Bulb Archived: A/R Partners 2016-2017: Bayliss & Farcus

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 to give students the opportunity to think about the world in more abstract terms. My students are all special education and generally have difficulty with ideas and concepts that are not concrete. 

Student with final project.

2. Big Idea:

Colors and symbols surround us, and can be used to better understand and explain ourselves and our experiences.

3. Inquiry:

How can we use symbols (signs) and abstraction to describe ourselves and the world around us?

4. Grade Level:

9th grade

5. Academic Subject(s):


6. Artistic Discipline(s):

Drawing, collage, and light/installation

Final project projected.

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


8. Please describe your project:

Students created abstract art using paper. Students were given different emotions or abstract ideas to use as their inspirations. They then took one of their pieces and recreated it using color transparencies, which were then projected on the wall.

Students working to create colorful abstract collages.

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

I hoped that students would improve their abilities to interpret and understand abstract ideas.

10. What surprised you during this project?:

I was surprised at how much some students struggled when they were given minimal directions. I expected a certain degree of struggle, but some students were unable to do anything until they were given more specific directions.

Some students required a more concrete assignment.

11. What worked in this project and why?:

Students were able to create work they could take home.

12. What didn’t work and why?:

The timeline was incredibly rushed, which made it difficult for the students to process and learn. Also, overall, the project was far too abstract for the majority of students to understand and participate fully.

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

I asked students to verbally explain what their images were symbolizing. For some students, I asked them to expand and also explain why they picked specific colors and/or shapes.

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

Students’ paper-based projects were on display in the classroom prior to them going home. Students’ color transparency projects were displayed via PowerPoint for the class and at Convergence. 

Student sharing her final project with the class.

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

No. I was not able to display work on the outside of the school and Adam was no longer here to organize an installation. Students’ paper-based art was bound as a book, as there were many pages for each student and I didn’t want them to get lost or mixed up.

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

Students talked about their work in the classroom. When other people came in to view their art, some students were able to talk about it with the visitors. 

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

I would like future projects to be less abstract, so that students are better able to express the process and meaning behind their art.

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


Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to clarify comprehension, gather additional information, or deepen understanding of a topic or issue.


Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.