This project is an evolution of a project that was started between our Guidance teacher, Naho Kikuchi and myself a few years ago. At the time, we came up with the idea of creating an integrated unit based on emotions. Naho would teach about emotions in her grade 4 guidance classes. I would build on that information by having the students create digital cartoon faces expressing those emotions using Photoshop and then print those faces on to a t-shirt. It was an interesting way of learning about emotions, but as with any unit I teach it needed to be updated and brought forward.
The final project for this course gave us the perfect opportunity to do that. It was an easy decision to update the Emotions unit as it was becoming old and tired. Being part of Coetail kind of opened our eyes to see some new possibilities as to what could be done with this project. We invited Daryl Imanishi, who is one of our ES Japanese teachers to join us. What the three of us came up with is a new unit where the students would create a wikiWikispaces.com based on feelings/emotions. The students in grade 4 would be working in collaborative groups using different technology skills to contribute to the wiki from all 3 (Guidance, Art Japanese) of our classes. In this way the wiki could show 3 distinctly different point of views that would contribute to the overall idea. To write out our unit we decided it would be best to follow our school format. The American in School In Japan utilizes Curriculum Mapping with Rubicon ATLAS.
Working out the details turned out to be a great learning experience as well. Our discussions on what to do went in many different directions because of what we have been learning. We were looking at things differently; from a new point of view. All of this led to the fact that even though we were all teaching in very different subject areas, we could all contribute to single idea and impact student learning.
Now the really hard part comes into play and that is finding a time to teach our new unit. All 3 of us have totally different schedules. I see my art students once in a 6 day cycle, Naho sees her Guidance kids once every 2 cycles and Daryl sees his Japanese students every other day. it is kind of a scheduling nightmare. The best time for us to do this is for Art and Guidance to start at the beginning of the year and by the time we got to mid October, Japanese would be ready to contribute to the wiki. At this point we are still working out the details in an effort to see if we can implement this unit sometime soon.
This first course has been an eye opening experience for me. Education like any other industry changes and moves forward. Sometimes it moves slowly kicking and screaming the whole way and at other times it races ahead not waiting for you to catch up. This program is tearing me away from the past and is giving me the opportunity to catch up. It is exciting and a breath of fresh air all at the same time to see all the new possibilities out there and try them in your teaching. It will be interesting to see what happens next.