Chris Jude has every reason to sit back and coast. She runs a cosmetology program that not only trains students in job-worthy skills, but also reaches out to provide low-cost services to our senior community, leads school spirit “Pink Outs” with nail coloring, sends students on internships, and leaves almost every student with a state license to practice. With this much success, why do anything differently?
But that’s not Chris Jude. Regardless of her accomplishments as a teacher and mentor, Chris continually improves her craft. This year, she has tasked herself with adding differentiation, individualization, and technology. She joined the Lourdes Summer Collaborative this past year to sharpen her skills in all three, and now, she’s playing out the results of her work in class.
It all starts with the senior haircutting project for cosmetology, where students are required to demonstrate mastery of ten different haircuts. The demonstration, though, is not simple. Students do not simply perform the cut. They also provide before and after pictures, write detailed, step-by-step directions with pictures, and demonstrate understanding of sanitation and safety protocols. In previous years, Chris assigned all ten haircuts and required paper portfolios. After the Lourdes experience, Chris has updated the project both instructionally and digitally.
Now, Chris requires three basic cuts, but allows students to choose others for the rest of the ten required. Those other seven cuts can come from a list of suggestions or be “any cut you wish to create.” This power of choice pushes students creatively and often leads them to conduct research through online images and technicals. If they like the haircut sported by Kris Kardashian, for example, they can research and master it in the cosmetology salon. If they’re not feeling so creative, they can pick the fauxhawk from the list of suggestions. It’s a minor change with a big impact in student choice.
Chris has also given more attention to the way students are reflecting on performance. The seniors worked in the cosmetology program last year, so they have performance data which helps Chris modify instruction and provide individualized feedback in the salon. Students access that data as well in order to reflect on strengths and weakness, all on the road to mastery. Hearing from other teachers during the summer, Chris has also changed her approach to include more peer collaboration. Now, every student must receive a peer evaluation before the teacher evaluation, a practice which further stimulates reflection on performance and collaboration. These future stylists are thinking of their work in the past to improve on performance in the present.
Finally, Chris has bravely stepped from her comfort zone into the Google world for digital interaction with these learning goals. The previously Microsoft Word-based project is now a Google Doc served and managed through Google Classroom. On that same Classroom, Chris loves how she can post videos for students support and how students can post images of their cuts. To make life even easier, students use their smartphones to snap pictures of their cuts and upload them to Google Drive immediately from the phone. And, the best part of all of this? While Chris is pulled out of town for a brief while, she can continue to see the cuts, provide feedback on the writing, and never miss what her students are doing. She’s away, but she’s not away.
So sure, Chris could keep doing what she’s been doing for years, but with her interest in innovation, she has improved on what was already solid. Her project is now more student-centered and efficient, and the students that earn licenses through the state will not only have mastered the basic skills. They will have done so through individual creativity, collaboration, and digital practice, thanks to the passion of Chris Jude.
Check out the Google Classroom interaction below! Even when she’s away, Chris is still teaching!