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.):
During the initial planning meeting, Katie mentioned that she was interested in a project where graduating senior students can leave their mark at Southside. We brainstormed and designed an accessible multi-pronged and interdisciplinary student art project around the idea of leaving one’s mark where students of all abilities could be engaged.
2. Big Idea:
Leaving our mark
By creating ephemeral and permanent art installations, how can graduating senior year students leave their mark at Southside in a positive way?
4. Grade Level:
5. Academic Subject(s):
Writing, communication, film/animation history
6. Artistic Discipline(s):
Video production, animation, photography, writing, ceramics
7. How many years have you worked together as partners?:
Less than one year
8. Please describe what you did and what you made for this project:
We approached the idea of leaving one’s mark through three projects:
Part 1: Stop Motion Video Installation
This segment began with a presentation and discussion on selected historical and contemporary stop motion works by pioneers Eadweard Muybridge and Norman McLaren, various filmmakers from the National Film Board of Canada as well as some music videos by The Roots and White Stripes.
Working within flexible parameters, students were then guided in the pre-production and production of their own stop motion animation videos where they choreographed each other moving through the school’s architectural space and landscape. The final video also featured stop motion portraits of the students creating their ceramic pieces as well as other students engaged in various school activity and programs. After each video shoot, we screened and discussed the work.
Following a final class discussion of the completed work, the videos were, for the remainder of the semester, looped on two in-school video monitors located in the common areas at Southside. The display of the videos coincided with the poster installation, which is another component of the Leaving Our Mark project and is described below.
Part 2: Poster Installation
Students created content for posters that consisted of student portraits accompanied and anchored by words of advice, encouragement and positivity. The students learned how to take photographic portraits using compositional techniques like framing and conveying personality in a photo. The text component was created during a writing and communication workshop where senior year students expressed their experiences at Southside and created messages for incoming students. The posters were installed in strategic locations throughout the school.
Part 3: Ceramic Tile Installation
For the third part of the project, students created colourful 9×9” ceramic tiles with iconography that represented each student’s identity, such as initials and signatures with graphic accents. The tiles were arranged and installed together in the school’s art room permanently. The installation can expanded on with future students ceramic work.
9. What were you hoping the students would learn during this project?:
We were hoping that students would finesse their interpersonal and collaborative skills through group projects by working together and by taking on different roles in the production of the short videos. We also hoped to offer the students space to reflect on and express their personal identities and experiences, and learn how to communicate their messages in structured ways through text, photography, iconography, and design. Lastly, a lesson we wanted to impart was the impact of a project well done – that their voices had a place to be heard, that their school community saw, appreciated, and was proud of their work, and that their self-expressions were powerful.
10. What surprised you during this project?:
One of the things that surprised us was how students quickly took charge of the video shoots with their own ideas and how well they worked together to achieve the final results with a moderate amount of guidance. A couple of students downloaded the stop motion app onto their smart phones and made videos on their own time, which were shared in class. The project also took on additional meaning in that it also became about making memories in an atmosphere of camaraderie – memories that are partly encapsulated in the final works.
11. What worked in this project and why? What didn’t work and why?:
The project offered multiple ways for students to be creative and reflect on themselves. One of the things that worked about the video and photo project was the physicality of the production process, which energized the students. They particularly enjoyed being outside of the classroom to create work and appreciated producing a school project that was essentially about them and their peers. Learning to create stop motion animations and portraits were accessible and fun skill-building tasks for the students and these were facilitated in a way that encouraged taking ownership of the process. The final installations animated the school’s shared spaces and were well received by other students, faculty and staff.
Even though we feel that the goals of the project were met, we may have been slightly over-ambitious with the scope. The project could have been more focused and just as impactful. There was a high volume of various activities and some students experienced fatigue from time to time, but for the most part, students were engaged in the creation of their work and fun was had by all.
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.)
Formative and summative assessments were used. Feedback was verbal and took place in the form of regular class discussions and ad hoc input from teachers and peers during the process of the project.
13. How did you share your student’s learning process with others? Who did you share it with?:
Please see answer to question 8.
14. Standards Addressed: (Common Core, Next Generation Science, National Core Arts):
National Core Arts
Anchor Standard #1. Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Anchor Standard #2. Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Anchor Standard #6. Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.
Anchor Standard #8. Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
Anchor Standard #10. Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.