Bulb Archived: Pritzker ATLAS 2015-2018: Jenkins (Year 2, 2016-2017)

School Name: Pritzker Elementary

Teacher Name: Jenai Jenkins

Section I: Arts Integration – Documentation.


Students show findings from researching community organizations and their own experiences with acts of kindness.

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 can students depict their understanding of sharing, caring, & anti-bullying when learning through the integration of language arts, music & technology?

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 began their experience by using electronic devises such as iPods & iPads to research community organizations that engaged in acts of kindness. Through this effort, students found a short paragraph that they decided to use as the basis for a rap. “Find an opportunity to give compliments. It costs nothing; it takes no time; and it could make someone’s entire day.” The rap became the background music for their video presentation. 

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?

This inquiry allows students to write an original song about their findings & experiences.  As we began to write song lyrics, we realized that students needed to develop their vocabulary a little bit. In order to do this, the teacher provided a list caring and sharing synonyms. Students spent one class period using the iPods and iPads to look up definitions of those synonyms. 

(See video here: https://www.bulbapp.com/u/pritzker-atlas-project-year-2-caring-sharing-anti-bullying)
The students rehearse singing and signing Heal the World, by Michael Jackson.

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

We started our process by learning to sing and sign the song “Heal the World” by Michael Jackson in order to establish a context for caring for others. The original plan was to have the students act out acts of kindness and create video footage of various acts of kindness.  The inquiry process led the students to explore concepts of caring, sharing & anti-bullying and then write and perform their own rap about the same.

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 decided which instruments to teach the pre-schoolers. When creating the video footage, the editors determined which clips and video filters to use. When creating the rhythm track for the rap, students determined which instruments to use.

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

As the students discussed their research findings, they came across a phrase that summarized acts of kindness. They worked together to determine how to make their phrase fit with the rhythm track so they could compose their rap.

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?

Even though I tried to get the students to think more independently, or even within groups, my students found it difficult to generate new poetic ideas for the rap. For this reason, we often worked as a whole class to create our rap lyrics. 

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

The students shared the song Heal the World, with the sign language as part of a school-wide assembly. This performance served as a springboard for our project and allowed students to introduce our initiative to address acts of kindness and anti-bullying.

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?

Students collaborated by sharing video footage. Because we used 4 different iPod touches, students shared video footage via AirDrop.  A few different groups worked to create rhythm tracks for the rap. Students listened to and critiqued a few different clips to determine how to adjust the music and which music they should use for their final presentation. The music track was shared via email and iCloud and was added to their movie through iMovie.

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?

I worked with he students to help edit down video footage. Initially, much of their video footage was too long. I guided them as they made edits. I also taught students how to share their documents via AirDrop & email. Preparing the music for performance is another area we worked on. Students needed guidance to perform “in rhythm” with the music track.  Also, as we prepared to record the rap, I helped students with the form of their piece, suggesting when and how to repeat certain phrases in order to match the rhythm track.

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

The classroom teacher helped me by leading classroom discussions on empathy and anti-bullying and guiding the students towards writing short phrases about the topic. We used some of their writing to generate discussions during music about empathy and caring. 

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?

iMovie and Garageband are two applications that are very user friendly and work well to display student learning.

(See video here: https://www.bulbapp.com/u/pritzker-atlas-project-year-2-caring-sharing-anti-bullying)
The teacher presents the overall goal for day: creating a rap about caring, sharing, anti-bulling. Students try their hand at creating parts of a rap.

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 were able to use iMovie to show how we developed our ideas. Often times, during this project, students learned how to use certain application features and then taught each other how to operate those functions. For example,  students learned how to use filters in iMovie, they shared that information with classmates. Using Garageband, as students became familiar with adjusting the tempo for their piece, they showed their friends that may have missed the initial explanation.

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

Although it was very challenging, technology allows me to incorporate devices that students use so much outside of school, and engage student learning in a different way. When some students may have checked out, using iPod touches with Garageband and iMovie presented tools that kept some learners engaged and propelled those already engaged to a new level of participation.

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.

My chosen technology resources helped me address my goals related to integrating music with language arts. Once they became familiar with the devices, students had some degree of control over their learning. Looking back at the unit, I sort of feel that incorporating technology hindered the amount of music teaching I was able to realize. However, I also realize that because of the attention span of the students in this class, the use of technology probably enabled me to reach a level of learning and engagement that never would have occurred without the use of technology. In short, the students were probably more engaged because of the use of technology, and therefore more interested in learning. Wow! 

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.

I found that students were intrigued as they shared documents via AirDrop. I enjoyed watching students realize that they needed to adjust the tempo of their composition in order to match the feel they wanted for their rap. 

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

The most creativity was seen in the creation of music using Garageband. Students enjoyed choosing the instrument combinations and pre-recorded loops, adding tracks, changing the tempos, and most of all, sharing their pieces with each other!

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

Using digital media has once again challenged me in new ways. I continue to vacillate between a love/challenge relationship with technology. I love technology for the ways we are able to use it to engage students. However, I am forever challenged by its constant changes from one technology generation to the next, limitations in terms of sharing between devices, upgrades needed which impair production, the time taken away from “traditional instruction” juxtaposed with the rewards from new & innovative teaching and learning practices and the deeper level of student engagement . I also realize that incorporating technology has and will continue to get easier as I establish and develop presentation strategies and practices.

((See video here: https://www.bulbapp.com/u/pritzker-atlas-project-year-2-caring-sharing-anti-bullying)
Our final product: This video depicts students working together to create a rap about kindnes, and engaging with preschoolers to show acts of kindness. Students also sang Heal The World by Miachael Jackson to show how one Ameri celebrity addressed compassion in our world. The students’ rap creation is heard in the background.