Showing posts with label independent practice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label independent practice. Show all posts

Friday, 27 January 2017

Music to their Ears

A sprung floor, combined with sound panels on the walls and ceiling, provide optimal
acoustics in our new music rooms.

Our new music rooms offer our students everything they need to take their playing to the next level.

Improving as a musician takes, practice, practice and more practice - and being able to hear yourself play when you do it. For this reason, practice spaces are a key feature of the new music rooms. Soundproof practice rooms, in addition to a vestibule between the rooms' two sets of doors, provide students with quiet areas where they can rehearse individually or in small groups.“It gives teachers a lot more options in terms of how we organize a lesson and use group learning,” says music teacher Ben Wright.

Soundproof practice rooms provide students
with quiet areas where they can rehearse
individually or in small groups.
A sprung floor, combined with sound panels on the walls and ceiling, provide optimal acoustics in the spaces. The new music rooms address more practical concerns as well - sinks allow students to easily wash and maintain their instruments, and a music storage room will soon be outfitted with custom shelving designed to accommodate every instrument.

When they’re ready to perform, our new theatre offers an ideal space - and it’s right across the hall. According to Ben, “Very little time is wasted moving instruments from place to place and that leaves more time for playing and learning.”  

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Connecting Visual Arts to World Issues

The concept of personalized learning is likely most applicable to the visual arts when students are taught to see better, to envision, to persist, to be playful and learn from mistakes, and to make and justify critical judgments. Art teacher Colleen Petch shares how, in the senior visual arts program at Greenwood, students are provided with a tremendous amount of choice and are consistently challenged to problem-solve, persevere, be resilient and to find a personal connection to their work.

Recently, in Grade 11 Visual Arts class, students inquired about the correct technical approach to paint an acrylic portrait. My response was, "Well, that depends...on your comfort level with acrylic paint, your level of experience, how you want the viewer to feel about this person, what style of painting you appreciate, if you want to work on blocking the form or defining specific details first, how many tones of one colour you want to use, what your intended final product might look like, etc." Each student requires a different personalized discussion with the teacher and spends time developing an individual plan to approach creative assignments. One-on-one meetings and discussions are common during each period.

Grade 12 Visual Arts students recently completed their first independent large-scale work for their final exhibition, based on their year's personal theme. They were required to
  • create a large-scale work of art based on a current social, environmental, global or political issue of their choice;
  • take a stance on this personal interest and then express this stance visually; and
  • connect this issue to their personal theme.
The students were challenged to find an interesting way to connect the issue and their personal theme visually, which then became the subject matter for a creation in a medium of their choice.

The process involved individual and group process work, such as:
  • An evaluation of each student's technical strengths, weaknesses and goals
  • Class critiques in which students expressed issues of interest, as well as their personal and thematic connection to the issue
  • An exploration of materials, subject matter, techniques and approaches.
The final works are thought-provoking and technically impressive. Each represents aspects of the students' identities and creativity, local and global and concerns, and a superb commitment to their artistic studies. As the students reflected:

"I am proud of the message I represented and how I have portrayed it. My main goal was not just to represent the issue, but to [also] evoke guilt and responsibility for the issue, which I feel I have accomplished."

"The one main thing that I have learned is that, once I go deeper into [the] thought [process] of making a more creative piece, I can make it look amazing. I have also learned that I can paint and do very well with issues and pictures that I am passionate about."

"I scrapped a piece the day before the final critique and started a new one. This new image captivated my thoughts and with the help of espresso coffee, I painted throughout the night to meet the deadline. Switching my idea was worth it in the end."

Monday, 30 September 2013

Personalizing Grammar Lessons in Grade 10 French

This is the first in our series of posts with examples of personalized learning in action. Greenwood's French Instructional Leader, Heather Maxted, explains how she personalizes her French lessons to help students grasp tough grammar concepts.

On the first day of Grade 10 French, I tell my students that I am very proud of them for pushing themselves to continue pursuing French. The Ontario Curriculum FSF2D – Grade 10 Core French course is very grammar-heavy, and students are expected to identify and use a multitude of grammar concepts orally and in writing, and to have the ability to identify their use in print material.

The most challenging of the grammatical concepts is the use of the passé composé and imparfait (past tenses) together. Often the students who have been in French Immersion or who have had extensive French experience are able to use the imparfait tense along with the passé compose orally with ease; however, when it comes to using these tenses in writing they often struggle.

Personalizing Grammar Acquisition

Because of a wide range of abilities in the classroom, especially with regard to this particular grammatical concept, I have personalized the students’ grammar acquisition in Grade 10 French. I have created several lesson cycles that students will progress through at their own pace, as they are ready.

The way these cycles work is that students are pre-assessed both orally and in writing to gauge their strengths with regard to the two tenses. Some students need to start at the basic question, “What is the passé compose?” while other students are able to jump right to the level where they compare the use of the two tenses, while others are able to move straight to narrating stories using the concepts.

Lesson Cycle Structure

Each lesson cycle will ask students to:
  • Complete an oral and written pre-assessment;
  • Complete guided practice (often with an instructional video or a personal/small group lesson);
  • Complete independent practice; and
  • Complete another assessment to ensure they have learned the material prior to moving onto next steps.

Not all students make it through all of the cycles, and that is completely okay. Some of the cycles push students beyond the course expectations, so I ensure that students complete the cycles that are required for the course. Timing and pacing are personalized so that students never feel rushed or hurried before they completely understand the material. 

Heather Maxted
French Instructional Leader