Tuesday, September 16, 2014

But I thought BINGO was going to save me?!

You're thinking of Lassie.

Students are slowly but surely (mostly slowly) internalizing another new understanding of our Studio D process this week: Even BINGOs have rules.

The first rule of BINGO is: You do not talk about BINGO. 
Wait. What?! How are you possibly going to make this analogy work, Mrs. A?!
As in, actions speak louder than words. Don't talk about it, be about it.

The second rule of BINGO is: You DO NOT talk about BINGO! 
Talk is cheap.

Third rule of BINGO: Someone yells "stop," goes limp, taps out, the fight is [NOT] over. 
It may seem we are pushing you off the ledge at times, but you have to trust us to hand you the parachute first! If you have trouble correcting your errors or making the grade, ask a teacher to help you - it doesn't make the BINGO go away, and the teacher might help you by reminding you to check your notes instead of just telling you the answer, but if you continue to take appropriate action, you will eventually succeed.

Forth rule: Only two guys to a fight.
This is just you against the work. Teachers are going to show you how to find answers, not give them to you. This may be frustrating at first, but it is better for you in the long run. Along these same lines, copying someone else's A+ work, or asking them to fix yours, is not the same as BINGOing your own. By all means, seek help when needed, from peers, parents, teachers - but be careful that you are learning to correct your own mistakes, not waiting for your neighbor to hand you the answer.

Fifth rule: One fight at a time, fellas.
BINGOs have this tendency of accumulating. Studio D work can seem overwhelming because if you are redoing everything all the time and then the teachers keep giving me more work but I still have to finish that old work, and now I have so much work... This is where organization, time management, and attention to detail come in. Keeping a calendar of all deadlines and schedules, organizing your free time and incorporating "homework chunks," and paying close attention to all directions while working slowly so as not to make careless errors are all strategies I recommend. Too often a student has to BINGO work because of a format error. The more carefully you attend to your work the first time you turn it in, the more likely you are to  be successful and not need the BINGO.

Sixth rule: No shirt, no shoes. 
No work, no BINGO. You can't redo something you never did in the first place. If your work is not complete and on time the first time, you can't BINGO it. Period. BINGO can't save you if you do nothing.

Seventh rule: Fights will go on as long as they have to. 
If you are actively working through the BINGO process, and I can see that you are trying to improve your work, that you are considering feedback to improve, and you resubmit assignments as early and often as possible, I don't care if it takes you 27 BINGOs - you WILL be successful and I will see to it! But if you tap out, if you stop and give up, if you take a 3 week hiatus and mentally check out, BINGOs will reach a limit and you might be stuck with a crummy grade after all. The design process does have deadlines, and therefore so do BINGOs - it's up to you to submit as many redos as you can within the windows of time given to you.

And the eighth and final rule: If this is your first time in Studio D, you have to fight.
You asked to be here. Don't flake out on me now. It's early, and we promised you REAL work for REAL people. We promised you collaboration and leadership potential and hands-on learning. I've done this before, so I know I can and will deliver on these promises. But you aren't sure yet. You're starting to think this is more work than you thought it would be - this is too much work. They really think I'm going to write that thing AGAIN?! Yes, I do, and you may not believe me now, but you will be better for it! That's how you get REAL work done. You do it FOR REAL.

Stick with it, D9. You will do great things this year! <3 Mrs. A

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Winners Never Quit

By Barbara Soblo 

     Well, the honeymoon period is definitely over. The new clothes and supplies aren’t so new, the novelty of high school is becoming routine, and Studio D 9 is ramping up the expectations! Part of what makes our program so innovative and out of the box, is our focus on quality work over quantity. Doing multiple drafts is the norm in our class. But getting students to dig deep to create that quality requires a very different classroom vibe.

     Students know quality when they see it and when they produce it. The scary part for a teacher is that getting to quality can take a lot of time! Our first mini design challenge (what will your one sentence legacy be?) finally got to the Go! stage on Friday. For two weeks, students have designed a single sentence that captures who they are; a sentence that goes deep into their core and really captures their complexities using imagery, metaphor and words that carry multiple meanings. Friday they submitted their final work for grading; our job is now to print & post them before open house Thursday.

