Instruction: Marine Life Conservation Using Art


Overview: The purpose of this lesson is to help students raise awareness about marine life conservation using art.

Objectives: In the lesson students will collect trash, discuss important themes in marine life conservation, utilize creativity, and techniques in art to create an art project.

Part 1

Introduce the topic using a video, images, or relevant reading passage. Stimulate a discussion with students to share thoughts on some of the central issues. Have students think outside the video and think of other issues relevant to marine conservation in the local area. Video:

Part 2

Explain to students the purpose of the project (protecting the environment and using debris in a positive manner). Students will take a trip to a local area to collect trash. Note: Equipment that they might need are rubber gloves, a bag or bucket; may also need to consider methods for cleanliness and disinfection.

Part 3

Introduce the word theme and explain what it means. Remind students of the video and discussion, and have them think about what some of the themes might be. Demonstrate examples of artwork created from trash. Consider the theme and critically analyze the work. Give students an assignment either in class or for homework, and have them select an artwork and critically analyze it. Provide a rubric for reference. Have them critique each other’s work.


Part 4

Students are ready to create their own project! Provide supplemental tools which would help with the process.

Environmental education in Hawaii:

Samples artwork: Google search: ocean trash into art

SREB online course checklist:


Instruction: Distinguishing Similar Sentences

Instruction to help second language learners understand the subtle differences between similar sentences. It’s a skill that students need to master in TOEFL reading passages.

Objective: Students will analyze the highlighted sentence, the choices of similar sentences, and choose the one with the same meaning.  Students will look at each sentence and simplify and identify the key messages and their relationship within the sentence and make notes to record their work. After analyzing all sentences students will choose the correct answer.

Environment: 1:1 online synchronous

Student: First year female university student; second language learner. The student uses the course to develop academic reading skills, not to take a TOEFL test. The student takes a separate English course in the university.

Book: TOEFL iBT Reading: High Intermediate, Publisher: LinguaForum

Step 1: Warm-up discussion: Agree or disagree with following statements.
Thoughts are impossible without language.
Thoughts were influenced by language.

Step 2: Have the student look at the highlighted sentence and do the following: extract the core idea in each part of the sentence and look at the connecting words. Jot these as notes. The student should look at the answer choices and repeat the process.

Highlighted Sentence: Whereas earlier linguists had claimed that thoughts are impossible without language and therefore controlled by language, Sapir and Whorf claimed that thoughts were merely influenced by language.

Example notes:
Simplified 1st part: linguist said no language, no thoughts
Simplified 2nd part: Sapir and Whorf said: you can have thoughts and they are influenced by language
Connecting word: Whereas

Answer choices simplified notes:

  1. linguist said thoughts impossible without language, S and W said they were not influenced by that idea
  2. S and W said language affects thoughts, they felt language and thinking impossible
  3. lingugist said thoughts and language not connected, SW the connection was not influential
  4. L said can have thoughts if you have language, SW said language helps to make thoughts

Step 3: After analyzing have students choose the correct answer. If the answer is correct continue to the next problem. If the answer is not correct, examine and explain where the mistake occurred. The correct choice is #4.

Supplemental Assessment: Have students write a reflection about the activity to get their personal thoughts. In particular students should think about the problems where mistakes occurred and explain what might have led to the mistake. Because these are second language learners, it may be more effective to have them write in their native language if the goal is to better understand the specifics of the problem. This can then be used as data to analyze and categorize to be used for developing future lessons.

Motivation: A Metacognitive Perspective

Showtime did a one hour documentary on Kobe Bryant to get a personal look inside his life. It showed his basketball roots in foreign countries and the different progressions he made at various junctions leading up to his current position at that time as a superstar of the Lakers.  In one part, Bryant talked about an early playoff experience. L.A. was playing in Utah with the game on the line with few a seconds remaining. A win would mean advancing to the championship and loss would mean the end of the season. Kobe requested the ball, had a clean look, took the final shot, and missed. The season was over. The team flew back to L.A. disappointed. Upon arrival Bryant went directly to a local high school to mentally replay and practice the final shot. He practiced all night until the next morning. Watching this left a feeling of wonder and admiration. The season was over; he should have taken a few days of rest. How does player harness this kind of will under these conditions? It was at this point that an interest to better understand motivation came about. I wanted to see if there was a systematic way to develop it. If students could better understand and control it, they could use it successfully to affect their learning outcomes. To reach my objective I looked at three areas of motivation. First was to to see where motivation comes from and the factors that contribute to it. Second was to see how it could be cultivated from a metacognitive perspective. Light research showed that strategies for developing it focused on instruction rather the individual. That is an educational professional modifies the instruction to affect the student rather teaching the skills to the student so that he can apply it himself. Finally it was important to examine motivation models designed for instruction. This would help to understand it from an instructional perspective and see differences in models and from self-motivation. Two examples are the ARCS model developed by John Keller and a model developed by Dan Pink, which has a framework that’s more user directed.

