2017-2018 Collaboration Laboratory
Priscilla Rowe and Udita Upadhyaya
1) Describe the context of your school, neighborhood, or classroom.
Newton Bateman is a public elementary school in Irving Park, a Northwest side neighborhood of Chicago. It is a Pre-K through 8th grade school that offers a robust education to approximately 1,066 students. More specifically, I teach a 1st grade gifted classroom with 24 students between the ages of 6 and 7 years old.
2) Big Idea:
Exploring ourselves through ‘Reflection’.
How can reflection be used as a process for growth?
4) Academic Content(s):
Science, Reading, Writing
5) Artistic Discipline(s):
Interdisciplinary (painting, textile, performance, fiber, etc)
6) Standards Addressed: (Common Core, Next Generation)
Next Generation Science Standards Assessed:
- 1-PS4-2: Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that objects in darkness can be seen only when illuminated.
- 1-PS4-3: Plan and conduct investigations to determine the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light.
7) Please describe what you did and what you made for this project:
We worked with writing, watercolors and inks to create paintings and written art work. We read two books, The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and The Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg, these books led us through our artist journey for this class. We drew self-portraits via I am poems, blind contouring, and abstract art. We also played imagination game tableau and imagined with ink smears, transforming mistakes into many things that it could mean in our paintings.
8) Please describe what you did and what you made for this project.
In addition to the projects mentioned above, we also created many keep sakes for our students to take with them as they continue their journey as scholars and artists. These project include, self-designed painting smocks, personalized portfolios to keep their projects, and precious Mother’s Day gifts using the techniques we learned throughout our time with Ms. Udita.
9.) What did you learn about yourself, your partner(s), and the students? How might what you learned impact your teaching practice?
Artist: It was good to work with this age group. As a visiting artist, I have limited time with the students so it is tempting to have very full lesson plans and aim to get a lot done … this was different than the reality of what we could accomplish. So, working with Ms. Rowe to cater to the specific attention spans of the specific students was helpful. Also, Ms. Rowe was critical in drawing the comparison between science and art, a crucial goal for us. I came up with this specific curriculum of merging mistake and reflection for this group, it was an exciting curriculum building from the simple, to more complex art and thought processes. I really enjoyed the blind contouring and the abstraction ideas, using mirrors as art/reflection tools with the kids was really fun too.
Teacher: As a teacher, it was amazing to be able to dedicate such a big amount of instructional time to the Arts. Of course, its always a battle to justify spending 90min a session (+ whatever spills over to the next) to the school administration. However, I know that the CAPE program and our students’ testimonies made it all worth it for Bateman. The students looked forward to the creative process and the ability to learn new skills. Additionally, they really grasped on to the idea that something beautiful could come out of a mistake or an ‘opps’!
On a personal note, it was a huge privilege as a teacher to step away from the curriculum standards and allow the class to focus on the curriculum through an artistic lens. I learned that I am more creative than I gave myself credit for and really enjoyed finding ways to connect art to content. My hope for next year is to be able to create a piece of art that the school can display for our community to help us promote more integration between the arts and content.
10.) How did the collaboration challenge your understanding of teaching, learning, and art-making?
Planning for CAPE in the Fall and actually conducting the classes in spring was the most difficult. We struggled to be connected in between the planning and actual teaching process, since technically there wasn’t a need to do so. But students needs, and our plans needed room to change given the time that had passed. This made it very hard to not be constantly thinking on our feet and updating plans. We were happy with the outcome, but think the process was too fractured between planning and execution.
We also think CAPE is great to always be in the classroom, we had so many more ideas for an art + science connection through the school year/all topics of science, but of course we didn’t have an opportunity for sustained creative engagement over the school year. With one year of CAPE under our belts, we hope to be more acquainted with the pace of the program and better planned for our second year!