#blog 8

Initial Overview

Upon completion of my midterm lesson, overall I felt great.  In this lesson I dealt with the NCSS theme focusing on culture.  I thought a great way to present the lesson would be to teach about the Harlem Renascence.  The Harlem Renascence is a good topic to represent culture because during that era it was a burst of culture for the African Americans.  In my lesson I wanted to focus on the art of the Harlem Renascence artists because the art displayed the themes of African American culture during that time.  During the activity of my lesson, I had three different pieces of artwork of the Harlem Renascence and had my students try to figure out the themes going on in them.

Reactions after the Day

I thought I accomplished all the main points on the rubric.  My introduction activity was perfect for my lesson because it had my student’s attention and got them ready for the main activity.  I achieved the main objective of the SOL because my lesson talked about the Harlem Renascence (which is a VA SOL).  I definitely hit the NCSS objective of discussing culture, because that was the essence of my lesson; Harlem Renascence culture in art.  I also placed all of the SOL and NCSS objectives on my PowerPoint as well.  I felt my lesson was awesome because it gave a good introduction and provided knowledge of the topic for my students.

First i had my students define culture (1:26 in video).  I started my lesson like that so my students had a basically understanding what culture is.  Knowing that term was important for my lesson.  In my anticipatory activity (4:14), I had my students define culture and look at Hokie artwork to understand how to find themes in artwork (an example is above).   My goal of this activity is for my students to have a understanding of how to “decode” art to find themes.  A common culutral trait for my students were that they were all Hokies.  So it was pretty easy to see the themes in the hokie art.  This activity prepared my students for the main activity, since it was a mirror of it.  I sensed that my students enjoyed the activity and tried to understand the main themes of the Harlem Renascence in the artwork.   My big question of the day was: What role did art play in African American culture during the Harlem Renaissance?  My NCSS theme dealt with culture so some objectives of the day were: What is culture?, What roles does culture play in human and societal development, What is the role of diversity and how is it maintained within a culture? and how do various aspects of culture such as belief systems, religious faith, or political ideals, influence other parts of a culture such as its institutions or literature, music, and art? My SOL objective was USII.6 c) examining art, literature, and music from the 1920s and 1930s, with emphasis on Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, Georgia O’Keeffe, and the Harlem Renaissance

My main activity (20:00) was very engaging with the students because they had to look at the art, break it down, define the theme in it, and present it to their peers.  Before the main activity I showed by student some of the themes in Harlem art.  I did this so that had a rough knowledge of the themes and felt they knew a little about that topic (look above).  I then showed my students three pictures: The Octoroon Women by Archibald Motley Jr. (look below), Baptism by Palmer Hayden (look below), and Can Fire in the  Park by Beauford Delaney (look above).

I gave a little background information on each artist, and then had my students write down what was going on in the painter and what themes do you see.  I also included some guiding questions on the slide to keep my students on track.  Afterward, they presented their findings to the class (24:30).  I picked that artist and paintings because their had a lot of themes in it that I talked about prior to showing the art.  I wanted my kids to be able to see the themes in the pictures pretty easily so they felt confident that they can “decode” pictures and that they also understand the themes.  I didn’t pick the artist due to their fame or the same with the actual art.  I just wanted pictures to go along with the big question by showing African American culture in their art.

My closure (3-2-1) worked because it was simple but thought provoking.  I had the students write down three things they learned in class, two ways that the Harlem Renascence showed African American culture, and one question they had (3-2-1).  This is a good activity because its a simple way that students can critcally think and also a good way for the teacher to check to make sure that the student payed attention in class and that they understand the material.

My lesson intertwines with each other because they all show how did Harlem Renascence art show African American culture.  From my big question of the day, to my objectives, to my lesson (from intro activity to closure) you can see that theme was my main focus and driving force in my lesson.  I think I did a good job staying on track with African culture and I think my students understood that idea was the main part of the lesson today.

There were two things that I need to work on; my PowerPoint skills and guiding my students through the thought process with questions.  The worst part of my lesson was my PowerPoint presentation.  It was hard to read and the colors I selected were not appealing to those viewing it (throughout whole video, but look at (24:30) It is hard to read and the colors do not go well together.)  When I made the PowerPoint it looked great on my computer.  Unfortunately, now I understand that I had to visualize what my PowerPoint will look like on a huge blank screen and not my small computer screen.  I know what to correct the next time I am dealing with Power Point presentations.  Next time when I create a Power Point I will make sure it is big enough and easy to read by planning ahead and putting my PowerPoint on the big screen.  This would fix any problems that I encountered on this go around.

In addition, I have to learn to not give the answers away to my students but instead guide them through the thought process so they come up with the answers on their own.  Overall, I felt I did a very good job on the lesson and I know next time, I will do even a better job.  For my next encounter will this, I will ask the same question that I did this go around, but I will have a longer “wait time” for the correct answer and also I will not give any clues, hints, or questions that give the answer that I am looking for away.