Motivation is the desire to engage in an activity and founded on a conglomeration of theories that include the expectancy-value and the ARCS model of motivation. Key principles are personal beliefs, interest, needs, usefulness, goals, and satisfaction. Belief means confidence, the determination in one’s ability to complete a task; and value are the things we consider to be important. Each of the principles work together but the amount of influence that one has determines motivation. For example a person who believes in a healthy lifestyle will regularly exercise. This becomes a goal and the associated activities are both useful and satisfy a need. The satisfaction from exercise fulfills an interest. However, if confidence is low, there may be procrastination or in severe cases avoidance.

Motivation is uniquely different for each person as a result of different factors and conditions that drive and influence it. This occurs within the individual, from the environment, and social connections (Barger & Byrd, 2011; Eccles, 2009). These variables can also change the amount of motivation over a given period of time.  A consistent high level of motivation plays an important role to excellent learning. A colleague and I were talking about students and the difficulty in motivating high school students the day after exams. There were usually two groups of students. The academically strong, who were focused and ready to study the day after the exam, and the regular students who were burned out and unmotivated. A key difference is motivation. Even if both groups had less than favorable test results, the academically strong would recover from their disappointments quicker. It could be that these students naturally or consciously exhibit the underlying skills that contribute to motivation (in addition to good studying habits). Keller’s systematic method focused on the instruction rather than the learner because of the difficulty in adjusting for the individual variations.  However, this aspect of motivation should not be overlooked because much of it is determined by the individual. If the problem is not the instruction, a systematic process should be ready so that the individual can make the appropriate adjustments. One way to do this is from a metacognitive perspective.

Metacognition is when an individual tries to understand how his mind works by being reflective and aware of the cognitive processes. Many say that it is thinking about your thoughts. Research has shown that constant monitoring of thoughts helps to accelerate learning. Learners are able to recognize their strengths and weaknesses, adapt their learning, and transfer their knowledge to new contexts (Chick, n.d.). However, John Flavell stated that children are not aware of metacognition. It’s not surprising being that they are not taught to do this kind of thinking. When children learn a subject the focus is to understand and think about the content rather than doing a self-analysis on how the content affects the mind for further improvement. This means that teachers need to overtly teach metacognition to students so that they are able to better recognize and monitor these thoughts. This will provide a transition for students to apply metacognitive principles to motivation. By being aware of and monitoring motivation, student will be able to better control it to help correct problems and fluctuations. My proposed solution has five steps:

  1. Students must understand motivation and the principles that contribute to it both positively and negatively.
  2. They should understand metacognition with examples and exercises for them recognize and practice this method of thinking.
  3. Identify a task or goal.
  4. Assess motivation for that task using the assessment example below.
  5. Apply strategies to fix motivation.

Example Task: _____
Motivation Assessment: (1: strongly disagree 2 3 4 5 strongly agree)
I understand the task and feel good about the level of difficulty.
The task ( information, activities, and skills) used are interesting.
The information, activities, and skills are useful for my personal goals
The level of difficulty was good (challenging but not too difficult).
Fatigue or stress did not negatively affect my motivation.
I can bounce back from disappointments.
There aren’t distractions that could affect my motivation.
Other comments and thoughts:

A key to metacognitive motivation is to monitor it before starting a task. This will help learners to assess and identify potential causes for problems and at the same time to refocus on the task and goals. Learners can organize thoughts and plan a strategy to deal with the situation. If I were to do an example on myself, I would identify the task, think about the overall motivation level for that task, and look at the assessment statements to understand it in more detail.