     In the Gather stage, students listed adjectives about themselves; don’t select words that describe what you do, but describe who you are. During the Glean stage, students boiled their list down to essentials elements. In the Generate and Gauge stages, students wrote their sentence and through several feedback sessions, the sentences changed into something wall worthy. Both teachers & students focused the critique on three things: word choice, flow, and pizazz. Students presented orally both in small groups & to the entire class. I got goosebumps when a sentence really hit the mark. But them react to the quality created by their peers really blew me away. These kids were mostly strangers some 15 days ago, and they were baring their souls to each other & asking for feedback.  

     The assignment is so simple- write a sentence about you- but in Studio D we don’t do simple. Here we begin embracing the ideals we’ll build on all year. That here we support & push each other in order to create something we can all be proud to put out in the community. That feedback must be given & received in the spirit of striving to make the work better. It’s exciting to be watch their brains switch on as they begin to understand more about Studio D and what we do.

     But the work has only just begun because our first big design challenge starts on Monday.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Creating a Culture

By Barbara Soblo

It’s not easy organizing 50+ freshman all at once, but that’s what we did this week.  Using several team building and communication activities, students began to learn each others names and some of the concepts that drive our design thinking process in Studio D.  And whether they knew it or not, they also began the process of building a classroom culture that will become the foundation for all we’ll do this year.

Whether they were constructing towers with spaghetti noodles (& don’t forget the marshmallow on top), guessing which celebrity they were using “yes or no” questions only, or lining up by birthdate without talking, students were beginning the process of being comfortable outside their comfort zone.  Our work in Studio D is all about innovation- creating something that never was.  Doing something different requires stepping away from old habits and ideas, but doing the same as everyone else doesn’t create anything new.  We like to say “if everyone is thinking the same thing then no one is thinking.”

But the activities were also training for what we’re going to be doing later in the year.  The students practiced a formal greeting and firm handshake in a scavenger hunt;  in teams, students dreamed up a whimsical product then presented it to the class.  I was really impressed at their poise in presenting to a room full of 50+ peers and four teachers!

All of the activities were connected to our process and design thinking.  This gives us a starting point for next  week as we add some Studio D specific vocabulary and begin working some mini design challenges to build on our beginning exploration of the four Cs (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication).  In everything we’ll do, individual reflection helps students step back and examine their thinking and learning.  As teachers, we get a chance to evaluate them through these reflections and use this information to guide future instruction.  This week we also started doing reflections and I want to share of our student’s thoughts with you.

We asked them about a major lesson they learned:
“Not to underestimate my colleagues because we all shoot for the same goal.”  Hector V. 
“No one can have any negative energy or the work won’t flow.”  Jacob F.
“Be open to friendly criticism.”  Faith E.
“That everyone can have an idea that can benefit the group.”  Winnie T.
“It’s important to listen and test our teammates ideas because they could be right.”  Dayonte F.

We asked them to explain the significance of prototyping:
“It gives you a chance to work out the kinks before the final product.”  Aiden C.
“See problems with the model before you build it so it saves you time and materials.”  Destiny M.
“It provides a visual for the outcome.”  Darius H.

     I love it when I see them making connections on their own!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Studio D 101- Welcome to a New Year!

By Barbara Soblo

So you’ve made it to high school and have become a member of our RedHawk family- Congratulations!  You’re one year closer to being an adult, being self sufficient and being able to make all your own decisions.  But best of all, you enrolled in Studio D and that’s something to really celebrate!  You made a great choice to join Studio D!  The teachers are going to guide you through a design process that will help you learn about yourself, learn about your world, and create spectacular work.  In our classroom, good is just the starting point. We don't settle for the norm; we push beyond to make something new and exciting.  Our students get opportunities that few other high school students do; we are truly on the leading edge of education innovation.  As your teachers, our job is to create a culture of open and respectful communication that will both challenge and support you while you work toward independence and making a difference in the world around you.  As students, your job is to be present, open-minded, and engaged each day.  You are at the beginning of a new life stage, a new school, and a new learning experience, so get ready to jump in!  I know you probably have a few questions about what we do & who we are.  Well, read on my curious friend, and I’ll do my best to give you some straight talk about what Studio D is, and what Studio D isn’t.

