Bulb Archived: Hurley ATLAS 2015-2018: Gutiérrez (Year 2, 2016-2017)

School Name: HURLEY Teacher Name: JOSE L. GUTIERREZ


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.

Students working together to set up objects and backdrop for stop-motion animation set. 
Students making clay figures 
Student practicing moving figures for stop-motion animation. 
Students painting structures from their sets for the animation. 

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?

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 writers use descriptive language to create a visual image in the reader’s mind? How can I recreate a scene from a book into a stop-motion animation? How can I create set for an animation that portrays the places described in a story? How can I create the characters form a story using modeling clay? 

 Big Ideas: 

 How do filmmakers use literature to make movies? What roles do artists play in the film industry? What can I do with my artistic skills and abilities? Careers in Art Collaborating with other artists? 

 I believe the inquiry questions address the big Ideas because the students got to experience how animation film involves many different components that need to be accomplished to make the whole production work. As we progressed through the unit students had to apply their Language arts skills as they reread the text to find a part from the story that they wanted to use for the stop-motion animation project. They had to use their drawing skills to create a storyboard to plan out their camera angles and visualize what they wanted the set to look like. They also had to make the set and characters using recycled materials and modeling clay and finally they used phone cameras to film their animations. Throughout the unit students had to collaborate as they completed each stage of the unit and learned valuable problem solving skills.

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 learned more about the importance of using the descriptive language used by the author of the story as a tool for creating the setting for their animation. After the students agreed on a scene to use for the project, the research they did was related to taking notes from the book to identify details from the story for the animation to show the viewers the place the author was describing. This process definitely opened new inquiry questions like: What did trains, and other forms of transportation look like in the 1930’s? Where is Aguascalientes, Mexico and San Juaquin Valley California? What do haciendas look like? So the students used google images to look up pictures and answer the new questions that they had about the details in the book. They were able to find examples of vineyards and Haciendas (estates), horse drawn carriages and even dresses and outfits worn by servants and landowners in the 1930’s. They also got to see images of the living conditions of america’s immigrant farm workers and began to see what the world they imagined as they read actually was like. As the students were learning how to use the technology we had available was another aspect of the new inquiry questions, for example the students had to learn how to connect to a personal hotspot that I shared so they could access the internet from their devices and download an app to their phone, or tablet. They also had to learn how to upload a file from their tablet to their google drive so I could see their progress on the project and share it with the rest of the class so they could get feedback from their peers.

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?

There were many interdisciplinary connections in this unit since a large part of our unit involved the students recreating a scene from a historical-fiction novel they were reading in the language arts class. Our inquiry question, How do writers use descriptive language to create a visual image in the reader’s mind?, guided the students creative process. They had to reread the text and do further research to truly understand and imagine what the setting that the author described actually looked like. As they reread the scenes and took a closer look at the environment created by the author, mining for details helped them become more aware of author’s’ writing style and intentions by writing this novel. Our other inquiry questions: Where do animators get ideas? And how can I recreate scene from a novel? also lead us to learning about the social issues related to immigration, social class and race in Mexico’s and the US’s recent past. While learning how to design a set and making a stop-motion animation my students learned that creating an animation can guide you down a path that is filled with learning and that there are endless resources available that will help you expand your knowledge on your own. They also learned that making an animation can bring a lot of different subjects and topics together.

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

The curriculum did not actually evolve it just expanded my awareness of more possible avenues of learning for the students. I believe the unit opened the door for social studies and art history to be integrated in the lessons but because of the time constraints we were not able to delve into the social topics that were raised by the inquiry process. The social issues were discussed in the language arts class however in the art class I feel that we could only scratch the surface. The students did gain some visual knowledge about the social issues and the way things looked back then by looking at images. But we did not have the time to respond through the actual artwork they produced in the unit. I do feel that the students did learn how the book created awareness in them about the immigrant experience. Yet I would like to evolve the unit so it is centered on the students responding to the issues this novel raises, rather than merely recreating the story.

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?

The students had to think about the best way to depict the scene they choose from the story. They had to decide as a team how to make the characters and set. They choose the camera angles and shots that they wanted to use to make the stop-motion animation. They had to negotiate who was going to do the filming, which they all wanted to be in control of, they had to decide who was going to move the figures. and whose ideas they were going to use when deciding how to direct the animation. The students had to learn how to build and make their set resemble the setting from the story, and decide how they were going to use what they made in the scene. They chose what details they should include so the audience could understand what was happening in the scene.