Reaction upon watching the video of yourself

After watching the video of myself I was really surprised.  I couldn’t believe that was me teaching.  I really liked my movement around the classroom and how I was asking questions in regard to the topic.  I looked professional, confident, and knowledgeable during the lesson.  It appears on video that I have the stage presence of an adult and teacher.  My overall thought of watching me on video is that I was really proud of myself about how I carried myself throughout the lesson and the confidence I radiated.  Watching the video convinced me that I have the ability to organize a powerful and meaningful instruction for my students.  That makes me happy since that is what teachers need to do to become successful.  My strengths of my lesson was the instruction activity, which my peers thought was awesome because it connected the main question I was asking (How did the Harlem Renascence show African American culture) with the main activity and closure.  I think the sequence of my lesson was perfect.  I also really like how the main activity works because it made my student think and become engaged into the activity.  Some areas that I needed improvement on were my PowerPoint and my fumbling over certain words.  I know how to fix my PowerPoint presentation as I stated in the above section.  Concerning my fumbling of words, I feel I can conquer that by just relaxing and slowing down when I speak.  Sometime when I get really excited this happens to me.  I need to slow down my thought process and pause so I do not fumble with any words. Overall, I felt I did a very good job with the lesson and watching the video confirmed that.

Details from the Tuning protocol

I did learn a few things from the tuning protocol, because feedback is our friend not our enemy.  The warm feedback I got from my peers was that they liked my lesson (all parts of it) because it was engaging and interesting.   They liked my movement around the room and how I asked questions.  My peers also liked the pictures I used because they were not that of famous artists and they showed a new perspective of the Harlem Renascence.

The negative feedback I received was; that my PowerPoint wasn’t that good (which I knew as soon as I projected it on the screen), that I fumbled my words a few times, that I need to guide my students through the learning process better, and how I called on my students.  I have already touched on my PowerPoint, fumbling my words and guiding through my question better.  I want to focus on how I called on my students.  Before I called on a student I would sometimes give them prior warning that they will be called on.  I did this because I felt the question was going to be hard, so I wanted them to be prepared for it.  My peers pointed out that by doing this made the other students feel left out or disinterested in the questioning because they knew they were not going to get called on.  Overall I like doing this if the question is going to be hard, but I understand what my peers were saying so I will pick and choose when I do it.

Student learning

My lesson had many examples of concrete student learning.  I started my lesson with them defining the term culture.  After they wrote down that definition they presented it to the class.  I could also collect it to have hard evidence of their knowledge (look above).  During my introduction activity I had them write down how the artwork showed Hokie culture and had them explain it to the class.  Again this is hard evidence that can show my students understand what is going on in class.  During my main activity, which was similar to the introduction activity, I had my student write down themes of African American culture shown in the artwork.  They then had to explain to the class what they put down and why.  Once again, I can show this as hard evidence of concrete student learning.  Lastly, my 3-2-1 (which I explain earlier the paper) activity made my students write down what they learned today, how in connected to the Harlem Renascence, and one question they have.  This is concrete evidence and also fosters critical thinking because none of those questions are straight forward “yes or no” type questions.

When looking at my concrete evidence, it shows that my students are learning.  3 ways that I can show my students are engage are first, if they are awake and engage (see throughout video), second, this physical evidence, and third, in the next class I have these students I would have an exercise that would make sure they retain the knowledge from the class prior and I would connect it to today’s lesson.  Overall the “students” work was a good example.  Since this is one of my fellow classmate’s work, and not a real student’s, I didn’t care about the detail.  Basically if you look throughout the document you can see my student is learning.  First you see his/her definition of culture, we then discussed as a class setting.  Next you see the introduction activity response where he/she wrote down themes of Hokie culture in the artwork.  Once again, we went over the answers in class.  You then see his/her responses to the Harlem artwork and how it showed African culture.  It sounds repetitive, but we talked about the responses as a class.  On the bottom of the page, you see the 3-2-1 closing activity.  He/she listed three new things the student learned about today, two ways African culture is shown in Harlem art, and one question the student has about the content of the lesson.  Again, all of which shows physical evidence of my student learning.

Concluding Comments

This midterm activity taught me a great deal about my skills as a teacher.  Departing this activity left me feeling more confident in myself as a teacher.  I obtained many ideas from my peers on how to engage my students in different ways and how to plan different lessons.  Personally, I want to incorporate a lesson plan that one of my peers did dealing with a website.  I think technology is a perfect way to engage students into learning.  Another one of my peers did a lesson about the bison which was amazing and engaging.  Also, one of my peers had a great introduction activity showing how things are not “fair” and “equal”.  I think all those ideas are impressive and I want to use them in the future.  The only concern I have from this midterm lesson is how my peers and my own lesson would relate to a huge classroom with 12-18 year old kids.  Would we get the same reactions? Would we have the same expectations and results?  I guess we will figure that out next semester.

The two goals that I am focusing on after completing and critiquing this lesson are; to guide my students through questions better without giving the answers away and not fumbling over certain words during my lesson.  Overall, I think those problems will not be hard to fix since I understand what needs to be done through my peer feedback discussion and by watching myself on film.  I can and will improve in my next lesson that I present to the students.

My Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBYFhlvtLT0

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