STUDIO D IS different from other classrooms you’ve been in. 
We strongly believe that school is the real world and that trying to separate the two is impossible.  We are passionate about project based learning and design thinking.  The methods we use in Studio D are proven to develop critical thinking, confidence, and leadership and to prepare our students for whatever the future brings.  As student designers, you’ll collaborate with experts beyond our classroom walls in order to find new solutions to real problems.  For many of the challenges we set, you’ll interview people through email, phone calls, and face to face meetings in order to benefit from their expertise and share ideas.  Forget the notion that your school work is seen only by teachers and parents.  We believe that in order to do authentic work, you must have a public audience; this means your final designs will go beyond our classroom walls, too.  This certainly ups the stakes!  In here, we never settle for good enough because our name and reputation are on everything we do.  Through our creative design process and a classroom culture of excellence, you will learn how to design and create unique products to meet real world needs.

STUDIO D IS sometimes noisy and messy.
            In our classroom, you get to speak up about what you know and what questions you have; this is the first stage of learning in our design process!  Our students come up with the questions that lead us through the content together.  The end stage involves students explaining solutions they’ve designed and why they best fit the challenge.  You will present your work to the public, but first you will practice by presenting your designs to each other.  A big part of Studio D is critique and revision of our work.  Students learn to look with a critical eye in order to provide meaningful and honest feedback.  As teachers, we believe we are smarter and more creative designers when we work together as a team.  We all have strengths we bring to the table.  Our design challenges are set up so that each person adds value to the team.  Our process sets the framework for and facilitates building these dynamic teams. By creating a culture of respect and cooperation, Studio D will help move you further than you thought you could go.  Your job is to be open to the mind blowing experience of expanding your world view through this type of collaboration.

STUDIO D ISN’T a pat on the back or a prize for every piece of paper you scribble on.
            Our design process emphasizes high quality work and the idea that the product can always be improved.  The journey to this level isn't quick or easy; to finish with an end product that has lasting value, many drafts get left behind.  The process of designing never stops; this is how design works in the real world.  Just look at one innovation near and dear to your heart- the computer.  The first computers took up an entire rooms and having a bug in your program was a literal thing.  Today, most of us have a smartphone with us every day, which is basically a computer in your pocket.  And while the phones of today are pretty cool pieces of technology, the designers haven’t stopped working to improve the design.  In Studio D we’re going to introduce you to our five design stages: Gather, Glean, Generate, Gauge and Go!  This process is really the heart of what we do.  Get rid of that notion of a rough draft, a few edits, then a finished product and you’re done.  Sometimes you might present a seventh draft, and it’s still not ready for a public audience.  That's ok, because it always centers on the product we're creating, not on the person who's creating it. 

            We’re going to ask you to come up with solutions that haven’t been designed yet.  This isn’t a cookie cutter classroom where teachers give you all the steps to come up with the same finished product that everyone else has already achieved.  We expect you to blow us away with your creative solutions - ideas we didn’t imagine when designing the challenge.  I’ve seen amazing work from students that left me speechless; I have no doubt that will happen this year, too.  Being innovative isn’t easy, but don’t worry.  As teacher innovators ourselves, we get that.   We’ll be working right beside you everyday helping guide you and push you to keep those creative juices flowing.

STUDIO D IS life changing.
            As part of Studio D, I’ve seen students work harder and create more than they ever thought they could.  I’ve seen student teams do amazing things when I wasn’t sure they’d get off the ground.  But when the work matters to the students, they show incredible drive and passion, and never settle for mediocre.  As teachers, we believe in designing challenges that have relevance and that students can relate to.  As part of Studio D, I’ve watched students present their work in front of an auditorium full of their peers, families, and community members and confidently lead question and answer sessions.  These students worked with me, cried with me, fought with me, and laughed with me. But they all came in to Studio D just like you.  They weren’t really sure what to expect from this kind of environment, but they all jumped in with both feet.  Watching them gain confidence, expand their minds, and imagine new possibilities for what they could become changed me forever.  I look forward to watching you take on Studio D challenges this year- I know I’m not done changing.  I look forward to an amazing new year with you!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

MAP Reading Test Results

What is MAP?
According to the Northwest Evaluation Association website (http://www.nwea.org), MAP (which stands for Measures of Academic Progress) is a “computerized adaptive assessment [...] aligned to national and state curricula and standards [which provides] detailed, actionable data about where each child is on their unique learning path.” The MAP assessment “adapts to a student’s responses as they take the test.” If a student answers a question correctly, the test presents a more challenging item, whereas if a student misses a question, the test presents a simpler item.

How is MAP scored?
Again, from their website, “Every test item on a MAP assessment corresponds to a value on the RIT Scale (for Rasch Unit), so educators gain a deep understanding of what a student knows. RIT assigns a value of difficulty to each item, and with an equal interval measurement, so the difference between scores is the same regardless of whether a student is at the top, bottom, or middle of the scale. RIT measures understanding regardless of grade level, so the information helps to track a student’s progress from year to year.” 
Essentially students receive an average RIT score upon completion of the test. This number is used to determine how close to grade level that student is working in that particular content area. For example, an average 9th grade student testing for reading in the spring is expected to earn a RIT score of 224. (A score of 220 would indicate that student is working at an average 8th grade level, whereas a score of 227 would indicate that student is working at an average 10th grade level.) The differences between grade level average scores is not always uniform or intuitive; to interpret any particular RIT score, one should consult the RIT reference charts available on the NWEA website.

The “D” is for Design, Not Standardized… Putting it into Perspective
One of the primary tenets of Studio D is that standardized tests, like MAP, do not provide a complete account of any student’s knowledge or growth. We prefer to emphasize real life experiences, collaboration, real world problem solving, and critical thinking. That being said, we also acknowledge that standardized tests, like MAP, are currently necessary in the field of education and do hold some value. While they may not provide a full picture of student’s real world skills, they can provide certain measures of achievement and valuable data related to specific skill sets and growth. No two students are the same, and Studio D strives to provide an education that recognizes this. On the other hand, standardized tests are standardized in order to assist educators in comparing student achievement levels across diverse populations and in evaluating the effectiveness of their methods.
So do we believe standardized tests, like MAP, can be valuable tools? Yes.
Do we believe in analyzing the data they provide us? Yes.
Do we believe that performance on a standardized test can tell us everything (or even most) of what we want to know about our students’ growth and achievement? Absolutely not.
Do we believe in evaluating our teaching methods regularly to achieve maximum impact on student learning and growth? Absolutely, yes (That’s how we ended up with Studio D)!

All that being said, here are the results of this year’s MAP testing.

49 Studio D freshmen took the MAP reading test in the fall as new freshmen, and again today.

  • 24% of these Studio D freshmen (12 students) scored below grade level in the fall.
    • 75% (9 of these 12 students) improved their score from the fall. 
  • 73% of Studio D freshmen scored at or above grade level today.
  • 10% of Studio D freshmen (5 students) maintained their score from the fall. 
    • 80% of those students who maintained their score from the fall (i.e., 4 of the 5) are continuing to score above grade level. 
  • 69% of Studio D freshmen improved their score from the fall. 
    • The average rate of increase of those who improved their score from the fall was 3.6 points. (On-grade-level freshmen are expected to increase their fall to spring scores by 2 points). 
  • 14% of Studio D freshmen (7 students) scored just slightly below grade level today (i.e., late 8th grade level, or beginning 9th grade level)
    • 5 of these 7 students maintained or improved their score from the fall. 
  • 12% of Studio D freshmen (6 students) scored significantly below grade level today. 
    • 4 of these 6 students improved their score from the fall.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Rose-Bud-Thorn Action

This has been such the funky week for us. 10th graders were taking the HSAP exit exam all week, so today was the only really normal day we have had all week. Students were able to get in the media center and work on their documentaries some, too, which is good. It's hard to believe we're a MONTH away from our showing. We have so much to do....so much.

Today, we took some time to reflect on our documentary making process by doing an activity called Rose-Bud-Thorn activity. Here's a quick 2 minute video for anyone interested. Huge shout out to Lisa Palmieri (@Learn21Tech) for this great activity! Check out her work here! 

Students reflected on their process so far, from writing scripts and storyboards, to editing and filming, and talked about what their roses, thorns, and buds were. We had some great, open, and honest conversations taking place about where we could celebrate our victories, and where our thorns were.

