Bulb Archived: A/R Partners 2016-2017: Acevedo & Tritschler

1. How did you and your teaching partner decide to do this project? (Please describe the context of your project, this can include influence from previous projects, context of your school, community, etc.):

We wanted students to both individually and collaboratively plan, design and create a sculptural community. Araceli was very interested in having her students create a large scale 3-dimensional artwork that encompassed this concept of community. In order to create the sculptural portions of the project, we needed students to use a variety of different shapes and sizes of boxes as the basis for buildings,  Having this large visual art reference of a community allowed students to recall their newly learned vocabulary and language.

The construction of the work centered around the students learning about what makes a community. In exploring this concept, students learned both the Spanish and English words and meanings of the various aspects of a community such as services, roads, government and educational institutions, and cultural organizations.

2. Big Idea:  Community

3. Inquiry:

How can creating an art work centered on the elements of a community help students learn both the vocabulary and the aspects that make up a community?

There was no official student inquiry question that we wrote when we began planning our unit, however with each class, the questions that we seemed to always ask the students were, “What makes up a community?” or “What are the parts of a community?”

4. Grade Level:

High School Grade 10

5. Academic Subject(s):

Araceli’s class is a bilingual Spanish class.

6. Artistic Discipline(s):

Visual art is the artistic discipline and sculpture and painting are the media we are incorporating into the project.

7. How many years have you worked together as partners?

This is our first year working together.

8. Please describe your project:

We began our project by asking the students about places and features in their neighborhood that they know of or have frequented, and we wrote down their answers. We used the neighborhood as the foundation point so students could recall and describe where they go in their own neighborhood with their family members.

Using these student suggestions, we found several images of both local and stock photos of community buildings. For example, we found images of local grocery store chains such as Pete’s Market and general post office buildings which had an outdoor mailbox as a recognizable feature. When we showed the class these images, we discussed with them which places they have been to, who they have been there with and finally, why is this place important.

After our discussions, the students used a class period to go around the school in order to ask staff for empty boxes. They let teachers and staff know that they needed the boxes for an art project. In the weeks that followed, Graham staff members were still donating boxes! 

On the north wall of Araceli’s classroom, we kept images of community buildings posted so students would have a reference as they constructed their structure. Before constructing, we placed mats on the floor and students planned out what boxes they needed and where their structure would go within the space. The students applied gesso to the boxes first so the paint would adhere better. Once dry, the students proceeded to mix paint colors and then apply the paint in different techniques.

Finally, the students used tape and a hot glue gun to adhere the parts of each structure and cut and pasted windows and doors onto the building using construction paper.

9. What were you hoping the students would learn during this project?

We hoped that the students would learn more about the various services, structures and people that make a community. We wanted students to make the connections to their own neighborhoods, and we wanted them to begin learning more about the larger community of Chicago.

10. What surprised you during this project?

There were several accounts that surprised us during this project. We were surprised at the information garnered from the discussions. Students really opened up about their experiences within their own neighborhoods. They talked about the restaurants, grocery stores and other places within their own neighborhoods that they go to with their families. We were also surprised at how focused some students were when they mixed the various paint colors.


11. What worked in this project and why?

We believe that this project allowed students to do work both individually and collaboratively. Each student picked and executed a community building /service of their choice, however the students then had to work with their fellow classmates to determine where the structures would all be located. We thought that this worked in the project because it represented the way a community itself functions.

12. What didn’t work and why?

We were very ambitious in trying to include so many factors in our community that we became very rushed near the end of the project.

13. What was your approach to assessment for this project?

Students completed several types of assessments, created at three different levels. Assessments, at the beginning of the project consisted in recognizing stores and the service that they provide. Another evaluation was created around vocabulary, sentences structure, and sentence punctuation. One last assessment consisted in learning the four cardinal directions. Students worked on actual city map (mainly downtown), locating buildings and given/writing the directions to go from one point to the another.  

14. How did you share your student’s learning process with others? Who did you share it with?

At CAPE’s annual student exhibit, Convergence, our students’ sculpture was set up. Our students shared with their peers and other Ray Graham teachers what they learned and created during a field trip to the exhibit.

15. Did sharing your students’ learning occur according to your plan for social engagement in your proposal? Why or why not? Please explain.

We had thought about video taping the work however, we ended up not pursuing that route because of time. What we did instead was to share our work with other teachers and students. All three Graham classes that worked on a CAPE unit traveled together on a field trip to CAPE’s Convergence exhibition. This was an opportunity for those students to relay the process of what they had learned.

16. How are you as teachers, artists and students social engagers through this work?

Together the class engaged some of the Graham community when we asked for boxes so we could build the work. This was important because students had to be vocal and social with staff and teachers and they had to explain the project. We hope this interaction helped students take pride in their work and share their work with others.

17. Did sharing your project with others influence how you will approach future projects?

Ellen: The Graham community is very supportive of the CAPE work that has been done over the years. I think for future projects, we can think how we the community can become even more involved throughout the process. Maybe the class can invite staff, teachers and other teachers to an in-class sharing session mid-way through the unit. Students could share their vision and work and then receive feedback from the audience. I also would advocate for an end of the year exhibit at the school in which teachers can bring their students to view the CAPE projects and to talk to their peers about the process and what they learned.

18. Standards Addressed: (Common Core, Next Generation Science, National Core Arts):

CC.K-12.SL.4 Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CC.K-12.SL.5 Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

CC.K-12.L.R.4 Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.

WIDA standards (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment)

Grade 10       ELD Standard 1: Social and Instructional Language

CONNECTION: Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, Speaking and Listening, Comprehension & Collaboration #1.c (Grade 9–10): Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions.

Grade 10 ELD Standard 2: The Language of Language Arts CONNECTION: Common Core State Standards, English Language Arts, Reading: Informational Text, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas #8 (Grades 9–10): Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and succinct; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.

Core Art Standards for Visual Art


HS Proficient VA:Cr1.1.Ia Use multiple approaches to begin creative endeavors.

HS Proficient VA:Cr1.2.Ia Shape an artistic investigation of an aspect of present-day life using a contemporary practice of art or design.

HS Accomplished VA:Cr1.2.IIa Choose from a range of materials and methods of traditional and contemporary artistic practices to plan works of art and design.


HS Proficient VA: Re.7.1.Ia Hypothesize ways in which art influences perception and understanding of human experiences.


HS Proficient VA:Cn10.1.Ia Document the process of developing ideas from early stages to fully elaborated ideas.

HS Accomplished VA:Cn10.1.IIa Utilize methods of observation, research, and experimentation to explore unfamiliar subjects through art-making.