2. What should be included in an "Art Pen Pal" exchange, as a more in-depth version of Artist Trading Cards?
I could really use some ideas and input, for those of you checking your teaching blog-roll during summer vacation! Here's the lowdown:
1. I am attending a teacher leadership forum next week and the topic is our new evaluation system and how it may be used to affect compensation in the future. I have never been very politically active as an educator - I kind of stay in my own neck of the woods in my art room - but after over 20 years teaching and having 2 children of my own passing through my elementary school, I feel like I may have some important views to finally share.
We have a new 10 part evaluation system which is very thorough and was quite a challenge implementing for the first time last year. I feel pretty good about it overall, but there are a few key things that I think should be considered - one being the fact that we are asked to modify and differentiate constantly for our kids, but special area teachers are being evaluated using a system that is clearly created for a classroom setting instead of one that has been modified for us. Some differences for us are the number of students we teach, plan for, and assess each week (hundreds) and how we create products and learning experiences that are beyond the rubric. Yes, I can make rubrics and checklists and all that, and I was pretty happy with my final eval score, but the most important part of what we specialists do every day just isn't showing up on this evaluation, and that is bothering me. I'm not sure how to put it into words and that's why I need your help. What categories do you really want to see on a teacher evaluation? What is great about the one from your district, or what would you like to see changed?
I am no expert on how "pay for performance" works or other methods like this, but I have heard of special area teachers "linking up" with a grade level for data results, and this is just not authentic proof of what we truly do, because we expand knowledge and problem solving for all students at all grade levels. What we teach isn't tested, but it is critical for the development of the whole child, and a well-rounded education will raise test scores. I do know that Student Learning Objectives are in the works for us and hopefully this will be beneficial in this context.
2. I have participated in an ATC trade with a number of schools over the last 2 school years and the kids and I have really enjoyed it. I just keep feeling the need for some "back and forth" - I know we would all like an opportunity to respond to these shared works. What I am picturing is more like a pen pal setup, where my class partners with a class somewhere else, and we have a regular art exchange a few times during the year, where pairs of students continue to write to each other and develop a friendship. I am not sure exactly how the logistics of this will work, but if you have had similar thoughts, or this idea strikes your fancy, let me know your thoughts!
Sorry for the wordy post with no pics. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far - we have had rain basically every day and I am loving it, nice cool temps for summer. Thanks for any and all input you'd like to share.