Bulb Archived: Spry ATLAS 2015-2018: Lopez (Year 2, 2016-2017)

School Name: John Spry Community School

Teacher Name: Marina Lopez

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 unit was planned as an integrated unit with a Literacy focus. During my initial conversation with the 5th grade classroom teacher we began planning a unit integrating the Declaration of Human Rights. The students would read the declaration of human rights, read articles and write around this topic.  We decided that the classroom teacher would begin teaching the unit prior to students starting the three-week art cycle This would provide students background knowledge.  I had planned to work with the 5th graders in the time frame that was scheduled and could not postpone beginning my unit.  Rarely does planning with a colleague work out to the letter. Although, I had not expected that the plan had to be thrown out the window the week before starting with the 5th graders.  The classroom teacher was not able to start her unit.  This meant I would need to give students prior knowledge on Human Rights before I could begin having student work to create a short video. 

Getting started:  The students took a pre-test to determine what they understood the Declaration of Human Rights was. Three quarters of the students did not have a solid understanding of what it meant, the others had a vague idea.  Afterward,  I wrote the words Declaration of Human Rights on the board and asked the students if they understood what it was. There was one response said out loud; what does declaration mean?  We started from there.  (Jeffery’s pre-test is a sample of one students ideas about human rights and how we could create art to express it.) After reading through a list, Summary of the Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I had the students search the web to find a student friendly poster of the Declaration which was created by the UN.     

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Student’s used this poster to read and find one  Human Right to focus on. 

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?

After asking students to read though the human rights poster, they drew a picture to represent the human right they felt was important. ( Natalie foucsed on the right, not to have your rights taken away. Kayla drew about the right to raise a family.)                 

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Preliminary drawings after reading through the Human Rights Poster.
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This drawing shows an awareness of the rights of adults to make thier own choices.

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?

Inquiry Question: 

How do student’s internalize and voice the concept of human rights using images, text, movement or every day gestures? 

The big Idea is Communication. It allows students to develop artistic ways to communicate their understanding of one right from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Students planned in groups using their ideas and images to create and to understand these concepts. This poster is by Jacquline, she created the poster to express the right to travel.  Jeffery focused on the right to be free from slavery.

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You can travel wherever you want. The student interpreted it by showing alway to traver around the world.
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 No one has the right to hold you in slavery. The student used the symbol of broken chains used in the Human Rights  poster.

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 United Nations Declaration of Human Rights is not easily accessible to fifth grade students. I needed to find an accessible copy, simple and clear for the students. There are a variety of written text versions. After having students read though the Summary of the articles handout,  I had the class log onto Chromebooks and acess a website that displayed a child friendly poster with the human rights written, along with a few graphics. When the student’s read a human right that they felt were important, to them, they wrote it down and began drawing. During this time there was much discussion with their peers about the rights. Some of the discussion involved the inauguration of the current president and how their rights would be affected. Many students had concerns related to right of Travel, Education, Slavery and Family. 

For students to understand what type of project we would work on, I introduced them to the concept of a PSA by watching a few from You-Tube. The expectation was for them to create a one minute PSA based on one Human Right.

None of students had ever created a film in i-movie, a few said they had, but they had only taken images with an i-pad and never put the images together into a film.  Practice or playing with the i-pad was necessary as students needed to experiment holding the i-pad and taking images.  Two students were paired together with one i-pad to experiment with using it.  They would be expected to create a PSA in a short period of time which meant they would each need to help one another film when they got into their final groups.  

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The student above is filming the student in the next image . Their film was based on the right to privacy.
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This student is acting out her part as she is filmed by the student in the frame above. (Using an everyday gesture in the film.)

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?

Based on the inquiry question, students were to communicate their understanding of one human right.  In order for them to be able to gather images about each right, I asked them to draw an image that came to their minds after reading and thinking about the right they thought was important. Students chose one right to draw allowing them to reflect on it as they drew their images.   We discussed how to present a topic to an audience by viewing a few simple PSAs.  By  having the students draw, I  had hoped it would help with discussions about images when they began their group work. It would also allow them to have some ideas already generated when creating a storyboard for their PSAs. Although I had not expected to teach students about the Declaration of Human Rights, it allowed them to connect with the rights through visual renderings via their drawings.  I believe the act of drawing allowed students to process the rights in a more concrete and direct way. The discussions, decisions and storyboards prior to filming allowed students to help one another grasp the issues they were trying to communicate. The process of preparing to film and the repetition of a few or many takes allowed students the time to digest the human right in a way that could not be understood by simply reading the information. 

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Students are discussing who will be playing each roll in their freedom of religion film. 

