Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Resume Writing

Last week in class, we were talking about resumes. Our resumes are due this week in class, which made me think about how my current resume could be improved. Things we talked about included:
  • Creativity - How do you make your resume stand out compared to others?
  • Organization - Hierarchy of font size/boldness and sub-sections as well as dividers are important
  • Personalization - How will your employer get to know you through your resume?
  • Language - Never use full sentences and be concise and to the point
  • Inclusion - What do we include?
The answers to these questions really helped me revise the boring resume I had earlier. By creatively integrating color/line/font size and anything that can make yourself different from others just by looking at the resume without reading it could make a difference. I added a few rectangular boxes to my resume in order to help with organization and add a tiny bit of transparent color. Organizing your information can be the difference between being on the top of the pile and being in the garbage. If your employer can read your resume easily, quickly and accurately in one swipe, you have succeeded in resume writing. I tried my best to use bold fonts for my headings and larger fonts to show the headings and what went underneath them. Using a line, I was able to separate the sections of my resume easily. In order to personalize my resume, I tried to include some information about myself in my objective instead of having a separate section that described myself. In class we also suggested that the information in your resume with personalize your document and will stand out according to it's information. The language we use should be concise and informative while remaining formal. Using complete sentences takes too long for the employer to read, so fragments are okay to use as long as they make sense. Things one can include in a resume are:
  • Name (always larger so they remember and notice it)
  • Contact Information
  • Objective
  • Education
  • Related Expereiences
  • Job Experiences
  • Volunteer Expereinces
  • Creative Skills
  • Special Skills
  • Qualifications
  • Extra Activities (especially for those right out of college)
  • References (including your references saves the employer from another step of asking you for them - always let your references know you put them as one!)
All of these things do not have to be included, but give some ideas of what can be. Of course you will need your name, contact information and so on, but things like creative skills and qualifications don't always need their own heading.

Here is a look at my revised resume:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Second Day of Teaching a Lesson

Last Friday, the 18th of November, we taught the second day of our lesson plan. My partner and I were ready to give a quick demonstration and allow the students to paint their gourds. If we would have been more prepared teachers, we would have prepared even more materials in advance. Like the rookies that we are, we didn't think as far ahead as we should have! We gave our demonstrations, but had to majorly scramble to get the crazy children in order. We forgot to tell them what they were allowed and not allowed to do when we said, "Okay we're going to get started!" The must have thought we said "GO!" when really we were going to hand out gourds and materials in an orderly fashion. It was pretty difficult to remember that the children would be extremely excited an anxious to get going. Many of the boys were moving around and children were asking a ton of questions before we had a chance to get the next bit of information out. It was surprising that all of the students did a great job painting their gourds and adding texture, even with us being a bit flabbergasted by how anxious the students were. However, it was the first day of "teaching" ever, and we were successful in the end. Next time we teach the lesson, we will know what to do and how to do it! If only we would have performed a "dry run" of some kind, we would have done amazing for the final critique in our class. I'm not too worried about getting graded, I was happy that it went as well as it did!

It was a great observation on Friday, and I am more comfortable than ever in the classroom at the elementary school. The first graders are growing on me the most. I really enjoy working with the young students. The sixth graders and some fifth graders are naughty just to get attention, which can be very frustrating at times.

Due to Thanksgiving break, we will not be observing this Friday, but will be teaching the rest of our lesson on Wednesday November 30 and observing until finals begin. Very exciting! This semester is coming to an end!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Spur of the moment Observation

Through the Positive Alternatives program , I take part in a mentoring program. Each week I visit my mentee for an hour and just spend time with her. She is an amazing 8th grade girl who I have been matched with for the last three years. Her and I have become quite fond of each other, so each week is always something to look forward to! Most weeks we spend in the gym to burn off extra energy that she has, other weeks I plan a craft project for us to do together or we work on homework if she is a little behind.

My mentee is an energetic, excited young lady who just happens to have a cognitive disability. By working with her, I have learned so many new things for my future as an educator. I am currently taking a special education course, so spending time with my mentee also earns me some credit in a field experience requirement. I would never imagine that a volunteer opportunity would eventually turn into a learning experience for me that actually helps me earn credit in my classes. I am very blessed to have been matched with the amazing girl that I have, she teaches me something every week!