  1. Task: Teach English to 6th grade second language learners
  2. Motivation level: Feels low — I’d rather be doing something else.
  3. Assess
    1. Interest: teaching basic English to elementary students is not particularly stimulating
    2. Need: it’s my job: as a result it’s important to do the best that I can
    3. Goal: there is a connection but not as direct with my long term goal
  4. Solution
    1. Job: must do it well: be the best teacher that I can be
    2. Stimulate: create a lesson and make it a goal to teach it so that students reach it
    3. Don’t procrastinate: start planning the lesson: once I start I notice that attention is diverted and no longer thinking about the negative
    4. Talk to others: see they how deal with this situation

During the self-analysis students should again look at the principles that affect motivation and where the problem could exist – within the individual, task/instruction, or an outside environment. Practicing this exercise regularly with our daily tasks can be beneficial because it refocuses our thoughts on its purpose and how it aligns with our goals. When we do things in routine without reflecting we may overlook and become careless on the details. After identifying the problem one should develop a plan for making changes to correct the problem. The solution for this motivation model should be determined by the individual because of the individual differences in motivation. However, it’s likely to be more effective by applying one or more of the recommended solutions and working with an educator, friend, or family member who can further guide and provide additional insight. Some of the strategies that can resolve motivation issues include: exploring a curiosity, self direct learning, collaborating with others, setting long term and short term goals, recording progress, and having belief. (add description on effectiveness of exercise: consistent application for week, make note of motivation levles, outcome; task: could be any including those less than eager to do)

In a structured learning environment motivation should be addressed in two ways. One is to use a systematic process for self-motivation and the other is the motivational guidelines added to an instructional system. The self-method allows learners to customize the settings within a structured system. It’s similar to the idea that learning is systematically organized in school and created through collaboration, but how we understand and the path we take to achieve it is slightly different for each individual. Keller’s ARCS model recommended a motivational strategy targeting the instruction in the following manner. 1. Instructors analyze the learners to identify motivational gaps within the four motivation categories (attention, relevance, confidence, satisfaction). 2. S/he would then refer to the motivation table to plan and design a strategy recommended for a particular category. 3. The instructor would further develop the strategy and integrate it into the instruction. 4. Finally, s/he would evaluate the motivational strategy and its effectiveness in terms of “persistence, intensity of effort, emotion, and attitude (Keller, 1987, p. 31).” (possible to measure?) As an example: Add incongruent or humorous information at the beginning to grab learners’ attention; show how the instruction builds on the learners’ existing skills to add relevance; and provide information on the amount of time and effort required to be successful in the course to help with confidence.

An alternate model proposed by Dan Pink gave learners the freedom to learn in their own way but within the constraints of an organization. Data from experiments showed that extrinsic rewards such as financial incentives were ineffective for improving tasks that required cognitive skills. It even showed that results were the same when the experiment was done in a less affluent country. The key to motivation was to cultivate it intrinsically using autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Unlike Keller’s model which is more instructor-centered, this is learner-centered. As an example, a company gave employees the freedom to work in any way they wanted but with the requirement to finish the stated objective within the given time frame. The result was positive in that the workers were more productive than the results that used extrinsic rewards and management control. This model emphasizes that giving learners the control naturally charges motivation, which then creates an interest, relevance, and satisfaction. This will lead learners wanting to achieve mastery or serving a higher purpose. Adding self-motivation to this model may still be beneficial for the same reason as before: More awareness means better control and better outcomes. Similar to a crop that grows naturally in the wild, if a farmer monitors and takes care of it through cultivation, the results will be better and more consistent. The study explained by Pink was done on adults in a company, but it may possible to replicate in a primary and secondary educational system. EDTECH 532 Games and Simulations at Boise State University could serve as a course model that educators could follow and tailor to their institutions. The graduate level online asynchronous course had the course objectives and all the related activities organized inside a learning management system at the beginning of the course. Students worked on any of the activities in a nonlinear fashion based on their motivation. There were no tests. Instead different kinds of assignments were be the main sources of assessments. When students reached a total of 2000 points, they were awarded an A for the course. Class meetings were held once a week for two hours where students were able to interact with one another to explore virtual worlds and participate in instructor-led discussions. Because this was an online course, students spent the majority of the time working independently on the course topics. For a course like this to be implemented into a primary and secondary system, there would have to be some changes or things to consider such as the questions below, but it could provide some interesting results.

Q: How should remediation be done?
Q: How would instruction and activities be managed if it requires prerequisite knowledge?
Q: How would instruction and class time be managed? EDTECH 532 was an online class which emphasized independent time but a traditional class would have a lot of student contact in one room.
Q: Would cheating be an issue?