Surprisingly to the students, most of their thorns were similar. They spoke of a lack of communication, ineffective team work, struggles with time management, and a need to prioritize their work. Mrs. Auspelmyer was insightful enough to point out that (almost) all of their thorns were things that they could control. We didn't have to tell them to write down things they could fix, because apparently all their problems are fixable. They discussed and brainstormed ways to turn their thorns into buds and were able to take away some concrete solutions that they began to institute today. So proud of their reflections!

Mrs. A took it one step further and assigned a written reflection- one of their first grades for her for this 9 weeks. She told them to write a reflection on their group's Roses, Buds, and Thorns. We talked about the concept that a reflection is not a list, or a recap of discussion. A reflection digs deeper into the ideas they talked about as a group. A reflection considers causes and effects, and proposes possible solutions to problems. Three questions should could consider when writing:

How did Roses become roses?
How did Thorns get to be thorns?
How might we develop buds into roses and not thorns?

Writing is due Wednesday, April 9th
Must be in MLA style
Must be a hard copy- written or typed- doesn't matter
Needs a title- can get creative if you like
Minimum 250 words but should be longer
Must address Roses, Buds, AND Thorns

Students should be mindful of their grammar, punctuation, and style. This will be graded for all of those components, in addition to thoughtful content.

Make sure you spend some time going over that. Anywho, here are some pictures and videos from our session. Happy Friday!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Show-Feel-Do Maps

Students' storyboards and scripts are in full revision mode this week. Students created some great scripts with powerful examples of human rights violations and what their peers and community can do to help.

Some students at the beginning of the week were struggling to find their focus. They knew what information they wanted to include, but weren't sure how to make that information into a documentary.

I had done an organization activity with a few groups where we began with what we wanted our audience to do, what we needed them to feel in order to act, and what we needed to show them in order for them to feel that emotion. In short, I'm calling them Show-Feel-Do maps. It helped students to make a logical order and organization of what they wanted to achieve and how they needed to go about achieving it.


Students had to first answer the question, "What do you want your audience to do?" Most of what they came up with was a Call to Action or Response. They wanted their audience to do something after seeing their documentary: volunteer, donate, speak up, spread awareness, etc. So knowing they wanted to elicit a certain response, we talked about the fact that certain emotions elicit responses more quickly than others. People respond to guilt, happiness, anger, and sadness and can be moved to action if that emotion is rooted deeply enough. We then had the talk about what information would evoke what emotional response. How do people respond to children suffering? How do people respond to pictures of domestic violence victims? Students had to carefully consider not only how they were portraying information to get that emotional response, but to use that power carefully. Empathy for the people and groups they were representing was first on their mind as they decided what to show.

For some groups, this just helped to solidify the direction of their film. For others, this changed their whole approach.

As of Friday, half of our groups had begun filming and editing in iMovie. The other half are split: one quarter is ready to film as of Monday, the other quarter is still revising their scripts for approval.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Revisions, Revisions

So for the past two day students have been working diligently (for the most part) on their storyboards, scripts, and B-roll for their documentaries. Groups turned these in yesterday for feedback. Coach K went through them individually. For the most part they weren't bad. There was a lot left to be desired in terms of detail.

Students were told that when they created their storyboards that three pieces of information were critical to getting a complete vision before filming. Students had to include Dialogue, Action, and FX. The major problems with storyboards that were turned in were a lack of detail. Students would say something like "Speaker will talk about violations of our right." That doesn't tell me EXACTLY what will be said. Before anyone will be given a camera to film we have to know EXACTLY what will be filmed, including what will be said WORD FOR WORD.

For the most part, students did well on the action and timing of each scene and shot, but please keep in mind that shot and scene times may change when you actually have a camera in hand.

If you are still struggling with storyboarding check out this video for some examples of clarification.

Here are some examples of films under 5 minutes. They are not all documentaries, but at least you can see what a short film looks like.

Do Not Forget:
-Final drafts of storyboards, scripts, and b-roll are all due Friday. You have today and tomorrow to revise.
-Children's Book Revision due Friday
     *Must include 3 critiques and must have begun final product
     *Final Final Product due 3/28
-Mr. Mayes' Middle East Project is due tomorrow!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Documentaries, Children's Books, and MiddleEastProjectsQuoteAnalysis, Oh My!

Today students worked in their human rights groups to determine an "angle" for their documentaries. They drafted essential questions, listed sources to consult, and considered the role they want to tackle for this challenge. 

