Purpose and Expectations
Our grade three visual art course is rooted in a Saskatchewan curricular outcome from visual arts. The visual arts outcome that we are focusing on is CP3.7, which states that the intention is to: analyze the interdependence among plants, individuals, society, and the environment. Our intent with this course is to invite students to learn more about Saskatchewan through ‘art’ lenses. In Module 1, students will have opportunities to learn more about the plants that grow in Saskatchewan. Module 2 will help teach them how to use guided Internet searches to investigate how artists represent the environment in different ways. In Module 3, students will learn how to do Internet searches to investigate how artists use different art forms and media to express their ideas.
Target Student Population and Demographics
This class will ultimately be designed for the demographics that we encounter daily in our classrooms. Therefore, we will be aiming this course toward middle class eight and nine-year-olds who are in grade three and who live in or near Regina. Although there are a wide variety of students in our classrooms, each with their unique needs, for the purpose of this course we will be assuming most of them can read at grade level. If we were to adapt this course for a wider audience, there are other considerations we might have to take.
The course format will include a combination of blended, online, and asynchronous lessons to provide a wide variety of learning experiences for the grade three students. Each module contains a variety of media (text, audio, and video). As you can see, we have chosen WordPress as a platform where we have organized our three modules. WordPress provides a professional looking space and an ease of organization. The simple blog format allows for appealing presentation with inclusion of colorful pictures and videos. Since our students are young, WordPress allows us to effectively organize the learning space, while still allowing some interaction through the use of a parent page for questions or comments.
Course Toolset and Assessment
Our lessons take into consideration school difficulties with bandwidth and limited computer cart booking times. That is why we have decided to use SeeSaw for many of the assignments. That way one or two classroom iPads could be passed from one student to another for them to complete their assignment in class and most of the students will have access to the app through their parents once they are at home.
When it comes to assessment, a lot of the assignments will be self-reflections or self-checklists. Since it is a course that focuses on art, there can be rubrics as well. Our students are young, so shorter assignments with clear expectations will primarily be used. Since we are using some flipped method lessons, a lot of the bigger art projects will be taught using prerecorded information and instruction and then class time will be provided for ease of access to supplies as well as ease of guidance from the teacher. Each module contains a variety of formative and summative assessments. Students will be given opportunities to share what they are learning along the course of the lessons with fun formative assessment activities such as K.W.L, concept mapping, exit slips etc. This will provide opportunities for teachers to provide ongoing feedback. As well, near the end of each module there will be a type of summative product (final project) where students will have options to demonstrate what they have learned.
Considerations for Common Concerns
Since some of our lessons are using the flipped model, we also have to take into consideration concerns from parents and availability at home of technology. One method to alleviate these concerns is to give a plan to parents as to when a flipped lesson is necessary at home. Those families who are busy can carve out time if they know about the flipped lessons in advance. The families that need to use the public library to access technology would also have advance notice. Finally, there could be an after school option using the school technology if there are a lot of concerns or a lot of families that will need extra help.
Any written assignments that do go home and things intending to be read at home should be written for a grade three reading level. This is due to two reasons: first, the assignment is intended for the child, not the parent. Secondly, even if parents are helping and monitoring, a grade three reading level is a realistic expectation for parents to be able to understand. This would take into consideration most EAL learners. If the English proficiency of either the parent or the child is lower than grade three, we might have to make adjustments to our lessons. However, posting more auditory lessons or assignments might be a way to help EAL learners, as long as our rate of speech is not too fast for understanding or if we also include a written script of what we say.