Bulb Archived: Disney ATLAS 2015-2018: Varner (Year 1, 2015-2016)

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. 

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?

Culminating Event Presenters
Sixth Grade Presenters
Seventh Grade Presenters

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?

How can we use images to communicate?

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.

Students researched images associated with their character from Romeo and Juliet.  Students used images associated with their characters personality and choices to create their visual art.

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 read the play with their classroom teacher.  They also listened to the music from the symphony and discussed the compositions with our digital music teacher.  The students were able to make connections with the music composition and the literature and create images to tell the story visually.

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

The students started in the art room by creating images to song lyrics they associated with.

Song Lyric Illustration

Then, the students illustrated their names.


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?

Students chose a character from the play that they were interested in.  They could choose from a variety of materials to create their final project including watercolor paints, paint sticks, oil pastels, crayons, permanent markers, and colored pencils. The images for their visual art was chosen by them based on the interpretation of the choices of their character and what perspective the students take on the choices.  

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

Toward the end of the project we had a session of “Wows and Wonders” where the students exchanged projects and provided feedback on the projects.  It was very helpful and non confrontational.  The students really took into consideration what their peers had to say.  

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?

I learned that the students who hadn’t had visual art for several years, needed some refreshers on painting techniques.  Although they had their choice of media, most liked using watercolor paints which aren’t actually the easiest medium.  I did enjoy the exploration and for the most part, they experienced success.

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

We had a culminating event where the five schools in the collaboration shared artifacts from their unit and led conversations about how they interpreted the theme.  It was great that it was all student led and all the schools involved had equal time to share out.  We were very lucky to have a space at Disney to host the event where almost two hundred people could walk around and see all the amazing pieces represented.  

Culminating event display

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?

The students presented to four other schools involved in our project with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  There were two representatives from each grade level who gave a short speech explaining the unit and how they approached the theme.

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?

The students did bot drive the unit other than steering the learning process based on their understanding of the text and the music from the play.

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

We met several times throughout the school year during the day and after school to plan the integrated unit.  The music teacher and I chose two other teachers that we both have in order to create the unit plan.

Section II: Technology Integration

14. What was your process for selecting this form of digital media technology? 

Each teacher has an ipad cart.  We used what was available to us.

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.

Students created digital music files.  I am  unable to upload those to this page.  In the art room, the students each researched the attributes and actions of their character from the play and researched images online as well to use in their compositions.

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

The students were able to use the ipads in their homeroom, the art room, and the music lab.  Because of this, the information was always accessible and could be shared with all stakeholders.

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.

The ipads met our expectations of students using them to compose music, image research, and documentation.

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.  

Students created original musical scores based on their experience with the character from Romeo and Juliette and the music from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  Creating is the highest form of understanding and they truly demonstrated the application and knowledge of the skills to produce original music.  

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

Students used various music apps to create their original compositions with the digital music teacher.  Students are not limited by their talents in creating music with musical instruments so they feel a stronger sense of ability utilizing the musical apps. I also believe students are free to take risks when they are using one to one technology and headphones and no one can hear their mistakes or struggles.  

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

Definitely helped the students do individualized research.  Students were able to use the ipads to find information about their character, search for images to tell their story, and create original compositions based on their characters choices.