Motivation is a powerful force that can greatly impact outcome. It’s dynamic so in order to keep it at high levels one must practice at it everyday.  It’s like a mental exercise. We often hear expressions like: the right attitude, staying focused, visualizing the plan, etc. These are exercises that we do to stay motivated.  The only difference is that by adding metacognition, an individual does a more detailed self-analysis and regularly monitors the thoughts and feelings on the actions that could negatively affect it. It looks at motivation from multiple angles to identify the problem and develop a solution. Motivation resides in the the individual and instruction. In an organized learning environment, a systematic method for developing it has focused on the instruction. One reason is that it’s complex to understand and measure but it may be worthwhile to further study and develop an instrument that could attempt accurately measure it. It could then applied to learning activities to further examine the correlations that could result.



Barger, A., & Byrd, K. (2011, May). Motivation and computer based instructional design by Barger and Byrd. Journal of Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives in Education, 4(1). Retrieved from

Chick, N. Metacognition. Retrieved from

TED Talk. (2009, August 25). Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation . Retrieved from

Eccles, J. (2009, Dec). Expectancy value motivation theory. Retrieved from

Flavell, J.H. (1979, Oct). Metacognition and cognitive monitoring. American Pyschologist, 34(10), 906-911. Retrieved from

Keller, J.M. (1979, Summer). Motivation and instructional design: A theoretical perspective. Journal of Instructional Development, 2(4), 26-34. Retrieved from

Keller, J.M. (1987). Development and use of the ARCS model of motivation design. Journal of Instructional Development, 10(3). Retrieved from

Larson, M.B., & Lockee, B.B. (2014). Streamlined ID: A Practical Guide to Instructional Design, 167-175. New York: Routledge.

Solar Road Lesson

This is done 1:1 synchronously online using news articles from The Teen Times.  The purpose is to do light reading comprehension and practice speaking using particular vocabulary or sentence structure with middle school students from grades 7th to 9th.  This particular lesson was about a solar bike path that had been recently constructed in the Netherlands.  The lesson plan and podcast are available by clicking the links: Solar Road and Solar road podcast.

Image of solar bike path

The focus of this lesson was to have students practice asking direct information questions and company-and-me questions. These questions would serve as a way to self-review important information and provide a supplemental activity to research more about the solar bike path company.  The students were to construct two kinds of questions: one was to use the verb “be” and the other using any other verb. Examples would look like:

  1. Where is the company from?
  2. What do the solar panels generate?

I was a little surprised by the difficulty students had in making questions.  As a result, much of the lesson was spent analyzing and deconstructing sentences into a simplified forms and then identifying key words to make questions and then practicing.

Edtech 521 Reflection Week 15/16

For the live lesson I used Adobe Connect.  It was a great learning experience and now better understand how it compares with programs like Google Hangout and Skype.  The lesson started with a warm up video, followed by reading comprehension questions and then discussing and adding words to the word bank.  I used Adobe Connect to do several things:

  • Captivate to record a video
  • Uploaded a video to Connect
  • Learned that Connect will not upload Word documents
  • Used share screen option to view the document
  • Connected a USB digital pen to edit the video and document

Doing the live lesson was effective for doing activities together such as explaining, discussing, and reviewing specific problems.  In this lesson I used the pen tool and it turned out great.  I was impressed that it was able to mark up a video.
In the future I’d like to have an activity set up following the video. Ideas could be a discussion on sunspots or to have students do an outline and see how it compares with the information in the text book.

I’d like to find alternative ways to assess the students on their understanding of the reading passage.  For the next lesson I would re-do the lesson objectives and brainstorm ways to meet those objectives. 
Reviewing the video I found my explanations to be bit repetitive. For the next lesson I want to explain clearly and concisely.

A technical problem was a delay which made communication difficult.  The student and I often talked at the same time or cut each other off.  The delay was also present when we were watching the video.  Resolving audio problems can be tricky because of a number of variables, but having the student use headphones might help.  With the conversation delay possible solutions might be to pause after expressing an idea or to use Adobe Connect through local connections.

Edtech 521 Reflection Week 13/14

Thoughts from Reading, Class Tasks, and Activities
Practice using web conference tools.
Conduct synchronous meeting with partner and record the session.
Identify effective strategies for synchronous tools. 
Adobe Connect
Uploaded MP3, MP4, and SWF files to a meeting room
Conducted a lesson using the audio and video tools
Conducted a meeting as a host, presenter and participant
Used the whiteboard with a pen tool
Created a custom layout
Recorded the meeting

Hangouts on Air
To enable the Q&A you have to activate it on the left side of the menu prior to starting the starting the broadcast.  This allows viewers to ask questions. 
Link to hangout is located on the bottom right for person who initiates the chat.
Tested the pen which works with the Google apps. 