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

The classroom teacher was not able to begin her unit on human rights. She was finishing work in another unit when the schedule changed and the students would start visual arts. I was then responsible to teach students about the Declaration of Human Rights and give them time to create a PSA on one of the rights. Initially I thought each student could work on one human right but the reality was that I had one week to teach the abbreviated version of the Declaration of Human Rights and two-weeks to have them learn i-move, acting, filming and editing.  I knew I had to rethink my approach.

I decided that students would work in groups and tackle one human right in their groups, allowing for actors, cinematographers, and editors to work together and switch roles if need be. This would challenge students in many ways. I di however have a few students who could not work with their groups. This ment I had to rearrange groups after most had started working. One student commented, at the end of the unit, that she did not like the people she was  grouped with but in the end was surprised that they got to know each other and liked what they had accomplished and liked her peers. Working in groups is always a challenge although there always seems to be happy outcomes for most students if they allow themselves to work with their peers. 

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Students are working on their storyboard for the right of freedom from slavery. 

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 project allowed for self-direction as students worked in groups and were responsible for all aspects of the PSA.  In their groups they came together to discuss what their human right meant, for them, as a group.  They then decided what the end product would be.  One member created a storyboard from the ideas they had discussed. The group had to decide who would take on each role by acting, filming and editing images. Quickly, they realized they would each have to take on all the roles. The groups could film in the hallway, or in a classroom that was not occupied at the time. Once they filmed they had to decide what images would be edited together to create the film as well as music that may fit as a part of the overall. Most chose to placed the human right into the film with text.  It was interesting to notice that as soon as a group used music, text or an intro to the film that quickly other groups picked up the ideas that were generated. In the arts it’s called steeling a good idea and making it your own. The classroom consisted of 35 students which, allowed for 9 groups.  Due to absences and the inability for some students to work in groups, we ended with 7 groups.  Each group, except for one, was given the opportunity to leave the classroom to film in the hallway or in one of our shared classrooms during our art period. As they were given the freedom to be out of the classroom, they had to collaborate and make decisions about every aspect of their filmmaking.

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This was the last scene in the right to education video. The sun coming though the windows ruined a few takes, until they realized they had to film away from the windows.
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 The students had to stop filming to talk about what each of their lines were and practice the lines. This was the third or fourth take. 

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

After groups completed editing their film, I suggested that each group share their film with the other groups.  Students walked around the classroom to view films with each other, however there were a few groups that had to wait to share, as they were finishing the videos after the end of the last class session. After our last class together, I asked students to fill out a form and respond to questions reflecting on the experience working on the PSA. Six students were asked to be a part of a research component and were asked to reflect on their work and what they learned in the project. Time did not allow for a critique of the films although students did write about how they needed to work on areas such as acting, volume of speaking while filming and the need to for everyone to put effort into the group work.

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This opening shot was filtered with text added. Jeffery quick picked up on how to edit and said the best part of creating the film was editing it.

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?

After looking at the students pretest, I was not sure how to progress to the next steps, which were to have them start drawing a storyboard. To give them more time to digest the human right, which they chose, I asked them to draw it in poster form. Some of the first drawings did not have much detail to them or were copies of images from the UN poster they viewed. Jeffey’s first drawing had hands and broken chains.  In his poster he created a character and incorporated the hands with broken chains and with the word Freedom over it. Many students were unsure about how to express the human right. I found that by allowing them to create a poster and asking for more details and using color, students had time to think and talk about their ideas with their peers. This remineded me that students would need to see  examples of simple PSAs. I had found some for human rights but they were to complicated. I realized I needed to find examples that were simple and straight forward.  One example posed a question and another was about bullying it was without dialoge just images.  While reviewing storyboards, I noticed that students had ideas for dialogue but it not all were completed. I chose not to focus on the written dialogue since we were pressed for time.  I would let the students work out the dialogue as they were filming.  Most groups were able to work though their what they needed to say, by retaking a scene once they viewed their inital takes.  I did however have one group that needed more time to develop their dialogue once they filmed it was apparent that they needed to write out what they wanted to express and practice it. Again due to absences and the groups inability to work together they had to rush to complete the project.  Another  group got enamored with creating one take after another, not realizing they would be able to edit sections together.  Again this was the first time I as a teacher had taught with i-pads and the first time students worked creating a PSA. I along with the students was learning how to guide them through this project.

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Checking through the storyboard prior to filming the Right to Education.
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Students editing their Right to Work film.