This week, she was behind in her art class that she has during our meetings. Normally she would step out of the class to do whatever we wanted, but today she had to work on an art project in class that she was behind on. Luckily, as an art education major, I wanted to be in there too! Ms. B, the middle school art teacher came over and my mentee introduced us. She seemed glad that I was in there to help Tricia, so when I told her I was also an art ed major, she got a smile on her face and asked a little about when I would be student teaching and so on.

In the 8th grade class, they are working on sketch book assignments while still pursuing other lesson plans. For the first five to ten minutes of class, they were sketching wooden figures that they could pose in any position. While they were drawing, Ms. B asked them a question from a stack of cards (which I thought was a pretty good way of getting the students attention). The question was, what looks more interesting at night than it does during the day? The answers were very interesting:
  • pumpkins
  • Eiffel Tower
  • black lights
  • Christmas lights
  • New York City
  • Christmas Tree
  • snowman
  • neon lights
All of the answers were pretty interesting, but all of them played off of the next one. It got into a Christmas decoration discussion eventually! It's getting to be that time of the year!

When the timer went off, Ms. B told the class that they would be moving into the clay room in order to work on their cartoon sculpture assignment. The students are working on a project of sculpting a cartoon character of their choice out of clay. They only need to work on the face of the character. My mentee was working with a Pokemon character while others were working with Puss in Boots, Donkey, Stitch, Phineas and Ferb and so on. The students seemed to have a sense of repetition, as they all knew how to behave and to act in the classroom.

It was very interesting to see what Ms. B thought was too loud compared to what Ms. M thinks is too loud in the classroom. While I observe at the elementary school the students can get extremely loud and it is not a problem, while a regular level of chatter and laughter urged Ms. B to stop the class and add more work to their day. Instead of adding only two features to the busts of their characters today they had to make it three instead. I enjoyed seeing how Ms. B and her tone of voice could change so much in a class, as she was very friendly to me, but very stern with her students. It was definitely an awesome experience to observe at a different school for a different grade. My mentee and I had a great afternoon working with the clay, I taught her some new ways of making shapes and creatively finding circles and triangles within the clay tools to trace instead of trying to do it free handed.

Her shapes were so accurate while she traced, I was very impressed! When we did not trace anything, she had a hard time making things exactly the same. She hated how the ears of her character weren't looking alike, so we used a method Ms. B showed the class of cutting one out and tracing the shape to cut out the other one. She caught on very quickly and I think she impressed Ms. B because she got so much work done today!

Even though this was not planned, I thought it very suiting to take note of the class today. I had a great time, and I think my mentee will be doing very well on her project. I'm glad I was able to help her in the classroom setting today! I've never stayed in a class with her before, and it was very beneficial for both her and I.

Ms. M and Assessment

For another journal/blog assignment, we asked Ms. M how she assesses art work. It was very interesting to see how she finds what works best for her in order to stay organized and in line with the school assessment criteria.

At the elementary school, a revision of the assessment tools in each class are being integrated. The new assessment coordinator is changing all of the rubrics to have four or more levels in order to better assess each child. By doing this the students will have options like, poor, adequate, good, and great instead of low, medium, high and so on. Ms. M uses rubrics to assess each piece of art according to the objectives of each lesson. Although she doesn't use written lesson plans, she always has certain objectives and outcomes that the students will be graded with. Right now she has a three level system of assessment which earns the students 0, 3 or 5 points. These criteria levels often are associated with 5 - All the time, 3 - Most of the time, and 1 - Rarely. These types of points coorelate to objectives stating:

  • Completed Assignment: Assignment shows undertanding of concepts covered
  • Effort and Participation: Student had good work havits, stayed on task, put in effor, not rushing or lagging
  • Creativity: Took risks, work was original, innovative and daring
  • Followed Directions: Solved provlems outlined in assignment, variations are valid
  • Behavior/Use and Care of Materials: Followed classroom rules and procedures, did not inhibit others with behavior
  • Total Points
I like the way that Ms. M uses the headings to further break down what was expected from each part of the assignment. Children in her classroom really respond to her well and know what is expected of them. Because Ms. M has had many of them since they were in kindergarden, by the sixth grade, they know what she expects and how she grades.