Students had to work together to recreate elements of the stories setting. These students explred ways to make a 2D drawing into a 3D tree. 
Students used recycled materials to create props for the animation, you can see the books in the background, since they would refer to it so they could make decisions based on the story. 
Some students worked really hard to recreate the characters and emphasize parts from the story. 
Students discussing framing and camera angles prior to shooting animation. 

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

The students were able to reflect in various ways through out the project. Before class each team went around and shared what they had made and what they were going to be working on during the class. The students also reflected on their project as we all watched each other’s animations on the screen during class. And finally they reflected on their projects when we prepared for the community exhibition. As students completed their projects they watched their animations and thought of ways to improve them, then they went back to re-shooting the parts that they wanted to fix. During class we would also discuss camera angle and framing used by each group and gave each other feedback and suggestions about what the group intended to show and what the audience actually interpreted. This seemed to be the part most of the students enjoyed, because they got to see how other teams depicted the same characters and sometimes even the same scene from the novel. They enjoyed getting ideas from each others projects.

In Progress work class critique, students teams are presenting what they are building for the set of their animations.

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?

The students applied many art skills to accomplish this project, many skills I needed to help them develop during the unit, so that my students could take on a project of this magnitude. For example building structures out of cardboard and modeling clay required skills that most of my students did not have. It was also the first project that required the students to work in teams. Being new at the school also limited my understanding of the group dynamics within the classroom. I learned that I need to scaffold the learning that the students are expected to apply in this unit. And that I need to provide the students time to resolve issues that arise when working with different mediums like clay, paint and video cameras. 

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

The students’ work was shared at an art exhibit in the school, however the event was not very well attended. The students prepared their sets and worked on creating the stop-motion animations for the project but did not really have a chance to think about exhibiting the work. They did set up the exhibit and make choices about what to display and how to display the artifacts from the project. However, exhibiting the work was not the focus of the project, they were more focused on learning how to make an animation. The exhibition was an important part of the unit for me as a teacher because it introduced my work to the rest of the staff at the school along with the parents in the community. I hope that this makes it easier for me to collaborate with teachers in developing more integrated units.

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?

All of the above, the students had work together to research the scenes from the story for details that they should include in the animation. They built the set and characters using cardboard and modeling clay. They collaborated throughout the process of shooting the animation, and they had to critique each other’s animations. They also had to decide how they wanted to show the artifacts from the animation for an exhibit at the school.

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?

As a teacher you have to react to the way your students respond to the challenges you pose. As the students started creating the parts of the project I would ask them if they wanted to watch videos on building with clay and how to make characters out of clay. We also watched youtube videos about camera angles and the rules for stop motion animation. The students would reveal what they needed by the questions they would ask me. Or because they wanted me to do things for them, I knew that i needed to create a mini lesson so that they could practice the skills i was expecting them to use for the project. They also helped me decide on the pace of the unit. As a side note, I also collaborated with the students in teaching the administration that they did not have to worry about cell phones being used during class. I never had to report a student to the disciplinarian for inappropriate use of our devices during class or outside of class. Because of this project we were able to show teachers and administration that is okay for our students to have a device in school so long as they are using it as a tool rather than a toy.

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

Collaborating with another teacher at the school was very difficult because of the pace in which they read the book in class. Although we started the unit together the students were done reading the novel before they even started creating the animation. The scenes the students chose were from the beginning of the story so they did not get to focus on the same part of the story they were reading when they came to class. The collaborating teacher helped me plan and develop the unit like identifying the ELA standards for the unit and developing some of the inquiry questions. However once the project started we each drifted in our own directions, I focused on meeting the objectives for creating the animation and she focused on reading and discussing the book. Although I do believe working on the project gave the students a richer experience with the book. They had a deeper understanding of the characters and the social issues that came up in the story.

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?

I chose stop-motion animation for this unit because it was a way to take a comic book project one step further. In the past I had student create a comic to recreate a part from a story so I wanted to build on that project. I also wanted to explore ways to have my students use their phones as a tool in my class. Since our students spend so many hours on their phones I felt that it was important for me to teach them how to use their phone as a creative tool.

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.

My students mainly used technology as a researching tool, they used their chrome books to look up images so they could see what the author was describing when she talked about the setting in the story. They directed themselves through this process and used the images they found as references as they made their sets. They did not have much of a choice when it came to choosing what technology to use because there are not a lot of free animation apps that work as well as STOP MOTION STUDIO.

