Bulb Archived: A/R Partners 2016-2017: Oesterlin & Estrada

Please respond to the prompts below with your partner. You can upload images, videos and weblinks to enhance your responses to the prompts.

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 were studying both the ideas of symbolism in literature and about how people can resist  power in Social Studies. The class had learned about Westward expansion and we would be transitioning to current events and the Dakota Access Pipeline and then immigration.  We began by looking at art pieces addressing some of these issues and the students analyzed them to think about how the artists used text and symbolism to quickly relate a message.  

The students then practiced by designing an image related to the ghost dance massacre. 
Student’s assessed and explained their images with guiding questions based on our goals. 

Students planned and analyzed their our own images using the teacher created rubric. 

 When the news of President Trumps executive orders was announced we used those as our inspiration to allow students to apply what they had been learning to make a statement about the executive orders. They choose an executive order and took a stand using text, images and symbolism to resist a law they didn’t agree with . 

Student designed postcard protesting the building of the wall.


2. Big Idea:

The ideas of using symbolism, images and text to share meaning was a big part of the lesson.  We also were able to incorporate the big ideas of resistance and social justice, as well as a look at current issues of oppression. 

3. Inquiry:

We were curious about how repeated use of a strong set of criteria and planning and reflection questions could impact student art.

We asked students to explore how symbolism added layers of meaning. 

We explored how art can be used as a form of resistance.

4. Grade Level:

8th grade

5. Academic Subject(s):

Social Studies and Language Arts

6. Artistic Discipline(s):

Postcard drawings with text and symbolism

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

On and off for 14 years

8. Please describe your project:

Students created postcards in response to specific executive actions by 45. 

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

Art is a form of resistance.  We also hoped they would feel empowered to express their ideas.  Also they learned about how art can be layered with meaning with a focus on symbolism and purposeful choices. 

10. What surprised you during this project?:

The students deep thinking and strong commitment to their ideas and artistic expression. The work they created was aesthetically pleasing and had strong conceptional reasoning.

11. What worked in this project and why?:

I think the students use of symbolism really supported the work and was strong because of the analysis we did, the pre-project mini project, and the repeated use of the planning tool, reflection tool and rubric. 

12. What didn’t work and why?:

We were not able to finish the work in the time we had planned, but we were able to find other times in both our classes and some students finished in recess etc. 

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

We created the rubric and had students do a practice draft on another topic, that they graded them selves before planning their project. 

This assessment was combined with the rubric. 

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

We displayed and sold the postcards at our 8th grade benefit with a great response. 

 We also plan to send them to lawmakers. 

I have been sharing informally with co-workers and others in person and on social media. 

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

We do not have professional development time this year so sharing more formally is difficult.

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

After our annual benefit as everyone was leaving we find David standing in the hall with the postcards he purchased making a “protest”.

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

I wonder about ways to share our art more in the school and outside.  The 8th grade benefit is a limited audience and does not always represent the interest that others might have.  My mom bought and send postcards and others asked her if they could buy them.  I shared them with people from other organizations such as CAIR- Chicago who loved the work. I was not sure how to best continue to reach a broader audience.  I would like to explore an online store of some type in the future. 

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


Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.


Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.


Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.