Bulb Archived: Brennemann ATLAS 2015-2018: Foss (Pre-Survey)

ATLAS Pre-Survey

School Name: 


Teacher Name: 

Edward Foss


Below are questions that will help you to complete your Project ATLAS Digital Portfolios. Complete this survey based off of an class art project completed prior to 2015-2016.

For each question, please include your written reflections.  You are also encouraged to provide other multimedia to deepen your written reflections and exemplify your analysis.  Multimedia can include images, sound files, and video clips.

Please annotate your multimedia, describing why you have chosen these particular artifacts, what you are interested in your audience knowing about them, and why they are important to share.

Section I: Arts Integration – Documentation.  

Please upload documentation from your project.  Please include a variety of media forms for your documentation.  

1. Documentation should not only provide a narrative, or story, of your project, but should also provide evidence of students’ engagement in the unit inquiry.

Prior to joining the ATLAS Program in the 2016-2017 School Year I had worked with my eighth grade class on a project called “Who I am and Who I am Becoming.”

American born student of immigrant parents explore his identity as an American.

2. Through your documentation, please provide student artifacts that depict the range of work completed.  For example, what were the various ways in which students responded to various aspects of the project?

The project developed out of student choice to work on mask making in order to explore identity. When I found a donor to provide masks and paint for the project, we moved forward on the project.

Section I: Arts Integration – Inquiry

3. What is your Inquiry Question for your ATLAS curriculum unit?  What big ideas does this inquiry question address, and why do you think the question successfully addresses these?

This was a pre-ATLAS curriculum unit and prior to the Core Arts Standards. The question student explored was: How does an artist use materials and processes to explore identity?  

4. How did student research help them to engage more deeply with the unit inquiry question? Explain how your students conducted research for their ATLAS project, and how that research opened up avenues for further inquiry.

The students initially were excited about mask making and the visual art elements of color and shape, taking ideas from Marvel Comics and West African mask designs for inspiration. The context and history of mask making in West Africa was explored, as well as mask making in the Americas, in particular in Hollywood, Mexico (Lucha Libre) and New Orleans (Madri Gras).

5. Describe how the unit inquiry opens up avenues for interdisciplinary connections between the arts and academic content. How did arts processes and/or research practices facilitate students’ understanding of the academic topics addressed in the inquiry question?

Students began to see that they could represent abstract ideas and concepts visually. We started to analyze the mask images to see how they expressed moods, attitude and personhood. Some students were drawn to masks from their cultural origins, and many others immediately identified with one or more super heroes. 

6. How did the curriculum evolve based on the unit inquiry process? 

The mask making led to self-portrait work and eventually the students had the idea of making video for a presentation at their graduation. Students wanted to all have a minute to tell the camera, and their audience (families, friends, teachers, etc.) who they are and who they wanted to become.

Section I: Arts Integration – Create Works

7. How did students self-direct while creating their artistic work during the ATLAS project?   Please provide any examples for the ways in which students made their own aesthetic choices and direction for creating their artwork.   Examples might include but are not limited to:  how did students make choices about the use of materials, how did they decide what they wanted to communicate, how did they make decisions about how to present work?


Again, this was not an ATLAS unit. The students started to experiment with video. They worked very hard as a team, coordinating space and time, and trying to manage the lighting and sound. Other issues immediately came to the forefront such as, speaking voice, camera presence as well as concise prewritten speech to take up 30-45 seconds. Not an easy task!

8. Please explain what opportunities the students had to reflect on their experiences and react to the work of their peers.

The students reviewed their efforts the same day, or in a few days following experimenting with filming. The results were initially disappointing because of poor sound quality, but the students really worked hard to control the voice level in the classroom and developing their speaking voices. The video efforts were bonding for the group. Better abled students hello less abled peers and the exceptional learners to successfully record their 30 seconds of fame on video. The student group was highly responsible for managing the the process. For example, keeping each other quiet during filming.

9. How did the students’ artifacts from various stages of the ATLAS Unit impact your teaching practice? Please provide artifacts that exemplify your points.  What did you learn about your teaching practice from looking at these artifacts?