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

The student’s work was shared with the students teacher after all the groups completed their work. Their teacher had not seen the final work and was surprised by the choices and the differnces in each groups work. The fine arts team also viewed the work. This is a committee of teachers from different grade bands who help to support the arts in the school.  Most teachers work with the Chromebooks, to have students research or take tests but rarely are they used to have student’s develop their own ideas or to create work as a group.  By showing the PSA’s to the fine arts team it stresses how the ATLAS program is supporting the visual arts in the school.  Students in 5th grade, who did not use i-pads in art, may have the opportunity to create with i-pads in 6th grade. The PSAs will be shown to the 6th graders next school year as a way to introduce what works and what does not work when creating films with the i-pads.  It is important for students to view the body of work their peers have created and to show how working as a group can help to develop more interesting and creative work.  Two of the films and photos used for documentation will be curated for CPS Administrators to view during professional development. 

Classroom teachers will be shown a few of the films at a PD at the beginning of the next school year when the Music teacher and I have an allotted time to present to the staff.

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 once groups were formed. Initally they had to discuss their thoughts with respect to the human right they had chosen to draw.  Once in their groups, they began discussing their ideas on how to express the human right they chose.  They collaborated while creating a storyboard to direct the narrative of the PSA.  After finishing the storyboard they practiced filming each other while they worked out their parts and acted them out. When they knew what their acting roles were they traded off filming each other.  Students worked together to edit, discussing how each clip would be used or eliminated.  Each group of students self critiqued and reworked their edits as they saw fit.  With limited time, we were not able to critique the final work as a class although they did share their videos with the other groups. 

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?

The majority of the 5th grade classroom had never worked with an i-pad nor did they have experience creating a film from start to finish. Therefore, there were many conversations with students about how their groups needed to share responsibilities for filming, playing characters and editing.  Reviewing storyboards allowed me to notice if they had created something that would work and that would fit into the time frame necessary.  After viewing footage that students took I would suggest that they retake images as some groups had too much background noise or there was lack of volume on the part of the actors.  While editing, a few groups had large amounts of footage and needed help sifting through what was useful and what needed to be deleted.

After discussing the Declaration of Human Rights and noticing that students would not be able to jump into creating a PSA after reading through the rights. I used one day to have students create their own small posters.  Instead of students choosing peers to work with I decided to have students choose the Human Right they wanted to work on.  After reviewing student posters I noticed that many students chose the same right. I picked eight rights that students felt were important.  To create groups I placed the human right number on the board and asked students which right they would like to work on.  In this way students were focused on the topic they were interested in communicating and not on who they wanted to have in their groups.  Clearly in some groups students chose to work with people they felt comfortable with.  As students asked questions based on where they were in the process, I used their questions to help guide what I needed to teach or review to all the groups.  Some groups needed very little direction once they understood the technology others needed to each step of the process explained and demontrated.

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

Collaboration was limited. The classroom teacher and I met three weeks prior to starting the unit to discuss what students would be studying in language arts and how we could integrate with visual art cycle. The classroom teacher was planning to begin a unit on Human Rights. As it turned out she could not begin the unit as planned as she had to wrap up her prior unit.  I had hoped students would have some prior knowledge before they came to the art room and before beginning to work with the i-pads. Although the collaborative aspect did not continue through the unit, students were committed to creating and completing the work. One student made the comment that it helped them understand what the human rights were. Others said that they learned how to use i-movie and edit to create a film. The comment I thought was most interesting about learning was stated during the researcher questions.  Julisa said there were classmates she thought she did not like but by working on the film she got to know them, and she did like them.  This was what she learned by working in a group. 

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? 

During the school year the ATLAS professional development has allowed me to have time to learn how to film with an i-pad, manipulate images with i-movie and experiment with technology that I don’t have access to in my school. We were given exercises that allowed us to use the media using a variety of artistic approaches. After committing to integrating technology with the topic of Human Rights, I realized I was not quite sure about what digital media I would use. After speaking to the classroom teacher about her topic I realized it would be better for the class to use ipads and not i-pods as I orginaly thought. The class would focus on a few rights, not all of them as I had originally invisioned. By groups focusing on one right they would have to collaborate and communicate thier human right to an audience. Using the i-pads to create a film would allow the students to teach an audience of fellow students about one human right. In this way they could use their own words, body, voice and understanding of that right.

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. 

 In this unit I allowed students to use chrome books to research a childrens Human Rights poster from the United Nations dated 2013.  They had to find the website and read through the rights, shown above. They each found a human right which they would recreate in a drawing and into a small poster. Before the students began to film, I had each one practice taking random images with the i-pads. This allowed students to become familiar with holding the i-pad and filming and framing images with either the camera or video camera. After forming groups, students quickly worked on their ideas and storyboards and were ready to begin filming.  The rule was that the storyboard had to be complete in order to begin filming. I was impressed at the amount of ideas that were generated and completed in a few days.  Of course, the students were excited to be able to use the i-pads and to create something that would help them express their ideas on this topic. Each group approched the making of the film in a slightly different way. Looking at the ways in which the i-pad is held. The angles of the cameras or height the camera is held, and choice of editing, tells me the students were looking for ways to express their ideas in an artistic complicated manner.

