Bulb Archived: Peck Collaboration Laboratory 2017-2018: Chavez & Alpert

Maricela Chavez and Kim Alpert

1) Describe the context of your school, neighborhood, or classroom: 


Peck Elementary is a K-4 Level 1 school located in the Midway Area of Chicago. The student body is made up of 97.9% Latino students with some African American, Arabic, and even Lithuanian students attending as well. We are a 95.5% low income school. 

For this project, we worked with Room 310 which is a Second Grade Bilingual classroom made up 28 students. Students in this group are still transitioning out of the Bilingual program and required instruction in English with support in Spanish. 

2) Big Idea:  STRUCTURE

3) Inquiry:  How can emotions take form? 

4) Academic Content(s): Visual Arts

5) Artistic Discipline(s): Color Theory, Expressive Art & Sculpture

6) Standards Addressed: (Common Core, Next Generation): NCAS

  • VA:Cr1.1.2 Brainstorm collaboratively multiple approaches to an art or design problem.
  • VA:Cr2.1.2 Experiment with various materials and tools to explore personal interests in a work of art or design.
  • VA:Cr2.3.2 Repurpose objects to make something new. 
  • VA:Cr3.1.2 Discuss and reflect with peers about choices made in creating artwork. 
  • VA:Pr5.1.2 Distinguish between different materials or artistic techniques for preparing artwork for presentation.
  • VA:Re7.2.2 Categorize images based on expressive properties.
  • VA:Re8.1.2 Interpret art by identifying the mood suggested by a work of art and describing relevant subject matter and characteristics of form.

7) Please describe what you did and what you made for this project: 

Pablo Picasso’s “Woman With Bangs”


Understanding color and light theory. 

Students were introduced to the idea of Expression in color. They learned that colors can have positive and negative emotions attached to them and that artists sometimes use color in an expressive way instead of a realistic way. This means that they may choose to change the colors of objects and ideas they create in order to make their viewer feel a certain way. 

Students were provided the opportunity to look at various examples of this in art and imagery and discussed what emotions they felt were connected. For example, they looked at Pablo Picasso’s “Woman With Bangs”  and came to conclude that blue can portray sadness. 

Psychology of shapes, patterns, and grouping. 

Next, the class went on to further their understanding of how emotions can take form. Students analyzed images and discussed how different shapes, patterns, and groups may make a viewer feel. We then furthered the discussion by asking: “What memories do these bring to mind?” We wanted students to understand that the emotions that artists use come from somewhere. Sometimes it may be how they are feeling at the time but others it may reflect a memory they may have. 



Materials and textures (meaning of…) 

For this lesson, we reviewed the ideas of expression in art and how artists use color, shapes, patterns, and groupings. We then introduced the materials available for creating sculptures. They were provided with items such as Styrofoam cones, circles, seashells, tiny mirrors, computer buttons, beads, feathers, clay, Popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, etc. We informed students that another quality that can show expression is the texture of an item. The class then discussed how the items may be used in their sculpture and what feelings, emotions or memories may come to mind when looking at them. 

Planning & Drafting

Students were informed that artists always plan ahead when creating art and that the next step in our process would be to create a plan for our sculpture. Students were provided with white paper and colored pencil and asked to think of a feeling, emotion or memory they wanted their viewer to feel when they looked at their sculpture. They began to write down their ideas and think of what materials they would choose for their art piece. As students worked, they were called by groups and given an opportunity to gather their materials. 

Composition 1

Once students finalized their planning and selected their items, they were provided with the opportunity to begin assembling their sculptures. Each student was asked to bring a shoe box which served to store their sculptures and materials in between classes. 



Composition 2

The next few classes were used as studio days. During this time, students finalized the assembly of their sculpture. We then reviewed artist’s use of color in art and asked that students add color to their sculpture using paint. Since students had learned about creating value in color earlier in the year, they were encouraged to add black, white, and gray to their colors. While students worked, we reminded them that artists plan when creating their art. We asked them to think about how they were putting their sculpture together, how they were painting it, and why. “Students, please remember, we will need to explain all of the choices we made. As artists, we always have a reason for everything we do. Think of what each color, shape, pattern, or grouping may represent.” (Ms. Chavez)


In preparation for presentation, students were asked to create three charts. One explained what each color was and what emotion, feeling or memory was attached to it. They did the same for shapes, patterns/groupings. The next step was to take their chart and turn it into a statement which would not only help them when presenting to the class but also served as a plaque for presenting their work to a bigger audience at this year’s “Arts & Garden Gala.”  

9.) What did you learn about yourself, your partner(s), and the students? How might what you learned impact your teaching practice? 

It was a wonderful experience to work with an artist who is relevant and inspirational. I furthered my knowledge about what art looks like in today’s world. Peck Elementary was even blessed to have the C.A.P.E. team and a few of the artists speak at our “College & Career Day” event this year. The students shared how happy they were to see that a future career in arts its truly exiting and possible. 

10.) How did the collaboration challenge your understanding of teaching, learning, and art-making?

Although we both were artists, we had some varying ideas on how to teach the lesson. It was great to have someone to bounce ideas off and who had a different way of approaching things. However, since we are both very busy, it seemed difficult at times to connect in person as much as I would have liked for planning. Teaching enables and encourages us to grow and be quick on our feet and spontaneous based on student needs, but I feel like we could have gone a lot further with the project in that we could have delved more deeply into certain aspects of lessons especially because my students are bilingual and need the additional time and resources in order to understand the concepts at times.