Unfortunately, the video format was not compatible with this site. The students did try to work on making group photographs of students doing unified movements, for example everyone jumping at the same time. What this showed me was how creative the group could be, as a whole, when the majority were invested in the process of the project. All was not lost because we created video to watch and the bloopers and errors seemed to be the most exciting aspects for bonding, but based upon quick writes and exit slips, many students worked on solidifying their thoughts about what they might like to do and/or become in the future. While much changes in the life of an eighth grader by the time he or she graduates high school, they at least learned that this was a question that they would some day contemplate and answer.

Attempting a group jump.

10. Describe how the students’ work was shared in the school or publicly. Why was this an important part of this unit?

The video was to be played at graduation, but due to technological issues beyond our control we were unable to use a projector and screen during the ceremony. As noted above, we were able to take away many benefits from the experience.

Section I: Arts Integration – Collaboration

11. How did students collaborate at different stages of the project? Examples might include but are not limited to:   did the students research together, did they create together, did they critique together, did they present together? 

Students divided up responsibilities such as filming, coordinating the sequence of students, assisting each other with writing and speaking skills. Feedback was giving after viewing video footage. Most notably, leadership developed within the class; abled students help those who were less abled with writing and speaking and having their voices heard.

12. In what ways did you collaborate with the students for this unit.  How did the students impact the way in which the curriculum was implemented? For example, how did students help you plan, develop, and/or implement the curriculum?

We had group critiques. We filmed and watched video. The students worked very hard to do a good job on camera and with filming. The discussions were very democratic. Everyone who wanted a voice was allowed time, with few exceptions.

13. How did you collaborate with other teachers in your school to plan and/or implement the unit?

This was not an official arts integration unit, but the classroom teacher was always helpful in covering similar subjects in literature, such as identity, and boosting the student’s confidence in pursuing and developing their academic and personal interests. Additionally, she helped with diction, as well as bringing out the confidence in the more shy students. Lastly, the music teacher gave us valuable feedback on how to create stage presence and projection of voice in front of the video camera. Without her, we would have made unnecessary errors, that she, as a performer could help us avoid. 

Section II: Technology Integration

14. What was your process for selecting this form of digital media technology? Why did you think this form of digital media technology would be ideal for student learning? 

We used a digital camera and tripod. It was what was available to us. Ideally, I would have like each student to have access to a camera and learn to use it for stills and video. Due to time, space and resources, I selected my most mature and responsible young artists to handle the filming process.

15. How did students use digital media technology to direct their own learning? Provide artifacts to show evidence of how students used the technology to direct their own learning.  Examples might include but are not limited to: making choices about technologies to use, using technology to facilitate experimentation, using technology as a research tool, to express themselves artistically, and/or to make meaning of their experiences. 

We used a Cannon. I supervised and the students explored filming locations, creating uniformed speech, i.e., making I statements and developing a clear speaking voice. As previously noted, this group of students seemed to have good will towards one another. Once concepts were taught, like stage presence, they provided checks and balances for one another quickly and respectfully.

16. How did you use technology to enhance the learning environment for both you as a teacher and for the students?

The technology led to a high level of student engagement, most likely because the class was invested in creating a unified finished product and they found the process to be very challenging and fun.

17. In what ways do your chosen technology resources align with your goals and outcomes for student learning? Looking back at the unit, how did the technology meet, not meet or exceed your expectations for facilitating student outcomes. 

All the students worked on themselves and developing clarity about their future academic goals, they learned to be tolerant of peers who they may not have been friendly with prior to the project, and they were very supportive of their peers with exceptional needs.

18. How did the use of technology contribute to students’ application of higher order thinking skills?  Examples of student higher order thinking skills include metacognition, self-reflection, analysis, and application of knowledge or skills.

The students learned to reflect, give and receive constructive feedback. Some of the students were thinking critically using creative solutions to issues we had with lighting and sound. I found via exit slips that many of the students were able to reflect on their talents and interests and start to consider how they might contribute to society in the future through a desired profession.

19. How did the use of technology drive student creative artistic expression? Please provide student artifacts that exemplify how technology supported their artistic expression. 

The students enjoyed using technology and watching themselves on video helped each one to develop his or her public speaking persona.

20. How did the integration of digital media technology impact your teaching practice?

I became more confident in using technology. I also saw leadership develop within the student group as students learned to help to manage the materials and processes. This added to my effectiveness as a teacher.  The students engaged and met or exceed the learning objectives.