This art teacher took on the challenge to find a way to help students who work at different paces and abilities. A semi-flipped classroom was the result.
The challenge – different abilities and work pace
A re-occurring challenge in my middle school art classroom is the vast array of abilities and work paces of my students. I’m constantly trying to decide between moving on to another project with a few stragglers still finishing up or creating extension projects for my early finishers.
Student absences also pose a problem in an art classroom as I find myself teaching the very same lesson or demonstration to a class multiple times in order to catch every student.
The solution – Book Creator
I have experimented and looked into many ways to solve this problem and have landed on creating a semi-flipped environment. As Book Creator allows me to insert links to websites, videos, and other apps in the app store, as well as pictures and audio, it has been the perfect fit.
So I created a book to provide information and images to my students with links to websites and other apps to allow them to work at their own pace.
The lesson plan:
This lesson was taught to seventh grade students and is intended to be a fun way for them to experiment with their creativity and build connections between the visual arts and other disciplines. When students finished up with their previous art project, this book was available for them to download and begin.
I used the book to do the following:
Introduce new artists, with images of their work
Overall, I would say this lesson was a total success. I witnessed much more creativity from my students than I usually do, as well as a higher level of focus and knowledge retained.
I think that giving my students the power to flip back and forth between pages, review things, and work at their own pace enabled them to think and solve problems they would normally want me to solve for them. It also freed me up to work with and encourage students on a one-to-one basis – my favourite part of my job!
Here are some images of the beautiful artwork created during this process:
What I would do to improve this lesson
To improve this lesson, I plan on creating a separate book containing a page for each watercolour technique and a video demonstration for students to reference while working.
Another idea is to have students create their own book when finished to include images of their work, the audio of their song, and a written explanation.
My long-term goal is to create books for each of my lessons and house them in a place for my students to download. I don’t have textbooks for my classroom and create all of my own lessons and materials, so this would be a great way to create my own type of “textbook.”
This would also allow students to complete different projects in the order that they prefer and to do so at their own pace, even when absent from class.
If I had to provide one tip to any teacher using Book Creator as a means of conveying information it would be this: keep it simple!
Creating books has taught me as an educator to hone in on what’s truly important in my lesson, to prioritise, organise and be much more clear and concise in my instruction. I think this process has made me a better teacher and it has certainly made my job more fun!
Emily Geschwentner is a freelance artist and middle school art educator at Cozad Middle School in Cozad, Nebraska.
She has been teaching for three years and recently began blogging and tweeting as she strives to use technology to its fullest potential in a 1:1 iPad school.