Ms. M is a firm believer in rubrics in order to organize points earned, but she also has a variety of assessment tools she uses. These include:

  • Project rubric
  • Portfolio rubric
  • Self-evaluation
  • Peer review "show your neighbor"
  • Demonstration
  • Group Presentation
  • Multi media (power point)
  • Mini-drama
  • Quiz/pretest
  • Written test
  • Oral explanation/conference
  • Written Artist Statement
  • Games (Jeopardy)
  • Class critique
  • Line up - ticket up
  • Class call/ask a friend
  • Visual Journal
  • Class/Group assessment
  • Visual Assessment
  • On-going progress sheets

Although my partner and I were unable to go through an assessment of a project by the students, she gave us many examples of what she uses for grading rubrics and assessment ideas. We didn't get to go through a true assessment because she assesses the art work before parent teacher conferences as a portfolio. After each project, Ms. M keeps the art work and displays it in the halls and on her classroom walls. This gives her a chance to fill out a project rubric. After each section she compiles each students art work together and assesses it all at once, which is then used for the portfolio rubric.

I really enjoy some of the ways that Ms. M incorporates activities into the assessment process. With Jeopardy, students play the classic game show with a power point presentation Ms. M prepares ahead of time. The students can use a "help" like in the Millionare games on T.V. as well. They can call a friend in the classroom or poll the audience as their two helps. When students use a lot of helps, it is a red flag for Ms. M. She often uses this game before a written test or quiz as a review. Only if the students are lacking in knowledge will she add in a written test.

Below are scans of some of the documents that she supplied us with. I really enjoy the assessment document that gives examples of all of her different ways of assessing art work. It also explains each tool and how she uses it in the classroom. She is so creative!

This is an example of a self-evaluation for younger students to fill out, older students can write their own answers.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Veterans Day Observation

On Friday, I was lucky enough to observe the elementary school during their Veterans Day Celebration. The students had been working on Veterans Day stars all week, decorated with red, white and blue stars and stripes. The halls were decorated with coordinating red, white and blue, and all of the children were also dressed to match. The teachers wore red, and Veterans were roaming the hallways before the big program. It was definitely a great day to be there!

The first grade students were working on drawings with shapes and stripes. They went over the primary colors and the colors in the rainbow. Like their Mondrian project, they were to use red, yellow and blue to create three shapes of their choice on their paper and color them in. From there, they were using the colors and order of colors of the rainbow to create an interesting background and outline to the shapes. They learned about Roy G Biv and how he helps them remember the order of the rainbow.


The first graders also learned that Indigo is the same as blue, so they didn't need to worry about finding a marker to match. They also realized that Violet meant purple. Many of the students didn't have the fine motor skills to use the markers the right way, or to keep the white of the paper from showing between their lines, but many of them did a great job with it! A few of them rivaled Ms. M's example.

The sixth grade students were at the Veterans Day Program during their class hour, but they are currently working on their space ship models and are covering them with tin foil! They all look pretty cooky and odd, but space-like with the tin foil covering them.

The fifth grade class was VERY exciting because my partner and I introduced our lesson plan to the students! It was our first day of presenting a lesson to a real class of students (instead of our peers in college classrooms). We are working on a Gourd Reduction Project, which involves gourds from the garden of Ms. M's friend. The gourds are about as big as the palm of my hand, and very easy to hold onto. The students will be painting the gourds with acrylic paint and using tools to scratch a design onto the surface of the gourd. Friday was all about introducing what a gourd is, what parts will be positive space and negative space and what the word reduction means.

In order to explain it better to the students, we noted how reduction sounds like "reduce" and the children knew what reduce meant. We said that reduce means to lessen, or to take away. We said to use a reductive process would be taking away the paint from the gourd by scratching it off, not carving into it. They grasped a lot of what we were talking about and were answering a lot of the questions correctly! After our power point presentation, we talked to them about different shapes and symbols that could be used on their gourds. They are required to use three shapes or symbols on their gourds, but they can do more. They then used the rest of the class period to draw symbols or shapes that they enjoyed, and if they wanted, they could draw a gourd shape and design what they wanted to do on their gourd. The next class period will be painting the gourds, and working with a texture over top!

For a part of the lesson plan assignment, Ms. M was video taping us. We shut the lights off for the power point, so she thought it was too dark to get a picture, but after the lights were on it was still dark! The lens cap was still on the camera! Our first day of the lesson plan can be heard, but not seen! It was too funny. Hopefully the next couple of days will be caught on camera as well!