Chinatown in Chicago

This past Saturday, July 18th, we made the trip into Chicago’s Chinatown with Professor Petrov. She guided us through parts of the neighborhood that really highlighted how the community was maintaining its culture in the midst of mainstream American culture. As we walked down the streets, we saw bilingual signs that advertised their goods and services in Chinese and English. We also had the good fortune of having a wonderful lunch in an authentic Chinese restaurant.

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Chinatown is truly a community that has shown how it is possible to be bilingual in all aspects and at all ages!

Integrating Technology Into the Classroom with Professor Freville

Our final professional development course was with Professor Freville. He introduced us to new creative ways to integrate technology into our teaching. Click on the link to see one of the projects we worked on using Adobe Voice and iPad’s, in order to get a real sense of the ways students would be engaged with their own learning.

https://voice.adobe.com/a/YLMnG

Don’t forget to come back to read his blog post explaining things to greater detail! (In the meantime, check out these awesome pictures. You’ll see how interactive the works are even after the students complete them!)

Graduation from ELS

This Friday, July 17th, we all successfully completed our ELS Chicago program! We celebrated having finished our English courses and the perfect attendance of our group. Our teachers acknowledge those who had earned top marks in their courses. After the graduation ceremony, we enjoyed a reception to mark our accomplishments as well as to say a final goodbye to other international students that were also returning to their home countries.

Thank you everyone at ELS Chicago for making our time so memorable and so worthwhile!

Integrating Art into the Classroom

How can art be used to generate more creative, expressive, and powerful thinking dispositions in students?  Using examples from the classroom, and participating in mini-lesson samples, we explored ways in which art can enhance curricular studies with students.

Using Art to Teach Thinking Routines

Artful Thinking website: “The goal of the Artful Thinking program is to help students develop thinking dispositions that support thoughtful learning – in the arts, and across school subjects.”  Many of the strategies exampled through their website are supportive of literacy strategies for students of all grade levels.

Click here to find an adapted resource list of Artful Thinking Routines, six of them are highlighted below.

Working in groups, we used the following strategies:

  • LOOKING 10 x 2
  • PERCEIVE. KNOW. CARE ABOUT.
  • BEGINNING. MIDDLE. END.
  • CLAIM. SUPPORT. QUESTION.
  • THINK. PUZZLE. EXPLORE.
  • WHAT MAKES YOU SAY THAT?

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Don’t miss this!!  To see numerous classroom examples of the Artful Thinking ideas, check out A Culture of Thinking blog.  The student examples are vast and inspiring.  Although many are representative of elementary classroom work, each could be adapted for older students as well.

Using Chalk Pastels:  Create, explore, and crystalize ideas

6-word memoirs are a terrific way to have students synthesize their experiences or introduce themselves at the start of the year.  To highlight the memoirs we wrote ours using chalk pastels.  Although messy by nature, pastels can take the simple and make it beautiful.  Even students who claim to have little artistic talent will walk away with a unique piece of art and burst of happiness. At our class session on July 16th, we created a class “quilt” of 6-word memoirs around the following prompt: In 6 words, describe the educational experience you have had this summer.

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(Student 6-word memoir examples)

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(First year teacher examples)

After the students create memoirs, you can create a word cloud using Wordle or Taxedo.  Word clouds are also an interesting way to demonstrate themes in readings.  You can select whole text sections to input into a word cloud and the more common words will be highlighted.

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I also use chalk pastels when we are investigating literature and characters in stories.  My students read As I Lay Dying and there are numerous references to “eyes” and “seeing.”  I LOVE perception themes!  We collected the quotes and then proceeded to draw our interpretation of the “seeing eye.”

When we read Tsotsi the first chapter introduced the four main characters.  Each student selected a character and drew the “eyes” of that character.  You can imagine what Butcher’s eyes looked like.  The classmates had to guess which character’s eyes were represented and defend their answer with references to the text.  We then took all of the eyes and created a character chart to display in the room as a guide while we continued to read the rest of the story.

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Additional Resources

(1) Edutopia highlighted Bates Middle School in Annapolis, Maryland.  Here you will find Lesson Plans and Resources for Arts Integration with numerous examples from across the disciplines for how to integrate the arts and capitalize on the engaging nature of the art-integration processes.

(2) Teaching Tolerance: Art and Activism “This series capitalizes on children’s natural relationship to art by prompting them to examine the ways art relates to community leadership and activism.”

(3) Ms. Brown’s Art Class  Includes lesson examples and curricular ideas for integrating art into the kindergarten-5th grade level classroom.

(4) The UIC Spiral Network is a great resource for locating different curricular project ideas that support artistic explorations around ideas of culture, identity, power, change, and more.

(5) ArtsEdge: Connect. Create.  “ArtsEdge is the Kennedy Center’s free digital resource for teaching and learning in, through and about the arts.”

Edutopia highlighted Bates Middle School in Annapolis, Maryland.

Lesson Plans and Resources for Arts Integration has numerous examples from across the disciplines for how to integrate the arts and capitalize on the engaging nature of the art-integration processes.

Edutopia highlighted Bates Middle School in Annapolis, Maryland.

Lesson Plans and Resources for Arts Integration has numerous examples from across the disciplines for how to integrate the arts and capitalize on the engaging nature of the art-integration processes.

Don’t miss this!!  To see numerous classroom examples of the Artful Thinking ideas, check out A Culture of Thinking blog.  The student examples are vast and inspiring.  Although many are representative of elementary classroom work, each could be adapted for older students as well.

Dialogic Educating with Dr. Harman

Dr. Harman guided us through Educational leaders that allowed us to reflect upon different teaching styles. We discussion why it was key to us Dialogue when teaching any students. To give you an idea of the philosophies that were used to guide the concept of Dialogic Education, take a moment to reflect on these three key individuals in education:

All learning comes from the ACTIVITY of the learner. – Maria Montessori

All knowledge is a person’s construction of her/his own experiences. – John Dewey

Human learning/knowing is all done in LANGUAGE. Therefore, we need one another to learn/know. -Vygotsky

Dr. Harman put his beliefs into practice and engaged us in a discussion of norms in our classrooms, the techniques we used, and a reflection on which of those were Directive vs Dialogic. Afterwards we had to break into different groups and share what we had learned.

“Take me out to the Ballgame”

On July 6th we finally went to see the Chicago Cubs in a baseball game in their very own Wrigley Field! The game was even more thrilling to see in person. We enjoyed using our “Cubs Bucks” to buy food from concession stands, ate plenty of peanuts and got rained on by the 8th inning. All the same, we had a great time!

(Come back soon, we promise to add many more pictures!)

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