Bulb Archived: Fort Dearborn ATLAS 2015-2018: Houston-Moore (Year 1, 2015-2016)

ATLAS Survey Y1

School Name: Fort Dearborn

Teacher Name: Kimberly Houston-Moore

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?

The inquiry question for this unit was: “How does knowledge impact imagination?” Some of the big ideas addressed were myths, nature, origins, and science. Our question looked at the use of the imagination versus use of science fact to explain nature.

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.

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Students researched the scientific facts after creating their nature myths.

It was very important for this unit that students have little prior knowledge of their subject when writing their myths. The language arts research portion involved learning the origin and structure of myths. Student research was also used to explain their myths, but took place through after the videos were completed. As a result, students were able to respond to reflection questions  from different perspectives.

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? 

student recording his story 

Initially, the planned disciplinary connection was  language and visual arts. Language arts included: reading, writing (fiction and nonfiction),  and speaking.Knowledge of sequence and elements of plot were reinforced through storyboard creation and editing. Students were consciously drawing on information from the other disciplines to create their art.

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

There was not a great deal of changing once we began the unit. The classroom teachers and I did go back occasionally to review skills that were lacking. Keeping a connection with the inquiry question throughout the process sometimes called for additional  discussions.

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?

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students in the planning stage of their stories

Students not only decided the subject of their stories, they did their own planning and writing. In small groups, they made decisions on story lines; created their storyboards and did their own camera work

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

Final stories were shared and selected by the groups. Students gave suggestions and in some cases combined stories for a final product. At the end of the unit, students shared reflections both in group discussion and on reflection sheets.

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Students reflect on their experience and give their final thoughts on the essential question posed at the beginning of the project.

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

 Because there were so many parts to this unit, we were able to gauge understanding based on what we saw in each stage of the student work: their planning sheets, their stories, storyboards, and reflection sheets. 

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

Due to lack of time,the videos have not yet been publicly shared. A premiere for the parents and display on school video and website have been planned.

Section I: Arts Integration – Collaboration

Students creating storyboards from their myths

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 collaborated throughout the unit. The art making portion of the unit was a completely group effort–from the planning, to the decision-making, the creation of backgrounds and the videotaping itself.

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?

Group met with teacher to discuss ideas

Each group met with me to present their ideas, get assistance in problem-solving. The discussions were student driven.

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

Both third grade teachers (Ms. Herring and Ms. Adams) were intricately involved in the planning and implementing of the the project. We planned, team taught, and often exchanged roles. I was involved in some of the language arts instruction and some of the art making took place in their classrooms. The was a seamless connection between the visual and language arts roles in this unit.

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?

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Film crew at work on videos

Stop action videos were a simple and effective way to translate and expand their stories. iPads were available for student use which allowed us to create more than one video.

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 used technology not only to create their art, but to research their subjects as well.

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

For my students, technology allowed them to bring their ideas to life. They were engaged and excited. This was a long process, but the students never seemed to tire. As the arts teacher, the technology  portion was more difficult. I found that our imaginations often outgrew my technological knowledge. We often embarked on problem solving journeys together.

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 use of technology and its role in this unit exceeded my expectations . It allowed the students to become involved in and see the final results of a process.They made a big investment in their learning. 

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 technology added a layer to this project that enhanced their understanding of the contrast between imagination and knowledge. The videos allowed them to bring their imagined stories to life  and the use of technology made the research portion easier.

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

Movie making with the iPad brought an excitement to their stories, but it also required them to face challenges and make adjustments in order to translate from story to imagery, into  movies.

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

  I think that  the integration of digital technology had an incredible impact on this unit.  My own lack of skills in this area did  sometimes slowed the process down, but hastened my own learning. Often the students and I relied on each other to solve some of the technology problems we faced, which opened another avenue for collaboration and communication between students and teacher.