This week I wanted to further explore the features on Captivate.  My goal was to use the video demo template and one of the installed character. The topic was a video on how to buy Petronas Twin Towers tickets online.  I learned new skills making this video.
Experimented with different resolution output
Video demo template is a screen recording software aspect of the program; does not have a filmstrip 
Edited using pan and zoom
Added characters and text captions
Adjusted the timing for all inserted objects
Downloaded a third party video and inserted into the project
Edited and mixed the audio in Ableton 

Popplet has a lot of nice features.  Two of those are the ability to insert videos and adding links into the bubbles.  These two features make this tool a little better than Bubbl.  It’s also as you can tell very easy to embed into blogs. 

Synchronous Lesson (Rice pp. 53-57)
Uses: remediation, tutorial, lesson delivery, collaborative activities
1. Small discussions in breakout rooms.  Share the ideas in the main meeting room.
2. Visual demonstration of tool or process.  I’ve often seen this for music instruction.
3. Student could use it for doing a presentation.
4. Guest speaker / expert to participate.
5. Office hours, Q&A.
Keep in Mind:
1. Is the activity well suited for the synchronous environment?  Or is it more effective in asynchronous environment. 
2. Time is valuable.  Unlike asynchronous, synchronous forces people to commit to specific appointment.  therefore we should all put our best effort to use the time in most productive way. 
3. Make it engaging; it’s very easy for students to get distracted. 
My Learning Path
Moodle Edtech 521 weekly lesson.  The goal was to research information about sychronous lesson assignment.  I looked at the strategies for synchronous learning and there was a bullet point that stressed learner centered activities.
Did a search on learner centered teaching.  It led to the USciences website. It mentioned many interesting infomation on the topic.  One was that it was more inclined for higher levels of education which made sense because it requires students to be responsible for their education.  So then how could it be effective for students at the elementary level?
And so I did a new search “student centered learning elementary.” It led to thesis on this on this topic. 

Edtech 521 Reflection Week 12

Quotes from Reading, Class Tasks, and Activities
Submit the final version of the asynchronous lesson
Develop skills in Adobe Connect
Brainstorm synchronous lesson
Choose partner: Cary, ESL instructor working in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
I made a couple of adjustments this past week on the lesson plan hosted on Wix.  I created a video using Animoto to explain how to do task 1 of the assignment.  This video was a collage of pictures and simple texts with music in the background.  It’s easier to understand and provides a different method for learners to receive the information.  It replaced the previous video which seemed a bit wordy. 

I included document version of the lesson plan on the help section of the website.  It is intended for teachers and explains in detail on how to do the lesson.

The last thing was to use the editing tools for smartphones.  It’s a neat feature which allows users to reorganize the layout so that it’s easier to view on a smartphone. 

Final Thoughts on the Asynchronous Lesson

This was a great learning experience.  I feel good knowing that I have a better understanding of what it takes to make a good lesson.  It requires a lot of work and planning because you have to consider a lot of different factors in order to make it more complete.  These were the questions that I needed to answer throughout the planning process. 
What is the need and objectives?
How will learners reach those objectives?
What technologies will be used?
Is it learner or teacher centered?
Does it address different learning styles?
Does it address students with special needs?
How will the students be assessed?
Answering these questions will provide a great foundation for a solid lesson.  The beauty is that it can be used for a variety topics as evidenced by the work done by other classmates. 

Thinking back I’m still surprised at the amount of time spent for one lesson.  And strangely I feel like more could still be done.  One idea I would like to add would be a discussion board for students to interact with each other.  They could share their thoughts by answering questions related to the article.  It could also be a place where they could ask for help and share resources.  However, it would have to be on learning management system where students could better interact with the content.  Wix is designed to be a website.  Another idea would be to add a specific grammar element into the speaking activity. 

Week 12 Synchronous Lesson Development
The focus will be on writing for 5th grade elementary students.  We’ll use the live discussion as a way for students to formulate ideas from the reading they have done on native South American Indians.  We’ll use Popplet as the tool for students to brainstorm ideas.  The plan is to try out both Connect and Hangouts to compare features. 
Tools that I plan to look at are Popplet, Connect and an LMS (Google Sites or CourseSites).