Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Art and IC Team Up to Collaborate on a 4th Grade Art Project

Recently, Harding/Jefferson Elementary art teacher, Mrs. Doy Gilbert, approached me during a lunch hour to inquire about computer lab availability.  Mrs. Gilbert explained that fourth grade students need to print four images for an upcoming art drawing project.  As Mrs. Gilbert was explaining the art project, I couldn't help but think of this situation as a perfect opportunity for collaboration between art class and library skills class.

4th grade students recently learned how to access their Google Drive accounts, as Google Drive is a new initiative this school year for our elementary students within the Mason City Community School District.

Rather than assigning students to create an irrelevant writing piece in Google Doc, for the sake of practicing accessing Google Drive, logging in, and opening up a Google Doc, I was looking for an opportunity for students to create a Google Doc that can be applied from another subject content area that students are currently studying and will be able to use at another time!  I want students to see connections and applications made between library skills classes and other subject content classes.  It is difficult for students to see the connections and applications of skills learned in library skills classes, when library skills are taught in isolation and are irrelevant.  So, of course, the art project made perfect sense to illustrate to students how Google Drive can be used and applied not only in library skills class, but also across subject content areas and what they are currently learning!

In addition to the art project providing a collaborative opportunity between the art department and library department, it also produced other "win-win" situations for all involved.
  • Finally, I found a purpose and reason to use iClipArt! Even more importantly, it would help me achieve a growth plan goal of mine for students to increase use of Iowa AEA Online Resources website.
    • I have been brainstorming ways to use Iowa AEA Online Resources, especially iClipArt with students.  So, this was a great way to use iClipArt.
  • After recent observations of students using Google Search, it concerns me that students don't realize the dangers of using Google Search.  Unfortunately, I have observed "blindly" search for images and end up coming across inappropriate images, sometimes unintentional, and sometimes intentional.
    • While Google Search has its positives, there are also tons of other online resources available that can do what Google Search does, but are more safe and student-friendly to use!  So, this collaborative project allowed me perfect timing to teach students how to safely search for copyright images and input those onto a Google Doc into Google Drive.
      • Alan November, recently presented at Iowa Association School Library Conference on Monday, April 14, 2014.  I had the honor and privilege of listening to this dynamic speaker.  His presentation truly hit home when he talked about Google Search and pointed out that people truly don't understand how to use Google Search.  This explains why teacher-librarians are needed, as we are the ones that can teach others how to safely and effectively search on the Internet, especially on Google.
  • It also saved Mrs. Gilbert time, as she didn't have to personally take an additional class period or two away just for students to search for images.  She could focus her time and energies on other aspects within her subject content area.

After spending two library skills class periods of logging into Google Drive to access a Google Doc for their art project and tweaking the image searches, students finally were able to produce excellent image search results and use their discoveries for their art project!

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of the students hard at work on this amazing collaborative project, as the students required more of my assistance than usual.  This was the first major project done using Google Drive and combining it with iClipArt for fourth grade students.  During this project, I discovered students weren't as skilled in downloading images from one online resource to upload onto another online resource.  So, downloading and uploading images took more time than I originally had planned.  Of course, this allows me the perfect opportunity to plan for future lessons that have students practice more downloading and uploading images!

Stay tuned for future posts and pictures about students using Google Drive!  By learning how to use Google Drive at the elementary school level, this opens up many doors of opportunities for our students, not only now, but in their futures!