Bulb Archived: Healy ATLAS 2015-2018: Blue (Year 2, 2016-2017 – Project 1)

School Name: Healy School
Teacher Name: Mrs. Blue

Section I: Arts Integration – 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.

This year my class is working with a school on the East Coast of Florida.  I reconnected with an art teacher in Vero Beach, Florida who teaches art at Treasure Coast Elementary.  As luck would have it, her school is five-track (five of each grade), just like Healy Elementary School in Chicago.  We decided to work with our 5th grade students on a collaborative project.  After much discussion, we chose a project with a “monster” theme.  

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Vero Beach, FL where Treasure Coast Elementary is located!

Our students would begin by drawing their very own monster creation.  They could take ideas from monsters that they had seen before, but their monster had to be original in the end, looking completely unique.  After they drew their monsters, they wrote notes about their monsters, describing how it looked in detail!  At that point they got a separate piece of paper to write about their monsters in great detail, describing each and every detail about their monster, all the way down to where it lives.  The writing teachers in both Ms. Modesitt’s and my school assisted with this step.  Each student received a grading sheet with a monster sketch grade and a writing grade.

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This is the initial Rubric!

After students completed their writing, they exchanged their writing, NOT their drawing, with another classmate.  This was the true test to see if their writing was as thorough as possible.  If their classmate accurately drew their monster and their drawings matched rather closely, their writing was ready to be exchanged with Ms. Modesitt’s students in Vero Beach.

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Monster Writing Sample

At this point I sent the monster writing (NOT THE DRAWINGS) to Florida.  

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 below pictures represent the next portion of our Florida project.  At this point we sent our “monster writing” to Ms. Modesitt in Florida and she sent her student’s writing to Chicago.  I gave each 5th grader the writing of a Florida student and they had to try to depict that writing in a picture.  Some students shared writing as Ms. Modesitt’s classes are much smaller than ours.  

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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 do students represent their artwork 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.

The research for this project was conducted across state borders.  In order to answer whether students can represent their artwork in written form, writing was sent to 5th grade students in Florida and vice versa.  That way students could be the judge and the as well as the research source for one another.  

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?

The research question for this project lent itself to the connection of the arts and writing.  In both Chicago and Florida, the students worked with the writing teacher to perfect their writing about their monster creations.  In this manner, their writing was thorough and well done prior to sending them across borders.  

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

This curriculum constantly evolved due to the nature of the project.  Ms. Modesitt and I had never done such a project across state lines, so as the weeks progressed we realized things we will change next year and things we could change immediately to make our lives easier and the project more concise and well done.  

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 had full artistic freedom while writing about and designing their monsters.  Nothing was off limits, as long as they were appropriate.  

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

In the intermittent weeks, as we waited for projects to arrive in snail mail from Florida, we had many opportunities to reflect on our work.  After getting work from our Florida friends, we took a few class periods to reflect on how clear our writing was based on how our Florida friend interpreted our writing and turned it into their very own monster.  

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?

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Receiving the artwork from Florida and comparing it to our artwork really influenced my art teaching.  Ms. Modesitt and I made different artistic choices as we taught this unit, which was great.  This allowed us to collaborate with one another to decide the most beneficial and efficient ways to teach this unit in the future.  We constantly called, e-mailed, and texted one another to verify what we were doing, how the process was going, and what we would change in future years. 

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

Artwork was shared on my website.

Artwork was shared in the school hallways.

Artwork was shared between classes via Facetime.

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?

At the onset of the lesson, students collaborated in a group discussion about what it would take to write a clear, concise description about their monster creations.  We decided how to organize our writing to best “show in words” how our monster looked.  

Upon receiving writing from our Florida friends, we had a discussion about how we had to make the best decision possible about how to draw their monster, even when we might be confused about their writing.  

In addition, when we received our drawings back from Florida, we reflected on the clarity of our writing based on the picture we received.  

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?

Ms. Modesitt and I collaborated with our students throughout the process.  The students had their own ideas about how to make the project great and we incorporated those ideas into the project as long as they fit with the theme.  

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

Both Ms. Modesitt and I collaborated with the writing teachers in our schools to plan and implement this lesson. In addition, we collaborated with one another to make this unit a success.

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 ipad’s to give us ideas for our monster body parts and we used Facetime to connect with our Florida friends to share our artwork.  Both forms of technology were extremely beneficial.  In addition, we used cameras to create digital images of our artwork to display on my website.  

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.

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

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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.

For this project, technology enhanced learning by being a resource for monster ideas, a way to connect with our partner class who live very far away, and a way to memorialize our artwork on the internet.  

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.

Technology was used mainly as a form of brainstorming in the initial phases and self-relfection as we Facetimed with our Florida partner class.  

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

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

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