get to do it very often. One of my life's goals is to get to travel to a huge list of places (if your there I would love to know, also let me know what I should go see! Any good local spots to check out?) Rome(and all of Italy really), Washington State, California, Oregon State, Washington DC, Tahiti, Fiji, Australia (I know I've already been, but I would really like to go back!) and SO many others. (If you live somewhere really cool or have been somewhere really neat, let me know, I would love to add to my list.

1. And the number one thing that you don't need to know about me is....I love to cook. I mean I really love to cook. At times I think I should have gone into a profession where I make more money so that I can buy more ingredients that are from exotic places that I can learn to cook with. I love tasting new things, which is probably why I like to go to new places so much.

Well, I hope that gives you a little better idea about me. I hope you subscribe (and don't forget to leave me a comment and your link so that I can follow you too!)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

This was easy!

In Drawing class today (just one of the 12 classes I teach)the students had light bulbs going off today! One of the students even remarked, "This is the easiest thing we've done all year! Why couldn't we have started with this?" Well dear student, if we didn't start where we did, even though you whined and pouted to do other things all year long, you wouldn't be where you are now, where this is so "easy"! I love teaching, especially on days like today. Comments from students like this one make it so worth it. When the students see that they are learning and are seeing the improvements that they are making in leaps and bounds it is so amazing! Have a blessed day, I pray your students have light bulbs go off for you today too!