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

Using the Chromebooks and having a UN source, allowed the students to read through each human rights at their own pace and to choose what they wanted to focus on.  By presenting the PSAs from YouTube I was able to have students look at two different examples on how to address a topic. I did not give students a directive that they could only use the format of the examples but allowed them to determine how they would create their PSA. Most groups chose a story format. By using technology, I could direct the focus on the topic of human rights  while allowing the students the freedom to develop and create something with their groups. They were excited to begin. One student Kayla commented that it was challenging to create the PSA. The technology allowed students to work in a new media, which also kept students focused on the goals of the unit. With little time to complete the PSAs, the students were eager to begin filming.  They quickly transitioned from having experience taking photos with a cell phones to filming with the i-pads.  The i-pads were accessible to all the students and there was ease in teaching students how to use them to begin creating their work. Using the i-pads helped to support the inquiry question.  Allowing students to use their own ideas on how to communicate a human right using technology. Most groups created changes on the spot once they realized what they planned was not working out as they expected. They quickly need to readjust what they filmed to get to the point and to complete the assignment in the time given.

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.  

Originally, I was going to use i-pods continuing the portrait unit I had worked on last year.  The problem I encountered was that my students are part of the research group and I would have to follow them into the next school year.  I worked with a different teacher from the prior year and I had to research what she would be teaching her students. I changed my mind and decided that i-pads would be the most proficient way to have students create a PSA. The students could not edit on an i-pod nor would I have the time to have students download their images into the Chromebooks. They would not have been able to edit in the chromebooks. I needed to use i-pads yet I did not have any. The lack of equipment in CPS schools is one roadblock that I have had many times. Luckily thorugh the the ATLAS grant, I was lent a set of i-pads through a lending library which was set up for students. My group would be the test run for this lending library. I was happy to asssist in working out the kinks for the library, it worked out for my unit and the students were happy to use them for the trial run. The other problem that has occurred is when transfering from the i-pads to a google classroom format, the films seem to get shortened in some areas of transitions and are not exactly how they were when viewed on the i-pad. 

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.

By using the i-pads to create the PSAs students had to self-reflect when developing their work.  After filming their work they reviewed what they filmed and made adjustments.  If the scene was not what they hoped for they filmed it again. When it came time to editing they had to review their storyboard or decide they would change them. Some groups needed to create new scenes to express the human right they were working with.  A few groups had envisioned filming outside but as they began to experiment they quickly realized that they could not go outside due to the weather and lack of supervision. Groups had to think about how they would use the spaces available to them to communicate their human right.  Editing gave them a new way to think about the images and allowed them to  manipulated the images to express an idea.  Although the films are not polished they do show that students were challenging themselves to solve the problem and communicate a human right to an audience.

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

For most of the students it was the first time using an i-pad to shoot, edit and create a short film.

Using the i-pads allowed them the freedom to take the images they chose to take. I could not be with each groups as they filmed. Most groups interchanged videographers, which gave students a chance to use their own sense of framing images. The filming of the work clearly shows how each group had a different way to approach how they wanted to communicate their human right.  When groups began to edit, they worked together to find interesting ways to connect their images. Some realized they needed to rework a clip and went back to retake it.  As students began to edit one began adding music into their work. Other students began to noticed and then asked how they could add music as well. A few began to experiment with the filters and added a filtered image into their work. There were some bugs that were not corrected which I felt were part of the learning process. Students will use what knowledge they gained with this work and make changes as they become more proficient in using the i-pads.

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

Although I have worked with digital media for personal projects, I had not used an i-pad prior to beginning the ATLAS professional development.  Learning how to use the i-move software has been challenging due to lack of time and lack of an i-pad.  I however was just as excited, as my students were to begin the process of learning how to use the i-pad and i-movie. Working with other arts teachers in professonal development allowed me to begin thinking of how I can use it in traditional and non-traditional ways.  As my students began working on their projects I had to stay one step ahead of them to prepare for what would come next.  I also learned from students as they began editing their work, some students happened upon creating transitions in ways I had not thought of and allowed me to think about transitions differently. Overall, the addition of digital media has impacted my teaching by allowing me a dedicated time to learn, think, create and share with a community of teachers who are committed to pushing themselves out of their comfort zones.  As a teacher of the arts it is important that I allow new ideas to generate.  I expect it of my students and it gives me insight into how they are feeling when learning something new.