Tag Archives: visual literacy

It’s a different light now – Course 5 final project thoughts.

feedback

Picture made with wordle.net

When I wrote my last post about ideas regarding the final project of my COETAIL experience I already had a feeling that my ideas still have to develop. I was inspired by Rebekah Madrid’s (@ndbekah) blog post Taking the Leap: Thinking about Course 5 and by talking to amazing colleagues I luckily have at school. Huge thanks for that already.

Following now a first summary of my planning.

Unit: The Human Machine – The human body is a complex organism, which is made up of many systems that work together.

Integration in German:

  • Form and function of our brain
  • Features/elements of a non-fiction text

The students will know about the brain as one of the most complex systems of the human body by watching the video(s) and taking notes. They will understand the importance of the brain for the functionality of our body.

They will inquire and analyze the elements of a non-fiction text answering the following questions:

  • What is it?
  • What does it look like?
  • Why is it important?

In order to show their deeper understanding of a chosen aspect about the brain (or the human body?) the students will create a non-fiction page using non-fiction features and new technologies. There could be the option to create and publish an ebook together.

The students will be able both to read visual elements of a non-fiction text and also to organize and summarize information by a visual text. They will be able to use technology in order to create a visual text, to collaborate and to share their understanding.

The students will use the German language as their prime medium of inquiry (learning through language). They use the language for creative and effective information processing, organizing and summarizing.

Let me explain how I got there …

Tip#1

Choose a unit that interests you and redesign it in a way that excites you.

I always wanted to inquire more into Visual literacy and it is already part of my appraisal topic (How can I develop more proficient reader in the digital world?) this year. One morning on the way to school my friend, colleague and amazing teacher Wendy @wenfor and I spoke about the final project and she suggested why don’t you focus on features of a non-fiction text? Now in our digital world it is more important then ever. She gave me the following book: I see what you mean. Thanks Wendy.
The unit about the human body with the focus on the brain in German is a good unit because to be visual literate and understand elements of a non-fiction text helps to comprehend and explain readily even more complex aspects of science. Additionally the students use the tools and elements of non-fiction texts to create and show understanding.

Tip#2

Take what you have learned in all the prior courses and put it into action.

I have the feeling that the year 2013 was the peak of my professional learning ever! A reflection of it could be a single blog post. There are so many options but I decided to give it a try implementing the Flipped Classroom. I’m still torn regarding the Flipped Classroom and there is the chance! The focus won’t be the brain only. Therefore the Flipped Classroom gives me the chance that the students get the content beforehand and we focus on the features of the non-fiction text during class.

Tip#3

Think about how you are using technology to support learning in ways that we inconceivable without technology.

The students will inquire into the topic itself through the Flipped Classroom, meaning watching videos. But they will also get choices using technology to show their understanding about elements of a non-fiction text. My concern is that this might not be the redefinition level of the SAMR model, so I will have to think about it more in detail. Publishing a non-fiction eBook would be though.

Tip#4 

Make sure you are showing them that you are a learner too.

With them Rebekah meant the students but implementing the Flipped Classroom means to involve the parents as well. I want them to see me as a learner as well.

Tip#6

And the two questions that would make me really think would have to be:  ”Is student work authentic and reflective of that done by real people outside of school? ” and  ”Is student work reflective of their interests or passions?”

I love the first question and it always drives my planning. The answer to this question and my final project I found in the above mentioned book:

We need visual literacy in order to get by in our everyday lives – when we read a magazine, go shopping, visit a museum, visit a museum, catch a train or bus, browse the Internet, text a friend, check today’s weather, or plan a vacation. The visual texts associated with these tasks include diagrams, maps, graphs, and tables. We take for granted that they are part of everyday literacy; but we don’t yet take for granted that they should therefore be a part of the literacy program. (I see what you mean, S.14)

Tip#10

Take risks. Ask for help when you need it. Take control of your learning and let go of control in your classroom. And have fun!!

It’s definitely out of my comfort zone but YES as much as I want the students to be a risk taker I will be a risk taker as well.

Okay,
what are the next steps …

It would be great to get some feedback. Small advices, inputs, encouragement, opinions, tips, etc. are more than appreciated! I will read the expectations again and again and again like Rebekah recommended. And feel encouraged to use the Understanding by Design Planner to keep going.

Risk the change and the challenge …

As a visual and interpersonal learner I prefer to inquire into something new first by myself to visualize a concept or topic and then second I need the exchange, the chance to talk about it with other people in order to let it settle and consolidate in my mind.

Traditional frontal lessons or presentations have never really worked for me because the auditory approach was not enough for me. That might change as soon as more and more people try to avoid that the audience dies by old style (Powerpoint-) presentations and risk something new.

Even though I know change is good and necessary I always feel like a risk taker, which is good and sometimes cost me a lot at the same time. Coetail (If you need a little bit of a push, go for it!), course 3, which is about Visual Literacy: Effective Communicators and Creators, initiated it again. The offer to jump to week 3 was just right for me again. Next week there will be parent information evenings and yes – we do Powerpoint presentations and nearly made our parents die by Power Point again.

Already last year I was responsible for the presentation and I changed the layout, the structure and honestly I thought it is not too bad. Well, thankfully I had to learn that there are even better and very reasonable ways to present. After getting into the readings and videos like

Presentation Zen Design (video)
YouTube Preview Image

Presentation Zen Blog

the idea which most kept in my mind was:

What is the story?
What is the most important to the audience on that day?

German as well as parents from abroad definitely want to get to know the structure of the German Department and us teacher. But even more important is that we want their child enjoy learning German and feel happy and safe.

I tried to follow the Presentation Zen Design ideas, even planed analog, cut out the unimportant bits, tried to keep it simple, want to surprise the audience (let’s see next Monday and Tuesday) and get them emotionally by choosing imagines which give you a hint and make curious at the same time, so our story will stick to their mind and they take home that we care for each individual child.

PREVIOUS:

 

NEW:


Two feedbacks I got already from my colleagues:

“Hopefully I won’t forget what I have to say!” – She won’t because she is a professional and passionate teacher who knows what she is talking about.

“Some pictures would distract me.” – Also interesting feedback from another colleague. We changed some visuals and decided to give the audience some time to look at the picture and to process their own thoughts before they will come back to us presenters and will listen to us.

It is a risk for different reasons but it is worth to risk – like so often in life!