Bulb Archived: Southside Occupational Collaboration Laboratory 2016-2017: Sullivan, Radomski, Mannebach & Juras

2016-2017 Collaboration Laboratory

Please respond to the prompts below with your partner. You can upload images, videos and weblinks to enhance your responses to the prompts.

1) Big Idea:

Absence and Presence

2) Inquiry:

How does one respond to an absence in a community and how does the community adapt?


3) Academic Content:

Environmental Science Competencies: 

-Illustrate or name the stages in the life cycle of a plant, person, or animal

4) Artistic Discipline(s):

Drawing, Painting, Sculpture (clay), Installation

5) Standards Addressed: (Common Core, Next Generation Science, National Core Arts):

Please insert your response here.

6) What is the context of your school, school neighborhood, or classroom that led you to do this project? (100 words or less)

The students had experienced personal losses the prior year and we wanted to respond to the fear, sadness and anxiety that students felt about members of their community passing away. A project plan developed around the idea of legacy, personal symbols, and community.

7) How many years have you worked together as partners?

This is our second year.

8) What surprised you during the project?

JENNIFER: I was surprised by how opinionated many of the students were when we voted on various aspects of our project, such as shape and placement.

STEVE: I was surprised by how the students transformed their drawings on paper to marks and textures in clay. It was a really impressive moment of self-expression and empowerment.

Ms. Radomski takes students’ votes on the shape of the final pieces

GLENNA: (translation from presentation to drawing to clay to final presentation)


9) What worked in this project and why?

JENNIFER: The initial time spent getting to know each other, through stories or ideas represented by personal objects, was very beneficial. Also, we gave a presentation about symbols, the students spent time drawing various possibilities for their own personal symbols; they successfully translated these drawings into clay tiles. The personal connection they felt was evident when they later spoke to the class about them.

STEVE: Although not entirely conscious of it at the time, we moved through a representational mode of expression (students brought in objects important to them) to a more abstract one (creation of personal symbols). I think this process was really helpful because the students were able to see themselves and their classmates in a new and different way.


10) What didn’t work and why?

The plan for the final installation did not happen, and we had to scramble at the last minute to find a way to display the work. In the future we will have to work on communicating much more closely with the principal/administration in the beginning stages. Although there was disappointment that the project did not end up being site specific as planned, there was still a fantastic response from the students as they were able to express a great deal in the work they created, and they really connected with the process.

11) What was your approach to assessment?

When each student individually spoke to the class about their tile, it became apparent that most not only understood the meaning of that aspect of the project, but were able to express it. This group activity was  a means of assessment.

At the beginning of the planning process, we discussed using this project as a means of increasing students’ communication. We thought we would do this through a process similar to an art critique and were pleasantly surprised when students were engaged with each other during their presentations; students initiated questions and comments toward one another. Some students were prompted with more evaluative questions to encourage more communication during presentations.

Throughout the art sessions, impromptu questions about students’ materials, designs, and project ideas were asked by each of us as well as support staff. Jennifer and Steve worked with students to question the intent of their designs and then help them take their designs further or make them more complex.

Carlos is a fan of football and Comedy Central.
Jennifer shares her fondness for the Cubs (and her friend, Carlos).
Thomas is a big-time bowler.

12) Think back to what you each hoped to learn from this collaboration. What did you learn and how? Discuss how you supported each other’s goals.

While reflecting as a group, we found the following elements supported our collaboration:

-The space: the art classroom is spacious with four tables, a back room with a kiln, clay and all art-making materials. We found this space facilitated increased engagement by having one of us at 

First day: Sharing something personal from our lives

Prior collaboration between students: science and art met 

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

Reflective Thoughts: 

-Name tags paired with student work–how do we balance the desire for the students to take ownership and pride in their work publicly displayed while encouraging them to create components for a piece that is collaborative.

If we were to work together for a third year, we would…

-Bring together the fluidity of last year and the direction of this year