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

The learning environment would transform into a production studio where students had to figure out a lot of parts for their project. Because we were using technology in the art studio we had to be careful not to damage any of our equipment or the projects the other students were making. The most critical aspect of working in our space was breaking up our time together into group learning, critiquing, and making. During group learning we looked at youtube videos and images from google to learn how to produce a stop-motion animation.During making time the students worked in groups and I rotated from team to team to do my formal and informal assessments. During this time each team had to set up their sets so they could continue building on their project from the previous session. And eventually lead them to the point where they had to rehearse their animations before they filmed them. After the students were don filming they had to share the project and critique in small groups or get feedback during group learning and critique time. Overall, each team had to find ways to isolate their project while recording so they would not film the other team working in the background. Students created backdrops with paper so they could block other teams from coming out in their animations. As the students became more familiar with the process, equipment and tools we were using they became more autonomous. They moved through each stage of the project on their own, and decided what needed to be done each week. I had to learn to help them overcome challenges that they ran into during the project, and also find much needed space for them to spread out.

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 students learned the process of creating a stop-motion animation, through the unit hey had an opportunity look at the various components related to creating a film. They learned how to do research for film, they used technology to look at different places and objects from history related to the time period when the story was taking place. And they used the internet to watch other animations and how-to videos to help them learn to build with clay or how to use the stop motion studio app. They became more familiar with the author’s descriptive language and tried to recreate that world in 3D using cardboard and clay. They also learned how to use their devices to connect to other devices and wifi hotspots so they could get internet access and they learned how to upload videos from their devices to the google cloud so they could share their work with the class. While they made their animations they got to explore ways of filming using framing and camera angles for the project. Over I feel that the use of technology helped my students meet the outcomes of the project and did exceed my expectations for helping the students complete this project.

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 use of technology definitely helped my students apply higher order thinking skills for example looking at the animations they made or made by other students gave my students an opportunity to reflect on their choices and think about ways to make their animations better. They had to learn how to problem solve and show that they learned how to use the equipment we were using.

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

I feel like the students used the technology to capture their artistic expression. I believe that while they made their characters and their sets for the animation was the part of the unit that gave them the most of opportunities to express themselves creatively. During the process of making the objects they used for the animation they were able to show what they learned about the setting and characters from the story and apply their artistic skills. While the students were using the camera they were expressing themselves through the choices in camera angle and framing however they did not have enough time to really get into it. One of the teams had the characters line up and bow to the audience to signal that the animation was over. Another pair of students started making their own animations at home and applied the skills that they learned in my class to play with their friends and toys at home.

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

Integrating digital media technology has impacted my teaching practice in many ways, for example I have to provide my students with a space that is able to have wet (paint) and dry media (cameras and computers). I have learned to take risks but at the same time be sure that the students are learning to care for the equipment that is vital to the completion of the project. I had to really think about the process and allow for students to guide themselves as they learned to use video cameras to record their animation while at the same time they were painting and building with clay and cardboard. Aside from being careful not to drop a iphone into a paint tray, my students were using knives and hot glue guns to cut their cardboard sets together. A lot of the time I had to make sure the students were being safe and properly setting themselves up to work on the many different aspects of the project. My students varied in skill levels when it came to navigating through their device. So I had to teach them how to install the application and export their files so they could share them with the rest of the class. I had to problem solve to work around the fact that my students could not access the internet with their devices so I had to learn and teach them how to share my LTE internet connection when they were downloading the app of uploading their animations. I found that most of the assessments we did throughout the project were informal because the students were working in teams. That made it difficult at first to grade students individually. So I had to learn new ways to check for knowledge, I had the students in each team take performance assessments where I asked them to show me the steps for downloading an app or connecting to a personal wifi hotspot. I feel that by integrating technology into my unit I was able to provide my students with skills that they will use outside of making animations with their phones. Integrating technology in the researching part of the unit also gave me an opportunity to help my students answer their own inquiry questions that they came up with while they were re reading the novel looking for details about the setting. I had to guide my students in using google searches to find answers to questions they had about how things looked in the 1930’s. So I found myself teaching my students how to use the internet to guide their own learning. We used videos from youtube to learn how to build characters with clay for a stop motion animation. And they also watched videos created by animators as they learned how to use different camera angles and framing a shot for an animation.