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.): I had come up with the idea of the students actually building a simple garden bench and then creating a mural that would be painted on the garden bench. The idea had changed over time due to restraints that we encountered at ICRE (the location of the class). We were not able to create a bench from scratch but Chuck had a bench that he had built and we used this bench instead which allow time for the students to create the design that would go on the bench. At first it was going to be in a garden at ICRE but then I thought it would be better if it was part of a large community project and in the end, it was going to be a part of the North Park Village Nature Center. This is where the students from Vaughan have spent a number of hours and trips, learning, communing, and interacting with Nature. It only seemed appropriate that this is where the final project would end and be displayed. This way it could be enjoyed by many and become a permanent part of the Nature Center. Chuck thought it was a good idea and I made contact with the people that I have dealt with over the years to set up trips and incorporate service into the project. This project also had parts from another project the students were learning. The students were learning about Maud Lewis, the Outsider artist from Canada and her painting style of nature and landscapes. We looked at the colors and way she painted, using a similar method with colors for the bench.
2. Big Idea: For the students to tie art and helping the community; together by creating a mural that would be placed on a functional piece of art for the public enjoy.
3. Inquiry: How can we create a piece of public art that is functional and displays what we have learned about Nature in the Chicago area?
4. Grade Level: 12 (Super Seniors in Special Education)
5. Academic Subject(s): Post-Secondary Education Program (Occupational PEP Program)
6. Artistic Discipline(s): Collage, Drawing, Mural Painting of a sculptural piece
7. How many years have you worked together as partners?: 5
8. Please describe what you did and what you made for this project: As the teacher in this project, I had to make the project plan into a Unit for CPS and my principal. I had to create a rubric and then a performance assessment also as part of this project. I scaffold ideas that led up to the final part of the project, which was painting the mural. We started by talking about public art and how we were going to be creating a mural for all to see that would be placed on the the bench. We started first with making the collages, which were more garden oriented (this was before the plan was solidified that it would be donated to the Nature Center and we thought it would go to the ICRE garden.) I had to direct them in the design of the collage and explain how collages are made, and showed them examples of collages. Then the plan changed to have it donated to the Nature Center, so I made plans with the staff from the Nature Center to have multiple trips to see the different jobs and task that happen there. The students learned what types of animals and plants are found there throughout the different seasons so they could see it in a dormant state in Winter and when everything comes alive in Spring in order to create their drawings. I showed the students a Power Point presentation of Maud Lewis’s work and art, having discussions with them about the colors that she used to depict the landscapes and scenes that she painted so they would have ideas about color that they should use in their drawings and when painting the mural. I also had them learn how to mix colors in order to find different tones of the same colors to create depth in a painting and then had the discussion with the students on how different parts of their drawings would be incorporated into the mural so everyone would have a part in the end drawing of the mural. I also had to assist with the painting of the bench with the students that took part with the painting of the mural portion of the bench.
Chuck helped with the priming and showing the students how to prime the bench. He also worked with the students with creating the mural using all the student drawings. He took part on the trips to the Nature Center. He also traced the drawing for the mural and the transfer of it to the bench along with helping to paint the bench due to time restraints.
9. What were you hoping the students would learn during this project?: I hoped that the students would learn the different parts of making an installation/collaboration mural piece and understand the importance of community and service. I also hoped that they would have an understanding the importance of nature preserves and the purpose that they serve to the public. I did want them to learn to interact and collaborate in order to complete a project and to commit to a project from beginning to end.
10. What surprised you during this project?: How problematic it was with having the students only for one day a week to work on this project(not enough time) and the different personalities of students that I had not taught before, that had just come from different schools and were not Vaughn students for 4 years prior. There were attendance issues, which caused some problems with the development of the project and the sequence of events that led up the final piece. One surprise was that certain students really understood the projects and the different layers, while others didn’t make the connections between events. Some of the students had prior experience with art and projects, that is why I came up with the idea, thinking it was a great transition but I do believe that it was to big of a project for the students to come together and complete as the entire group. In the end, there were only a few that worked on the mural itself and the interaction and collaboration was minimal.