  • Reporters: grassroots work, plan/set-up/conduct interviews, transcribe interviews, gather research (including information,photos, videos, b-roll, music, etc.), keep log of all actions/findings
  • Screenwriters: view & edit research/interviews (from reporters), study action logs & provide guidance, pull sound bites, storyboarding, script writing
  • Producers: computer editing work, create final product, take all pieces from reporters and screenwriters and match-up (put together narration/script with photos, videos, music, etc.), transition rough work to professional quality

Next week, groups will continue researching, mapping and storyboarding. A rough draft of story boards will be due for critique on Wednesday, March 19th. 

Students are using the project management app Basecamp to organize themselves, their thoughts, their research, their to-do lists, and their deadlines. (And it helps us keep us with them too!) 

Children's Books
Mrs. Soblo returned children's book drafts with LOTS of feedback for students! The next steps, which began with fervor today, have students revising, correcting, and re-drafting their books and then passing these new and improved drafts among their peers for critique and even more feedback. 

Middle East Projects
On Monday Mr. Mayes wants to see a final draft of students' Middle East Culture Project. They will have a BINGO opportunity for this assignment if they need one, but final products are now due. 

Book Thief Quote Analysis
Quote Analysis #2 (as well as any quote analysis BINGOs) is due Monday as well. 
Students had class time Wednesday and Thursday to work on this assignment and receive feedback and extra assistance from Mrs. A. It's apparent that students are getting better and better at this skill with each attempt. Many students finished early this time and have already turned it in! 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

It's documentary, my dear Watson.

I crack myself up.

Today we worked in halves.

With Coach K, students were introduced to the idea that we would be putting on a film festival to feature student written, produced, and filmed documentaries highlighting their human right group and violations. Some were more enthusiastic than others but there is SO much potential here for creative license and amazing products, we just can't pass it up. We're shooting for a showing on May 9th to collaborate with D10 and their 'The Other F Word' design challenge on fitness. They are also producing videos and documentaries so we are hoping to offer a double feature and invite the community and school to attend. With a May 9th deadline, this gives students approximately six weeks to plan, write, film, and edit their 5-8 minute films.

Students took notes on the 6 different forms of documentaries according to Bill Nichols, author of Introduction to Documentary. Here are those notes for anyone who did not get them, or needs them again. There is also a page with extra resources and other video examples than the ones we viewed in class.

Students also spent some time with Mrs. A. They finished Part 9 of The Book Thief and she has graciously offered her lunch tomorrow to provide extra help for students who are struggling with their quote analysis. PLEASE take advantage of this opportunity if you are having a hard time, or even just want extra help. She'll be in her classroom during lunch.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Critiques and BINGOs

Students' rough drafts of their Middle Eastern Culture mini-project were due to Mr. Mayes yesterday. He was able to look over them and today students were able to critique their classmates' work.

Students collaborated on a list of qualities that, aside from the required content, a quality final product would need to have. This is the list they came up with:
  • Clear Organization
  • Labels of Parts
  • Bullet points of important information
  • Skimmable
  • Title
  • Visually Appealing
    • Neat
    • Colorful
    • Font Consistency
    • Visuals Incorporated
    • Captions
  • History as well as modern culture
  • Grammar/Punctuation/Capitalization
  • Interesting
    • Relevant
    • Personal
    • Points of Interest 
Students were then given 4 minutes to exchange their rough draft with another group. The first two minutes were spent silently critiquing the other group's project based on the criteria above. The second two minutes were split between the groups; each group had one minute to get clarification on any questions or to give their suggestions. This allowed students to both give and receive feedback on their work.


After four rounds of feedback students were put back in their groups and began to sort through the feedback they were given. They began revisions based on their classmates feedback and will continue those revisions later this week. The final product is due Friday, March 21st but students will have a chance to conference with Mr. Mayes early next week. 

With Mrs. Auspelmyer, students reviewed how to write quote analysis and were given a second assignment to practice their skills. Those students who are still having difficulty with quote analysis formed a small group with Mrs. A talked  about their weaknesses and the feedback they had received. Students who had previously BINGO'ed their first quote analysis were given the opportunity to BINGO that assignment again. Students were also given a second set of quotes to continue practicing their close reading skills. The second set of quotes will be due Monday and that assignment information is here. 


