Friday, 27 January 2012

Digital Art Workshop

This past Tuesday, January 24th, Elementary Connected Classrooms welcomed Chris Bose, an N’lakapamux artist, musician and storyteller to our classrooms! Our guest had never presented via videoconferencing, and he was almost as excited as the kids, and enjoyed seeing the faces at Ashcroft and Cayoosh over the video screen. The Lytton students taught Chris how to use the Smartboard, and the day began.

Since September, we have participated in Errin’s lessons on digital photography and she has recently taken our students into the world of photo editing. It was a perfect time to have Chris, much of whose art uses Photoshop to create powerful, multi-layer images to deliver his message.

Chris joined the Lytton classroom gave a presentation of some of his work and shared some of his photography, online galleries, and videos. Students from each site had the opportunity to ask questions about his artwork, inspiration and techniques. Chris explained how his history and life experiences are reflected in his work.

After the digital presentation, students continued to explore the photo editing software, Paint.Net, installed on their personal net books. Inspired by Chris’s art, students are beginning to compose multilayered compositions using the photos they have taken throughout the year. Students are having a blast taking their photography to the next level.

Here are some shots of the day, and an image created by the students in Lytton.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Photography in ECC

Since September, it’s been obvious that one my student's favourite parts of Connected Classroom are Errin’s teaching focus on digital photography. Students were thrilled to go on weekly photo shoots based on the given principle/element of design they were focusing on. Students spent the first five months of the year working on design, composition, and learning how to use our cameras creatively. Now that our students have created a large bank of personal photos, Errin has led us into a new and exciting realm of photography: editing!

Despite the limitations of our class net books, Errin has found us software and programs that give our students a whole new realm of artistic possibilities. Students spent a great deal of time last Thursday getting comfortable and playing with Picture Manager, Picnik and Paintnet. I think my class could have played with image editing all day.

Included at the start of each lesson, students share out their compositions from the previous week’s photo shoot. I’ve found this to be a powerful connecting tool, and it’s made students really connect faces to names from the other classrooms.  My class is always eager to share their own shots, and is just as eager to see what the other class created as well. It makes us more a part of each other’s daily lives and it gives us a context of what life is like in the other communities.

This Tuesday, we are welcoming Chris Bose into our classrooms as a guest artist. We’re very excited to have him share his story, art, and perspective to the classrooms and have him inspire our digital creations.

Back in the Swing....

Perhaps as a result of post holiday brain and the time it takes to re-establish a routine, I’ve fallen behind it blog posts! Despite this, January has been a busy month already in Connected Classrooms.

The team met the second week back to school for a teacher planning day. We usually get together three to four times a year for a face to face teacher session, and these days always reinforce to me how great of a team we have! We’ve mapped out the next stages of our year long inquiry project, planned the next Connected Gathering (to be hosted by out Lillooet site), and are set to launch the next set of books in our online literature circles. It feels like Christmas driving home from the Board Office with new books, and the new book bins generally cause quite a stir in my classroom. In a week, we’ll launch with Book Talk Week, and my students have been pleading with me for an early crack at the new books. While it’s very hard to say no to a ten year old begging to read books, the excitement is growing to say the least.

Above all, it’s just great to sit down with Aislinn and Errin; I look forward to these days immensely! We communicate so frequently by email every day, that’s it’s a treat to have the human contact, too. The discussions about Connected Classrooms and the impact it’s had on our own practice and thinking are quite fascinating, and it’s no wonder why both Errin(recently graduated) and Aislinn(recently began) have focused on components of our work in their masters programs.

I’ve also noticed increased communication between my students and their Connected Classrooms counterparts in Ashcroft and Lillooet through moodle messaging. Several of my kids have moodle friends that they message quite frequently, and completely of their own accord. The instant my class logs on to moodle to post to any of the weekly forums, they check to see who has logged on from other sites.  It’s nice to see the shyness eroding!

Scattered thoughts, but a post to get me back on track nonetheless!