Friday, April 24, 2020

Distance Learning Lesson: Virtual Museum Field Trip

Hello artists!

One of the first lessons I assigned to my 6-8th grade students when we started Distance Learning was a Virtual Museum field trip. All of my students were sent home with laptops, but nothing else. So while I was figuring out how to teach art without art supplies to students I had never even met--I decided everyone was going to get out of their houses (at lease virtually) and go on a field trip!

So, there were two parts of this field trip: the Google SLIDESHOW and a FORMS the students would fill out about their trip.
Here's the intro slide--Let's go on a field trip!

I gave the students eight choices for museums to visit. My choices were, at first, based on an article I read from Travel and Leisure. When we were transitioning to at-home learning, I was overwhelmed, to say the least. We had a little but of training and then, poof! We were at home. So when I read the Travel and Leisure article, I thought I had read the answer to my dreams!

Once I started reviewing the exhibits Travel & Leisure suggested, I realized that some of the suggestions weren't gonna cut it for my middle school kids. So, I used some of their suggestions and added a few of my own. You could choose TONS of museums, I was just looking for about 8 choices total and they had to be based on Google Arts and Culture AND I needed to get this done ASAP while my four kids were home and I was setting up classes on Google Classroom (which I hadn't really used before and learning Zoom and everything else). Whew! That was 5 weeks ago and it seems like forever!

Once the students clicked on a museum choice on the slide above they were taken to a slide for that museum.
The slide for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

I put a little write-up for the museum on the slide along with a link that will take them to the Google Arts and Culture page for that museum. 

What I like about Google Arts and Culture is that there's so much on a museum's page, like the one for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. There's exhibits, TONS of artwork, street views of artwork, museum views and a link to the museums official site. 

What My Students Did For this Project

I made my students a VIDEO explaining what I wanted them to do with this project. Again, we're using Google Classroom, so the SLIDESHOW and the FORMS (I'll tell you about those in a minute) were uploaded and assigned to them in Google Classroom. 

Here's what I asked them to do:

  1. Look through the slideshow and choose a museum to visit.
  2. Click on the link in the slideshow to visit the Museum's page on Google Arts and Culture.
  3. Poke around. Visit an exhibit. Look at the art. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click on the link for the Museum's website. Check it out!
  4. While you are looking around, set a 15 minute timer. See how many see how many items you can find from the scavenger hunt form. 
  5. Pick two pieces of artwork from your trip--one you have questions about and another that you love. Write about those on the museum response page.
I used the forms from Kitchen Table Classroom. I downloaded them (they're free!) and made them fillable forms on Google Slides. Other options would be just having students use printed versions (we aren't allowed to ask kids to print anything at home--most aren't able to) or you could create a google form where they can fill out the info as they go, etc.

How'd It Go?

Almond Blossom by Vincent van Gogh
Image courtesy of the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Pretty good! This was the first thing my students did for me and I had never had them in class before (the trimester switched as we were transitioning to online learning). There were some issues, but most of my 6-8th graders were able to complete this project successfully. What I liked about this project is that students were able to select a piece of work that was their favorite and tell me why. This was a nice way to get to know the students!

It was fun to see the work the student chose. Van Gogh was a favorite and so was Diego Rivera. The most often visited museums were The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico. The most often-liked image out of the hundreds they could choose, was Almond Blossoms by Vincent van Gogh.

Do You Want To See What They Liked? 

Some of the surprises that my students said were their favorites.

Sure! Because the artwork was all on Google Arts and Culture, I was able to create an online Gallery of their favorite pieces.This is great because they can see what other students liked and the work can be used for a future project or reflection.

I'm so glad that I had the students "get out" and explore some museums from around the world! If you are looking for a fun lesson to get your students looking at and thinking about art--I hope you give this a try!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Distance Learning: Student Contact Log

Happy Monday!

Our district has been doing distance learning for three weeks and I wanted to share this "Student Contact Log" I created and have been using.

For our students, we need to track a couple of things:

  1. Tasks Assigned (Projects, questions, etc)
  2. Contact we've had with students (Via email, Live class sessions, Personal comments in Google Classroom, and Other)
  3. Grades (we use the online software Empower and a four point grading system)
I can track all sorts of things, such as: what I've asked from students, what they've done and when I've heard from them and there's a comment area so I can write when I've had to reach out to guidance, or a parent, etc. It's all available at a glance. 

But no matter what you are doing in your school, you may need a system for keeping track of it all. Check out this form and feel free to make a copy and make it your own.

My advice: Just keep it simple. If this is too much (or not enough), then create something even better. We are all under an enormous strain right now. We need to keep things as manageable (read: easy) as possible!

We've got this!

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