Bulb Archived: A/R Partners 2016-2017: Devine & Jones

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 needed to do a project about writing where all of the students had moderate+ cognitive impairment and many would be on the autism spectrum. Let’s break all the steps down into the smallest parts possible and give them visual cues to work from. Some of these students would be non-verbal or barely verbal, so let’s work in a group so they can support each other.


2. Big Idea:

Can we use pictures torn from a magazine to tell interesting stories?

3. Inquiry:

Can we teach students with very limited cognitive abilities how to write a story with a beginning middle and end using pictures torn from magazines.

4. Grade Level:

High School Freshman (moderately-severely cognitively impaired

5. Academic Subject(s):


6. Artistic Discipline(s):

Collage and writing

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

This is the first year.

8. Please describe your project:

Thus “Rip It! Stick It! Tell It!” was born. We had the kids tear pictures out of magazines (many could not use scissor and others should not use scissors because of danger). One day we hunted for pictures of People and Animals (subjects), then Places (settings), then Things (objects to be acted upon). Then we spend a day’s class-time using glue stick to glue these pictures, which I had sorted into envelopes, on to large poster board.

Then the real work started. We went through to posters a class and Chuck transcribed the stories as he and Beth-Anne asked questions: “Who is this?” “What is she doing?” What is this boy’s name?” “How do you think he is feeling?” “Then what happens?” Then what happens?” “Then what happens?” “Look at this picture over here. Is this kid involved?” “Then what happened?”

After Chuck wrote each new section down, he read the whole story from the beginning, so the students could keep everything in context. And, finally, as the story was finish, we asked the kids what the title of the story was. “What happened is this story?” What was the important part?”

Some times we (Beth-Anne and Chuck) had to insert a step into the story, sometimes a placeholder and sometimes for good, in order to keep the process moving. The student could get stuck and the story would need to be resuscitated. There are only 2-3 of these moments in the whole of the project, but it seems important to acknowledge that they are there.

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

How to work together. How to recognize people, places and things? How to align pictures vertically. How to glue pictures down.  How to identify the subject of the story. How to pull different parts of a story together. How to speak clearly. How to communicate.

10. What surprised you during this project?:

Chuck was surprised be how hard it was. Some kids were game and others were not at all. Sometimes We had to pull and pull and pull to get the kids to engage. It often depended on who was in the room.

11. What worked in this project and why?:

When students were not able to understand what was happening, we would pull them in front of the room and would tell them to look at the poster up close.  This helped them separate the parts from the whole and focus better.

12. What didn’t work and why?:

We thought that we were going to be able to break in to two groups, but that was not going to work. The energy level in the class was often so low that breaking it up would just kill it.

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

Did the story make sense? Could we finish a story?

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

We showed the work to other CAPE and Vaughn teacher and Beth-Anne show some of the parents because the students had talked about the project at home.

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

We didn’t really have a solid plan for Social Engagement. Mostly we were just hoping to get the project off the ground.

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

We showed the project at Convergence and got a very positive response.

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

Chuck thinks that we are going to need some more magazines with more varied content.

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

Please insert your response here