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Deciding on the 'How'

The past few weeks we have been slowly, but surely, chipping away at our Human Rights Design Challenge. Students have presented on their group's right and grades are finally posted on how their presentation went. Mrs. Soblo and Coach K were in Austin last week at SXSWedu and so Mrs. A and Mr. Mayes (Coach West's long term sub) were with the students. They worked diligently on a children's book for Mrs. Soblo and their first drafts have been submitted. Here is that information. She is working hard to get feedback on those so that students can make revisions and hopefully get those into the hands of elementary schools students for even more feedback.

 Mr. Mayes began a Middle East culture project and the rough draft of that is due today. Here's that assignment again, in case you need it. 

For the Human Rights challenge, students were asked to put together a proposal for Coach K on their top 3 preferred methods of delivery for what they have learned. Essentially, students have spent weeks talking about why their human rights are important, why they are worth teaching about, and proving that they have a solid understanding of both of those points. Now that they have achieved those things, they have to think about HOW they want to inform their peers and community about human rights violations both locally and internationally. So, while Coach K was gone students worked on putting together presentations that talked about their top 3 choices of how to present their information. Students, on the whole, did a great job of selling their preferred method of delivery. There were some really great ideas and some not so great ideas. Students were able to give feedback via Google Doc to air out any questions they might have about the presented ideas.

As of Monday, the top three group favorites were a game show, a documentary or film, and a scavenger hunt. Just because they're student favorites doesn't mean that they're the teacher picks, but they will definitely be taken into consideration.

Later on in the week students will get their feedback from Coach K as to which methods were presented the strongest, and which, as a group, we will be moving forward with in the very near future.

Today students are also taking a quiz on The Book Thief (surprise!) and continuing with our bi-weekly EOC practice for the English 1 EOC.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Presentation Rubric for Campfire Presentations on 2/4

This is the rubric you will be scored with on Tuesday, Feb. 4th, for your campfire presentation. Don't forget your are receving two grades: an individual grade on your presentation, and a group grade on the content you present. Please make sure that you are rehearsing accordingly. The presentation must be a minimum of 3 minutes long and a maximum of 5. No reading from materials is allowed. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Teacher Interest Challenge

Today, students were introduced to our next design challenge. We wanted to give students an opportunity to work with the 10th graders in Studio D to promote collaboration and foster a sense of unity  throughout the program. These design challenges were based on teacher interests and are being led by teachers from both D9 and D10.

Students were given some quick information on each of these challenges and asked to choose their first, second, and third choices. Here are the three HMW's for these challenges:

Trailblazers: How might we showcase the wild beauty of Westwood in a way that promotes fitness?
FunD It: What can we do or create that will show off our Studio D skills to make money for our program?
SDPR: How might we market our program by using and promoting students’ individual strengths?

Next Friday, January 31, both D9 and D10 will be participating in an In-School Field Study to begin the Gather stage of this design challenge. Students will meet with the teacher leaders of their groups and start to brainstorm what they'll need to know in order to complete this challenge. This will be something that students will work on over the next few months, so make sure you check with your student to see what project they are working on.

Priorities for Today (1/24/13)
-Africa Map Quiz (20 countries only; no capitals)
-Vocabulary Unit 5 Review (Quiz Tuesday 1/28)
-Introduce Teacher Interest Design Challenge
-Continue Human Rights Violation Research (See guidelines here)

Make sure you fill out the form to let us know what your first, second, and third place choices are for the Teacher Interest Challenge

Click Here!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Moving to Glean with Human Rights

Questions for today's FOD assignment:

For Thursday, January 23rd:

1) Review the UDHR and identify which specific articles deal with your human right group.

2) Research your problems or violations that you identified broke the UDHR where you HR group is concerned. Cross reference the articles you JUST identified to make sure that a violation is present.

IF a violation is present, research the article where you originally found the violation and collect the following facts:

1) Where did this violation occur?
2) Who did this violation effect?
3) How does it violate an article of the UDHR?
4) What are the greater implications of this violation for the entire HR group?
5) Citation of the article in MLA format

Create an annotated bibliography of your sources. Only one per group is needed.

Use this website for the UDHR: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hiring Fair

Hey guys!

It's been a while but with the craziness of exams things have been out of whack around these parts. Tomorrow we are having a hiring fair for all the students who were either fired from their groups or who decided to walk away.

Either way, there's an opportunity for you to get rehired! Tomorrow from 9-10:15 we'll be having group interviews. If you're a free agent who didn't get an interview scheduled let me know, but if you did best of luck in your interviews tomorrow!

We watched the awesome short documentary from PBS entitled "Extreme by Design". The film covered Stanford's d.school and one of their classes that focuses on extreme design to create affordable, realistic solutions to problems in the world. There have been some amazing start-ups (get more on that term here!) that have come from this class and our students are doing work very similar to that done at Stanford. It was great to hear a common language between us and know that our students are capable of doing work that can make a change!

After watching the video, students began their Idea Wave brainstorm to look at two different things. The first was what are some possible things we can create to alleviate some of the problems people have that struggle with that group's human right. The second was what are some possible educational tools we can create to better inform our peers about what those human rights issues are. Students presented and got feedback on their first draft of the idea wave and will continue those revisions tomorrow. We're hoping to finish feedback, too.

All in all it's been a good week gang. Glad to see you all back together.

P.S. Go follow @WHS_StudioD on Twitter. I'm feeling lonely.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Studio D Midterms

Hey gang!

Welcome back.....to your midterm exam! Yayyyyyy.

We will be taking our Studio D Midterm on 
Friday, January 10th 
during the 2nd and 3rd period exam slots. 

Content from the midterm will be split amongst the four classes that make up Studio D9. One quarter of the exam will be English content, one quarter will be Environmental Science content, one quarter will be World Geography content, and one quarter will be Foundations of Design content. Each teacher will grade their respective content from the exam to use for the midterm grade for their individual class. A student's performance in one content area of the exam will NOT affect his or her performance in any other content area of the exam; they will be graded independently. 

Students spent today reviewing all of their content from first semester in groups and were tasked to create the questions to their midterm. Students are responsible for drafting 20 questions (and the answers!) individually, 5 per subject area. From there, students will choose the 10 best questions from each group for each subject to submit to the teacher for the exam. The teacher will choose appropriate student questions to include on the midterm. 

In each of the four courses that make up Studio D9, the exam will count as 10% of the students' Semester One grade for each class. Quarter One will count 45%, Quarter Two will count 45%, 
and the midterm will count 10% 
to make up students' final Semester One grade. 

Students will take their exam during two consecutive 100 minute periods; therefore, each of the four content portions of the exam will be approximately 50 minutes long. Please note that the number of questions will vary for each subject depending on the length of the response. 
Students will take the English content portion of the midterm and the Design content portion of the midterm during the 2nd period exam block, Friday, January 10, 8:35 am -10:15 am. 
Students will take the Environmental Studies content portion of the midterm and the World Geography content portion of the midterm during the 3rd period exam block, Friday, January 10,  10:30 am -12:10 pm. 

Students will spend the rest of the week preparing and reviewing for this test. A complete list of subjects that could be on the exam can be found below.

Annotated Bibliographies
Research skills
Using direct quotes and paraphrase
Quote Analysis
MLA Format
Professional Email
Text Analysis
Writing Summaries
Presentation Skills
Study Skills
Reading Skills/Note-taking skills
Literary Terms/Figurative Language

World Geography
Central America (Countries and Capitals)
South America (Countries and Capitals)
Culture and its components
History of Music
Government Types
Fidel Castro
Joseph Stalin
Nelson Mandela
Major World Religions (The Big 3)
Protestant vs. Catholic
Industrial Revolution
Great Depression
Dust Bowl
2013 Government Shutdown
Global Warming
Soil Nutrients

Environmental Studies
Using a Dichotomous Key
Scientific Method
-identifying variables
-how to measure
-making a hypothesis
-drawing conclusions
-graphing data
Food Webs/Chains & Trophic Levels
Habitats/ Organisms in the Environment
SC Regions
Unit Conversion

Design Process
The 5 G’s (Be able to explain and given synonyms for each stage)
Critique and Revision
-‘Keep it About the Brownies’
-‘Don’t Yuck My Yum’
Interview Process
Tool Safety (General-Don’t get tool specific)
Brainstorming Techniques
Collaborative Skills
Human Rights History