Bulb Archived: Eberhart ATLAS 2015-2018: Rodriguez (Year 2, 2016-2017)

School Name:  John F. Eberhart

Teacher Name: Mary Rodriguez


Below are questions that will help you to complete your Project ATLAS Digital Portfolios.

Directions: Please answer the questions based on a project completed during the 2016-2017 school year.

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.


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?


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 are emotion and mood related?

How can I express mood visually and in writing?

How can digital photo manipulation affect the mood of an artwork?

The big idea of this unit was emotion. Eberhart has implemented a school wide social emotional learning curriculum this year, these inquiry questions encourage students to examine how they express their emotions and how emotion can be depicted visually, and in writing.

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 engaged in free association writing on the six emotions outlined in our In Focus SEL curriculum. This research got them in touch with experiences and ideas that they associated with various emotions, and provided inspiration for their photo manipulations.

Additionally, the students had to investigate the options and limitations of the Pixlr Express app. This was our first ever digital photography project, and most students were unfamiliar with the program.

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?

Art is a natural medium for expressing emotion, as is writing. The technological element of this project allowed students to explore two subjects that can often make people feel vulnerable, emotion & self-portraiture, with a certain amount of objectivity. The students were able to alter and obscure parts of their self-portraits, concealing their faces at times with texts or other imagery, which made some more comfortable with the expressing their feelings.

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

I don’t know if the curriculum evolved based on the inquiry process. It did evolve based on the limitations of the technology available.

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?

Below is the rubric provided to students and used to assess the visual component of this unit. Students had a lot of freedom within the parameters of this assessment to personalize their photo manipulations. The colors, filters, word choices, were up to them. The self-portrait was taken by them, and they were free to present themselves in a variety of ways. Some chose to cover parts of their faces, for example. With regards to the preliminary writing, some students were very eager to eager to write about themselves, and candidly shared their emotional experiences,while others were more reserved. 

Collage (20%)

Student has correctly compiled images in a Warhol style collage.

Student has not correctly compiled images in a Warhol style collage.

Image Quantity (20%)

Student has created 6, distinct, repetitive self- portraits that clearly convey each of the 6 emotions.

Student has created 6 distinct, repetitive self-portraits. Portraits convey emotions.

Student has not created 6 distinct self-portraits.

Color (20%)

All 6 of the portraits effectively use color to convey emotion.

4-5 of the portraits effectively use color to convey emotions.

Less than 4 portraits use color to convey emotion.

Text (20%)

At least 4 of the self-portraits incorporate text to convey emotion. The word choice & font are appropriate to the emotion, and the text is a unified part of the composition.

At least 3 of the self-portraits incorporate text to convey emotion. The word choice and font are appropriate for the emotion.

Less than 3 of the self-portraits incorporate text, the word choice/ font does not convey the correct emotion, or the text is not a unified part of the composition.



Student has used filters, overlays, or frames in all 6 of the images to convey emotion.

Student has used filters, overlays, or frames in 4-5 of the images to convey emotions.

Student has used filters, overlays, or frames in less than 4 images.

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

Students wrote reflections on the six emotions prior to creating the visual expressions of their emotions. Each student’s finished self-portrait was uploaded to a Google Classroom gallery, so their class could view and comment on the artwork, however commenting was not a required aspect of the assignment. In the future, this might be a convenient way to hold a critique.

Example of the Gallery in Google Classroom.

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?

Student writing sample.

The first stage of this unit was a writing exercise. Students were giving six emotions (happiness, sadness, anger, fear, hurt & love) and had a set amount of time to write about each. Initially, many of the reflections were not very forthcoming. Many students when told to “stream of consciousness” write, or free associate about each word did not know where to start. With subsequent classes, I began giving them more information, as well as pointing them in a direction that might inform their final artwork. For example, saying things like, “what colors do you associate with this emotion?”

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

As previously stated, students were able to view and comment on their classmates work via Google Classroom. Additionally, students who consented had their self portraits displayed on my bulletin board. I hadn’t considered this aspect of Google Classroom until just now, but the online galleries could provide an easy opportunity for students to engage in critique, monitored by the teacher, without taking up too much class time.

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? 

Collaboration was not a requirement of this assignment, although some students did seek other students assistance, predominantly with taking their portraits.

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?


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

This unit was not collaborative.

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? 

My process was somewhat limited by the technology I had available to me. Fortunately, I received an iPad cart at the beginning of the year. Last year, I had no dedicated technology in my classroom which complicated things.

I knew that wanted to do a lesson that incorporated our school’s social emotional focus, and I typically do a self-portrait project every year with my 4-8th grades.

I began to formulate a unit around Andy Warhol’s repetitive screenprints, and the idea of 15 minutes of fame. How would Warhol have felt about modern technology such as smart phones, iPads, and apps? Certainly he would have embraced this new, efficient form of making art, and exposing your art to a wide audience, quickly, via social media.

I combined these ideas and used the iPads and Pixlr app to as a convenient way to take and manipulate self-portraits. Google Drive made it possible for students to save their work week to week, and I could monitor their progress via a shared folder.

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. 

I feel like students had a lot of freedom to make creative choices with this project. As an introductory digital photo assignment, the goal really was to experiment with the program, and see how you could alter one straightforward self-portrait, six different way, and change it’s meaning. Students were free to use whatever colors, filters, frames, stickers, or text they felt exemplified a particular emotion. As with most assignments, some students only did the minimum, while others really pushed their images to be something very graphic and illustrative. 

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

Google Drive and Google Classroom really made this project possible. Although the iPads allowed the students to create the work, a digital project like this would not have been feasible if there was not a way to share the projects easily. I had each student create a folder to store their images in Google Drive, and the share that folder with me. I the created a folder for each class, so I could easily access their work and monitor their progress. The finished work was then shared with all their classmates via Google Classroom, and I only made physical copies of the pieces students agreed to allow me to display. Because of this, I was able to complete this project with 4 8th grade classes, or about 120 students.

Student’s shared files on Google Drive.
Example of one student’s work stored in Google Drive file.

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 technology worked quite well for the visual art component, but I feel like the literacy component could have been pushed farther. Although the students began this project by writing self-reflections, in most cases, very little of the writing made it into the artwork itself, and when it did it seemed more like an afterthought. Although I spoke to the students about considering the font, color, and placement of their text with regards to the emotion and overall composition, I’m not sure that everyone understood what that meant. In the future, I think it would be beneficial to do a graphic design, text project as a precursor to this lesson.

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 with the most successful projects, really seemed to reflect on the meaning of each emotion, and really consider how they could transform their photograph to completely reflect it.

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

Please see the response to question 15.

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

It was exciting to integrate a new medium into my classroom.