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

As we talked about an idea for this year’s project, Katie referenced back to the Chicago project we had done two years prior. She really enjoyed that project and wondered how we could expand on it. 

Our students have very little exposure to things in their city and meaningful leisure activities outside of their homes and neighborhoods. This is often because of their parent’s lack of exposure, extremely limited financial resources and violence in their neighborhoods. Often times when asked on a Monday, “What did you do this weekend?”, students reply that they did not leave their homes due to lack of financial resources and violence.

This year we addressed their independence in the community. In the past we have utilized the yellow school bus for all of our travels, but this year we taught students to navigate the CTA. This year, students also researched places to go and things to do in Chicago. Students determined the route to get to these places. We focused on “Public Art” because it is often free, and students learn that for their recreation and leisure skills, they can explore art in many communities free of charge. This helps to increase their quality of life, as they will be exposed to so much around the city. Instead of staying home on weekends they will then know how to access and navigate their city for recreation and leisure opportunities.


2. Big Idea: Navigating   

3. Inquiry: Through the exploration of learning to navigating to and from Chicago destinations and public art combined with creating art works based on these experiences, how can students come to identify and discover ways to expand their limited repertoire outside of their own home-life and comfort zone?

4. Grade Levels: 9th-12th


5. Academic Subject(s):  The content that will be covered in the class is Independent Living and Life Skills. This class takes place in the Independent Lab Room.

6. Artistic Discipline(s): Visual art was the main artistic discipline. More specifically, the class combined field trips to view public art in downtown Chicago, discussions about the public art, and creations in collage work, drawing and sculpture.

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

This was our fourth year working together as partners.

8. Please describe what you did and what you made for this project:


Our project is titled “You Are Here!”

A- Learning about the public art in class before the field trips At the beginning of our project, we showed students images of several public art works in the downtown area as well as the map of these works from the Chicago Public Art Guide. We made several copies of this map which students cut and pasted onto boards. These served as a background for the collage that the students created using images of the public art that we would viewing in Millennium Park, Grant Park and the Loop on our field trips. We also talked about and looked at photos of the CTA’s green line elevated train or “L.” The class traveled on the green line for both of our field trips.


B- Community Based Educational Trips to view public art in November and December 2017 / Riding the Green Line “L”

For our first field trip in late November, we rode the green line “L” from the Cermak/McCormick station to Washington/Wabash station in downtown Chicago. We began our exploration at Millennium Park and then walked to the gardens at the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) in Grant Park to see the following public art pieces:

  • The Millennium Monument
  • Cloud Gate, Anish Kapoor
  • Crown Fountain
  • Chakia Booker Rubber and Steel Sculptures
  • Flying Dragon, Alexander Calder in AIC’s north garden
  • Large Interior Form, Henry Moore
  • Cube VII, David Smith
  • The Lions, Edward Kemeys (North and South pedestals of AIC front steps)
  • Fountain of the Great Lakes, Lorado Taft

In mid December, we once again rode the green line “L” to the Chicago Loop for our second community based education trip. During this trip we viewed the following works:

  • Monument Standing with Beast, Jean Dubuffet
  • The Picasso (Untitled Sculpture), Pablo Picasso
  • Miro’s Chicago, Joan Miro
  • The Four Seasons, Marc Chagall
  • Jacques Marquette Memorial reliefs, Hermon McNeil
  • Lion Relief, Edward Kemeys
  • The Flamingo, Alexander Calder
  • Directions of Line, Sol Lewitt

C-Brainstorming– students sketched CTA “L” trains and sculptures that they they saw. They brainstormed ways in which they can turn their experiences into art. They discussed color, technique and materials they could use.


D- creating the EL train cars and mini sculptures

Students covered large boxes with plastic. Students cut newspaper and mixed paper mache paste. Students dipped newspaper in paste, removed excess paste and applied paper mache to the boxes in several layers. Students then painted the paper mache silver. Students added windows and other details to the “L” train cars and added photo collages into the windows on the “l” train. The photos were pictures they students took while in the community viewing public art and while using public transportation. Finally, some students recreated 3D mini versions of their favorite public artworks using Model Magic clay.

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

Ellen: I was hoping that our class would learn more about navigating through all of the free public art that is located in downtown Chicago. My hope is that they remember their experience of viewing, touching and even climbing on the art (when allowed).

Katie: That students can do this on their own! All of our students have CTA cards and I wanted them to know that they can get on the train or on a bus and explore our city for free!

10. What surprised you during this project?:

Ellen: I was surprised at how excited the students were to explore Chicago even in the cold weather! At two of the public art works they also really enjoyed listening to some of the Sculpture Stories that we were able to call up on our phone app. Finally, when we returned to the classroom to begin creating our own public art piece, I was amazed at how much information the students remembered from the trips.

Katie: The students were so excited and were able to retain so much information! They were excited about our community based learning trips, creation of art and hosting our Snack & See! They were able to discuss and talk about their experiences and the steps they took to create their art! I was surprised how the students loved this lesson. 

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

Centering the project on traveling throughout the city was so informative for the students. I think we were very ambitious with all we wanted to do with this unit. We had planned for more art work to be created, but due to time, we had to forgo those plans.

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.)

We created a ROAR sheet for the students that they would fill out at the end of some of our sessions.  ROAR stands for Respect, On Task, Art and Ready. Students self-assessed and Ms Morgan and Ms T followed up with students. We also asked questions daily to assess student’s ability to recall facts and experiences. Students also explained their work at the Snack & See. 

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

Snack and See  

We hosted a Snack & See at Ray Graham. We sent an invitation via email/Sign Up Genius to Ray Graham staff and CAPE staff. Staff members signed up for 15 minute time slots to bring their students to attend or attend on their own. Students set up their work in the cafeteria. Students also prepared cheese, crackers and fruit on trays. Students also poured drinks for our guests. Each students was assigned a role in which fill during the Snack & See. Students worked as greeters, docents and students hosted the hospitality table. The event lasted for 2 hours and students were able to share their work with approximately 100 Ray Graham staff and students, as well as CAPE staff! CAPE students will also pose as “tour guides” as they bring other students into the city to view public works this summer. 


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

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text (including pictures) says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text or pictures, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text (including pictures) and analyze their development over the course of the text (including pictures), including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.

Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant..