MiddSouth Innovates

Issue #6 2018-2019

We Built This City On....Pizza Boxes?!

You never know what you will find when you enter Mrs. Fischer's Applied Arts class, but you can guarantee it will be AWESOME. Recently her students engaged in a long-term collaborative urban planning project. Using the work of Bodys Isek Kingelez's City Dreams, which was in the Museum of Modern Art, the students were tasked with designing a section of a city using only recycled materials. Each group was given a pizza box which they wrapped in black paper to be the base, and then working in teams, designed a specific section of the city. As you tour the city you will find an Art Sculpture garden made from clay and lollipop sticks, a popsicle stick and straw airport, playground equipment molded from aluminum cans and bottle caps, and even a factory that uses recycled solar panels that actually turn on LEDs.

After discussing the project with the class, they mentioned how difficult it was working as individual teams without knowing what the overall city looked like. But they were impressed by how many squares fit perfectly together and matched color schemes even though none of the groups met to talk about their design before the due date. The unity that was created between the different sections of the city extended to the different team members as they complimented each other often for their innovative and creative use of materials.


What Did I Just Do?!

Effective Educators understand that the key to growth is reflecting on the learning process, whether that be on a lesson plan, test results, or student behavior. However, not enough time time is spent teaching students how to reflect on their learning. The typical recipe is for students to take a test, see their grade, and move on to the next topic without ever trying to figure out WHY they made the mistakes that they did. Here are a few strategies to help your students to grow as learners.

  • Ask students to reflect on themselves by responding to questions like "What have I discovered about myself as a learner today?" or "How can I use this knowledge in the future?"
  • Reflect and Sketch activities have students breaking down what they have learned in a unit or lesson into visual chunks. This can be done with guiding questions from the teacher, in small or large group, or as individual exit activities. Sketches can even be used for students to evaluate the amount of work they put into the class activity for the day.
  • I Used To Think...But Now I Think...activities help students measure not what they've learned, but how far they've come in the learning process. Students list all of the information they knew about a topic before the lesson, and then repeat the process after a lesson writing about everything they have learned. This allows them to see for themselves what they are taking away from a class activity.
  • Video reflections using programs such as Flipgrid are a great way for students to keep a running log of their learning progress. A Teacher can setup Grids to be private so that only the teacher can see what the student is recording. Specific guiding questions can be given right in the grid or have the students share one of the above activities with their classmates.

Many of the strategies that teachers employ for their own practice can be adapted for students. Just remember that the most effective teaching strategy for reflection is modeling it for your students. If you want them to blog about your class, start by sharing your own blog. Showing your students that you are willing to do any activity that you assign to them helps build relationships which leads to students taking greater risks in your class.

Because You're Worth It!

Marc Seigel is ready to help you with all of your technology and non-tech related educational needs! Here is just a brief list of the services he offers:

  • SGO/PGP development and analysis
  • Chromebook repair
  • Technology integration
  • Innovative idea sounding board
  • Social Media development
  • Recording awesome projects in your class
  • Finding digital resources to enhance your classroom
  • Projector/speaker/digital whiteboard repair
  • Virtual Reality lessons
  • STEM activities
  • Having awesome conversations

Marc is here to help you be the awesome person that you are every day. No idea too big, no tech too small. Marc's office is located in the Media Center, but he can usually be found visiting awesome activities happening around the school and sharing them on social media. Still can't find him? Just book an appointment on his Calendar and he will come to you!