Daniel SanGiacomo

aka Daniel Aktas

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When watching a video in class

Tools for using video in the classroom

Be specific about instructions when watching videos to encourage active viewing.

Ask students to:

    • Jot down a reflection when an even occurs
    • Raise their hand during a specific event or quote
    • Be prepared to respond to a specific prompt at the end of the video
    • Talk about what active viewing looks like

Augment the video by:

    • Pause the video and asking specific questions
      • Check for understanding
      • Do you guys check that out? What does that mean?
    • Pausing the video and ask students to talk about what just happened with a partner
      • Not 10-minute just a quick 2-minute conversation
    • Playing the video twice and explain that you will be watching it twice
      • For short videos
    • Hiding the video and only showing the audio of the footage
      • Listen to this artist and tell me what you think the work looks like
    • Turning off the audio……
      • What do you think they are saying?


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Sentence Stems for the Art Class

Over time I have accumulated sentence stems for talking to students about their art.

  • Tell me about… (the drawing)
    • vs. What do you need help with…
    • have students explain the story of the work
  • Tell me more…
    • A follow up for “tell me about”
    • or Give me some more details….
    • have students tell you about their vision for an artwork
  • Tell me about the idea….
    • vs. tell me about the project
  • What would happen if…..
  • I noticed that…
  • One thing I’m thinking about…
    • Honors students work and ideas
  • Tell me about the steps you took to get here…
    • have students walk you through
    • Follow up with… tell me about what you were thinking when you started the project
  • WHO… are these people
  • WHEN… did this take place
  • WHERE… is this taking place?
  • How does that make you feel…



  • Why….
    • Requiring students to defend their work
  • This looks like… some artist
    • Does not get anywhere
    • Does not honor the things they are thinking about
  • Yes or no questions

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Compounding Interest Group Activity

This is another tool used by one of my professors for small group activities. My teacher didn’t have a name for it so I just called it the compounding interest activity. Not all students are the strongest vocal communicators and this format offers another way to form a conversation between students.

The procedure looks like:

  1. Each student has a piece of paper and responds to a prompt related to the class curriculum and ideally a prompt chosen by the group.
  2. Students form small groups of 3-4 and pass their paper in one direction and respond to the most recent student’s response on the page.

With this activity, students can write their own ideas, read articulated responses from classmates in their group, and form their own opinions.


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Student to teacher Journal

In one of my graduate art education classes, my teacher constantly incorporated techniques she includes in her own high school class. One of the tools that stood out to me was the student teacher journal. It was really just  a few lined pages but I had the opportunity to have a direct thoughtful conversation with my teacher. Something that I could only get in piecemeal after class or through email. I love this activity because it gives me the format to get to know my students individually outside of the group dynamic.