Bulb Archived: A/R Partners 2017-2018: Kazlauskas & 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.):  

Based upon the violence in the community including former students being killed and the dramatic impact that it has on the students, we felt that it would be important to discuss “community”, build off of students’ prior knowledge and experiences.

2. Big Idea: Community

3. Inquiry: How can creating works of art based on current and neighborhood events help students make connections and understand how their own future decisions impact their lives and their community?

4. Grade Level: 5th

5. Academic Subject(s): Language Arts and Social Studies

6. Artistic Discipline(s)Visual Art

7. How many years have you worked together as partners?: This is our third year working together as partners on arts integrated curriculum.

8. Please describe what you did and what you made for this project: Through several discussions, the students created questions about what they wanted to learn about the Roseland community. These questions became the basis for the students’ research. The students read the novel “Scorpions”, completed a research project on the Roseland Community, created a note-taking journal in which they documented information about symbols, color representations, what they knew, wanted to know, and learned about Roseland, and drew images about their idea of Roseland.

Students then discussed their representations with Ellen and I. Once students were able to communicate the meaning of their pictures and the reasons for the symbols that were used, they were able to draw their images on paper, trace on tracing paper, and transfer it to the Soft Kut. Students then used the carving tools to carve the images out. Once the students’ carved images were approved by Ellen, they were able to ink them onto paper. Students also traced an image of the shape of the Roseland Community onto a large canvas. Once this was ready, students measured out the size of the canvas and Soft Kuts to determine how the prints would be organized onto the canvas. The students, Ellen, and I then worked together to determine a pattern with horizontal/ vertical images and colors for the canvas. Students also wrote a reflection about what they learned throughout the integrated unit.

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

Mellisa: I was hoping that the students would learn more about the values embedded within the initial development and history of the community in order to embrace and apply for their own lives.

Ellen: I was hoping the students would gain a greater understanding of the use of symbols as a way to visualize their own representation of their responses and connections, whether positive, negative or both to the Roseland neighborhood.

10. What surprised you during this project?:

Ellen: I was surprised by the way this 5th grade class engaged in the project. Rather than using previous used lined notebooks as our journal/sketchbook as we have done before in Mellisa’s class, I had the class create their own by folding a single large sheets of paper into an 8-page sketchbook. When turned inside out, it becomes a 16-page book. Some students utilized every page. The 5th graders filled the pages with their notes, ideas, writings, sketches and reflections.

11. What worked in this project and why? What didn’t work and why?:

Mellisa and Ellen: What worked was the students developing the questions about Roseland, their discussions throughout the unit and their reading of the Scorpions. Additionally, they were able to grasp the instruction about symbols, theme, color symbolism and representation, and process involved in creating block prints. All of these aspects of the project worked because the students were very involved in these process, and they liked to contribute to the discussions. Students created several sketches in the process of creating a meaningful symbolic design that represented their connection to and hope for the future of Roseland. They persisted in creating a powerful visual message of their community.

Another aspect of the project that came about was the collaborative teamwork during the inking of the blocks. Students were working at different paces once they turned in their research answer. Students began working independently by sketching and then we talked  to them on an individual basis about their design. We gave them feedback and sometimes they would edit their work.  Because of this practice, with students on during many of our classes, which we referred to as studio sessions due to the independent

What didn’t work was that students were required to complete their research prior to moving on to the next step. The students had plenty of time at home and during school hours to get the research finished. Many students took longer than expected to complete the research independently. In the future, we will have the students complete sections of the research in small groups so that it is completed in a reasonable amount of time.

12. How did you assess student learning?: (ex. Was it formative or summative? Was it a written, verbal or performative based assessment? Were students provided with teacher or peer feedback? Did you use a rubric or portfolio system? Etc.)

The students’ research which included questions and answers about the Roseland community were assessed. This was a written based assessment. Mellisa always provided written feedback to the students.

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

The project information was shared through conversation, the “Group Me” app in which the staff uses to communicate, discussed at the Career Day to the guests, will be posted in the hallway, and the canvas will be presented and displayed near the main office. Mellisa has also communicated with Alex Haley alumni about the project.

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


Language Arts

Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

Describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described.

Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.

SOCIAL STUDIES The standards for K-5 reading in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects are integrated into the K-5 Reading standards.


Visual Art: 5th grade


VA:Cr1.2.5a Identify and demonstrate diverse methods of artistic investigation to choose an approach for beginning a work of art.

VA:Cr2.3.5a Identify, describe, and visually document places and/or objects of personal significance.


VA:Re.7.2.5a Identify and analyze cultural associations suggested by visual imagery.


VA:Cn11.1.5a Identify how art is used to inform or change beliefs, values, or behaviors of an individual or society.