The good surprises where when they came together as a group and worked on the projects at the Nature Center and how much they enjoyed being outdoors, learning about the different tasks that need to be completed to keep projects and the Nature Center running. They were a different group of students when working outdoors rather than indoors. They were able to take to this part of the project and understood every part and why they were doing this. Then they incorporated this into their drawings. The ones with good attendance really did some great drawings of what they saw outdoors.
11. What worked in this project and why? What didn’t work and why?: The parts that did work were the collages. They came out beautifully but they took a few weeks for the students to complete. The drawings were hit or miss. There were a few that were really detailed and done well, displaying the things that the students had seen on the trips to the nature center and through the images and style of Maud Lewis, in there drawings . She was big on the animals that surrounded her on the farmland that she lived on. The field trips went really well. The students took part and took initiative with the service learning projects at the Nature Center, interacting together with little instruction once the initial directions and guidance were given. The parts that didn’t work well were the actual building of the bench, which would have been really great for them to learn. That was due to issues with ventilation and clean up. The commitment from the non-4 year Vaughn students. They were absent a lot on Fridays which created a problem and having the complete buy-in, being a stakeholder in this project. The non-Vaughn 4 year students were the ones that had the most difficulty. There were only two out of that group of students that really were all in and took part in all aspects of the project. The lack of planning time between Chuck and myself was a problem, which left most of the planning to me since I had to deliver the lessons that were written in the Unit for CPS. There needs to planning time that is built in. It can’t happen within the hour when the artist is there to work with the students. The students really need instruction and guidance when creating art. It is hard to find time to film or take pictures as things are happening since you have to be hands on with them during the project. There also needs to be actual activities for each session. It can’t be about talking the entire time or working one-on-one with a particular student. The other students need to be engage while communication is happening, not sitting ideal when the artist is talking to one of them. This has happened in the past and it doesn’t work with this population. Even though the students are older, they have short attention spans and need to be engaged the entire time. This is where I had to plan activities even when Chuck was not there to keep the project going with some consistency otherwise the students loss momentum and background knowledge due to only meeting once a week. Moving forward, this will have to change and I am not certain as to how but it must.
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 were assessed through a formative method and using a rubric where they graded themselves on their progress before they received a teacher grade. They were also assessed through a performance assessment that was based on the terms, following directions, completion of items, and their ability to work together and help each other. In the future, I am going to incorporate the students presenting their art to each other. I have done this with other projects but due to time the students would just show each other what they were working on rather than explaining what they chose and why, taking turns presenting to the group.
13. How did you share your student’s learning process with others? Who did you share it with?: The project was shared with the ICRE staff and the students spoke to the staff about the project and their different pieces that they had made through out the process of the project. They also shared with the staff at the Nature Center. It was not shared with the Vaughn Staff this time around due to being in a different location.
14. Standards Addressed: (Common Core, Next Generation Science, National Core Arts):
· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1: Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussion (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher –led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL. 11-12.4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and range of formal and informal texts.
· CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL. 11-12.5: Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
· CCSS-ELA#CCRA.R.2: Determine central ideas or themes of a text/image and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details ad ideas.
· CCSS-ELA-Literacy CCRA.W.7: Conduct shorts as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, and demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation
K-LS1-1.Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive. [Clarification Statement: Examples of patterns could include that animals need to take in food but plants do not; the different kinds of food needed by different types of animals; the requirement of plants to have light; and, that all living things need water.
HS Advanced VA:Cr1.1.IIIa Visualize and hypothesize to generate plans for ideas and directions for creating art and design that can affect social change.
· Hawthorne Adaptive Behavior Skills
- 22. Demonstrates appropriate behavior for the immediate environment
- 37. Interacts appropriately in a group setting
- 43. Adjusts behavior to expectations of different situations
- 61. Applies functional academics to community situations
- Life Centered Career Education Competencies
- 52. Recognize authority and follow instructions
- 56. Demonstrate listening and responding skills
- 76. Make realistic occupational choices
- 81. Follow directions and observe regulations