This year, I have been introducing blogging in my classes (to varying degrees). I have written on them several times in my previous posts: “First Week Using Class Blogs,” “Update on Blogging in the Class Part 2,” and “Update on Using Class Blogs.”
I have three preps and five classes: Ancient/Medieval History (9th grade), College Prep United States History (11th & 12th grade), and AP Art History (11th & 12th grade). This is my first year teaching AP Art History. I have taught Art History I and Art History II at the college level, as well as several advanced Art History Courses (Greek Art & Archaeology, Mediterranean Art History, Roman Art & Archaeology, etc). However, this is my first AP. Trinity Valley has done a fabulous job of providing me ample professional development – including sending me to the AP National Conference in San Francisco where I was able to meet with several colleague and gain numerous resources.
My students in AP Art History are phenomenal – often demonstrating more academic sophistication and thought than any of the college students I have taught in the past. Today, they presented their first significant project that was in two parts – an oral and a written component. It required that they do a bit of independent research and present a formal topic to their classmates. My intention with this assignment is to: further provide them with a visual catalogue, encourage them to develop their observation and analytical skills, and to further develop their writing skills in association with Art and Art Historical topics.
Here were the formal instructions:
Instructions: Select one image from either Chapter 3 or 4 (only one student may do each image, first call first serve).
- On the Class Blog Write the Title of the Work, Artist, and Date
- Write a brief physical description of the image
- Write a brief description of the image’s historical and social context
- Minimum 100 words
- Spelling & Grammar Count
- Include a brief Works Cited at the end (MLA format), you should include at least 2 sources (including your textbook)
- Be sure to put your name in the Tag
- One Power Point Slide
- Include a copy of the image
- Include the Title of the Work, Artist, and Date
- Indicate three principles of design
- Prepare a two minute (minimum) discussion of the piece, its significance, and its history (this information should not be written on the slide).
- Save the PowerPoint in DropBox at TVS Art History Share –> Student Projects –> Project 2.Last Name.ppt
The oral presentations today were clearly well prepared and researched. I was blown away. It was obvious that every single student put serious thought and effort into their project. While a few students brought up a couple of notes with them to reference (nothing was written out), they were clearly presenting “off the cuff,” having internalized a majority (if not all) of the information. I’m including a copy of one of the slides here:
Here was the student’s accompanied blog post – a well thought out, solidly researched, and concise description and contextual analysis.
Here is another post from a student (clearly much longer than assigned) as well as a comment by a classmate:
I have been struggling with how to use the class blog for my AP Art History class, but I am liking this format. It makes the information readily available to students and it will be there in the future for them all to access and assess (in abbreviated form and more comprehensible verbiage than a formal textbook). I am also leaving all of the PowerPoint slides from the presentations up on DropBox for the year so that they have this visual catalogue available to them when it comes time to study for the AP exam (for more on DropBox, see my post “DropBox – An Excellent and Free Resource for Educators“).
I would love any input or thoughts from educators or students here. Do you think that this is effective? Suggestions on how to improve it? General comments?